This year Earl and David did the draft a little differently than before. Earl took the odd team picks, and David the even picks. Then they flipped to see what they thought of the other person’s selections.
So let’s see who they want to take, also – no trades.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons/F/Louisiana State University
Earl: The Sixers have to take Simmons, although selfishly I wish he would fall to the Lakers at #2. However, since I cannot see that happening, the Sixers get the big man many have marked for stardom. While Simmons did not have the best one and done years, and LSU did not even make the NCAA tournament, the 6’10” player sees the floor with the vision of a point guard, and he is pretty good on the boards. He can’t shoot though and that’s a skill he needs to work on as he enters the League.
David: I have major problems with Simmons, but in our mocks we don’t do trades, but that doesn’t mean the Sixers don’t have a half-dozen deals they need to do after the draft, or even during. If I was the sixers I’d be on the phone around pick 4 and asking, hey, you want this guy or that guy for this pick? Maybe that’s the end result for three years of stinking, the first, fourth and sixth pick (and Embiid) in a deep draft.
2. Los Angeles Lakers, Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
David: Welcome to your rookie of the year. I think he steps right into Kobe’s shoes and just has to work on defense and spacing to be right there. I can see Luke Walton sending Ingram tape after tape of Klay all summer.
Earl: As a Lakers fan I would prefer the Sixers to take Ingram and have Simmons “fall” to number 2, but since I don’t see that as realistic, I think Ingram would be a fine pick at #2. He’s rail thin, but he can shoot and the Lakers need that desperately. I agree with David, that I think new head coach Luke Walton would do well to send Ingram tapes of Klay Thompson because that’s the kind of player I see Ingram becoming. He may fancy himself to be another Durant, but being the next Klay would be great for these Lakers.
3. Boston Celtics: Buddy Hield/G/Oklahoma
Earl: This is likely way too high for Hield but when I look at the Celtics, I see a team that is missing a perimeter shooter and that is what Hield brings. His 45.7% from three point range last season proves he’s a marksman from beyond the arc and he should fit in fine with the Celtics guard rotation.
David: I love Buddy, but I wonder how he fits on this team. I almost think if the Celtics take Buddy, they have to trade Thomas. But there are worse things to get than a guy that has the touch of Curry and the mindset of the Jamal Crawford.
Earl: I feel the need to defend this pick because David is right, the fit is tough to see. The Celtics have a ton of guards but none of them shoot from range well. As a team they were 33 percent from the three point line, and Hield was a 45 percent shooter in college. I don’t expect him to be a star but he can be a good role player on a team that might need one if they make the moves they hope to make in free agency.
4. Phoenix Suns, Dragan Bender, F, Croatia
David: Bender is young, and the Suns need direction and talent. Maybe in the 2 years it will take for the Suns to figure out what they want, he’ll be NBA ready. I don’t think Bender is as good as advertised, but considering how many times I’ve missed, that doesn’t mean anything.
Earl: Anyone who takes Bender will be praying that he is Kristaps Porzingis 2.0 and he might be, but he could also be very raw and light years away from the NBA. Which one are you getting? Who knows. I don’t think he’s going to step in and be Porzingis but he could fit well alongside Len in Phoenix.
Earl: Ricky Rubio is likely not long for Minnesota, and it’s about time the Wolves consider their future at the point guard position. While Kris Dunn is a more natural point guard, Murray shoots well, handles well, and is young enough that he should mesh well with the young corps in Minnesota. I’d imagine he would fit in well with Wiggins and Towns.
David: The T-Wolves should love this pick, if he’s still there. I really think Murray could be a boom or bust kind of guy. Some teams (like the Sixers) could very well regret not taking him, or he could end up like Brandon Jennings.
6. New Orleans Pelicans, Kris Dunn, G, Providence
David: If the draft ends up like this the Pelicans have to be hating life here. Kris Dunn is a day 1 starter, and could be a very good player, but I know they would love to see Buddy or Murray fall to them.
