|09-01-2012, 04:42 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Ooh Baby, Ooh Baby
Join Date: May 2003
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2024 KVBL Lottery Mock Draft
1. Chicago Bulls - Phil Scates
The Bulls failed to make the playoffs a second year in a row after seven consecutive appearances that ended in either first or second round exits. Historically a team on the cusp that just couldn't overcome the East's elite (despite the presence of Dwight Howard for a few years), the Bulls have recently been more middle of the pack with a consistently strong defense and an offense that just wasn't able to get it done. Fortune finally saw fit to shine on this KVBL franchise that has yet to win a championship in the lottery, where the team jumped up four spots to secure the first overall selection. A couple of years ago, scouts were looking at Jude Parker as THE guy this year, but all season long KVBL teams have known that whoever got the first overall pick was grabbing Phil Scates. Defense, rebounding, playmaking, scoring. Scates is the type of player you don't often see, a straw that stirs the drink. The Bulls' front office was surely celebrating when they landed the top pick in the lotto, and they'll continue to celebrate as they get a better look at this kid and how he'll fit in with their existing nucleus. Bulls fans are all too familiar with teams full of complementary players needing that one piece to get over the hump - Scates is that piece. A lineup of Dautzenberg/Scates/Toole/Node/Bradford would be defensively superb and Scates' presence would help the offense to do enough for that to matter. Viitala, Ackerman, Conway and Reuter are all offensively capable and would make a solid bench in the short term, though a truer point guard might be a wise long term pursuit. Yes, the stars are shining a bit brighter in Chicago these days. One can only hope that Scates will do what many KVBL superstars have not: bring home the KJ Trophy.
2. Houston Rockets - Jude Parker
Turmoil in the Rockets' front office and on the bench left the team in shambles this season, to the point where Dwight Howard refused to play in the team's last fourteen games. Howard's future with the Rockets is unclear, but the team is sure to look different next season as only five players remain under contract (two of which might be gone if the Rockets decide to opt out). With Howard's era nearing its end, the Rockets will begin anew the task of building a championship winner. The new era begins with the player who fell to number two on scouts' lists not by his own faults but by the rise of Phil Scates: Jude Parker. Parker was UNC's leading rebounder this season and often made his teammates' lives easy with well timed passes or by drawing extra defenders. The Rockets are very much a work in progress, and may continue to be near the bottom of the league for a year or two due to lack of support, but Parker will help this team live up to its history - in due time.
3. San Antonio Spurs - Linas Mulroney
San Antonio has not had a great run in the last few years, but the meager years may be nearing their end. Young talent that has been harvested through recent trades should begin to progress in the next year or two, and the opt out in Russell Westbrook's contract will allow the team to have an abundance of cap space with which to tempt the free agent class. Those who pay attention to KVBL history will recall that the team has been very good at bringing in premier free agents, even if they haven't all worked out as planned. The team is in an interesting spot with the third pick. Is BPA the way to go when Roderick Phillips is more or less a better defending Omar Andrews? The Spurs rebounding would be absurd with those two inside (even more so with Phillips at SF, but not since the Kings of the distant past has there been a championship team whose greatest asset is rebounding. We don't think that would be the best idea, particularly when a comparable talent in Linas Mulroney is also available. Mulroney is a guy that can score efficiently while still rebounding at a good rate and playing strong defense in the post. Otherworldy rebounding for Phillips just isn't enough to offset his having no impact on offense. Mulroney will be a very good center from day one.
4. Detroit Pistons - Adam Little
The Pistons are similar to the Rockets in that they move forward without really having an existing identity or foundation that can be built upon. Armed with an abundance of picks in this year's first round, the Pistons will attempt to rebuild on the fly after being torn down two seasons ago. BPA is the logical choice in such a situation, but the reasons highlighted previously for not taking Roderick Phillips still apply. Adam Little steps up instead, a player who's a bit rough around the edges but capable of being a second scorer and a solid rebounder wherever he lands. Little is not the type of player to blow you away (like Malcolm Xavier, the Pistons' 2023 first round pick), but there's no denying he's talented and not a reach here. The Pistons should grab Little and hope that some of their young talent comes together over the next couple of seasons for them to return to winning.
