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.

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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

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

Brother to Brother: Episode 3

In this edition of Brother to Brother, I present the topics, and Big Bro responds.  My comments will be in regular font.  Steve’s will be in italics.  Please note: My comments were made January 21.  Steve took some time responding.  His comments were made January 23.

In this edition we talk about the Patriots season, top 10 Friars we have seen play, Jeff Green, and various other topics!

1) The Patriots have no reason to be upset with the season they had.  They lost to the better team on Sunday.  To be honest, I expected them to get walloped to the tune of 42-24 or so.  I still believe the Patriots can make another run next year because there is no clear cut team in the AFC ready to make the next step.  Keep in mind the Pats will be healthy coming into next season.  All in all you might be able to say the Pats overachieved this season.  Still hurts to lose to Peyton though.untitled

Pats –  Great season.  Something very difficult for NE fans to keep in perspective.  The Pats have been to the AFC Championship 8 times and 6 Super Bowls in the last 20 years, plus amazing winning percentage.  Pats fans are spoiled because of all the success.  Think of the following teams:  Browns, Bills, Jags, Texans, Cowboys, Lions, Dolphins, Bengals, Raiders, Bucs, Redskins, .  Cowboys have not won a playoff game in 20 years.  Think about that.  They had a great season and the future looks bright.  You could make the argument that their off-season acquisitions will be the return of injured players (Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead, Mayo, Talib, 3 rookie receivers, full season of Vereen, Gronk, Amendola at full health).  I read they were the second youngest team in the NFL.  Health was the biggest factor for them.  I also saw that Amendola should have been on season ending IR in Oct, maybe people will give him a break, he must be tough.

2) Everyone is bashing Richard Sherman.  You know I like to stick up for the guy everyone hates.  Let’s be honest, his cough adrenaline cough was flying high after the biggest play of the season to send his team to the Super Bowl.  You interview him 10-15 minutes after that play on the field?  He is still emotional.  Everyone knows his history.  Of course that outburst was going to happen.  He was jacked up.  And I have no problem with it.  I like seeing emotion a lot more than the usual “yes man” athlete.  I thought it was fantastic to see the unadulterated emotion.

 Sherman – Ehhh, an example of a non-story becoming a story.  Wow, an NFL player talked trash, gee I never saw such a thing.

3)Eddie Cooley has the Friars at “first 4 out” in the latest Bracketology.  Amazing he has the team this competitive with the adversity the team has faced this season.  He is basically playing 6 guys.  Bryce Cotton has played 50 minutes twice this season.  Cooley has said he will come out of the game when he graduates.  Cotton has crept into the 10 top Friars I have ever seen.  I know my list will vary greatly from yours but here it is.  1) Eric Murdock 2) Austin Croshere 3) Eric Williams 4) Ryan Gomes 5) Michael Smith 6) John Linehan 7) Bryce Cotton 8) Dickey Simpkins 9) MarShon Brooks 10) Jamel Thomas.untitled

Friars – In no particular order – Billy Donovan, Eric Murdock, Soup Campbell, Otis Thorpe, Eric Williams, Ryan Gomes, Austin Croshere, Ron Jackson, Joe Hassett, Michael Smith.  Ask Dad if he remembers Ron Jackson.  They very best were before my time:  Ernie D, Marvin Barnes and Jimmy Walker.  Special note to Marty Conlon, became a solid NBA player, but no one saw that coming.  And special note to Harold Starks, the greatest energy, defense first guy they ever had.

4) The Longhorns had a big win over #8 Iowa State the same day PC beat #20 Creighton.  Our squads are looking up?  Frankly, Iowa State is a one and done candidate come March.  I don’t think they get out of the first round.  After PC beat Creighton, Creighton turned around and smacked #4 Villanova by 30.  Too bad the transitive property doesn’t pertain to college basketball. Keep in mind Nova smashed PC by 30.

Longhorns & Barnes – Crazy program.  It is obviously a football school, but he has built a great basketball program.  The team is 2-3 recruits away from being very, very good.  Problem is when they get the talent, they are not around long.  But something to think about, here is a list and again in no particular order of the guys UT/Barnes has placed in the NBA.  TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, DJ Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Jordan Hamilton, Dexter Pittman, Royal Ivey, Damion Jones, Tristan Thompson, PJ Tucker, Chris Mihm.

