The Jim Sez NBA Mock Draft

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THE JIM SEZ NBA MOCK DRAFT - NEW ORLEANS HAS THE TOP PICK BUT WILL ROUND ONE OTHERWISE BE A VIRTUAL “TRADE-FEST” BY NIGHT’S END?

Here’re two things you ought to know right off the bat regarding Thursday’s NBA Draft:

It will have a Kentucky Wildcats player right there with the numero uno pick in the draft and there will be plenty of other UK ‘Cats to follow suit in Round One.

Hey, outside of that - if you believe much of the scuttlebutt going ‘round the league these days - than it’s an “anything goes” scenario with as many as three major trades involving top 10 picks plus you could also have some “name” players sliding down in Round One either because of health problems or attitude issues.

Fasten those seat belts ‘cause this NBA Draft First Round in Newark (it starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN) figures to be a real doozy!

OUR JIM SEZ NBA MOCK DRAFT

  1. NEW ORLEANS - Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky: No shocker here as the Hornets will waste little time in tabbing this near-seven footer with great shot-blocking skills. Remember we’ve believed that Davis could be a 15-to-18-point guy in this league right out of the starting gate but just don’t pencil in N’Orleans for any playoff spot just yet.
  2. CLEVELAND (proposed trade with Charlotte) - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky: The Bobcats may have been the worst team in NBA history in 2011-12 but they now won’t be picking until the fourth slot following a long-rumored deal with the Cavaliers (for picks #4 and #24) as long as Charlotte tosses in another warm body or two. The Cavs’ organization is still seething over LeBron James winning his first NBA title and so the climb back to respectability continues with this do-it-all Kentucky star that can defend, rebound and score the ball from 15 feet and in.
  3. WASHINGTON - Bradley Beal, SG, Florida: The Wizards may be tempted to trade down to get more parts for their still-rebuilding club but temptation is to land high-class scorer who could be perfect complement to PG John Wall. Love the fact that Beal played his best in rough-and-tumble SEC.
  4. CHARLOTTE (proposed trade with Cleveland) - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina: No secret that boss-man Michael Jordan wanted a Carolina Tar Heel alum here and so trade down with the Cavaliers a sound move while adding pick #24 too. Barnes is a silent assassin type scorer who could pop in 20-to-22 points a night right from the get-go while scoring lots off the fast-break passes of Kemba Walker.
  5. HOUSTON (proposed trade with Sacramento) - Austin Rivers, PG, Duke: Note that the Rockets own picks #14, 16 and #18 right now and they are hoping to package them for a deal with Orlando for Dwight Howard but we say that won’t happen and so now Houston will deal two of those said selections to the Sacramento Kings to climb all the way up to the fifth spot where do-it-all one-and-done lead-guard Rivers will get nabbed. No doubt that’s a handful of spots higher than most mock drafts have Rivers going but believe Houston thinks he can give this franchise energy and make them relevant in the state of Texas once again.
  6. PORTLAND (completed trade with New Jersey/Brooklyn) - Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State: Keep in mind the Blazers are picking here ‘cause they dealt away Gerald Wallace to the Nets last season (and what was New Jersey GM Billy King ever thinking on that one?) and Portland snaps up high-rising point guard who wowed everyone at recent NBA workouts. P.S., we won’t be totally shocked if some heavy-hitter teams (read Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers) attempt to trade into this spot so they can grab Lillard but we say not happening.
  7. GOLDEN STATE - Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas: The Warriors would love to snap up one of these point guards (either Rivers or Lillard) but when that doesn’t happen G-State grabs at “best available talent” and second-year head coach Mark Jackson is fine with this 6-foot-8 stud who runs the floor extremely well.
  8. PHILADELPHIA (proposed trade with Toronto) - Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut: The forecast here is for the 76ers to trade their first-round pick (that’s #15) plus a body and/or another draft pick to dart up seven spots and snag this seven-footer who may or may not be a major project. Fact of the matter is Drummond is rated a top-10 talent and Raptors would rather move down and stockpile some future picks.
  9. DETROIT - John Henson, PF, North Carolina: The Pistons love this long-armed 6-foot-10 ACC star as Lawrence Frank’s club needs size and lots more athleticism and only thing that can ruin this pick is if someone steps in front at #8 and takes Henson here … and we say that won’t happen.
  10. NEW ORLEANS (completed trade with Minnesota) - Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut: The Hornets dip into the college goody bag for their second Round One selection and snap up this sweet-shooting star who isn’t afraid to take the last-minute crunch-time shot … remember March/April of 2011?
