Hornets247 NBA Mock Draft Wrap-Up
Now that the draft has finally been completed, each team “General Manager” weighs in on various questions regarding draft strategies, player rotations, and the positioning of the league in both the short-term and long-term.
Before we get into the seven questions posed to each team GM, let’s review the rosters of all eight teams:
Now, on to the questions…
1. What was your overall philosophy heading into this draft?
Michael McNamara: I think anybody who saw the Finals last year knows where this league is heading and my team follows the model of those Thunder and Heat teams. Offensively, I want the ability to get easy baskets in the open court, two guys who can create on their own against even elite defenders, and a team full of guys with high IQ and work ethic (I wouldn’t have taken a guy like DeMarcus Cousins if another owner paid his salary, for instance). Defensively, I just don’t buy that low post scorers exist in this league anymore, and even the one’s who are above average are more bothered by athleticism than they are by pure bulk. Can Greg Monroe cover Dwight one-on-one? No, but who cares when you got Durant, Smith, Rubio, and Wade all able to double down and then have the speed to make rotations and jump passing lanes. The best defensive teams play TEAM defense; individual match-ups mean little to nothing.
Mason Ginsberg: Once LeBron fell to me at pick #2, my drafting strategy was simple – build a team comparable to the one that he plays on now, except get younger, strengthen every weakness of the current Heat team that I could, and improve wherever else possible. Well, mission accomplished. Chalmers became Lawson, LeBron became… well, LeBron, Bosh became Aldridge, and center-by-committee became Pekovic. Admittedly, Wade to George/Gordon is a slight downgrade right now, but that opinion could change as soon as halfway through this season. The bench is clearly miles better, but that is to be expected in an 8-team league such as this one.
Much like in the NBA, my starting five doesn’t matter, it’s my closing five that does; good luck stopping OR scoring on a crunch-time lineup of Ty Lawson, Eric Gordon, Paul George, Lebron James, and LaMarcus Aldridge. That group is too versatile on offense to create a reliable game plan to stop them, and too quick and long on defense for opponents to consistently score on them. Add in the bench depth to withstand an injury to pretty much anyone besides LeBron, and this team is built to win a title for the next few years.
Ryan Schwan: Behind LeBron James, I don’t really think there is a clear cut #2 in this league – so with the third pick I grabbed Dwight Howard, who is head and shoulders better than any other big man in the league. Over the past few years, there has been no one else in the league who impacts a team defense the way Dwight has – and though he can score a little in the post, his furious assaults on the basket in a pick and roll makes him ideal for any free-wheeling offense. That means I needed two ball handlers to attack and guys who could spread the floor and let fly. That opens lanes to the basket and immediately makes every defense scramble to contain my team. So I filled my team with excellent shooters, a trio of slashing ball-handlers in Westbrook, Curry and Mills, and made sure to try to continue this idea with the bench. My team will make it rain. On defense, I have the best clean up guy in the middle in the league, with capable defensive specialists who can knock down the three. Oh, and with Howard, Robinson(best rebounder in college) Anderson (excellent offensive rebounder), Haywood (still has an excellent rebound rate) and Leonard, I don’t see any team in the league that will give me trouble on the boards.
Jason Calmes: This is a few questions in one for me, so allow me some leeway.
I had no idea what Mike wanted when he asked us to do this, which is one reason why I took so long to pick initially. It was pretty vague at the end of the inquiry, so I just decided to play a game of my own design, one where I made the rules. I wanted to build a franchise that would stand the test of time and be able to have increasing chances to win while everyone else’s chances were decreasing after loading up to win a title only one of them would win per year.
In order to do this, I needed an anchor, so picking Anthony Davis was the clear choice, given that I can hold onto him longer than any other player since he is a rookie and will be a restricted free agent following.
Picking a rookie while others were picking superstars naturally puts me in a mode where I’m `out of phase’ with the other guys, hoping around in parts of the market they have yet to explore, so I committed fully to this, leading to some head-scratching from readers and writers.
Kyrie being another top pick with only one year of tenure was the next logical pick, especially given that he’ll be there to lob to Davis. Selecting Tyson was a deviation from the strategy, but he was such a value in his own right, I had to take him. Add that in with my love for his game, his mentoring of Davis by example, and his superadditivity with the franchise players, and there was zero choice.
Next came the value picks. Dunleavy and Allen were great values on the wings, while Brand is a great frontcourt value. Drummond could wait, as no one was going to pick him as a starter or core player, but I wanted to grab him up before the random picks of the others in `garbage time’. This late in the draft on a team that is building for the future is the right time. With the example set by Tyson, Drummond has the most chance of reaching his potential, and with Tyson’s contract, Drummond will have the time to reach it.
