I've been a draft junkie for years, obsessing over the Pistons picks even when they only had late 2nd rounders (i.e. 2006- Samb and Blalock FTW!). So now I'm finally going to put my epinions to the test, and review every projected pick, and record my thoughts for posterity/accountability and possibly comedy.
I'm listing all the players in the order that they are currently projected on the draftexpress mock draft.
I'm a stats oriented guy, and I think a stats-based view gives the best chance of getting a pick correct, but there's really no perfect method, and some players who put up great stats in college won't make it in the league, and some guys with middling numbers might surprise.
1. John Wall-- Shrug. I'm still not sure what to make of him. He's fun to watch, athletic, unselfish, but also turnover prone, and didn't use his size/athleticism to overwhelm his opponents the way the truly great PG's have in the past. His stats are clearly behind both Rose and Tyreke Evans, so I'm not sure why he's been hyped so much. He'll probably "live up" to the #1 pick in most fans eyes because he's going to score points and get assists, but he'll never crack the top tier of PG's, and there will be better players picked after him.
2. Evan Turner-- Speaking of better players, here's one. On the court and on paper this guy looks the part of future star. He scores like a SG should (efficiently), rebounds like a forward, and passes like a PG. I'll take that package. Truly elite wing players are rare, and Turner is going to be one of them.
3. Wes Johnson-- Subjectively I like him a lot. He played hard, always made an effort to use his athleticism to impact games on both offense and defense. The concern is twofold- he's old by basketball standards (turning 23 in a month), and he didn't become much of a prospect until his Junior year. Those are usually both glaring red flags. It suggests that he didn't have the natural basketball talent to dominate, and was productive because of the physical advantage of being older. He'll almost definitely be a solid player, but is not worth a top 5 pick.
4. Derrick Favors-- He's tall and long. And really, really young. Those are all good things. His stats are okay, not up to typical top 5 pick standards, but good enough considering his age. I'm not in love with him as a prospect, but I can't complain about a team taking a chance on a young big with his size/athleticism.
5. DeMarcus Cousins-- I'll eat my hat if he's not a dominant top 10 player within five years. The size/skill ratio is unfair, the stats are insane, and best of all (despite the nebulous "character" issues) Cousins has shown signs of advanced basketball intelligence; improving upon his weaknesses as the season went on- scoring more efficiently while keeping his rebounding at its astronomical level. The best prospect in the draft, hands down.
6. Greg Monroe-- Not bad. But not very good. Everything comes with somewhat of a catch. His passing numbers are good, but his turnover rate is awful. His rebounding is mediocre for a PF, and awful for a C. His jump shot is surprisingly poor for a player thought of as an "away from the basket" big. The package of skills is unusual for a PF/C, but I don't know if that is automatically a good thing. I know I wouldn't touch him with a top 10 pick. My guess is he'll have a long career, with a decent chance of landing an oversized contract, which eventually turns into an albatross.
7. Ed Davis-- Solid. That's it, and I mean that in a good way. His stats are solid, there's no red flags, but also nothing that suggests he's going to be a star. He's going to contribute to whatever team drafts him, and will have a long, productive career.
8. Al-Farouq Aminu-- If he can successfully transition to SF, I like him. If not, I don't. Either way, he's basically a high-end role player. There's no shame in that, but I don't think his upside is realistically all that high. There's several similar players who will be picked much later, so the logic of spending a top 10 pick on Aminu doesn't totally compute for me. But as a big, defensive minded wing Aminu's got some value and will be productive as long as the team that drafts him doesn't try forcing a "scorer" role on his shoulders (his biggest weakness is scoring efficiency).
9. Luke Babbitt-- He's the offensive version of Aminu. There are holes in his game, but if he's drafted by a team that plays him to his strengths, he'll be good.
10. Ekpe Udoh-- Deafening warning bells should be going off in GM's heads with Udoh. He has the same problem as Wes Johnson, where he only became a prospect once he gained several years over his competition. On top of that, he still didn't put up great numbers. The team that drafts him with a top 10 pick is in for a disappointment.
11. Xavier Henry-- Tough call. He's a SG/SF who doesn't project to be great either offensively or defensively, but merely solid in both directions. I'd rather have a guy with some definite strengths, but Henry's stats are also right in line with a handful of good SG's from past drafts. He's worth a top 15 pick as he's a pretty safe bet to be at least average.
12. Paul George-- I like him. If he can handle SG full time, he projects as average offensively, and very good defensively. His high rebounding and steal numbers suggest a good mix of length and lateral speed.
13. Patrick Patterson-- Another tough one. Last year: yes. This year: no. His assists, blocks, and rebounds all came down. There is a precedent of talented players on talented teams having uneven college careers (Joakim Noah's final college season is a good example), but the concern is Patterson's came down a little too far for my liking. His sophomore year stats are good enough that he's not a bad top 15 pick, but I'd look in other directions first.
14. Cole Aldrich-- He's predictably free-falling on mock drafts the further we get from the college season when actual games are played. I really like him, and think he's a no-brainer top 10 pick. Players who rebound and block shots at the rate Aldrich has throughout his career are very good bets to become productive pros.
15. Gordon Hayward-- Surprisingly good. Not another Joe Alexander, Hayward has flashed some legit skills, his 3 pt% tanked this past season, but his ft% is excellent, plus he improved his inside scoring and rebounding. Going to be a good wing player, especially if he can handle SG at times.