5) It is time to explore trade options for Jeff Green.  The Celtics are in a complete rebuild mode.  Green is a fringe player.  He has shown signs of being a top dog in the NBA, other times he completely disappears.  I don’t see him as a guy that can lead a team anywhere.  Remember the old line Bobby Knight used referring to Steve Alford?  That applies to Green.  The Celtics should rebuild around Rondo and Sullinger.  I compare Sullinger to Charles Barkley.  Both are undersized power forwards, who have a knack for cleaning the glass.  Sullinger is trying to develop some range similar to Kevin Love.  As long as his back holds up, Sullinger can be a great guy to build around.  Remember he was supposed to be a #1 overall pick after his freshman year but he stayed in school.  Time to trade Green for a first round pick somewhere.untitled

Jeff Green – Dropped 39 last night.  I still go back to my comments last year during the playoffs.  This is a guy who has been Option #3 for most of his career. He is an outstanding athlete, but does not have the instinct for selfish play and may not be a natural leader.  That is not a bad thing, when you think of the alternative, which is someone who wants to lead but can’t or sends the wrong message.  Also, you cannot have a locker room full of so-called self-appointed leaders, then you have nothing, sometimes having no drama guys who follow is a great thing to have.  Ainge actually did a good job with him from a contract standpoint.  He did not overpay.  I would rather have Green and his contract than Wallace and his contract.

6) Now that the Patriots season is over, the focus in the region will be the Bruins.  The Bruins are in second in the Eastern Conference, 5 points behind Pittsburgh.  They could be in trouble come playoff time because they lost Dennis Seidenberg for the season to an ACL injury.  The defensive pairing of Chara and Seidenberg has completely shut down high-flying offenses in years past.  Seidenberg might be the most underrated athlete in Boston.

Bruins – I have to do a better job following hockey.  My lack of hockey knowledge is apparent.

7)The Olympic break is one of the more interesting conundrums in sports.  Hockey owners must hate sending their best players to Sochi.  The beauty of the Olympic hockey is hockey players are a different breed. Cam Neely said it best when asked why the hockey players compete in the Olympics and do everything they can to win (as opposed to NBA players who coast through these competitions) “because they don’t know any better.”  The Olympics will serve as the true All Star Games fans want to see.

Olympics – Ehhh, used to love it, now it just feels like a pre-cursor to Campbell’s soup commercials and Wheaties boxes for the lucky winner.

8)Not much news on the Red Sox.  I am praying the Mets sign Stephen Drew so Xander and Middlebrooks will not have to look over their shoulder and have their development stunted by Drew.  The Grady Sizemore deal is reminiscent of when the Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli.  Low risk/ high reward.  He offers competition for the center field spot with Jackie Bradley Jr.  I can’t honestly say I am expecting anything from him.imagesCAUU54PH

Red Sox –  Grady Sizemore!  Way to go all out Cherrington.  Reminds me of when Sinden ran the Bruins knowing they would always make money so never signed the talent to get to the Cup.  Although, I think the Sox really learned their lesson with Crawford/Gonzo signings.  They saw the burden those contracts might present, the animosity of the fans when they don’t perform.  Boston fans would rather have guys killing themselves to prove themselves, than guys who get  paid a lot to demonstrate apathy with W-L.  Boston fans can handle losing, if they know the players hate losing.  If they think the players are rich guys who could care less, it gets ugly.

Peter Vescey follows me on Twitter and you should too @ScottieNTCF.

2013 NTCF NBA Mock Draft

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again and even more surreal that the Celtics will be drafting players who will not be playing for Doc Rivers. Boston has been at the center of trade rumors galore, specifically surrounding Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It could be time for the C’s to enter full-blown rebuild mode with Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley at the core.

ImageWith that said, here’s a look at who could go where in the latest edition on the NBA’s “incoming class.” As always Scottie and I picked every other selection to figure out who will be wearing what color jersey come Friday morning.

(Also, as always… I get the first pick! @BIG3Sports always gets honors hahaha.)