But here is the thing. Dunn stops the ball. He’s a great point for the halfcourt game, and with Anthony Davis, that might actually be a positive. Dunn is a bit careless with the ball, and needs to work on his outside shot, but he’s a senior, not a freshmen coming out early. Dunn is a finished player, who just needs to improve what he is, not figure things out.
Earl: I’ve seen a lot of Kris Dunn, since I love Big East basketball, am a graduate of a Big East university, and live in Big East country. With that said, I’m not so sure on Dunn. I don’t look at him and see Alvin Gentry point guard because he is such a half court player. If the Pelicans want to run, like Gentry teams like to do, he isn’t the best fit here. However, he is a very good half court set kind of guy and should work alongside Anthony Davis in that capacity.
7. Denver Nuggets: Wade Baldwin/G/Vanderbilt
Earl: Emmanuel Mudiay was a fine pick last year. He gets to the rim and is a freak athlete. Baldwin is a freak for different reasons. He stands 6’4” but he has a 6’11” wingspan. He’s a gritty defender, and he shot 40.9% from beyond the arc last season. As a catch and shoot player he would be a good fit alongside a dribble and drive point guard in Mudiay, and he can interchange with Mudiay at the point as well.
David: For some reason I think the Nuggets are in a Houston Rocket mode and just adding talent and not caring about position or scheme. What I love most about Baldwin is his defense. I think it’s going to be hard for him to find a place in the NBA, he might be a Gerald Henderson-type player, but the Nuggets have players that can score, but I’m not sure he can create his own shot as a 6’4 shooting guard.
8. Sacramento Kings ,Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
David: 6’9, 225 and should be in the slam dunk contest for years. Oh, and he can shoot threes better than most in this draft. I don’t think he’s the best fit in this position, but the Nuggets just took who they wanted. Chriss is a project and I’m not sure how he would fit alongside Boogie, but a guy that can come in a give me 18 points a game and possibly 30 if they find a decent point and coach to pair him with. Boogie should love this dude as well, as he helps give him space under the rim and a few offensive boards.
Earl: I have to confess that I have never seen this kid play. West coast games typically start after us East coasters have gone to bed, but I have been hearing a lot about Chriss. He scares me though because he sounds like another coming of Stromile Swift. He’s big, he’s athletic, and despite the excellent shooting he sounds like he’s really raw. Maybe I’m wrong but I would proceed with caution here.
9. Toronto Raptors: Deyonta Davis/F/Michigan State
Earl: Bismack Biyombo is a free agent and the way he played this postseason, he’s likely a goner as some team will throw more money at him than the Raptors will be willing to. While I don’t see Davis as someone who can start for the Raptors, since I think they need a more dynamic presence at power forward, I do think he would be a serviceable rotation big man. He defends well, but he’s very raw. He will need time.
David: Davis is a monster project, and to be honest, should have come back and learned more from Tom Izzo. Kind of sad when you are going to be a top 10 pick and this raw.
The only problem I really have here, is the Raptors are the second best team in the East, but the gap between them and the Cavs is bigger than the gap between the Raptors and teams like the Celtics and Heat. If the Raptors pick Davis, thats a pick for 2018, not 2017. The Raptors are in a win now mode. You know what I’d do in this situation? Trade the Davis pick to Philly for Noel. Win for both team.
Earl: I agree that Toronto shouldn’t make this pick under any circumstance. Trading it would be best, but we didn’t do this mock with trades in mind. At number 9, Davis makes sense, but Toronto should deal out here and get a player that can help now.
10. Milwaukee Bucks, Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
David: Reach? Sure, but it’s too soon for Jackson, Korkmaz or even Valentine.
How can you take another Center? Easy, you have to have the Giant White Guy go 5 picks before he should. It’s an unwritten NBA rule, like saying Phil Jackson is a great coach, even though he’s yet to build anything without a top 3 shooting guard of all time, a top 4 market, and a some serious GM work behind him. The difference here is Poeltl can get in there with Monroe and the Greek Freak and be a solid rotation as he learns how to eat around Milwaukee and stand up to the pounding the NBA is going to give him.
Earl: It seems every mock has slotted Poeltl to the Bucks and that should be a big indictment on how bad Greg Monroe was last season. I like the Bucks though, and I’m still high on their future, and maybe Poeltl will fix that hole at the 5. I have my doubts though on how day one ready he is but you can’t teach tall and he is that.
