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.

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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

2011 NBA Mock Draft: NTCF Edition

UPDATE: The Bobcats, Bucks and Kings have agreed to a three-team trade that sends Stephen Jackson to Milwaukee and nets Charlotte the No. 7 pick which they are expected to use on fast-rising Texas PF Tristan Thompson. The Kings meanwhile are said to be targeting Jimmer Fredette at 10.

 

Charlotte receives the No. 7 overall pick and Corey Maggette, while the Bucks get Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston and the No. 19 pick. The Kings get the No. 10 pick plus John Salmons from the Bucks.

Also, the Wizards have invited staff members of the Czech Republic Embassy to their draft party Thursday night. It’s a clue that the Wiz are planning on taking Czech F Jan Vesely

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With less than 24 hours before the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, N.J., at the Prudential Center, numerous questions remain, but one thing is certain. This is a two-player draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers appear primed to take Duke freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, and the Minnesota Timberwolves should take Arizona forward

Potential No. 1 Overall Pick Kyrie Irving

Derrick Williams, but could end up trading him, especially if they can get a young center in return. These two studs are the can’t miss pieces, but several other players could prove to have significant value.

This draft lacks the star power, talent and depth of recent drafts past, but both Irving and Williams have potential to be All-Stars. The youth of Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight make them intriguing prospects, but should need more time to make adjustments to the rigors of the NBA.

There are a few players who could make an impact down the road and one of the top ones is Kemba Walker. Walker put his name on the map, leading the Huskies through the BIG

UConn Star Kemba Walker

EAST and then on to the NCAA Championship. Walker may be a tad undersized, but his scoring prowess and leadership should vault him up the draft board.

There is also an international flavor to this year’s draft. Bismack Biyombo is a virtual unknown out of the Congo, but could be the best defensive player in 2011. There is some question as to how old he really is, but he should still be a lottery pick. Biyombo could be the defensive force that Ben Wallace was, but unfortunately he also shares his offensive prowess.

Jan Vesely should be the first international player off the board, but Jonas Valanciunas could be the best player. Valanciunas could slide to as far as 14 however, because of the uncertainty surrounding his buyout status.

One of the other big “names” in this draft is Jimmer Fredette. “Jimmer Mania” could go

"Jimmer Mania" > Draft Lottery

as high as No.5 (a stretch I know, but Toronto needs all the publicity it can get) and as low as No. 20. Expect Fredette to go in the lottery, but most teams are still unsure if Jimmer will be as productive on the offensive end as he was in college.

Surprisingly, there are a fair amount of seniors this year, which does further point to weakness of this class. Jimmer will probably be the first one off the board, but Providence star Marshon Brooks, NCAA rebounding champ Kenneth Faried, do-it-all Florida forward Chandler Parsons and Purdue standout JaJuan Johnson should all get a look in the first round.

The Celtics are slated to pick at No. 25, but could move up should Danny Ainge become

What is this man thinking?

enamored with someone earlier in the draft. Should they stay where they are, Michigan’s Darius Morris could make a lot of sense. After a picking Avery Bradley last year (a 6’3” SG), taking Morris (a 6’5” PG) could make for a dynamic backcourt with an eye toward the future. Should the C’s look big, they could take a look at JaJuan Johnson, Jeremy Tyler or Kenneth Faried should he slip.

