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The Catch: Predicting the NBA Draft

June 27, 2012

The NBA Draft is Thursday but the idea of doing some typical, boring mock draft where I simply run down the teams and plug in players where they might go did not seem appealing. Therefore, with a quick text message, I contacted two of my closest friends, Jim and Jay, who have two outstanding basketball minds. Having drastically different schedules, (me, a Business Analyst, Jim, a Farmer, and Jay, a Bar Manager) we would complete the entire draft via text message, over a three-day period. Nonetheless, the scenario was simple. We would each be the GM of eight NBA teams (6 teams each that owned one first round pick and two teams each that owned two first round picks). The teams were divvied up so that nobody would make consecutive picks, except for Jim, as GM of the Celtics, with picks No. 21 and 22. Here’s what transpired with the lottery picks.
(Jay) Sorry. Working a double…Here’s my 1st pick: Anthony Davis: PF Kentucky – “The Bourbon Street Brow” is the most anti-climactic pick since LeBron or Duncan in ’97, but is also the third safest No. 1 of the last 20 years or so. After moving Emeka this morning to DC, it’s a lock that those minutes will be used for Davis. Pair his low post presence with “Sloth” Gordon on the perimeter and the Hornets have a couple pieces to build around.  (Me) Solid pick and a no brainer. GM Jimmy, MJ, and the Bobcats, with their slick new unis are on the clock. Unis don’t win games, so Jim better make a splash and put somebody in that uni that can actually make a play. Just set a record for most times saying uni(s) in one sentence.  (Jay) Since I own Minnesota’s No. 18 pick, I would like to hypothetically trade that and Derrick Williams to the ‘Cats for the No. 2 overall pick.  (Jim) Give me an hour. McHale, Isiah, Dunleavy, Kahn, and I are golfing. One hole to go…. (3 hours later) No trade.
The Charlotte Bobcats with the 2nd pick of the 2012 NBA Draft select Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas – first step to credibility is defense and teaming Robinson with Biyombo should help protect the paint. Robinson also is ready to make an immediate impact, which is important for the rebuilding Bobcats.
(Me) With the 3rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select Bradley Beal, SG Florida – After adding two nice defensive pieces last week via trade, we feel good here in Washington. In a conference where the playoffs are always a possibility, we felt we were missing one piece. Beal is a perfect fit for where we’re heading. He’s a great shooter and a great kid.  (Jim) How is his smile, Kahn?  (Me) Perfect teeth! Sacramento is officially shopping the No. 5 pick. Any interest out there?  
(Jay) With the 4th pick, the Cleveland Cavs select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky – The second overall player slips into our lap at four. Highest motor of anyone in the draft, winner on every level and lives to play hoops. Can affect the game with or without the ball. Doesn’t hurt that his close friend, and high school teammate, Kyrie Irving was last year’s Rookie of the Year.  (Me) After exploring all options with the No. 5 pick, we were unable to find a deal we felt would help us win right away. Teams like us need to take risks in order to be successful. Time to shake things up.
With the 5th pick, the Sacramento Kings select Andre Drummond, C Connecticut – More than anything, we love Drummonds’ athleticism and potential. He’s already a monster on the defensive end and has all the tools to be great in this league offensively as well. We have plenty of offense on this team, but lack that dominating defensive presence in the paint. Drummond will team with DeMarcus Cousins to form our version of the Twin Towers.
(Jim) With the 6th pick, the Portland Trailblazers select Harrison Barnes, SF North Carolina – while he doesn’t fill a position of need, we firmly believe in taking the best available player and a guy that was almost second off the board. With another high pick, we can balance out the roster.  (Me) With the 7th pick, the Golden State Warriors select Dion Waiters, SG Syracuse - Small ball is back in Golden State. With Curry at the point and Klay Thompson sliding over to the three, of the SGs available, the Warriors felt the aggressive play and desire to attack the rim, of Waiters, compliments the shooting ability of Stephen and Klay, the best. With our second first round pick, we’ll look to add depth to our team. I can’t believe I took a Syracuse guy, gross!! Toronto’s on the clock…can we just skip them? Does anyone actually consider them part of the NBA?  (Jay) Remember “Vinsanity’s” slam-dunk contest? Toronto says you’re welcome. At least we aren’t “Big Country’s” NBA Alma mater, Vancouver!
