Is it drafty in here? It should be, because there have been a lot of NBA teams in previous drafts that had great players within their reach, yet they allowed these players to blow right past them. Every year a team or two misses out on a great player. Who will it be this year?
I always turn to David McCullough in times of reflection, and the historian said this: "Do not judge events of the past based on your current values." So ... we need to keep that statement in mind as we look at the blunders and successes of the previous drafts.
After going through all the mock drafts and looking through dozens of different scenarios for the draft, I have come to a conclusion. I have realized that none of the experts really know how things are going to end up. They are just guessing while receiving monetary benefits. That is because guessing is their job since no one knows. Everything the experts are proposing is unfounded and a complete shot in the dark.
Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) at ESPN even tweeted last night, "I think I'm going to have my 6-year-old daughter, Summer, do Mock 7. She's got as good of a chance of getting it right as I do." Two tweets later he wrote, "OK, scratch that. Summer just told me Jimmer should go No. 1 #mydaughtersaJimmermaniac." Good stuff!
Well, that made me think ... and I realized I can do the same thing. I have a little bit different spin on the draft. I created a chart of the past 30 years of draft history for the first 14 picks. I have created my final and only mock draft based on what teams really want right now. It has nothing to do with potential, but with how players play right now and if they suited up tomorrow who would be the best players for those teams today.
I have included a chart of my personal top 14 picks for this year's draft and a chart of the top 14 picks for the past 30 years. I pulled data from nba.com and draftexpress.com for this chart. As you can see, some draft years have been stocked with talent, whereas other years offered very little talent.
This year is a unique draft because the talent seems to be all very comparable from picks three to 17. There are really no clear-cut superstars. It is evident that each player seems to be fairly good at his position, and I am convinced most of them will do well in the league. I am sure down the road there will be one or two superstars out of this group, but that is not apparent right now. In this draft there is no Lebron James or Derrick Rose.
If you look at the chart showing the top 14 picks for the past 30 years, the volatility is very visible. The draft can be pretty hit-or-miss, but one thing is for sure — you don’t want to be a 12 pick. Look at the chart. History shows you are almost always destined to failure. It should scare GM's like the 13th floor of a hotel. Looking through that chart at pick 12, not one name is familiar to me. That is not a good thing. Utah Jazz beware!
Take a look at the chart with my top 14 picks for 2011. Here are my explanations for those picks.
My top 14:
1. Cleveland: They love Derrick Williams and really want to take him. A lot of pressure comes with being the No. 1 pick. My feeling is that Williams can perform now. He has made me say "wow" a few times. Kyrie Irving is a concern because of injury and is unproven. Plus, what is so neat about Irving?
2. Minnesota: Enes Kanter is a confident dude! You would think he is Shaq or something. He seems to be an attractive pick at two, and the Timberwolves would be brutal down low with Kevin Love and Kanter. Yikes!
3. Utah: “The Jimmer” — There is something special about this guy in skill, ability and marketability. This is a pick who will be profitable both short-term and long-term on and off the court. He is a team guy and won't be a distraction. He was the best player in college. Things haven’t changed ... he is still the best player, in my opinion. Yet, I have him at 3, because the Jazz own that pick. A plea to Gail Miller: if the Jazz brass aren't planning to draft Jimmer please pull ownership rights and make sure this happens. Women, men, children and teenagers (yes, they are their own group) will love you for this.
4. Cleveland: They feel more comfortable taking Kyrie Irving here. He is now worth the injury potential and risk he poses.
5. Toronto: Has Toronto ever had a good point guard? Now is the time. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Brandon Knight could finally change that.
6. Washington: Jan Vesely could become crazy good if he can ever learn to shoot. He is tall, long and very active. He will be fun to watch.
7. Sacramento: They wanted “The Jimmer,” but they have to settle for Kawhi Leonard. He has huge hands and should be a good pro. He still won't be able to stop Jimmer.
8. Detroit: The bad boys are back! Chris Singleton is a defense machine. The dude is full of energy. He will bring some nastiness to their roster immediately.
9. Charlotte: Klay Thompson can score from all over the floor. He needs to put on some weight and muscle, but he has a great shot and will be a huge scoring asset immediately for their team.
10. Milwaukee: Alec Burks is a good basketball player. Not a lot of flair, but he should be a solid pro. Milwaukee needs some consistency, and he would bring that.
11. Golden State: Jonas Valanciunas has great size. Put him with Steph Curry and Monta Ellis, and "bam," you have one athletic team. Could be a great move by Golden State. They sure need one!
12. Utah: Bismack Biyombo is from Congo. If that is not reason enough by itself then note that the guy seems to be an absolute beast on the boards and very strong inside. Utah needs some strength and toughness. Biyombo would bring that.
13. Phoenix: Marcus Morris is the best player in the world, or so he thinks. He is a good player, just not that good. He would give Phoenix more rebounding and another target for Steve Nash.
14. Houston: Markieff Morris is a little more humble version of his brother and offers inside presence until Yao Ming can return. Good overall player who could develop.
Brady Peterson figures he should be about 50 percent correct with his picks, because as the past 30 years show, even the paid professionals who get paid to do this every day are shooting about 50 percent as well.