2016 NBA Mock Draft

Everyone and their mother has compiled their 2016 Mock Draft.  With this year being particularly important for the Celtics, I figured I would join in the foray. In this space, you will find what I believe will go down Thursday night.  I will not include potential trades, because frankly, other than creating rumors, you can’t really predict a trade.  Without further adieu…

 

  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram
  3. Boston Celtics: Buddy Hield
  4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jamal Murray
  6. New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn
  7. Denver Nuggets: Jaylen Brown
  8. Sacramento Kings: Marquesse Chriss
  9. Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl
  10. Milwaukee Bucks: Malachi Richardson
  11. Orlando Magic: Skal Labissiere
  12. Utah Jazz: Wade Baldwin
  13. Phoenix Suns: Domantas Sabonis
  14. Chicago Bulls: Henry Ellenson
  15. Denver Nuggets:Timothe Luwawu
  16. Boston Celtics: Brice Johnson
  17. Memphis Grizzlies:  Deyonta Davis
  18. Detroit Pistons: Cheick Diallo
  19. Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz
  20. Indiana Pacers: Dejounte Murray
  21. Atlanta Hawks: Taurean Prince
  22. New Orleans Hornets: Malik Beasley
  23. Boston Celtics: Thon Maker
  24. Philadelphia 76ers: Denzel Valentine
  25. Los Angeles Clippers: Diamond Stone
  26. Philadelphia 76ers: Demetrius Jackson
  27. Toronto Raptors: Ante Zizic
  28. Phoenix Suns: Zhou Qi
  29. San Antonio Spurs: Damian Jones
  30. Golden State Warriors: Juan Hernangomez

Be Proud of These Friars

On February 20, Matty sat down and typed a scathing post about the cooleyProvidence Friar men’s basketball team.  Normally, I allow Matty to fly off the cuff every so often on this blog about the Friars.  After reading his piece, I had to respond to his incessant negativity about a team that deserves anything but.  I have known to be down on the Friars over the years.  I have done my fair share of bashing as well.  Ask  me  about Bilal Dixon, Geoff McDermott, or Marcus Douthit and watch my head explode.  This is a season I have been immensely proud to be a Friar Faithful.

If you told me on January 5, 2014 the Providence Friars were going to be on the bubble, looking in on an at large NCAA tournament bid, I would have asked  you about your care giver.  On January 5, the Friars lost to Villanova by 30.  On  January 5, the Friars were 0-2 to start conference play and had lost three games in a row.  On January 5, the Friars knew they would be without Kris Dunn, Brandon Austin, and Rodney Bullock for the rest of the season.

Fast forward to the present.  The Friars are in the middle of the Big East standings.  The Friars are among renowned Bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s “final four in.”  They have gotten to where they are today with essentially six guys. Given all that has happened to the Providence College program this season, what more could a true PC fan ask for?

Before I verbally castrate Matty, let me lay some ground work for some 460xreaders that may be new to NTCF.  Matty was (and still is) a Keno Davis fan.  Let’s let that sink in for a minute.  Matty was actually upset when the Friars first hired Cooley.  Matty will argue Keno’s stop at PC was full of bad luck.  He will also quickly point out Keno beat at the time #1 Pitt at home.  Matty will even argue Keno Davis is partially responsible for PC’s success this season because he recruited Bryce Cotton, Kadeem Batts, Brice Kofane, and Lee Goldsboro.

Matty will ignore Mr. Davis went 46-50 in his three seasons at Providence, did not win a post season game, and two of his recruits currently reside at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, Rhode Island.  Matty will also ignore Keno Davis’s current record at Central Michigan.  I won’t.  He is currently 19-33.

Ed Cooley is 51-41 at Providence.  He took the Friars to the NIT Quarterfinals in his second season with the program.  He has brought top talent to the program (Ricky Ledo, Brandon Austin, Kris Dunn,).  I’ll admit getting them on the floor has been another issue.  My point is, he is putting Providence on the map.

