Harr's Mock Draft: Picks 11-14
11. Milwaukee Bucks: Demetrius Jackson PG Notre Dame
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: Jackson is probably my favorite point guard in this year’s draft. He is very quick and crafty and can get to the rim with ease against high level competition. All you have to do to see that is watch the Elite Eight game Jackson played against North Carolina, a team filled with future NBA players. Jackson put up 26 points on 10-16 shooting. He really was un-guardable and showed his creativity as a scorer and his ability to get in the lane. This was also created on his own on isolations or high pick and roll situations which is a staple in today's NBA game. I would have liked to see him distribute the ball a little more this year but the talent around him offensively was lacking.
Weaknesses: Jackson is a little short for the point guard position in the modern NBA at 6’1”. That size differential will make it more challenging as a distributor as Jackson will have a harder time seeing over the defense to make passes. It will also challenge Jackson as a scorer by being able to shoot over defenders on contested jump shots. He also loses his man very easily playing off ball defense.
NBA Projection: Average Starter
12. Houston Rockets: Ivan Rabb PF California
*Photo via Scout.com
Strengths: Ivan Rabb is a long athletic big man that defends and rebounds very well. At 6’10” with a 7’2” wingspan, Rabb has potential to be a rim protector in the NBA. He plays very hard and goes 100% the entire game. That effort translates to his rebounding averaging about 12.2 rebounds per 40 minutes this year at Cal. He is very mobile for his size he runs the floor very well and puts himself in position for easy buckets at the rim in transition. He has a nice body but it does need to fill out for the NBA game.
Weaknesses: Rabb is very twig like in stature. He’s only 19 so his body should fill out, but if you are 6’10” and only weigh 215 pounds you aren’t even close to having the kind of strength that is needed to finish at the rim in an NBA game. He also needs to work on his offensive game, and try to come up with a nice array of post moves that compliment each other. His mid-range jump shot is improving and if he keeps working on it, Rabb could be more versatile on offense creating both pick and roll and pick and pop opportunities for himself.
NBA Projection: Low End Starter
13. Phoenix Suns: Marquese Chriss PF Washington
*Photo via Pac-12.com
Strengths: I am really high on Chriss as a prospect. I think he has the potential to grow into the best big man in the draft. Chriss has a unique blend of high level athleticism and offensive skills, in particular in his faceup game. Most big men coming into the draft that are freak athletes do not have refined skills and even fewer do not have a good faceup game. Chriss can knockdown mid-range jump shots and 3-pointers. Chriss has a nice turnaround jump shot from the high post and an improving jump hook shot that he goes to often in the low post. His game against Ivan Rabb was very impressive where he was matched up with Rabb for almost the entire game scoring 17 points.
Weaknesses: Most of these weaknesses should throw a little bit of a red flag on Chriss’s draft stock mainly because Chriss is a big man that has all the tools to be at least a decent defender and rebounder but he is terrible in both of those aspects of his game. The kid is 6’9” with a 7’1” wingspan and can’t play any type of defense or rebound the basketball. I’m hoping that this is only because of his lack of a basketball IQ--which could be improved by coaching and more experience as Chriss only started playing basketball competitively very late in his life. However, if Chriss can fix these weaknesses the NBA better watch out because he is very talented.
NBA Projection: High End Starter
14. Chicago Bulls: Denzel Valentine SF Michigan State
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: Denzel Valentine very quietly had the best all around season in college basketball that I have ever seen. A lot of people were mesmerized by the insane scoring numbers Buddy Hield was putting up every night but Valentine’s complete game was on a whole new level. Of course, that kind of production won’t translate to Valentine’s game in the NBA but the spots that will are Valentine’s shooting ability and his high basketball IQ.
Valentine is quietly a very good 3-point shooter. Valentine shot 45% from the 3 point line this season at Michigan State which is very impressive considering some of the 3-pointers he took this year were contested. His basketball IQ is also off the charts which is a credit to his coachability and also being coached for 4 years by Tom Izzo. His high IQ will help him as a passer and playmaker at the next level, not nearly to the extent that it did in college but Valentine should have no problem finding the open spots on the floor because of his ability to read a defense.
Weaknesses: Valentine is a little undersized at 6’6” for the small forward position at the next level. He is also slow for a small forward so he could have a problem with staying with most of the NBA small forwards on defense. Valentine also won’t be able to create his own shot at the because of his lack of quickness and his average ball handling ability which will translate into less offensive production. If you can’t create for yourself and others the ball won’t be in your hands nearly as much as it was in college. Valentine also struggles finishing through contact at the rim, which is a little surprising because Valentine is a pretty strong guy for his size. It’s a minor problem that should be fixed very easily with NBA experience.
NBA Projection: Low End Role Player