The Ping-Pong balls worked their magic during Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery. For 30 suspenseful minutes, NBA fans of all lottery teams were on the edge of their seats praying not to hear their team’s name, all in hope of landing the #1 overall pick in next month’s draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers were the lucky ones, as they landed their third #1 pick in the last four years. You think the odds of that happening are slim to none? Try nearly impossible. The odds of Cleveland getting the 1st overall pick three of four years was about 0.007%. That’s low, and unfortunately the results have caused some uproar from fans ripping the NBA because they believe the lottery is rigged. Let’s be real here for a second, if the Lottery was rigged why would the NBA want a bunch of 1st overall picks to go the city of Cleveland? Now if the Lakers won the lottery Tuesday night, then maybe you fans that think it’s rigged would have an argument, but come on it’s not rigged. The Milwaukee Bucks wound up with the privilege of the 2nd overall pick, and our own Philadelphia 76ers will hold the 3rd overall pick. The Orlando Magic will pick 4th followed by the Utah Jazz with the 5th pick.
Now let’s talk specifically about the Sixers. Dr. J wasn’t able to bring home the #1 pick but it seems to be that people are content with the 3rd pick. The only real concern is if Cleveland decides not to take Joel Embiid at #1, and they take Wiggins, then the Bucks take Parker at #2, where do the Sixers go at #3? Do they take a chance on Embiid, who may not even get a physical before the draft or do they look in a different direction? I think the answer should be to look in a different direction if this is in fact the scenario because number one, if Embiid decides not to take his physical before the draft that should throw up immediate red flags pointing to his back injury. Number two, we drafted Nerlens Noel in last year’s draft to be our big-man of the future. He hasn’t even put on a Sixers uniform yet and we’re already are thinking about adding Embiid to the mix. It would be a tough decision for GM Sam Hinkie if Embiid fell to pick #3 but my advice would be to stay away from him. You don’t want to give a guy with a bad back the keys to your franchise.
This Scenario is just one of the many we will be taking a look at over the course of the next month. Over the next four weeks you will hear rumors and speculation of what teams are thinking on a day-to-day basis. This is the beauty of having the lottery a month before the actual draft. People like me will stay up all night every night, studying and watching film on players. Everyone gets a chance to voice their own opinion and thousands of mock drafts will be created. With that said, let me challenge my inner Mel Kiper, “Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd.” Alright, enough of that gibberish, it’s time to start the PHT Mock Draft 1.0, so let’s get this crazy month of rumors and speculation started with the prediction of the 14 lottery picks.
- Cleveland Cavaliers- Joel Embiid, C, Kansas -Okay, so what do the Cavs need? Everything is the correct answer but where would be a good place to start? They need a big, 7’0 Center that can gel with PG Kyrie Irving. As long as Embiid is healthy and actually takes a physical, I think the Cavs will make this pick. He may not bring the firepower to ignite them into the playoffs but it would be a step in the right direction. By the way, the only way I see LeBron returning to Cleveland is if they were to trade this pick to Minnesota for Kevin Love. ESPN reporter, Brian Windhorst, reported yesterday that if LeBron were to leave Miami, he’d be looking for a team that will be ready to win a championship now. That’s not Cleveland. If there’s anyone to trust when talking about LeBron, its Brian Windhorst, I mean the guy has been reporting on LeBron since King James was catching scouts eyes in High School.
- Milwaukee Bucks- Jabari Parker, F, Duke- Parker is probably the safest possible pick in this draft with an extremely high upside. While watching some of his Duke games this past season, it’s clear that he’s NBA ready. There are critics firing shots at him for his defense and his physical fitness. The Bucks will be happy with anything at this point so this would be a great fit for them. Insiders say his NBA ceiling would be most like Carmelo Anthony.
- Philadelphia 76ers- Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas- YESSSSSSSS!!! Winless for Wiggins came true! Wiggins is a perfect fit for the Sixers. He will play alongside MCW and gel well with Noel. He definitely has NBA star power, and some reports say his ceiling is even higher than Parkers. Critics say his ability to get into the lane consistently can be a problem but that’s all stuff that will come. Wiggins is a stud and will be loved in this city.