Mock Draft

1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, Fr., PG – Duke

2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams, So., F – Arizona

3. Utah: Brandon Knight, Fr., PG – Kentucky

4. Cleveland: Enes Kanter, Fr./19, C – Kentucky/Turkey

5. Toronto: Kawhi Leonard, So., SF – San Diego State

6. Washington: Jan Vesely, 21, SF – Czech Republic

7. Charlotte: Tristan Thompson, Fr., PF – Texas

8. Detroit: Bismack Biyombo, 18*, PF – Congo

9. Charlotte: Jonas Valanciunas, 19, C – Lithuania

10. Sacramento: Jimmer Fredette, Sr., PG – BYU

11. Golden State: Marcus Morris, Jr., PF – Kansas

12. Utah: Jordan Hamilton, So., SF – Texas

13. Phoenix: Kemba Walker, Jr., PG – Connecticut

14. Houston: Chris Singleton, Jr., F – Florida State

15. Indiana: Klay Thompson, Jr., G/F – Washington State

16. Philadelphia: Markieff Morris, Jr., PF – Kansas

17. New York: Alec Burks, So., SG – Colorodo

18. Washington: Donatas Motiejunas, 20, PF/C – Lithuania

19. Milwaukee: Marshon Brooks, Sr., SG – Providence

20. Minnesota: Nikola Vucevic, Jr., C – Southern California

21. Portland: Kenneth Faried, Sr., PF – Morehead State

22. Denver: Tobias Harris, Fr., F – Tennessee

23. Houston: Iman Shumpert, Jr., G – Georgia Tech

24. Oklahoma City: Tyler Honeycutt, So., SF – UCLA

25. Boston: Darius Morris, So., PG – Michigan

26. Dallas: JaJuan Johnson, Sr., PF/C – Purdue

27. New Jersey: Chandler Parsons, Sr., F – Florida

28. Chicago: Josh Selby, Fr., PG – Kansas

29. San Antonio: Davis Bertans, 18, F – Latvia

30. Chicago: Jeremy Tyler, 20, C – Japan

Would this man look good in green?