After this, three of the best minimum value contracts in the NBA were selected . . . as the last three guys on the bench.
Picking in this out of phase manner may seem to have cost me some great players, but the two best players were taken, and many great players were left out of this draft. Good costly players could wait until the end of the draft, and I could pick them to fit the role players, etc. I was able to grab with the selections that were enhanced by the act of waiting. See the quality of the rookie-deal players for an example.
Thus, the last two picks in my draft were two high-priced starters that can flat out play and play together: Parker and Ginobili. Not too bad for garbage time.
The yield here is a team with a core that will take the team through 2018-2019, over $23m and $25m in cap room in the next two seasons, no rookie deals exploding while high-cost player in the same role is on the team, a starting lineup with a minimum WS/48 of 0.145 (minimum over the last two seasons taken as the representative for each player), a tenth guy with a WS/48 of 0.113, and with WS/48 of 0.99 and 0.9 rounding out the team.
All those teams hemorrhaging players and cash in the coming seasons will strengthen this team that has the space and structure to accept their expiring deals. While the other seven teams fight to win one of the next couple of titles, one team is being built to win four in a row.
Joe Gerrity: Uh… As you can see, I had no defined or well thought out strategy and wound up making foolish picks right off the bat. I can blame any number of things, but they all point back to me.
Andrew Smith: I wanted a good defensive team with a balance of guys that can penetrate/finish(Rondo-Evans-Smith-Young)& guys that my penetrator can kick out to for open shots(Love-Delfino-Azubuike) while building for the future. I think I got those guys but could’ve made better picks to get a few more talented guys & save cap.
Jake Madison: I really planned on going for best player available while factoring in their contract. Certain types of players I wanted were: guys who can create their own shot, competent big men with potential, and corner 3 shooters. I got all of those. Adding a defensive stopper in Tony Allen and a solid player in Kirilenko later were just added bonuses which add even more options
I also purposely avoided players who are incoming rookies. While I fully believe many will become terrific NBA players, I’d just rather go with someone who has shown me they can play in the NBA–even if it’s just for one year.
James Grayson: I essentially wanted to get two guys I could build around and call my pillars. Every team has them. Then I wanted to fill around them with players that fitted roles necessary for success.
I went with Bynum and Williams because I thought they’d work well off each other and give us a variety of looks on offense. We could run the pick and roll, low post or Bynum can rebound off the ball. The players around them like Milsap, Thompson, C.J. Miles etc add shooters which we know you need.
MKG probably breaks that mould because he’s an athletic slasher. But as we know there are guys like Lebron, Durant, Kobe and Wade who can slash. We need someone who can stop them and also put pressure on the other end. I know he’s a rookie, but with the guys around him Gilchrist will flourish.
2. Give me a line-up (other than your starting five) that you think could wreak havoc in short spurts.
McNamara: Can you imagine a high-octane lineup of Nate Robinson, Ricky Rubio, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, and Kenneth Faried that comes out in a full-court press for three minutes a half? They would give teams fits with their length and energy on the defensive end and could play an attacking Euro-style on the offensive end, with the ability to control the glass as well.
Ginsberg: Oh, the beauty of having LeBron’s versatility at my disposal. For two or three minutes a half, hell, we can play him at center! Put James with Lawson, Gordon, George, and either Hayward or Brandan Wright, and let’s run the opponent ragged on offense while relentlessly flying to the ball on defense. Look at the other seven rosters in this league; who else could truly expose that lineup in small bursts besides Howard and possibly Bynum (if he feels like it)?
Schwan: I’m enamored by the speed and transition explosiveness a lineup of Mills-Westbrook-Leonard-Robinson-Anderson would generate. Four players of pure athleticism with a trailing three-point shooter who last year was one of the 4 most deadly marksman in the league on transition three-point shooters.
Calmes: Parker-Irving-Ginobili-Davis-Brand. Anarchy, Distraction, Assault, Devastation, Anthony, Davis.
Gerrity: Gortat-Griffin-Duncan-Roy-Rose When all else fails, Jeff Bower (my head coach) will throw this absurd lineup at you. Rose shoots, everyone else rebounds. Repeat.
Smith: Rondo-Smith-Evans-Ibaka-McGee. The front court in this lineup screams INTERIOR D, and Ibaka & McGee on the court together can play volleyball with shots in the paint all day.
Madison: I’m very excited to see a lineup of Paul, Jennings, Harden, Kirilenko and Horford. A lineup like that can hit a jumper from anywhere on the court, and everyone can drive to the basket. Defense in this league would be tough.
