Draft Night Predictions

  • A few predictions for the draft.

    There will be a trade involving one of the top 5 picks. Most people think there’s no way that could happen in a loaded draft, but this draft is weird. While the draft probably has 20-25 players that will have solid to good pro careers, there isn’t a guaranteed franchise player in this draft. There isn’t a single guy in this draft that automatically changes the fortunes of the franchise that drafts him. But if you get the right guy and put him in the right situation, there are any number of guys in this draft that could help you win a title. Some teams love certain guys, but not others. If the guy they like isn’t there, a team could be willing to move down for the right price.

    A guy drafted in the teens will be one of the five best players taken in this draft five years from now. This isn’t much of a prediction, as it happens fairly regularly. The depth of this draft just makes it easier to say that. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a very good player lasted until the late teens here.

    Joel Embiid will be drafted in the top 7. There’s almost no way that Embiid lasts past both the Celtics and Lakers at 6 and 7. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes before then, but one of those teams will take him if he’s still there.

    There will be regret surrounding the Embiid selection. It’s unfortunate, but it looks like there is no middle ground for Joel at this point. He’s either going to be the best player in this draft (and probably by a significant distance), or he’s going to be a disappointment because of injury. If healthy, he’s a star. If not, he’s a bust. So either teams will pass on him and regret taking the next great NBA big man or someone will take him and regret that they used a first round pick and couldn’t get 200 quality games out of him.

    As big a story as where Embiid will go, the more significant health related shakeup in the draft will be Isaiah Austin. With him not being in the draft at all, the middle part of the first round could get interesting. Austin was pretty high on the boards of a few teams in that range. With him out, that could cause teams to trade down or reach on guys they weren’t as high on. Anything could happen at this point.

  • Until Jo Jo got the boo boo there damn sure WAS a franchise player in the draft & he may well still be. Let’s just hope for the guy he is able to perfect the Akeem the Dream moves he teased us with this past season when he was faking defenders clean out of their drawers. I have a hunch he still goes at least top 3 or 4 for the trade bait. So good luck Big guy, go out & create your own story of triumph. We’re rootin’ for ya !!

  • @justanotherfan

    “He’s either going to be the best player in this draft (and probably by a significant distance), or he’s going to be a disappointment because of injury. If healthy, he’s a star. If not, he’s a bust.”

    I think that sums it up pretty well.

    The thing is… look back on past drafts and look at how many of those players were busts. It seems, too often, that the guys who really make it in the league were not Top 10 picks.

    So why wouldn’t a team just go for broke? What they need to realize is they are going for broke with anyone they pick. Might as well shoot for the stars and go with a guy that will clearly dominate if he can stay healthy.

  • LeBron James opting out of his contract has thrown a gigantic monkey wrench on the draft. Immediately affected will be Miami Heat personnel and by extension Mario Chalmers. Will the Heat stay together minus LeBron and use the available money and move up to get one or two of the top prospects?

  • I think if Wiggins can improve his jump shot enough he could be a franchise player. I think one thing that might affect him if he’s selected by Cleveland is that he won’t have to be a consistent scorer, which is detrimental to him IMO. He needs to have that on his shoulders, to push him to be the alpha. If Cleveland selects him, they have Kyrie Irving & Dion Waiters who are pretty high volume shot guys that will detract from Wiggins needing to score, and will ultimately hurt his development. Maybe some people see that as a positive, that he won’t be asked to do too much, but I see it as a drawback.

  • Remember Greg Oden?

    Oden was a much further developed basketball player than Embiid at the same stage. Then knee injury ensued. Oden left the game. Then he came back as a Heat reclamation project.

    Embiid has much better athleticism, but Oden was no slouch. People forget how good Oden was pre-injury. Unlike Embiid, he had a decent menu of offensive moves in the post. And he was just as good, or probably better at guarding the post and rim protecting.

    It will take Embiid a minimum of two to three years of hard development work to get as good as Oden was coming out.

    Then think about the injury circumstance–he has lower back problems–the worst kind of back problems to have. They were so bad he could not come back and play for a team with a shot at tournament run! So: he’s got a problem back even if it has healed enough for him to work out for teams. Think about that problem back taking 2-3 years of punishment just to get him developed enough to be as good as Oden was coming out. Make a guesstimate of the odds of his back becoming symptomatic again over the next three years, say around the time you have sunk 3 years of costs into him.

    Next, his foot (or is it ankle?) is broken and he’s out for 3-4 months after draft night. I broke a collar bone, and arm above the elbow, and three different fingers. These breaks never slowed me down once they healed. Then I busted up my ankle on a motorcycle. Not a compound fracture, just a good crack in two different bones. My foot still doesn’t work totally right and I got the best PT you could get at the time.

    If you’re a money baller, you know, a play the odds kind of organization, you say PASS!

