A few things to understand; first I haven’t seen any of the foreign players play except highlights and what I’ve read, so I don’t feel really good about ranking them, so I don’t. Doesn’t mean they don’t fall in the top 30, just means I don’t know, so why pretend I do? Second, the success rate of the 1st round historically is batting below .500, so why would anyone assume someone’s rankings, someone’s mock, or the actual draft after it’s done is correct or accurate? I don’t know, which is why my rankings look nothing like most you’ll see. Third, I didn’t get to sit down and interview any of these kids. I’ve head them give interviews, but that’s hardly a reliable gauge on their personalities, so if someone below ends up being a irresponsible a$$hole, I apologize for not knowing! Finally, I watch a ton of college basketball, and am basing my opinions on what I saw when they played. If I end up wrong, that makes me exactly like half the GM’s in the league, if I am right, then I am exactly like the other half. Here we go!
1. SG Ben McLemore– He’s smooth, athletic, and can shoot. I think he’ll fall somewhere between OJ Mayo and Ray Allen. He’ll need time and seasoning, but he can be a multi-time all-star.
2. F Anthony Bennett– Resembles former UNLV star Larry Johnson in so many ways, and has talent to match him, perhaps a better handle and better outside shot too. Plays with force, which I love. At worst he’s a more versatile Paul Milsap.
3. SG Victor Oladipo– Freaky athlete. Ready to play from day one and will be a steady role player. Quick hands and feet, reminds me of Rajon Rondo. I see him more as complimentary scorer like Andre Iguodala.
4. SF Otto Porter Jr.- At best he’s a less explosive Rudy Gay, but he’s probably an improvement on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute or Al Farouq-Aminu because of a better jumper.
5. C Nerlens Noel– His athleticism is tempting, albeit not a DeAndre Jordan level, his game could resemble a Larry Sanders, but not much more.
6. C Gorgui Dieng– I don’t care if he’s two years older than some guys, he is NBA-ready and a chance to improve. He is a terrific shot-blocker with a much improved 18-foot jumper. He’ll make some team very happy.
7. PG Shane Larkin– As quick as he is fast, and it shows on both ends of the floor. Understands how to run an offense and can be a decent starter. Reminds me some of Ty Lawson, but doesn’t have his jump-shot range just yet. Maybe an early Devin Harris.
8. PG Michael Carter-Williams- A natural point guard with great passing instincts. He can’t shoot, which is worrisome, but he is tall enough to play both guard spots and is a strong defensive player. I do worry he is Shaun Livingston without the ACL injury, but the upside is tempting.
9. SG Allen Crabbe– Great shooter, NBA range. I worry (from a distance obviously) about some potential attitude/leadership issues, but he can score the ball. He’s skinny and will get pushed around some until he puts on weight. Think Danny Green/Mike Miller.
10. SF Jamaal Franklin– Reminds me some of Shaun Marion, but not quite as athletic or big. Tries as hard as anyone in the draft, love his competitive spirit. Perhaps a Marquis Daniels-type of career.
11. SG Kentavius Caldwell-Pope– Shooter, scorer. Did it on a bad team and had green light. Kevin Martin-Nick Young kind of game, falling somewhere between those two.
12. PG Isaiah Cannon– He scores first, but man does he do that well. I’ve been impressed with him for 2 years. He could resemble Mario Chalmers/Isaiah Thomas (the King, not the Piston).
13. C Mason Plumlee– Fantastic athlete that plays above the rim and finishes. Runs the floor well. Post game is a bit mechanical. Think of Birdman (without the tattoos), Brandon Wright, and Tyson Chandler.
14. SF Shabazz Muhammad– Read a lot of bad things about personality and baggage, which is scary, but he is young, and some guys just aren’t mature yet. He plays hard and knows how to score, and being a lefty he makes things difficult for his opponent. Reminds me of young Ron Artest or Quincy Pondexter.
15. SF CJ Leslie– Explosive with NBA size. Could play PF in small ball lineup because of college experience banging down low. Jeff Green, Tobias Harris, and Wilson Chandler spring to mind.
16. C Alex Len- Young enough to improve, but rigid enough to scare me. Best case seems about Marcin Gortat, but that feels wishful, and time-consuming too.
17. G CJ McCollum– He’s not big enough to be a SG, and not a natural PG. Hello Brandon Knight, maybe.
18. SG Tim Hardaway Jr.– Underrated athlete that can space the floor and will fit in well as either a starter or 6th man-type of player. Think Courtney Lee or Gerald Henderson.
19 . PG Tre Burke– Not sold on him the way most are. I think he plays small, and am afraid he’ll be DJ Augustin or Beno Udrih.
20. SF Deshaun Thomas– He seems to do everything pretty well, and competes on both ends. Feels like a decent career as a contributer. Jared Dudley to Tayshaun Prince range.
21. PF Cody Zeller- Everything looks good on paper, but just don’t think he plays with enough power or aggression. Fearing he may end up like Anthony Randolph.
22. SG Reggie Bullock– He can shoot. He has prototypical size. He’s either James Jones, Dorrell Wright, or best-case Wes Matthews.
23. SG Khalif Wyatt– Dude can flat out play. He is a little chubby and not athletic enough, but he’d kick your a$$ on the playground. He’s someone’s perfect 6th man.
24. SF Tony Snell- He competes on both ends. There is room for improvement, but his shot and energy will keep him around for awhile.
25. PG Nate Wolters- He can score, and at 6’5″ he can overcome some of his athletic deficiences. Not sure he’ll ever be a starter, but he can be part of a solid bench.
26. PF Tony Mitchell– Only got to see him play a couple times, but he is physical. Those small school bigs that board always seem to stick somewhere. (See Paul Milsap, Kenneth Fareid, David West, Kurt Thomas).
27. G Seth Curry– Might be the best pure shooter in the draft. Issue is he isn’t a point guard (yet) and isn’t big enough or athletic enough to play shooting guard. Would need the right fit with a ball-handing 2 or 3 where he could be shooter off the ball.
28. PG Ray McCallum- Ended up at Detroit because his dad was the coach, but you watch him and he does everything well. He is a physical guard that plays through contact and has good passing instincts. It wouldn’t shock me if he ended up as the best point guard in this draft.
29. SG Michael Snaer- For all the excitment over Tre Burke hitting one game winner, for Snaer it was just another week nailing buzzer-beaters. He can score in bunches. Everyone’s bench needs someone like that.
30. SF Solomon Hill– Love his versatility. Rebounds like a power forward, but puts it on the deck and shoots it like a small forward.