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Category → Draft Dreams 2011

Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Deshaun Thomas

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, junior guard from the Ohio State University.
  • Key Stats: 19.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists; shot 45 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range.
  • Projected: Second round.
  • Hickory High similarity score

Random Fact

Deshaun Thomas was always kind of “the other guy” in his time at Ohio State, playing in the shadows of Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft. That’s nothing against him, he’s just a guy who may like to keep to himself?

As Dan wrote over at Pro Basketball Talk last month Thomas was asked by the San Antonio Spurs for his cell phone number. One would assume any fringe prospect trying to do anything they can to impress a team would readily hand over their phone number, email address, AIM screen name, whatever.

Well, apparently that’s not Deshaun’s game because the Ohio State swingman declined to give the Spurs his number because “I can’t go around giving it out to everyone … now if they want to draft me, I’d be happy to give it to them.”

think he was joking, but either way, is that really a smart move? You’re a prospect trying to get drafted into the NBA as high as possible (potentially in this case while talking to the best-run organization in the league) and you’re going to deny them like an ugly girl at a party?

Again, he could just be joking, but regardless, it’s not a great look. But hey, if basketball doesn’t work out he can maybe give baseball a try. Ok, just kidding, maybe he should stick to hoops.

Fits with the Pistons because …

As we’ve seen from this spring’s playoffs, teams that can score from the wings do well. Whether you’ve got a guy off the bench who can score — like, say, Thomas — or a star scorer in the starting lineup, having a consistent source of offense from the perimeter is a nessecity in today’s NBA.

That’s why Thomas makes sense for the Pistons. They have no consistent offensive threats from those wing positions. Throughout his tenure at Ohio State, Thomas found a way to modify his offensive game. The scorer that teamed with Jared Sullinger relied on a little mid-post offense and a lot of mid-range jumpers, which are something of a rarity in the league today.

The Thomas we saw this year scored a lot, mostly on jumpers, but he found a way to create his own offense. The Pistons have very few wing players, specifically at small forward, who can do that. He’s got athleticism, and he’s got some strength, but he’s kind of a tweener.

However, I feel like there are some tweener traits that actually help a guy when he gets to the NBA. If you can shoot, score and run the break, you’ll at least have a chance. I don’t think he’s as bad with the ball in terms of creating off the dribble as some say, either.

His game just feels like it fits the NBA style of play. Lots of jumpers, getting up and down the court, being able to rebound well for his position. I never liked Jared Sullinger as a prospect, and I said then that I thought Thomas was the best pro on that Final Four team.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

You want defense from that small forward spot, too, right? Well, that’s not going to be a strength of Thomas. He’s apathetic to say the least. He floats around and might struggle against the faster wing forwards in the NBA.

There’s also the character questions, mainly with his work ethic. In order for Thomas to be a successful player in this league, he’ll have to work on his game from the perimeter. Does he want to do that? Does he want to just shoot jump shots and play between the 3-point lines?

He’s kind of stuck in an awkward spot as a second-round prospect. Arizona State’s Carrick Felix and NC State’s CJ Leslie are both similar guys that will be around when the Pistons pick at No. 37. All are limited forwards who either can’t shoot (Leslie, Felix) or can’t defend wing players (Leslie, Thomas).

His closest Hickory High similarity comparison is Jon Leuer, if you’re into that thing.

You’re getting a very one-dimensional player in Thomas, but if that’s what you’re looking for, he may be a fit as a guy to have on your bench early on.

From the experts …

Chad Ford:

Thomas is an elite scorer who can do damage near the basket or on the perimeter. But he make scouts a little wary because of his lack of elite athletic ability, he’s a ‘tweener stuck between the 3 and the 4 and his indifference on the defensive end. He can put the ball in the bucket, but they’ll want to see more than that if he’s going to be a first-round prospect. He’s a bubble first-rounder right now, in the 25-40 range.

DraftExpress:

The main question regarding Thomas’s NBA potential is what position he can defend effectively. His versatile offensive game affords him some flexibility on that end of the floor, but his lack of footspeed for a three, size and length for a four, and overall consistency on the defensive end are troubling.

On film

Previously:

PistonPowered Mock Draft Part Deux: Pistons end up with Bismack Biyombo and two players they can stash overseas

Last week’s mock draft was formatted to basically be my audition tape to NBA teams, letting them know I’m ready for a job in their scouting department. This time around, I’ll try and be a little more scientific, giving my best guesses at who we think each team is going to take based on the sea of information that’s out there and using, you know, actual logic and research this time.

This time, second round picks are after the jump after complaints from commenters nuetes and RandomGuy313, who both apparently hate to scroll down. Don’t say I’m not responsive to readers.

Also, now that draft day is here, let’s finally put to rest the notion that this is some sort of historically weak draft. It’s a draft that doesn’t have much star power, but there are plenty of guys who project to be very solid NBA players. Check out this tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey:

Our rankings have 22 1st round quality players in the draft. Normal range is 15-19.

Here are the latest mock drafts by Chad Ford, DraftExpress, NBADraft.net and Hoops Report. Dave Hogg of Fox Sports Detroit, Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and Justin Rogers and Steve Kays at MLive also weighed in with their mocks today (although none of them were man enough to attempt to pick the second round as well as the first … step it up guys). Coverage of the draft starts at 7 p.m. tonight on ESPN. So, no more setup needed. Let’s dig in.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving

The Cavs did their best to try and suggest they might take Derrick Williams over Irving. No one is buying it. Irving has been the guy since day one. The only concern was that he didn’t play a full season for Duke due to injury. But when he was healthy, he was the best player in college basketball and he has the most upside of any player in this draft.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams

As hilariously inept as every move David Kahn makes seems to be (the latest was firing his coach the night before the draft), whoever gets this job is going to inherit a pretty intriguing roster. That is, if the T-Wolves stop leaking fake trade rumors and simply do the right thing, which is pick Williams to be their third building block player, along with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.

3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight

I don’t think this is the right pick for Utah, and I explained why in the previous mock draft. Knight’s size and ability to play point guard might make him an intriguing prospect for a team that would like a long-term solution at the position, but I just don’t think Knight, though talented, is good enough to pass Jonas Valuncianas or Enes Kanter for. Still though, group think wins out, and virtually everyone who covers the draft has had Knight locked into this spot for weeks.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter

I think Valuncianas is a better player and prospect than Kanter, who has always looked a little slow-footed to me in the few clips of him actually playing basketball that exist out there. I trust that he’s talented. John Calipari doesn’t recruit players who aren’t talented. I think the active Valuncianas would be another energetic addition to an active frontcourt that includes J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao. Instead, Hickson and Varejao will make up for the presence less athletic Kanter, but he might turn into the back-to-the-basket presence they need.

5. Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard

May have pegged Kemba Walker at this spot simply because there’s an assumption Bryan Colangelo, for once, might be staying away from foreign players in this draft. Walker doesn’t make much sense to me, though. They’d like a replacement for Jose Calderon, but Calderon is still serviceable offensively. Instead, they could take an athlete like Leonard, who several teams are coveting and trying to trade up for reportedly, and have a really active forward tandem with Leonard and Amir Johnson.

6. Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely

Grantland’s staff hilariously described both Vesely’s ceiling and cellar as Anthony Randolph. Unlike most Euro perimeter players, Vesely isn’t a particularly elite shooter, but his size and athleticism would make him a nice fit in the Washington lineup. He reportedly isn’t the strongest ball-handler yet, but John Wall should take care of that, creating shots for Vesely so he doesn’t have to do it himself.

7. Sacramento Kings – Klay Thompson

I really believe Thompson is going to be the surprising riser in this draft. He’s a shooting guard, but he’s big enough to play minutes at small forward as well, and he’s one of the better perimeter shooters in the draft. If the Spurs are reportedly trying to secure a lottery pick to take Thompson, then I trust that he’ll turn into a pretty good player. The Kings seem to be focused on taking a perimeter player. Kawhi Leonard is off my board, Kemba Walker is redundant to what they already have and Jimmer Fredette isn’t as big as Thompson.

