Mike’s NBA Mock Draft: Part 1

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By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)

The NBA lottery was last night, and the Cavaliers reeled in even more rewards for the departure of LeBron James. The Bobcats got the short end of the stick, yet again. And the Wizards leapt into the top three.

There are so many thoughts swirling in my head right now, because this draft can go so many different ways. Like the NFL Draft last month, there is no clear-cut franchise player in this draft. There is no sure thing. Every player has at least one glaring hole in his game.

I am usually pretty spot-on when I predict which players will pan out in the NBA and which will not, but my accuracy is not as deadly when I predict my mock drafts.

That all being said, here is part one (the lottery teams) of the 2013 NBA Mock Draft, no trades included:

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The NBA All-Unable-To-Legally-Drink Team

By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age, but there are plenty of NBA players who have yet to legally enter a bar. Normal 19 and 20-year-olds are working a part-time job, maybe going to college. The lucky ones, however, are multi-millionaires who get the privilege of playing basketball for a living.

On the day of the NBA Draft Lottery, the league readies to welcome a whole slew of new under-21-year-olds, but before that, here is a team comprised of the best NBA players under age 21.

Hopefully this team doesn’t win any titles in the next year or two, because there won’t be any champagne showers in the locker room post game.

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#TheList: NBA’s Top Centers: No. 20-16

By: Mike Wagenman

Going The Distance’s list of the NBA’s top 30 centers continues today with No. 20-16. Scroll down to the bottom of the article to find the previously posted rankings (No. 30-21).

Image20. Omer AsikHouston Rockets: Asik was a role player off Chicago’s bench for the first two years of his career, and he started just two games in a Bulls uniforms. However, Houston saw potential in Asik this offseason and signed him to be their starting center. What a find they made.

Asik is second in the league in rebounds at 11.7 per game and eighth in offensive rebounds with 3.3 per game. He is also 12th in dunks with 112, 15th in double-doubles with 32 and adds 10.4 points per game. Not too bad for a guy who had just one double-double and a 3.0 points per game average for his career prior to this season. Continue reading

#TheList: NBA’s Top Centers: No. 25 – 21

By: Mike Wagenman

Going The Distance’s list of the NBA’s top 30 centers continues today with No. 25-21. Scroll down to the bottom of the article to find the previously posted rankings (No. 30-26).

Image25. Marcin GortatPhoenix Suns: Gortat has taken a bit of a tumble in the center rankings since last season. He averaged 15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds last season with 31 double-doubles. Obviously the addition of Luis Scola in Phoenix has taken some opportunities away from Gortat, but he has still managed to average 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 2012-13. What hasn’t declined is his defense. Night in and night out, Gortat provides problems for opposing centers around the rim.

Image24. JaVale McGeeDenver Nuggets: McGee is the NBA’s king of mental lapses, to put it lightly, but there is no denying that the seven-foot center is an athletic freak. His stats may not be as eye-popping as the other centers on this list, but that’s due to the reserve role he has so nicely fit into in Denver.

McGee is the perfect man for the job with the Nuggets because of his ability to run the floor and be agile while still being a constant shot-blocking threat. He averages 2.0 blocks this season and 1.9 for his career, and ranks second in the league in dunks with 167. If McGee can continue his progress towards getting his head on straight, he has the potential to keep climbing higher and higher on this list.

Image23. Emeka OkaforWashington Wizards: Okafor certainly hasn’t justified being taken as the second overall pick in 2004, but he has had a stellar career. He has slipped down to 23rd on this list, as his stats have declined every year since 2007. At 9.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, Okafor is still a solid player. His most redeeming quality is his defense. Okafor averages just 1.9 fouls at a position that is most prone to whistles.

Image22. Kendrick PerkinsOklahoma City Thunder: While in Boston, Perkins was a much more recognized offensive center, although his defense made most of the headlines. Perkins is still a top defensive center, but playing alongside Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin has resulted in him getting far fewer touches on offense. The six-foot-ten center provides OKC with the luxury of a defensive anchor, which allows the big guns to focus on scoring the basketball.

Image21. DeAndre JordanLos Angeles Clippers: Highlight-reel dunks can really overrate a player. Jordan is the epitome of that. The Clippers’ big man is averaging a career-best 8.8 points on 64.1 percent shooting while pulling down 7.1 boards per game and averaging 1.3 blocks, but those may be the lowest averages of anyone on this list.

Jordan is fourth in the NBA in dunks and is a defensive presence, but his abysmal 39.1 free throw percentage is crippling. He is a liability, to say the least, for L.A. in the fourth quarter, as “Hack-a-Jordan” has become a staple for its opponents in close games. Just the fact that he can’t be on the floor at the end of close games keeps him out of the top 20, but his crowd-pleasing dunks and blocks place him just on the fringe.

Preceded by: NBA’s Top Centers: No. 30-26

#GTD