The NBA Draft was held on Thursday with plenty of surprises near the top. Previously, we analyzed the top 15 picks of the first round of Thursday’s Draft and now, here are some thoughts for picks 16-30. Check back with Sports Jerks as we’ll follow up with analysis of second-round picks shortly.
#16 Lucas Nogueira (Hawks) – The Dallas Mavericks traded the rights to Nogueira to the Atlanta Hawks along with No. 44 pick Mike Muscala for the No. 18 pick (Shane Larkin) and cash considerations. Nogueira is a center from Brazil, but be honest – the thing most remember about him is his hair from draft night. If you’re hoping to see him suit up for Atlanta anytime soon, though, you may not want to hold your breath. He’s currently in Brazil and is one of those players that could be stashed overseas since he’s still kind of raw. At only 20 years old, it could be several years before the Hawks finally see him in action. And to me, that’s a bad move. He would have been better suited for a team contending for a title that can afford to wait for him – not one that needs help to become a contender.
#17 Dennis Schroeder (Hawks) – Schroeder is another international player for the Hawks, but I absolutely love this pick. He’s been playing in a German pro league with older players and has more than held his own. He has all the tools to become a legitimate player in the NBA and Schroeder runs up and down the court well as one of the faster players you’ll see. And while he could use more seasoning in Germany, he could be here sooner than you think as he has no desire to stay overseas. Atlanta has Jeff Teague, obviously, but he’s a restricted free agent. I’m not sold on the idea that the Hawks can let Teague go because of Schroeder since the kid is only 19, but he could become a star in the league in a few years.
#18 Shane Larkin (Mavericks) – Playing for the surprising Miami Hurricanes last season, Larkin burst onto the NBA Draft scene with a solid year in college. The Hurricanes had one of their best seasons in school history and Larkin was the primary reason. He not only led the team in scoring with nearly 15 points a game, but also contributed approximately four rebounds and assists a game. He’s a quality all-around player, but it remains to be seen how he can fit in with the Mavericks’ roster. Dallas has plenty of young guards – Rodrigue Beaubois, Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Anthony Morrow, Josh Akognon, and fellow draftee, Ricky Ledo are all 27 or younger and were on the roster last season. Because of that, I’m not sure how much playing time he gets in his first year.
#19 Sergey Karasev (Cavs) – Karasev may not be ready to play in the league next season, but this isn’t a bad pick in my mind. The Cavs struggled badly last season, but have young pieces in place nearly everywhere. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters look like mainstays in the backcourt. And in Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, Cleveland has several young players in the frontcourt, too. Karasev is a guy that could right in by 2014 if he’s not ready this season and is regarded as one of the best shooters in the draft.
#20 Tony Snell (Bulls) – With aging backcourt mates to pair with Derrick Rose, this was a solid choice for Chicago. You could argue they should have went after another guard, but the position is certainly one where the Bulls need help for the future. Last year, the Bulls had Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton helping to man the position, pairing them along with Daequan Cook and Marco Bellinelli. Chicago didn’t have a shooting guard under the age of 26 on the roster, so injecting some youth there wasn’t a bad idea.
#21 Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves) – Minnesota got this pick after trading away the No. 9 selection for No. 14 and No. 21 in the first round. Dieng was a solid pick for Minnesota who were desperately in need of a center. He’s not a star by any means but is a very good rebounder and unlike many of the players that went before him, should be a bit more ready for the NBA. Timberwolves fans may not be entirely thrilled with the pick as Dieng may never become a star, but it was a position of need for Minnesota coming into the draft.
#22 Mason Plumlee (Nets) – Plumlee, like Dieng, should be fairly ready to play in the NBA. And also like Dieng, his new team was in need of a center. Brooklyn has star Brook Lopez on the roster, but after him, last season they had only Andray Blatche. Blatche improved last season, but adding another young center here isn’t a bad move. That’s especially true considering the Nets’ backcourt is pretty full.
#23 Solomon Hill (Pacers) – I was pretty disappointed with the Hill pick and fully expected the Pacers to go with a guard here. The team is already heavy in forwards with Paul George, Danny Granger, David West, Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Green, and others on last year’s team. I just didn’t get it – what’s the point? The thing that held Indiana back in the playoffs was the spotty play from guards Lance Stephenson and George Hill. A guard or even a backup center for emerging star Roy Hibbert would have been the right way to go.
#24 Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Knicks) – If the Pacers weren’t sleeping, this is the player they should have taken. I’ve been impressed with him at Michigan and this would have been an ideal pick. But instead, it was the Knicks fans who got to cheer on draft night (a rarity, I know). Hardaway was the perfect pick for New York and the early speculation already is that he could replace J.R. Smith. This was a slam dunk pick for the Knicks.
#25 Reggie Bullock (Clippers) – Solid pick for the Clippers here assuming they plan on playing him at small forward. With several older forwards on the roster last season including Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, and Caron Butler, Los Angeles has talent there … but it’s aging talent. Ideally, Bullock comes in and plays as a small forward, easing his way into the lineup. He’s a very good shooter, though, (48% from the field and 43% from three-point range) and for that reason, he could be an instant contributor off the bench.
#26 Andre Roberson (Thunder) – Roberson was traded to Oklahoma City in exchange for No. 29 pick, Archie Goodwin and cash considerations. After taking center Steven Adams earlier in the first round, the Oklahoma City Thunder went with Robertson with this pick. Not flashy by any means, but he’s a high-energy type of guy who could provide a good spark off the bench. It’s a shame Bullock went a pick sooner since he would have been an even better fit here in my opinion with his ability to hit from long range.
#27 Rudy Gobert (Jazz) – Regardless of what you think about the actual pick, give the Jazz credit for practically committing armed robbery here. Utah managed to get that pick for the No. 46 pick, Erick Green and cash. Apparently the all-important cash is significant enough to move up nearly 20 spots in the draft. Gobert is another international project but for what the Jazz gave up, it’s hard to complain. At 7’2”, he was the tallest player taken in the draft and while he’s a monumental project, has some true potential.
#28 Livio Jean-Charles (Spurs) – Whenever the Spurs take an international player, I just nod my head and go along with it. After all, they’ve had too much success with these types of guys to do otherwise.
#29 Archie Goodwin (Suns) – Phoenix is in need of quite a bit, so it’s hard to criticize the pick. They moved up one spot in a trade with the Golden State Warriors and one thing I love about the pick is the insane amount of upside. Goodwin averaged nearly 15 points a year last season as a freshman for Kentucky and is only 19. He needs to work on his shooting a bit, but is a player that could really help new head coach Jeff Hornacek down the line.
#30 Nemanja Nedovic (Warriors) – The pick of Nedovic didn’t matter nearly as much as David Stern announcing his final selection in the draft. Retiring later this season, Stern was greeted by his first ever pick, Hakeem Olajuwon nearly 30 years ago – such a cool idea by the NBA. But alas, onto the pick. With Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, it’s not like the Warriors are hurting in the backcourt. But one factor that may have played into the selection was that Jarrett Jack, their best guard off the bench, is a free agent and could end up on another team. If so, that will leave a big void behind Thompson and Curry.