In Matty’s post on February 20, he stated “Bryce Cotton is overrated.”  I always have to remind myself Matty was a helluva middle linebacker in high school.  He took a lot of shots to the head.  Obviously, we are seeing the effects of these shots to the head now.  If it was not for a man named Doug McDermott, Bryce Cotton would be the consensus player of the year in the Big East.  There is no more obvious of a statement than saying Cotton is who makes the Friars go.  Cotton is pouring in 21.5 points a night, handing out 6 assists, and grabbing 3.5 rebounds per contest.  He is also averaging 39.9 minutes a game.  Yeah, Matt. He is so overrated.

Cotton has been the reason the Friars have stayed in games all year long.  He is not a true point guard.  To criticize him like he is would be unfair.  He can create his own shot, he is outstanding in the lane driving to the basket, and he has eyes all around his head.  I don’t know why I am still arguing this point.  If anything the point has been belabored.  Bryce Cotton has been outstanding all season long.

Next, Matty came after Josh Fortune.  This is another unfair criticism.  Now, bildedo not get me wrong, I get upset with Fortune at times as well.  But on the whole, Fortune has improved leaps and bounds from a season ago.  Last season when he was on the floor, it was a 4 on 5 game.  As of late Fortune has emerged as a lethal outside shooter.  This is an element PC sorely needs in order to help free Bryce Cotton a bit more.  Hopefully, Fortune can make the next step going into next season.  I would like to see him take better care of the ball.  As far as this season is concerned, I have been pleasantly surprised by his development.

All of the Tyler Harris hate is tired and old.  Matty wants this kid’s scholarship revoked.  Harris is basically a freshman.  He played in 19 games averaging just 14 minutes for NC State in his true freshman year.  I do not understand piling on copious amounts of criticism on a kid.  I could understand if he was an upper classmen.  He is not.  He has not had a chance to gain the experience necessary to prevent him from making dumb mistakes.  The kid has boat loads of talent.  I believe Tyler Harris will be a stud in a Providence uniform one day.  This is his year to learn and to make mistakes.  He is still a vital part to the PC attack.  Calling for a scholarship revocation is as ignorant as it gets.

To switch gears, I wonder if Matty has watched any games this season.  HeKadeem Batts has Kadeem Batts up on some sort of pedestal.  I can’t understand it.  Yes, lasts season Kadeem was great.  He was so great, I honestly believed he would be at the very least a 2nd round pick in the NBA draft. This season, Kadeem has done his best Jeff Green impression.  He has been the epitome of inconsistency.  One night he has 18 and 10.  The next he completely disappears, has horrible shot selection, and gets bullied in the post.  Kadeem gets the brunt of my criticism this season.  In the same breath, I believe he is the key to the rest of the season.  As Kadeem goes, so to will the Friars.

The Friars should go 2-1 to finish the season.  They should beat Seton Hall and Marquette.  They have no chance of beating Creighton on McDermott’s senior night. If they can win at least one game in the Big East Tournament, they should make the NCAA’s.  With the way the season has gone, that is a massive accomplishment and a giant step for the program.

Follow me on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Scottie’s 2014 NBA Draft Big Board: Edition 2

Two weeks ago, I presented my Boston Celtics “Big Board.”  Not much has changed in two weeks regarding the Celtics.  They stood pat at the trade deadline much to the chagrin of many.  If I was Danny Ainge, I would have done everything possible to move Jeff Green.  His inconsistency is maddening.  I do not see him as a piece that could contribute in a rebuild.  To a lesser extent, I would have liked to move Brandon Bass.    The bottom line is the Celtics did nothing.   They still have two first round picks in the upcoming draft.  At the time of this writing if the ping pong balls fall true, the Celtics will have the 4th and 15th pick in the 2014 draft.  Here is my updated “Big Board”

1) Jabari Parker, Duke

2) Joel Embiid, Kansas

3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

4) Rodney Hood, Duke

I have watched Hood play a few times since my last post.  I love what this kid brings to the table.  He is a long, 6’8, has a nice mid range jumper, and can drive to the basket.  His length will most definitely bother the opposition.