Grayson: Williams-Thompson-Miles-MKG-Favors. Athleticism all over the place. Add that in with shooters and you have yourself a face paced team. Favors will get the blocks, Williams the outlets, MKG slashing and dunking, Miles and Thompson shooting from three.
3. What do you think was the best value pick you made in this draft?
McNamara: Kenneth Faried is one of the best bargains in the league, and he is going to continue to be a bargain for at least another 3-4 years. The Nuggets traded Nene last year because they recognized early that they can get the same production from a guy making 10% his salary. I got a guy who is an eight to ten million dollar player production wise for 3 years and about 7 million dollars.
Ginsberg: Paul George. He’ll cost me an average of under $3 million per season over the next two years before his qualifying offer kicks in for the 2014-15 season. George has already showed signs of huge potential; he could be the best player on a top-4 Eastern Conference team as early as next season.
Schwan: I want to say Westbrook in the third round – I was worried I’d have trouble getting my attack ballhandler, but I think Westbrook going 19th when you take into contract considerations is about right, really. In the end, I have to go with Nick Collison as my 11th man. Collison is as solid a big man as you can get in this league off the bench, and his advanced stats always love the impact he has for the 10-20 minutes he plays per game. His contract was small. He should have gone a lot earlier.
Calmes: Davis. $5mish this season, $23mish over four years, and about $90m over eight years (since he’s restricted), for the highest chance to win the most titles in this league. Best value in this league, bar none.
Gerrity: Avery Bradley costs me just about two million a year for a few years and then he’ll either be an RFA or locked down long term. Frankly he’s not the kind of guy that’s going to light up stat sheets, and therefore probably won’t get paid that much when it does come time to re-sign him. He’s already a star defender and close to being a knockdown corner-three guy. I firmly expect him to improve in both regards in the long term.
Smith: Without a doubt my Serge Ibaka pick in the 6th round for 2.3mil. Ibaka’s on-ball defense may be a tad overrated but his shot blocking skills are clear that he is going to be a top 5 shot blocker in the NBA for years to come.
Madison: I love my Tony Allen pick. He’s inexpensive and elite stoppers are hard to find. He’ll be able to slow down the opponents best wing player which will, obviously, help the other four guys on the court tremendously.
Grayson: Dorell Wright. $4.2 million for a guys coming off one of his best seasons. I like it.
4. Now that you can see how the draft played out, what would you change if you could go back?
McNamara: To be honest, my numbers were off when I picked Jason Kidd, as I thought that I had more money than I did. My plan was to get Lou Williams later on in the draft, but after I picked Kidd and Josh Smith, I didn’t have the money. If I could do it again, I would basically substitute Kidd and John Lucas III for Lou Williams- a guy who is only making $5 million this year, despite the fact that he basically projects to be young Jason Terry over the next 5-7 years.
Ginsberg: This question is difficult to answer because if you change one pick, the rest of your draft could drastically change as well. I talked myself out of a Westbrook/LeBron pairing, but I think he was a steal for Schwan falling all the way to 19th, and might have taken him with the 15th or 18th pick if I had to do it all over again. Aldridge fits incredibly well with LeBron though and Paul George is a fantastic value addition, so I don’t regret it too much.
Schwan: Honestly, I was pretty happy with my choices. I think Patty Mills may be a reach – there were other players available who were better, but I let his salary change my thinking. The one guy I had on my radar that I kept putting off and missed out on was Grant Hill.
Calmes: I lost three guys I wanted, but adjusted. Those were Barnes (got Drummond), and one of Isaiah Thomas and Nate Robinson (got Neal). No real harm done.
Gerrity: Rose in the first round. I knew when I took him that I didn’t want him, but with my mind being elsewhere for a bit of the draft (plus Jason putting me on insta-tilt by waiting two days to pick and then taking my guy AD ahead of me), I made a snap decision. It really sent me down the wrong path and I wound up creating a team that’s not particularly good this year, even if they’re all healthy at the end, and not particularly well suited going forward. By the end I was dreading taking my next pick since I’d just be adding him to a pile of players that I don’t particularly like and aren’t especially suited for one another, relatively speaking.
On second thought, I can’t stand Blake Griffin. How did I talk myself into him in the second round?
Avery Bradley in the third? I could have waited two or three more rounds for him at least.
I’m not disgusted with taking Tim Duncan in the fourth, but since this team probably isn’t going anywhere this year, there really wasn’t a point.
Oh, and I didn’t even get Damian Lillard, who truth be told I wanted much more than Bradley Beal. I decided after Vegas to turn off my brain, basketball-wise, for a while. It appears that I’m still in that state of mind.
