NBA Mock Draft (Part II)

Fab Melo

With the NBA Draft only a day away, I figured I may as well present only ONE mock draft of the 1st round. Last year, my 2011 NBA mock drafts did not pan out as well as I would have hoped. Regardless of my poor NBA mock draft history, I have listed why each of these picks for each team would make sense. I am posting this on the current draft order as of 6 P.M. on Wednesday night, 24 hours before the 2012 NBA Draft kicks off.

Therefore, here are my final 15 mock draft selections for Thursday’s NBA Draft, enjoy!

16. Houston Rockets (via Knicks): F Terrence Jones, Kentucky

Although it sounds like the Rockets may trade this pick away for something bigger, the Rockets could use a true combo forward like Terrence Jones. Jones, a national champion at Kentucky this past season, decided to stay an additional year in school, and really improved between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Jones is an aggressive basketball player who plays hard on both ends of the floor, while also exhibiting premiere athleticism for a player as big him.  Read More…

NBA Mock Draft (Part I)

Anthony Davis

With the NBA Draft only hours away, I figured I may as well present only ONE mock draft of the 1st round. Last year, my 2011 NBA mock drafts did not pan out as well as I would have hoped. Regardless of my poor NBA mock draft history, I have listed why each of these picks for each team would make sense. I am posting this on behalf of the current draft order as of 6 P.M. on Wednesday night, 24 hours before the 2012 NBA Draft.

Therefore, here are my first 15 mock draft selections for Thursday’s NBA Draft, enjoy!

1. New Orleans Hornets: PF Anthony Davis, Kentucky

Do I really have to talk about how Davis was named SEC Player of the Year or won the Wooden Award? Or should I talk about how he became the first Kentucky basketball player EVER to win the Naismith Award while winning a National Championship in his lone collegiate season? Point is, the guy is clearly the best player in the 2012 NBA Draft. If the Hornets can re-sign shooting guard Eric Gordon, these two could become a nice tandem down in New Orleans.  Read More…

Golden State Warriors draft possibilities 1.0

andre drummondThere are hundreds of NBA mock drafts all over the place, and while I don’t claim to know as much as all of the experts out there, sometimes I feel like many of these predictions hold about as much weight as the Essential Home White Four-Drawer Chest from Kmart – very little. (A side note to prospective college students: while this item of furniture will be tempting because of its light weight and relatively cheap cost, avoid it unless you don’t mind the contents of your bottom drawer spending most of its time on the ground.)

Often there are large discrepancies from one prediction to the next, which I think points to the fact that nobody really knows what’s going to happen come draft day. I have seen mock drafts which have Andre Drummond dropping out of the top 7 or being picked as high as number two (which would automatically doom him to a career ruined by the Jordan curse), and Perry Jones III going to Portland at number 6, or dropping to Boston towards the end of the first round.

The general consensus is that Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be off the board by the time the Warriors make their pick at seven, and your grandmother could probably tell you that the Unibrow will be gone first. That leaves Drummond, Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes as the players most mock drafts believe will round out the top six. That being said, I have seen at least a few mocks projecting that one of those three players will fall to the Warriors, usually by way of Weber State point guard Damian Lillard being drafted with the sixth pick by the Blazers. And so without further ado, I’ll play expert for a moment and look at which of these three players would fit best with the Dubs should they happen to fall. But first, as seems the customary thing to do among draft experts, I’ll give my analysis a number label: we’ll call this “Warriors Draft Possibilities 1.0.” That leaves the door open for 2.0, and who knows, maybe even 3.0!

Bradley Beal

Beal is the least likely to drop, but if the Warriors find that somehow he does fall into their laps at seven, he’s the must take of the three, even if it means moving Klay Thompson to small forward. Although Golden State is after a bigger, stronger guy to step into the small forward position, a-la Terrance Jones (naturally a power forward), the downsizing that would occur with Beal wouldn’t by any means leave Golden State in the same position they were in when Curry started alongside Monta Ellis in the backcourt. At 6’4’’, Beal has a 6’8’’ wingspan (only an inch less than the 6’7’’Thompson’s).

According to scouts he has the strength and smarts to be a solid defender, and he’s already an exceptional rebounder at the guard position; in fact Beal averaged more rebounds, steals and blocks per game in his freshman year than 6’8’’ Harrison Barnes did in either of his freshman or sophomore years at North Carolina. Comparisons to Ray Allen, Eric Gordon and Dwayne Wade certainly don’t seem completely unfounded, although he is less athletic than Gordon and has a better shooting stroke than Wade did coming into the league. I don’t think there’s any question that Bob Meyers and Jerry West would sacrifice their hopes of a long, athletic, defensive minded three if Beal were still on the table.