8. Detroit Pistons – Bismack Biyombo

Yeesh, I really can’t imagine what the Pistons will do if they get to this pick and Valuncianas, Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker and Tristan Thompson are all still available. They’ve been linked to all of them and reportedly like all of them. I picked Walker in my previous mock because I love Kemba (hey … if people can support a coaching candidate simply because he’s so tough and leadery, why can’t I support drafting a player for that same reason?) and also because he seems like the kind of underdog-fight-for-everything type of guard that Joe Dumars likes. But I no longer believe they’ll take Kemba. I think the right pick would be Valuncianas. I think the wrong pick would be Thompson. So, unless they trade down (not a bad idea, honestly), I think Biyombo is the guy.

9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jonas Valuncianas

Rich Cho was hired in Charlotte to be the guy who is unafraid to be a yes man to Michael Jordan. MJ has had a tendency to hire his friends for key basketball ops positions, and I would be that those friends tend to think about things in the same ways that MJ does. Cho is an analytical guy, and I would bet if Valuncianas, undoubtedly one of the top three players in this draft, falls this far because of his buyout situation, Cho will make the case to take him here.

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks

The Bucks have been focused on the shooting guard spot as most every draft analyst has Thompson or Burks going in this spot. Thompson is off my board, so we’ll go with Burks, although I think the Bucks would be wise to look at either Marcus Morris or Chris Singleton here. Depending on how serious they are about moving Brandon Jennings, they could also consider Kemba Walker at this spot.

11. Golden State Warriors – Marcus Morris

The Warriors have been shopping Monta Ellis hard and new coach Mark Jackson would like the team to be more defensive-minded. Those two things have led many to believe the Warriors would look for bigger shooting guards like Thompson and Burks in the draft. Unfortunately, those guys are off the board here. Morris does fill another need though, frontcourt depth. Anyone whose presence can take minutes from Andris Biedrins is a good thing for the Warriors.

12. Utah Jazz – Chris Singleton

The Jazz could lose free agent defender Andrei Kirilenko to free agency (finally … it seems like that dude signed a 15-year contract). AK was overpaid, but he was also versatile enough to defend multiple positions and bother players with his length. Singleton might not be quite the shot blocker AK was in his better days, but he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft and at 6-foot-9, has good lenth himself.

13. Phoenix Suns – Tristan Thompson

Thompson has definite weaknesses — he’s a bit undersized and he’s really raw offensively. But the Suns could really use more athleticism in their frontcourt and Thompson is a good finisher. If the Suns really are serious that they are not shopping Steve Nash, Nash will find a use for a player who can run the floor like Thompson. If they are seriously shopping Nash, maybe they’d take Kemba Walker here.

14. Houston Rockets – Kenneth Faried

Reports indicate the Rockets would desperately like to move up higher into the lottery to have a shot at one of the bigger names in the draft. Morey’s tweet that I linked to in the intro, however, indicates that the team is confident it can find a solid player at this spot as well. Faried is the best rebounder in this draft, a stat that usually translates well from college to pro, and he’s a favorite player of stats-based bloggers everywhere. Morey is also the favorite GM of stats-based bloggers everywhere. This is a match made in heaven.

15. Indiana Pacers – Jimmer Fredette

Chad Ford has the Pacers picking Jimmer if they stay here. It seems like a totally Pacers thing to do. But they could actually use help at the shooting guard spot. They have been shopping Brandon Rush and Mike Dunleavy is a free agent. I don’t think Fredette is destined to be a starter in the NBA, but I think he’ll be a really solid rotation player and his shooting will fit well in Indiana’s lineup.

16. Philadelphia 76ers – Marshon Brooks

It’s no secret the Sixers are shopping Andre Iguodala at this point. They have a guy on the roster in Thad Young who needs more minutes. They could slide him into some of Iggy’s minutes and take a shooting guard like Brooks, who is big and strong and known for his scoring. But the best part about Brooks is his defense. He averaged over one blocked shot per game as a perimeter player. Doug Collins will like that.

17. New York Knicks – Kemba Walker

It hurts me to drop Walker this low. I don’t think there are 16 players better than him in this draft. But the problem is, if he drops past Detroit, and if Utah uses the third pick on Knight meaning they won’t be looking for a PG with the 12th pick, Knight could free fall because there aren’t many teams after those spots looking for PG help. The Knicks would love to draft him. He’s already a star, and they have Chauncey Billups back for at least one more season to start while Walker spells him off the bench.

18. Washington Wizards – Markieff Morris

Marcus Morris was viewed as the more polished and NBA-ready prospect of the Morris twins. Markieff, however, has impressed teams in workouts and might be viewed as the one with more upside. Detroit loved Markieff when he worked out with the Pistons, for example. Washington got small forward help by taking Vesely earlier and Morris will help bolster their frontcourt, particularly if they decide to move Andray Blatche.

19. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton

I have the Bobcats getting Valuncianas earlier, a player who might not help them this season. Hamilton, on the other hand, should contribute to their lineup pretty quickly. Some scouts think he’s the best wing scorer in this draft. Charlotte traded small forward Gerald Wallace last season for this pick, and Hamilton might be a guy who is able to replace Wallace at that position for them.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Nikola Vucevic

I think the rumors that the T-Wolves are thinking of taking Enes Kanter second overall instead of Derrick Williams are just lies. And if true, they’d be crazy to do it, partially because they can get an impact player like Williams early and then possibly add a really solid big at this spot in Vucevic. Vucevic was underrated because his college team wasn’t all that good, but he’s big, strong, a decent rebounder and he’s someone who at one time was considered a mid-second round prospect who has become a first round lock because of great workouts and combine performances.

21. Portland Trail Blazers – Reggie Jackson

Point guards like Iman Shumpert and Darius Morris have also been discussed here. Those guys are fine prospects, but I think Jackson is a much better prospect who might be undervalued some because an injury kept him out of the combine. If the Blazers are looking for a point guard, Jackson is the best of the bunch.

22. Denver Nuggets – Iman Shumpert

Four mocks (DE, NBADraft, Chad Ford and Hoops Report) have the Nuggets taking Tobias Harris here. His versatility would fit well with Denver’s roster full of versatile, fun-to-watch players. But the team might also need backup point guard help because it seems likely at some point, the Nuggets will trade Raymond Felton. Shumpert needs some refining of his skills as a PG, but he’s a great defensive player and a good athlete who could learn from two smart PGs in Felton and Ty Lawson.

23. Houston Rockets – Donatas Motiejunas

Motiejunas was a lock for the lottery last season before he pulled out of the draft. Scouts told him to work on getting bigger and stronger. He did get bigger and stronger. That also made him get a bit slower. Thanks a lot, scouts. His stock has fallen this year, but he’s still really young and talented and it’s hard to see Houston passing up a guy here who was considered a lottery talent in a draft that had more talent at the top last year than this year’s does.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Tobias Harris

Harris falling this far would be a great gift to OKC. Harris can play either forward spot, he’s smart and he’d be a nice option for some offense off the bench if the team needed to spell Kevin Durant for a few minutes. He’d also allow the Thunder to go small at times, play fast and fill the floor with potent offensive options.

25. Boston Celtics – Jimmy Butler

I’m assuming most of you read this amazing profile on Butler by Chad Ford. If not, take a few minutes. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in a while. That, combined with the fact that Butler is a hard-nosed, tough defensive player and decent scorer makes me hope he’ll last until the second round when the Pistons pick. He won’t. He’s exactly the kind of mentally tough, young wing player the Celtics could’ve used over the last two years or so in the playoffs.

26. Dallas Mavericks – Darius Morris

Most outlets have Morris falling to the second round. I don’t buy it. He’s a big, young point guard who in one college season improved from not even a starter on a terrible team to best player on a surprise NCAA Tourney team. I can’t think of a better situation for Morris, sitting behind a PG like Jason Kidd, getting better in practice and possibly giving the Mavs a PG of the future when Kidd decides to retire.

27. New Jersey Nets – Chandler Parsons

The Nets didn’t really get much out of last year’s “prize” free agent acquisition, small forward Travis Outlaw. Parsons is a smo0th-shooting small forward who, at 6-foot-10, has great size for the position. He was a decent rebounder in college for a perimeter player and, along with Anthony Morrow, would give the Nets two nice floor-stretching players for Deron Williams.

