G: Derrick Rose
G: Kobe Bryant
F: Kevin Durant
F: LeBron James
C: Dwight Howard
2nd All NBA Team
G: Chris Paul
G: Dwayne Wade
F: Carmelo Anthony
F: Blake Griffin
C: Al Hoford
3rd All NBA Team
G: Rajon Rondo
G: Monta Ellis
F: Loul Deng
F: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Nene Hilario
Honorable Mentions: Russell Westbrook, G (OKC); Stephen Curry G (GSW); Danny Granger, F (IND); Amare Stoudemire, F (NYK); Kevin Love, F (MIN)
PG: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
SG: Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
SF: LeBron James, Miami Heat
PF: Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder
C: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Defensive Player of the Year:
LeBron James, Miami Heat
Comeback Player of the Year:
Caron Butler, Los Angeles Clippers
Most Improved Player:
Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
Coach of the Year:
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder over Miami Heat in seven games.
All Photos via Bleacher Report (Photo #1: Derrick Rose, Photo #2: LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, Photo #3: Kevin Durant)
I have decided not to write a team by team analysis for this one (I know I am one lazy man).
This year should be a wild year for the Western Conference. To be completely honest this may be the toughest ear to pick the winner and order of the Western Conference. The popular selection is the Oklahoma City Thunder and I have to agree with this selection. Oklahoma City finally has playoff experience and got all the way to the Western Conference Finals a year ago. The key for Oklahoma City will be the play of Russell Westbrook, who has the potential to be one of the top two or three point guards in the game, but needs to be a little bit smarter with the basketball.
However, I am not entirely confident with that selection and can see a number of teams represent the Western Conference this year. One would be the San Antonio Spurs who had the best record in the Western Conference a year ago and if Manu Ginobili is healthy and they can get decent contributions from Tiago Splitter and James Anderson, I believe this team could make a serious title push. And who could forget the defending champion Dallas Mavericks; they still have a good team, but will need Brendan Haywood to step his game up. Lamar Odom was a key pick up, but Dallas will have to figure out how he and Dirk will co-exist. Barea and Chandler were huge losses, but Dallas still has enough weaponry to get back to the finals. Also both Los Angeles teams will have a shot. Clippers I think lack some of the depth that is needed to get there, but the depth is not horrible either so if a couple guys can step their game up, I could see them in the finals especially with the addition of Paul (who should raise everybody’s game a bit). Lakers still have Kobe and as long as they have him will always be a contender for the championship, especially if he is healthy. Finally I think both the Grizzlies and the Trailblazers could be dark horses in this conference as well, with Golden State a team to watch for too. Either way this promises to be a wild and crazy Western Conference.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Dallas Mavericks
- San Antonio Spurs
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Portland Trailblazers
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Denver Nuggets
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Orleans Hornets
- Utah Jazz
Western Conference Finals: Oklahoma City Thunder over San Antonio Spurs in six games
With the new NBA season only a couple of days away, here is my preview of what to expect from each team in the Eastern Conference and where I believe they will finish this year.
1. Miami Heat
After coming up just short of being NBA champions, the Heat are hungry to get back and accomplish what everyone expected them to do last year and that is win the title. Miami was able to add a couple of key pieces this offseason, adding Shane Battier via free agency and drafting Norris Cole. Shane Battier gives them a great defensive and is an intelligent player that will be a good influence in the locker room. While Norris Cole is a rookie with a lot of hype, as he can score and distribute well and was considered a sleeper prospect going into the draft. Bosh will have to get better and LeBron James will need to play more in the post and work better with Wade, but that shouldn’t be a big issue. I fully expect them to at least make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
2. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls had the best record in the NBA a season ago, but had a relatively disappointing postseason. I say that due to the close matches with the Pacers and Hawks and losing in a poor fashion to the Miami Heat. The good thing is Derrick Rose is only going to get better and they added a crucial piece to a championship run in Rip Hamilton. Rip may not seem like a gigantic free agent signing, but for a team that had Keith Bogans starting, it is monumental for their chances to be champions of the league. Rip will provide the team with extra offense and will spread and tire defenses out, which should allow for a better all-around year for Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Loul Deng, Joakim Noah, etc. Bulls could very easily represent the East, but also could go out in the second round. I expect the team will get back to Eastern Conference Finals, but the Knicks and possibly the Celtics will challenge that.