Andre Drummond

I watched a fair amount of UConn basketball this last year so I got to see Drummond play quite a bit. For the most part he wasn’t very impressive; lost in the post, terrible at the free throw line, often it just seemed like he disappeared on the offensive end of the court. Obviously he’s young (still 18 until August) and he has some ridiculous physical attributes. But thus far the Amare Stoudemire similarities end after the 2-3 minute highlight clips on YouTube. And don’t get me wrong, some of those highlights make Drummond look scary: check out the play he makes beginning at 2:10 of this video. You will NEVER see Hasheem Thabeet or Andris Biedrins do that. Ever. (Here’s a clip of Andre Blatche making the exact same play, punctuated with a more Blatche-like finish. I put this in only because I think it’s funny.)

Unfortunately physical gifts and athleticism aren’t everything; if they were, than we would likely see Perry Jones III getting drafted second right after Drummond. Drummond is a project. He’s high risk, high reward. And it just seems to me that every time the Warriors make one of those high risk, high reward picks, most recently with Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph, those picks blow up in their face. For some reason I have a feeling Drummond will be a bust. I thought the same thing about Kevin Love when he was drafted, so apparently my “feelings” about potential should be taken with at least one, if not many more grains of salt.

There have been multiple reports that Thomas Robinson outplayed Drummond in their head to head matchup during draft workouts. This is to be expected – Robinson is one of the most NBA ready players in the draft. When asked what he’s trying to show teams, Drummond replied, at this point, “that I run the floor hard, play hard, grab rebounds and block shots. The offense will come to me.’’ Andre Drummond is not Wright, or Randolph. He has much more potential, and worst case scenario he will probably be a DeAndre Jordan type player. Golden State is one year removed from trying to shell out some $43 million to Jordan, so why not take Drummond if he’s still around? I think they have to. At 18 years old, stash him behind Bogut for a year or two, let him mature and bring some athleticism, rebounding and defense off the bench. Who knows, if the offense does “come to [him]” then he’ll develop into something special.

Harrison Barnes

On the surface Barnes seems like the perfect fit for the Warriors small forward need. With an NBA ready body and a polished offensive game that revolves around a silky jump shot as smooth as his off-court persona, one would think that Golden State would jump at the opportunity to land the sophomore Tar Heel. At the same time there are a number of question marks that surround Barnes. Does he have what it takes to be a great player in the NBA?

After being heralded as the next best thing since fried beer coming out of high school, Barnes had a largely disappointing collegiate career, culminating in a 2012 NCAA tournament in which he averaged 14 ppg and shot a dismal 32.7% from the field. It’s no secret that Barnes has a slow first step and difficulty getting to the rim, but his inability to effectively create his own shot at times was on full display, especially after the injury to North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. Do the Warriors really need another lanky wing man who can spot up and hit threes? I’m pretty sure they already have that in Dorell Wright.

I’m not saying Harrison Barnes is going to be Dorell Wright; his ceiling is much higher. But it wouldn’t surprise me. In his article Brand Gone Bust (which I recommend reading), Jay Caspian King describes how Barnes’ desire to create his own brand has always been priority number one. Because he’s put so much effort into presenting and shaping his persona, the basketball itself has suffered. Similar to how Baron Davis got caught up in his movie career in Los Angeles, we may see Barnes posing for Calvin Klein or doing more work to perfect his own line of Cologne rather than hitting the gym to work on his first step. It will be difficult, but the Warriors should pass on Barnes. They might just be getting a glorified Dorell Wright.

Eli Pearlman is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at

4 things to watch for in the NBA Draft

Anthony DavisThe NBA Draft is soon upon us and is coming up faster than you think. The draft is going to take place just two days after game seven of the finals, if necessary. Which leaves us sports fans only two days to cram the most up to date knowledge about this years upcoming rookie class. With this in mind, here are four things to watch for on June, 28.

The number two pick in this year’s NBA Draft is something to watch for.  After Anthony Davis there really is no clear number two selection like there has been in recent drafts prior. This is definitely not due to lack of talent because this is one of the deepest drafts in the past decade. This is because any one from Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could easily be ideal selections. No matter who gets at the number two spot though, whoever it is will have their hands dealt trying to turn the Charlotte Bobcats around.

Dion Waiters from Syracuse, one of the most intriguing prospects,  has had rising draft stock recently. So high that a team has promised to take him if he does not do any more workouts for teams and have limited participation in the combine. This is strange because Waiters was not supposed to get drafted in the top ten in some people’s draft boards, but it is looking like a team really wants Waiters and is ready to be a little risky to obtain him. Hopefully the GM behind this will be exposed on draft night by selecting Waiters earlier than some may have expected. It does not really matter which team he goes to, Dion Waiters has the ability to be one of the best guards of this draft class in the next five years.

