The NBA Draft is upon us folks — finally! We sit mere hours away from finding out just how right or wrong we were since we started making predictions all the way back as far as March. In this 11th hour before the draft finally kicks off, the good staff here at Pippen Ain’t Easy sat down for a round table discussion to try and get one final word in before the draft is in the books.
**Note: Caleb Nordgren is currently on IR with a wrist injury so he’s sitting out the Roundtable. But just assume every answer of his would have been Draymond Green.**KEY JH – Josh Hill SS – Seerat Sohi AW – Ashley Wijangco JS – Joshua Santos SK – Sarita Kelly
Who is going to be the first pick and why?
Josh Hill: Anthony Davis. He’s going to be the first pick unless someone offers some stupid crazy offer for the first pick and even then New Orleans will still hang onto the pick. It’s going to be Davis.
Seerat Sohi: Anthony Davis. Because he’s the best player in the draft, by far. Because he averaged 5 blocks a game at Kentucky. Because he has more potential than anyone this year. The number one pick should be a no-brainer, in my opinion.
Ashley Wijangco: Anthony Davis will be the first pick of the 2012 NBA Draft because of his superior basketball talent.
Joshua Santos: The first pick will for sure be Anthony Davis to NOH. The reason simply because Davis just provides so much upside. Has great length, excellent defender and to top it off, great athleticism. Its a steal for NOH. Hes a potential super star.
Sartia Kelly: Anthony Davis. Davis has great length, athleticism, intensity and instincts. He averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game. He has become a game wrecking defensive presence and disruptor he has 4.8 BPG. He has combined his physical shot blocking package with his 7’6 wingspan and quick leaping ability with a relentless motor and high-level defensive intelligence.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Anthony Davis
How far will Jared Sullinger fall. Is it justified?
JH: Probably back to the mid to late first round. I can see a team like Orlando or Boston wanting to take a chance on him. He’s got lottery skills it’s just whether or not he can maintain in the NBA with his back. He won’t be superstar anymore but that’s not what you draft for that late.
SS: I see him getting picked somewhere in the 20-30 range. I do feel it’s justified because A) This year’s draft is way better than last years. The majority of players that didn’t declare last year are regretting it now, because they (Sullinger included) aren’t nearly as talented as the crop they’re going up against this year. B) The words “career threatening back problem” would scare anyone off.
AW: Jared Sullinger will fall to being a second round pick. This is justified because with the medical concerns, it is only fair to lower his value.
JS: Sullinger will probably fall between 20-30 in the draft. Sullinger is a great re-bounder, has good low-game post, but he will fall in the draft because there’s a lot of competition this year. For that reason, its not justified.
SK: Far. A lot of people, including Sullinger will say that his back is not a concern but if you’re the NBA this is an investment. And if you feel that his back is going to be a problem and shorten his career that is not a sound investment.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Sullinger will fall to a team anywhere from pick 19-35
Will the Bulls trade up?
JH: I don’t think they will. If they were going to we’d have heard better offers then we are which means if they do they’d be selling Luol Deng at a steep discount. Doing that would be pretty much the dumbest move they could outside of trading Noah and/or Rose for anything. They’ll stand pat at No. 29 and take whoever is there. You never know who’s going to fall or rise at the last second.
SS: I hope so, because this coming season is a write-off and neither Boozer or Deng are getting any younger/healthier. There’s no reason to pay their salaries this year when the Bulls could be building something new, on fresh legs.
AW: The Bulls will not trade up, because although they may attempt to, many teams will not like the idea of possibly taking Luol Deng, the Bull most involved in the trade tumors, considering it is possible for him to begin the season out with an injured wrist.
JS: The Bulls won’t trade up. The Bulls said it over and over again, that they need a SG/PG, so because of that reason alone, I believe they’ll draft a good one with their 29th pick.
SK: No. The Bulls feel that trading Luol Deng will be a bad choice. He can be a piece to their 2013 Championship puzzle. What they need to do is find a key player that will help build the team. They need to continue to focus on getting ready for their 29th overall pick and after that make decisions on trading players or not from there.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: The Bulls will most likely not be trading up in tonight’s draft and will take what falls to them at 29th overall.
