Since the NBA Draft order was determined, we've seen a whole bunch of different mock drafts from various people. I try to post every relevant one that I see and have been doing a lot of studying of these prospects to form my own opinions. Therefore, I'll give you my first version of a mock draft for the lottery portion. Feel free to disagree with me, point out the stupid things that will never happen, and most importantly, post your own version in the comments below.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis
This one is really pretty simple. The Chris Paul era just left NOLA, now they get the Anthony Davis era. Serious question here: who would you rather have for the next 5 years, Eric Gordon and Davis or Chris Paul?
I'm really coming around to this pick. I think it just makes a lot of sense. The Bobcats are so bad that they need talent and they need it now. More than talent, however, is that they need talent that can stand on it's own. Michael-Kidd Gilchrist may be the best player left, but I think he will struggle mightily if brought into Charlotte. Instead, they'll grab the guy who can come in and put up 16 points and 10 rebounds a game right away. Robinson can be the focal point of their offense and will lock down the glass with Bismack Biyombo. Robinson is a building block that Charlotte needs and can build around right away. Bradley Beal and MKG are in the mix here, but I think they end up with Robinson.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal
I've been thinking about this scenario for a while and I think it has a good chance of happening. Honestly, it makes the most sense. With Charlotte taking Robinson, that gives the Wizards the choice between MKG and Beal. Most would say that MKG is the obvious pick here, but from most of the information that I've heard, Beal and MKG are nearly even on most teams' boards. Even if the Wizards have MKG ranked higher, I don't think the gap will be big enough to make up for the ideal fit of Beal. The Wizards need a shooter in their backcourt. John Wall hasn't developed a jumper yet and Beal would be fantastic to stretch the floor for Wall to penetrate and score in the paint. Furthermore, the Wizards just drafted two small forwards last year in Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. I'm not sure they are ready to give up on those guys just yet. Beal gives them a dynamic backcourt and really opens up the floor. It's probably John Wall's dream scenario.
Keep reading to see who the Cavaliers grab...
Well that worked out, huh? I promise I'm not just doing this because I want the Cavs to get MKG. I honestly think this is the most logical way for the first three picks to play out. It just so happens, that it works out perfectly for Cleveland. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fills a huge hole at wing and gives Kyrie Irving a running mate. MKG is a slasher, tremendous defender, and plus rebounder. He can finish at the rim and has a relentless motor. He basically brings veteran leadership, but he can also play basketball.
The Kings already have a project in DeMarcus Cousins, so they might want to avoid Andre Drummond. While that could potentially be a dominant front court, I think they'll pull the trigger on the more sure thing in Barnes. Harrison Barnes gives them a nice go-to scorer and lets Tyreke Evans play as more of a facilitator. He also adds a mature and professional attitude to a franchise that could use some, because they sure aren't getting it from their owners.
6. Portland Trailblazers: Andre Drummond
A dream scenario for Portland. They've been rumored to want a center to play next to LaMarcus Aldridge -- badly. We've been playing with the idea that Portland might trade up to the #4 or #2 picks to make sure that they get their guy, but in this case, they get him anyway. Drummond is a project, but next to Aldridge, that could be a frightening for NBA teams in the future.
Perry Jones III is a guy who is going to absolutely destroy workouts and the combine. He's a freak athlete and has great size. At his best, he could be a poor man's Kevin Durant. People question his motor and role in the NBA, but he's has way too many tools for teams to keep passing on him. I've seen the Warriors linked to Jared Sullinger, but if PJ3 is available, he's the better option here.
The Raptors should be getting Jonas Valanciunas coming over this year and will likely be satisfied with a Bargnani-Jonas front court for a while. They also have Amir Johnson and Ed Davis as shot blocking options to add some toughness. What they need is a shooter to stretch the floor. Even though they have DeMar DeRozan at shooting guard, I've heard that they are willing to slide him over to small forward. Jeremy Lamb fits nicely at shooting guard and has a chance to be a star. Dwane Casey is a very good defensive coach and is likely to get the most out of Lamb's tremendous wingspan and make him into a great defender as well.
The Pistons have Greg Monroe and he's a great offensive player. The problem is that he is a pretty terrible defender. Monroe isn't the best athlete in the world, either. Therefore, it makes plenty of sense for the Pistons to go and grab an athletic shot blocker in John Henson. Henson and Monroe complement each other well. While Henson is raw on offense, he should be able to compensate for Monroe's defense, giving Detroit a nice front court for the future.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Damian Lillard
I'm not so sure that the Hornets need to get a point guard here. Jarrett Jack is a pretty solid option and if they think there is a better player still available, go ahead and get him. However, I think Lillard is simply the best player available at this point. Lillard and Davis is a fantastic start for New Orleans' rebuilding project.
11. Portland Trailblazers: Kendall Marshall
The Blazers already got their center in Drummond, now they get their point guard. Marshall may be the best pure point guard in the draft and should be a hell of a lot better than what they were working with this year. His athleticism and shooting are questions, but at this point, Portland probably just wants someone who can run a competent offense.
This is really just best player available, in my opinion. Zeller has a little bit of poor man's Pau Gasol in him. He's got some nice moves and can run the floor well. They may lose Ersan Ilyasova this offseason, so they can grab another nice front court option in Zeller.
We have no idea if they are going to be able to keep Steve Nash this summer. If they can, however, Rivers would be a pretty nice fit. Rivers would be an explosive offensive option that takes some of the weight off of Nash. I'm not very high on Rivers, but this is one of the landing spots that would make a lot of sense. If Nash leaves, Rivers can just take 25 shots a game and the Suns can bottom out and grab a top-5 pick next year. It's really the only way for a team that is in pretty bad shape.
14. Houston Rockets: Jared Sullinger
I think my dislike for Sullinger as an NBA prospect is pretty well known at this point. However, the Rockets could be the team that pulls the trigger on him. Kevin McHale is one of the best post players in NBA history and if anybody can, he's the guy to make Sullinger into a really effective NBA player. I think Sullinger is pretty similar to Houston's Luis Scola who is aging and has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors.
Part II of the first round mock draft will come...eventually. Probably sometime on Friday or Saturday.