"Experts" NBA mock draft.
You've already read the most recent edition of Chad Ford's NBA mock draft, looking at the picks teams are most likely to make in Thursday's draft. You've also already seen ESPN The Magazine's annual players mock draft, which let NBA players make picks for their own teams.
Now we're presenting to you the experts' mock draft, featuring picks from Insiders Ford, Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla, Doug Gottlieb and David Thorpe, based on which players they think teams should draft in each spot, not based on whom they think teams will pick.
There's an obvious agreement at the top, with Anthony Davis, but how does the rest of the first round shake out? Here's how our experts picked.
I don't know which player he's more likely to become, Bill Russell or Tim Duncan. But he is a great anchor for the rebuilding Hornets. -- Fran Fraschilla
Beal is not only the second-best prospect in the draft, he also fills a position of need for the Bobcats. Charlotte was dead last in 3-point shooting percentage last season, and while he won't fix all of their issues, Beal will solidify Charlotte at the wing for years to come. -- Doug Gottlieb
He's exactly what the Wizards need to get past the Andray Blatche "era" -- a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails player with a great work ethic. His motor and skills pair nicely with Nene and he should make an excellent ball-screen partner for John Wall. -- David Thorpe
Cavs GM Chris Grant always talks about building a winning culture in Cleveland. MKG is a culture guy. He is not the draft's best scorer, he has an ugly jumper and he's not particularly polished. But he is an incredible defender, has an elite motor, finishes tremendously well around the basket and is a leader. If the Cavs are trying to build a winner, they can't go wrong with Kidd-Gilchrist. -- Chad Ford
Drummond provides the Kings with an athletic shot blocker and rebounder to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins. He's the type of prospect who can get you fired as a GM because of his bust potential, but he also could end up making you look really smart if he pans out. His free throw shooting is a big concern, as is his lack of offensive polish, but he can really run and finish around the basket. -- Jay Bilas
Barnes is a skilled and athletic shooter with maturity and terrific potential to be a better pro than a college player. He shoots it particularly well in the midrange, and his athleticism allows him to have an impact at both ends of the floor. He's a good pick for the Blazers here. -- J.B.
The Warriors traded Monta Ellis to the Bucks in February to acquire a real center in Andrew Bogut. Adding Waiters would allow them to reaquire a player very similar to Ellis. Waiters may be the best pure scorer in the draft. While Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson get their points off jump shots, Waiters is relentless taking it to the basket. He has the potential to be the second-best player in this draft if he remains coachable. -- C.F.
I wasn't scared off by the pre-draft injury reports on DeJuan Blair when he was coming out, and I'm not scared off by the ones on Sullinger this year. In the Raptors, he is going to play for a coach who will have no problems getting Sullinger into great shape (see: the Kevin Love story). Sullinger will be a nice inside force for the Raptors to pair with Andrea Bargnani. -- D.T.
Left in this position with the opportunity to take Meyers Leonard (immature), Tyler Zeller (solid but limited) and John Henson (no position), I would choose White. White is enormous with his 6-foot-7 frame, and is perfectly built for Eastern Conference basketball. Additionally, his passing ability, along with that of Greg Monroe, would give the Pistons two tremendous team players at the 4 and 5 positions. White is an Anthony Mason-type of combo forward who can play immediately. -- D.G.
Now that Emeka Okafor has been traded, coach Monty Williams can make Jones his pet project and teach him the NBA ropes. Hopefully he'll get the guy that came alive against Kentucky in the second half of their regional final matchup and not the guy who sleepwalked through the first half. If the gamble pays off, a nucleus of Davis, Jones and Eric Gordon significantly speeds up the rebuilding process in New Orleans. -- F.F.
11. Portland Trail Blazers
The pick: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut Huskies
The Blazers have already gotten one talented wing player in this mock draft in Barnes, and here they land another young perimeter guy to surround All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Lamb can thank his dysfunctional UConn team for causing him to drop this far in the draft, but Portland will be glad that he's available. He has shown he can shoot the deep ball, but it is his 60 percent shooting inside the arc that impresses me most. It proves that he can also score at the rim and in the mid-range. -- F.F.
The Bucks need an athletic big man, and Leonard is that and more. Leonard, though emotionally a little immature, is a very gifted 7-foot center who will be a great complement to the uptempo Ellis/Brandon Jennings backcourt. Additionally, staying close to his Robinson, Ill., hometown could be an added bonus, as Leonard struggles with self-confidence at times. He is a dream pick for the Bucks at No. 12. -- D.G.
Phoenix struggled to defend and rebound last season, so getting another shooter at this point in the draft makes little difference until the Suns can shore things up on the defensive half of the floor. Henson could provide a huge help on D. -- D.T.
Kyle Lowry wants to be traded. Goran Dragic is about to get massively overpaid in the free-agent market. With Lillard slipping this far, they have a chance to get a player who could actually be an upgrade at the point guard position down the road -- and save money in the process. -- C.F.
Zeller is a true 7-footer with touch and rebounding ability. He is also the best runner among bigs in this draft, which is an uncommon skill that will pay off in the NBA. He makes his free throws as well, which is an added bonus. -- J.B.
16. Houston Rockets
The pick: Terrence Jones, Kentucky Wildcats
There are reports out now that the Rockets may be looking to trade this pick as part of a deal that eventually will net them Dwight Howard, but if they do draft here, Jones is a good choice. He is a lottery athlete and talent, and is very explosive off the floor. He will need to be more consistent, but that should come with maturity. -- J.B.
