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NBA Draft Reflective: Notable Decisions to Leave Early and Their Outcomes

Every year there are underclassmen who declare for the draft, and when their announcements scroll across ESPN’s Bottom Line, you think, “Really?” This year, I believe the thinking for some of the guys in that category would have been: this year’s draft class is weak, there is opportunity to go higher and thus make more money if I come out a year early.

Or it’s just: I’m tired of being broke.

Guys like Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, for example, wouldn’t fall into this category because it was more-or-less a given that those two were leaving early and going 1-2. In any case, here’s a look at some of the more, perhaps, interesting decisions to leave early and how they turned out after the fact.

Great Decisions

Tristan Thompson, Texas, #4 to Cleveland

Thompson was always considered a pro prospect, but his numbers his only year at Texas weren’t at the level where you figured it was a given he would come out. But Thompson climbed up a lot of draft boards throughout the evaluation prospects, landing in Cleveland at #4, where in more than one mock draft had him on the edge of the lottery when he declared. Next season, there is no way Thompson goes this high–the 2012 class will more than likely be absolutely stacked at the power forward position.

Knight may have had aspirations of being a top-3 pick, but staying in the top ten should be a win overall.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky, #8 to Detroit

Yeah, yeah, yeah–Knight could have gone as high as #3 or #4 in this draft depending on how a few dominoes fell early on, but a) he stayed in the top ten, but also b) Knight has a serious question mark about whether he can play a true point guard in the NBA. I personally think he can, but I digress. Another year in school may have helped prove to NBA teams that he could play that position in the league, but it also could have damaged his draft stock if he didn’t ease the concerns for a second straight year. I think getting taken eighth overall was pretty much right on target for Knight, as he probably had more risk than reward if he came back for his sophomore season.

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NBA Draft: Mock 3.0

The NBA Draft is now less than 24 hours away and we here at Every Month Should be March wanted to take one last stab at predicting this year’s outcome.

After two attempts to lock down this year’s draft class — taking an in depth look at teams needs, player ratings and scouts opinions — we have finally compiled all our thoughts into one Final Mock Draft.

Consensus #1 Overall, Kyrie Irving, leads us off but after that it’s about any bodies guess as who will be taken.

So, take a trip with us here at EMM and find out who our experts are predicting your team will select…

MOCK DRAFT 3.0:

  1. Cleveland CavaliersKyrie Irving, PG, Duke: The rumors have already begun that the Cavs have committed to Kyrie Irving, confirming what the vast majority of draft pundits have suspected. Irving has a lot to prove after missing most of his only season at Duke. Still, most believe that he is one of two players in this draft with any potential to be consistent all-star selections. Irving wins out because the league is becoming a point guard dominated league. (Mayo) 

 2. Minnesota Timberwolves Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona: With Kyrie going 1 overall, it’s pretty much a sure thing that Williams goes to the Wolves here. Long, athletic and good upside he could be a great addition to Kevin Love in the front court. He would also make Beasley an expendable commodity. Any takers? (Luke)

Brandon Knight will be ecstatic if Utah calls his name at number 3.

  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Everyone has Irving and Williams going 1-2. After that, no one is quite sure yet between Knight and Kanter. I have doubts whether the Devin Harris will actually be anything more than what he is (a starting point guard for a lottery team). Knight is the pick as they try and replace Deron Williams. (Giblin)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky, C, Turkey: Kanter gets taken 4th overall but maybe won’t fall this far. Utah is strongly considering him with the 3rd pick. If that is the case, Tristan Thompson may be the pick here (a reach). But for now we are giving the Cavs Kanter. Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are considered the only blue chip prospects in this draft, but Kanter is the top player of the next tier. This would be a coup for the Cavs.
(Dalton)

5. Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard, SF, SDSU: Some believe that the Raptors might go point guard with this pick, but I contend that they give Jerryd Bayless a shot at running the show. They have a big need for a swingman who can defend and provide some toughness to a team who definitely was lacking in that category last season. (Mayo)

6. Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic: The lengthy swingman is probably the most polished foreigner in this year’s draft class. If Leonard isn’t available here or unless the Wiz move up a few spots, Vesely is the best option and could be tossed into the starting lineup right away. (Luke)

7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker, PG, Uconn: Rumor has it the Maloofs want Jimmer, but Kemba is the better player and can sell tickets too. With Walker running the point, Tyreke Evans can move to the 2 where he’s a better fit. (Giblin)

Long, athletic, everything teams are looking for in a 2-guard, right?