The Portland Trail Blazers have finally signed a general manager. Rip City faithful are rejoicing by this front office move. Neil Oshley has his hands full on draft day. The Blazers have the 11th pick in a loaded draft and the 6th pick acquired at the trade deadline in exchange for Gerald Wallace. Portland also has many trade assets that could be of disposal. Over the past couple years Blazer’s front office have done lots of activity during draft night and expect this year to be no different what so ever. This is by far one of the most pivotal drafts in Rip City history and I have a feeling Neil Oshley will not mess it up by drafting a big man who will get injured, something Trail Blazer’s fans are still bitter about.

Boston Celtics have the number 21 and 22 pick this year and need something drastic to reload. Boston has expiring contracts with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. This could mean they need two draft picks to come in right away and contribute or need someone to be able to fill the starting role two years from now. Interesting scenario as well, what if Austin Rivers from Duke fell all the way to 21? Would Danny Ainge take him because of Doc? Would Austin feel resentful? Could Danny Ainge be looking to pull off some trade that makes the Celtics highly competitive next year? Only time will tell for all of these things to watch for in just under a week and a half.

Morgan Grimmett is a sportswriter for The Sports Blitz and can be contacted at, or can be followed on Twitter @MLeeGrimmett

Cavaliers: Latest Cleveland team trying for 2nd overall pick

7156058667 b30372e171 Cavaliers: Latest Cleveland team trying for 2nd overall pick

The 2012 NBA Draft is on June 28, 2012 and it figures to generate a whole lot of buzz. After the lottery took place just a few days ago, everyone found out just how the draft would play out. Except, you can’t plan for trades and the Cleveland Cavaliers figure to be in the mix to move up.

According to the Cleveland’s Plain Dealer Mary Schmitt Boyer…

A lot could change between now and June 28, especially after teams attend the NBA combine in Chicago this week and start to hold individual workouts for players. I’ve heard Charlotte could be interested in trading the No. 2 pick, so I do think the Cavs will inquire about moving up.

The Cavaliers hold the 4th overall pick and the 24th overall in the first round. They have the fire power to move up if they need to. A similar Cleveland team had a similar choice just this year but didn’t pull the trigger. The Cleveland Browns had the opportunity to move to the second pick and select Robert Griffin III but instead moved to the third pick and selected Trent Richardson. Most fans at first didn’t approve of the Browns decision, will the Cavaliers follow the same path? Read more here…

The Warriors 2012 Lottery Celebration

Golden State Warriors CheerleadersToday ping-pong balls bounced in the Golden State Warriors’ favor – or at least did what they were supposed to do if things played out according to the odds. The Dubs get to keep their lottery pick, which was top 7 protected. If Joe Lacob were to call a Warriors Organization meeting in celebration of securing the seventh pick following today’s (May 30) 2012 draft lottery, I envision his speech going something like this:

Lacob: Alright everybody, thanks for the applause. I made sure not to invite any Warriors fans to the ceremony this time; I think we all know why, hehe.

Knowing chuckles from the audience. Rick Barry and Chris Mullen, both of whom aren’t in attendance shake their heads somewhere.

We all know why we’re here: We’ve done it guys! We have officially secured the seventh spot in this year’s draft lottery. Of course we couldn’t have done it without a lot of help from all of you. First off however, I’d like to take a little credit myself: from the moment I purchased this franchise and made the promise that we would make the playoffs this past year, it has been my goal to bring a winning culture here to Golden State. As we all know, the first step to a future of winning is tanking miserably, which, if I may say so myself, we did an admirable job of doing over the last third of the season. 5-18 over the final 23 games? Not bad folks, give yourselves a pat on the back. As that guy in Batman: The Dark Knight says, the night is always darkest just before the dawn.

Nate Robinson does his ever popular, locker-room-favorite, Batman impression, which is only slightly worse than his Dave Chappelle impression, followed by laughs and high-fives all around

Anyways, I’d like to thank Larry Riley, Bob Meyers and Jerry West for pulling off that Monta Ellis trade just when it looked like we were going to be doomed to wallow in mediocrity for the next decade. It only took about five years to realize that we could never build a winning team around Monta, no matter how much fun he was to watch. The fact that we landed an injured Andrew Bogut who wasn’t able to play the rest of the 2011-12 season only sweetened the deal for our tanking purposes.