3. New York Knicks
Knicks could make a serious run in the playoffs this year that could see them in the Eastern Conference Finals and possibly even the NBA Finals. They made a pretty good free agent signing this offseason in acquiring Tyson Chandler, who will help them become a better rebounding and defensive team. He also can run the court and will fit in D’Antoni system quite well. However, they are really going to miss having a point guard that can run the offense as well and as tough as Chauncey Billups was able to. Due to Billups’ absence, I think the Knicks will fall short of the Eastern Conference Finals, but they are not far off. Amare and Carmelo, if they decide to play defense, could prove me wrong.
4. Boston Celtics
Could Boston’s years at the top be a thing of the past? First the original big three (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen) are getting older. Then you have them losing a huge part of their team last year in Kendrick Perkins for a guy that will miss all of this season due to heart issues in Jeff Green. Then Boston made only some minor moves this offseason adding Brandon Bass while parting ways with Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Overall the move to me is only a slight upgrade, as Bass can provide them a little bit more toughness and Bass a bit of a better shooter. However, he may benefit learning under Garnett. I still feel the Celtics could have one more shot at, especially in a shorter season. However, this is the last shot for the Celtics because time is running out on the original big three. It may be time to think about building around Rondo or using him to get more, younger pieces for the future.
5. Indiana Pacers
This is going to be a dark horse this year and could, if they get hot, find their way into the Eastern Conference Finals. Tyler Hansbrough looks like a very solid power forward and as long as he sees more minutes, could help make this team very competitive and bring more energy to the team. David West was a nice addition, as was George Hill. Paul George is also a key player to watch this year, he grew two inches and looks primed to have a big year. The depth is up there with best of them and as long as they get solid production from Collison and Hibbert they should be a very good team in the East. Still I think Heat, Bulls, Knicks, and Celtics will be too tough for them, but this is a good bunch that has a lot of upside.
6. Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta had a solid run in the playoffs and gave the Bulls all they could handle. Jeff Teague looked good in that postseason too after Hinrich went out and could be a player to watch for in the NBA this year. However, Joe Johnson didn’t have great season and they lost Jamal Crawford. In order for the Hawks to be a top competitor in the East, Joe Johnson will have to step up and Teague will have to take his game to a whole other level. Also Marvin Williams seems to be healthy and could also be a key contributor. However, I think the Hawks just don’t have the weapons to compete with the Heat, Bulls, Knicks and Celtics. Expect them to finish between fifth and seventh this year in the East.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia had a surprisingly good year and was a hot team down the stretch of last year. Elton Brand played a lot better last year than the previous years, but will likely have to improve on his game some more in order for this team to take the next step. They have a lot of nice pieces especially at the guard spots with Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Jodie Meeks, and especially Evan Turner, who I am expecting big things from this year after a somewhat disappointing rookie season. Thadeus Young is also a nice piece off the bench and should probably start, but with Andre Iguodala on the team will be forced to start on the bench. Watch for Iguodala to be traded for some help in the post. I could see them finishing as high as fifth this year and could make it to the second. This is a real nice up and coming team in the NBA, led by a quality coach in Doug Collins.
8. New Jersey Nets
This really is all dependent on Dwight Howard and where he will land if he gets traded at all this year. If he gets traded to the Nets, which I believe is his likeliest destination, then I believe the Nets could finish as high as forth in the East depending on how soon Dwight gets traded. I think it is going to be closer to the trade deadline for Dwight to get traded, so don’t expect too much from the Nets this year. Besides Brooks Lopez and Deron Williams, this team kind of looks ugly, but those two at the very least should keep them in the playoff hunt.
9. Orlando Magic
The reason I have Orlando out of the playoffs is that I believe Dwight will be gone from this team by the trade deadline and if that is the case they certainly don’t have enough talent to make it without him. They will be close though, because they should get a solid return for Dwight Howard. It is really a shame to think where this team was at not too long ago and now they are likely to lose their superstar centers. The scary thing is, the worst may be yet to come, especially if they can’t manage a nice lottery pick out of a Dwight Howard trade this rebuilding process could take a while so it may be better to trade Dwight sooner than later.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Once again I think this is a season for the Bucks that will hinge on Andrew Bogut’s health. If he is healthy, then the Bucks have a shot for the playoffs. Stephen Jackson was a pretty good addition to a team that has a tough time scoring. Brandon Jennings should have bounce back year and expect big things from him this year. Also with Skiles as the coach, they always have a shot for success with his great defensive mindset. However, with the East growing stronger, it could be tough for Milwaukee to make it to the postseason.