5) Julius Randle, Kentucky

6) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

Yes, Ennis’s half court shot to beat Pittsburgh was impressive. Also, lucky.  I have moved Ennis up in the rankings due to the chance the Celtics could deal Rondo in the off-season.  None of Ennis’s stats will pop off the score book at you, but he is a solid young point guard who I could envision the Celtics building around.

7)  Dante Exum, Austrailia

8) Noah Vonleh, Indiana

9) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

10) Doug McDermott, Creighton

11) Kyle Anderson, UCLA

I am praying Anderson slips to the Celtics for their second pick of the draft.  I thought Rodney Hood has length.  Anderson is much longer.  He also can handle the ball like a point guard.  He is averaging 14, 9, and 7.  Those numbers are off the charts.  He is a do it all swing man the Celtics need to put aside Rondo and Sullinger.  I’d much rather have Kyle Anderson than Jeff Green in a rebuild.

12) Gary Harris, Michigan State

13) James Young, Kentucky

14) Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

15) Jerami Grant, Syracuse

16) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

17) Zach LaVine, UCLA

18) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

19) Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

20) TJ Warren, North Carolina State

21) Adreian Payne, Michigan State

22) Dario Saric, Croatia

23) Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

24) Terran Petteway, Nebraska

25) Semaj Christon, Xavier

26) PJ Hairston, D-League

Hairston is lighting up the D-League to the tune of 35 points a night.  This opens up the question: Could the Florida Gators, Kansas Jayhawks, or Duke Blue Devils beat a D-League team?

27) CJ Fair, Syracuse

28) Chris Walker, Florida

29) James McAdoo, North Carolina

30) Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

No one has O’ Bryant as high in a mock draft as I do.  Some may even have him undrafted.  I love he was able to go for 20 and 12 against the bigs of Kentucky.  He is a solid big body.  Serviceable big men do not grow on trees in the NBA.

25 NBA Players I’d Rather Have on My Team Than Carmelo Anthony

When the 2013-2014 NBA season concludes, Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt out of his current contract hitting the carmelounrestricted free agent market.  Anthony is expected to get a “max contract.” In the case of Carmelo Anthony he will get either $14 million a year or he will sign for 105% of his previous contract.  My brother sent me an email recently detailing his thoughts about Carmelo Anthony:

“Over the years, I have seen players like him.  Produces big numbers and is on a weak team or wrong team at wrong time.  For whatever reason, just does not have the planets align for a winning career.  Not sure what happened in Denver, but that was a better place for him than NY.  I am going to say something bold, under the microscope in NY, you know what, he is not that good a b-ball PLAYER.  He has a limited and talented skill set (tough match up and can score).  But, cannot pass, rebound, defend, help defend, block shots or handle the ball.  So when you see him all the time, his flaws are glaring.  Great scorer, fantastic scorer – not great player.  Make sense?”

As you know by now, I detest Syracuse.  Haven’t liked Melo since those days.  I have always argued he is the most overrated player in the NBA.  It usually falls on deaf ears and people think I am an idiot.  His two career accomplishments are winning a national championship (in which Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick played prominent roles) and he was outstanding in the last summer Olympics.  But he had quite the supporting cast.  Off the top of my head I could name 25 players I’d rather have on my team than Carmelo Anthony.  He slows down offenses because he needs the ball in his hands to be effective.  Does not move without the ball.

