J. G. Spooner - 92.3 The Fan

Each week I will be giving my opinion on the upcoming NBA Draft. Keep checking back every week for updates and revisions based on team records and possible trades.

Feel free to ask me a draft question by emailing spooner@923thefan.com. I will respond to all questions.

Let the NBA, “David Stern Is The Devil”, conspiracy theorists being their rants on how once again this proves the NBA is “fixed”. The Cavs, Wizards and Bobcats were all the unlucky ones as NOLA leaped them all to claim the #1 pick in the draft. The Cavs should feel unluckiest of all; if the Wine and Gold had lost the 3/4 coin flip with NOLA instead of winning it, Kyrie would be running the court with “The Brow” for years to come at The Q.

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Anthony Davis / (Photo by Chris Steppig/Pool/Getty Images)

1. New Orleans Hornets
Let the conspiracy theories run wild. NBA owns Hornets… NBA orchestrates Chris Paul trade after vetoing earlier deal… NBA struggles to find buyer for team… NBA finally finds buyer… Hornets and their new owner win the lottery!! Let the “Bow To The Brow!!” marketing blitz begin in NOLA!!
Selection – Anthony Davis, C/PF – University of Kentucky
(Previous Pick – Thomas Robinson, Kansas at #4)

2. Charlotte Bobcats
What does the worst team possibly in the history of the NBA get for a season of struggles…? You guessed it the consolation prize… WAH WAH WAHHHHH!!!! However, the team still desperately needs scoring help on the inside as Byron Mullens (just over 9.0 PPG) was their most lethal inside presence. Look for them to pass on MKG for the inside presence they need.
Team Needs– C, SG, PF
Selection – Thomas Robinson, PF – University of Kansas
(Previous Pick – Anthony Davis, Kentucky at #1)

3. Washington Wizards
The Wizards pick may get a bit easier here now that Robinson and Davis are both off the board. The team still needs a big to go with Nene and last year’s lottery selection Jan Vesely, but they don’t need a project, which is precisely what Andre Drummond is. After the departure of Nick Young the WIZ kids struggled to score from the wing so look for MKG to be the pick here despite his half court struggles.
Team Needs – PF, SG, SF
Selection – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF – University of Kentucky
(Previous Pick – Unchanged at #2)

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Bradley Beal / (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs will have plenty of options here and a very tough decision to make. The team can add either Harrison Barnes or Bradley Beal and give ROY Kyrie Irving a young athletic wing player who can help spread the floor, or GM Chris Grant can take a chance on a player with tremendous size and potential in Andre Drummond. The Cavs already have a project big in Tristan Thompson and Barnes struggles at time this season make him a reach here. Look for Bradley Beal to put on the wine and gold hat when he shakes the commissioner’s hand and give the Cavs and Kyrie another option in the backcourt.
Team Needs– SG, SF, C
Selection – Bradley Beal, SG – University of Florida
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

5. Sacramento Kings
The Kings have had their eye on Harrison Barnes since this time last year and he will get more than a strong look here. Andre Drummond also has to be considered here for his potential, size, and ability to bring something to the Kings they don’t have… A big that plays above the rim. As talented as Demarcus Cousins is, he is a big that plays below the rim. The Kings here have the best of both worlds as they can add the player they have coveted for a year, or the best C prospect in the draft and a player they expected to be off the board when they selected. In the NBA… size does matter and the Kings prove that here with this selection.
Team Needs – SF, PF, C
Selection – Andre Drummond, C – University of Connecticut
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

6. Portland Trailblazers (From New Jersey)
The Trailblazers landed this pick from NJ in the Gerald Wallace deal mid-season. The Blazers also own a second lottery selection 5 picks later so they have plenty of options between the two picks. With Drummond off the board I think the team may reach just a bit in order to fill a glaring need. This is the spot where the best pure PG in the draft, and maybe the best pure passer in the past 8 years, comes off the board.
Team Needs – C, PG, SG
Selection – Kendall Marshall, PG – University of North Carolina
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

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Harrison Barnes / (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