Pre-Draft NBA Depth Charts

PG SG SF PF C
Atlanta
J. Teague J. Johnson M. Williams J. Smith A. Horford
K. Hinrich J. Crawford D. Wilkins J. Powell Z. Pachulia
P. Sy M. Rolle H.Armstrong
J. Collins
E. Thomas
Boston
R. Rondo R. Allen P. Pierce K. Garnett J. O’Neal
D. West V. Wafer J. Green G. Davis T. Murphy
C. Arroyo A. Bradley S. Pavlovic
Charlotte
D. Augustin G. Henderson S. Jackson B. Diaw K. Brown
S. Livingston M. Peterson D. McGuire T. Thomas J. Przybilla
S. Collins G. Temple M. Carroll D.Cunningham D. Diop
E. Najera
Chicago
D. Rose K. Bogans L. Deng C. Boozer J. Noah
C. Watson R. Brewer K. Korver T. Gibson O. Asik
J. Pargo R. Butler B. Scalbrine K. Thomas
J. Lucas
Cleveland
B. Davis A. Parker A. Jamison J. Hickson A. Varejao
R. Sessions D. Gibson C. Eyenga S. Samuels S. Erden
M. Harris A. Gee L. Harangody R. Hollins
Dallas
J. Kidd R. Beaubois S. Marion D. Nowitzki T. Chandler
J. Barea J. Terry C. Butler B. Cardinal B. Haywood
C. Brewer D. Stevenson I. Mahinmi
D. Jones P. Stojakovic
Denver
T. Lawson A. Afflalo D. Gallinari K. Martin Nene
R. Felton J. Smith W. Chandler A. Harrington C. Anderson
G. Forbes M. Ely T. Mozgov
K. Koufos
Detriot
R. Stuckey R. Hamilton T. Prince C. Wilcox G. Monroe
W. Bynum B. Gordon A. Daye C. Villanuva B. Wallace
T. McGrady D. Summers J. Jerebko
J. Maxiell
Golden State
S. Curry M. Ellis D. Wright D. Lee E. Udoh
J. Lin R. Williwams A. Thornton V.Radmonovic A. Biedrins
A. Law C. Bell L. Amundson
Houston
K. Lowry K. Martin C. Budinger L. Scola C. Hayes
G. Dragic C. Lee T. Williams P. Patterson B. Miller
M. Harris J. Hill H. Thabeet
M. Cousin Yao
Indiana
D. Collison P. George D. Granger T. Hansbrough R. Hibbert
A. Price B. Rush M. Dunleavy J. McRoberts J. Foster
T. Ford L. Stephenson D. Jones S. Jones
J. Posey
Los Angeles Clippers
M. Williams E. Gordon R. Gomes B. Griffin D. Jordan
E. Bledsoe R. Foye A. Aminu C. Smith C. Kaman
W. Warren J. Moon I. Diogu B. Cook
Los Angeles Lakers
D. Fisher K. Bryant R. Artest P. Gasol A. Bynum
S. Blake S. Brown M. Barnes L. Odom T. Ratliff
T. Johnson L. Walton J. Smith
D. Ebanks D. Caracter
Memphis
M. Conley T. Allen R. Gay Z. Randolph M. Gasol
G. Vasquez O. Mayo S. Battier L. Powe D. Arthur
I. Smith X. Henry S. Young H. Haddadi
Miami
M.Chalmers D. Wade L. James C. Bosh J. Anthony
M. Bibby E. House M. Miler U. Haslem J. Howard
J. Jones D. Pittman Z. Ilgauskas
E. Dampier
J. Magloire
Minnesota
R. Rubio W. Johnson M. Beasley K. Love D. Milicic
L. Ridnour M. Webster L. Hayward A. Randolph N. Pekovic
J. Flynn W. Ellington A. Tolliver
S. Telfair
Milwaukee
B. Jennings J. Salmons C. Delfino L. Mbah a Moute A. Bogut
K. Dooling M. Redd C. Maggette E. Ilyasova D. Gooden
E. Boykins C. Douglas-Roberts D. Hobson L. Sanders J. Brockmon
New Jersey
D. Williams A. Morrow D. James K. Humphries B. Lopez
J. Farmar S. Vujacic T. Outlaw J. Petro D. Gadzuric
S. Gaines M. West S. Graham B. Wright
New Orleans
C. Paul M. Belinelli T. Ariza D. West E. Okafor
J. Jack W. Green Q. Pondexter C. Landry A. Gray
J. McNeal P. Ewing Jr. J. Smith D. Mbenga
P. Mensah-Bonsu D. Anderson
New York
C. Billups L. Fields C. Anthony A. Stoudemire R. Turiaf
T. Douglas R. Mason B. Walker S. Williams S. Williams
A. Carter A. Rautins R. Balkman D. Brown J. Jeffries
Oklahoma
R.Westbrook T. Sefolosha K. Durant S. Ibaka K. Perkins
E. Maynor J. Harden D. Cook N. Collison N.Mohammed
R. Ivey N. Robinson C. Aldrich B. Mullens
Orlando
J. Nelson J. Richardson H. Turkoglu B. Bass D. Howard
G. Arenas J. Redick Q. Richardson R. Anderson D. Orton
C. Duhon E. Clark M. Allen
Philadelphia
J. Holiday J. Meeks A. Iguodala E. Brand S. Hawes
L. Williams E. Turner T. Young M. Speights T. Battie
J. Kapono A. Nocioni D. Songaila C. Brackins
Phoenix
S. Nash J. Dudley G. Hill C. Frye M. Gortat
A. Brooks M. Pietrus J. Childress H. Warrick R. Lopez
Z. Dowdell G. Lawal G. Siler
Portland
A. Miller W. Matthews G. Wallace L. Aldridge M. Camby
B. Roy R. Fernandez N. Batum C. Johnson G. Oden
P. Mills E. Williams L. Babbitt E. Barron J. Collins
A. Johnson
San Antonio
T. Parker M. Ginobili R. Jefferson T. Duncan A. McDyess
G. Hill G. Neal J. Anderson T. Splitter D. Blair
C. Quinn D. Butler S. Novak M. Bonner
Sacramento
T. Evans M. Thornton F. Garcia D. Cousins S.Dalembert
B. Udrih M. Daniels O. Casspi J. Thompson H. Whiteside
P. Jeter J. Taylor D. Greene D. Jackson
Toronto
J. Calderon D. DeRozan J. Johnson A. Johnson A. Bargnani
J. Bayless L. Barbosa L. Kleiza E. Davis R. Evans
M. Banks S. Weems J. Wright J. Dorsey S. Alabi
A. Ajinca
Utah
D. Harris C. Miles A. Kirilenko P. Millsap A. Jefferson
E. Watson R. Bell G. Hayward D. Favors M. Okur
R. Price J. Evans F. Elson K. Fesenko
Washington
J. Wall J. Crawford R. Lewis A. Blatche J. McGee
M. Shakur N. Young T. Booker Yi H. N’diaye
O. Jeffers M. Evans L. Owens K. Seraphin

Wild Wild West: Picking the NBA All-Star Reserves

The NBA All-Star reserves will be announced tomorrow night after starters were selected last week for the annual event taking place in Los Angeles. We already know Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard will represent the East, while Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Yao Ming have been selected in the West. With so much talent and impressive performances so far this season, someone will definitely be left off the roster, especially in the Western Conference, where as many as five deserving players could not make the team.