Angry Warriors Fan: WE COULD HAVE WON WITH MONTA!!! We just needed to put a better group of players around him! They were never fully healthy! His starting center was ANDRIS BIEDRINS (Biedrins nods sadly) for Christ’s-sake!! I liked his tattoos…..

Lacob: Oh Dammit, who let HER in! Can somebody please escort my fiancé (deftly dodges a thrown high-heel shoe as it whizzes by his left ear) out of the facilities? I know you weren’t happy with the trade, Honey, but please!

Richard Jefferson, working security tonight in an effort to earn some of the remaining $21 million on his egregious contract, escorts Curran, Lacob’s fiancé, out of the building. Lacob gathers himself and continues with a confident smile

Lacob: Well I’m glad that’s over with. Your doing a great job at the door there, Richard, keep it up. We might have a spot for you working security at the new San Francisco stadium in a few years if nobody wants your basketball services. Next I would like to thank a few of our players…

Andris Biedrins: (Lacob smiles over at Andris, and from amidst the crowd, Marc Jackson yells “I still Believe in you ‘Dre!) Ever since you inexplicably lost every ounce of confidence following the 2008-09 season, we have been able to rely on you each and every year to be in the running for the “Biggest Stiff in the NBA” award, right up there with Hasheem Thabeet. Despite assurances that you had gotten your life back together and “worked as hard as [you’ve] ever worked” in the last lock-out extended offseason, you continued to be your unproductive, injury-prone self. Any more than the 1.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game you gave us this year, and we might have risked winning a few more games. For that consistent ineffectiveness, we thank you!

Raucous applause. As Biedrins begins to walk towards the podium to say a few words, he tweaks his groin.

Lacob: Ooh, that’s okay, Andris. Why don’t you sit back down. You better get used to sitting; you’re going to be doing a lot of it over the next two years if we can’t dump your remaining $18 million on some other team. God, why didn’t we trade you to the Rockets at the beginning of the year while somebody actually wanted you!? But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, current players…

Dorell Wright: I guess we could have expected a regression from you after the incredible strides you made last season. 16 point, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game, while shooting nearly 40% from three-point range when you had never averaged more than 7.9 points previously in your career. The 10 ppg you averaged this season were a much more realistic insight into what we can expect from you in the future. Thank goodness we didn’t sign you to any long-term deals, am I right, haha? (Wright scowls). Well anyway, this last season allowed us to see that Brandon Rush is a more valuable asset for our future, and that we probably need a new starting small forward. I think I may have strayed a bit from the point, however. Your regression certainly helped us reach the losing record we worked so hard for, so thank you.

Crowd applauds politely, Wright is still frowning

Lacob: Now we never could have qualified for that seventh slot in the draft without the incredible job done by our medical staff. Our staff worked tirelessly to make sure some of our key guys who were playing just too hard would be sidelined down the stretch at a time when we needed all the losses we could muster. Some of you very nearly ruined our lottery chances single-handedly with your inspired play and great leadership after the Monta trade. I’m looking at you David Lee.

Lacob winks in Lee’s direction and everybody laughs heartily.

If we hadn’t shut you down with that “groin injury” (wink, wink) then you may have aggravated it even further, and Larry Riley just couldn’t let you do that, especially right after you scored a game high 30 points in a hard-fought loss to the Mavericks the night before! And I know you were chewing at the bit to get back out on the court, Steph.

Stephen Curry looks up quickly from massaging his ankles and nods emphatically

But it was actually a good idea to shut you down, tank-job or no tank-job. We need those porcelain ankles healthy for next year, Buddy! Those things are about as stable as Lamar Odom going through menopause.

More laughs, somebody shouts “sounds like an emotional roller-coaster to me, Joe!”

Lacob: (Nodding) exactly, exactly. Pretty damn unstable. Don’t worry; you’ll be back out there next year, Steph. You better be, we’re counting on you. Well, I think that’s pretty much it for now. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few people, you don’t just finish the last 23 games of a season with a miraculous, Bobcattian (yeah I made that word up) .27 winning percentage without the help of a lot of people. Most of you are probably aware of our past luck when it comes to the lottery. Historically the lottery gods have not been kind to Golden State; we haven’t moved up in the draft once in the last 15 years that we were in the lottery. In fact we actually moved down in five of those drafts. So you can see why keeping this year’s pick is reason enough to celebrate. Not to mention we have three other picks in this very deep (at least that’s what the scouts say, right Jerry West) draft. Let’s make Warriors fans forget about the last couple decades of futility, and have them remember this last one as the year that changed our franchise for good. Jesus, I hope Perry Jones doesn’t turn into Anthony Randolph 2.0….

Eli Pearlman is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz Network.  He can be contacted at