11. Washington Wizards
This is quite an interesting team. John Wall has a full year under his belt and I think we are going to see big improvements in his game this upcoming year. They have some solid post players, but they will have to play smarter on both offense and defense for the team to improve and Rashard Lewis will be a key player in whether this team can make a run towards the playoffs. Watch out for Jordan Crawford this year as I think he is going to be pretty dynamic offensive player in the league. Also Ronny Turiaf was an underrated pick up, should help on defense. Expect them to take steps forward, but I still think they are a year away from making the postseason.
12. Toronto Raptors
This is a team to watch out for in the East. I know that sounds silly, but I really like some of the potential of the players on this team. Especially guys like Ed Davis and DeMar DeRozan. If Andrea Bargnani can improve his game, especially on the defensive side, this team could make some noise in the Eastern Conference. As of now they are still a year away, but watch out for this team, they could be tougher than people think.
13. Charlotte Bobcats
This is likely going to be a real rough year for the Bobcats. They should have a good defense, but they lack a lot of offensive skills. They have a few bright spots on this team, especially their drafted players in Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo who should be key players for the future of this franchise. Paul Silas is also a great coach for this team and should be a good mentor for these young players. They are going to have to wait a year at the very least to sniff the playoffs, but even then it is likely two or three years down the line.
14. Detroit Pistons
After the terrible moves of signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, the Pistons are trying to get back to the playoffs. It won’t likely happen this year, but as bad of free agent signings as they have made, they have some solid prospects to watch out for in second year player Greg Monroe and rookie Brandon Knight. Brandon Knight has a lot of potential, but needs to improve his shooting (especially his consistency), but I like his upside. The Pistons are also going to have to become a more unselfish group in order to have success, which I find unlikely with Stuckey, Gordon and Villanueva on the team. It will likely be a couple years for the Pistons to be a playoff team again.
15. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers were pretty awful last year with the absence of LeBron James. However, they did add some nice pieces through the draft in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Still it is going to take more than that for Cleveland to take the next step and Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson are just too young and raw to make a gigantic impact right away. If Cleveland can get another top three pick next year, the future could be looking bright in a couple years for them.
Eastern Conference Final Prediction: Miami Heat over Chicago Bulls in 7 games
By Josh Roth
(Photo via bleacherreport.com)
Cleveland has got one tough decision to make with the first overall pick in the draft, do they draft Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams. Now many believe that Kyrie Irving is the obvious pick. He has very good play making abilities, can shoot, distribute well and has been compared to Chris Paul. It seems like the obvious choice right?
Well not so fast, Derrick Williams is probably the most athletic and explosive player in this draft. Yes, I know that doesn’t necessarily make him the best player, but with the lack of post players in this draft he would be a very good pick at number one. Derrick Williams is a matchup problem as he can also spread the floor with his shooting ability. If he can develop his post-game and work on decision making abilities, but the sky is the limit for this Derrick Williams.
Another point to make is what we have seen. We have not seen Kyrie Irving play all that much as he did get injured in the middle of the season last year. So there will likely be a lot of question marks about health down the line and with a small sample size it is hard to tell just how good he really is or can be. While Derrick Williams has shown signs of improvement and has a lot more games to prove his worth.
I can’t help but be reminded of the debate not too long ago during the 2008 NBA Draft between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. It is obvious now who the pick should have been, but the decision at the time was not entirely easy. Michael Beasley had a phenomenal year that year and was highly sought after. He, like Derrick Williams, was a tweener, and had many of the same qualities and attributes that we see in Derrick Williams today. And Irving, where he is nowhere near as explosive, draws comparisons to some of the elite point guards in the league.
However, the one luxury Cleveland has is having the fourth pick as well and the worst case scenario if they draft Derrick Williams is Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight, depending on how you view these players. Kemba Walker led his team to a national championship this year and at times put the team on his back. He would also be able to put more fans in the seats and be the face of an organization, even if he isn’t the best player on his team. Or you get Brandon Knight, which I believe is just as talented as Kyrie Irving, but far less polished and a bit more raw.
