Gambo & Scottie’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft

It’s hard to believe that the NBA Draft is already upon us but tomorrow night it all goes down, starting with the consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis. The “unibrow” is that good and proved it, helping Kentucky to a National Championship. This class is stocked with talent as there are potential starters into the 20’s. The Celtics pick back-to-back at 21 & 22 thanks to the trade of

“Fear the Brow”

Kendrick Perkins. GM Danny Ainge has already confirmed they are looking for size but could also be in position to take the best player still on the board with one of the selections if someone slips as this is probably the best draft class since 2003.

Scottie & I broke up the draft going pick-by-pick (of course I get the first; I always win) and gave some insight on each player.

Here, we, go:

1) New Orleans Hornets- Anthony Davis F/C, Kentucky (Gambo)

The only sure-fire pick to go to a team is the Unibrow himself. Davis has the potential to be a Kevin Garnett type player and will help transform a New Orleans team desperate for resurgence. If you didn’t like this kid before, the fact that he has already trademarked “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow” should make you a believer.

2) Charlotte Bobcats- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist G/F, Kentucky (Scottie)

MKG is dropping like a rock on many other mock drafts that I have seen.  I can’t understand why.  I saw a fair share of Kentucky games this season and I saw a kid with boat loads of talent.  The Bobcats need anything and everything to get their franchise going.  In my opinion they should play it safe and go with the closest to a sure thing they can.

3) Washington Wizards- Bradley Beal SG, Florida (Gambo)

I’m with Scottie on the MKG pick, but could understand MJ taking Beal or Robinson there if he doesn’t trade. Beal is a sure-fire pick for the Wiz and makes for an intriguing backcourt combination with John Wall; one that could be a force in the league for years if the mesh well over the first few seasons.

4) Cleveland Cavaliers- Thomas Robinson PF, Kansas (Scottie)

Many people have Robinson going behind Davis in this year’s draft.  The kid does have an incredible skill set and did put Kansas on his back on their way to the National Championship.  Watching him and Kyrie Irving play together just may help those Cleveland fans that are bitter about that someone who left town 2 years ago.

5) Sacramento Kings- Harrison Barnes G/F, North Carolina (Gambo)

The Kings are rumored to be pedaling Tyreke Evans and Barnes could be a perfect replacement for him. Harrison has been stated by numerous media members as being the type of player that is better as a pro than in college and the UNC product has the potential to produce.

6) Portland Trail Blazers- Andre Drummond C, UConn (Scottie)

Drummond was a consensus number 1 pick most of the season.  Then he was everyone saw exactly

Will the “motor” be there in the NBA?

what he was.  He is a freakish athlete but extremely raw when it comes to basketball.  He can jump through the roof, run the floor, and block shots.  After that he is very much a work in progress.

7) Golden St. Warriors- Jeremy Lamb SG, UConn (Gambo)

The Drummond pick is the first one that I disagree on with Scottie. Portland is rumored to be salivating over Damian Lilliard and should be the pick at six. As for the Warriors, a two-guard to replace Monta Ellis should be on their list. Lamb looked disinterested at times this season, but should get motivated and put up points as a better “Marshon Brooks-type” player.

8) Toronto Raptors- Austin Rivers G, Duke (Scottie)

Most people have Damian Lilliard ahead of Austin Rivers in their drafts.  Toronto needs a point guard and I think Doc’s kid is the best one in the draft.  He has a great basketball pedigree.  He has an uncanny ability to get to the basket and can also bury his jump shots.

9) Detroit Pistons- John Henson PF, North Carolina (Gambo)

With the trade of Ben Gordon the Pistons could target Lamb or Rivers if they fall, but they could still use a shot-blocking and rebounding presence to team with Greg Monroe. Henson was intimidating near the basket and if he can add some size to his frame, Detroit would have an impressive one-two combo down low.

10) New Orleans Hornets- Damian Lilliard PG, Weber State (Scottie)

The Hornets also need a point guard and Lilliard is right behind Rivers in my opinion.  Lilliard comes from Weber St. I am not big on guys coming from small schools at all.  It is probably the wrong prejudice to have but I feel that Rivers has more big game experience and more exposure.

11) Portland Trail Blazers- Dion Waiters G, Syracuse (Gambo)

Depending on what the Blazers do with the first pick getting size or a point guard, they will most likely draft the opposite here, but if a player like Waiters is still on the board they could go after him, especially if they are serious about trading Jamal Crawford. Waiters played off the bench at Cuse, but when he was on the floor he often took over as the most dynamic scorer on the court. He could instantly contribute in the same way this coming season.

12) Milwaukee Bucks- Terrence Ross G, Washington (Scottie)

The Bucks need a 3 to play with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.  Ross handles the ball very well and would be able to find Monta and Jennings on the break.  At 6’7 he would be an oversized 2 that could come off the bench as well.  The Bucks are a team that would like to run and Ross is a terrific rebounder for a guard.

