Clint Johnson’s Post-Lottery Mock Draft

May 21st, 2014 | by Clint Johnson
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Now that the draft order is set, I finally share my mock draft of the full first round.  Explanations for each selection will be forthcoming.

1 – Cleveland: Joel Embiid, C

2 – Milwaukee: Jabari Parker, SF/PF

3 – Philadelphia: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF

4 – Orlando: Dante Exum, PG/SG

5 – Utah: Julius Randle, PF

6 – Boston: Aaron Gordon, PF

7 – LA Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG/SG

8 – Sacramento: Noah Vonleh, PF/C

9 – Charlotte: James Young, SG/SF

10 – Philadelphia: Nik Stauskas, SG

11 – Denver: Dario Saric, PF

12 – Orlando: Doug McDermott, PF

13 – Minnesota: Rodney Hood, SF

14 – Phoenix: Zach LaVine, SG

15 – Atlanta: Gary Harris, SG

16 – Chicago: Tyler Ennis, PG

17 – Boston: Jusuf Nurkic, C

18 – Phoenix: T. J. Warren, SF/PF

19 – Chicago: Adreian Payne, PF

20 – Toronto: P. J. Hairston, SG

21 – Oklahoma City: Jordan Adams, SG

22 – Memphis: Clint Capela, PF/C

23 – Utah: Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C

24 – Charlotte: Cleanthony Early, SF/PF

25 – Houston: Elfrid Payton, PG

26 – Miami: Glenn Robinson, SF

27 – Phoenix: Mitch McGary, C

28 – LA Clippers: K. J. McDaniels, SF

29 – Oklahoma City: Walter Tavares, C

30 – San Antonio: Kyle Anderson, SF

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. He teaches writing at Salt Lake Community College. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.

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  1. Tyler Barton says:

    Before I would think post combine, althought he did well, Randle has fallen well behind Vonleh (Vonleh even drawing comps to Chris Bosh at this point).

    Lazy man’s comp for Randle is Zach Randolph but i dont know how similar they are other than the obvious both lefthanded and get blocked a lot.

    One can only hope Payton is still there when Jazz pick at 23!

    • Clint Johnson says:

      The Randolph comp has some problems in my mind. Randle is both a better passer and far more athletic than Randolph, a fact that was mostly hidden in college because he played in the post against double and triple teams so often. In the pros look for him to face up and use his speed and skill against many players, though he will still bring Randolph’s incessant work on the offensive glass and ability to use his body to get off shots.

    • Aaron says:

      I don’t like the Randolph comparison at all. Not to disrespect a guy who’s been a great player in the league for a long time, but Z-Bo is a lot more like Al Jefferson. He was a big, big boy even as a rookie. Randle, as mentioned above, is much more like the horses they usually have at Kentucky. That said, if Randle is an impact player for as long as Randolph has been, that would be an outstanding career, and honestly probably pretty close to his ceiling.

  2. Tyler Barton says:

    I would think post combine, although he did well, Randle has fallen well behind Vonleh (Vonleh even drawing comps to Chris Bosh at this point).

    Lazy man’s comp for Randle is Zach Randolph but i dont know how similar they are other than the obvious both lefthanded and get blocked a lot.

    One can only hope Payton is still there when Jazz pick at 23!

  3. Zac says:

    Why would we need Randle when we have Favors inked into a four-year deal?

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Fair question. The Jazz have PG and PF/C under contract, and I think they’re comfortable with those positions. But those are the positions that will be available to them with pick #5. So the question then becomes what they do with Burks and Kanter. Whoever they draft will compete with or replace one of those players.

      My belief is they will offer Burks an extension. I think he’ll be more affordable than Kanter and has developed to a greater degree, and those two factors will make retaining him a bargain. That leaves me to conclude the Jazz pick a big who fits better with Favors than Kanter does. I think the team needs a #1 offensive option, and Randle is the most certain of the three PF’s to become that.

      Essentially, I see Randle as providing the strengths of Enes Kanter without the same level of vulnerability on the defensive end. If the Jazz believe that, it makes sense to take him in the context of the rest of the roster.

  4. LarryMillersGhost says:

    I kinda want Jazz to take Smart. He will be the only one of the young players who will appear to give a damn. We need his fire. Maybe he can light a fire under Hayward and Favors, who play with zero enthusiasm.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Personally, my heart says go with Smart. I know the vulnerabilities in his game, but despite them, I just love watching him play. I think he will become a Joakim Noah-like player in his overall effect on the game. But there is no avoiding the question of what the team would do with Burke and Burks then, and I suspect they may like the combination of production and cost in their current backcourt above the combination of their two bigs. That’s why, right now, I suspect they would go Randle.

  5. cw says:

    Julius Randle? No way. Not best player available AND most duplicates what Jazz already have. If the top 4 go in order and the Jazz don’t move up, it should Smart or Gordon. I hope Gordon. Or if Saric comes over the Jazz could trade back a few picks.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      I can definitely see the Jazz moving back given the situation. That said, I do believe Randle is the best player available if you’re talking low floor and instant impact. He will be a very good NBA player very quickly, which cannot be said of Vonleh. Vonleh may well have the highest ceiling, but he also has the furthest to go in his development. I think the Jazz want someone who will contribute quickly. As for Gordon, it all depends on if you believe he can repair that shot. As is, he is a truly bad shooter who I maintain cannot play SF regularly in the NBA. Paring him with Favors down low would compact the court far worse than Kanter/Favors ever did.

