The Sixers have two glaring needs - a defensive, rebounding presence, and a No. 1 scorer. When it came down to crunch time, Philadelphia couldn't put the ball into the hands of a consistent scoring option because it didn't have one. That would change with Marshon Brooks, who averaged 24.6 points per game for Providence last year. Brooks' stock is rising, and he could be the considered the best player available - though Texas' Jordan Hamilton might have something to say about that.
Even the lunatics in attendance couldn't boo this pick. Projected as a top five pick, Valanciunas has slid in mock drafts over concerns of his buyout and a repeat of the Ricky Rubio fiasco. Possibly the only good thing about James Dolan as an owner is that he's never short on cash, meaning the Knicks can bring Valanciunas stateside immediately. Mike D'Antoni loves skilled big men and there's none more skilled than this 6-11 Lithuanian who can shoot, run the floor, block shots and snag rebounds. Oh, and the Knicks desperately need an upgrade at center with Ronny Turiaf woefully inadequate to start at the five. If Knick fans were falling in love with Timofey Mozgov before he was shipped out for Carmelo Anthony, they might have a parade when Valanciunas hits the Big Apple.
Great, young, athletic kid. With a 6-8, 223 frame, he'll be tough to contain for 'soft' defenders. Very versatile, and uses his strength with the perfect combination of speed to get to the rim. He gives the Wizards a different dimension; versatility.
You might not believe this but Hamilton actually fills a need for the Timberwolves. He's a perimeter shooter who doesn't rely on others to get his shot. His athleticism will allow him to be a very good fit with the offense that the Wolves plan to run with Ricky Rubio.
The Blazers could have gone with Donatus Motiejunas and gotten the height part right but Vucevic, though undoubtedly possessing a lower ceiling, may fill a void right away as the Blazers could get desperate for bigs should they trade Marcus Camby. Vucevic can probably play. Motiejunas would need another couple years in Europe. It's close, but since either of them could end up busts the known quantity wins out...barely.
The last time the Nuggets selected a big lefty in the first round, the year was 1998 and the pick was Raef LaFrentz. In '98 the Nuggets passed on more talented guys to get LaFrentz (like Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, and Dirk Nowitzki), but this time the Nuggets, following general manager Masai Ujiri's plan of talent over need, grab the most talented guy available.
This is another unconventional pick for Houston, but when you're talking about a senior from Duke University you're talking about more than just a good basketball player. With that pedigree comes a certain amount of maturity and leadership that will serve the Rockets well as they try to replace Duke alum Shane Batter.
I think Singler is the best fit for the Thunder because he would be a perfect addition as a role player off the bench and insurance as a shooter in case Daequan Cook unexpectedly gets away as a restricted free agent. However, in this mock draft with Singler off the board, I think Sam Presti will select the best European player available, and that's Mirotic. Yes, OKC will have to wait at least two years to get him stateside, but the Thunder is a team that is very close to a championship level. All of their needs are minor, and although Reggie Jackson is a tempting replacement for the likely-to-be-traded Nate Robinson, I don't see the Thunder using a first round pick on a guard who would barely see the floor behind Westbrook, Harden, and Maynor. They'll take Mirotic and hope it pays off a few years down the road.
With Glen Davis and Nenad Kristic free agents, Shaq retiring, Jermaine O'Neal being washed up, Kevin Garnett getting older, and Jeff Green being a restricted free agent, we need a frontcourt player who can help us out right away since our championship window is starting to close. We think Johnson can be a dangerous weapon in the pick and pop and like his length and ability to run the floor.
With no immediate needs, the defending champions roll the dice on a project: Selby was the top recruit in the nation coming out of high school in Maryland, but endured just one injury-plagued and frustrating season in Lawrence. The Mavs hope they can get Selby some playing time in the NBDL this season, with the hopes that he will add some needed youth and athleticism to the roster by 2013.
Shumpert is a guy who is really soaring up the draft board with Phoenix reportedly being interested at #13. I am going with value here over the need for a power forward. Shumpert is crazy athletic and provides some versatility to the backcourt. He gives us an option at the two behind Anthony Morrow and insurance in case Deron Williams does not re-sign with us. We feel good about being able to grab a decent power forward with our pick early in the second round.
Nolan Smith would bring his experience and ability to play either guard spot to Chicago in hopes of giving them an added boost off the bench. He is not the true creator that the Bulls crave but the best option this late.
San Antonio Spurs: Jeremy TYler, F/C, USA, 6-11, 1992
Guest GM: Yannis Koutroupis, HOOPSWORLD.com
In need of some frontline help, Tyler is the kind of project who would blossom in the Spurs organization post-Tim Duncan era.
Chicago Bulls: Davis Bertans, F, Latvia, 6-10, 1992
Guest GM: Paul Banks, The Sports Bank
With two of the final three picks in the first round, the Bulls can get a little risky with this pick by taking David Bertans. He is a pure shooter and good size at 6-10 but we would hope he gets stronger and continues to develop and then bring him to Chicago in a couple of years.