Harr's Mock Draft: Picks 6-10
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Jamal Murray PG/SG Kentucky
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: Let’s face it the Pelicans have a lot of problems. Three injury prone guards in Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Eric Gordon. The only good thing the Pelicans have going for them is Anthony Davis, but how deadly would a Jamal Murray and Anthony Davis combination be?
That would be a pick and roll nightmare as you can see how well Murray runs the pick and roll if you just watch the Pan Am games that Murray played in where he torched every team he played. Including Team USA, which included many of college basketballs current stars and pros such as, Malcom Brogdon, Denzel Valentine, Tauren Prince, Melo Trimble, Ryan Hollins, etc. Personally I think Murray has the ability to score 25 points a game in college and I think that others know that too, but everyone’s numbers suffer at Kentucky when you play with a whole truck load of Mcdonald’s All Americans on your team.
Despite his numbers taking a hit, Murray is still a lethal and efficient scorer leading his team in points with 20 a game and shooting 45% from the field. Murray is a lethal shooter that can also create his own shot off the dribble. He’s just a pure scorer that shouldn’t be taken this low in the draft.
Weaknesses: Murray is an average athlete and will be limited to what he can do with the ball in his hands and in isolation situations and on the defensive end of the floor until he improves his athleticism. Which is a lot easier said than done. Murray also will have little room to grow yearly as a player because it’s hard for him to add anything else to his game. That could end up being a blessing for him but scouts consider it more of a curse.
NBA Projection: High End Starter
7. Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield SG Oklahoma
*Photo via Getty Images
Strengths: Well if you even remotely watch any kind of basketball and don’t know who Buddy Hield is, you’ve pretty much been living under a rock. Hield has transformed himself into the best scorer in college basketball and is doing it with great efficiency, shooting 50% from the field and 47 percent from 3-point range.
Hield should project at the next level to be a knockdown catch and shoot player and if he puts in a little work, he can transform himself into almost a Lou Williams kind of role scorer of the bench that can just flat out put the ball in the net. Hield is also just a great kid all around whenever he is on the court he has his big smile on and looks like a kid in a candy store. You always want guys who genuinely love the game.
Weaknesses: Hield doesn’t posses even close to the same athleticism to be an elite NBA wing player at the next level. He’s also a little bit on the shorter side at 6’4” for an NBA two guard but his 6’8” wingspan should help him with that problem. He should be a serviceable defender at the next level but won’t be standout by any means. He’s also got a little bit of a turnover problem for somebody who doesn’t do very much creating, averaging 3 turnovers to only 2 assists a game. Hield also has the same problem as Kris Dunn, soon to be 23, Hield is far more mature physically than most prospects and will most likely see no kind of growth in his physical attributes while in the NBA.
NBA Projection: Knockdown Shooter, 6th man
8. Denver Nuggets: Jakob Poeltl C Utah
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: Jakob Poeltl is a skilled 7’1” big man that can run the floor and score with his back to the basket in a number of ways. Poeltl’s offensive game has really improved since last year, showing major improvement on his post moves. You can tell he’s polished his offensive game because he is shooting 65% from the field but he is shooting 5 more shots a game from last year.
He is also an excellent interior big man defensively. Even though he averaged less than 2 blocks a game this year, he played a big role in forcing a lot of misses. Great offensively out of pick and roll situations which we saw more often last year with point guard Delon Wright. Still very athletic for a 7 footer that can run the floor extremely well. Major improvement in free throw shooting also shows he could be adding a little bit of a midrange jump shot.
Weaknesses: Even though Poeltl’s low post game is still improving it still has a ways to go before it’s polished for the NBA game. He will mostly be put backs and pick and roll easy dunks his first year or two in the league. It is also kind of hard to believe that a 7 footer couldn’t even average 9 rebounds a game, but I’m not going to read too much into that. However there is always the possibility that Poeltl’s offensive game never develops and if that happens he might not be able to find playing time on a team for defensive purposes only.
NBA Projection: Average Role Player, Quality Defender
9. Toronto Raptors: Deyonta Davis PF/C Michigan State
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: Deyonta Davis only played about 18 minutes a game this season for Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans, but his per 40 numbers are what scouts should really be looking at with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Davis is probably on a whole different level athletically than most big men in this draft. Davis switches on ball screens and can stay step for step defensively with the best guards in the Big 10. His physical tools and his versatility defensively are what keeps Davis as such a highly regarded prospect.
He is also a tremendous rebounder on both ends of the floor averaging 4.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes. He has a nice lengthy body that should be able to fill out standing at 6’10” with a 7’1” wingspan. If his offensive game develops there’s a good chance you could be seeing Deyonta Davis a few times on all-star weekend.
Weaknesses: Davis has an offensive game that is still a large work in progress. Mostly scoring on put back dunks and wide open pick and roll opportunities. He also needs to put more muscle on his body because being 6’10” and only about 230 won’t help him finish through the tall physical presences at the next level. He wasn’t really struggling offensively but never got any scoring opportunities. That’s concerning because you know if he had any kind of scoring ability coach Izzo would have made sure to get him the ball more on offense.
NBA Projection: Above Average starter
10. Orlando Magic: Henry Ellenson PF Marquette
*Photo via Getty Images
Strengths: Ellenson might have the most NBA ready offensive game out of any big man in the draft. He can knockdown a mid-range jump shot out of the pick and pop game, he can finish at the rim, he has a great hook shot in the low post, an improving turnaround jump shot from the high post, and he can step out and shoot a 3 every once in awhile. He’s probably the only legitimate big man in this year’s draft that you will see bringing the ball up the court and have the ability to go coast to coast in a college game. Ellenson is just so skilled offensively. He is also a very good rebounder averaging about 10 a game at Marquette this season. He is a mismatch and a nightmare to play against if you are the opposing team's big man.
Weaknesses: Ellenson is awful on the defensive end of the floor and there really isn’t any argument anybody could make to save him. You hope that the 7’2” wingspan would help the argument of at least giving him rim protector potential, but Ellenson looks absolutely lost on the defensive end. You saw Ellenson have a hard time getting back on his man on pick and rolls and just getting blow by very easily almost as if his feet were stuck in molasses.
NBA Projection: Average Starter, Defensive Liability