8. Detroit Pistons – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado: The Ben Gordon experiment (and his contract) has not exactly payed big dividends for the Pistons. With a solid foundation of Greg Monroe at the post, the Pistons need to look to get younger. Burks is a good start. (Dalton)

  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Thompson is one of the better all-around players in this draft. He can guard multiple positions, is a versatile scorer, and hits the boards on both ends. He doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he plays with a blue collar attitude. Charlotte might see higher upside elsewhere, but they can’t afford to whiff on these top-ten picks. Thompson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game and should provide some stability. (Mayo)

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania: Sure, Valanciunas won’t be playing in the NBA next season, but come 2012-13 Andrew Bogut may also not be on the Bucks roster anymore. He may have the highest ceiling of any player in this draft. Look for a team to grab him in the top-10 regardless of contract issues. (Luke)

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NBA Mock Draft 2.0

Round two of our mock NBA Draft comes with the NBA less than ten days until the June 23rd draft. We changed the draft order up a bit and added Dalton to the mix. And to the shock of no one, it looks completely different than our first go at it.

After the first two picks, the Luke thinks the Jazz go big and the ripple effect changes everything after…Cavs up first with Giblin making the pick…

  1. Cleveland Cavs – Kyrie Irving, Duke: Dalton explained why he likes Kemba over Kyrie because of experience and production, but he forgot that NBA G.M.s don’t draft based off of your collegiate performances. Kyrie has the skills to be an elite point guard in the league. As talented as Derrick Williams is, Dan Gilbert and the Cavs get their floor general of the future. (Giblin)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Arizona: This pick is a no-brainer. Although the Timberwolves seem to only have SFs and PFs (William’s natural positions), Williams is one of the precious few blue chip prospects in the draft. He’s a poor man’s Blake Griffin but, in this draft, that warrants immediate consideration at number two. They could also go PG here, but David Kahn wouldn’t dare try to bring in another first round PG after the Timberwolves have basically said it is a done deal Ricky Rubio is coming over. (Dalton)
  3. Utah Jazz –Enes Kanter, Turkey:  Kanter has been a hot name among Scouts and GM’s over the past few weeks and even with a logjam in the middle for the Jazz, Kanter’s potential is too good to pass up.  A year or two behind Big Al and Milsap and the Kanter/Favors combo could be a force to be reckoned with. (Luke)

    The Turks got some ups, but is it enough to get the Jazz attention at #3?

  4. Cleveland Cavs – Jan Vesely, Czech Republic: With Kanter off the board, the Cavs have to shuffle a bit, but Vesely is widely considered a top-5 pick and would give Cleveland a versatile wing with size to pair with Kyrie Irving in the rebuilding project. If there was any issue with Vesely’s buyout with his European team, the Cavs should be able to wait a year or two given that this team is very likely not going to be contending for a playoff spot for at least a few years. (Mayo)
  5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Many people feel Toronto G.M. Bryan Colangelo wants to go international for this pick; but if Brandon Knight falls out of the first four picks, he won’t hesitate grabbing the gifted Wildcat. He’ll replace Jose Calderon in no time giving Raptors fans a legitimate one in a growing point-guard dominate league.  (Giblin)
  6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: Leonard has been falling in many mock drafts, but he shouldn’t be. Leonard is extremely athletic and has the ability to be a Bruce Bowen like defender. I don’t want to continue to disparage this draft, but this year that warrants top ten considerations. Leonard will give the Wizards a tough, defensive presence that they have not had since Deshawn Stevenson left. The Wizards should focus on defense this year then get offensive firepower next year in a loaded 2012 draft. (Dalton)
  7. Sacramento Kings – Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania: Kemba seems to be the popular pick here, but with Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih and a rising stud in Marcus Thornton all playing a combo-guard role already, taking a big here would be beneficial. Not to mention, the 6-10 Lithuanian teamed with 2010 #1, Demarcus Cousins, in the middle, should help the Kings add to the win column and fast.  (Luke)
  8. Detroit Pistons – Tristan Thompson, TexasThompson provides some toughness and versatility for the Pistons to pair with Greg Monroe in the front court. Thompson can add a low-post scoring threat that Monroe doesn’t quite bring on a consistent basis, and the two could do some great things together. (Mayo)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton, Texas: The Bobcats need a scoring star for their future. I have heard that Michael Jordan and company have talked about “drafting for doubles instead of home runs.” That doesn’t sound like MJ does it? Bobcats try and find a player that can develop into an elite scorer with improved shot selection. Alec Burks could be the pick here too.  (Giblin)
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – Marcus Morris, Kansas: Morris is a very athletic and skilled big man who should be able to contribute right away. He is not particularly tall, but he is young (doesn’t turn 22 until September), and would give the Bucks a solid front court pairing of Morris and Bogut. (Dalton) Continue reading

