Mike’s NBA Mock Draft: Part 2

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By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)

After yesterday’s first part of my NBA mock draft, I have gone all-out and finished the first round. I was thinking about doing a second round mock, but the second round of the NBA draft is pretty low-key. Catch the first part of my mock here, and the second half just below:

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NBA Conference Finals Previews and Predictions

By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)

The Conference Finals are set to begin already, just a day after the Pacers finished off the Knicks in the only remaining series of round two. Will the Heat advance to their third straight NBA Finals? Will San Antonio get back to the promised land that Gregg Popovich knows so well?

Find out:

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#RememberWhen: T-Mac scored 13 points in 35 seconds

By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)

Down 74-64 with 1:02 left against the 16-4 Spurs. Game over, right? Wrong.

Tracy McGrady led a furious comeback and earned an 81-80 win for Houston. In the process, he dropped 13 points in the final 35 seconds of the game. Incredible, and one of the best individual performances in NBA history.

#GTD

NBA Playoffs Round 2 Preview and Predictions

By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)

After it looked like nearly all the first round series were heading towards a sweep, the playoffs took a bit of a turn. Five series went to six games and one went down to the final minutes of game seven.

The second round features some potentially entertaining and high-flying matchups. It tips off in just a few minutes, so, with that, here is who I’m picking to move on and battle for a conference title.

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#TheList: NBA’s Top Centers: No. 30 – 26

By: Mike Wagenman

Just a few seasons ago, the center position was one of the weakest in the NBA. In 2013, it has become one of the deepest. Here is a list of the 30 best men in the middle. Note: Tim Duncan considered a PF and Andrew Bynum not included due to uncertain return date.

30. Robin LopezNew Orleans Hornets: Had this list been compiled last season, Lopez probably wouImageldn’t have cracked the top-50. Thanks to the best season of his five-year NBA career, the seven-footer comes in at number-30 on the list of top centers.

Lopez has started all 75 games for the Hornets this season, which eclipses his previous season-high of games played. Speaking of season-highs, Lopez is on pace to set new personal bests in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, free throw percentage, minutes played and field goals made. At 11.1 points, 5.4 boards and 1.6 blocks per game, he provides a viable option for New Orleans to spell Anthony Davis, or even better, play beside him.

Image29. Spencer HawesPhiladelphia 76ers: Like Lopez, Hawes has just recently clawed his way onto this list. Hawes had a formidable final two years in Sacramento, but never seemed to find his niche in Philly. That is, until March of 2013. Remember, although Hawes is in his sixth season, he is just 24 years old.

On March 2 against the Warriors, Hawes had possibly his worst game as a pro, finishing with zero points and just four rebounds on 0-for-9 shooting. Since then, the seven-foot-one center is averaging 15.1 points and 10.0 boards and has nine double-doubles. Quietly, Hawes has begun to develop a bit of a three-ball as well.

Image28. Andre DrummondDetroit Pistons: Talk about freakish athleticism and worlds of talent. Despite lingering injury troubles, Drummond has shown flashes of promise and scary ability to play above the rim.

The six-foot-ten rookie has been on the receiving end of some fierce alley-oops, and has swatted his share of shots into the front row of the crowd. Drummond is still raw and needs to polish his low post game on both ends of the floor, but at just 19 years of age, he has plenty of time to learn from teammate Greg Monroe.

Drummond averages 7.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks off the Detroit bench. Per Ian Thomsen of SI.com, he averages 18.3 rebounds per 48 minutes (most by a rookie since 1985-86) and he is one of four centers (joining Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah and Marc Gasol) with 85 blocks and 45 steals this year.

Image27. Tiago SplitterSan Antonio Spurs: While Splitter may not live up to Skip Bayless’s high praise and win Sixth Man of the Year, he has made the most of his expanded role which includes 53 starts. The third-year center is averaging 10.4 points, 6.3 boards and nearly a block per game. Splitter has recorded three times as many double-doubles this season (nine) as he did in his first two years combined.

Perhaps the most underrated part of the 28-year-old Brazilian’s game is his shooting efficiency. Splitter makes 73.5 percent of his free throws and 56.9 percent of his field goals. His trademark floater in the lane has proven difficult to defend.

Image26. Chris KamanDallas Mavericks: Kaman’s stats have surely been on the decline over the past few seasons, but he is still a solid and reliable man in the middle. Kaman is arguably one of the most underrated big men of the mid-2000s, and people seem to forget that in 2007-08, he averaged 15.7 points, 12.7 boards and 2.8 blocks for the Clippers.

This season, Kaman scores 10.8 points per game and pulls down 5.5 rebounds to provide a solid option at center for the Mavs who have had a revolving door of players at that position over the past few seasons.