7. Golden State Warriors (From San Antonio)
The Warriors will be sweating bullets on Wednesday as they could lose this pick if more than one team jumps ahead of them. Golden State made some strides under rookie head coach Mark Jackson but the team needs more talent and here is a chance to get it. A player expected to be a top 3 pick a year ago, and someone who arguably may be the best SF in the draft, falls into their lap here and is too good to pass up.
Team Needs – SF, SG, PF
Selection – Harrison Barnes, SF – University of North Carolina
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

8. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors picked up a few wins down the stretch this season and were rewarded by losing out on the player they coveted most in this draft, Harrison Barnes. Toronto basically can use this as a 2nd lottery selection since Jonas Valanciunas, last year’s lottery pick, is expected to join the team and become the starting center. The Raptors now need to weigh their options at the 2 and 3 spots. Jeremy Lamb (UConn) and Austin Rivers (Duke) are the best available 2-guards but Perry Jones III is an intriguing prospect at SF/PF. The team here takes a chance here on Jeremy Lamb hoping he reaches his ceiling north of the border.
Team Needs – SG, SF, C
Selection – Jeremy Lamb, SG – University of Connecticut
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

9. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons rebuilding process continued this season and although their record may not reflect it, the emergence of Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight provide light at the end of the tunnel. Size and strength or size and versatility? Those are the questions the pistons front office will have to weight here. While Sullinger and maybe even a surprise such as Arnette Moultire will draw looks here, the versatility of Jones III can’t be overlooked.
Team Needs – PF, SF, SG
Selection – Perry Jones III, SF/PF – Baylor University
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

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Terrence Jones / (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

10. New Orleans Hornets (From LA Clippers via Minn)
The Hornets get another chance to further their rebuild and add a young, talented player to their roster thanks to the Chris Paul trade. With the addition of Robinson at #4, the Hornets can look for a wing player here. The intrigue of a combo forward like Terrence Jones here is too good a value and fit to pass up. While Jones is big enough to play the 4, I think he is best suited as a SF and will be snatched up here by NOLA.
Team Needs – PF, C, PG
Selection – Terrence Jones, SF/PF – University of Kentucky
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

11. Portland Trailblazers
The Blazers addressed their backcourt earlier in the draft and now need to add a physical presence that can score from the low post to compliment their stretch 4, LaMarcus Aldridge. Sullinger is not only the perfect fit from a physicality standpoint, but he also is a great value pick here.
Team Needs – PG, SF
Selection – Jared Sullinger, PF – Ohio State
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

12. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks mid-season acquisition of Monta Ellis gave them one of the quickest and most dynamic backcourt duos in the NBA. However, the cost was steep as the team sent the oft-injured Andrew Bogut out west. While the team certainly needs to add a small forward to the roster, the opportunity to add a polished big man who can run the floor is too good to pass up.
Team Needs – SF, C, PF
Selection – Tyler Zeller, C – University of North Carolina
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

13. Phoenix Suns
GM Lance Blanks would certainly like to find his PG of the future in this spot with Nash expected to test the free agent market and Aaron Brooks hitting the offseason as a restricted free agent. Damien Lillard comes out of a small school but has BIG time game. He is far from a polished passer but he has great size and athleticism and can flat out score the basketball. Lillard will make the loss of Nash a little more tolerable.
Team Needs – PG, SG, SF
Selection – Damien Lillard, PG – Weber State
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

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Austin Rivers / (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

14. Houston Rockets
Let the debated begin for Houston’s front office group, G or C? The Rockets have been on the hunt for a center ever since Yao Ming’s feet began giving him trouble a few years ago. While they just barely missed out on the chance to take Tyler Zeller, there is still another 7-footer on the board. Myers Leonard is quick off his feet and will be able to contribute immediately on both ends of the floor. With that said, Leonard should be available a few spots later when they Rockets pick again. For that reason, the team won’t be able to leave one of the best pure scorers on the board… plus he comes from a pretty good NBA pedigree!
Team Needs – C, PF, G
Selection – Austin Rivers, SG – Duke University
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