4. Who do you want the Bulls to realistically draft at 29th overall?
JH: I want them to go shooting guard and although all signs point to that you never know what could happen. Right now it’s looking like they may end up going with a combo guard which is a great idea but he has to be able to score. I’d want a combo guard that’s heavier on the scoring side rather than the point guard side simply because that’s what the Bulls need. I’m really high on Jared Cunningham from Oregon State and he might be the best option at No. 29 tonight.
SS: If he manages to fall just a few spots from where he’s projected, the Bulls should grab Marquis Teague. With Rose out for the majority of the season, it’d be nice to see someone like Teague attempt to mirror his quickness. He’s athletic, he’s a great pick-and-roll point guard, and he plays good defense. His decision-making may make him a bit of a project, but he has potential through the roof.
AW: Tyshawn Taylor.
JS: Realistically, I want the Bulls to draft John Jenkins. The Bulls could use a premiere shooter in the back-court along side Korver.
DW: Will Barton. I feel that he is a safe and practical choice. Barton is a high energy guy, who can be a jack-of-all-trades type with a fondness for attacking the basket, the Bulls could use this type of player especially since Derrick Rose is going to be out for most of the start of this season.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Chicago is going to draft a SG but who he is is still a mystery at this point.
If the Bulls trade up who do you want them to draft.
JH: If they do trade up it better be to get one of the top shooting guards. That’s really the only reason they would trade up because they fear nothing will be there to fill their need at 29th overall. If Chicago trades up it’ll be for Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb or Dion Waiters. Of those options I’d like to see Dion Waiters in Chicago. He’s basically a perfect fit and his attitude won’t be an issue — anyone playing under Tom Thibodeau loses their attitude the second he stares into their soul with his demon eyes.
SS: Dion Waiters. I don’t care who made him any promises. If he’s still on the board when Chicago is on the clock, I want to see him wearing a Bulls hat within the next five minutes. He’s explosive, he’s relentless, he can create for others, he can create himself, he’d fill our biggest hole and he’d grow with Derrick Rose. While that jumper could use a little work, I’m not worried about his attitude. Why? It takes a great attitude from a young athlete who supposedly feels entitled, to say that they were childish.
AW: If the Bulls trade up, I would like them to draft Harrison Barnes.
JS: I would have to say trade Deng to Toronto for their 8th pick and for Bargnani so with the 8th pick they can draft Harrison Barnes.
SK: Meyers Leonard. He is solid and athletic. Leonard is quick off his feet and has strong body control for a big guy. He can easily be a great alley-oop target. His explosiveness helps him blow by slower post players in transition and he has good offensive awareness. He also is a talented passer with good court vision. Leonard is a very nice prospect for the center position in the Bulls.
CONSENSUS ANWER: Harrison Barnes or Dion Waiters.
Who is your first round sleeper pick and why?
JH: Perry Jones III has been falling on draft boards and I’m not sure why. He’s basically fallen into sleeper pick territory which is great for whoever gets him. Once projected as a top 10 pick Perry is going to go outside of there and for teams like Milwaukee or Houston and all others picking later, it’s going to be eye candy to watch him fall to them.
SS: Perry Jones. He would have been a top 5 pick in last year’s draft but that’s not the reason why I’m picking him. I’m picking him because he has great size, athleticism, good form on his jumper and great finishing ability. For some reason, everyone’s forgetting about last year’s “highest potential” pick. I wouldn’t want to face up against this guy at the top of the key, that’s for sure.
AW: My first round sleeper pick is Meyers Leonard because he has great size and the potential to become a threat with improvements.
JS: Marquis Teague. Marquis is prospected to draft late. Just like is older brother Jeff Teague, Marquis is a PG. Reason why hes a sleeper is because he had a rough start at UK. He did, however pick it up when it matter, but scouts won’t forget when he was sloppy in the beginning of the year.