16. Larry Sanders-- Exactly the type of player teams should be looking for in the middle of the 1st round. Big guy with long wingspan who has shown flashes of excellent defensive ability. The only problem is there are potentially much better ones projected behind him.
17. Avery Bradley-- Avoid at all costs. Ladies and gents, we have our first total bust of the night. He's undersized for a SG, and has awful stats... not sure why he's still a 1st round pick.
18. Eric Bledsoe-- Just slightly above Bradley. Bledsoe is almost definitely going to be a total bust, the only chance he has is to catch on with a triangle based team in a Derek Fisher role; corner 3's and play some D.
19. Solomon Alabi-- Doesn't look like much, but probably worth taking a flier on. Again though, there's better projects to be had later.
20. Damion James- I love him. He's been solid his whole career, and has shown a great ability to improve his skills. if his current draft placement is correct, he's going to be a big time steal.
21. Daniel Orton-- His stats suck, the odds are against him ever amounting to anything. But still, sure, take a big with size/athleticism with a late 1st pick, just make sure there aren't similar players who are more likely to succeed (which there are).
22. Kevin Seraphin-- I have no idea. Reading a bit about him he sounds a lot like Serge Ibaka, which is good. These guys can be bargains, or not amount to much.
23. Hassan Whiteside-- There is no way 22 players should go before this guy. I don't care what red flags there are, how bad his breath is, etc... Freshman who block shots and rebound at this rate are easily worth a top 10 pick, despite the risk of busting.
24. Dominique Jones-- Not crazy about him. With guys like this, it's going to depend almost entirely on the situation they fall into. If he can handle PG, and is able to contribute once his usage drops, then he can stick. I wouldn't take him with anything above a 2nd round pick.
25. Elliot Williams- Pass. His freshman year stats were terrible. Last season as a 21 year old sophomore, he scored much better, but kept his awful rebounding and turnover numbers. These guys rarely make it.
26. Tibor Pleiss--- uhh? He's only player 14 high level professional games according to draftexpress. I have no idea.
27. Jordan Crawford-- I like him way more than Bradley or Bledsoe, but still don't think he's worth a 1st round pick. Might end up being a useful gunner off the bench, best case scenario is a Jason Terry level player.
28. Greivis Vasquez-- I don't see it. If he can defend PG's, his chances of sticking go way up. Otherwise, he's another guy who is going to need to be lucky and land in a situation that suits him. Otherwise, say hi to the next Carlos Arroyo.
29. Quincy Pondexter-- Looks good. Productive, versatile forward, he's an Aminu-lite type who can easily be had much later.
30. James Anderson-- Say hi to Marcus Thornton 2.0. If Anderson gets a chance to show his stuff, he's going to be one of the big surprises from this draft, and a massive steal if he lasts into the late 1st or early 2nd.
31. Stanley Robinson-- Very doubtful that he ever makes an impact. Spending an early 2nd round pick on him would be a waste.
32. Terrico White-- Awful numbers, he's a "long, smooth, really strokes it!!1" type of guy. Definite pass.
33. Darington Hobson-- From the stats, he's currently extremely underrated. He looks like a very solid SF.
34. Trevor Booker-- Big fan of this guy. He's similarly productive to a player like Pat Patterson, but Booker is a likely 2nd round pick. I think he'll be another big steal.
35. Craig Brackens-- Avoid at all costs. I will be mega-bummed if we draft him. He projects as a crappy version of Charlie Villanueva. Thanks, but no thanks.
36. Armon Johnson-- Ugh. Doesn't bring much other than size.
37. Willie Warren-- My least favorite prospect in the entire draft. A limited gunner with a bad attitude. Chad Ford had him projected as a lottery pick for a while.
38. Devin Ebanks-- Not much here. Could maybe be useful as a defensive SF, but probably not.
39. Gani Lawal-- He might not suck. Another situation dependent player- best case- maybe a Haslem type career.
40. Mikhail Torrance-- Very slightly intriguing if he can defend PG's. Otherwise, no.
41. Lance Stephenson-- Why any team would draft him at all is really beyond my comprehension.
42. Jarvis Varnado-- Unbelievable steal. He should be going 20 spots earlier at least.
43. Brian Zoubek-- Useful. Should be drafted somewhere from middle to late 1st round, or beginning of 2nd round at the latest, but won't. Then will have a long career as a back-up. The end.
44. Paulao Prestes-- Looks like a potential steal. Has very good numbers for a young euro big. I think he's definitely worth taking a flier on with an early 2nd round pick
45. Miroslav Raduljica-- Cool name. Another big guy that could pay off down the road
46. Latavious Williams-- Cooler name. Excellent D-League numbers. The next Amir?
I'm going to skip down a bit...
55. Artisom Parakhouski-- I have no idea why teams aren't higher on him. I can't imagine him not being at least as good as any number of random back-up C's, and on a 2nd round pick salary he'll be a bargain almost regardless of how he turns out.
58. Dexter Pittman-- Another personal favorite. His stats are solid, and subjectively I thought he played like a guy who cared, which is important for young bigs. I think he'll be a solid back-up.
And my favorite super sleeper is Marqus Blakely-- His stats have been off the charts since he was a sophomore (he played all 4 years), and someone needs to tell Jod that his winspan is super, super long!
Alright, that's it. Sorry I got bored with all the 2nd round picks and skipped ahead. Thanks for reading!
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