1. Cleveland – Nerlens Noel – F/C – Kentucky

Rumors continue to swirl that the Cavaliers could be taking Maryland big man Alex Len, while there are still others that expect the Cavs to trade the pick. I’m sticking with Noel, Imagewho without the injury would be a shoe-in here. A defensive game-changer in the post, he should pair well with the backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

2. Orlando – Victor Oladipo – G  – Indiana

With the trade winds kicking up that Aaron Afflalo could be moved to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, it opens up a spot at the two guard. Oladipo is my favorite player in this draft and that’s for his defense alone, especially after meeting him at the Sweet 16 this year. He could grow into a tremendous player for years to come. Ben McLemore could also get a look here, while another team could trade up for a shot at Alex Len or Nerlens Noel, depending on who’s still on the board.

3. Washington – Otto Porter, Jr. – SF – Georgetown

The Hoya product is one of the most well-rounded prospects this year and is hands-down the best small forward in the draft. A chance to stay home would be a perfect fit for the Wizards who have a big need at the 3.

4. Charlotte – Alex Len – C – Maryland

Len has been shooting up draft boards and could be the No. 1 pick overall.  Michael Jordan may want to take Ben McLemore here, who is the best shooter in the draft, but the Bobcats need help down low big time and can’t pass on Len or even Anthony Bennett.

5. Phoenix – Ben McLemore – SG – Kansas

I saw McLemore play in late December in Allen Fieldhouse and was not overly impressed. ImageHe often looked disinterested and rarely took over. However, he puts up the purest shot of anyone this season and has the ability to make top 10 plays driving to the rim. On a team loaded with seniors its not surprising that he was not the focal point. He could be the best of the best of 2013 when look back a we few years from now.

6. New Orleans – Anthony Bennett – F – UNLV

The Pelicans have said they will take the best player on the board at pick No. 6, which is Bennett. He has injury questions and is said to be overweight, but should be able to shed the pounds and make a formidable one-two duo with last year’s No. 1 pick Anthony Davis.

7. Sacramento – Michael Carter-Williams – PG – Syracuse

A 6-foot-6 point guard with the best floor vision in the class. Not a bad pick for a team that just needs to keep stockpiling talent. He would be able to work in slowly, playing behind Isaiah Thomas and with rumors of Jimmer Fredette to Indiana, it could be a good situation for the young Syracuse guard.

8. Detroit – Trey Burke – PG – Michigan

Another player with a chance to stay home. The National Player of the Year has some serious talent but is undersized. With Brandon Knight proving to be a better 2 than 1 guard, Burke could eventually pair with the former Kentucky prospect and make a dynamic 1-2 punch in the backcourt.

9. Minnesota – C.J. McCollum – G – Lehigh

Even though he comes the Patriot League and was injured for most of the season, he was second in the nation in scoring at almost 24 points per game when he went down, and led ImageLehigh to an upset of Duke in 2012. McCollum can play either guard spot and shoot it well, but can immediately come in and defend.

10. Portland – Cody Zeller – F/C – Indiana

Indiana becomes the first team with two players off the board as the seven-footer goes to a team in desperate need of size to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge. Zeller can really run the floor and while he does not do some things well, he plays hard and is a student of the game. He could see minutes right away with last year’s draft pick Meyers Leonard still learning the NBA game.

11. Philadelphia – Steven Adams – C – Pittsburgh

Another team in need of size, especially with the status of Andrew Bynum completely up in the air. Adams is a tank, but a raw and unrefined one. With seasoning, he could become a starting center in the League for years to come.

12. Oklahoma City – Kelly Olynyk – F/C – Gonzaga

Make it three-straight centers. Olynyk could immediately help the Thunder on the low block with a bevy of low-post moves. There are some questions if he is strong enough or can defend at an NBA level, but the offensive production makes him worth the risk at the end of the lottery.

13. Dallas – Shabazz Muhammad – SF – UCLA

Dallas is actively trying to trade the pick to clear cap space and make a run at Dwight Howard so taking the best player on the board may make sense. Muhammad has a lot of question marks around his character, but remember; this kid can play. With the right coach and the right situation he could flourish.

14.  Utah – Shane Larkin – PG – Miami

It is amazingly obvious that the Jazz need a point guard. Larkin ran a heck of an offense for the U this year and though undersized, he has proved to be an active sparkplug with Imagetons of energy. If not Larkin, Utah could take German point guard prospect Dennis Schroeder.