  11. PORTLAND - Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse: The Trail Blazers likely want to “go big” here with their second pick in Round One but this instant offense star could be 18-to-20 ppg scorer right from jump street and so no passing ‘em by here.
  12. MILWAUKEE - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois: The Bucks will be drafting for height here and this seven-footer satisfies big need but will everyone around him stay healthy in Beer City?
  13. PHOENIX - Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina: Yet another 7-footer gets nabbed here as the Suns are shaping their team around some new bodies that likely won’t include PG Steve Nash.
  14. SACRAMENTO (proposed trade with Houston) - Perry Jones III, F/C, Baylor: The Kings will get this pick plus #18 (also from the Rockets) and than spend this choice on the 6-foot-11 pride of Waco who shows off a great touch.
  15. TORONTO (proposed trade with Philadelphia) - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State: The question is how far does this former Buckeyes star fall after getting bad back diagnosis a few weeks back? Look for the Raptors to be satisfied with his future health reports and keep in mind if Sullinger’s healthy than he’s a top 3 talent getting nabbed here.
  16. HOUSTON - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Miss State: The Rockets are back for more in the middle of Round One and here they’ll snap up 6-foot-11 double-double machine and gotta feeling head coach Kevin McHale will be teaching him some neat up-and-under post moves.
  17. DALLAS - Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina: Gut feeling is that the Mavericks won’t be inking free agent PG Deron Williams and veteran Jason Kidd is a goner and so Rick Carlisle’s club searches for point guard of the present-and-future and the 2011 NBA champs are pleasantly surprised he’s still on the draft board here.
  18. SACRAMENTO (proposed trade with Houston) - Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s: The Kings (we say) make blockbuster deal with Rockets and get some future goodies to go along with the 14th and 18th selections and here grab this one-and-done scorer who plays with a real maturity to his game.
  19. ORLANDO - Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky: Whether or not the Magic brings back the aforementioned Howard, fact of matter is this club needs to get tougher in the paint and ferocious board-banger will be a positive addition.
  20. DENVER - John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt: The Nuggets would have loved Harkless and so they “settle” for this streaky shooter who most folks believe will be selected at the bottom of Round One … surprise!
  21. BOSTON - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse: Brazilian-born seven-footer might take three or four years to develop but Celtics think he’s a legit top 10 talent in this draft and they’ll pull the trigger quickly.
  22. BOSTON (completed trade with Los Angeles Clippers) - Evan Fournier, SG, France: Not many international stars in this draft but here the C’s grab a natural shooter who may just make everyone forget Ray Allen.
  23. ATLANTA - Miles Plumlee, C, Duke: Most folks believe this former blue-collar, Blue Devils player won’t go till Round II but Hawks like his athleticism/toughness and this pick could play into rumor mill that says Al Horford is on the trading block.
  24. CHARLOTTE (proposed trade with Cleveland) - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington: Funny thing is the Lakers are trying to “buy back” this back that went to the Cavs last season but no dice.
  25. MEMPHIS - Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure: His coming-out party was during last season’s Atlantic-10 Tournament and there is some thinking that this former Bonnies star could go five or six picks higher … we’ll see.
  26. INDIANA - Will Barton, SG, Memphis: Now that Donnie Walsh and not Larry Bird is calling the shots for the Pacers again, look for the 71-year-old exec to get the “best value” possible here and Barton will add to offensive weapons for this on-the-come club.
  27. MIAMI - Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt: The champion Heat would love to get a defensive stopper and GM Pat Riley and Company sweat it out but do get their man.
  28. OKLAHOMA CITY - Draymond Green, F, Michigan State: Four-year star in East Lansing brings his lunch pail every night and Thunder needs some guys to “ground” them when times get tough.
  29. CHICAGO - Drew Gordon, PF, New Mexico: Told you in last week’s Jim Sez that this former Lobo star would shoot into Round I and here’s perfect fit even if he comes off the bench and does not start at first blush.
  30. GOLDEN STATE (trade with San Antonio) - Tomas Satoransky, SG, Czech Republic: The Warriors never seem to have enough scorers and not grab overseas star who could sport sixth man role.

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