11. Orlando Magic: Skal Labissiere/F/Kentucky
Earl: I need to be honest when I say that I hate making this pick for Orlando. I’d rather them take Ellenson or Poetl here but in Labissiere the Magic will see a big man who can shoot and move well. The reason why I hate this pick is I’m not sure he can handle the NBA. He wilted under the bright lights of Kentucky, and unless he matures he will do so in the NBA. Orlando can afford to be patient with him though which is why I slot him here. His skills fit alongside Vucevic but I stress that he needs time. A lot of it.
David: I’m with you Earl, Skal is a pick that need to be developed, as he didn’t really improve during the year at Kentucky. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. What he does have is a particular set of skills they are going to love in Orlando. Skal has a mid-range shot, can rebound, and has an ability to come out of nowhere to block a shot from anywhere on his side of the court. Skal is raw as cookie dough though, but it’s not like Orlando is in a hurry.
12. Utah Jazz, Jaylen Brown/F/Cal
David: He really needs another year. On the floor, he’s another OJ Mayo with a better drive and better instincts, but I get the feeling the NBA will find a way to shut him down and he’s going to hit the rookie wall like a fly on a semi. How he reacts to that is how good a pro he will be. For Utah’s sake, I hope he grows up, and looks at the fall from a solid top 5 pick to almost out of the lottery as a wake up call. Brown has a ton of gifts, however, and is a very good defender. This is a pick that could turn out very well for the Jazz or will be out of the NBA.
Earl: The more I learn about Jaylen the more I like him. He’s a smart kid and a real renaissance man, who should go higher than 12 but there are some teams who are concerned with how he’ll fit with their teams. Understandable but he’s 6’7″ strong and quick. It might take him some time to put it all together but he’ll be a steal once he’s ready.
13. Phoenix Suns: Furkan Kormaz/G/Turkey
Earl: With their second pick in the first round, I have the Suns rolling the dice on Kormaz. A 6’7” guard that can shoot, and he looks like an excellent athlete. The Suns had a dreadful season but on paper they are not that bad. If they hit on Kormaz, they’ll inch closer to respectability.
David: With two picks, the Suns can roll the dice on Kormaz, who can score from anywhere on the court and should be a fan favorite for years. The only problem is I think I could post him up and Earl could take him off the dribble. I assure you for a 6-7 lotto pick that is not a good thing. Kormaz is a threat to score at any time from anywhere, and in todays NBA, that’s always a good thing to have, and you can hide 6-7 guys on defense *coughCurrycough* if they put out more effort than James Hardin.
14. Chicago Bulls, Domantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga
David: I hate to say this Earl, but you know we are wrong on this mock, for no other reason there is no chance that Sabonis drops this far. If he does, then the Bulls will sprint to the podium to take Sabonis. Sabonis is going to make every team from 8 on upset they passed on him. Much like Simmons, Sabonis should have went to a better school and he would go higher. (UConn would have been a great pick) He is not nearly as good as his father, but who is? But the passing gene is there, and he has a normal NBA body other than the mutant wingspan that Jay Bilas loves. I can see him being a better offensive player than Bogut on the offensive end, and with the game opening up and Sabonis being a great high-post center, IF they get the right personell around him. He is better than you think on defense, but guys like Boogie will eat him alive on the block.
Earl: We’ll be wrong on this mock for several reasons but I’m not so sure we’ll be wrong for dropping Sabonis. I’m not that enamored with him to be honest. Good player, but not the best fit for the Bulls that already have Mirotic and a kid I like in Bobby Portis. While it’s good to have big men that can shoot, and the Bulls are likely going to need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah this summer, I think they can pass on Sabonis and identify a big man with their next draft pick.
At 14 they should be looking at a point guard and despite me not being that high on Demetrius Jackson, I think he’s the pick here. Derrick Rose has worn his welcome out in his hometown and its about time the Bulls look to move on. Drafting Jackson and letting him learn behind Rose (for now anyway) would be the better move