    You say, "Worst case scenario we pass and he turns out to be a hall of famer. So what? Chamberlain only won two rings. Jabbar won 6 but it was with two teams and he had to play 20 seasons to do it. Jabbar never had a lower back injury and he never busted up his foot either. The chances of Embiid playing 20 NBA seasons, when he can’t even stay healthy one D1 season and one off season are slim and none. So: worst case we pass and he gets 3 rings in ten seasons. Big flipping deal! We can win a couple of rings another way. Same logic when compared with Duncan. Duncan has 5 rings in 20 seasons. He’s never been injury prone. Embiid plays 20 seasons in what parallel universe? Worst case again–we pass and Embiid plays ten seasons and wins 3. Big deal!

    And then there is Shaq Father. 4 rings in 19 seasons and a number of injuries. Eh, Shaq weighed 325 and they let him take 5-6 steps each time he ran over people with the ball. It just doesn’t seem a fitting comparison.

    Of course you could always roll out the Big Russ analogy. 11 rings in 13 seasons. But Big Russ was kind of a special case, too, wasn’t he? Two NCAA rings. Averaged 22 rebounds per game for his pro career. never injured and inserted into an organization that had already been great without him. Not a good comparison.

    The only teams that can logically afford to draft Embiid high are teams that are already top teams that could benefit from a back up rim protector to their starting rim protector for a few seasons. Embiid playing backup could give them the edge to win a few rings early and be a guy they could gamble on beating the injury odds and playing 15-20 years, once he learns the game. That’s a money ball play. But to draft him to be a franchise player in three years for a franchise that is in a total rebuild is a sucker move. You get no rings up front. And you face a high risk of him never developing. And your whole rebuild goes in the tank, if he doesn’t develop.

    This situation I have just described is why I was so pissed that Embiid was not protected and groomed slowly for two seasons at KU to get him into a healthy, developed status that would make him an indispensable Number 1 to every NBA team in the league.

    Embiid has greatness in him. He has that something extra in his personality that all the great ones have. But the injuries put every ounce of him in jeopardy IMHO.


    The only down side I can see to Embiid outside of his injuries is his age. Is he really the age they claim? Or is he older? Older would really make him a scary risk.

    But what the hay? Oden is back being reclaimed by Riles. Maybe if Riles drafts Embiid, he can have twin towers in a couple of years. But will the be faulty towers?

  • On Wigs:

    Wiggins is still the guy to bet the farm on, if you are an NBA franchise.

    Any guy that could put up the numbers he did, while appearing to massively protect the merchandize, has to have some incredible game to show the NBA.

    Develop his trey and teach him Kobe’s game, and he will get you five NBA rings, if you put him with a good center or two.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Not sure what Miami has to trade that would allow them to move up and grab top prospects. Simply having cap space if LeBron leaves won’t help them in that regard.

    As for the Heat and Chalmers, I think regardless of what LeBron does, he’s finished as their starting PG. Maybe he stays on at a reduced salary as the back-up, but one of two things I figure happens: 1) LeBron stays on the condition that they upgrade their roster, and with PG being one of two starting positions not held down by the Big3, Chalmers loses his starting job (and possibly his roster spot all together), or 2) LeBron leaves and the Heat start rebuilding, and really Chalmers was a marginal starter surrounded by superstars to begin with, so with that no longer the case the Heat go younger in their rebuilding effort.

    I hope Chalmers lands in the best possible position for him, but I just can’t see the Heat maintaining the status quo with him after his performance in the Finals, regardless of whether James’ had opted out or not.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Let’s face it, the Big 3 are no longer the big 3 of a couple of years back. Wade is just about finished and at this point he is playing for pride and a big paychecks, but in the open market he would not get even half of what he has left in his contract. Bosch is now a streaky jump shooter that disappears for entire games and does not provide the muscle inside that his position requires and the Heat sorely needs.

    Their payroll for next season is about $50M with Bosch and Wade taking about $40M and 6 players with guaranteed contracts; 9 players in the current roster make under $1.6M.which means they have money and can rebuild almost from scratch. They can use their players with small contracts to trade to teams needing cap space, plus they can use future drafts picks and money to move up in the draft.

    This draft is pretty loaded and with the available top shelf free agents available, there is going to be a lot of trades in the next couple of days,

  • @JayHawkFanToo Problem is they have almost nobody under contract. Here is the breakdown of the Heat roster and what it looks like going forward:

    Corrected Salary link…

    Who are they going to trade? Aside from the Big3 (who all have player options) they have Chris “Birdman” Anderson & Norris Cole under contract for next year, and Udonis Haslem also with a player option for $4.62 million. Haslem’s contract is too big, so that leaves two players they can trade. Nobody is going to be knocking down the door for either of them, even to clear salary. There’s better options out there for that.

    And who would want to trade Miami for a future draft pick? As you say, this draft is pretty loaded. This is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. You don’t trade a pick in this talent rich draft for a pick in another draft, especially not for Miami’s pick, which is bound to be a low, non-lottery pick every year.

    Here’s another link from ESPN where they talk about the Heat targeting Shabazz Napier, but go on to talk about how limited they in their ability to make trades:

    Corrected link to Napier…

    From the link: "Moving up in the draft, however, will be difficult for the Heat.

