The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Drafting Season Part 5: All Aboard The Big Board Bandwagon

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So everyone and their mother has out out a NBA Draft big board so why the hell should I be left out? Here are my top 25 favorite NBA prospects in this draft. This board isn’t necessarily what I think the Cavs should do, but is more so just ranking the players by weighting their talent and NBA readiness against each other.

As they say in Mario Kart….here we go!

1. Flat Top – I wrote an entire article on why I think the Cavs should draft Mr. Flat Top and I ain’t changing my views now.

2. Otto Porter – Porter was who I’d been targeting for most of the college season for the Cavs until they bow-tied their way into the #1 pick. The constant comparisons he gets to Tayshaun Prince don’t do him any justice. He has a versatile offensive game, is going to be an above average defender at the NBA level, and can be consistently used to create mismatches on both ends of the floor. He’ll probably never be a #1 option, but I’m not sure there are many, if any, of those in this draft.

3. Victor Oladipo – Not only is his last name fun to say, but Chad Ford consistently describes him as a coaches’ wet dream, I’m paraphrasing. The two biggest red flags on him are his age and his inability to go left. Still it is hard seeing how Oladipo doesn’t become an upper echelon wing defender, decent floor spacer, and a guy who will play his heart out for your team on a nightly basis. The improvement he has shown over his college career combined with his work ethic say maybe he can improve even further. I keep rereading what I wrote and wonder how this guy is the third best prospect in the draft, but I actually think he is. This draft sucks. It has been fun to research, but it really isn’t good.

4. Trey Burke – I’d have Burke ranked 2nd or 3rd except I feel like there is a glut of good point guards in the league causing me to devalue point guards. It is hard to see how Burke isn’t a very good NBA player. He uses both hands well, can run an offense, has NBA range, and has the demeanor you like to see a player who is going to have the ball in his hands frequently. The biggest knock on him is his size which causes scouts to wonder if he will be able to finish around the rim in the NBA, but he has a decent array of finishes and is quick enough to get NBA defenders moving the wrong way. The size though will give him a disadvantage on defense and I can see PGs like Kyrie posting him up and abusing him at times. I’m not sure he’ll ever be an All-Star, but I can see him reaching the level of Ty Lawson.

5. Anthony Bennett – It is hard to rank guys like Bennett. His athletic ability combined with the diversity of his offensive skill set should put him as high as 1st or 2nd in this draft. There isn’t a better offensive player in this draft and with his athleticism he should be able to perform admirably on defense as well. The problem? He is extremely lazy on defense and has also gained a ton of weight during the draft process while nursing a shoulder injury. Watching somebody be lazy on the court and then seeing them gain a ton of weight as they go into their job interview process where they should know it will be viewed negatively is a huge red flag. I probably should out him lower, but if somehow he is just immature, only being a freshman, and somehow manages to put it all together I wouldn’t be shocked if he turned out to be the best player in this draft. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

6 – Ben McLemore – McLemore has beautiful athleticism and a beautiful jump shot. He is this years version of “the next Ray Allen” taking the mantle from Bradley Beal. Both Beal and McLemore have been knocked for being too passive despite being the most talented players on their teams coming out of college. The thing is Beal could actually put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. McLemore trying to do anything other than dribble in a straight line looks like Ginoblli in Game 6 of the NBA Finals…ugly. McLemore is not a half court ball handler and I don’t expect him to ever really be. He would ideally thrive on a team where he can be a spot up shooter as well as a force in transition. I’m a big believer in selecting players with the right mental make up to be stars in the NBA and I don’t think he has it.

7 – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – I think he is a fairly safe pick in this draft. He’ll offer you much of what Oladipo offers you with a little less upside, but a little more size. His size will allow him to guard multiple positions and give his coach more line up options, which I place a lot of value on. His on the court/off the court numbers for Georgia are insane as well.

8 – Sergey Karasev – Probably the prospect on this list I’ve watched the least, but he is still only 19 and playing well against professionals in Europe. By all accounts he is going to be an above average outside shooter, has good size at 6’7 allowing him to play shooting guard or small forward, and he seems to have a feel for the game that is beyond his age. Besides Bennett and Burke he might be the best offensive player in this draft assuming he builds upon his already impressive skill set.

9 – Alex Len – There are a lot of decent bigs in this draft and Len is the 2nd most appealing on the majority of draft boards. I’m a little less in love with him then most. For somebody of his size he doesn’t really play well on the block even against the small defenders he faced in college. The footwork and athleticism he displays in his face up game is impressive, but not consistent. For his size he rebounded the ball poorly. I can see why scouts think he has a lot of upside because at times he’ll pull an offensive move that wows you, but his production doesn’t justify the hype. One area where I do like Len is he shows great lateral movement on the perimeter and is able to recover quickly on defense.

10 – CJ McCollum – McCollum was one of the most fun players to watch in college, but I’m not sure how good he’ll be as a pro. People love making the Damien Lillard comparison since they both came from small schools, stayed in colleges for awhile, and were under the radar heading into the draft, but to be honest I don’t even like Lillard that much. Despite being Rookie of the Year his numbers still leave something to be desired and since he is already 23 you can’t expect as much improvement from him as you could a Barnes or a Waiters. The same goes for McCollum. He’ll be an NBA player for awhile and might impress in his rookie season, but I question how much more he can improve. Still in a weak draft somebody who can be your 6th man for years to come might not be that bad of a pick.

