By Sean Fernandez
Draft day is finally upon us! We’ll take a look at how we think the first round will go and provide some insight into how former Syracuse stars Dion Waiters, Fab Melo, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine will fare. 1- New Orleans Hornets-
Anthony Davis, PF Kentucky Davis is a lock to be taken with the 1st pick, and will help the Hornets right away. 2- Charlotte Bobcats-
Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas Robinson had a great year at Kansas and can fill one of many needs for the NBA’s worst team.
3- Washington Wizards-
Bradley Beal, SG Florida Having a John Wall-Bradley Beal backcourt would be something to smile about in the nation’s capital. 4- Cleveland Cavaliers-
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky Should the Cavs draft MKG, they’ll be getting a versatile player that is dedicated on both ends of the floor to compliment Kyrie Iriving.
5- Sacramento Kings-
Harrison Barnes, SF UNC I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kings took Drummond here, but Barnes has great potential and could see quality minutes right away. 6- Portland Trailblazers-
Damian Lillard, PG Weber State Portland could be on the verge of losing Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford and Jonny Flynn, so look for them to take a guard with one of their two lottery picks. 7- Golden State Warriors-
Dion Waiters, SG Syracuse Dion’s stock has been rising in recent weeks, and it’s been reported that he may have gotten a guarantee from a team picking in the lottery. Toronto and Phoenix would be delighted if he was to fall to them, but I have a feeling the Warriors are going to snag him with this pick. He has a remarkably high ceiling and has proven to have the ability to score at will. Pairing him with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson could provide Golden State with an explosive, talented backcourt that could cause problems for many years to come. I think the Bay Area is a great fit for Dion, who could prove to be one of the best to make the jump from Syracuse to the NBA.
8- Toronto Raptors-
Jeremy Lamb, SG UConn Lamb’s ability to put the ball in the basket could help the Raptors, who were 28th in the league in points scored per game. 9- Detroit Pistons-
Andre Drummond, C UConn Drummond is the biggest risk of the draft, but his potentially huge upside could make him a great compliment to Greg Monroe on the block. 10- New Orleans Hornets-
Austin Rivers, SG Duke Snagging both Davis and Rivers could prove to be a jackpot for the Hornets. Both have tremendous ability and could restore some excitement down by the bayou.
11- Portland Trailblazers-
Meyers Leonard, C Illinois If Portland takes Lillard at #6, they’ll be on the lookout for a big man to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge. Leonard has the potential to fill that void. 12- Houston Rockets-
John Henson, PF UNC This is the first of three first round picks that Houston has. A trade seems likely, but Henson could provide both height and length if they were to keep this pick.
13- Phoenix Suns-
Terrence Ross, SG Washington The Suns will be disappointed if Waiters isn’t on the board here, but Ross isn’t a bad consolation prize as they prepare for life without Steve Nash. 14- Milwaukee Bucks-
Tyler Zeller, C UNC Milwaukee acquired C Samuel Dalembert as part of the trade that gave them this pick, but replacing Andrew Bogut should still be their first priority this offseason. Zeller can help. 15- Philadelphia 76ers-
Perry Jones III, PF Baylor Perry Jones’ stock has been falling a little bit, but he has a great deal of potential and could end up being one of the steals of the draft. 16- Houston Rockets-
Moe Harkless, SF St. John’s Harkless would be the 4th Big East player taken if the Rockets took him here, but again, the Rockets are actively shopping draft picks with the goal of landing Dwight Howard. 17- Dallas Mavericks-
Royce White, PF Iowa State
Like Waiters, there have been rumblings about White possibly receiving a promise. The Celtics are rumored to be interested, but the Iowa State star could add depth to a veteran Mavericks squad. 18- Houston Rockets-
Kendall Marshall, PG UNC Chances are that Goran Dragic and/or Kyle Lowry won’t be back next year, so expect them to take a floor general like Kendall Marshall with one of their first round picks. 19- Orlando Magic-