13) Phoenix Suns- Kendall Marshall PG, North Carolina (Gambo)

It’s hard to believe but Steve Nash may not be in a Suns jersey next season. Time for Phoenix to find “who’s next.” Marshall was fantastic for UNC before injuring his wrist and should be back to form in no time. The deft-passing, good-sized point should fill in nicely for the former MVP.

14) Houston Rockets- Tyler Zeller F/C, North Carolina (Scottie)

I once was a Tyler Zeller hater.  That changed this year with each game I saw him play.  I attribute a lot of his success to playing on a stacked team with Henson, Barnes, and Marshall.  But Zeller was no slouch either.  The kid doesn’t miss around the rim and has a deadly hook shot.

15) Philadelphia 76ers- Perry Jones III F, Baylor (Gambo)

Will he realize his potential?

PJ III had a disappointing return season at Baylor but that does not mean he doesn’t have talent. The Sixers would luck out seeing jones slide to 15 and if they do end up trading Iguodala, he could be a key along with Thad Young in replacing his production.

16) Houston Rockets- Meyers Leonard C, Illinois (Scottie)

Let me start this out by saying I think Meyers Leonard is awful.  Every game I saw him play this year he was softer than a baby’s bottom.  He gets frustrated to easily and turns the ball over way too often.  But as the saying goes, “you can’t teach size” and size is something the 7’1 Leonard has.

17) Dallas Mavericks- Terrence Jones F, Kentucky (Gambo)

The Mavs could be in “best player available” mode and taking a National Champ at 17 is definitely not a bad thing. Jones is a player that could contribute immediately off the bench as Dallas looks to surround Dirk with talent and push for a return trip to the Finals.

18) Minnesota Timberwolves- Royce White F, Iowa State (Scottie)

White was very impressive this past season at Iowa State.  If the Timberwolves do in fact take him they just might become the best passing team in the history of basketball with White, Kevin Love, and Ricky Rubio.  I think this kid might be the most intriguing kid in the draft.  There aren’t many 6’8 guys that can handle the ball like he can.

19) Orlando Magic- Arnett Moultrie F/C, Mississippi State (Gambo)

If the Magic end up dealing Dwight they will need some serious size and shot-blocking. Moultrie flew under the radar this season at Mississippi State but scouts love his frame and wingspan. Orlando is facing some tough decisions across the board, but a defensive presence never hurts.

20) Denver Nuggets- Jared Sullinger F, Ohio State (Scottie)

Sullinger was projected to be the #1 overall pick in last year’s draft but decided to stay in school.  He has been red flagged by doctors because of a back injury and he his stock has plummeted.  Some say he can be another Kevin Love.  I disagree.  But the Nuggets need scoring in the paint and if healthy Sullinger could do just that.

21) Boston Celtics- Moe Harkless SF, St. John’s (Gambo)

Hmmmmm, I’m picking for my favorite team and the best player from my Alma Mater since Ron

This man would look good in Green.

Artest is still on the board? MOE BUCKETS! First, I don’t think he lasts past Denver, but Harkless is an athletic talent that played the 4 and 5 last year but is a true 3 in the League. A chance to learn from someone like Paul Pierce could transform Moe into an impressive player.

22) Boston Celtics- Fab Melo C, Syracuse (Scottie)

One thing that was apparent in the playoffs this season was the Celtics had a hard time defending at the rim.  There was nobody other than Garnett that could contest shots in the paint.  I am not a Fab Mello fan by any means but he is the fit for what the Celtics needs down low.

23) Atlanta Hawks- Andrew Nicholson PF, St. Bonaventure (Gambo)

Nicholson was a stretch-4 at St. Bonaventure and while you may not have heard of him, that doesn’t mean his isn’t good. The Hawks have been rumored to be off the Josh Smith bandwagon and if he ends up switching jerseys, Nicholson could have a sizable role in replacing him.

24) Cleveland Cavaliers- Jeffrey Taylor G/F, Vanderbilt (Scottie)

The Cavs need size and perimeter defense. Having Taylor and Varejao on the floor at the same time may limit the Cavs offensively but they would sure be difficult to score on.  The Cavs are a very young team and Taylor is a 4 year college player.  He would be able to provide some experience and compliment Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson pretty well.

25) Memphis Grizzlies- Marquis Teague PG, Kentucky (Gambo)

Memphis has transformed itself into a Western Conference Playoff fixture and is another team that can just go “best player available.” Teague is young but could become an efficient point guard in the league. Jeff’s little brother doesn’t have his size but is a someone who can get up and down the floor and can press the pace with the second unit.