If you draft Kyrie Irving you are stuck with going after Enes Kanter or one of the international players, which some may not be able to play right away, or trade the pick. Where Enes Kanter is a good player, he is not anywhere near as talented as Derrick Williams, whereas the other point guards mentioned above aren’t too far off of Kyrie Irving.
So, with all that being said I personally would take my chances with Derrick Williams and go with Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight rather than Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter/other. It is a tough call and really is 50/50. Ideally they would be able to trade up to get both players and I am sure they will do all they can to accomplish this. One thing is for sure it should be a very interesting draft night this Thursday.
By Josh Roth
(Image courtesy of silverscreenandroll.com)
Michael Wilbon on ESPN’s PTI, mentioned this doozy: Los Angeles Lakers deal Pau Gasol to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love and the 2nd overall pick.
Initially I really liked the deal for Pau Gasol, but then quickly realized it makes little sense for Minnesota. I get wanting to improve your team and become a playoff team now, but you have to have other players surrounding Gasol in order to do that and they don’t have those players. Sure Rubio has talent, but he has yet to play a game in the NBA and he struggled overseas this past season. Also we have to realize that the Timberwolves have a lot more pressing issues and it would take at least one other star to get this team even sniffing the playoffs. Now if they Timberwolves did not have to give up the 2nd overall pick and maybe deal their 20th pick, then sure make that deal, but you need to keep adding talent and Derrick Williams would likely be a good fit there.
As for the Lakers this makes a little more sense. Kevin Love allows you to spread the court and will give you more second chance opportunities, but his defense is below average, far worse than Gasols and you would have to rely heavily on Bynum or getting a tough veteran defensive minded center. If they can also get that 2nd overall pick, they can finally pick up the point guard they have longed for and could even swap that to the Cleveland Cavs for the 4th pick and Anderson Varejao, because the Cavs seem to love the idea of Irving and Williams.
Overall, I think this would be a solid deal for the Lakers as long as they can get some tough minded defender to alongside Love. And I love the idea that the Timberwolves want to win now, but they must continue to build towards the future and Kevin Love’s stock is not dropping anytime soon, just be patient and wait for next years deadline or offseason to do so.
By Josh Roth
Kyrie Irving, PG
|For many this is believed to be the obvious pick. Irving is a talented point guard that has potential to be a poor man’s Chris Paul. Cleveland could also look at Derrick Williams with this pick too, if they feel a combination of Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight/Kemba Walker is better than Irving and Kanter/Valaciunas/Other. In the end with the rise of point guards in the league, one has to assume that Cleveland will go Kyrie Irving and try to build around him and there still should be a quality post with the fourth pick.|
|Derrick Williams, PF(Arizona)||This is the obvious pick if available; it will either be him or Irving. Any other choice would just be absurd. Derrick Williams is extremely athletic with a bit of range on offense and a very good shot blocker. Reminds me a bit of a hybrid between Lamar Odom and Josh Smith, which should make him a pretty dangerous player in this league, but his post-game will have to improve.|
|Brandon Knights, PG(Kentucky)||Jazz will look to replace the hole left by Deron Williams and with Devin Harris still on the roster look for them to take a chance on Brandon Knight and hope for him to develop. There are some that also believe that Knight is just as talented and a few think more so than Irving. I will disagree at the moment, but would be a very wise pick for the Jazz. Other options could be Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely. However, with an abundance of power forwards expect them to go guard here.|
|Enes Kanter, PF(Kentucky)||If Kanter gets passed the Jazz, he would sure look good alongside of Kyrie Irving, if that is indeed who the Cavaliers take. Many have compared Kanter to Al Hofford and they just need to start getting talent and size. Kanter has both and is likely the best player available and will help send the Cavs in the right direction after the tough offseason a year ago. Other options could be Jonas Valanciunas or Jan Vesely. However, if they go Derrick Williams with the first pick look for them to go Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, or Knight if he falls.|