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NBA Mock Draft 1.0

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Memorial Day Weekend slowed us down along with the tornadoes in central Massachusetts last night (very weird). Nevertheless…

With less than 22 days until the NBA draft, we throwing up our first mock draft. This one will be quick on the analysis and we’ll go more in depth in the coming weeks. Disagree with any of our picks and think we’re idiots? Tell us.

Irving is the consensus #1 by the experts, but after him this year's Draft is really a crapshoot.

  1. Cleveland Cavs – Kyrie Irving, Duke: The Cavalier staff is apparently in love with Irving and sees him as a likely superstar in the league. The Cavs need some star power to not only get buts in the seats but to rebuild after the Debacle; a flashy young point guard, a Chris Paul clone in some ways,seems to be the likely remedy for many of Cleveland’s basketball woes. (Luke)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Arizona: David Kahn still runs this team and there are rumors out there that he’s looking to move this pick; but if he can’t find a suitor, he should draft Williams. The former Wildcat is one of the few prospects who has the chance to be an annual All-Star that can carry a team in the playoffs – you can’t pass on that. But David Kahn will. How’s Rick Rubio doing? (Giblin)
  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Everyone is touting Knight to the Jazz, which almost makes me nervous making this pick. The Jazz wouldn’t mind moving apparently, but if they stay at 3 they need to address their backcourt, and Knight simply is the best guard available here. Knight is young, but he won’t have to play big minutes immediately with Devin Harris currently in the fold. Or, he might make Harris expendable. (Mayo)
  4. Cleveland Cavs – Enes Kanter, Turkey/Kentucky: They say you need a point guard and center to win in the NBA, well the Cavs filled both of those needs in the first 4 picks. The year away may hurt Kanter, but his potential is through the ceiling. Dan Gilbert would be stupid to not take the Turk here. (Luke)
  5. Toronto Raptors – Kemba Walker, Connecticut: If Bryan Colangelo picks another European, the Raptor faithful are gonna lose it! But in all seriousness, Toronto needs some star power and Walker has it. He’ll be an instant fan favorite and will bring some excitement to a franchise that hasn’t had it since the Tracy McGrady/Vince Carter days. (Giblin)
  6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: The Wizards have plenty of needs, and an athletic, hard-nosed swing man would certainly be one of them. They might try to trade up to snag Derrick Williams or possibly Enes Kanter, but if they are unable to do so they’d be pretty happy snagging Kawhi Leonard at number six. Their track record with drafting European players hopefullypossibly scares them away from the overseas prospects here. (Mayo)

    The Czech forward is drwaing a lot of comparisons to Dirk, but will Vesley's game translate over to the NBA as well?

  7. Sacramento Kings – Jan Vesely, Czech Republic: At 6’11”, 240, the Czech forward has the size of an impact forward in the league. Agood jump shooter and great finisher at the rim, he possesses the look and skills to be a Dirk clone.  Give him a few years to learn and slap some muscle on him, Vesely could be a steal at this point in the Draft. (Luke)
  8. Detroit Pistons – Bismack Biyombo, Congo: Joe Dumars can bring in Biyombo to be the energetic shot-blocking forward that the Pistons need. The next Ben Wallace who can’t possibly be as abysmal on offense. Let’s hope. (Giblin)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jonas Valanciunas,  Lithuania: The Bobcats need everything, and Valanciunas may not be available for a year, but they should have the time to wait given their rebuilding status. Valanciunas could very well become the best international player in this draft. At 19 years old his upside is huge, and he could become a premiere center in this league in five years with the right development. (Mayo)
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – Tristan Thompson, Texas: Larry Sanders was a solid pick last year but the Bucks are still in need of a stud at the 4. Thompson is a terrific rebounder and a versatile offensive player, with a developing jumper. There are tons to like and not much to hate about Thompson, so there’s not as much risk as with some other players on the board. (Luke) Continue reading