26) Indiana Pacers- Doron Lamb SG, Kentucky (Scottie)

Doron Lamb is the best pure shooter in the draft.  The Pacers’ success revolves around everyone knowing their role and no superstar play.  Lamb fits in perfectly at the 2 alongside Danny Granger and Darren Collison.  Opposing teams would be reluctant to double down on Hibbert leaving Lamb open from the outside.  Lamb could be a steal in this draft.

27) Miami Heat- Quincy Miller F, Baylor (Gambo)

Miller’s injury has pushed him down draft boards but the World Champs would be glad to add an athletic player to their roster who could run with Bron, Wade and Rio. Miller was overshadowed by PJ III and never really found his niche, but could be a solid forward in the NBA for years.

28) Oklahoma City Thunder- Will Barton SG, Memphis (Scottie)

In reality the Thunder really don’t need any additional parts. They really only need to gain experience. Barton is a guy that can come off the bench and give Durant a quick rest.

29) Chicago Bulls- Tony Wroten G, Washington (Gambo)

Wroten could most definitely be gone at this point but with Derrick Rose on the shelf,

It’s a Festivus miracle!

Washington’s 6-foot-6 PG could fill in nicely for the Bulls. Even though his size may throw some people, Wroten is a true point that could run an NBA offense and would fit well with Deng, Boozer an Noah, while also sliding to the two at times once Rose returns.

30) Golden St. Warriors- Festus Ezeli F/C, Vanderbilt

Festivus for the rest of us! Golden State needs a big man to compliment Andrew Bogut, David Lee, and Andris Beidrins.  Plus I just wanted to sneak in a Seinfeld reference, so Ezeli it is.

We can be followed on Twitter @Big3Sports and @ScottieNTCF

Everyone Just Needs to Relax…

Ladies and gentlemen, it feels good to be back!  After a year of grinding through a doctoral program, I figured the best way to spend my summer was to drop some more knowledge on the NTCF faithful.  I realize that due to the lull in new material from NTCF, we may have lost the vast majority of our readers, but for those who stuck with it and for those that have just discovered NTCF, your dedication is appreciated!

Now, to the matter at hand, my beloved Providence College Friars.  There is excitement already building throughout Friar Nation with the news the PC and now second year head coach Ed Cooley have brought in the 6th ranked recruiting class in the nation to Friartown for the 2012 NCAA Basketball Season.  Along with the incoming frosh, coach Cooley and staff have enticed a few transfers to sign with PC, further propelling the excitement surround PC basketball.  With all of this news and enthusiasm, I find myself being a bit more pessimistic than most.  What is all this excitement really about, and is it even warranted?  Hear me out…

Rumors have been flying (from multiple sources) that both Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo won’t even be suiting up for

the black and white this fall.  Dunn injured his shoulder while working out for the USA under 18 squad, which resulted in him obviously not making the team.  Ledo’s academic struggles supposedly continue, therefore putting his eligibility status in question.  My fellow blogger Scottie took to Twitter over the past day or so to air what he had been hearing, and was met by some pretty severe backlash, with the most criticism coming from PC play-by-play man John Rooke!  Whether the rumors are true or not, I can’t say that I’m 100% confident that Dunn and Ledo will be contributors this season until I see them in uniform.

As for the other two recruits, how much were they really expected to contribute?  Word is that Ian Baker has yet to sign an official LOI (Letter of Intent), and even if he jumps aboard, he will be competing for playing time behind Council, Dunn (if he’s still alive), and possibly Kiwi Gardner.  Fortune has the reputation of being able to put the ball in the hoop from anywhere on the court, but the question remaining is how much court time will he actually see?  The 2-guard spot is loaded, with expected starter Bryce Cotton, and incoming freshman Dunn, and Ledo all competing for time there.  It is also expected that with Dunn working at the point, Council would get some time at the 2-guard spot.  If the rumors prove to be true and Ledo and Dunn are out for 2012-2013, then obviously Baker and Fortune will get some more floor time.  Then, you start running into the same issues it seems PC has faced over the last 3-4 years, how productive are freshman really in the Big East?  Yes, I know LaDontae Henton had a huge season last year, but LaDontae’s don’t come around very often.

As for all of the excitement surrounding the incoming transfers, I think it may be a little overblown.  Sidiki Johnson was a big name guy coming out of high school.  He has size (6’9” 230 lbs) and allegedly a decent post-game.  That being said, if the kid was ready to play why did he only log 7 minutes at Arizona!  He was dismissed for a violation of team policy, so maybe it wasn’t his skill level that limited his playing time and it was off the court stuff.  But, even so, why are we trying to build our program around guys that can’t even last a semester at one school?  Tyler Harris is another guy that presents similar issues.  He doesn’t have the off the court baggage that Sidiki brings, but the kid logged 7 minutes a night for NC State.  Yes, he has size and athleticism, but why couldn’t he be a more consistent contributor on a team that wasn’t very deep last season?