|Kemba Walker, PG(UConn)||Toronto will have a lot of options here and I will say they will go Kemba Walker. Jerryd Bayless really isn’t a true point guard and Walker can really elevate the games of DeRozan and Bargnani. Kemba has the ability to be a great floor general in this league and despite his run to a championship at Connecticut; he still seems to be overlooked. Other options could include Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely, Marcus Morris, Kawi Leonard or Enes Kanter if he drops.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, PF/C(Lithuania)||This may be the most intriguing picks in the draft. There are a number of routes that the Wizards could go in here. I have them going with Jonas Valanciunas due to being one of the best bigs in the draft, potentially better than Kanter. Wizards already have Blatche and McGee, but they don’t seem to be a good match together on the court. They still need a defensive and rebounding presence down low and Jonas gives them that. Now they could obviously look at a small forward or even a shooting guard here. There is only a couple other guys I see going at this spot and they are Alec Burks or Jan Vesely.|
|Jimmer Fredette, PG(BYU)||Jimmer would really look nice alongside of Tyreke Evans. Whether Jimmer would be a starter or sixth man is the question, but either way Tyreke should get some much needed relief from opposing defenses with Jimmer on the court. However, there are other needs for the Kings and could easily see them going with Jan Vesley, Kawhi Leonard, possibly Chris Singleton. They could even take a chance on Bismack Biyombo or Jonas Valanciunas if he falls for some much needed size.|
|Jan Vesely, F(Czech Republic)||Jan Vesely would likely be the best player at this spot and with Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince likely gone; they will need to fill their void. So Vesely could fill that void well. Vesely has great size and athleticism and is known as a high intensity player. There are some other places the Pistons could look out here as well. Bismack Biyombo is said to be high on their wish list and would give them a solid center prospect. Other options could be Tristian Thompson or Kawhi Leonard.|
|Marcus Morris, PF(Kansas)||With two first round picks, I see the Bobcats taking a power forward at this spot and taking their chances with a wing player later on. Morris is the choice here and although he is a bit undersized he can still finish well in the paint and has the ability to hit a jumper from 20 feet out. Bobcats could look at the multiple shooting guards in Brooks, K. Thompson, and Burks. Or they could take the other highly rated power forward Tristan Thompson or even go small forward here. Tons of options for Charlotte which makes this an interesting pick and it will all contingent on what they decide to do with their other pick.|
|Marshon Brooks, SG(Providence)||Here is a bit of a surprise pick. Bucks are in need of a serious scoring threat to help out Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut and Brooks is one of the wing players that fit the bill. Brooks was a dynamic scorer and often was forced to be a one man wrecking crew at Providence. Obviously there are some other equally talented and younger options here like Alec Burks and Klay Thompson, but the Bucks seem very intrigued by Brooks and are seeking a second workout with him before the draft. Other guys to look out for are Marcus Morris and Tristan Thompson or maybe one of the various small forwards.|
Golden St Warriors
|Kawhi Leonard, SF(San Diego St.)||Another team that I am unsure on, they could try to obtain a center in either Bismack Biyombo or Donatas Motiejunas or they could go with any of those shooting guards if they plan on dealing Monta Ellis. However, at this moment I am going to guess that they hold onto Monta Ellis and have Mark Jackson try to work with him. Thus I have them going with another defensive minded small forward that Golden State needs in Leonard. He needs to improve his ball handling and perimeter shooter but he could make for a solid piece for the Warriors and could probably play some shooting guard too.|
|Alec Burks, SG(Colorado)||With them going with Brandon Knight with the first pick they will likely look at a shooting guard or a small forward. I will say they go with a shooting guard and Alec Burks is arguably the most talented of the bunch left. With good ball handling skills and good athleticism he could become a good slasher and driver. He does need to improve his shooting, but there are a lot of positives about his mechanics during the workouts. Jazz could also go Klay Thompson or Marshon Brooks if he is there. Small forwards, Leonard, Singleton, Hamilton and Harris also make a lot of sense too.|
|Tristan Thompson, PF(Texas)||This seems like one of the obvious picks in the draft, if Tristan does indeed fall to this spot. He has good athleticism and is very quick, which he should fit in perfectly with the Suns’ scheme. If he is not there at this pick, they could look towards getting more improved wing players such as Klay Thompson, Burks, Brooks, Singleton, or another small forward.|