Arnett Moultrie, PF Miss. State Moultrie is a great athlete that could learn a great deal from Asst. Coach Patrick Ewing and Dwight Howard (for however long he calls Orlando home). 20- Denver Nuggets-
Terrence Jones, PF Kentucky They may go after Kendall Marshall if he's still available, but Terrence Jones would be a nice fit if he were to fall Denver here. 21- Boston Celtics-
Jared Sullinger, PF Ohio State Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett are both free agents, so expect Doc Rivers & Co. to take a big man like Sullinger with one of their back-to-back picks. 22- Boston Celtics-
Will Barton, SG Memphis The C’s could use a scorer like Will Barton to provide depth at the 2 or the 3. Barton is versatile and may be relied upon right away if Ray Allen chooses to sign elsewhere. 23- Atlanta Hawks-
Quincy Miller, SF Baylor Drafting a player like Miller here is a big risk but it could pay dividends a few years down the road. They have been actively pursuing a Josh Smith for Pau Gasol trade, which may include this draft pick. 24- Cleveland Cavaliers-
Andrew Nicholson, PF St. Bonaventure Don’t be surprised if the Cavs take Fab Melo here, but Nicholson is another player that could add height to a team that desperately needs it.
25- Memphis Grizzlies-
Marquis Teague, PG Kentucky Teague would see decent playing time right away and could learn a lot from Michael Conley. Expect Memphis to take a guard with this pick, whether it be a PG or SG. 26- Indiana Pacers-
Draymond Green, PF Michigan State A lack of size for Green seems to be a cause of concern for many GM’s, but he plays hard at all times and will fit in with the Pacers. 27- Miami Heat-
Fab Melo, C Syracuse This would be the dream scenario for Melo, who played his high school basketball in Miami. The Heat could use some extra height as they aim to defend their title, so Melo seems to be a great fit. His off-the-court issues have been a topic of conversation over the past few months, but a team willing to put them aside can reap a potentially big reward. He proved his worth on the defensive end and even made a few jump shots throughout the course of the year. He’ll be able to learn from the likes of Chris Bosh and Alonzo Mourning, which should certainly help his development. 28- Oklahoma City Thunder-
Tony Wroten, PG Washington If Derek Fisher chooses to retire, OKC will need a point guard. Wroten is talented and could fill a void. Jeffrey Taylor could also be a possibility here. 29- Chicago Bulls-
Jeffrey Taylor, SF Vanderbilt Putting one of the best defensive players in the draft on one of the best defensive teams in the league seems like a match made in heaven, and it would be exactly that. 30- Golden State Warriors-
Miles Plumlee, C Duke Plumlee would add height to the Warriors, who were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league last year.
That’s it for the first round of our mock draft. We have Waiters and Melo both being drafted in the first round to teams that they fit in with nicely. As for the other former Syracuse players hoping to hear their names called… Kris Joseph
has been an interesting prospect to watch over the past few years. He cemented his legacy as one of the best SU basketball players in recent memory, and looks to be a second round pick in this year’s draft. He has had plenty of opportunities to work out for NBA teams and prove that he has the strength and ability to compete at the next level. From what I saw at the Draft combine, his jump shot was a little bit off, but it seems like his stock has remained the same. Most mock drafts have him going in the mid-to-late second round, which is exactly what I’d expect. If I were a betting man, I’d say he’s going to be a Clipper. They have the 53rd pick and could use a versatile wing like Joseph.
It looks as though Scoop Jardine’s
surgery will eliminate his hopes of being drafted, which is unfortunate for a player who put in years and years of hard work while at Syracuse. Don’t expect this to be the last time you hear from Scoop though. He will likely play elsewhere for this upcoming year but can make his way to the NBA by playing well in summer leagues over the next few years. Follow Nation of Orange on twitter Like Nation of Orange on Facebook