5. Boston Celtics - Roderick Phillips
Boston's season was radically altered when Xie Dong went down with an injury. The absence of Xerxes Khoroushi secured their badness, and the team ended up being the fourth worst in the league despite having a playoff team under contract. Given that foundation, the Celtics are ready to step back into contention as soon as next year. That is, of course, if they hit on their two lottery selections. The roster doesnt have any gaping holes, meaning the Celtics should just go ahead and grab BPA. An elite roleplayer is a more acceptable pick at number five than it would be earlier than that, so we're thinking they go for Roderick Phillips. The Celtics have enough scoring that Phillips should be able to thrive as a cog whose sole purpose is to secure possessions for his team and ensure that the opponents' don't end in scores. It's hard to say what the Celtics will do, but this makes sense to us.
6. Milwaukee Bucks - Mario Rogic
Milwaukee landed a franchise cornerstone in Greg Hope last year after winning the lottery, but the young team struggled with inconsistency this season and finds itself back in the top ten. Bucks management may feel differently, but we're of the belief that the existing roster isn't too terribly far off from really putting great seasons together. Youth is working against them right now, but the team could also stand to improve its big rotation after Sam Sagan and Greg Hope. This draft slot is a bit rough given the nature of the best talent available and the Bucks' existing lotto talent, so we're going to take a bit of a stab in the dark and say the Bucks go with a Euro. Mikel Opoku is the favorite of guru Fran Fraschilla, but the Bucks don't really need another small guy (even if he does play multiple positions). The other international players who are rated well enough to be a reasonable pick here are the Salvadores twins and Ivanos Rogic's younger brother, Mario. Waiting a year for either Salvadores would not be ideal for Milwaukee, which leaves us with Rogic.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Rafa Salvadores
The Timberwolves had a good run early this season, but injuries came and let the wind out of their sails before they were really able to secure their position. Now, armed with yet another lottery pick, the Wolves are likely hoping they can consolidate talent to come into next season as a contender. This pick could be part of a deal, but we're going to assume they keep it. Given that, the Wolves would be in great shape to gamble on international talent at seven. Like the Bucks, the Wolves don't really have room for a guy like Mikel Opoku, so he continues to drop. Given the choice between the two Salvadores twins, the Wolves would likely grab Rafa and hope for the best. A year's delay before coming over is not ideal, but one can never have too many bigs. Salvadores should be a rotation piece or a nice trade chip for the team as they move forward.
8. Utah Jazz - Dennis Merrimac
Utah yet again finished in the immediate vicinity of .500, something that caused the team to jettison Tim Jennings and Salvatore Fantastigas as they look to alter how the team plays. This pick would've been had years ago if not for protection, but now the Jazz have an opportunity to add rotation talent to the bench. Unfortunately, point guard Drew Montgomery was given a max contract in restricted free agency last year. That huge salary is a burden that the Jazz might not be willing to deal with moving forward, making a contingency plan a must. At this spot, Dennis Merrimac is a good get. BJ Graham hits RFA this offseason, so Merrimac might even get minutes right away if another team snatches him up.
9. Miami Heat - Mikel Opoku
Miami returned to the playoffs this year behind the veteran play of LeBron James and explosive sophomore Skyler McLean. The starting lineup, assuming no retirement for Bron, should remain more or less unchanged as the team tries to take another step forward next season. The best option to improve at this point is a strong wing player that can push the roleplaying Edd Timmons to a bench role. Mikel Opoku, Leroy Michaels, and Willis Bulloch are all strong possibilities at eight, with Opoku considered to be the best talent among them. Despite the inherent risk of taking players that may or may not translate well to KVBL ball, it'd be quite foolish to let Opoku drop further than this if he does make it to nine.
10. Orlando Magic - Sergio Jose Salvadores
Orlando just barely missed the playoffs in the East this season (under .500 or no), and it's clear that the team is nearing the talent level at which playoffs should be doable. These two picks at ten and eleven are going to have to be on the mark for Orlando to take the next step. The pursuit of Drew Montgomery last year speaks to Orlando's dissatisfaction with its point guard rotation, so we're going to take that ball and run with it. Options at this point include Carlton James, Marlon Hardaway, and the delayed gratification of nabbing Sergio Jose Salvadores. Salvadores' talent level should absolutely top that of James and Hardaway, so that's the route the Magic should go. A year's delay is a fair price for Salvadores' abilities.
11. Orlando Magic - Wallace Washington
Having previously discussed Orlando, we only really need to get into who they're picking here. Wallace Washington is the best available big, and that's where they should be going here after taking a point with ten.
12. Boston Celtics - Leroy Michaels
As with the eleventh pick, only a pick explanation is required. Boston needs either a tradeable talent or a worthwhile sub. We think Leroy Michaels is both.
13. Miami Heat - Grant Wilms
Three's the charm. Miami adds to its depth with a big man. Grant Wilms will do nicely.
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