Being a man of my word, here are 25 players currently in the NBA I would rather have on my team than Carmelo Anthony:

1) Kevin Durantuntitled

2) LeBron James

3) Kevin Love

4) Chris Paul

5) Tim Duncan

6) James Harden

7) DeMarcus Cousins

8) Stephen Curryuntitled

9) Anthony Davis

10) Dirk Nowitzki

11) Paul George

12) LaMarcus Aldridge

13) Damian Lillard

14) Dwight Howard

15) Russell Westbrook

16) Kobe Bryant

17) Blake Griffin

18) Dwayne Wade

19) David Lee

20) John Wallimages

21) Rajon Rondo

22) Al Jefferson

23) Kyrie Irving

24) DeMar DeRozan

25) Paul Milsap

Yes, I realize Carmelo is 2nd in the league in scoring behind The Slim Reaper at 27.2 a night.  Yes, I realize Melo gets close to 9 rebounds a night.  All of that is just fine and dandy.  At the end of the day, the Knicks are still 20-31 and going nowhere as a franchise so long as Carmelo suits up for them.

Follow me on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Scottie’s 2014 NBA Draft Big Board: Edition 1

Despite the recent run of wins for the Celtics (outside of their loss to the Mavericks), it is clear they are going to be in the draft lottery this season.  Going into the season, I realized the Celtics were headed into the lottery.  With that knowledge I decided I would watch more college basketball (more than just Providence and Texas) than I would watch the Celtics.  I’ve occasionally watched the Celtics to see the development of players like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.  I’ve watched to see how Rajon Rondo’s comeback from knee surgery has gone.  Danny Ainge will have multiple first round picks in the NBA Draft this season.  He may have more by the time the trade deadline comes and goes.  With all of that in mind, here is my “Big Board.”  This is the order I would select the projected draft pool as if the Celtics had 30 first round picks.  I will reserve comment on each player in this article.  In future articles, I may comment where I feel necessary.

Please understand, I do not watch International basketball.  The foreigners I have listed are listed because of what I have read about them. I have never seen Dante Exum or Dario Saric play.  I am going by what I have read.  I have also loaded the list with front court prospects.  I believe Rondo is in Danny Ainge’s master plan for the Celtics’ future.  You will see I have guys like Tyler Ennis and Zach LaVine further down the list than most draft “experts.”

1) Jabari Parker, Dukencb_g_jabari-parker_mb_400

2) Joel Embiid, Kansas

3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

4) Julius Randle, Kentucky

5) Noah Vonleh, Indiana

6) Dante Exum, Australia

7) James Young, Kentucky

8) Rodney Hood, Duke

9) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

10) Gary Harris, Michigan State

11) Doug McDermott, Creighton

12) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

13) Jerami Grant, Syracuse

14) Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

15) Kyle Anderson, UCLAKyle+Anderson+Arizona+v+UCLA+ehlGZY_tppMl

16) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

17) Zach LaVine, UCLA

18) Adreian Payne, Michigan State

19) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

20) Dario Saric, Croatia

21) TJ Warren, North Carolina State

22) CJ Fair, Syracuse

23) Semaj Christon, Xavier

24) James McAdoo, North Carolina

25) Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

26) Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

27) Glenn Robinson III, Michigan

28) PJ Hairston, North Carolina (D-League)

29) Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

30) Chris Walker, Florida

ON TWITTER: @SCOTTIENTCF

Thank You Evan Turner! Welcome to Tankapalooza Part 2

Last night, Evan Turner beat the buzzer in traffic with less than a second left to beat the Boston Celtics 95-94.  Under jpegnormal circumstances, I’d view this as a crushing defeat.  But with the way the NBA is set up, the Celtics thrived in their biggest game of the season.  They took the Philadelphia 76ers down to the wire and lost the game.  As a true Celtics fan, it was the absolute best outcome one could ask for.  Going into last night’s game, the Celtics were a half game better than the 76ers in the standings.  Losing to the Sixers put the Celtics in better position to acquire more ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.  The Celtics now have the third best chance to acquire the #1 pick in the 2014 draft.  The other caveat in losing to the Sixers, is the potential of getting their 2014 1st round pick.  Every Celtic fan should be rooting for the Sixers to win as many games as possible.  If the Sixers make the playoffs, the Celtics will have three first round picks.