28. Chicago Bulls – Justin Harper

Harper, much like Parsons, is a tall yet slender forward with a nice shooting touch. The Bulls are obviously still going to be one of the best defensive teams in the league again next season, but they need more offensive firepower to compete with a team like Miami in the East. Harper would be a tough matchup off the bench because of his height and, along with Kyle Korver, should make it harder for teams to cheat off of their men to clog the lane on Derrick Rose.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Charles Jenkins

The Spurs are reportedly shopping both of their point guards, Tony Parker and George Hill. I don’t think they’ll trade both of them, but even if they trade just one, they could use a backup PG. Jenkins is exactly the kind of player the Spurs find in the draft. He’s an unknown because he played at a small school, but his shooting efficiency was amazing (50 percent overall/over 40 percent from 3) for a guard, especially considering he was the focal point of Hofstra’s offense, always facing multiple defenders.

30. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Honeycutt

The lesson Eastern Conference teams should learn after playing Miami: you can never have too many long, athletic defenders to throw at Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The Mavs were able to beat Miami in the Finals primarily because they had a parade of active perimeter guys who were always fresh going at James and Wade. Honeycutt will need to get stronger, but he was extremely versatile for UCLA, a good passer and a long-armed defensive player.

(Second round after the jump) Continue reading →

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Michael Dunigan

(Note: This will be the last of the Draft Dreams profiles. Check back tomorrow for our revised mock draft.)

We already looked at one project big man, Greg Smith, who could be available with the second of Detroit’s two second round picks. Another is Michael Dunigan, a former Oregon player who left school and played professionally overseas.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 240 pounds C from Oregon

Key stats: 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks in 20 minutes per game as sophomore at Oregon

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Dunigan heads into the NBA Draft with an advantage over most big men in the second round: he’s heavier than most of them. He still needs to add strength, but at 240 pounds, he’s not working with the lean frame that players like Keith Benson or JaJuan Johnson are.

Dunigan blocked shots well in college, averaging more than one a game in limited minutes in two years at Oregon. He has a big wingspan — 7-feet-3-inches — and he’s mobile for his size. He has the ability to use his body to establish position inside. Smith probably has more upside than Dunigan, but it makes sense for the Pistons to look at these two bigs with the 52nd pick.

The plus side with Dunigan, because he has international experience, is the Pistons might be able to pick him and then convince him to stay overseas and continue developing his game for a season or two before coming to the NBA.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Dunigan might not be ready for the NBA offensively. His size might intrigue teams and allow him to not get pushed around too much defensively, but he’s not overly athletic, which could hurt his ability to finish around the basket against good shot blockers in the NBA. He has professional experience, but it only consists of one game in Israel before moving on to play in Estonia, not exactly the highest level of international pro basketball.

Dunigan has great size that would undeniably be an asset in the NBA if he can harness it, but his limited tools put him a notch or two below the bigs who will be available at the top of the second round upside-wise.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

As a rebounder, Dunigan can’t be described as anything more than average at best, at least as far as production is concerned. The lethargic impression you get at times while watching him play seems to show up the most vividly in this area, as he just doesn’t crash the glass as well as a player with his size, bulk and length should at the college level, especially on the defensive end.

Despite the seemingly harsh criticism, Dunigan actually may have a very bright future ahead of him. The tools he brings to the table are undeniable, and many of the issues he faces are very much correctable, especially in terms of fundamentals, technique and effort.

From ESPN:

Dunigan left Oregon this summer to play pro ball in Israel, making him automatically eligible for the NBA draft this year. Dunigan played one game in Israel before moving on to Estonia — yes, Estonia — to play. He has played well and was considered a legit prospect thanks to his size and athleticism before he left college. But he’s got a lot to work on to convince NBA scouts that he’s ready for the NBA.

From HoopsWorld:

Given the success Dunigan had overseas, it’s likely he will leave his options open when it comes to being drafted. He will have the option to player overseas again in case of a lockout due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiration, or even if there is no lockout he may decide he can find a better situation if the team who drafts him doesn’t have a spot for him and is willing to make a commitment.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Nikola Mirotic

With his size, youth and rapid improvement this season, Nikola Mirotic isn’t likely to slip out of the first round. But if he does somehow, he’d be a great prospect for the Pistons with their first second-round pick.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds 20-year-old PF from Serbia

Key stats: 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds in 17 minutes per game in Spanish League

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

As I’ve pointed out with other international prospects, you can’t simply look at their averages in evaluations, which are rarely that impressively looking. European teams, particularly good teams (Mirotic played for one of the top clubs in Europe), divide minutes. Mirotic’s per-40 minute averages of 21 points and 9 rebounds per game look much more impressive than his overall scoring numbers.

He earned minutes in a front court that includes former NBA All-Rookie Team member Jorge Garbajosa as well as talented veterans of Euro basketball. Mirotic’s rise as a prospect has been remarkable. He didn’t quite come out of nowhere like Bismack Biyombo did, but prior to the season he wasn’t considered much of a prospect for this year and now, he’s nearly neck and neck among international prospects with Donatas Motiejunas, who was once considered a lottery pick.

Along with the improvement, Mirotic is tall and skilled. He’s a great shooter — over 40 percent from 3-point range — although he isn’t strictly a perimeter player. He has nice touch around the basket and moves well without the ball.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Although Mirotic can score around the basket, he’s not considered a traditional post-up big man, which other than a rim-protecting presence, might be the Pistons’ greatest need. He, like most of the bigs in this draft, needs to add weight. Mirotic is aggressive enough on the boards in Europe, but he’s not strong enough to hold position against NBA bigs just yet.

Mirotic also might not join the team that drafts him for another season or two. He has an expensive buyout and incentives to stay in Spain. That could be a plus, considering his need to develop physically and the looming lockout, but a team like the Pistons could use all of the immediate help in the frontcourt it could get. Waiting for a player like Mirotic might be worth it in the long run, but the Pistons also have short-term goals of becoming competitive again for a new owner who undoubtedly would probably not want to oversee another dismal season.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Mirotic is very fundamentally sound — never off-balance, always staying solid in his stance and rarely gambling for the sake of making a spectacular play. Nevertheless, he’s been fairly productive statistically, showing excellent timing as a shot-blocker and even getting in the passing lanes on occasion, likely aided greatly by his excellent length. He still needs to add strength (as most 20-year-olds do), but Mirotic has a good frame and should be able to see minutes at either big man position in the NBA, depending on who he’s playing next to.

From ESPN:

On talent, Mirotic is a likely late lottery to mid-first round pick. But concerns about his contract abound. NBA scouts I spoke with believe it may be years before he can come to the NBA after he agreed to a long extension with Real Madrid that runs through 2016. He’s a got a massive buyout on top of that. That’s going to lower his stock if he stays in the draft.

From NBA.com:

Has mid-first round potential, due to contract and youth, stay in Europe for a couple more years, make a lot of money, then come to NBA…much like Luis Scola or Tiago Splitter did.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Marshon Brooks

The Pistons have too many players on the wings already, but if a high-motor, big-time scorer like Marshon Brooks somehow falls out of the first round and to Detroit’s pick at No. 33, he’s the type of hard-nosed guard Pistons fans have loved over the years and missed over the last few seasons.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 190 pounds senior G from Providence

Key stats: 24.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.5 steals per game while shooting 48 percent from the field

Projected: Mid-to-late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

At 6-foot-5, Brooks already has decent size for a NBA shooting guard. But if you factor in his massive wingspan, that makes him an even more unique prospect as a NBA two. You can see it in his numbers, as a guard he averaged more than a block a game as a senior at Providence. He’s also a fantastic rebounder for a guard, can shoot reasonably well from 3-point range (34 percent) and gets to the basket and finishes.