15. Milwaukee – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – SG – Georgia

The Bucks will be without Monta Ellis next year and while they truly need a small forward, taking the SEC player of the year to try and replace Ellis may not be a bad idea. Caldwell-Pope did not shoot overly well last season, but was asked to do entirely too much on a bad Bulldog team.

16. Boston – Lucas Nogueira – C – Brazil

The Celtics could go in a number of directions. They need size, a backup point guard and more talent in general. If they are truly in full-rebuild mode they could take a project center like Nogueira. He could develop into a dynamic force down low, but will take a few years to get there.

17. Atlanta – Sergey Karasev – SF – Moscow

Karasev has been shooting up draft boards as of late in a small-forward depleted draft class. Josh Smith may be on the outs and Karasev could step into some serious minutes for the Hawks.

18. Atlanta – Mason Plumlee – C – Duke

Plumlee looked good at Duke, but scouts fear he does not have a high upside. Even if he can replicate what he did for Coach K, he could prove to be a strong pivot for ATL, allowing Al Horford to move to his natural power forward position.

19. Cleveland – Reggie Bullock – SF – North Carolina

Another team in need of a small forward as they have even been linked to Paul Pierce. They should be in take the best player available mode, but could move up or deal the pick. Right now Chad Ford has them taking Bullock… that’s good enough for me.

20. Chicago – Tony Snell – SF – New Mexico

The Bulls need help on the wing even with the emergence of Jimmy Butler. Snell, Crabbe, Goodwin, Ledo or Franklin could also be in play here.

21. Utah – Rudy Gobert – F/C – France

Gobert is physical freak at 7-2, with a 7-9 wingspan, but is wildly small in frame and needs Imageto put on serious weight. He could turn out to be a serious player in the right situation, but needs at least three years to start to contribute on an NBA roster.

22. Brooklyn – Giannis Adetokunbo – SF – Greece

His people are playing him up as a point guard and he needs the ball in his hands to be truly effective but at 22 he could be a great pick for the Nets. Foreign players are always a risk, but this is one that could pay off.

23. Indiana – Dennis Schroeder – PG – Germany

It is highly unlikely that Schroeder will still be available here, but it would be a good fit for the Pacers who need a backup point guard after D.J. Augastin proved to be ineffective in the playoffs this year.

24. New York – Ricardo Ledo – SG/SF – Providence

PC fans are familiar for Ledo, but only because he did not play for them this year. He has a ton of talent, but could not make the grades. Had he played this season he may be much higher up on this board. He could be a steal for whoever takes him late in this draft.

25. Los Angeles Clippers – Gorgui Dieng – C – Louisville

Dieng looked to be a defensive force for the Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament with a developing low-post game. A team could reach for him around 15-20, but if he slips, don’t expect him to get past the Clippers who could need some muscle around Blake Griffin, especially if they trade DeAndre Jordan.

26. Minnesota – Jeff Withey – C – Kansas

Withey was a player who really stood out when I watched the JayHawks in person back in December. He runs the floor ok for a big man and can finish at the rim, but his defense is what sets him apart. He is no overly built, but uses his body well. With an offensive minded coach, he could develop a decent low-post game and can easily step in for Pekovic right now.

27. Denver – Jamal Franklin – SG – San Diego State

Another player I anticipate going earlier in the draft, he did it all at SDSU. Exteremly athletic if not a tad wirey, he would fit well with a Denver team that is full of athletes and likes to get up and down.

28. San Antonio – Nate Wolters – PG – South Dakota State

The Spurs are always an interesting team to pick for and even though they have Gary NealImage behind Tony Parker, Wolters could be a good fit (although they still may be able to get him in the second round). The Jack Rabbits were a popular upset pick over Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tourney because of the 6-5 point guards ability to shoot.

29. Oklahoma City – Tony Mitchell – F – North Dakota

A physical specimen in the mold of the “Manimal” Kenneth Faried, he has fallen down the board to questions about his character. He may have not played against the toughest competition, but has shown the ability to play the game. A solid pick this late in the draft.

30. Phoenix – Tim Hardaway, Jr. – SG – Michigan

Your dad was Tim Hardaway. You should be a first round pick.