15. Philadelphia 76ers
Just ask the Boston Celtics how good the Sixers are!! Lots of guards carry this team so look for the front office to address the front court with this selection. Henson’s length, athleticism and potential instantly make the Sixers a much better team.
Team Needs – SG, PF, C
Selection – John Henson, PF – University of North Carolina
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

16. Houston Rockets (From NY Knicks)
Look for the Rockets to shop this pick around after already making a selection a few picks earlier, and don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers come calling. If Houston keeps the pick, the Rockets will have can grab the next best true center in the draft behind Tyler Zeller.
Team Needs – C, PF, PG
Selection – Myers Leonard, C – University of Illinois
(Previous Pick –Unchanged)

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Dion Waiters / (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

17. Dallas Mavericks
The age of the cagers in Big D showed up in the playoffs as the Thunder made quick work of the defending NBA Champs. Expect Cuban to make a big splash in FA this summer, with PG Deron Williams the main target. This pick is made assuming Mark Cuban will stop at nothing to bring Deron Williams back home to Texas where he went to high school.
Team Needs – Youth, PG, SG, C
Selection – Dion Waiters, SG – Syracuse University
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

18. Minnesota Timberwolves
The T’Wolves may just have the best PF in the game in Kevin Love along with a pair of dynamic players ready to enter their sophomore seasons in Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams. Any depth chart that lists Martell Webster as the starting shooting guard needs to be upgraded. Minnesota has landed in the perfect spot to find a player who can come in and start immediately at shooting guard. This pick may just propel this team into the playoffs in 2012 – 2013.
Team Needs – SG, SF, C
Selection – Terrence Ross, SG – University of Washington
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

19. Orlando Magic
Stan Van Gundy? FIRED. Otis Smith? OUT. Dwight Howard? DEMANDING TRADE! The pick here is a player who entered the draft, then withdrew, then re-entered just before the early entry deadline last week. Quincy Miller could be another player who looks like an absolute steal in 2 years. The Magic get an elite athlete that can run the floor and bring some excitement back to the team.
Team Needs – C, SF, PG
Selection – Quincy Miller, SF – Baylor University
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

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Tony Wroten / (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

20. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets continue to rebuild ahead of schedule in the wake of Carmelo Anthony’s trade to the New York Knicks just over a year ago. There isn’t much immediate need with a starting lineup that looks like this: PG Lawson, SG Afflalo, SF Gallinari, PF Fareid and C McGee. Denver here would love to see a player like Austin Rivers fall in their lap. However, with him off the board and a lot of talent already in the Nuggets lineup, they can find a replacement here for the aging Andre Miller who likely will not be with the team next season.
Team Needs – SG, Scoring, Depth
Selection – Tony Wroten, Jr., PG/SG – University of Washington
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

21. Boston Celtics
This season looks like the last for the original “Big 3”. Calm down Celtics fans, Paul Pierce isn’t going anywhere, but Ray Allen almost certainly won’t return. The wild card for Danny Ainge is Kevin Garnett. I am not sure Garnett will return at the low price Ainge will want him to agree to. With the next pick as well, the C’s can draft a player here at 20 that could be the steal of the draft in a year or two. The Big East Freshman of the year can play both the 3 and the 4 and could become a big time scorer as he learns the NBA game.
Team Needs – SG, PF, C, Depth
Selection – Moe Harkless, SF/PF – St. John’s University
(Previous Pick –Unchanged)

22. Boston Celtics (From LA Clippers)
After adding a wing player with unlimited potential, Danny Ainge can find a player to learn from or replace Kevin Garnett depending on the outcome of the offseason. Andrew Nicholson showed flashes of being a solid NBA player this year and even more encouraging is that he has improved in each year at St. Bonaventure and he did it this year with very high expectations placed on him
Team Needs –PF, C, SG, Depth
Selection – Andrew Nicholson – PF, St. Bonaventure
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

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Royce White / (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

23. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have tons of talent but could lose as many as 8 players to free agency in the summer. Teague, Smith, Johnson and Horford will all be back for next year but GM Rick Sund will be awfully busy filling this roster back in. The Hawks need players at just about every position in order to complete the roster and the best talent on the board comes with some question marks. Royce White from Iowa State is a premier talent, but off the court issues, a fear of flying and some anxiety issues make this pick tougher than it needs to be.
Team Needs – PG, SG, C, Depth
Selection – Royce White, SF – Iowa State University
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (From LA Lakers)
The Cavs added a player earlier in the draft in Bradley Beal who should compliment Kyrie Irving in the backcourt as a player who can shoot the 3, get to the basket and defend his position. GM Chris Grant would have loved to see Moe Harkless fall into his lap here; but with the Big East Freshman of the year off the board, the team weighs its options at the #3 and #5 spots. While Fab Melo would be nice, the athleticism of Jeffrey Taylor coupled with his solid NBA frame make him too hard to pass up.
Team Needs – SF, PF, C, SG
Selection– Jeffrey Taylor, SF – Vanderbilt University
(Previous Pick – Fab Melo, Syracuse)

25. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizz have a solid foundation with Conley, Gay, Randolph and Gasol along with some good talent off the bench in Speights, Arthur and Allen. The issue is that O.J. Mayo’s antics may have finally earned him a one-way ticket out of town. The team tried to ship him out at the trade deadline but were unsuccessful in that attempt. Mayo is a restricted free agent this summer and the Grizz will likely let him walk. GM Chris Wallace finds one of the best shooters in the draft here and helps open up things inside for Marc Gasol and the other bigs.
Team Needs – PG, SG, C
Selection – Doron Lamb – SG, University of Kentucky
(Previous Pick – Unchanged)

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Scott Machado / (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

26. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers will match any offer sheet given to All-Star center Roy Hibbert, unless GM David Morway has lost his mind in the past few weeks. With four quality starters rounding out the lineup the team can focus on adding depth at either the PG or PF spot. Machado is a player out of a small school who made a BIG impression at the pre-draft workouts in NJ recently. His court vision is unmatched and he has the unique ability to get his teammates good shots while also mixing in his own offense.
Team Needs– PF, C, PG
Selection – Scott Machado– PG, Iona University
(Previous Pick – Marquis Teague, Kentucky)

27. Miami Heat
Rumors continue to swirl around the Miami Heat, even as they have played themselves to 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and the 3rd best record in the league. Will Erik Spoelstra return as coach next season? Will the “Big 3” be disbanded if the team comes up short of the NBA championship again? Will the heat ever add a big man that will be able to contribute in some fashion and let Chris Bosh play to his natural position? Pat Riley is the only one who knows those answers. Look for Pat Riley to draft the best available big here.
Team Needs– C, PG, Depth
Selection – Fab Melo, C – Syracuse University
(Previous Pick – Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt University)

28. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are the most complete team in the NBA in my opinion. They have perennial all-stars in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Kendrick Perkins is the perfect fit at center for this young team and Serge Ibaka will challenge for the defensive player of the year award every season from his power forward spot. I like the Thunder to go overseas here and grab the best international player in this draft. Evan Fournier, a 19-year old SG from France, lacks lateral quickness but is very smooth, has good size, can knock down the open jumper but also work his way to the rim. As a 19-year old this season, Fournier averaged 30 minutes a game, nearly 14 ppg and shot better than 50% from the floor for Poiters.
Team Needs – SG, SF, Post Depth
Selection – Evan Fournier – SG, France
(Previous Pick – Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt)

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Orlando Johnson / (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

29. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls can take a lot of pressure off of Derrick Rose by adding a young, athletic sharp-shooter who can learn from Richard Hamilton. Johnson has incredibly long arms (6’11’’ wingspan) and big time athleticism. He will be glad to learn from Hamilton and provide a huge scoring spark of the bench while he grows into a solid NBA player.
Team Needs – SG, C, Depth
Selection – Orlando Johnson– SG, UC Santa Barbara
(Previous Pick – John Jenkins, Vanderbilt)

30. Golden State Warriors (From San Antonio Spurs)
The Warriors added Harrison Barnes earlier in the draft out North Carolina. At the bottom of the draft they can add a guard/forward with lots of athleticism who is as NBA ready as any this late in the draft.
Team Needs – SF, SG, PF
Selection – Tony Mitchell – SF, University of Alabama
(Previous Pick – Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt)


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