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the players available for the Celtics should they land a top 5 pick.  In this installment of “Welcome to Tankapalooza” I will look at the potential players available with the pick the Celtics acquired from Brooklyn in the Pierce-Garnett deal.  I will also throw a trade idea out there I read about from Adrian Wojnarowski.  My post from earlier in the week can be found here: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/goodbye-past-hello-future-welcome-to-tankapalooza-part-1/

If the season ended today, the Celtics would have the 20th pick of the first round from Brooklyn.  Brooklyn has recovered from their woeful start of the season and have won 8 of their last 10.  There is reason to believe they have “figured it out.”  I believe the Celtics will be picking between 20-25.  Here are three guys who may be available around that time in the draft I’d be interested in.

Willie Cauley-Stein  7.6 PPG  6.8 RPG 3.2 BPG031513_UK_Vandy_0203-1

Cauley-Stein patrols the paint for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  As you can see by his 3.2 blocks per game, he does a terrific job of protecting the rim.  Cauley-Stein is 7’0  244 pounds.  His offense lacks polish, but make no mistake about it, Cauley-Stein will be a terrific defender for the Celtics.  I believe he can fill the enforcer role left vacant with the departures of Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett.  The added bonus Cauley-Stein brings to the table is his ability to run the floor like a gazelle.  Surely, Rondo is salivating at the idea of having a fellow Wildcat on the Celtics roster that possesses the skills of Cauley-Stein.

Aaron Gordon  12.0 PPG  7.9 RPG  1.5 APG

Gordon is a 6’9 freshman from the University of Arizona.  Like Cauley-Stein, he runs the court extremely well and is an absolute freak of an athlete.  Much like Cauley-Stein his offensive skill set is not much to write home about.  He gets the majority of his points by running on the fast break and catching alley-oops.  Much like Cauley Stein, he would be a great running mate for Rondo.  Gordon is far from a finished product and Celtics fans would have to be patient with his development.  But the tools are there.

James Young  14.7 PPG  4.5 RPG 2.0 APG

Young is a 6’6 shooting guard/ small forward out of Kentucky.  I watched him light up Providence in the beginning of the season for 18 points, shooting 3 of 4 from long-range.  Young has the ability to get red-hot as evidenced by some of his point totals this season: 26, 21, 26, 23, and 23.  He is only shooting 33% from three however.  Regardless, I believe James Young will blossom into a solid NBA player.  I would love to see him do so wearing Celtic Green.

Earlier in this post I mentioned a rumored trade that I believe would net Danny Ainge the Executive of the Year jeff-green-dunkAward in the NBA.  The Phoenix Suns have 6 first round picks in the next 2 drafts.  They are currently 6th in the Western Conference.  The Suns could use a wing player to compliment Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe (when he returns from injury).  Enter Jeff Green.  Green would fit the bill perfectly for the Suns.  He is a role player would have the ability to break out from time to time.  There is also an outside chance the Suns would be willing to take on Gerald Wallace also.  Phoenix would give up 1 of their 2014 first round picks and Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract.  If that were to happen, the Celtics would open up a ton of room under the salary cap allowing them to make a run at big name free agents this summer.

So there it is.  The recipe to get the Celtics back into title contention.  Open up cap room and acquire draft picks.  With a little help from Phoenix and Philadelphia, Celtics fans may only have to root against their team just this season.  The Celtics have the chance to be quite good for quite some time.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Goodbye Past; Hello Future: Welcome to Tankapalooza! Part 1

Fresh off of one of the most emotional nights I’ve ever witnessed as a Celtics fan, I think it is a good time to take a look at the imagescurrent state of the franchise.  Last night gave me a bit of closure realizing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer Boston Celtics.  I fully admit tears were shed seeing Paul pierce’s video tribute at the end of the first quarter.  Pierce was drafted when I was 13 years old.  He carried the franchise for those 15 years he wore Green.  He was given some assistance in 2007 and finally got his much deserved championship ring.