It makes sense that the Pistons are looking at other positions first in this draft, but they can’t be choosy. They don’t have a player on the entire roster right now, other than possibly Greg Monroe, who has shown he can be a key piece of a contending team. If the best player on the board is a shooting guard like Brooks, they can’t afford to let him pass by just because they are tied into contracts for flawed guards already.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Brooks’ biggest adjustment will have to be reigning in his shot selection. He was Providence’s offense, so the Friars played a free-wheeling style where Brooks had a lot of freedom to make decisions. He didn’t always make the best ones and forced things sometimes. He won’t be going to a NBA team, the Pistons or otherwise, that will give him that kind of freedom, so to earn minutes, he’s going to have to use his physical tools to make an impact defensively, which he should be fully capable of doing.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Brooks’s overall improvement and efficiency can be seen in virtually all areas of his game, as evidenced by his excellent 31.2 PER, which currently ranks him among the top 20 players in the country. His biggest strength though, is his ability to create his own shot and score, as he’s averaging 23.8 points per game so far this season, which puts in him in the top five in the nation.

From ESPN:

No player in this draft is drawing more late-in-coming raves than Marshon Brooks from Providence, in part because he’s physically similar to (Paul) George. But to get this much buzz it takes more than a Paul George comparison, and Brooks can thank none other than Kobe Bryant for his rapid mock-draft ascension.

From David Aldridge:

He’s not a great shooter, but he’s a slasher who can explode for points coming off screens. But he’ll have to fight questions about whether he was just a good player on a bad team that didn’t make the NCAAs. ‘They didn’t play right,” a Western Conference scouting director said, ‘so a lot of his numbers came at the cost of winning, in my opinion.’ Brooks has made an interesting impression on at least a couple of scouts. ‘Whether it’s intentional or not, he tries to move around the court like Kobe,’ a Central Division executive said.”

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Trey Thompkins

Trey Thompkins might fit more into the hybrid forward definition, which the Pistons already have in abundance, but at his size, he might be a player worth considering in the second round.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 240 pounds junior F from Georgia

Key stats: 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

The upside with nabbing Thompkins in the second round is the fact that after his sophomore season, many scouts believed him to be a first round talent. He’s dipped into the second round because he had an up and down year shooting-wise as a junior and a lingering ankle injury robbed him of some of his explosiveness.

But Thompkins has good size for a power forward, he’s already got a bigger frame than many of the other bigs in the second round and his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter could provide a nice compliment to Greg Monroe, who was more comfortable either crashing the offensive glass or cutting to the basket to get his offense last season.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Thompkins won this year’s DeMarcus Cousins Award for having the highest body fat percentage at the combine. That doesn’t necessarily mean Tompkins can’t be a productive pro, but I think any team drafting him would like to see an early commitment to getting in better condition.

Although Thompkins isn’t a chucker from 3-point range, his percentage did dip significantly as a junior, from 38 percent his freshman and sophomore seasons to 31 percent last season. The Pistons have always been comfortable with perimeter oriented bigs, even going back to Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess, but Thompkins will have to knock down that 15-18 footer at a much more reasonable clip if he’s going to help a team as a rookie. His effort defensively also was sometimes a question at Georgia.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

On a positive note, Thompkins has continued to become more efficient in the post, scoring an impressive 1.1 points per possession this season, up from the .9 points per possession on his post up opportunities as a sophomore. He continues to display good footwork, a high skill level, and the soft touch we saw from him before, and although he still probably relies a bit too much on his turnaround jump shot – often fading away from the basket – he does have a refined post game for a player his age, and has the potential to continue to improve and become an effective weapon on the block.

From ESPN:

A smooth, versatile forward who can play both inside and out, Thompkins never quite bounced back from an offseason injury — his numbers were down across the board. If he did one thing at an elite level, he’d be a lottery pick.

From Hoopsworld:

Any possible confusion over which position Thompkins should play is attributable to his high skill level.  Good footwork in the post, soft hands, and the ability to knock down shots out the three-point line make him an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor, but Thompkins wants to be known for more than this.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Greg Smith

Although this draft has been knocked for an overall lack of impact players, there does seem to be size available throughout, a good thing for the Pistons considering they have picks at the beginning, middle and end of the draft.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 250 pounds sophomore C from Fresno State

Key stats: 11.7 points, 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the field

Projected: Second round/undrafted

How would he help the Pistons?

Whoever the Pistons take at pick No. 52 will be a longshot to contribute and, perhaps, a longshot to make the roster this season. There’s a good chance the Pistons could look international with that pick and find someone who will play overseas for a year or two and, perhaps, turn into a better NBA prospect during that time. But they could also take a shot at a player like Smith, a big body and solid rebounder who might be able to come into training camp and win a spot in a depleted frontcourt.

Smith has huge hands and, at about 250 pounds, he’s more filled out than many of the second round bigs who will be available. If he shows any skill whatsoever in individual pre-draft workouts, that might be enough to entice a big man-needy team like the Pistons into looking at him.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Smith is the classic case of a player who should’ve stayed in school, even in a weak draft like this one. Despite his size, and despite the fact that he doesn’t play in a great basketball conference, he didn’t put up great numbers. He improved his rebounding slightly from freshman to sophomore season, but overall, his numbers were almost identical after a promising freshman season. He’s not a great shot blocker despite his athleticism and he could still use some polish in the post offensively.

None of that is to say Smith doesn’t have a chance to figure things out and make a roster. But someone as big as he is could be a definite first round pick if he’d spent another year working on those things in college.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Perhaps the most ridiculous spectacle we saw all week came in Smith’s post drills. Dwarfing most of the players here with his size, Smith also has exceptionally large hands, and on a number of occasions, simply snatched the entry passes directed his way out of midair, palming the ball away from his body as if it were a grapefruit.

From ESPN:

Smith is a physical specimen. He’s a 6-foot-10, 250-pound power player with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and just 6.4 percent body fat. He had the biggest hands (11.25 inches) of anyone at the New Jersey workouts and recorded a 35.5-inch vertical — a terrific number for a player his size. However, he is still pretty raw offensively.

From Green Street:

Any team that takes Smith will be taking a flier on a stereotypical developmental center. At 6-foot-10 and a solid 250 pounds, the 2009-10 WAC Freshman of the Year and 2010-11 WAC second-teamer certainly has the size to make it at the next level. His hands, which measured in at nearly a foot wide and were the biggest at the combine, especially have earned him some looks as a guy who can snatch the ball out of mid-air, whether it be on a rebound or on a pass through traffic in the post. Twenty rebounds against Nevada in his last NCAA game are testament to that fact.

Previously

PistonPowered Mock Draft: The case for Kemba Walker as a Piston

Patrick Hayes is not an accredited NBA Draft expert, nor does he have an advanced degree in scouting. He’s simply an enthusiastic young man with a sixth grade education and an abiding love for all NBA Draft prospects … join him for his first-ever mock draft.

I’ve spent the past two springs and summers compiling the ‘Draft Dreams‘ series, looking at potential Pistons targets in the draft. Although I like reading about prospects and know enough about the game to understand what makes someone a first round prospect vs. a second round prospect, I’ve avoided doing mock drafts simply because every Tom, Dick and Disco Stu feels qualified to compile one. But Dan Feldman asked me to reconsider my no mock drafts policy and actually put the piles of Draft Dreams sitting on shelves around here to use, and no one says ‘no’ to Dan Feldman.

This will be the first of two mocks that I’ll do. This one will basically be own personal beliefs — if I were running every front office in the league, who would I take? Next week, prior to the draft, I’ll have a revised one where I’ll make more of an effort to actually, you know, use reason and sources to make better predictions of who will end up where.

Feel free to post your own versions in the comments.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving

This pick essentially boils down to Irving or Derrick Williams. Both could end up being good, dynamic players. But my reasoning for Irving over Williams is simple: if you hit on an elite PG in the draft, you have a franchise cornerstone at a position that is both vital and one of the hardest to fill in the league. If you hit on an elite wing, you could end up with a very good player who isn’t even a lock to be an All-Star (think Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, etc.). There’s a chance Williams could end up being the better player, but the potential reward of getting an all-world PG is too much to pass up.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams

Yes, I think there is a chance that David Kahn passes on legitimately the second best prospect in the draft here, probably using the reasoning that the T-Wolves already have Michael Beasley (even though Williams is going to be a better player than Beasley). But remember, this mock is all about what I would do. If Minnesota decides it doesn’t want Williams, I hope they at least trade the pick, because there are probably a dozen or so teams that would love to be in a position to draft him.