Blah… I guess there’s always next year.
Smith: I think my draft fell apart at about the Harrison Barnes pick; later in the draft I regretted that pick & found at least two guys that I could’ve gotten cheap & saved that rookie contract in the process. Chase Budinger would’ve been great in that spot, which Jake knew & took him right after me.
Madison: J.J. Hickson. No idea why I picked him. Carl Landry and Nick Collison were both available. At least he’s young?
Grayson: I’d definitely factor in salaries more. Towards the end I had to pinch pennies and Bynum’s contract is massive.
5. What team scares you most THIS year?
McNamara: I will go with Madison’s team, simply because I think that the more creators that you have, the harder you are to defend. He can trot out a three guard lineup in crunch time of Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings, and James Harden. All three of those guys can create for themselves and others, and have the ability to hit any shot- be in mid-range, get to the hole, or hoist it from deep. Of course, he also has DeMarcus Cousins, a guy I can’t stand, but if there is one player in the league who can get him to reach his potential, it is Chris Paul.
Ginsberg: McNamara has the crunch time five that matches up best with mine, but one injury to either of his wings and he’s done for. Madison simply doesn’t have enough trustworthy scorers. That being said, I’m going with Schwan; his team would be the toughest to take down based on the potential offensive onslaught his starting five could produce while still having fairly decent bench depth (despite no true legit “sixth man”).
Schwan: As far as match-ups go, I was terrified of facing Madison’s team because Curry would have to guard Paul or Harden. Then he took Ball-hogging, inefficient, no help defense Boogie Cousins and my worries vanished. So – I’m having a hard time picking between Ginsberg and Calmes. I can hide Curry on George, but Leonard and Green are still young and probably don’t have the tricks of the trade to slow LeBron, I also like Aldridge-Pekovic slightly more than Monroe-Smith, giving him an edge over McNamara. For Calmes’ team Ginobili-Parker-Irving is lethal and I have no way of easily stopping it, while to me Chandler-Davis-Brand seems uniquely suited to match up and give problems to my Howard-Robinson-Anderson combo.
Calmes: Team Schwan. He doesn’t have a head-scratcher contract, and he’s packed in the value.
Gerrity: My team could be scary in a bad way if the injury bug strikes any of my key players before Rose comes back. I’d expect Ginsberg’s team to take it down in year one. Jake just doesn’t have the front court to win it all. I’m concerned about Pekovic as Mason’s starting center, but he could run a mean small-ball lineup with James at the 4 and Aldridge at the 5 during crunch time that should be tops in the league.
Smith: I am terrified of team McNamara; Mac has the best starting lineup, & if he doesn’t lose any of that starting lineup, I think he is going to win it all. However, if he has a serious injury at any position except PG then he’s in trouble. Therefore, I think team Ginsberg is the team to beat with P.George/LBJ/L.A.; his bench is so solid & Lebron is so versatile that I think his team can withstand an injury or two & still play with the same efficiency.
Madison: Nearly everyone’s team will be formidable, but for this season I’m most worried about Ginsberg’s because of his depth. McNamara’s team will be tough but I think his team is a little thin. Schwan’s team also worries me because for what he’s trying to do offensively, he has the correct pieces.
Grayson: I’m going with Team Schwan here. The amount of good value contracts he has is unbelievable. A typical draft for Schwan, but a very good one. I’d love to see if his point on advanced statistics is proven right.
(Totals: 3.5 Ginsberg, 3 Schwan, 1 Madison, .5 Calmes)
6. What team do you see as the biggest threat to your squad 4-5 years down the road?
McNamara: I think the most common answer here will be Jason Calmes’s team, and while I can see them being unbelievable if Irving and Davis reach their potential, I am going to go with Andrew Smith’s team. I really think Rondo still can improve and a Love, Ibaka, McGee big man trio has the highest ceiling of any frontcourt. The biggest question for him is whether or not he can get cheap, quality role players when Ibaka’s extension kicks in.
Ginsberg: Calmes is the clear front-runner here. Kyrie and Davis are future top-10 NBA players, especially with guys like Parker and Chandler to learn from, and if Drummond can reach his potential, that has the makings of a future dynasty. You could sell me on Smith if he could make room for Ibaka’s extension without leaving his wing positions completely barren apart from Barnes.
Schwan: I’m going Ginsberg. His core is signed long term except for George and Lawson – he can easily shed one of them and replace them seamlessly with Gordon if he has to. Calmes has to hit on too many things going forward. He has two young superstars, but the entire rest of his team will have to be turned over successfully.
