It’s been a while. Hope everyone is having a great summer.
I’m currently vacationing in Toronto, but wanted to post some Pac-12-related draft stuff before tonight’s big event.
If I must say, I’m a big, big fan of the NBA Draft. Always have been, always will be.
This is what happens when you grow up a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers — this is the NBA championship, really.
Anyway, I wanted to take a look at the Pac-12’s best prospects with, well, the best prospect of being drafted this year.
I’m not going to go and write a full, two-round mock draft here, as tempting as that may be, because basically I’m always wrong when I do those things so, really, what’s the point?
Instead, I’ll mock the lottery, where I think the Pac-12 players in the draft will go in the first round, and possible destinations for likely second-round picks.
After the draft, I’ll take a look at where they all went, how they fit in and do a classic way-too-early look ahead to the Pac-12 in next year's draft that everyone loves/hates so much.
First, we had a lot of NBA Draft content today. There was my final NBA Draft flashback, this time with Derrick Williams; here’s a slideshow with all of the flashbacks in one place; A story about how the Pac-12 is on a decline when it comes to producing NBA talent; Greg Hansen wrote about Leon Blevins, Arizona’s first-ever draftee; Bruce Pascoe is in Brooklyn for the draft, and killing it, of course. Follow him on Twitter.
Without further adieu, here’s what I got. This doesn’t factor in any trades that might happen, which if all rumors are true, basically every single pick will be traded on draft night.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Anthony-Towns, PF/C, Kentucky
- Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
- Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State (a.k.a. guy who said nobody can defend him then Rondae Hollis-Jefferson/Stanley Johnson/T.J. McConnell all shut him down and then he still said nobody can guard him. Really though, I’m a HUGE fan of Russell’s game. Not sure if I agree with the James Harden comparisons, but this is a future NBA All-Star in my eyes. This.)
- New York Knicks (very possible trade spot according to my source named Gut Feeling): Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, Latvia
- Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia (Hello, says ex-Wildcats Aaron Gordon and Channing Frye)
- Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
- Denver Nuggets: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
- Detroit Pistons: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China/Should-have-been-SMU (Many pegging Stanley Johnson for this spot. But in my sure-to-be-wrong mock, Mudiay falls farther than he probably actually will, so I put him here. Also, one-time Arizona commit Brandon Jennings hasn’t really proven to be much more than a score-first, turnover-second and third, pass-fourth point guard in the league.)
- Charlotte Hornets: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin (Arizona fans will only have to drive up to Phoenix twice a year to heckle him at Suns games in this scenario.)
- Miami Heat: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona (Pac-12 Alert! Pac-12 Alert! Think Johnson is a lock for Pac-12’s top guy. Won’t fall past the Suns, could go as high as 6 or 7, I think.)
- Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, C, Texas
- Utah Jazz: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
- Phoenix Suns: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona (Might seem a little bit high. But I’ve convinced myself it’s going to happen. 1. He kinda called out Serge I-block-a. 2. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook healthy, Thunder will be a contender. Hollis-Jefferson as win-now of a prospect as there is in the draft because of his defense. 3. Shimmy bros with Durant.)
19. Washington Wizards: Kevon Looney, UCLA (Wizards good enough to spend a year or two developing him to eventually replace Nene as their forward. Maybe I’m biased because I saw Looney play quite a bit last season, but I think the kid has potential to be a stud.)
21. Dallas Mavericks: Delon Wright, Utah (The Mavericks need a point guard with Rajon Rondo likely gone, and his back-ups left the, uh, dynamic duo of Raymond Felton and Devin Harris. Wright also a win-now type of player for a team fighting for the playoffs.)
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Brown, Stanford (The Cavaliers desperately need contributors for their bench, and Brown can come in and right away play the role of wide open spot-up shooter playing with that guy “LeBrun Jaimes”, or whatever his name is.
- Joseph Young, Oregon: The Pac-12 Player of the Year might sneak in the back-end of the first round to the Lakers or Grizzlies, but he’s a little undersized (6-2) for a two-guard and doesn’t have the skillset of a point guard, so I say he doesn’t. Potential fits: Celtics at No. 33, Lakers at No. 34, Timberwolves at No. 36, Pacers at No. 43
- Robert Upshaw, Washington: The troubled 7-footer — he was kicked off of the Huskies mid-season, and UW proceeded to tank and now everybody and their mother transferred — would have been a possible lottery pick, and definite first-rounder, if not for a variety of off-court issues. Even so, with his talent, he’s still a candidate for the first round, more than likely a team will take a flier in the second. Potential fits: Detroit at No. 38, Miami at No. 40, Celtics No. 33/45, Pacers at No. 43.
- Norman Powell, UCLA: Big fan of Powell. He’s only 6-foot-4, but is a solid defender, good athlete and a decent scorer with a good head on his shoulders. Potential fits: Philadelphia at No. 35/37/47, Oklahoma City at No. 48, Milwaukee at No. 46, Atlanta at No. 50
- Brandon Ashley, Arizona: Nothing against Ashley, but I just don’t personally see him as a productive NBA player. He’s not big enough to bang with NBA fours (230 pounds) and not a very good rebounder. He’s not athletic enough to play three, and never proved himself to be a good enough shooter to stretch out to the NBA 3-point line. But he does have potential as a stretch four, so there is an outside chance he gets drafted. Potential fits: San Antonio at No. 55, Philadelphia at No. 58/60, Atlanta at No. 50/59, Dallas at No. 52
- T.J. McConnell, Arizona: As much as we all want him to, it’s highly unlikely McConnell gets drafted, although it’s certainly not impossible. He’ll get a shot as a free agent though, for sure. Potential fits: San Antonio at No. 55, Philadelphia at No. 58/60, Washington at No. 49, New Orleans at No. 56.
- Chasson Randle, Stanford: He can score the basketball. That’s about it for him NBA-wise. Not a likely draftee, definite chance at a summer league team, though. Potential fits: Philadelphia at No. 58/60, Cleveland at No. 53, Denver at No. 57