3. Utah Jazz – Jonas Valuncianas

Most mocks have the Jazz taking Brandon Knight here. I have no problems with Knight. But the Jazz have two lottery picks, third and 12th. If they take Knight early, they lose out on their choice of the top bigs in the draft, then have to pick from one of the more limited bigs (Tristan Thompson, Morris twins) at the bottom of the lottery. They could take Valuncianas third, get a promising big, and then look at a guard like Alec Burks lower in the lottery. The team might not view Devin Harris as a long-term solution at PG, but he’s under contract for another season and there is better value at other positions in the lottery.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter

There have been some questions arise about Kanter’s lack of athleticism and lack of experience that may have him slipping some in the draft. The Cavs would probably prefer Valuncianas, but they also have active, athletic bigs in J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao. Getting a prospect like Kanter, who is strong and could develop into a good presence offensively in the paint, could be a nice compliment to their other frontcourt pieces.

5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight

The Raptors reportedly really like Kemba Walker. I assume that is because most are predicting Knight will be off the board. I think Walker is an exciting player who can potentially be really good if he can go from alpha-dog, ball-dominating college scorer to NBA distributor. For the Raptors’ purposes, I like Knight next to DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt much more than I like a Walker-DeRozan backcourt.

6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard

The Wizards, even if they don’t win much, have the makings of one of the more entertaining teams in the league. John Wall is a legitimate star in the making, Jordan Crawford showed towards the end of last season that he can be a lights out scorer and active bigs like JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin are capable of running with the Wizards fast guards. Throw in an athletic small forward like Leonard, who can run the floor and finish, and the Wiz might have one of the best fast breaks in the league next season.

7. Sacramento Kings – Jimmer Fredette

If I learned anything watching college basketball this season, it’s don’t ever try and bring logic to a Jimmer Fredette discussion. These are the facts: he has poor shot selection, played in a weak conference and might not defend well at the NBA level. But he’s also an extremely hard worker, charismatic, exciting and, though with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, among others, in fold, the Kings certainly don’t need a scoring punch, they could use the interest drafting Jimmer would surely bring to the franchise. I think he’ll be a solid NBA player. I don’t know how much he’ll help a bad team like the Kings, but I think they’re probably going to draft him.

8. Detroit Pistons – Kemba Walker

Do I love this pick? No I don’t. But under my scenario above, all of the desirable big men are off the board and Walker has slipped past a few teams. So the Pistons could take Bismack Biyombo (more on why I hope they don’t below), they could take a similar big prospect with limited upside (Tristan Thompson or a Morris twin), they could take a projected wing player in Jan Vesely, or they could take Walker, a dynamic play-making guard who Joe Dumars is reportedly intrigued by. Why Walker? I don’t think he’s necessarily the answer at point guard. But drafting him would signify that the team doesn’t believe Rodney Stuckey is the long-term answer either, and as much as I think Stuckey can be a useful NBA player, I think it’s time he and the Pistons prepare to go in different directions, particularly since Stuckey could be on the verge of getting a lot more expensive.

There’s one other reason I’d be OK with this pick: expectations. There is going to be incredible (some would say unrealistic) pressure for whoever is picked in this spot to contribute good minutes to the Pistons as a rookie. The fact is, there are very few guys in this range in the draft who it’s fair to expect that out of. Walker, even if he has some questions about how his game will translate to the NBA, will not be phased by having the expectations of a fanbase that is desperate for its team to be good again thrust on him.

9. Charlotte Bobcats – Kenneth Faried

This is a bit of a reach for Faried, but I like him here for one reason: the Bobcats just hired Rich Cho as GM. Cho, if you remember, is the statistically inclined former GM of the Portland Trailblazers. Rebounding success at the college level projects incredibly well to the NBA level and Faried was the best rebounder in college basketball. Many in the stats community think that means good things are ahead for Faried despite the fact that he played at a small college. Just ask Ben Gulker, president of the Kenneth Faried fanclub, if you don’t believe me.

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Bismack Biyombo

I’m fully prepared to get killed in the comments for not making Biyombo a Piston in my fake draft here, but I have a very basic problem with Bismack, articulated by Ben Gulker the other day:

I’m sorry, but if Biyombo can’t make 50% of his shots from 10 feet away while unguarded (or by someone playing token defense at best), that is a HUGE concern

I get that Biyombo’s specialty is defense. But, I would wager, even a below average offensive player like Ben Wallace would show better skills offensively than Biyombo did in that workout. By all accounts, Biyombo works hard, and he certainly was a beast at the Nike Hoops Summit. But I’m not yet sold that he’ll be a rotation player in the NBA. International players like Johan Petro and Mouhamed Sene once upon a time impressed scouts with their size/athletic potential and never remotely developed enough to justify their draft positions.

The Pistons need immediate help up front and that’s not a position I want to see Biyombo be put in as a pro. A team like Milwaukee can play him behind a really good defensive center in Andrew Bogut and allow him more time to develop.

11. Golden State Warriors – Marcus Morris

With David Lee signed long-term and Ekpe Udoh showing some flashes as a rookie of being a competent, rotation-caliber big man, the Warriors could use another player up front to ensure that the team never, ever has to give minutes to Andris Biedrins again. Marcus Morris is a little more polished offensively than his brother, Markieff. He’s not as athletic as another available big, Tristan Thompson, but he’s much more ready to contribute right away than Thompson is.

12. Utah Jazz – Alec Burks

OK, so the Jazz don’t come away with a point guard in this draft since I passed on Knight for them at No. 3. But getting Burks, a bouncy, big shooting guard, would be a nice addition for a team that seemingly has had a hole at the SG spot since Jeff Hornaceck retired. Adding Burks and Valuncianas would solidify two positions for Utah, and perhaps they can spin Devin Harris into an additional pick in next year’s draft, when the point guard position should be deeper.

13. Phoenix Suns – Jan Vesely

Vesely serves as my unjustified free-faller in this mock. Most scouts don’t have him lasting past Detroit at No. 8, but a run on big men and point guards pushes Vesely, who is tall but more of a perimeter player skillset-wise, down some. That will be to the benefit of the Suns, who, despite a glut of perimeter players, certainly wouldn’t mind a tall, sharp-shooting, skilled young player to throw on the court with Steve Nash.

14. Houston Rockets – Chris Singleton

The Rockets have an interesting roster full of complimentary players with upside. They have depth at most positions, but no one who is a clear-cut franchise cornerstone.

I assume new coach Kevin McHale will want to establish a defensive identity, and the Rockets have some players in place to do that. Drafting Singleton, arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft, would further that cause.

15. Indiana Pacers – Klay Thompson

Thompson is a virtual lock for the top half of the draft now, and that says a lot about what Thompson has done in indivdual workouts. When I profiled him for Draft Dreams, most projected him as late first/early second round talent, which was weird considering his fantastic size for a shooting guard and his ability to shoot the ball. The Pacers could lose Mike Dunleavy to free agency and have been pretty weak at the shooting guard spot for a while now. Adding Thompson to the mix would give them a lot of length on the perimeter with Paul George and Danny Granger also occupying rotation spots. Adding another shooter to free up driving lanes for Darren Collison and room in the post for Roy Hibbert wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

16. Philadelphia 76ers – Tristan Thompson

Thompson has lottery-level athleticism, but is just not a polished player yet. I think there’s a chance he could fall out of the top 14, but if he does, he won’t last long. A team like Philly would be a perfect spot for him. They don’t need him to come in and play a lot of minutes right away, he can learn from a good coach and experienced vets and, best case scenario, he steals some minutes from Spencer Hawes.

17. New York Knicks – Markieff Morris

It’s kind of unbelievable that the Knicks actually have a draft pick. Even more unbelievable is they are in a position to draft a player who can actually help them.

Anyone who watched New York at the end of the season knows the team’s weaknesses: defense and rebounding. Their frontcourt is thin, evey by Mike D’Antoni standards, and Morris is the type of strong, smart player who would give them productive minutes immediately.

18. Washington Wizards – Nikola Vucevic

When I wrote about him, I couldn’t believe Vucevic was viewed as a second rounder. Turns out, he isn’t. Now most scouts have Vucevic firmly in the early 20s. He’s a polished big man who played three years of college basketball, can score in the post and should be an all-around solid, fundamentally sound addition to a Wizards frontcourt that could … uh … use a does of fundamentals.

19. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton

The Bobcats took one of the more underrated defensive players in the draft in Faried with their lottery pick. Now, they’ll get one of the draft’s most underrated offensive players.

The team last season was pretty reliant on Stephen Jackson being a volume scorer, so hopefully Hamilton can provide some offense right away and east that burden off of Captain Jack a little bit.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Donatas Motiejunas

Just a year ago, had he stayed in the draft, Motiejunas was a sure top 10 pick. Now, he’s probably the biggest free faller in this year’s crop. He’s only a year older and had a decent season overseason, but he hasn’t had great workouts and there are some scouts who question whether or not the bulk he added in the offseason, something most said he needed to add last year, has actually been a good thing. Still though, David Kahn is unafraid to take chances on foreign players with questions about their game, and the fact that Motiejunas was so well-regarded just a year ago makes him a pretty low risk this late in the first round.

21. Portland Trail Blazers – Iman Shumpert

I’ve seen some mocks pegging Darius Morris here. I like Morris, and I get why Portland makes sense: Morris is often compared to Andre Miller. But although I think the Blazers are contemplating life after the aging Miller, I think they’ll go in another direction. Shumpert is a freakish athlete and good defender who needs to work on refining his point guard skills. He’s big and fast and can potentially give Portland quality minutes right away, particularly spelling Miller defensively for stretches.

22. Denver Nuggets – Justin Harper

The Nuggets are another tough team to gauge simply because they are at least two deep with really solid players at virtually every position. They could use help up front with pending free agent Kenyon Martin and possibly Nene. They also might lose sixth man J.R. Smith to free agency. Harper is more of a stretch four, which they already have in Al Harrington, but there just aren’t many great big prospects left in the first round, and Harper’s ability to shoot should fit nicely in Denver’s fast-paced attack.

23. Houston Rockets – Kyle Singler

They took a defensive-minded forward in Chris Singleton earlier in my mock. Now, they’ll get a tough, smart, dive-on-the-floor intangibles guy in Singler.

Singler is going to hang around in a NBA rotation for a long time even if he never puts up significant stats, similar to a Chuck Hayes or Brian Cardinal type of player. The Rockets have a lot of finesse on their team right now. Adding Singleton and Singler to Hayes should help them get tougher.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jeremy Tyler

Tyler was a longshot to get drafted just a few months ago, now his name has climbed to the top of the second round. I don’t think just any team will draft him in the first round, but Oklahoma City is the perfect place for him. The Thunder use their D-League affiliate as well as any team in the league and have been stashing projects there for years — think B.J. Mullens, Cole Aldrich, D.J. White and Latavious Williams. The Thunder could draft Tyler, have zero expectation that he’ll contribute to the team next year, let him hopefully develop in Tulsa and, if all goes well, have a young, huge center who will get beat up on by Kendrick Perkins every day until he’s ready to be a rotation player.

25. Boston Celtics – Tyler Honeycutt

The Celtics could use some youth and athleticism on the perimeter. Honeycutt isn’t a player who particularly excels in any one area, but he’ll score a little, rebound a little and he’s a decent passer for a perimeter player. He could give Boston some quality minutes and hopefully prevent Paul Pierce and Ray Allen from wearing down too much.

26. Dallas Mavericks – Darius Morris

It was amazing watching several players on Dallas finally get championships after long struggles their entire careers. But the flip side? They’re old, particularly at point guard, even if Jason Kidd defended during the playoffs like a much younger player.

Replacing Kidd should be on the agenda over the next couple seasons, and with his size and court vision, the Mavs could take a player like Morris and let him learn the finer points of PG play from one of the best of all time.

27. New Jersey Nets – Tobias Harris

The Nets have a polished interior scorer in Brook Lopez (even if he’s not such a good rebounder). Getting a young prospect like Harris this late in the first round would be a nice find for the Nets and a nice compliment to Lopez. Harris, a combo forward, could become a nice compliment to Lopez down the road because of the diverse skillset he possesses offensively. He won’t get in Lopez’s way in the post and his ability to hit jumpers should give Lopez more space to operate inside.

28. Chicago Bulls – Marshon Brooks

It’s no secret where the Bulls biggest weakness was last year. They got very little offense out of starting shooting guard Keith Bogans or backup Ronnie Brewer. They got very little defense out of their other option, Kyle Korver.

Marshon Brooks is one of the most dynamic scorers in the draft and at 6-5, he’s big enough and athletic enough to eventually become a solid two-way player in Tom Thibodeau’s system. Brooks is long-armed and is a great rebounder and even shot blocker (he averaged more than one per game) for a guard.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Nikola Mirotic

The Spurs finding international talent early and waiting for it to develop is nothing new. Mirotic has had a great season for a really good team in Europe after barely playing last year. There’s a good chance his stock would continue to rise if he weren’t in this draft. The Spurs could get him early, allow him to continue playing overseas and then in a couple years, bring him over and have another young, seasoned piece to add to the frontcourt.

30. Chicago Bulls – JaJuan Johnson

The Bulls already have a solid frontcourt rotation with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer. But Kurt Thomas isn’t getting any younger and Johnson was a solid college player who should, at the very least, block shots and hit open jumpers at the NBA level. There are real questions about his strength as he didn’t add much bulk in four years at Purdue, but playing a frontcourt like Chicago’s, where he wouldn’t be counted on to do too much, might be a good spot for him to develop.

Second Round

31. Miami Heat – Reggie Jackson

An injury prevented Jackson from participating in the combine in Chicago and has limited his ability to work out for teams. Had he not been injured, I’m convinced he would be a first round pick.

I’ve sung his praises plenty on this site, but he’s a big guard, he takes care of the ball and his shooting numbers were beyond impressive. I’m convinced that not only would he help the Heat, he’d step onto their roster as a second round pick and already be better than Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby.

32. Cleveland Cavaliers – Travis Leslie

With Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter in tow, the Cavs will be significantly improved coming out of this draft. Adding Leslie, a flawed but incredibly athletic guard, would make them really fun to watch. Leslie’s ticket to minutes in the league will be defense. With Varejao healthy and Hickson continuing to improve, the Cavs have a team of guys with the physical tools to make them pretty solid defensively and Leslie would further that cause.

33. Detroit Pistons – Keith Benson

I’m an Oakland alum, so I admittedly look at Benson through rose colored glasses, but I also watched a lot of Oakland games up close during his career. Benson, to put it mildly, was a mess as a player when he stepped onto campus. He was uncoordinated, weak and couldn’t do much other than block shots. By the time he was a senior, he was the best mid-major player in the country and the best player in Oakland history. That’s a testament to him having a tremendous work ethic. No one in recruiting circles predicted Benson would have near this kind of success. He’s earned it all, and athletes who work that hard are the ones who are worth investing in. The Pistons, no doubt, have seen Benson’s progress up close and hopefully Arnie Kander can get him in the weight room and show him how to add more bulk to his frame.

34. Washington Wizards – Shelvin Mack

Someone’s gotta play defense, right? The Wizards have a team full of athletic, intriguing scorers. Mack might not ever be a great NBA player, but he will bring toughness to the perimeter and the ability to give some minutes at both guard spots. They already have a high-motor player in Trevor Booker, hopefully Mack would bring that same type of effort and energy to their backcourt.

35. Sacramento Kings – Charles Jenkins

Jenkins is one of the more underrated players in this draft because he went to Hofstra, but he also could climb into the first round. He scored a lot of points in college, but he also proved to be an intelligent playmaker. The Kings are still trying to figure out if Tyreke Evans is better suited to the one or two. Drafting Jenkins would give them more flexiblity to move Evans off the ball if it eventually came to that.

36. New Jersey Nets – Jimmy Butler

I hate to give the Nets another undersized power forward, but like their earlier pick, Tobias Harris, Butler represents good value at this spot and his versatility should mesh well with the current roster, which has a handful of players with skillsets that aren’t exactly definable within the bounds of traditional positions. Butler is tough and smart. The team also could lose Kris Humphries to free agency and Butler, though undersized, was a solid rebounder at Marquette with a great motor.

