clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rufus on Fire mock drafts, part II

Three more of the site's writers give their predictions of how the top ten picks in the draft will unfold.


1) Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel

With no clear-cut top overall pick, Noel seems to be the name mentioned the most; or at least he's the name that is mentioned most as getting replaced at the top. Which I suppose is the same thing. Point being, the Cavaliers wouldn't get killed for taking Noel here even with his unclear offensive prowess. He'll sit at least some of the season so there will be no rush to produce initially, and that might be the only thing keeping the Cavs from feeling ok about this pick as it feels like they're ready to make a significant jump now.

2) Orlando Magic - Ben McLemore

Seems like the Magic will go with a scoring guard in this spot. McLemore is the name that has the most upside, to me. He's the youngest and was as productive as the other two options, Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo. He produced for much of the season as a freshman in the Big 12. He also disappeared later in the season and the tournament. The buzz around his workouts lately has been pretty awful. Showing up out of shape is never ideal but he is very young. Given his age I think it's a risk worth taking. But any more bad news and this pick sounds like it won't go his way. As a matter of fact it is sounding less likely by the day. So let's go with it!

3) Washington Wizards - Otto Porter

If Porter is still here at three, it would be a slight surprise if he's not selected by the hometown Wiz. The Georgetown forward slides right in as a skilled, scoring forward on a team that has an exciting backcourt in place with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Porter makes so much sense here and he's as close to a sure thing as there might be in this draft.

4) Charlotte Bobcats - Alex Len

Here we go. Ok, the thing is the Bobcats need help at a lot of places. No one on the roster is safe and I believe general manager Rich Cho sees it that way. The biggest need for Charlotte is talent, plain and simple. In a rather unclear draft it does make some sense that Charlotte would look to add Len to perhaps the worst frontcourt in the history of the NBA. You can't teach seven feet. I know I know, it's crazy right? But you really can't, I looked it up. Len swears he can hit jumpers and this would not be the worst pick for Charlotte (to say I've come around on this pick is an understatement). Cho could elect to draft one of the remaining scoring guards as well. Depending on what shakes out at least one of Oladipo, Burke or McLemore will likely be there. If it's McLemore I think they should grab him. Should they opt for that route the writing could be on the wall for Gerald Henderson. The other name here is Anthony Bennett. Adding Bennett to the frontcourt is very enticing even if he is a bit undersized.

5) Phoenix Suns - Victor Oladipo

The Suns need talent as well and Oladipo's physical gifts and impressive last season at Indiana will be tough to pass up, unless the fact that he had one decent shooting season in three scares you, which it may. But HE. DOES. NOT. STOP. His motor is maybe the most impressive facet to his game and his game last year was very impressive. He's got the physical tools to be a very good defender. He shot almost 60 percent from the floor last season and over 40 percent from three. Most teams in the lottery could do a lot worse than adding a potential stud to their lineup.

6) New Orleans Pelicans - Trey Burke

Publicly the Pelicans say they have not given up on last year's first round draft pick, Austin Rivers. Which is kind of like saying they've given up on last year's first round pick Austin Rivers, or at the very least they felt the need to refute as much publicly. Either way, that is not exactly a ringing endorsement. Burke was arguably the best player in college last year and is a skilled, mature scoring guard who could run the point, probably much better than Rivers at least right now. So if Burke falls to the Pelicans they could pounce.

7) Sacramento Kings - Shabazz Muhammad

Here's my wildcard, and it would be kind of Kings to go this way. Seems like some team is going to take a huge gamble so might it be the Kings? If not Muhammad then Anthony Bennett could end up here especially if Cousins is sent out. Muhammad is talented, and it doesn't matter how old you say you are in the pros. Muhammad was born and bred to play in the pros and he'll get his shot. If he doesn't get picked it sounds like he'll slide into the teens but the Kings were impressed with his workout.

8) Detroit Pistons - Anthony Bennett

Bennett is a skilled big man who tops out at just 6'8" so pairing him with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond would be interesting but probably too crowded. Bennett's motor has come into question and at times maybe his shot selection but his upside is very enticing. Grabbing him at the eight spot would be nice for the Pistons as his talent probably puts him much higher in the draft. Should he slip past Sacramento the Pistons would be extremely tempted. It would appear the backcourt is more of a pressing issue so our next pick could very easily be selected here. But if the top guards are gone by this point and if Bennett slides this far he's almost too talented to pass up.