- Orlando Magic- Dante Exum, G, Australia- I have the Magic taking Exum here with the 4th overall pick. Foreign players usually don’t pan out in the NBA, barring a few exceptions, but the word on the street is this guy is legit. Scouts have compared him to MCW over the past few weeks and have come to the conclusion that he is one step above this year’s rookie of the year. He’s a lanky PG at 6’6 which seems to be becoming a trend these days. I feel he would fit perfect with Oladipo. The Magic would now have two guys that love to finish at the rim.
- Utah Jazz- Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona- Utah has a tough choice here at #5 but I have them taking Gordon. Although the Jazz haven’t necessarily produced over the past few seasons, I like what they got going on out there in Salt Lake City. They are developing young talent at every position and Gordon would be the final piece to their equation. He has tremendous athleticism that separates him from everyone else, and his only real struggle is his foul shooting. 44% is pathetic but can be over looked for the bigger picture.
- Boston Celtics- Julius Randle, F, Kentucky- Randle is a guy who really had a lot of criticism before the NCAA Tournament but flipped the switch during the Tournament leading Kentucky to the Championship game as an 8 seed. When this guy gets in a groove you feed him, feed him, and feed him more. Multiple times during the Tournament he absolutely went Beast Mode on everybody around the rim. He certainly knows how to finish and he’s a joy to watch. Would be a great fit in Boston with Rondo.
- Los Angeles Lakers- Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State- Well, Kobe isn’t going to be around much longer so it’s time to find another star. Marcus Smart shows signs of being a prominent NBA star. This guy can score and he will shoot until he scores. Attitude hurt him a few times this year but with good teaching from Kobe Smart has the opportunity to develop into the next star for the Lakers.
- Sacramento Kings- Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana-The Kings need the best available player here and Vonleh would be a steal at #8. He has a 7’4 wingspan which is massive and an exceptional face up offensive game. Scouts link him to Chris Bosh which would be exactly what the Kings could use. He is still very young and doesn’t even turn 19 until august but he’s still an impressive prospect with skills that make him a perfect fit for Sacramento.
- Charlotte Hornets- Doug McDermott, F, Creighton- Dougie McBuckets would be the ideal fit in Charlotte. He is the perfect outlet for Walker which could turn into a deadly drive and kick offensive game. Nobody is going to complain when you hit 44% from 3-point range and that’s exactly what McDermott did at Creighton. It will be interesting to find out if the speed of the NBA game affects him at all. Other than that, McDermott can help the Hornets possibly go deeper into the playoffs. Hey, worst comes the worst, at least he’ll bring a few All-Star Saturday night Foot Locker 3-point challenge championships back to Charlotte.
- Philadelphia 76ers- Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan- Stauskas is the perfect fit for the Sixers. If they were to get Wiggins the starting lineup next season would feature, MCW, Wiggins, Noel, and now Stauskas. Have fun trying to stop that. Nik is absolutely deadly from 3-point range and will certainly be challenging Dougie for some of those All-Star 3-point championships. He also showed he can drive this season and be effective off the dribble which only makes him more valuable. This would be an outstanding pick for the Sixers.
- Denver Nuggets- Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse- The Nuggets have struggled ever since the Melo trade a few years back. The team is now just stuck in the middle and that’s probably the worst place to be. They need to get a guy they can build around and that would be Tyler Ennis. He is a quality PG, a facilitator that’s has a knack for finishing at the rim. His mid-range game is also pretty solid and can be a big-time defensive piece as well. Overall a great prospect and someone that could grow into a team leading NBA PG.
- Orlando Magic- Rodney Hood, F, Duke- Hood takes a lot of punishment just because he wasn’t Duke’s star player, and he was always put under Jabari Parker. He’s known for his deadly left-handed shot. I feel he can step up when asked too, and he can become a solid piece for a Magic team still in the process of rebuilding. I see a lot of Chris Bosh in Hood because of his mid-range shooting ability. Good fit in Orlando with Exum.
- Minnesota Timberwolves- Gary Harris, G, Michigan State-Garry Harris is a quality player who I think is NBA ready right now. That’s key for the Wolves because their on the verge of becoming a playoff team but just not quite there yet. If they can manage to keep Kevin Love, Harris could be the piece that propels the Wolves into the playoffs.
- Phoenix Suns- James Young, G, Kentucky- James Young is a talented freshman from Kentucky who could get the Suns to the next level. He only shot 34% this past year but he can definitely play and has shown he can step up in the big spot. He would be a great fit for the Suns and he’s a fun player to watch.
Well, the first mock draft is complete!
-Follow @WillRock2424 on Twitter