The one transfer I do love is Carson Desrosiers.  This kid is big, has experience, and can protect the rim.  Desrosiers was already 4th all time in Wake Forest history in blocked shots after only 2 seasons!  He will hopefully be someone that Brice Kofane can learn a thing or two from and help improve his game.  The only downside to the Desrosiers commitment is that he can’t play until the 2013-2014 season, along with Harris; while Sidiki can play starting in the second semester this season.

The last thing I wanted to touch upon was the rumors surround Billy Baron and his transfer to Providence.  Baron would probably be able to play this season if he transferred to PC because his dad was fired as the URI coach while he was there (see Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan).  As I mentioned previously, if everyone that is eligible to play this season does play, the backcourt is loaded (Council, Dunn, Ledo, Gardner, Cotton, Fortune, Baker).  PC’s interest in Baron further fuels the speculation that either Ledo, Dunn, or both could be watching games from the bench this season.

The point of this post wasn’t to eliminate your enthusiasm for the 2012-2013 season.  The point was simply to make you take a step back and examine the moves PC make a little more closely.  I love the direction Ed Cooley is taking this team and am a huge fan of every recruit they have gotten commitments from so far.  That being said, the 2012-2013 season could look a little more like 2011-2012 than we all were expecting.

I Believe Again

After last year’s September collapse, the firing of Terry Francona, the subsequent hiring of Bobby Valentine, and the less than auspicious start to the 2012 season, I fully admit I was a raging pessimist as it pertained to the Boston Red Sox.  I was the real life version of Randy Quaid’s character from Major League. (Did that guy have an actual name?)   I grew to actually hate the team that I loved ever since I had the ability to understand baseball.

Now, something has happened.  It may be the Father’s Day Weekend I spent with my father at Wrigley Field, seeing the Saturday night game in which the Sox beat the Cubs 4-3.  Maybe it was in getting back to my roots that I remembered that a fan is supportive of their team no matter the situation, as difficult as it may be.  Maybe I realized that this team has actually overachieved, contrary to the court of public opinion.  I just thought this, and this is crazy, but maybe Buster Olney saved the Red Sox 2012 season…(call me maybe?).

Let’s take a look at the facts.  Jacoby Ellsbury, the 2011 AL MVP runner up, has played in just 7 games for the Red Sox.  Carl Crawford and Andrew Bailey haven’t appeared in a game all season.  Kevin Youkilis has missed several games this season with nagging injuries, and hasn’t produced like the Youk of old.  Adrian Gonzalez isn’t earning his paycheck statistically but has “taken one for the team” by moving out to right field for close to 20 games so far. Sure the Red Sox are in last place, but they are above .500, 8 games behind the red hot Yankees, and 4 back of a wild card spot.

With the lack of production from big named players not named Ortiz, the Red Sox have managed to stay afloat in the pennant race while slowly getting healthy again.  Cody Ross and Ryan Kalish have come back from injury the past two days and paid immediate dividends, Kalish with the game winning hit on Sunday and Ross with a home run already tonight.  That is what makes this team fun.  The key contributors have been guys like Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, Felix Doubront, Scott Podsednik, and Mike Aviles.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach have been the best catching duo in the league.

ESPN says the Red Sox have a 28.1% chance of making the playoffs.  I don’t know what scientific formula they have to measure that but I believe that is a rather harsh estimate.  The Red Sox have yet to play their best ball and I believe they have overachieved.  I don’t expect Adrian Gonzalez to hit .260 all year and I expect him to surpass his projection of 12 home runs for the season.  I am excited to see what Jacoby Ellsbury and a motivated Carl Crawford are going to do for this lineup.

The Red Sox are only 1/3 of the way through the season.  Cliche warning: The Major League Baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.  I am starting to believe that the players are going to take exception to Buster Olney’s column calling the Red Sox clubhouse “toxic.”I believe that column will promote an “Us vs. The World” mentality. The Red Sox haven’t come close to playing their best ball this season.  I think the Orioles will soon come back to Earth. The Blue Jays just had a rash of devastating injuries to their rotation, losing Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek for some time.  That leaves the Red Sox dealing with the Yankees, Rays, Rangers, and Angels to compete with for a playoff spot.

Truth be told, Bobby Valentine has grown on me the last 3 months.  Before he came to Boston, I wrote on this very blog after Tito’s firing, that I would accept any one as the new manager not named Bobby Valentine.  Now I have come to appreciate Bobby V.  I appreciate his candid rancor.  My only wish is that he wouldn’t act like he has been castrated by the ownership group.  Other than that I believe in this team.  I believe in Bobby V.  There is too much talent here to waste 2 years in a row.  And I know this team wants to shove it in all the naysayers faces.

That is my belief.  What fandom is built upon.  And I believe this team will do great things when it is all said and done.