21. Portland Trail Blazers
Jeremy Tyler (PF) – Tokyo Apache (Japan)
If Portland could trade the 21st pick in the draft for new knees for Brandon Roy they would, buy but they canâ€™t. Â Given that Andre Miller is the starting point guard and that his back-up is Patty Mills (really?), Portland decides that it needs to select size and goes with Jeremy Tyler who averaged 9.9 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game while playing for Tokyo Apache in Japan. Â This pick should work out for Portland about as well as Greg Oden, but at least they didnâ€™t pass on Durant to draft Tyler. Â This seems to bring us back to the Jailblazers days as write-ups on Tyler say that he needs to work on â€œmaturity.â€ Â Iâ€™d also guess that he needs to work on rebounding since he couldnâ€™t average six and a half in the Japanese league.
22. Denver Nuggets
Tobias Harris (PF) – Tennessee
The Denver Nuggets have had two decent first round draft picks in the past 20 years. Carmelo Anthony in 2003 and Dikembe Mutombo in 1991. Aside from that there isnâ€™t a career starter out of the entire lot. And that probably wonâ€™t change here. But with the aging Kenyon Martin (how much longer can those knees really last?) playing a smaller role with every passing year, there will be minutes to be had at the 3 and 4 spot behind Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari. If Harris can build some strength and add some post moves to his offensive game then he could easily break into the rotation. If not, the Nuggets will have some cap room to find someone who can.
23. Houston Rockets (from Magic/Suns)
Donatas Motiejunas (PF) – Lithuania
Two picks in the 1st round of a bad draft . . . not good planning by Houston. Â This is Kevin McHaleâ€™s 1st draft with the Rockets. Â After addressing their growing issues at center, the Rockets take some big white guy, who am I kidding I have no idea, Fran take it away, â€œIn addition, while Motiejunas is not Larry Bird when it comes to his passing skills, he plays with good basketball intelligence. â€œ Wow, being named in the same conversation as Kevinâ€™s former teammate makes this pick a lock. Â A poor manâ€™s Andrea Bargnani here we come!
24. Oklahoma City Thunder
Justin Harper (PF) – University of Richmond
Harper is long and a solid shooter. Â The one need that I see for the Thunder is players that can shoot. Â Harper could be one of those players. Â Harper could also be in the D-League in a year given that he looks and plays a lot like Brian Cook. Â At least the Thunder didnâ€™t select Kyle Singler and push Kevin Durant to a different team. Â As I hope Sam Presti is aware, Duke players donâ€™t win championships (only 1 NBA Champion in history played at Duke). Â I also hope that Sam Presti is aware that Justin Harper is better than Kyle Singler (though that isnâ€™t saying much).
JaJuan Johnson (PF) – Purdue
The Celtics have two primary needs this off-season, center and every position on their bench. Johnson could greatly improve the bench that let them down big-time in the playoffs by giving them some length at the power forward position that is strongly lacking when Kevin Garnett goes to the bench, or when they go small. Johnson will naturally draw comparisons to Garnett because of their build. Whether Johnson is worthy of them or not will depend on his work ethic and his ability to put on some pounds. Until them will call him Kevin Durant minus the handle and jumpshot.
26. Dallas Mavericks
Nikola Mirotic (SF) – Serbia
Once again, Fran take it away â€œOn 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.â€ Â Well then, letâ€™s take a good talent and wait 5 years to see how this one plays out. Â Personally, I am at the edge of my seat, biting my nails in anticipation of Nikolaâ€™s arrival to the States.
27. New Jersey Nets (from Lakers)
Josh Selby (PG) – Kansas
The New Jersey Nets, looking for star power prior to their move to Brooklyn select Josh Selby. Â Selby is an enigma, he could have gone in the top 10 picks in the draft if he had produced for Kansas. Â Injuries and eligibility issues derailed what could have been a clear upgrade for Kansas based upon what Selby brings to the court. Â Selby is a natural scorer with athletic gifts. Â In a weak draft, Selby is the type of gamble that probably should have been taken 15 picks ago. Â When we look back on this draft in 5 years, a lot of teams will be wondering why they missed on Selby, then they will remember that he has â€œmaturityâ€ issues. Â The Russian should be able to alleviate some concerns as to Selbyâ€™s character by wielding his Russian muscle. Â If it works, the Nets got a steal and potentially a bonafide star when they move into their new arena.
28. Chicago Bulls (from Heat/Raptors)
Tyler Honeycutt (SF) – UCLA
The Chicago Bulls need another scoring option to help Derrick Rose. Â They also need a backup PG, as he cannot be expected to play 45minutes a night. Â In comes Tyler Honeycutt, who solves neither of these issues. Â But, he is an athletic big man who can block shots and run the floor. Â Think Tyrus Thomas without the large contract. Â Look for the Bulls to address the backup PG issue with their next pick.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Iman Shumpert (PG) – Georgia Tech
Rumor has it the Spurs are shopping the ex Mr. Longoria-Parker. Â If that is the case, they will likely move up and snag a PG high in the draft. Â If they stay put, I expect them to snag another PG here and dangle Tony during the year. Â This team is getting old and they will start to revamp their roster in the coming years.
30. Chicago Bulls
Markieff Morris (PF) – Kansas
Why did Markieff get selected 21 picks after Marcus? Â Probably because the people conducting this mock draft forgot about him. Â Markieff knows his roll. Â Markieff hits the boards, plays tough interior defense, and has a jumper. Â Somehow Kenneth Faried who lacks a jump shot went 9 picks before Markieff. Â This pick is a classic case of the rich getting richer. Â Thibs will have another defender that he can use to replace Carlos Boozer at the end of games. Â Chicago is making a habit of late round gems (e.g. Taj Gibson). Â Markieff may be the more talented Morris twin and could have a solid, productive career like Otis Thorpe.