Calmes: Unless Kal-El spins the Earth backwards or 1.21 GW of electricity hits the team while running a fast-break, nothing that doesn’t threaten other teams, e.g. injuries, lockout. Maybe a new CBA that enables them a get-out-of-cap-jail free card. In all likelihood, my team will be going bump in the night while other teams trip in the hall on the way to the commissioner’s bedroom, slipping due the slick bottoms of the feet of their cute, but expensive, pajamas.
I have high potential players locked up in Restricted Free Agency, tons of cap room between now and then, and teams who will be shedding talent and unable to reload while I pick value players and expirings. This is the basis of my claim. I am uniquely positioned to do this.
If I HAD to name the challenger, it’d be Gerrity. He may be the guy blessed with the most top picks in the near future… and with good seats at my trophy presentations.
Gerrity: Long term injuries. In all seriousness it’s Calmes’ team. Since we’re really only looking at young, core guys here, and he has arguably the two most desirable young pieces in the league in Kyrie and Davis, it’s hard to go with anyone else. They should both be hitting their prime around that time, and I’d wager that both of them wind up being superstars.
Smith: The guy with with two #1 overall picks (Calmes).
Madison: It’s Calmes’. Taking Davis and Irving was long term thinking. But I’ll have at least two titles by then, so I’m okay with it.
Grayson: Oh man, it’s tough not to say Calmes’ team simply because of Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving. Imagine those two wreaking havoc (in fact that could have happened had Cleveland won the lottery…).
(Totals: 5 Calmes, 1 Gerrity, 1 Ginsberg, 1 Smith)
7. What financial roadblocks will your team run into 1 and 2 years down the road, given the 2% hard cap increases each year? What will you do to solve these problems in order to keep your core intact?
McNamara: Basically, I am going to have to decide between Greg Monroe and Josh Smith two years from now, with Kenneth Faried having to step in and be the starter next to the one who remains. If Monroe continues to improve at his current rate, it will be a no-brainer, but if he stays where he is at now, I think I give Smith a moderate extension and keep one of the most versatile players in the league. Not a horrible problem to have.
Ginsberg: I have three players who will be restricted free agents in 2013 – Lawson, Pekovic, and Splitter. The plan with them is to A) re-sign Lawson, B) re-sign the cheaper player out of Pekovic and Splitter, and C) let the more expensive player go. The way my roster is constructed, my starting center’s main purpose will be to play physically on both sides of the ball with guys like Howard and Bynum; challenge them defensively, try to draw a foul or two on offense. Making these moves should allow me to stay under next season’s $66.3 million cap while still fielding just as competitive of a team as the season before and put me well on my way towards back-to-back titles.
Schwan: Only Curry’s due for a big increase anytime soon. Everyone else should only get moderate raises or aren’t going to be paid much more than they will be now. Happily, Harden will be targeted by teams with dollars before Curry, so I should be able to get him for less. The thing about a league this small? Not as much money available.
Calmes: None. I have over $23m and $25m (at present) in cap space to use wisely (again). Rather, I will be benefitting from their tears and pain in this wonderful zero-sum game. Wait . . . do trophy cases count against the cap?
Gerrity: Blake Griffin’s salary will explode after this season, so in all seriousness there just isn’t much I can do to stay below the hard cap. Considering nearly every salary on my team increases next year, some rather drastically, and my low number of small expiring deals, I’m not sure that there’s even a possibility that I’ll remain below the cap in the long term. There just aren’t enough teams to trade with. It seems unlikely that I’ll be able to avoid paying a presumably stiff penalty unless of course I get an amnesty clause. …What’s that? There’s a hard cap? Let’s see the CBA!
Smith: Serge Ibaka’s brand new contract, after this season Ibaka will be getting $12,250,000 a year for 4 years totaling to a $49 million contract. That’s a long way from the $2.3 million that I got him for. Ibaka & McGee will be fighting for a spot on the 2013-14 Smith team. As GM I decided to have a block-off whoever gets the most blocks at the end of the season stays…Let the games begin!
Madison: When drafting, I didn’t realize the cap will only go up 2% every year. I would have planned a bit better had I realized that. My biggest issue will be Harden’s extension. It’s going to be big. When Budinger’s contract expires, I probably won’t have the space to resign him. Can we please put in a luxury tax so I can keep everyone?
Grayson: The real financial burden will be when my rookie guys want a new contract. Bynum is coming off the books next year, but I’d have to resign him. Same goes for Millsap. Things could get expensive fast (which they already are).
Any other questions that you would like to see answered? Let us know, or just share with us how you would answer any of the above questions. We hope you all enjoyed watching this mock NBA league unfold as much as we enjoyed drafting it.