9) Minnesota Timberwolves - C.J. McCollum

McCollum playing alongside Ricky Rubio would be attractive for the Timberwolves, and they liked him at his workout. The Wolves need some scoring on the wings and unless Kevin Love is not there then it makes sense to grab the solid two guard with this pick. He doesn't have ideal height, standing just 6'3" but the Wolves no doubt trust Rubio can set him up in enough nice spots to negate some of that. Even though much of the draft talk has been of McCollum transitioning to the point guard position his shooting might be too much for the Wolves to pass on if he's there. If he's not, look for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

10) Portland Trailblazers - Cody Zeller

Count me in the group of people who thinks the Trailblazers would be insane to part ways with LaMarcus Aldridge. I will defend his All-Star selection over Stephen Curry last year (even though it obviously wasn't exactly head-to-head but you know) until the end of time. So I tend to think they want to build around someone in the conversation for best power forward in the league in his prime, and yes, Damian Lillard. Pairing another big man with Aldridge seems to make sense. Whether Zeller is that guy, I'm not sure anyone knows. But he's a seven footer who can attract defenders and is very skilled. If he's just his brother, isn't even that enticing beside Aldridge? Not as much, but he's not his brother, we don't think. Shooting guard seems to be the other position the Blazers are looking to address so Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could be a name called here.


1) Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel

Noel is the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft this year thanks to his explosiveness, 7'4" wingspan and defensive skill set. As far as finishing at the rim goes he was around 60% thanks to that explosiveness. It is because of his athleticism and defense that I see him becoming a great pick and roll man and defensive stopper. There are rumors that the Cavs won't take Noel but I can't see that happening.

2) Orlando Magic - Victor Oladipo

A lot of draft boards have Ben McLemore going here but the Magic have fallen in love with two players. Oladipo and Trey Burke. Since taking Burke at this point of the draft would be a very large reach it's much more likely the Magic take Oladipo here. The Magic need a guard. Like, wow, do they ever need one. Their current ones are all either not very good or not going to be around for a very long time so I expect the defensive minded Oladipo to go here.

3) Washington Wizards - Otto Porter

Porter's stock has skyrocketed through the ranks thanks to some very strong workouts. I've already written some thoughts about Porter and I think he could workout pretty well in Washington. He's a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-like player who can shoot better. Drafting Porter would make the Wizards very flexible as I could see Porter being the type of player that could play the stretch 4 if asked to. I still don't think this pick helps their problems with asking John Wall to score too much but word is the Wizards have all their eggs in the Otto Porter basket.

4) Charlotte Bobcats - Alex Len

There has been a lot of speculation as to where Len will end up and whether he will even be here for the Cats to take. Len is supposedly a favorite of the Cavs to go first overall but as I said earlier I can't see how the Cavs don't take Noel and as a result, Len will fall down to the Bobcats at fourth. The Bobcats need frontcourt help and Len fulfills that need. There are a lot of reports that the Bobcats are considering trading their pick so I expect them to go with a pick to fill a need and see how it turns out, if they can't trade the pick.

5) Phoenix Suns - Ben McLemore

McLemore was at one point expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft but with Noel's surgery going over well, that didn't happen. McLemore's stock continued to fall with Porter and Oladipo having great workouts and impressing many teams. The Bobcats needed frontcourt help and went after a frontcourt player. As a result McLemore will fall down all the way to 5 into the Suns' hands. The Suns were a disaster last year and needed help everywhere. They're just gonna take the best player available in McLemore.

6) New Orleans Pelicans - Trey Burke

Burke is another player whose stock shot up late in the season. There are reports that the Magic love him so much that they're considering reaching for him all the way up at the second spot. Burke is quickly becoming a favorite of basketball fans everywhere because of what he could become. The thing that has most fans drooling at the mouth is his pick and roll ability. The Davis-Burke pick and roll sounds fun, doesn't it?