11 – Cody Zeller – It was difficult for me to put him this high just because it is hard for me to imagine how he’ll translate to the NBA. His wingspan doesn’t match his height which means he won’t be blocking a lot of shots in the NBA. You could see him struggle at times in college with longer defenders and I have no idea how he’ll handle NBA length. He is mostly likely a power forward and would probably be best utilized on a high tempo team due to his uncanny ability to get up and down the floor for a seven footer.

12 – Lucas Noguiera – I’m not sure he’ll ever be a great offensive player, but he is only 20 and has shown vast improvements to his game playing in one of the better European Leagues. Has great size and athleticism at a legit seven foot and will score a lot of easy baskets if paired with a decent point guard. Is playing better than Serge Ibaka did in the same league at his age and getting a defensive anchor around the 12th pick isn’t a bad way to go.

13 – Shabazz Muhammad – I like Shabazz and think the fact that he has taken a storm of criticism since it was revealed he and his family had lied about his age will have him enter the league with a chip on his shoulder. I’m not sure any player in this drafts flaws have been more analyzed. He is one of the best scorers off the dribble in this draft and combined with his decent size and aggressive style of play will make him into a potential steal of the draft.

14 – Michael Carter-Williams – Scouts and fans alike are always intrigued with tall point guards, but I’m not buying in as much as the pack is on this one. He has terrible shooting numbers and isn’t a great finisher around the rim despite his above average size for a PG. He has no real jump shot to speak of either. He does see the floor well and could be a potential match up problems for opposing point guards in the NBA, but besides in his passing game his size doesn’t often come into play. The one bright spot is he almost averaged three steals a game in college and most advanced metrics people say steals translate well to the NBA due to their high correlation with quickness. Still I have visions of teams just sagging off him completely and daring him to take jump shots which he will surely repeatedly clank until he improves his shot.

15 – Giannis “I can’t say or spell your last name” Antetokounmpo – There really isn’t much to say except that he is really young, 18, an athletic freak, has great NBA size at 6’8 and his draft videos show him playing against what appears to be a bunch of suburban middle school teams. If you like gambling this is the guy to do it on.

16 – Reggie Bullock – I am high on this guy despite his lack of upside. If you draft him you’re getting a good outside shooter who also puts in a lot of work defending and reboundng. At 6’7 he fills that fa,ed “D and 3” role that is taking the NBA world by storm. North Carolina’s offense improved significantly with him on the court. He isn’t a guy you want to put the ball on the floor very much, but he’ll do just about everything else you ask of him. He is the opposite of Giannis, safe and sweet.

17 – Dennis Schroeder – I would rank this guy higher than Michael Carter-Williams if it wasn’t so hard to scout European players. He reminds me of Brandon Jennings in both his style of player and his frame. Not exactly a true PG, but his speed and ball handling ability means he should be able to fill it up in the NBA.

18 – Steven Adams – I feel like he is getting overrated due to his impressive workouts and combine, but the guy is kind of raw all around. He plays hard, is fairly athletic for a seven footer, and seems like a good kid, but I’m not buying into the workout hype. 18 seems about right for him.

19 – Kelly Olynk – More of a power forward than a center at the NBA level. If he can continue to develop his range out to the NBA 3-point line then this could be a low ranking for him as he could develop into a poor man’s Ryan Andersen. Still he isn’t a traditional center and is going to require a coach who is creative in how they employ him on the court, something that he shares with Cody Zeller.

20 – Tony Mitchell – Rounding out the top 20 is I’m going with prospect whose value mainly lies in his upside. I’d be surprised if Mitchell didn’t make it as a rotation player in this league and at 20 that is what you’re looking for. He has great measurables and will defend and rebound for your team; two skills that teams are always looking for. He is turnover prone has his jump shot needs a lot of work, but North Texas didn’t do him any favors in terms of coaching.

21 – Mason Plumlee – This is as boring as a draft pick can get. Taking a guy with size and experience and just about no upside to speak of. If you team needs a back big on the cheap then this is the guy you draft.

22 – Rudy Gobert – I’m not sure this guy should make my top 25 as the only reason he is getting drafted is because of his insane wingspan. The problem is that no other players who have had comparable builds have succeeded in the NBA. Still Gobert is longer than even the closet comparisons to him and I can’t say I’m not intrigued. The guy can pretty much catch a lob and dunk it without leaving the ground.

23 – Tim Hardaway Jr. – One of these playoff teams is going to be looking for a guard it can trust coming off the bench and performing decent and Hardaway is that guard. He can space the floor, has the athleticism to defend in the NBA, and his egregious shot selection will hopefully be tempered playing in the NBA with players who are clearly better than him.

24 – Shane Larkin – I’m probably undervaluing Larkin a little considering how well he performed in pick n’ roll situations throughout college, but his upside seems limited to a back up. Players like Larkin will have trouble playing with super stars because they excel with the ball in their hands. The problem is on a good team that isn’t going to happen very often. As such Larkin just barely makes the list despite being fairly talented. I’m sure he’ll go higher.

25 – Gorgui Dieng – He is 23, but still has some room to improve due to his late start in basketball. He should be able to come right into the NBA and make a decent impact on defense, but I can’t imagine him ever being anything more than a liability on offense.

 

-Joe Mastrantoni

 This is Part 5 of Joe Mastrantoni’s ongoing series for the 2013 Cavaliers ‘Drafting Season’

Click here for Drafting Season Part 1

Click here for Drafting Season part 2 

Click here for Drafting Season Part 3

Click here for Drafting Season Part 4

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Posted by on Jun 27 2013. Filed under Featured, Hands Down, Man's Down. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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