|Bismack Biyombo, PF(Congo)||During the trade deadline, the Houston Rockets emphasized finding a center. Well if Bismack Biyombo slides down to the Rockets expect them to take him. He provides good length, athleticism, and defense; he could fit well with Scola/Patterson. However, he will likely need some time to develop as he is very much a project and basically is just a raw talent at this point. If Biyombo is not there or they pass on him look at Chris Singleton, Jordan Hamilton, Tobias Harris at this pick or possibly Donatas Motiejunas.|
|Markieff Morris, PF(Kansas)||This one is hard to pick, but I will go with Markieff Morris for this pick. With a lack of size on the bench Markieff would be a nice addition to a young and rising team. He would bring energy and an all-around solid game, with a solid jumper, rebounding and defensive skills. Indiana could also look to draft one of the shooting guards in this draft as well (K.Thompson, Burks, and Brooks).|
|Donatas Motiejunas, F/C(Lithuania)||Philadelphia is a young and upcoming team with some nice pieces in place especially in the backcourt. However, they could use some help in the post and with slim pickings at this point, expect for them to look at a guy like Donatas Motiejunas. Motiejunas brings a lot of great potential. He has a very good jump shot and some solid post skills, however he is going to have to change is attitude in order to have success in the NBA. Many believe he has character issues including not playing 100 percent on the court. He also needs to pick up his defense quite a bit, which also ties into his attitude. Again there is a lot of potential here and could be a poor man’s Dirk or Bargnani. 76ers will also give the Morris brothers a look as well as Biyombo and Tristan Thompson.|
New York Knicks
|Klay Thompson, SG(Washington St.)||Their top priority is likely a center or possibly a point guard, but with a lack of those in the draft expect them to go shooting guard to relieve some of the load from Carmelo Anthony. There is also talk that Knicks are very fond of Klay Thompson as well. Klay reminds me a bit of Brandon Roy in the style of play, likely isn’t as talented or as good, but his game seems to mirror Roy’s a bit. He can shoot well, handles the ball well, and has good body control when driving the lane. His quickness is likely what separates him from Roy, but he can still have a big impact in the NBA. Other prospects to watch out for are Brooks, Burks and possibly Darius Morris as they may need a point guard.|
|Chris Singleton, SF(Florida St.)||If Washington does indeed take a big or doesn’t draft Vesely, expect a small forward to be taken at this spot. I went Chris Singleton here, simply because Washington needs to sure up their defense and Singleton is a very good defender. He could also be a solid running mate with Wall on the fast break. Other options include Jordan Hamilton, Tobias Harris, and Justin Harper. And if they do take Vesely possibly throw Faried or Mirotic into the conversation.|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF(Texas)||With the Bobcats going for a post player for their first pick, it would make sense for them to look at a small forward or shooting guard with this pick, and Jordan Hamilton fits the bill nicely. Jordan Hamilton has the skills of a shooting guard, with nice shooting range, solid athleticism, and good height. However, he is likely not quick or fast enough to guard or play shooting guard, so he will likely have to move to small forward, which could cause major matchup problems for other teams if he maximizes his potential. Bobcats could certainly look at Tobias Harris or Tyler Honeycutt with this pick or look for a backup guard like Darius Morris or Reggie Jackson.|
|Tobias Harris, SF(Tennessee)||With the likes of Derrick Williams, expect the Timberwolves to look for someone who can give them good minutes off the bench. They will likely look guard first, but at this point will look for the top talent. Tobias Harris gives them great versalitity and can cause matchup problems, but will need to work on his jumper to be a more dynamic offensive player. Also don’t be surprised to hear Beasley in trade rumors during the draft as well. Minnesota could also look at some post players like Nikola Vucevic or Kenneth Faried.|
|Nikola Vucevic, PF/C(USC)||Portland has plent of options here. They could look at another post player with Camby aging and Greg Oden becoming a free agent. So Nikola Vucevic could make a lot of since here. He could give them a lot of size and spread the floor with his excellent shooting ability. He needs to improve his defense especially with his lack of quickness and could polish up his post game to make him a dual threat offensively. Other options include Faried and other post players. Also they could look at point guards as well, especially Darius Morris who could be a good replacement for Andre Miller down the line.|