7) Sacramento Kings - Anthony Bennett

The Kings traded away Thomas Robinson at the trade deadline last season (goodbye Maloofs, glad you're gone) and as a result, need another power forward. Go figure there's one waiting for them right here in Antony Bennett. Bennett struggles at creating in the paint and that is actually good for the Kings. The team is filled with nothing but creators and having a guy for them to pass to who won't dribble it back out and start all over again would be great for them.

8) Detroit Pistons - Cody Zeller

The Pistons need some guys to solidify their bench that aren't guards and shooters and Cody Zeller fits that mold for them perfectly. Zeller is not going to be a starting player in the NBA and there is nothing wrong with that. Zeller does however have the ability to be a solid 8 man rotation player and at this point of the draft there's nothing wrong with that.

9) Minnesota Timberwolves - C.J. McCollum

McCollum is considered the best shooter in the draft and with a true shooting percentage of 62 percent last season, you can see why. This is great for the Wolves, who need shooters badly. However, any significant minutes McCollum might play will probably be at the 2-spot with Ricky Rubio getting him the ball in area where he's spotting up.

10) Portland Trailblazers - Kentavius Caldwell-Pope

Caldwell-Pope has to be better than some of the players the Blazers were pulling off the bench last season right? With arguably the worst bench-starter comparison in the NBA last season the Blazers will just be looking for a solid player here. No projects, no question marks, just the best guy available.


1) Cleveland Cavaliers - Nerlens Noel

Despite his ACL injury and lack of offensive production, his defense and overall athleticism is enough to put him at No. 1 with a Cleveland team who finished 25th in opponents PPG.

2) Orlando Magic - Trey Burke

He might be falling down draft boards, but I still think that Trey Burke is the most talented prospect in this year's draft. With Orlando leaning towards their younger pieces (i.e Vucevic, Harris, etc.) then I think Burke would be a great offensive point guard as they continue to rebuild.

3) Washington Wizards - Otto Porter

This may be irrelevant because of the rumors that the Wizards are shopping the pick. If they stay at the No. 3 then I think Porter would be a great 3-and-D piece that you can combine with Beal and Wall.

4) Charlotte Bobcats - Ben McLemore

Although there is a huge gaping hole in Charlotte's frontcourt, it would be wrong to pass up on McLemore. His fit with the Bobcats is ideal because of his perimeter scoring ability and defensive potential. Even though Gerald Henderson had an extremely solid year in 2012-13, it''ll be the best move to draft McLemore over retaining Hendo.

5) Phoenix Suns - Victor Oladipo

Oladipo is one of the more exciting young prospects in this draft because of his terrific motor and great defensive ability. Those traits would be ideal on a Phoenix team that were one of the worst in the league last season. His perimeter ability is questionable, though Oladipo showed improvement over his three years at Indiana in that category so it shouldn't be out of the question for him to continue to get better in the NBA.

6) New Orleans Pelicans- Alex Len

A projected No. 4 pick falls down to a Pelicans team that's looking for a young frontcourt prospect they can combine with Anthony Davis. Len's NBA potential is a huge question mark but his pick and roll potential with Grevis Vasquez and Eric Gordon would be intriguing to watch on the new look Pelicans.

7) Sacramento Kings - Anthony Bennett

Similar to Sacramento, there are a lot of questions facing the future of former UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett. Bennett's offensive skills are immense with his ability to work around the perimeter and with his back to the basket. With that said, his defensive issues would be even more worrisome with the Kings who were the worst team in the NBA in terms of opponents points per game.

8) Detroit Pistons - Shabazz Muhammad

Despite the multitude of issues from the past six months, Shabazz is still one of the finest scorers in this year's draft class. Muhammad would immediately be placed in the team's starting 5 by replacing Kyle Singler and would add a much needed scoring threat to assist Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

9) Minnesota Timberwolves - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

The drafting of KCP would immediately help out a T-Wolves team that started Luke Ridnour at shooting guard last season. Caldwell-Pope's perimeter shooting ability will be beneficial for a Minnesota team that finished dead last in three-point percentage and would also be a great fit next to a solid penetrator like Ricky Rubio.

10) Portland Trail Blazers - CJ McCollum

This would be an interesting pick because Portland is already set at point guard with Damian Lillard but they still need to add a lot of depth to the bench. The potential of McCollum as the 6th man/occasional shooting guard next to Lilliard would be extremely enticing to watch because of how lethal they both are on offense.