Each conference team will have a seven-player bench and the Western team will actually have an injury replacement due to Yao being selected as a starter. David Stern will make the final pick.

Let’s take a look at the deserving players on each side and who may end up with the short end of the stick.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Reserves

Tim Duncan (Commissioner’s Pick)

Pau Gasol

Manu Ginobili

Blake Griffin

Kevin Love

Dirk Nowitzki

Russell Westbrook

Deron Williams

The Western Conference is near impossible to predict correctly as selections could go any number of ways. The guys that are sure to be there: Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Blake Griffin and Dirk Nowitzki. That leaves just three spots left. Deron Williams will probably be on this team for the next ten years so do not be surprised to see him there this year. Russell Westbrook is averaging over 20 points and eight assists for a first-place team so I think he needs to on this roster. That leaves one spot for everyone else. Since I think Tim Duncan will end up being Stern’s pick to replace Yao, Kevin Love gets the nod. I recently saw the stat that says he is averaging more rebounds than anyone since Dennis Rodman, and “the crazy one” gave you nothing on offense. Love averages 20 points a game. Those numbers should be enough to overcome a last-place team.

Snubs

LaMarcus Aldridge

Chauncey Billups

Monta Ellis

Rudy Gay

Steve Nash

Lamar Odom

Zach Randolph

Tony Parker

Parker is the point guard for a number-one team, but it’s a stacked year so no dice. Monta Ellis averaged 25.2 points per game last year and didn’t make the team. This year he is averaging 25.1. LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing great as of late, but was quoted as saying he did not expect to make the team so no harm no foul. Gay and Randolph have been great for the Grizzlies, but I still don’t think the league is ready to have anyone from Memphis on the team (although Randolph’s point and rebound averages make him a deserving selection). The toughest omission here is Steve Nash. To not have the former MVP on the team seems almost wrong and I would not be surprised to see him make it over Kevin Love.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Reserves

Ray Allen

Chris Bosh

Kevin Garnett

Al Horford

Joe Johnson

Paul Pierce

Rajon Rondo

The reserves for the East are fairly obvious to pick. Just about everyone here is a shoe-in. A case could be made for Raymond Felton from our snub list, but there is no one that you can really take off the reserve list to put him on. Josh Smith has had a solid season, but once again, not good enough to trump anyone on the reserves.

Snubs

Carlos Boozer

Elton Brand

Raymond Felton

Danny Granger

Andre Iguodala

Josh Smith

No matter who is picked to be on the teams, it should be a phenomenal game, and one that I will enjoy more than since (yes I am going to continue to use this line) when Michael Jordan was still in the league.

Kendrick Perkins and What This All Means

Last night Kendrick Perkins returned to the Celtics line up for the first time since the devastating knee injury he suffered last year in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.  Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy watching his return because I was preoccupied with trying to be an all-pro rec league volleyball player, but from what I’ve heard, and from the limited time I was able to see him on the court, all signs point to something great.

At first we were told that the earliest Perk would be back was the January 28th game against the Suns in Phoenix.  That was pushed back to the Feruary 4th game against Dallas back in Boston.  So unless you had not been listening to the reports before the game, seeing Perk take the floor in the first quarter to a standing ovation may have come as somewhat of a shock, but it was necessary.  Neither O’Neal, Jermaine or Shaq, was going to be available last night, with visual evidence showing that Shaq may have thought he was supposed to suit up for the Bruins in goal.  That meant that the Turkish Terror (work in progress), Semi Erden, was going to be the only “big guy” in uniform.  Now I believe in Semi, but that is something frightening to hear even if you are playing the lowly Cavs (those same Cavs that beat us in the beginning of the season…you know, the kind of games that you are SUPPOSED to win…the kind of games that make the difference between having and not having homecourt in the playoffs and most importantly the Finals…I will not even get started on the Wizards).