With the 8th pick of the draft, the Raptors select Damian Lillard, PG Weber State – This was a no brainer for our team. We need a scoring PG with high basketball IQ that can shoot or drive to get points. With a 40” vertical and similar size to Derrick Rose, this could be just what the Purples need to start the rebuild.  (Me) The Bucks are patiently waiting for the best available “Great White Hope!”  (Jay) How hard is it to name even ten players that have ever played for the Bucks? Haha. I wanted that No. 5 pick badly for Cleveland. I also wanted to Kahn it up with the Wolves!  (Me) Sorry, I wasn’t awake at 4:01am when you texted me, requesting a trade, as I wake up for the day at 5:17am!
(Jim) With the 9th pick, the Detroit Pistons select Meyers Leonard, C Illinois – Bottom line is we needed to get bigger and we feel Meyers has the potential to make a formidable frontcourt with Greg Monroe.  (Me) Wow! Did not see that coming. Seems as though it is back to the drawing board for the Milwaukee Bucks. Ha! (Jay) Sorry about the delay boys…work was crazy busy last night.
After careful consideration, and after a lapse in judgment by Joe Dumars, the Charlotte, errrr….New Orleans Hornets select Tayshaun Prince 2.0, John Henson, F North Carolina – Although we could have went a few different ways with this pick, we couldn’t pass up the thought of Henson and Davis covering nearly 16 feet of space in the paint with their incredible wingspans. Good luck shooting anything within 15 feet of the hoop. It’s not the “Big Easy” any more boys.  
(Jim) With the 11th pick, the Portland Trailblazers select Tyler Zeller, C North Carolina – Getting LaMarcus Aldridge help up front was a priority for us in this draft. While Zeller might not be a wow pick, he is going to be a solid pro for a long time and should be able to contribute right from the start. And I overheard Aldridge and Zeller already talking about how they are looking forward to throwing around the lightweight Hornets new front line.  (Jay) Well at least Portland will be the most boring team next year. Sign me up to see a gimpy Aldridge and two white hacks in Pryzbilla and Zeller.  (Me) Well, now that Jim has completely screwed up Milwaukee’s plans with his last two picks, let me totally rethink the Bucks’ strategy…
With the 12th pick in the draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select Jeremy Lamb, SG Connecticut – After seeing some targeted bigs go off the board earlier than anticipated, the Bucks decided it was in the best interest of the organization to go ahead and take the best player remaining on our draft board. We love Lamb’s length, athleticism, silky smooth scoring touch, and ability to defend both guard positions. He adds much needed depth to our backcourt.  (Jay) After squashing yet another trade attempt, the Bucks make a confusing SG pick after acquiring one of the top tier SGs at this years trade deadline. Has Kahn’s “Infectious Radius” reached Milwaukee already?
In the first reach of the draft, in a need versus want situation, the Phoenix Suns select Kendall Marshall, PG North Carolina – This pick makes the most sense for a team that needs help everywhere. Steve Nash is a free agent looking for a championship caliber team and there are no real superstar-potential players at this point in the draft. Marshall’s size (6’4”) and high basketball IQ make him a good piece to hopefully put next to a superstar in the next year or two.  (Me) Depth never hurt anybody. The Bucks did not feel the need to reach for an undersized big man, who would have been forced to play C.  (Jay) It does if you’re starting Ekpe Udoh against anything that weighs over 135lbs. And with that…the Houston Rockets and Kevin McHale are on the clock.  (Me) What are you talking about? We’re fine, we have Kwame Brown, Ha!
With the 14th pick, the Houston Rockets select Arnett Moultrie, PF Mississippi State – while he may not be the top player left, we feel he’s among the top big men remaining and we love Moultrie’s size, athleticism, and ability to stretch the floor. A physical rebounder, he brings much needed help to our thin front line.  (Jay) Your front line is thinner than LeBron’s hairline.

The Catch ususally runs Tuesday in the Times- Record. To see the rest of the draft, including whom Jay selects for the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the 18th overall pick, log onto http://thecatch84.areavoices.com.

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