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Pro or No, Episode 5: SEC Volume 2

Here’s our fifth edition of Pro or No, in which we’ll take a closer look at a few more SEC products.  Let’s hope the readers feel as passionately about these guys as they did about Klay Thompson…

Trey Thompkins, Georgia, Jr. – PF

Overview: Thompkins is a guy that NBA scouts can’t seem to figure out. He’s bounced around from the lower ends of the lottery, to late first round/early second round, and now most experts see him going somewhere in the 15th-20th range.  The 6′ 9″ SF from Georgia played a very complete junior season, putting up almost 18 PPG and over 8 rebounds per contest.  He shoots very effectively, knocking down almost 50%. Of course, there’s always the chance that he’ll return for another year, but I doubt that’s the case here.

Best Case: Most NBA scouts had Thompkins going in the middle of the first round last year. He might drop a few spots this year, but this is a guy who really benefitted from an extra year in college.  His game is much more polished, and NBA-ready. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses at the moment, and he won’t have any trouble making/staying on an NBA roster.  If he does drop down to the latter portions of the first round, I think the team that selects him will be adding really strong value.

Worst Case: I don’t view Thompkins as a boom or bust type prospect. He never boomed and never in his three-year career at Georgia. Oh, I have to come up with a worst case scenario? Okay…Somehow, Thompkins and Klay Thompson wind up on the same team.  Thompkins starts running in the same horrible marijuana-crazed circles that Thompson frequents, and they both find themselves out of the league and in a world of trouble within six months.

Tobias Harris, Tennessee, Fr. – SF

Overview: I went to see Harris play twice in high school and was convinced that he was the next big thing. His first season at Tennessee didn’t live up to expectations, and yet he’s still being talked about as a 1-and-done first rounder. The kid’s got game and the all important upside, which NBA executives toss around as a word to justify otherwise insane decisions. At 6’8″, 210 lbs, he already has the prototype NBA body, and most of the skill set to match. While this season was one to forget at Tennessee,it’s tough to blame the players for underperforming.  If Harris stays another year or two, things will get better in Volunteer Country.

Best Case Scenario: The best case scenario for Harris is a press conference, at which he announces his intentions to stay another year.  With Bruce Pearl doing Bruce Pearl things all year and paying Bruce Pearl amounts of attention to himself first, and then to his players, Harris didn’t develop much as a player this year. That said, his upside is frightening, and another year in school will help him realize it. I see him as a lottery pick next year if he makes the right decision.

Worst Case Scenario: Harris goes pro and is drafted in the middle of the first round as a “purely potential” pick.  He’ll get a few minutes each game, but never find himself in a position to really improve his game, as is the case with so many of the guys chosen for their “potential”.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky, Fr. – PG

Overview: One of Kentucky’s two floor generals (the other being Doron Lamb), Knight was the heartbeat of the 2010-11 squad.  Sure, the Wildcats would have won plenty of games without him, but few of the ones that mattered most.  His penchant for hitting big shots at key moments further solidifies his status as a deserving one-and-done NBA prospect. With Knight having recently declared for the draft, Calipari has already started writing checks to fill Knight’s shoes.

Best Case Scenario: Knight is a lock to go in the lottery of the 2011 Draft, and his skill set is strong enough to expect solid play wherever he lands.  But he still has some room to develop, and it would really benefit him in the long run to play on a team that lacks depth at the point guard position.  Minutes are the key to improvement in the NBA.

Worst Case Scenario: There are two scenarios that could really stunt Knight’s career: 1) He becomes a Toronto Raptor. 2) He is selected by a team that drafts according to the “best player available” approach, and loads its roster with guards, leaving Knight with 15 minutes per game and little room for improvement. By the way, I understand that line of thinking for NFL teams, but when NBA GMs don’t draft to fill holes in their 5-man starting rosters, I age considerably in frustration.  More rants on NBA draft methods to follow.


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