Having Perkins back means only good things for this team:

1) The Celtics fans out there can only be satisified and appreciative of the performance that Shaq has given us so far this season when he has been able to stay on the court…as for Jermaine O’Neal, we wish he would channel his inner 2002-2004 player.  Perkins is going to give Shaq the rest that he needs at his age so that he will be serviceable when we need him most in the playoffs.  He is also going to make it so Jermaine O’Neal can start fouling out in the 4th quarter, not the 3rd…that is if he sees the court.  Ok, correction, he is going to make it so that we can see Jermaine O’Neal help us the only way he probably can; changing the Garden over after a Bruins game…although he will still obviously get hurt and miss some time.

2) As well as Semi “The Turkish Tyrannosaurus*” Erden has been playing, you have to think that he is the future center, possibly starting, more possibly back up.  We are not going to have to rely and ask to much of a rookie when it comes playoff time, that is a major relief.

3) The Lakers, Spurs, Magic, and Heat should all begin to worry.  Along with us, the Lakers know that if Perkins does not go down in that series the Celtics win their 2nd title in 3 years.

4) The Celtics are no longer go to be ranked 30th in the league in rebounds per game.  If there was one thing that Perkins did well it was go after the boards and rip them down with his brute Perk strength…now if Tommy can just teach him to keep the ball high instead of bringing the ball down and trying to dribble…why does bring the ball down and try to dribble…

5) Championship**

*I apologize for this.

**There are probably a few more points than four, feel free to comment and add, I just see these as the most important.

2010-2011 NBA Midseason Awards

For basketball purists, this has to be one of the best seasons since… well since Michael Jordan was still in the league. You have transcendent superstars (see Kobe Bryant) dominant players (see Dwight Howard), grizzled veterans (see Kevin Garnett) and up-and-coming youngsters (see Blake Griffin). Now all those examples are just one of many choices you could make from an extremely deep list.

This is possibly the toughest year in recent memory to actually pick winners for awards because of the exorbitant talent level across the NBA.

Because there are so many potential choices for each of these awards, I thought it best to have two options/opinions on our awards so the spectrum of deserving players can be diversified.

Last night while Gambo was channeling his inner Tom Gugliotta and I was doing my best to honor the great Tom Chambers in some pick up basketball, we realized it was midseason in the NBA and we started discussing who is deserving of some NBA hardware.  We learned we had different view points and figured it would be nice to share them with our faithful readers.

All NBA Third Team

Gambo:

Dwight Howard

Blake Griffin

Paul Pierce

Dwayne Wade

Derrick Rose

Scottie:

Pau Gasol

Kevin Love

Paul Pierce

Manu Ginobli

Russell Westbrook

All NBA Second Team

Gambo:

Amare Stoudemire

Dirk Nowitzki

Kevin Garnett

Manu Ginobili

Deron Williams

Scottie:

Dwight Howard

Dirk Nowitizki

Kevin Durant

Monta Ellis

Rajon Rondo

All NBA First Team

Gambo:

Pau Gasol

Kevin Durant

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant

Chris Paul

Scottie:

Amar’e Stoudimire

Blake Griffin

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant

Derek Rose

All-Defensive Team

Gambo:

Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett

Rudy Gay

Kobe Bryant

Russell Westbrook

Scottie:

Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett

Corey Brewer

Tyreke Evans

Chris Paul

All Rookie Team

Gambo:

DeMarcus Cousins

Blake Griffin

Greg Monroe

Landry Fields

John Wall

Scottie

DeMarcus Cousins

Blake Griffin

Gary Neal

Landry Fields

John Wall

Executive of the Year

Gambo: Pat Riley

As much as you might hate the Heat, the “architect” himself was responsible for putting together a big-three that will contend for years to come. It took some time but the studs in South Beach seem to have it all figured out now. Runner-up: Danny Ainge, for keeping the Celtics together for another year.

Scottie: Pat Riley

I hate Pat Riley.  I hate the Heat. But there is no getting around the roster moves he made in the off season making the Heat a sure fire force for years to come.  Just saying that last sentence leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Sixth Man of the Year

Gambo: Serge Ibaka

Now he probably should be starting for the “Zombie Sonics,” but Serge does the majority of his damage off the bench. If the Thunder want to challenge the Lakers, Spurs and Mavs in the West, they will need his size and shot-blocking down the stretch. Other deserving candidates: Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford and Glen Davis.