The Mavs will be in rebuilding mode for the first time in a long time this offseason, and they'll need star power. Rivers has the mentality of an NBA scorer and has the crossover and jump shot to back it up. I worry about whom he'll guard at the next level, but at the No. 17 spot, I think he's a safe pick. -- C.F.
I initially had Ross here when I thought the Timberwolves would be drafting at No. 18, but Ross is a good fit for Houston as well (that is, if the Rockets end up keeping the pick). He is a good value at this point in the draft, and the team could use another wing following the trade of Chase Budinger. -- D.T.
New GM Rob Hennigan likes smart and complete players, and Nicholson is just that. Although he is not a great athlete, he blocks shots, has long arms and huge hands. Nicholson is an ideal 4, and even though Orlando already has Ryan Anderson, the NBA's most improved player, Anderson is an offensive weapon only. Nicholson is a decent low-post scorer and solid face-up shooter to boot. -- D.G.
George Karl may want to push for fellow former Tar Heel Kendall Marshall here, but size trumps smarts for this pick. Moultrie is an athletic, running power forward who can also play in the pick-and-pop game. He's a steal here. -- F.F.
Harkless has an NBA small forward's body but a power forward's game right now. Still, his athleticism and productivity in his one college season are too enticing to pass up. Harkless is a good asset for the rebuilding Celtics. -- F.F.
With the likely loss of free agent Ray Allen, Boston will have a void to fill in the 3-point shooting department. There is no better lights-out shooter in the draft than Jenkins, and while he isn't Allen, he is good at running some of the same sets and cuts that Allen used to get open during his time in Boston. Jenkins needs to improve his off-the-dribble game, and his toughness on defense and on the boards will be challenged, but the Celtics could use a floor stretcher, and Jenkins is that guy. -- D.G.
When you can get a kid this talented this late in the draft, it's a blessing. Send Miller to the D-League for half the season, then let the kid play 20 minutes a night next to Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague. -- D.T.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
The pick: Tony Wroten Jr., Washington Huskies
Wroten isn't really a need here, so much as I believe he's the best player still left on the board. But I do think he can fit in Cleveland. He has the size to play the 2 and is a terrific slasher and defender. His shot is broken, but when playing alongside Kyrie Irving's shooting skills, I don't think that's as big of an issue. -- C.F.
Memphis could use another point guard, and Marshall is the best point guard available at this spot. However, Marshall is not the athlete that Teague is. I would go with the overall speed, length and athleticism of Teague in this spot. It will take him some time to figure it out, and Teague needs to improve his shot and middle game, but he is the selection here. On June 28, Teague could very well be gone by this point in the draft. -- J.B.
Indiana also could use another point guard, and Marshall may remind Pacers fans of Mark Jackson. Marshall lacks elite athleticism and consistent shooting, but he can really pass the ball and is a really good leader. I may question his ability to stay in front of ultra-quick guards, but I do not question his heart. He is a competitor who will find a way. -- J.B.
Melo may be a project, but given the Heat's dearth of big men in the middle, he might see minutes right away. -- C.F.
The Thunder don't need a wing player next year, unless they move James Harden for contract reasons. Fournier is good insurance either way. They can leave him in Europe for another year while they figure things out, if necessary. -- D.T.
The underclassman is an elite athlete who can get to the rim consistently. Jeffery Taylor also may be a viable option here, especially if Luol Deng is eventually traded, Cunningham is the smarter value this late in the first round. While Waiters and Rivers have gained the most attention in this year's class for their combo-guard ability to penetrate at will, Cunningham is an ego-free player with Rivers-like abilities who can play alongside or back up Derrick Rose. -- D.G.
30. Golden State Warriors
The pick: Kostas Papanikolaou, Greece
This 6-foot-8, 22-year-old was one of the stars of Olympiacos' surprise Euroleague Championship victory in May. The lefty has a great motor, attacks the basket with good athleticism and can defend. He is a great asset for the Warriors to have after another year or two in Europe. -- F.F.
Crap: I hate when I double post.. Sorry.
Royce White at nine headlines a lot of questionable picks for me.. They need a shotblocker.
Not to mention he said "White is enormous with his 6'7" frame.... setting them up for the 4 and 5." Last time I checked 6'7" wasn't enormous for a 4. And White isn't even going to play the 4 in the NBA!
On a side note I'm beginning to wonder if ESPN has a personal vendetta against Doron Lamb.. Jenkins at 22, and Cunningham at 29 without even a mention of Doron Lamb... Come on guys!
They may be experts but this is a horrible mock draft
This mock is all over the place. Neither Sully nor White are going top 10. I'd also be surprised if Lilliard was there at 14, same for Marshall at 26. I don't think the Celtics would take two wings when they need at least one post player as well.
For experts, this mock draft SUCKS. Sullinger and Royce White will not be in the lottery. Lillard has NO chance of slipping past 11. Straight awful.
All I did was post it to show some of the ridiculousness of some of the people at ESPN.
Don't crucify me!
And these guys are supposed to be experts? Wtf no way waiters,sullinger,white goes 7,8,9, lilliard won't make it past 10
I stopped reading after I saw Sullinger and White's positions... It's just ridiculous
based on which players they think teams should draft in each spot, not based on whom they think teams will pick. Ex: He wasnt afraid of Dujuan Blair's injury concerns and he's not afraid of Sullinger's so he thinks Toronto should pick Sully.
based on which players they think teams should draft in each spot, not based on whom they think teams will pick. Ex: Dude wasnt afraid of Dujuan Blair's injury, neither is he of Sullinger's. Therefore he thinks Tor should draft Sully.