      As for Smart, see my response to the above comment for my reasoning.

      • cw says:

        Gordon is only 18. He’s got pretty much the same rep a kawhi leonard did coming out but he’s bigger and faster and younger. If you can’t get exactly the player that fits your main need, you can either trade back and fill in other needs or take the player with the most upside. I think that’s Gordon. It’s not like the Jazz are going to be in the playoffs next season anyway. They are still in asset collection mode.

        • Clint Johnson says:

          You make good points. If the Jazz moved back (maybe with Sacramento at 8?) and got Gordon, I’d be happy. I just question whether the Jazz are willing to be patient enough to take a Gordon or a Vonleh. Burks, Favors, Hayward, and Kanter are all moving into their third and fourth years in the league, and I don’t think the Jazz are looking to take two or three more years of clear rebuilding. I think they want to see substantial improvement this year and seriously challenge for the playoffs the year after. That’s why I think they’d lean toward a Randle or Smart over a Gordon or Vonleh, especially as the more ready players are still good prospects.

  6. zach says:

    I am for Aaron Gordon all the way. He is kind of flashy (think blake griffin dunking), he can jump and defend with the best. Offense needs work, but they arent going to give this rookie many plays anyway with burks/burke, hayward and kanter on the floor. Vonleh is possible, but with his best selling point being a big-man 3&d i dont know if it is the best fit. Please dont waste this pick on smart.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      If the Jazz think they have a strong enough offense to absorb a potential negative on that side of the floor, Gordon makes a lot of sense. I question whether that is there assessment, though.

      • Aaron says:

        Gordon’s motor reminds me a lot of Kirilenko in his early days. We could do a lot worse. You are right about his offense, at least about his jumper, but that’s an area that if you put the work in, virtually anyone can develop.

  7. Ryan says:

    I agree that Randle is the best player available at #5 if 1-4 go as stated. But can you please explain why the Jazz would need to part with Kanter? If the Jazz don’t bring back Williams, wouldn’t Randle just take his place? Kanter can continue to come off the bench for Favors and/or Randle, couldn’t he?

    Also, can you explain some realistic scenarios for the Jazz to move up to, say, #2 or #3? What would it take for Milwaukee or Philly to conceivably give us their pick? And to be clear, trading up would happen before a final decision is made on Hayward’s contract, correct? How does that affect the Jazz’s potential to use him as a collateral to trade up?

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Good questions. Here are my answers:

      Kanter: It’s primarily a matter of cost. They’ve already invested $12 million a season in Favors and this summer they’ll need to decide if they will extend either Burks or Kanter or risk them becoming restricted free agents. (We’ll deal with the Hayward issue later.) Kanter’s career per 36 numbers are 16 and 10 and he’s 22 as of two days ago. He’s going to want to get paid into the eight figures. Will the Jazz invest, say, $10 million a year in Kanter on top of the $12 they’re paying Favors? If they did, they’d be committed to that frontcourt being the strength of the team. I tend to think they’d rather retain Burks, who will be cheaper, and possibly Williams (who stretches the floor far better than Kanter) then pick Randle, who isn’t as limited defensively as Kanter. The simple fact is they’ll have more young prospects than they can afford to keep, so they’ll have to decide who to invest in and who to deal. I think for a host of reasons, the most likely young player to be traded is Enes Kanter.

      Moving up: I want to say it simply won’t happen. The price would be astronomical. The Bucks might demand, say, Trey Burke, Derrick Favors, the 5th and 23rd picks, and a future first while making the Jazz eat the Mayo contract. Maybe even more. The Sixers probably wouldn’t do it for any deal not involving Hayward, who’s off the table because of his contract situation. The only scenario I see for moving up involves Embiid’s back getting red flagged or Exum really disappointing several teams. If one of those things happened, then it’s possible the Sixers could see Wiggins and Parker off the board when they don’t love Embiid or Exum better than, say, Randle or Smart. If so, the Jazz might have a chance to move to #3 for Embiid or Exum. I honestly see no realistic possibility of the Jazz being able to procure either Wiggins or Parker at this point.

      Hayward: The draft will be done with before free agency opens and, until Hayward’s free agent status is resolved, he can’t be traded. So he isn’t part of the equation on draft night. My understanding is sign and trade isn’t available either at that point.

      • Ryan says:

        Fantastic info, thanks!

      • Aaron says:

        Trey, Favors, and three firsts to move up three spots? I doubt very much the price would be that high. Probably one of the core four and the #5, and maybe one additional pick (either #23 or a future first-rounder), but I really can’t see them asking for two borderline stars and three first-rounders. I guess time will tell who’s right, and who’s desperate.

