Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lottery Mock Draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns
Consider this a wishful pick. I think they'll take Okafor because Flip seems enamored with him, but for good luck I'll put Towns here. I hope I eventually look like a fool by writing this last week, either by the Wolves taking Towns or Okafor being better than advertised. I laid out what I think about both of them in that column.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Jahlil Okafor, C Duke
See above.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
D'Angelo Russell
Maybe I'm biased because I'm a Minnesota fan who watched Russell destroy the Gophers this year, but I can't see Russell not succeeding. He's  a below average defender, but his versatility on offense is what makes him special. He's a natural scorer from the two guard but can distribute from the point if you need him to. He's a safe pick.
4. New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis
Almost every year there's a foreigner who shoots up draft boards and the general public believes it because nobody's seen him play. From Dante Exum to Jan Vesely to Yi Jianlian all the way back to Darko.  All I've seen of Porzingis are highlight videos. He seems to have a good shooting stroke, and the potential is definitely there. At worst I think he's a solid stretch four for a decent team.
5. Orlando Magic
Justise Winslow
I couldn't be a bigger Winslow fan. He's a freak athlete, tenacious defender and is just good enough of a shooter to stay afloat in the league. Now there's a chance a team takes Mudiay over him? Winslow's the best wing in the draft and has the athleticism to make in impact right away in the NBA. After him the talent levels off.
6. Sacramento Kings
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mudiay is the one of the few guys in the lottery I would stay away from. We've seen too many large point guards in the league who can't shoot a lick struggle, like Michael Carter-Williams and Dante Exum. The league's going in a direction where everybody is more skilled. I don't see Mudiay fitting in anywhere.
7. Denver Nuggets
Willy Cauley-Stein
This seems like a good fit for WCS. After the Josh Smith debacle I don't think the Pistons are interested in another big man who can't shoot, especially with Andre Drummond fill the position, and I don't see how he fits in with DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento if they keep him. The Nuggets will get a reliable rim protector in a slot where they need to snag the best player since they're rebuilding with Ty Lawson's impending exit.
8. Detroit Pistons
Mario Henzoja
Another high risk high reward foreigner. Regardless of where on the spectrum Henzoja falls he'll be entertaining. He's among the most cocky players in the draft, even occasionally going out of his way to dunk on opponents when a layup would have done. He'll add some spark to a stagnant Detroit offense.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Cameron Payne
I'm always skeptical of players at small colleges who lit up poor competition and saw their stock rise because of workouts. It just doesn't add up. Why would a team value what someone did in a controlled environment over, I don't know, maybe actual games? Oh yeah, because half of all GMs are morons. I forgot about that. Payne's stock has been rising faster than tides during global warming recently mainly because of that. He can score, but he did it on a Murray State team that needed him to carry a heavy load. I'm not sure he can do adjust in the NBA.
10. Miami Heat
Stanley Johnson
After four straight gambles, we have a safe pick. Johnson's a physical wing who will play well opposite to Dwyane Wade. The bigger, more athletic Johnson can help hide Wade on defense and provide a little scoring. I could see the Heat being a playoff team in the putrid east next year with the Dragic-Wade-Johnson-Bosh-Whiteside combination.
11. Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner
The enigmatic Turner had one up and down season under Rick Barnes in Texas after being a top recruit at the beginning of the season. His shooting ability and rim protection make him a safe pick; at the very least he'll be a solid role player, but he needs to add strength so he can't be pushed around as easily under the basket to be anything more than that.
12. Utah Jazz
Kelly Oubre
I love this pick for the Jazz. There were questions about his work ethic at Kansas. I don't see that happening in Utah. If he dedicates himself he can be one of the best players in the draft, and there's no better place for that to happen than Salt Lake City.
13. Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker
Perfect pick here. The Suns need a shooter and Booker is just that. Even though they traded Goran Dragic, they're not completely rebuilding because of the promising core of Eric Bledsoe, Markieff Morris and Alex Len. Booker can stretch the defense and open things up for Len down low.
Oklahoma City Thunder
14. Frank Kaminsky
As strange as it seems for a team that nearly made the playoffs last year, the Thunder have a lot of holes to fill outside Westbrook and Durant. Kaminsky and Trey Lyles look like the best players available here, but they don't need a four in Lyles since they already have Serge Ibaka. Even though he was the main man at Wisconsin, Kaminsky can fit in in any situation, whether he needs to score or not.

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