|Kenneth Faried, PF(Morehead St.)||Denver will at this point likely look to add some size and all though he is a bit undersized for a power forward, Kenneth Faried would be an excellent pick for the Denver Nuggets. Kenneth is a tremendous rebounder and defensive player that is also very athletic and would be an excellent fit for an up-tempo team like Denver. He is not the ideal size for bigs and he doesn’t have much of an offensive game, but he should be a valuable piece off the bench that will bring tons of energy into the game. Other possible picks would include Nikola Vucevic, Justin Harper, Tobias Harris, or if one of the international post players fall.|
|Darius Morris, PG(Michigan)||In need of a point guard of sorts, Darius Morris would be a great pick at this point of the draft. That is if he is available, which it sounds like his stock is rising He has the ability to create shots for himself and others and finishes very well at the bucket. He needs to improve his defense and his perimeter shooting.. Other guys in this spot would include Tyler Honeycutt, Iman Shumpert, Davis Bertans, Justin Harper, Tobias Harris, Shelvin Mack etc.|
Oklahoma City Thunder
|Nikola Mirotic, PF(Montenegro)||With the Oklahoma City Thunder not needing any major pieces, at least not from the draft, they could look to find a prospect with a ton of upside. Nikola Mirotic at this point would be an excellent candidate. Mirotic has outstanding range for a big and is an excellent shooter with good agility. However, he needs to improve his defense and bulk up a bit more for the next level. If he improves on those things, he could be an excellent find for the Thunder. Other options here could include Justin Harper, Kyle Singler, Davis Bertans, or an experienced college player that can help out right away and deepen their bench.|
|Reggie Jackson, PG/SG(Boston College)||There have been a lot of talks that Boston is very much interested in Jackson here. Celtics could use a backup point guard and Reggie Jackson has a lot of potential. He is a great athlete with an unbelievable wingspan; 7 feet (remind you of anyone else? Rondo?). He will need to improve on a bunch of areas though including his defense, passing skills, and his jump shot, which did improve this past season. Other options for Boston include Justin Harper, Tyler Honeycutt, Travis Leslie, Josh Selby, Kyle Singler, or other backup pointguards.|
|Justin Harper, F(Richmond)||Dallas could go in a couple of directions here. They could look at some international talent or young raw prospects to groom and hope they can find a star or they could find a useful piece that can come off the bench for the time being. Justin Harper would be a real nice addition to the Champions as he is versatile in that he can play the three and the four and give rest to Marion and Dirk. Justin Harper has great range, but will likely need to get stronger if he wants to be able to play power forward consistently and if he does he could be a very dangerous pick and pop guy.|
New Jersey Nets
|Travis Leslie, SF/SG(Georgia)||Nets are in need of a small forward or shooting guard at this position. Travis Leslie could feel both, although he does not have ideal size for a small forward. He is a very strong, quick and extremely athletic player. He needs to improve on his range from behind the arc to really and continue to work on his ball handling skills. Other options here for the Nets are Justin Harper, Josh Selby, Tyler Honeycutt, Reggie Jackson, Kyle Singler, Chris Jenkins, etc.|
|Josh Selby, SG(Kansas)||The Bulls are in need of a shooting guard pretty badly and at this point there are not as many guards as talented as Josh Selby. Selby has a lot of potential with good athleticism and shooting ability, but he has had some character issues. He also struggled a bit last year which combined with his character are the reason his stock is slipping. The Bulls will likely not be in this spot as many executives believe that they will trade this and the 30th pick to move up or trade for more proven and experienced players. But if they do stay in this spot also look for them to look at a backup point guard for Rose in either Darius Morris if he slips or Nolan Smith, possibly Charles Jenkins too.|
San Antonio Spurs
|Davis Bertans, F(Latvia)||Spurs are known for their late round international gems and it may be time for another one. Bertans, is a very young and raw, but has excellent size and shooting range to become a good player. Like any 18 year old prospect from overseas, he will need to develop the other aspects of the game and he will likely be staying overseas for a couple of years. Also there have been rumors that the Spurs may have made a promise to him, if he falls that low. Other options could be another small forward like Tyler Honeycutt, Kyle Singler, etc.|
|Tyler Honeycutt, SF(UCLA)||Loul Deng logged a lot of minutes for the Bulls last year and it would be wise for the Bulls to give him a bit of a breather. Tyler is a very athletic and lengthy player that will like excel on the defensive side of the ball, which Chicago likes. However, he needs to improve on his shooting and decision making as he was very turnover prone, turning it over more times than getting assists. Yet again don’t expect Chicago to be at this spot, but if they are they could also use a backup point guard.|