  8. Austin says:

    We need to trade up. If we stay at 5 or move down we are only going to get a mediocre player. Not a game changer. We need to give up anything possible besides Favors to get Wiggins or Jabari. Randle, Smart, or Gordon are all going to be solid players but they will not take us to the next level. With Wiggins or Jabari and with our cap space we could put together a solid team. Without it we will just be the same old Jazz.

    • Aaron says:

      That’s the problem. We all know we need an alpha dog. We have a lot of good players, but no superstars. But it’s going to be a very tall order to trade up. I don’t believe the price will be as high as Clint says in the comments just above yours, but it would be pretty darn steep, especially when you compare it to last year when we grabbed Trey for 14 and 21. If we want Wiggins or Parker, we better deal with the reality that it’s likely to cost us a player that we really, really want to keep and probably another first-rounder in addition to the #5.

      • Clint Johnson says:

        Honestly, if two firsts and any one player were the cost, I’d take it instantly. I would be stunned if the cost isn’t higher.

      • Austin says:

        I agree completely. We need Wiggins or Parker no matter what the cost. The Jazz need that franchise player.

  9. LKA says:

    Sorry I really don’t like your picks.. Kanter is not proven so he might sign for less money. And never doubt Lindsey. He got Trey last year when others used the words impossible and never… And if Smart or Exum moves up into the top three anything can happen.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      You may be right. That said, extremely few 22 year old big men are “proven.” The only 20-21 year old bigs in the league putting up Kanter’s per 36 numbers or better the last few years (in respectable minutes played) are DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Jared Sullinger (who has both size and injury issues). Talented young bigs get paid, and Kanter is on pace to demand a large contract or get it somewhere else.

      As for Lindsey getting Burke, I actually believed moving up in last year’s draft was a real possibility and said so publicly. I think the circumstances are the complete opposite this time around, which makes me think moving up into the top three would be extremely difficult.

      Finally, Smart isn’t moving up. Exum could, but honestly, the only real chance of that given the teams in the top three is if Embiid’s back gets red flagged. Realistically speaking, and I think this is near consensus among experts, the only realistic way the Jazz get one of those top four guys is if Orlando really does love Smart too much to pass on him, at which point Exum will fall to the Jazz.

      • LKA says:

        Magic was the team I was thinking of. They were high on him last year. A lot will depend on workouts and interviews. I would never in a million years make the first pick from last year. I bet the Cavs wish the same. One thing for sure is the phones will be busy..

  10. Spencer says:

    If Kanter is worth something comparable to the guys you listed money-wise, why is he not worth a lot in a trade?

    It would make sense to me to see some people forecasting Kanter to a fringe all-star. If so, what about drafting the PF you like most next to Favors (Randle, Vonleh, Gordon) and then trading Kanter for one of the picks being shopped in the lottery where they could pick up Smart, or a wing scorer?

    Another scenario is that if Embiid has a great back and contends for #1 again, Cavs could easily take him or any of the other three. If Exum shows well, I can see a scenario where Parker is available at #4. It may be a slim chance, but if he is, there could be a strong argument that Orlando would take Trey and #5 for #4. I’d do that in a second. I love Trey, but Neto can come over and #23 can be used for a second PG prospect.

    Orlando would get an excellent PG, a PF of their choice and still have another lottery pick to add a wing scorer, if I am Orlando that looks pretty good to me as well.

    What do you think?

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Well thought out points, Spencer. Here is my perspective.

      On Kanter: It’s basically a case of real cost versus opportunity cost. In the NBA, there is so much money that it means little beyond the limitations on spending it according to the rules. So signing Kanter for, say, $10 million a season or whatever the market determines his value to be will cost some team only the opportunity to sign another player for that same money over the course of his contract. A trade, however, requires that teams give up assets. There is a clear real cost involved. In many cases, teams value their assets such as players and draft picks more than their cap space. This is how Josh Smith was all but untradable but then signed a $54 million contract. It’s also why teams are so extremely reluctant to trade good players: because there is an assumption that it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to receive full value in return.

      So, all of that means I believe Kanter would have less trade value than the value the Jazz ascribe him now or the value he would carry as a free agent. I don’t think a team in the top ten would swap their pick for him. That said, I do think the Jazz could, if they want, explore maybe trying to pair him with pick #23 and see if there are any takers. (Personally, I’d call the Lakers. Kanter has consistently been good against them, and they may like the idea of a young player with potential who has more seasoning than this extremely young class.)

      Parker: I think Embiid will go first, but I am skeptical of Exum going second or third. Primarily this is because the Sixers simply won’t take him because they have Carter-Williams and a huge hole at the wing. They will take Wiggins or Parker if available, practically guaranteed. That means if Embiid went first, the Bucks would have to take Exum over both Wiggins and Parker, and I think there is basically no chance of that happening.

      One last thing to consider: I think it is highly unlikely that Dennis Lindsey is looking to fill his roster with youth in the manner of last season. I don’t think the plan is to get younger than the team already is. Instead, I expect them to try to use this draft to get a foundational piece (most likely by using pick 5) and trade some young pieces for a more established veteran presence to accent the young core. That’s my theory, at present.

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