37. Los Angeles Clippers – Jon Leuer

Few teams can boast the promising young core that the Clippers have with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe on the roster. The Clips could use some size up front and Leuer is big, rebounds well and would be a nice option to have in the frontcourt rotation because of his range. Current bigs Griffin, Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan all pretty much operate around the basket. Leuer would give LA a nice floor-spacing option.

38. Houston Rockets – Jordan Williams

As I alluded to earlier, it’s hard to project exactly what the Rockets will do in the draft because they have an abundance of semi-decent players or prospects at most positions. Williams would give them another intriguing big man with question marks to go along with their collection of them — Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. Williams is big and a legitimate threat in the post. He also needs to get into better shape if he’s going to get off a NBA bench.

39. Charlotte Bobcats – Josh Selby

Selby has a first round ceiling and has reportedly had good workouts this summer after having a disappointing freshman season at Kansas.

If he can develop into a point guard, he has a lot more value to NBA teams than if he’s going to be solely a shooting guard. In Charlotte, a team that doesn’t have much behind D.J. Augustin, perhaps Selby can get minutes at both guard spots.

40. Milwaukee Bucks – Norris Cole

Cole, another productive mid-major player, is a favorite name for point guard needy teams. A year ago, considering the Bucks a PG-needy team would’ve seemed foolish, but that’s how quickly the stock of Brandon Jennings has fallen off. He still has a ton of upside, but with rumors the Bucks are shopping him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they looked at a player like Cole.

41. Los Angeles Lakers – Bojan Bogdanovic

Let’s be realistic here: there’s probably no one in the second round who has much of a chance of making the Lakers’ roster this year. Last year’s second round picks, Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, are better than anyone available in this year’s second round and they could barely get off the inactive list last year.

It makes more sense for the Lakers to take an international player like Bogdanovic. Then he can stay overseas, get better and maybe in a year or two they can trade him to Memphis for Marc Gasol or something.

42. Indiana Pacers – Chandler Parsons

DraftExpress compares Parsons to Jon Leuer, a tall player not afraid to mix get on the boards with range out past the 3-point line.

The Pacers were a surprise playoff team a year ago. They could use more help inside, but so could everyone in this draft. Instead, they’ll take a player like Parsons, a guy who has enough skills and a good enough work ethic to hang out on a NBA bench as a useful reserve for a while.

43. Chicago Bulls – E’Twaun Moore

Their earlier pick, Marshon Brooks, has the tools to be a starting caliber SG in the league down the road. Moore’s ceiling isn’t that high, but he’s an intelligent and hard-working player and a good shooter. He or anyone picked by the Bulls in this spot will have a hard time making that roster, but if anyone can do it, Moore can.

Plus, it would be a shame to break up the Moore-JaJuan Johnson Purdue connection, since I have Johnson going to the Bulls at No. 30.

44. Golden State Warriors – Trey Thompkins

Thompkins has some questions about his conditioning that he must answer, but his strengths are offensively. With Lee, Udoh and Biedrins, the Warriors have a collection of bigs who are limited offensively, so perhaps Thompkins could find his niche in a situation like that.

45. New Orleans Hornets – Nolan Smith

Smith is one of my favorite players in this draft. I have no idea how I let myself let him fall so far into the second round.

The Hornets could use some shooting guard depth and while Smith has some limits, his defense should get him into a NBA rotation relatively soon. He can defend both guard spots and he shoots well enough that other teams will have to account for him on offense, even if his ball-handling does need some work. Still though, he showed improvements throughout his Duke career and his basketball IQ makes him a safe bet to make a NBA roster.

46. Los Angeles Lakers – Demetri McCamey

As I said above, I don’t know that the Lakers have much roster space to accommodate the four second round picks they have this year. But something to keep in mind: Mike Brown won’t be using the triangle offense, so, with apologies to Steve Blake and Derek Fisher, perhaps Brown will want to bring in a more traditional point guard. McCamey has limits — he’s not particularly good at creating his own shot or exploding to the basket inside. But that’s probably OK for any Lakers point guard, since Kobe Bryant will continue to be their primary shot creator. McCamey’s shooting (45 percent from three) and size, however, make him a potentially interesting prospect if he could manage to make the team.

47. Los Angeles Clippers – Ben Hansbrough

Hansbrough has limitations, but he’s a fantastic shooter and has decent size for a point guard.

The Clippers already have a young starter in Eric Bledsoe at the position that they are developing and they have a veteran serviceable short-term backup in Mo Williams. Grabbing a player like Hansbrough, who could become a very solid backup PG off the bench while also providing a perimeter threat to create space for Blake Griffin inside wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

48. Atlanta Hawks – Isaiah Thomas

It’s not that the Hawks need a lot of perimeter help, but they could lose Jamal Crawford as a free agent. They also traded last year’s first round pick, Jordan Crawford, to Washington as part of the Kirk Hinrich trade.

Thomas will have to play his minutes as a point guard, but he’s a relentless offensive threat who could possibly pick up some of the scoring slack off the bench should they lose Crawford to free agency.

49. Memphis Grizzlies – Malcolm Lee

Although the Grizzlies were the surprise of the playoffs this season, they weren’t without issues during the season. They very nearly traded O.J. Mayo during the season, and although they seemed to mend fences with him some, his long-term future remains unclear. There have been rumors Memphis has shopped Rudy Gay a bit. Shane Battier will be a free agent and Sam Young could be a restricted free agent.

Lee, out of UCLA, is a big guard who played both guard spots in college. He’s athletic and strong, but he only shot 30 percent from 3-point range, although scouts have said he worked on and improved his shooting motion during workouts this summer.

50. Philadelphia 76ers – Diante Garrett

There are a lot of interesting point guard prospects in the second round from schools that haven’t been known for basketball in recent years. Garrett, who put up good scoring numbers for a not very good Iowa State team, has good size for a PG, he’s athletic and, if he improves his shot selection and cuts down on turnovers, he could find a niche with a team like Philly.

In the rumored Monta Ellis deal, Golden State reportedly wanted Lou Williams along with Andre Iguodala in the trade. The Sixers, understandably, didn’t bite, but getting a player like Garrett, who is big enough to give minutes at both guard spots, might provide some insurance should the Sixers try and shed some salary by dealing their pricey guards.

51. Portland Trail Blazers – DeAndre Liggins

Liggins is possibly going to have to go the rookie free agent route, but he’s an extremely good defensive player. He was overshadowed a bit at Kentucky by the large number of big name recruits that made brief stops in Lexington during his career, but I really believe Liggins, if nothing else, will be a useful and versatile defender on a good team’s bench. In the West, you can never have enough defensive-minded wings. I’m not sure he’d play right away in Portland, but I think they’d find a use for him down the road.

52. Detroit Pistons – Greg Smith

Smith probably could’ve improved his stock by staying in school, but he’s big and he’s here, so why draft him? Hands. I’m a sucker for the huge C-Webb hands. Check out this description of Smith from a workout:

Perhaps the most ridiculous spectacle we saw all week came in Smith’s post drills. Dwarfing most of the players here with his size, Smith also has exceptionally large hands, and on a number of occasions, simply snatched the entry passes directed his way out of midair, palming the ball away from his body as if it were a grapefruit.

Smith has rough edges and issues with his conditioning that need to be worked out, but the size and physical tools are tough to ignore this late in the draft.

53. Orlando Magic – Jamie Skeen

As I said in the Skeen DD post, he’s on the bubble to get drafted. But a four-year player known for his intelligence and work ethic is exactly the type of player I’d take late in the second round.

Skeen is a bit undersized to be a NBA four, but he shoots the three well enough to win some minutes and he understands how to position is body to rebound. Orlando would be the right place for a player like Skeen, since Stan Van Gundy values shooters.

54. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kalin Lucas

Will it happen? Of course not. But remember, this is my totally make believe, living in my own head mock draft.

Dan Gilbert is a MSU guy, Kalin Lucas is a MSU guy, why not?

55. Boston Celtics – Michael Dunigan

The Celtics have lost Rasheed Wallace and Shaquille O’Neal to retirement in back-to-back offseasons and have Glen Davis set to become a free agent. Dunigan probably isn’t ready to help them just yet, but the former Oregon player, who left school and played professionally briefly in Israel, is strong and able to establish deep post position. The Celtics need to revamp their frontcourt, but grabbing a project big man to stash in the D-League or on the end of the bench for a season to see if he develops isn’t a bad strategy.