    They have the 26th pick and point guard Norris Cole to offer a team – but that’s about it. If Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opt out, Justin Hamilton will be the only player the Heat have under contract for next season. And the team can’t offer Wade or Bosh in a trade until the players officially decide whether or not to opt out by Monday. The team can’t even offer a first-rounder next season because the Cleveland Cavaliers have the Heat’s pick in 2015 if it falls between Nos. 11-30."

    The article mentions Justin Hamilton, so the Heat must have exercised their team option on him. They don’t mention Chris Anderson. Not sure why. Anyway.

    I agree, there are going to be some trades made, just not by Miami.

    (not sure why the links aren’t working. Copy & paste I guess…)

  • Good stuff guys. You’ve done a lot of homework that some of us don’t have the time to undertake. Thanks for the insight.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Check out his jump shot in this Draft Workout Mixtape:

  • My top player in the draft … Julius Randle. The guy is a truck.

  • I have posted this before but I don’t see anyone but Jabari Parker going #1 now that Jo Jo is hurt. He is the most NBA ready player in the draft.

    Wiggs will go #2 and I predict that Jo Jo will be gone before the #6-7 spots that sound exciting since they are the Celtics and Lakers.

    I disagree that Randle is top draft pick level NBA player. I think he was a great college player but will be exposed in the NBA as he won’t be able to bully people.

    No idea where Dante Exum will go. I see he may go #3. I can’t say I’ve seen him play more than once.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    A truck with a flat tire… 🙂

  • If I had the #1, I’d talk to the Sixers. Trade the #1 for the Sixers #3 and #10. Then when I got the #3, see if the Celts would deal #6 and #17 for the #3.

    Then draft Randle at #6, and try to get 2 of the following 3 at #10 and #17 - Stauskas, Warren, Napier, with Ennis and Hood as back up plans.

    Ideally then, Cavs get Randle, Stauskas, and Warren. Add that to young guys Bennett and Irving, not too bad. If they get a back up point in Napier or Ennis instead, that of one of the latter two, that’s not too bad either.

    Of course, I can make trades with myself all day and I always get the deal I want.

  • Wait until you see the outfit Wiggins is wearing to the draft…maybe it has his KU jersey inside like McLemore’s jacket.

  • So there was no trade of any of the top 5 picks. There was a lot of talk regarding whether Philly would deal the third pick, or Utah would deal the 5 to move up, or even Cleveland dealing the 1. None of it happened, although I thought something was afoot when Cleveland went their entire time to make their pick.

    As for the second prediction, I’m looking at 4 guys as potentially the guy to be one of the five best in 5 years - Zach Levine (13), TJ Warren (14), James Young (17) and Gary Harris (19). I’d also keep an eye on Tyler Ennis. It’s not that I think any of the guys at the top are bad - I just think there’s a good possibility that one of these guys explodes. I have my eye especially on James Young. He’s a very good scorer that got overshadowed in college, but could really develop in the NBA. He’s with a very good franchise with a good coach, so that should help.

    Embiid went 3. I was surprised that Philly pulled the trigger, but I see what they are trying to do with very athletic big guys. It’s a risk, but one that could pay off huge when everyone is healthy in a couple of years (knock on wood).

    We will know in three years who regrets the Embiid pick. Stay tuned.

    Really classy moment from the NBA last night with the league “drafting” Isaiah Austin. A special moment that you could tell meant a lot to him. Wishing him the best moving forward.

    New predictions:

    Rookie of the Year - Jabari Parker. He will probably lead Milwaukee in scoring at around 20 per. He’s also a good enough rebounder that he will contribute there as well. I don’t see anyone else being able to put up those kind of numbers. Julius Randle could have a nice year in LA as a rebounder, but I don’t think he will be as good a scorer right off the bat, so he won’t be able to stay with Parker in the voting.

    Biggest Bust Risk (injury division) - Obviously this is Embiid. Until he plays a full season, this is a huge risk.

    Biggest Bust Risk (lottery pick) - I don’t worry about guys that can’t shoot if they can do other things, so Gordon, Payton and guys like that don’t worry me so much. That makes Zach Levine the biggest bust risk to me. He’s athletic and can play, but isn’t terribly consistent, and if he can’t play the point, it’s hard to find a fit for him.

    Biggest Bust Risk (first round) - PJ Hairston. Hanging out with the wrong people is a sure way to derail your career. That’s what his undoing was in college, and unless he has corrected that, no amount of skill will keep him in the League.

    Late First Round surprise - I have to point to two guys here. Rodney Hood for the Jazz and Shabazz Napier for the Heat. It’s clear the Heat are going to move in a different direction at the point. It looks like Chalmers will probably walk and sign elsewhere. Napier has a chance to start for (if Lebron stays) a very good Miami team. Hood is another nice piece for Utah as they try and rebuild.

    Best Second Rounders - I really like a bunch of the second round guys to go on to have successful careers. Cleanthony Early should be a good one in NY, particularly if Carmelo leaves (which I think he will). Jarnell Stokes is a perfect fit in Memphis off the bench. Glenn Robinson III is another top notch player that just slipped because of the depth of this draft. Russ Smith is a perfect change of pace scorer off the bench in the NBA. There could be others as teams move guys around once free agency gets going next week.

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