Now, the Celtics organization is trying to avoid another long championship draught.  In order to be good in the NBA, your team has to be horrendous for at least one year.    Danny Ainge is well aware of this.  He traded Pierce, Garnett, and Jason Terry for 3 first round draft picks, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans.  Only Humphries remains on the active roster.  Ainge also traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a first round pick.  In the middle of the season, Ainge traded Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks for draft picks.  Ainge traded Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless to create cap space.  The previous paragraph can be summed up in three words: Welcome to Tankapalooza!

The Celtics have 2 guaranteed first round picks in the 2014 draft.  If the 76ers manage to make the playoffs, the Celtics will get their first round pick, too.  The Celtics have their own first round pick which very well could land in the top 5.  They then have the Brooklyn Nets pick from the KG/Pierce trade.  At the time of this writing that pick is in the range of 15-18.  By the end of the season, I believe the pick would be around 20th overall.  I do not expect the 76ers to make the playoffs.  If they do, they will surely be the 8 seed in the East meaning the Celtics would have the 15th pick overall.

The Celtics are likely to have a top 5 pick in this draft.  With that pick, the Celtics are looking at names like Parker, Wiggins, imagesEmbiid, Smart, and Randle.  The Celtics plan going forward appears to be building a team around Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger.  If that is the mindset, they are in need of a shooting guard, small forward, and center.  The Celtics should concentrate on Jabari Parker as their prime target in the upcoming draft.  Obviously if he is selected ahead of where the Celtics pick, they will need some sort of contingency plan.  Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are not bad fall back options.  The Celtics do not need Marcus Smart or Julius Randle because they already have Rondo and Sullinger.

Here is a look at the top 5 prospects in the draft:

Jabari Parker  18.7 PPG    8.0  RPG  1.4 APG

I think Parker is the best all around player in this year’s draft pool.  Yes, I am assuming he is coming out of college after his freshman year despite numerous reports he wants to stay at Duke for 1 more year so he can play with Jahlil Okafor. Parker is 6’8 235 and compares favorably to Carmelo Anthony.  My dream scenario involves Rondo, Sullinger, and Parker.  In the games I have seen this season, Parker has exhibited an ability to get the rim at will.  He has a pure jump shot.  He is shooting 47% from the field and 38% from deep.

Andrew Wiggins 15.8 PPG  6.0 RPG  1.6 APGuntitled

Wiggins has been criticized all season for not being flashy or putting up eye-popping numbers.  These criticisms are unfair because of the expectations Wiggins faced coming into the season.  I will admit Wiggins has shown a propensity for disappearing in some games.  But at the end of the day Wiggins’s talent is undeniable.  He has had a few games where his stats jump off the score sheet.  He had 26 and 11 against #19 Florida, 17 and 19 against #8 Iowa State, and most recently 27, 5 and 5 against TCU.

Joel Embiid  11.2 PPG  7.4 RPG  2.8 BPG

Embiid has skyrocketed up the expert’s mock draft lists.  The 7’0 250 pound center from Cameroon is a raw talent. Most scouts will tell you, one can not be taught size.  Embiid is a big body who does a great job of protecting the rim and cleaning the glass.  He has a tendency of getting into foul trouble, but as he learns the game, that deficiency should go away. Embiid is a raw project who won’t necessarily help an NBA team right away, but could be a productive center for 10-15 years when his career is done.  He is 3rd on my most wanted list for the Celtics.  While I don’t hate the idea of Rondo, Sullinger, and Embiid I don’t like the lack of offense this lineup presents.

In my next post, I will look at the Celtics trade options with their current roster, their potential picks with their 2nd pick of the first round, and free agency.

 

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF