Hoops Rumors Mock Draft 2.0

Draft week is finally here. On Thursday night, all 30 NBA teams will descend on the Prudential Center in downtown Newark in hopes of supplementing their rosters with the best that the college and international games have to offer. One first-round pick has already been traded and there are rumors circulating about several others, so expect plenty of action leading up to Thursday night.

Last week we published our first ever mock draft, which you can see here. Below is our second and final version. Just as before, these selections are based on what we are hearing around the league combined with our player evaluations and what we perceive to be a team's draft needs. These guidelines are important to remember, especially considering the immense amount of trade speculation floating around. Each pick is based on the assumption that the team will not trade its selection and will draft accordingly, though there is a fair amount of trade talk mixed in.

  1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis. You can etch this one in stone. The Hornets have already turned their draft focus to the 10th pick. Davis is almost a lock to be a superstar and at absolute worst is a game-changer on defense. He propels the Hornets into contender status nearly right away.
  2. Charlotte Bobcats – Thomas Robinson. This pick will be the domino that determines how the top five will fall. Both Washington and Cleveland are rumored to want this pick in order to select Bradley Beal, but we still haven't heard much from Charlotte. That is probably an indication that the Bobcats have their mind made up on Robinson.
  3. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal. The decision to acquire Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza last week makes this pick a no-doubter for the Wizards. Assuming Cleveland doesn't jump ahead of them, expect to see the complementary skill sets of Beal and John Wall in the Wizards' backcourt for the next decade.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Harrison Barnes. There is some recent buzz that the Cavaliers favor Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over Barnes here. But they have been enamored with Barnes for a month now and there are whispers of a promise at No. 4. If they can't swing a deal for Beal, expect the Cavs to go for Barnes.
  5. Sacramento Kings – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Kings were unable to secure workouts for MKG or Barnes, but they would be ecstatic with either. MKG is a home run at No. 5 and for the Kings, who already have a couple of former John Calipari pupils, he stops the revolving door at small forward.
  6. Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard. As if the frequent Lillard-to-Portland talk needed reinforcement, Lillard apparently sparkled during workouts with the Blazers. From a talent standpoint, Andre Drummond makes sense here, but Portland seems too in love with Lillard to risk hoping he could fall.
  7. Golden State Warriors – Andre Drummond. This pick has trade written all over it. With MKG and Barnes off the board, expect the Warriors to consider trading back with a team that considers Drummond's high ceiling too tempting to pass up. That said, the Warriors would be smart to consider the seven-footer for themselves.
  8. Toronto Raptors – Dion Waiters. With Jonas Valanciunas coming over from Europe, the Raptors will get some much needed toughness. Waiters will provide more. Waiters' relentless driving ability and scoring acumen will complement the jump-shooting Toronto roster nicely.
  9. Detroit Pistons – John Henson. Most draft pundits have had Henson slotted at No. 9 to Detroit for weeks, and for good reason. The Pistons covet Henson's athleticism and shot-blocking ability and hope he can take some defensive pressure off of Greg Monroe. It doesn't hurt that Henson reportedly wowed Detroit in a workout on Monday.
  10. New Orleans Hornets – Tyler Zeller. Out goes Okafor, in comes Zeller. With Anthony Davis already in tow, Zeller would represent some out-of-the-box thinking for the Hornets. In a perfect world, New Orleans would take a pure point guard with this pick, but it's too early for Kendall Marshall and the ultra-safe Zeller has been moving up draft boards.
  11. Portland Trail Blazers – Jeremy Lamb. With their second pick of the night, the Blazers shore up their backcourt with Lamb, who worked out with the team as recently as Monday. Lamb's name has been all over the place on draft boards, going anywhere from 8 to 18, but after taking the prized Lillard, Portland can gamble on the upside of Lamb.
  12. Milwaukee Bucks – Meyers Leonard. The Bucks are looking to replace the size they lost in the Bogut deal, and with Zeller off the board, their choice is easy. Leonard came out of nowhere several months ago to project as a lottery pick, but his stock has since remained strong.
  13. Phoenix Suns – Austin Rivers. Despite Rivers only scheduling workouts with teams picking before 12, Zeller's rise allows him to slip to the Suns at No. 13. Waiters is probably Phoenix's dream scenario, but Rivers is superb backcourt consolation considering most have him off the board much earlier.
  14. Houston Rockets – Moe Harkless. Good luck projecting this pick. It would be fitting for the Rockets to take Harkless here, considering both the team and player are among the most difficult to project. After shipping Chase Budinger to Minnesota, Houston now has picks 14, 16 and 18. Depending on where you look, Harkless is everywhere from getting top-seven looks to going in the 20s.
  15. Philadelphia 76ers – Terrence Jones. It's all about size for the Sixers at pick No. 15. Rod Thorn has said he is looking for an athletic big man. Jones has the size and skill to offer immediate benefits for a playoff team like Philly, while having enough projectability to have an outside chance at developing into the stud they so desperately need.
  16. Houston Rockets – Terrence Ross. Ross has steadily crept up draft boards and is almost certainly the best player available here. If Houston stays put, Kyle Lowry figures to continue to dominate the ball, making him a perfect companion for the sweet-shooting Ross.
  17. Dallas Mavericks – Kendall Marshall. It seems to be Marshall or size here for the Mavericks. They originally had interest in Jared Sullinger, but his medical red flags will probably send him closer to 20. Dallas needs nearly an entire roster and has the Deron Williams situation looming, but Marshall, a rotation player at worst, is the smart move.
  18. Houston Rockets – Perry Jones III. Houston's desire to land a superstar, say Dwight Howard, is no secret. Should the Rockets' push for Howard fall through, no prospect not named Anthony Davis possesses more talent than Jones. He is the ultimate lottery ticket, and at No. 18, it is a risk worth taking.
  19. Orlando Magic – Jared Sullinger. Should new Magic GM Rob Hennigan choose to trade Howard, Orlando will likely have at least one more pick, and probably a very high one.  The injury risk that Sullinger represents would be mitigated by multiple picks. If Howard stays in Orlando, he would be joined by Sullinger to create an imposing duo on the boards.
  20. Denver Nuggets - Arnett MoultrieMoultrie is a perfect fit in Denver's high-octane offense and the Nuggets have the depth to let him develop properly. Their biggest need is in the middle. If Moultrie gets past Houston and Philadelphia, expect the Nuggets to get great value with Moultrie at 20.
  21. Boston Celtics - Royce White. ESPN's Chad Ford reported that the Celtics gave White a promise at No. 21, but any pact after the lottery is hardly a guarantee. Should he be available at 21, White would seem to fit with the Celtics. The veteran and battle-tested locker room would be perfect for the troubled, but extremely talented White.
  22. Boston Celtics – Fab Melo. The Eastern Conference will go through LeBron James for the foreseeable future. Nobody knows that better than the Celtics.  And what must a team do to have a chance to dethrone the King? Protect the rim.  Melo's 7'3" wingspan will allow him to do that.
  23. Atlanta Hawks - Tony WrotenThe Hawks roll the dice on another point guard with Wroten. This almost makes too much sense to happen, as the crop at the point is thin after the talented Wroten. Several sources have reported that Atlanta is warming on the Washington floor general.
  24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Nicholson. Essentially building up a roster from the ground, the Cavs have the luxury of taking the best player available. That player is Nicholson here. The St. Bonnies product showed an ability to knock down shots in workouts, and can step in and help Tristan Thompson immediately on defense.
  25. Memphis Grizzlies – Marquis Teague. With Wroten off the board, the Grizz turn to Teague in their search for point guard depth. Memphis is in no way married to Conley for the long-term future and Teague, if everything falls into place, has the talent to develop into an effective starter.
  26. Indiana Pacers – Will Barton. Barton has surged into first-round discussion in the past week, impressing nearly every team he has worked out for. His ability to fill it up has pushed Barton to the front of the pack of two guards that should be available when Indiana is on the clock.
  27. Miami Heat - Draymond Green. With one trophy under their belt, the Heat seem to have figured out what it takes to win. Taking Green here would provide further evidence of that, as the All-American from Michigan State is the ideal selection for a contending team in the late first round. Green projects as a bench player, but has a chance to become a valuable one.
  28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Evan Fournier. It wouldn't be a 21st-century NBA Draft without some international flavor, would it? The Thunder are said to be wary of adding a guaranteed contract with this pick. Look for them to trade out or get creative by stashing a guy like Fournier overseas for the short term.
  29. Chicago Bulls - John Jenkins. Jenkins makes a lot of sense for the Bulls at No. 29, and Barton's rise should allow him to drop. He would be a good addition for any contending team. The Bulls are said to be targetting a shooter with this pick and they don't make them much better than this Vanderbilt sniper.
  30. Golden State Warriors - Quincy Miller. The Warriors pick in a tricky spot early in the first round, and that selection will likely impact who they target here. The toolsy Miller doesn't really fit with a contender, but he won't last long should he fall out of the first round. Miller has the talent to convince a team in the early 20s to take a shot on him, but if he is available at 30, the Warriors would be smart to pounce.


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