Scottie: Glen Davis

I am picking Glen Davis and it has zero to do with him being on the hometown team.  No one brings more energy or is more valuable to his team off the bench than Davis is for the Celtics.  He is averaging 12.5 ppg and grabbing 6 boards a game.  As of January 19, he has taken 34 charges! With that absurd number he has basically created a new stat! He has developed a nice outside jumper that forces defenses to respect him and he is not getting blocked nearly as many times as he did last year.  He is finishing around the rim and is punishing his opposition with a sweet little spin move reminiscent of Antoine Walker.  Give Big Baby the 6th man of the year award right now.

Most Improved Player of the Year

Gambo: Raymond Felton

There are a lot of good choices out there with players such as Kevin Love, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon, but Felton is player I almost completely wrote off last season. Now, he is the quarterback of D’Antoni’s offense and a borderline All-Star. Not bad for a guy who was more-or-less run out of town by Larry Brown.

Scottie: Eric Gordon

I was debating between Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Eric Gordon here.  Gordon has improved his stats from last year (16 points a game to 23 a night) and has been able to handle different tasks assigned to him.  When Baron Davis was out with an injury, he stepped right into that role and played well.  It is clear his summer with Team USA has made him a better player. Beasley and Love were also picked higher than Gordon and they should be playing as well as they are. I don’t think anyone ever expected consistent production out of Gordon.

Coach of the Year

Gambo: Greg Popovich

Coming into the season the Spurs had a ton of question marks with age, declining play and young players in bigger roles. “Pop” has done a great job of tailoring everyone’s new role while pushing Ginobili into starting lineup and monitoring Tim Duncan’s minutes.

Scottie: Tom Thibodeau

The Bulls are in line for the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference at the mid point of the season. Their front court has been decimated by the injury bug with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer playing in about half the team’s games. Sure, Derek Rose is an MVP candidate but this is largely the same team Vinny Del Negro had one year ago. Other than Derek Rose and Luol Deng this team doesn’t really have any key contributors that have gotten them to their 29 wins.  The reason for their success is because of Coach T.

Defensive Player of the Year

Gambo: Dwight Howard

No one changes opponents’ game plans on both ends of the floor as much as Howard. A force in the middle that clogs the lane and deters players from driving the lane; he also possesses amazing quickness for someone his size.

Scottie: Kevin Garnett

Call me a homer but is there anyone more valuable to his team on the defensive side of the ball than KG? He is the most intense player in the NBA hands down and he brings out that intensity on the defensive side of the ball.  He missed nine games and in those nine games it was apparent how much the Celtics missed him.  He may not stuff the stat sheet on the defensive end but teams that play the Celtics don’t generally put up a high field goal percentage.  That can be attributed to KG.

Rookie of the Year

Gambo: Blake Griffin

Entering the season, there was a question if John Wall or someone like DeMarcus Cousins could challenge Blake for the top rookie honor, but it quickly became clear that Mr. Griffin is head and shoulders above the rest.

Scottie: Blake Griffin

Not only is Blake Griffin hands down the Rookie of the Year, if the MVP vote was made on stats alone, he would be getting some votes. At the time of this writing the Clippers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and there isn’t a player in the NBA that’s on more of a hot streak than Griffin.  He routinely has 3 posters a night as he takes out all his aggression on the rim when he drives to the basket.  More importantly he has improved outrageously over the course of the last 3 months.  Here’s some stats to take in: October:  16.7ppg and 11.0  rpg. November:20.9  ppg and 11.7 rpg. December:23.0 ppg and 13.5 rpg. January:27.8 ppg and 13.6 rpg. Sick and wrong.

