6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard SF San Diego State 6-7 225
Analysis: The Wizards already have an abundance of talent at the guard spots ( John Wall, Nick Young, Jordan Crawford) but need someone one the wing with aging vets Rashard Lewis and Josh Howard playing their way out of major minutes. Leonard could come in a give the Wizards an immediate impact especially on the defensive end. The Wizards were 24th in points allowed so someone who plays hard on both ends of the floor is a must. Even though he is not overly effective on the offensive end, he is surrounded by scoring talent in Crawford and Young.
Strengths: Amazing physical attributes, has a 7-3 wingspan with hands bigger than most centers in the league. Also weighs a solid 225 which is heavier than some PF in this class. Has the ability to guard multiple positions and can use his body effectively while guarding bigger players. Is tremendous while guarding pick and roll situations because of his ability to fight through screens and option to switch onto any player. Can do a bit of everything on the offensive end, not especially great at one thing, but is very versatile.
Weaknesses: Even though he is versatile on the offensive end, his jump shot is very inconsistent and is not a real threat from the three point line. Only hit 32% of his spot up jumpers, and 28% of his pull up jumpers and those numbers will not cut it in the NBA. Not an exceptionally great ball handler and is at sometimes hesitant to get to the rim.
7. Sacramento Kings – Jonas Valanciunas PF/C Lithuania 6-11 240
Analysis: I think the Kings would like to take Kawhi Leonard if he falls to them , but if he doesn’t I think taking Jonas here would be a good pick. He is a very athletic and lanky player who can run the floor really well. Is a fierce competitor who just doesn’t sit around and wait for things to happen. The Kings did select two centers in last years draft, but Hassan Whiteside has not shown improvement or really the skills to be a difference maker in the NBA. If the Kings select Jonas, look for them to trade Whiteside or Samuel Dalembert.
Strengths: Very active big man. Excellent rebounder both offensive and defensive, crashes boards very hard every play. Offensive rebounds is where he scores a lot of his points with put backs or tip ins. Can be a good defender in the paint with a good motor. An effective weak side shot blocker and uses his length to alter passes and shots. Does not avoid contact which is a good thing since he is a very good free throw shooter (88.5% FT). Has been said that he has a deep passion for the game and is passionate about improving his game each year.
Weaknesses: Offensively he is limited to what he can do at this point. Can shoot up to about 15 feet, but even then is not a true threat. Has not filled out his frame yet, so he tends to be overpowered by bigger and stronger opponents on both side of the floor. Still not much of a passer. He is not selfish by any means, but just doesn’t have a good touch with his passes or the floor sense to find the open guy at the right time. Biggest concern is actually not part of his game, its the $3 million dollar buyout with Lietuvos Rytas who he currently plays for. This is a large chunk of money, so look for Jonas to be over in a couple years.
8. Detroit Pistons – Jan Vesely SF/PF Czech Republic 6-11 240
Analysis: Possibly the most athletic player in the draft, Vesely is a 6-11 freak. With likely departures of Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince the Pistons are in a need of a young athletic wing. Vesely can play either the small forward or power forward position and can provide versatilely to the Pistons lineup. I think has the potential to be star if he developed the right way for the first couple of years (outside shooting, dribbling).
Strengths: Amazing athlete who can use his athleticism to change games on both ends of the floor. Is a very good slasher who can finish around the rim better than any SF in this draft. Is an active rebounder on the offensive glass. Produces a lot of tip ins and put backs as well as draw fouls on a consistent basis. Very good hands, with a soft touch while in the post. Has very good lateral quickness and length for his height which allows him to guard multiple positions.
Weaknesses: Still hasn’t improved on his one on one skills. Can’t really do much off the dribble and is usually not a threat to blow by any defenders. Has a mediocre jump shot, and shoots very poorly from the free throw line ( 46% FT). Needs to add some weight and fill out his frame. Still has some trouble holding his ground against bigger opponents. Some scouts are worried that he may not have a true position since he is 6-11 but prefers to play on the perimeter but doesn’t really have a jumper.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Marcus Morris SF/PF Kansas 6-9 230
Analysis: Another one of my favorite players in the draft, Marcus is more versatile than his twin brother Markieff (16th pick) and can play the small forward or power forward in the next level. A true NBA small forward though, Morris is an all around skilled player. The Bobcats are in need of a lot of help, especially with the departure of Gerald Wallace and who better to draft than Morris who can do a little bit of everything. Morris could be a good compliment to Stephen Jackson, and provide good stability to the front line of Charlotte who always seems to be injury plagued.
Strengths: One thing that makes Morris so good is his versatility on both ends of the floor. On offense he can score from the perimeter as well as inside. His jump shot has developed very nicely since arriving at KU as a freshman. Can shoot consistently from NBA three, and has a very good pull up jumper. His inside game is one that really impresses me, with help from assistant coach Danny Manning, Morris has a variety of low post moves including a baseline turnaround jumper. Just an overall efficient scorer where he shot 57% from the field at KU last season. Possesses great hands and is an excellent passer for his size.
Weaknesses: Not as strong as most players his size. Will be interesting to see how he competes on the glass against stronger more athletic players, because he tends to get pushed around while underneath battling for rebounds. Is not at a real threat as a shot blocker only averaging .6 blocks per game. Labeled as “tweener” because he does not look as quick as most NBA small forwards.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks SG Colorado 6-6 195
Analysis: The Bucks are need of some scoring from the wing, and Burks is a perfect guy to come in and give you a polished game with a lot of upside. Not heavily recruited out of high school, Burks turned into one the best scoring guards in the NCAA. Burks could be a good compliment to John Salmons and Brandon Jennings in the back court Burks provides excellent height for a two guard, and has a variety of ways to score the ball.
Strengths: At 6-6 Burks provides great height and also has a massive 6-10 wingspan. Is a great ball handler with the ability to break down defenders and get to the rim at will. Can create his own shot, and can shoot it from anywhere on the court. A naturally smooth scorer that makes the game look effortless. Even though he is a shooting guard he has point guard skills and excels in the open court whether he is slashing to the rim, or finding the open man with his great court vision.
Weaknesses: Although he has great height, he has not bulked up enough at only 195. On the defensive end he tends to be vulnerable when guarding the ball where he doesn’t show great lateral quickness or toughness. Though a natural scorer and has the ability to score from anywhere, he is has been inconsistent from the three point line shooting 29% last year.