After the New Orleans Hornets were gift-handed…(*Cough… *Cough…) after they won the draft lottery! They will anticipate drafting Anthony Davis, while everyone else will figure out who they want to target in the draft. This mock draft anticipates what might happen with the first 14 selections.
#1 Pick) New Orleans Hornets (21-45) select Anthony Davis
When a player like LeBron James, Patrick Ewing, or Dwight Howard comes along… you don’t overthink it. You take him. Anthony “unibrow” Davis is a unique shot-blocking talent who changes the way the opposing offense has to attack the rim. His skills allowed Kentucky to go through the SEC regular season undefeated, and go on to win a national championship. No-brainer here.
#2 Pick) Charlotte Bobcats (7-59) select Michael Kidd Gilchrist
Kidd-Gilchrist can play shooting guard or small forward and gives the Bobcats flexibility in their rotation while also giving them a unique two-way player who can handle the ball, pass, shoot, and defend. Gilchrist and Kemba Walker would instantly give the Cats their backcourt of the future; that future could look quite bright too.
#3 Pick) Washington Wizards (20-46) select Jared Sullinger
Yes the Wizards already have Rashard Lewis, Andray Blatche, and James Singleton at Forward. However, when a player with Sullinger’s low-post moves, strength, and competitive drive comes along and you can pair him with one of the best young point guards the NBA has ever seen, then you draft him. The NBA is still a pick and roll league, and you could run an explosive pick-and-roll with John Wall and Sullinger. In addition to their in-season addition of Nene, this would make the Wizards an interesting team defensively and give them a solid core for the future.
#4 Pick) Cleveland Cavaliers (21-45) select Harrison Barnes
Barnes has the work-ethic of a young Kobe Bryant. He also has a sweet shooting stroke, high basketball IQ, and is a violent finisher at the rim and fearless in the clutch. He could end up being a more athletic version of Luol Deng. A player who does just about everything well, but does not blow you away with any 1 particularly fantastic skill. This would be a great pick-up for them at the 4 spot.
#5 Pick) Sacramento Kings (22-44) select Andre Drummond
Drummond could be the defensive prescence to DeMarcus Cousins offensive prescence. The Kings need to play better defense overall to have a chance in the West, and Drummond has the length and athleticism to become that threat.
#6 Pick) Portland Trail Blazers (28-38) select Thomas Robinson
Ever since Brandon Roy retired the Blazers have lacked that do-everything wing. Robinson could potentially be that guy for them. He did a little bit of everything leading the Jayhawks to the Final Four. He played intense defense and hit timely slots.
#7 Pick) Golden State Warriors (23-43) select Bradley Beal
The smooth shooting guard out of Florida has incredible shooting range and mechanics. He has a high basketball IQ and only turns 19 on draft night, which gives him plenty of room to improve over the years as well.
#8 Pick) Toronto Raptors (23-43) select Jeremy Lamb
Lamb considered going into the draft last year, but wisely stayed in school and developed his game. He was more of a go-to guy on Connecticut last year, and that experience will help him contribute immediately with the Raptors.
#9 Pick) Detroit Pistons (25-41) select John Henson
The combination of John Henson and Greg Monroe would give the Pisotons one of the most exciting young front courts in the league. Henson improved dramatically in his time at Chapel Hill, becoming the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and developing a mid-range jumper, and limited post-game. Henson is a game-changer defensively and can finish alley-oops or pick-and-rolls at the rim.
#10 Pick) New Orleans Hornets (21-45) select Austin Rivers
Rivers had a Duke pantheon moment when he hit a 3 over Tyler Zeller to steal a win in Chapel Hill. His father Doc Rivers has said that he has been making that type of shot his whole life. The Hornets would be wise to pair Rivers with a big man like Davis and let them grow together.
#11 Pick) Portland Trail Blazers (28-38) select Perry Jones
Jones has the ball-handing, shooting, and size that makes scouts drool and he could contribute immediately on the Blazers. He would have to play more of a small forward role than power forward, because of LaMarcus Aldridge. This could be a lethal combination though.
#12 Pick) Milwaukee Bucks (31-35) select Tyler Zeller
Tyler could fill a void left by Andrew Bogut after they traded him out West. Zeller runs the floor like a gazelle and would help Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis play fastbreak basketball. He’s an underrated defender, who makes quick, decisive, rotations. He also has a nifty jump hook and developing post-game. Great pick-up for the Bucks.
#13 Pick) Phoenix Suns (33-33) select Kendall Marshall
The North Carolina point guard just set the ACC single season assist record and showed a developing scoring game before going down with a broken wrist in the NCAA tournament. Marhsall has incredible court vision, passing ability, and decision making in the fast break and half-court. He was the engine of the highest paced offense in college basketball last season, and the Tar Heels could not contend without him.
#14 Pick) Houston Rockets (34-32) select Terrence Ross
The University of Washington guard is a capable defensive player who has a nice shooting stroke as well. He can hit the mid-range jumper and also has excellent body control when he tries to finish at the rim. Excellent pick-up for the scrappy minded Rockets.