Best Picks of the NBA Draft
Brad Beal - Washington Wizards - 3rd Overall
I had the Wizards selecting Thomas Robinson in my mock draft, but I have to come clean: I completely forgot they had acquired Emeka Okafor in the Rashard Lewis trade. Had I remembered that, I'm sure I would have predicted they pick Beal. Beal was my 3rd ranked draftee and I think he's underrated by much of the country. He's got a complete game that I believe will translate well to the NBA. I love the Wizards taking him because, all of a sudden, they have a somewhat complete starting lineup with 1-Wall 2-Beal 3-Ariza 4-Nene 5-Okafor. The front court may not be the flashiest, but Okafor is a big banger who can pull down boards and intimidate in the paint. Nene is a solid offensive player who won't light up the score board but is efficient with his shots. The back court will be lighting it up for the Wiz next season, while the big men do the dirty work (sort of a very poor man's Thunder). I think they're on the right track.
John Henson - Milwaukee Bucks - 14th Overall
I had the Bucks selecting Tyler Zeller with the 12th pick, but that was before they traded down, acquiring Samuel Dalembert in the process. I also didn't expect Henson to still be on the board at this point. Dalembert is not very good, but he does give you length, a shot blocking presence, and some rebounding at the center position. Pairing him with Henson should result in a long front court that is difficult to drive past. Henson also runs the floor very well, which will be useful for a Bucks team that is transitioning to an uptempo style of basketball. Hopefully Henson will bulk up a bit more than Dalembert has since coming into the league, but I like Henson's chances of becoming a very useful player for the Bucks.
Jeremy Lamb/Royce White/Terrence Jones - Houston Rockets - 12th/16th/18th Overall
I like what the Rockets did with their collection of first round picks. First off, they go with Jeremy Lamb. Shooting guard Kevin Martin seems to be on his way out and Lamb was by far the best available at that position. Royce White many believe will be the steal of the draft. His stock was rising like crazy since the Combine. He's a complete player (minus defense) that will help the Rockets in a variety of ways. And for anyone who read my player rankings, you know what made me the happiest about the Rockets last night: Terrence Jones. My 4th ranked player selected 18th. His ability to play offense, defense, and fit into whatever role his team needs was paralleled only by his two Kentucky teammates selected before him. This should be a great core to move forward with in Houston.
Tyler Zeller - Cleveland Cavaliers (via trade) - Acquired from Mavericks for Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, Jae Crowder
This one is incredibly risky. There's a decent chance that in a couple years I'll say "wow how did I ever think that was a good move?" I'm a big fan of all the guys the Mavs got. However, I think Zeller has the potential to be a really nice center in the NBA. He'll practically be one of the veterans on the team, already being older than Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Dion Waiters. With Irving and Waiters in the back court, and Thompson and Zeller in the front court, the Cavs have a chance to develop a very good, balanced team. Zeller is versatile in that he can play well in both the half court and transition game and I think the Cavs end up happy they made this move (though it's far from a sure thing).
Perry Jones - Oklahoma City Thunder - 28th Overall
This dude was in a complete free fall after being projected as a top 10 pick not too long ago. I had him as my 24th ranked player in the draft, and I thought I was being harsh. I still had him going to the Rockets at 16 because I thought his raw talent and athleticism would be too much for NBA teams to pass up on. All of a sudden, he falls to the Western Conference champs. Serge Ibaka may be on the move when OKC has to re-sign all of their talent, and in Perry Jones they got a 6'11'' freak athlete who can run the floor in their uptempo offense. If they can develop this raw player by the time Ibaka's contract is up, they struck gold. I don't really like Perry Jones' game and don't think he will develop into a good player, but the tools and potential are there. At the 28th pick that's a risk worth taking.