MVP

Gambo: Dirk Nowitzki,

Prior to his injury he was a shoe-in for the award. Dirk is the only guy out there right now that is doing it without at least another boarderline superstar. I know Scottie will say Kevin Durant, which you can easily make an argument for, but Westbrook definitely helps more than a quickly-aging Jason Kidd. Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and San Antonio all split votes, so Dirk it is. Runner-up: Kevin Durant

Second Runner-up; Derrick Rose

Scottie: Amar’e Stoudimire

Last year I argued (and will continue to do so) that Kevin Durant was the MVP of the 2010 season.  When I think valuable, I think of how good the respective team of the MVP candidate would be if they weren’t on the team.  With that being said Amar’e is far and away the MVP of the first half of the NBA season.  Last season the Knicks were a joke.  This season they are nearly a lock to make the playoffs because of Amar’e.  He is second in the league averaging 26.4 points a night, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.  More importantly he has put people back in the seats of Madison Square Garden. He had one stretch of ten games with over 30 points.  There is no one playing better ball than this man right now.

Death Row Pardon: Forgiving LeBron

I am about to do something that very few people have had the gall to do as of late.

I am going to defend LeBron James.

And yes, I realize more than half the people that begin to read this article will now stop because I am going to do so.

I don’t care.

This is a transcendent sports start that has never committed an “actual” crime while so many other of today’s “role models” have been in trouble with the law or have seen the inside of a courtroom at one point or another.

First, we need to if not agree on at least get a couple things out of the way.

One: the “Decision” was a mistake.

His ESPN Special with Jim Gray was a spectacle for all the wrong reasons. And LeBron did himself an even greater injustice when he accepted last season’s MVP award and did nothing but show love for Cleveland, his teammates, fans and his hometown of Akron.

Had he even hinted that he was unhappy and was ready for a change, which was completely apparent after Game 6 in Boston when he didn’t even make it to the tunnel before ripping off his jersey; this whole ordeal may have been minimized.

Two: For once it is not about the money.

For so many years stars have left their teams to chase a bigger contract. It happens all the time. But, James didn’t chase the biggest contract. He actually took less money.

Three: If it’s not about the $, it has to be about rings.

The reason that LeBron left for South Beach was to chase a ring. He realized that in Cleveland, his chance to win the Finals would be significantly less than going to team up with Wade and Bosh in Miami. It meant leaving his adoring fans (which would become his biggest detractors), family and home for the first time in his life, but he did it to win a Championship.

Try and remove yourself from hating this man for just a moment and think abut what he has done.

You have a genetic marvel that plays the game in a way no one else has. He has been told since he was 16 years old that he was “The Next Jordan.” He was the number one pick and the savior of a franchise that had just two Eastern Conference Finals appearances since its inception in 1970.

For seven years, “The Chosen One” showed why he had draw such comparisons to possibly the greatest player ever and in 2007 he helped the Cavs shock the Detroit Pistons and took Cleveland to their first NBA Finals ever. Granted, they ran into a much better Spurs team, but the world appeared to be at LeBron’s fingertips.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, they ran into Boston in 2008 but in 2009 they appeared primed to coronate the King.

They finished with a record of 66–16, the winningest season in the franchise’s history. The year marked other notable franchise records including a 13-game winning streak, and road and home winning records. The Cavs entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NBA with home court advantage throughout the playoffs. They finished the season 39–2 at home, one win short of the best all-time home record. Head Coach Mike Brown won NBA Coach of the Year honors and LeBron finished second in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and won the NBA MVP. (And he did all of this without Wade and Bosh.)

LeBron was on the top of the sports world.

Just two years later he is the most vilified athletic figure on the planet. (Even the healing process with Tiger has begun.)

Tonight he returns to where it all began and will face 20,562 people at Quicken Loans Arena that want LeBron to know exactly how they feel.

I can’t say I blame them, but at the same time I can understand why LeBron left.

LeBron James may be the most talented player this league has seen since Jordan left the league and there is very fine line between “leaving home” to chase your dream and scorning your hometown fans to go live in South Beach with your friends.

To truly be in the conversation of best ever, you have to win championships. This is why Kobe Bryant will be discussed and players like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone will not.

There is no way to predict how tonight will go down, but I am fairly certain I will be one of the few rooting for a mutual breakup.

The Cleveland fans will boo every time LeBron touches the ball, but if he can feed off of the negative energy and play well while leading his team new team to victory, is it possible that some of this pain and anguish could be washed away?

Far-fetched I know. But crazy things have happened. Just ask Michael Vick.