by Justin Danziger
This upcoming draft seems to be jam packed with potential stars. Ranging from center, Joel Embiid, to point guard, Tyler Ennis, most of the 1st round picks might turn out to be centerpieces for the franchise that chooses them. Houndsports put together a mock draft of players that are not only fantastic players but fit well with the teams we chose.
1. Milwaukee Bucks:
Joel Embiid, Kansas, C
Embiid has worked his way up the draft boards in these past few weeks, surprising everyone of the potential that this young man brings to the table. Embiid has a nearly flawless defensive side and his offense is improving dramatically. Embiid is the most promising player in the class and the Bucks need a productive guy in the paint. If the Bucks decide on Embiid, they can move John Henson to a permanent forward spot and put 7 feet Embiid at center.
2. Orlando Magic
Jabari Parker, Duke, SF
Jabari Parker brings a lot to the game. He brings a defensive presence, a perimeter shot, driving abilities, power, explosiveness, and speed. There is not much that Jabari needs to work on, he is NBA material. The Magic are looking for their centerpiece. They have nice guards in Aron Afflalo and Victor Oladipo, but they are both not capable of running a playoff caliber team. The Magic are missing a star and a small forward, Parker would fit perfectly with Orlando.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, SG
Andrew Wiggins seemed like a 1st overall pick for sure coming into the season but as other players improved, Wiggins did not live up to the hype that surrounded him. But don't get me wrong, Wiggins is still playing great and is helping lead Kansas to a successful year. Wiggins really does not have much to improve on. The 76ers will likely deal out Evan Turner to leave a spot for Wiggins, who will look to be their centerpiece to go along with Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young. Wiggins' type of fast paced play is what makes him more prepared for the NBA than any other prospect.
4. Utah Jazz
Julius Randle, Kentucky, PF
Julius Randle is a strong and powerful player. The Utah Jazz are a struggling organization but what they do not need is a point guard and shooting guard due to their solid pieces in Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward. What they do lack is a solid power forward and Randle is the best option on the board. Although he does need some offensive work, if trained properly, Randle can turn out to be like a Zach Randolph type of player.
5. Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, PG
Assuming Boston gets rid of Rajon Rondo, they will be in need of an explosive and productive guard. Marcus Smart fits better at point than at the shooting guard position just because he would be an undersized shooting guard. Smart can score, pass, and play defense. He has a large body and can body up most point guards. Smart will definitely be a much paid off pick in his years in the NBA.
6. Sacramento Kings
Dante Exum, Australia, PG/SG
Dante Exum declared for the NBA draft this morning. The Kings would most likely place Exum at shooting guard because of his height of 6'6'' and because they have an excellent, young guard in Isiah Thomas. I, honestly do not think Exum should go this high up because it is quite rare for an international player to live up to his hype. The competition is not as great as the NCAA, but Exum may pay off for the team that chooses him. He gets to the rim with ease.
7. Los Angeles Lakers
Aaron Gordon, Arizona, SF
Aaron Gordon is a big player. His draft stock has been rising due to Arizona's success and his big influence on that. Gordon is a scorer, a rebounder, and a beastly defender. He can block shots, contest, and defend the paint very well. The Lakers will be looking for a centerpiece to their organization since Kobe's years are coming to close. Gordon has a strong presence that affects how his teammates play. Los Angeles is looking to get back on the saddle soon and Gordon would be the right pick for them.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
Noah Vonleh, Indiana, PF
The Cavaliers experiement of going after Anthony Bennett first overall was a complete failure. To make up for drafting a horrible forward, Noah Vonleh would be a solid choice. Standing at nearly 7 feet tall, Vonleh has a great post move and can rebound well. He may be a safer choice than Randle because he seems to be more consistent. Vonleh would add another scoring option to Cleveland and would be able to get second scoring opportunities for Kyrie off of rebounds.
9. Denver Nuggets
Rodney Hood, Duke, SF
The Nuggets have the potential to do something big, as does Rodney Hood. Hood is tearing it up down in Duke and has a knock down jump shot. The Nuggets already have a decent scoring team, but adding Hood would be adding a pure shooter to the roster. Hood has a nice handle for a forward and can take a defender to the rim with no problems. Hood has remained a consistent source of scoring this year for Duke and will have a successful career has a professional.
10. Detroit Pistons
Zach LaVine, UCLA, PG/SG
The Pistons are looking for a solid and consistent shooting guard and with Jennings covering the point, LaVine would make for a consistent shooting guard. Having two guys who can bring up with ball is not a bad thing. LaVine is quick off the dribble, is showing signs of improvement on the off the dribble shot, and is deadly off the catch. His range is unlike most point guards, shooting 46.7 percent from behind the arc. LaVine is one of the underrated prospects in the draft this year.
11. Philadelphia 76ers
Jerami Grant, Syracuse, SF/PF
Jerami Grant is one of Syracuse's top NBA prospects. Grant is a pure defender but seems to be improving his offensive game. He has been helping to lead Syracuse to a current ranking of 2nd in NCAA. Grant can rebound and has power that is hard to find in college athletes. He can slam a dunk down while also shooting mid-range jumpers. Grant's offense needs some work but his defense makes him the athlete and powerhouse that he is.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves
Dario Saric, Croatia, SF/PF
The Timberwolves would be getting a forward who can shoot and rebound with this pick. Saric resembles an under-developed (not nearly has good, yet) Kevin Love, in that, he is a big guy who can shoot from deep and also rebound just as well. Saric pulled his name out of the draft last year, but this year will be different for sure.
13. Charlotte Bobcats
Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, PG
By this point in the draft, a team cannot pass up on arguably the best freshman in NCAA this year, Tyler Ennis. Ennis is doing everything right now, scoring, assisting, and playing solid defense. Ennis is the best pure point guard on the list and is a pass-first kind of player. Ennis can shoot but he is best at facilitating an offense.
14. Orlando Magic
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, C
The Magic are already overloaded with shooting guards and small forwards since we had them drafting Jabari Parker earlier. Orlando already has a center in Nikola Vucevic but a Cauley-Stein and Vucevic duo would be killer. Cauley-Stein is not a great offensive threat but he plays defense like a pro. He is a phenomenal shot blocker and excels at protecting the rim. Orlando struggles at stopping the offense and Cauley-Stein would contribute positively to the defense.
15. Chicago Bulls
Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF
The Chicago Bulls are known for being a defensive threat and not so much of an offense. McDermott is all scoring. McDermott is averaging 24.3 PPG and he is what Chicago needs. They wouldn't guarantee a starting job but he would serve as an off the bench, 6 man scorer.