56. Los Angeles Lakers – Tomislav Zubcic

There’s just no way the Lakers have roster spots for all these second rounders. Zubcic is an international player who can perhaps be convinced to stay overseas while the Lakers maintain his rights.

Zubcic is 6-foot-11 and, according to Chad Ford, handles the ball like a point guard. We all know Kobe Bryant isn’t getting any younger, so the Lakers would be wise to stockpile as many assets overseas as they can on the chance that one of them develops into a player capable of helping them offensively in the near future.

57. Dallas Mavericks – Scotty Hopson

Hopson, who played three seasons at Tennessee, is a lanky, athletic wing player. The Mavs have free agents at SG in Caron Butler and Peja Stojakovic, plus Jason Terry and Shawn Marion aren’t getting younger. They have a young guard in Dominique Jones, last season’s first round pick, who didn’t get many minutes this season, but giving a player like Hopson a shot in camp could pay off. He’s also a decent 3-point shooter.

58. Los Angeles Lakers – Adam Hanga

Well … if it’s not broke. Hanga, another international prospect, had some impressive moments at EuroCamp according to Chad Ford. Hanga is 22, so he’s not the youngest international prospect out there, but if the Lakers use these picks as I think they will (unless they package them in a trade, another good possibility), they’ll have at least three players overseas. That’ll give them a better chance for at least one to develop into a useful player down the road.

59. San Antonio Spurs – Andrew Goudelock

Wow … the Lakers snapped up all the international prospects before the Spurs even had a chance to get at them? That’s usually San Antonio’s hustle. Instead, the Spurs will go the George Hill route — take a chance on a talented small school player.

Goudelock is one of the best shooters in the country — he has “Jimmer-like range” according to Chad Ford. He might not be quick or athletic enough to play in Gregg Popovich’s system, but a little more outside shooting couldn’t hurt in San Antonio.

60. Sacramento Kings – Malcolm Thomas

Kawhi Leonard was the best prospect on this year’s surprising San Diego State team, but Thomas’s energy and activity were a big factor for SDSU too.

Thomas might be a bit small for power forward and probably doesn’t shoot well enough to play small forward, but the Kings could use a few players who play hard and are active. Thomas would have a chance to make the team at a couple different positions if he can do those things in camp.

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Charles Jenkins

One of my favorite players in this draft, point guard Reggie Jackson, has dipped into the second round in many mock drafts. Another big point guard who the Pistons could find themselves with a chance at with their first second rounder is Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 220 pounds senior PG from Hofstra

Key stats: 22.6 points, 4.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

My infatuation with Jackson had to do with his incredible shooting numbers. Like Jackson, Jenkins, as a point guard, is shooting over 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. That’s pretty remarkable for any college guard.

On top of that, Jenkins is a four-year player with size. Joe Dumars likes big point guards, and at 6-foot-3, Jenkins fits that mold. Jenkins was a do-it-all player for Hofstra, hit clutch shots and, although it’s a mid-major school, they do play touch competition as they are in the same league as Virginia Commonwealth.

Rodney Stuckey seems a likely bet to be back in Detroit, but he’s done little to prove he’s the long-term answer at point guard. If Jenkins lasts to the second round, he’d be worthy of serious consideration by Detroit.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Long-term, I like Jenkins’ prospects if he were to end up in Detroit. Short-term? He might not provide immediate help. As I mentioned, Stuckey is likely to be back, as are Will Bynum and Ben Gordon. It’s not even a foregone conclusion that Rip Hamilton will be able to be moved before a lockout and the team still has Terrico White in the mix.

None of that is to say the Pistons should pass on a player like Jenkins simply because of the roster situation, but adding him would certainly add to a glut while holding up a roster spot that could be more needed in the immediate future elsewhere.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

His nearly 2,500 career points – he’s the active leader in the NCAA – is the mark that garners the most attention from fans and casual observers, but it is the versatility and efficiency in which he gets his offense that draws the intrigue of pro scouts. According to data from Synergy Sports Technology, Jenkins ranks as the second most efficient isolation threat in the NCAA (after Andrew Goudelock), scoring on over 50% of his attempts when going one on one (minimum 50 possessions). He also ranks in the top-10 in pick and roll situations and in the top-25 as a catch and shoot threat.

From ESPN:

I spoke with a number of NBA scouts about him this weekend, and the consensus continues to evolve. Last time I checked, in November, scouts saw him as a possible late-second-round pick. That’s changed. More scouting and perhaps a bit more open-mindedness now has a few scouts conceding that he could sneak into the first round.

“You combine his toughness, shooting ability and efficiency, and I think you can find a spot for a guy like that in the league,” one NBA scout said.

From Sports Illustrated:

As the focal point of the Pride’s offense, he was rarely left unattended — 63.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities came with a man in his face — yet showed an ability to make tough jumpers. His efficiency on guarded shots off the catch was 1.3898 PPP, which ranked 15th nationally among players with at least 50 such possessions. And while Jenkins shoots right-handed, he can go left off the dribble better than anyone in the draft: He had a national-best efficiency of 1.3261 PPP on left-hand drives, which he did 59 percent of the time.

Hickory High’s Similarity Scores

Here’s a breakdown of how Ian Levy from Hickory High came up with his similarity scores.

Previously

Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Davis Bertans

After one fringe first round international prospect pulled out of the draft at the last minute in Lucas Nogueira, another, Davis Bertans, decided to stay in. That might mean Bertans has a first round guarantee and, thus, will not be on the board when the Pistons pick in the second round, but if he falls to them, his upside might intrigue the Pistons.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds 18-year-old F from Latvia

Key stats: 4.0 points, 1.2 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent in the Adriatic League

Projected: Late first/early second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Although Bertans is tall, he’s projected as a perimeter player. If the Pistons land him with their second round pick, he has a couple things going for him. First, in the event of a lockout, there’s a chance the Pistons could convince him to stay overseas. Taking a player with Bertans with that pick and stashing him overseas in the hope that he gets bigger and improves might be a more wise strategy than taking a player who will compete for a roster spot immediately. It’s already hard for second round picks to make NBA rosters. A lockout could make it even harder this season.

Second, he’s versatile. If Joe Dumars has shown any kind of recent pattern, it’s that he is high on players who are multi-skilled and can play more than one position (note: some cynics out there would say it’s maybe a better strategy to find players who play just one position well rather than players who are average at two or three positions, but I digress). Bertans, who shot well over 40 percent from 3-point range, fits that profile. Bertans is also trending up some. He reportedly out-performed Donatas Motiejunas, who was once projected as a lottery pick, in a workout.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

A skinny, nearly 7-foot, position-less, skilled offensive wing player? We’re taking about Austin Daye, right? The Pistons already have a Bertans clone on the roster, and the team is now two years into figuring out exactly how to use Daye effectively. His shooting stroke is beautiful and he can put it on the floor and has even flashed a mid-range game, but his defensive struggles and lack of strength against stronger perimeter players have hampered his development. Those are things Bertans will have to overcome to crack a NBA rotation as well.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Part of this will come with added strength, as he has a very narrow frame that makes it difficult for him to play through contact at the moment. This makes sense considering that he grew almost eight inches (20 centimeters) over the last two years, according to what he told us, so he’s obviously still growing into his new dimensions. It will be important for him to continue to refine his shot-creating ability so he doesn’t get labeled as a one dimensional prospect down the road.

From ESPN:

Bertans burst onto the scene with a strong performance in the practices of the Nike Hoop Summit. His actual game performance wasn’t particularly great. Turns out that the same was true here at Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy. Bertans did a workout in front of NBA scouts and teams on Sunday and played pretty well. Of the three workouts here, he was, by far, the best. He hit shots, made plays, and showed that he was a better athlete than we give him credit for. While he didn’t shoot the lights out (which was a disappointment given his rep as a sharpshooter) he looked good.

From Euro Hopes:

Long small-foward, can shoot easily and good athleticism, allowing finish his actions over the basket with very long and fluid moves. Davis likes to take the shot, out of the dribble, on catch and shoot situations or even on the fast break. He can attack the basket using good ball handling for a player of his size.

Previously