SK: Royce White. While he could go top 10 many see him going at 22 to Boston because of his anxiety disorders. Which is being made a bigger issue then it really needs to be. White is an aggressive athlete and he also possesses great speed for someone of his size. White runs the court extremely well, especially with the ball in his hands. He also has remarkable ball handling skills and he doesn’t have the loose dribble that a lot of other taller players have. He also has an awareness of where his teammates are on the court and skilled at delivering the ball to them in a position to score.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Split.
Who’s going to be the biggest bust and why?
JH: Andre Drummond would be my bust if I had to chose. It’s close call between him and Harrison Barnes because although Barnes is going to be solid, you are drafting for above level talent in the lottery and draft a solid player isn’t next level stuff. But bigs have notoriously been spotty in drafts and we’ve seen big guys get a lot of press and then bomb. I hope he doesn’t but he’s my pick.
SS: I haven’t seen too many guys that look like busts, but if there is one player who may not fit the bill, it’s Andre Drummond. While he has other-worldly athleticism for his size, which is also other-worldly, he has no offensive game. On the other hand, big guys who can block shots usually find a place in the pros.
JS: Biggest bust, Doc’s kid, Austin Rivers. Rivers is great shooter and can play SG & PG, but hes not a good play maker. Hes too selfish. Personally, I think he should of stayed at Duke and improved for one more year and perhaps he could of been the number 1 pick next year.
SK: Terrence Jones. Because he comes out of Kentucky, he is assumed to be a for sure gold star for the Draft. Jones definitely showed off a versatile game while he was at KY, but his numbers slightly dropped during his second season there. He’s also not a good foul shooter, nor is he a threat from behind the arc, so Jones might have a difficult time finding his offense in the NBA.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Split.
Will there be any big surprises (big trades, teams reaching for a player, ect.)
JH: It’s the NBA Draft. Have we ever gone a year where there weren’t any surprises? I fully expect the average number of draft and trees as we usually see.
SS: If the Lakers manage to trade Pau for a top 10 pick in the draft, I think it’d make for a huge story. It’d signify the end of their dominance, and the end of Kobe Bryant having a chance to win another ring in blue and gold. That is, depending on what they do with the pick.
AW: Yes, there will be big surprises. Whenever there is an opportunity to trade picks and players, there are always surprises.
JS: Big surprises, I think Charlotte will trade their 2nd round pick. They’re already considering it to other teams.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Yes.
9. Who’s you gold star, stamp of approval, can’t miss prospect in the draft?
JH: Dion Waiters. Waiters was my sleeper pick too but he’s boosted his draft stock out of that realm and it’d look like I’m playing favorites. But Waiters is seriously the second best shooting guard in the draft and with time he may be a revisionist’s best shooting guard in the class all together. He’s got the skills to start right away and although everyone’s got a crush on Anthony Davis and his unibrow, Waiters is going to seriously contend for Rookie of the Year.
SS: Dion Waters. This guy can just play. While the Dwyane Wade comparisons are a bit premature, a guy who can slice and dice like that will find a way to make an impact in the NBA.
AW: My can’t miss prospect is Thomas Robinson.
JS: Jeremy Lamb. Lamb is a great scorer, has a great jumper, however he just needs to be more consistent offensively .
SK: Anthony Davis. While the band wagon is already pretty full for Davis he is a really good player. He does have his weaknesses but he is willing to work on them to help improve his game for himself and his team as a whole, which is rare in any sport. Davis is already a strong contender for Rookie of the Year and with time and proper grooming he could become a superstar.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Split.
10. Who will the Bulls select as their pick int 2012 NBA Draft?
JH: Doron Lamb at No. 29 if he’s there. If not, Jared Cunningham.
SS: For the third time, I’m answering Dion Waiters. With the 7th pick. I’d also like to welcome Dorell Wright and Biedrens to the Chicago Bulls.
AW: Doron Lamb.
JS: The Bulls will draft Will Barton. Barton is able to play both SG/PG and even SF, and that’s what the Bulls want, but hes not the best at it. Because of that, he’s projected to be drafted late in the first round or early in 2nd.
SK: Will Barton.
CONSENSUS ANSWER: Doron Lamb or Will Barton.