Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Building The 15 - 2013 NBA Draft First Round Preview for John Hammond

As I said in my second round preview for the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA Draft is covered so well that I am pretty confident the first 14 players that will come off the board in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft (in some order) are: Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Kristaps Porzingis, D'Angelo Russell, Justise Winslow, Emmanuel Mudiay, Mario Hezonja, Devin Booker, Frank Kaminsky, Myles Turner, Willie Cauley-Stein, Sam Dekker, Stanley Johnson, and Kelly Oubre.

I am fine with the Bucks drafting pretty much any of the 14 players mentioned above with the exception of Oubre.  I have a particularly strong affinity for the guys in the Top 5 (Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Kristaps Porzingis, D'Angelo Russell, and Justise Winslow) because everyone besides Porzingis looks like a borderline lock to become studs in the NBA.  There is zero chance any of those guys will be available unless the Bucks trade-up, which I advise against because they would have to trade either The Greek Freak or Jabari Parker to make that happen.

I also have a particular affinity for the two Wisconsin guys (Kaminsky and Dekker) and both would actually fit in well on The 15 for the Bucks.  Assuming they are off the board, here are the 10 guys (most to least) that Hammond and Company should strongly consider if they are available with the 17th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft:

Bobby Portis (PF, 6'11", 246 lbs, Arkansas, 20 years old) - The 2014-15 SEC Player of the Year is my official reasonable draft crush given his length and outside chance to become Al Horford 2.0.

Jerian Grant (PG/SG, 6'4", 198 lbs, Notre Dame, 22 years old) - Although Grant is NOT quite as long as other guards that I am about to discuss, his ability to play both back court positions is too enticing to pass up.

Delon Wright (PG/SG, 6'6", 181 lbs, Utah, 23 years old) - I know this will get me killed in some NBA circles but I am not at all turned off by the fact that Wright is already 23.  Sure there are guys that are four years younger but I see Wright as a starter next season while some of the younger guys will need a couple seasons before they are ready for significant minutes so the Bucks would get a useful asset that could play at a high level in the NBA for 10 to 12 years.

Trey Lyles (PF, 6'10", 242 lbs, Kentucky, 19 years old) - The advanced stats are stacked against Lyles but some of that might have to do with Lyles playing out of position for such a stacked Kentucky team.

Rashad Vaughn (SG, 6'5", 199 lbs, UNLV, 18 years old) - A knee injury cut Vaughn's season short.  Reports from recent pre-draft workouts were so positive that teams are no longer worried about his knee so his draft stock is on the rise.

Kevon Looney (PF, 6'9", 222 lbs, UCLA, 19 years old) - I have visions of Looney as a rich man's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute aka The Prince.  I say rich man's The Price because Looney is much more polished offensively than The Price.  Long time readers of this space know my affinity for The Prince so assuming Looney is healthy, there is an outside chance in a couple seasons that he becomes a nice mix of The Price and Jared Dudley so yes, I like Looney's upside.

R.J. Hunter (SG, 6'6", 185 lbs, Georgia State, 21 years old) - One of the best story lines of the 2015 NCAA Tournament was the father/son, coach/player story of Ron Hunter and R.J. Hunter.  The is no question that Hunter is one of the best pure shooters in the draft but there are big questions about how much defense he can play in the NBA.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SF, 6'7", 211 lbs, Arizona, 20 years old) - Although Hollis-Jefferson is one of the best defenders in the 2015 NBA Draft, I might be a better shooter than him right now.  Given how much the Bucks struggled offensively last year, Hollis-Jefferson might not be the best fit but given that the Bucks think they can fix MCW's offensive deficiencies, I assume they think they could do the same thing with Hollis-Jefferson.

Cameron Payne (PG, 6'2", 183 lbs, Murray State, 20 years old) - I see shades of Damian Lillard in Payne and the advanced metrics back that up.  Given that the Bucks are going for long, interchangeable parts, I am not sure that Payne is the best fit physically but his offensive upside is too impressive to pass up.

Tyus Jones (PG, 6'2", 185 lbs, Duke, 19 years old) - Much of my discussion of Payne applies to Jones too and the advanced stats are in even more love with Jones than Payne.  I see Jones as a rich man's Tyler Ennis as a rookie.

There are some names that just missed the cut that I would rather see Hammond trade back to get at the end of the first round and get another asset instead of taking with the 17th pick: Justin Anderson, Montrezl Harrell, Guillermo Hernangomez, Cedi Osman, Rakeem Christmas, or Anthony Brown.

With how I think Hammond should approach the 2015 NBA Draft documented, make sure to check back tomorrow to read my "what each GM should do" mock draft of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

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