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NBA Rookie Prospect Report: Mega Mock Draft (Part 2)

Fred Katz

Fred Katz

Fred Katz averaged almost one point per game in 5th grade, but he maintains that his per 36 minutes numbers were astonishing. Find more of his work at ProBasketballDraft.com or on ESPN's TrueHoop Network. Follow him on Twitter at @FredKatz.

If you missed Part 1 of our RotoWire mega mock draft, you can check it out here. Here's Part 2:

16. Boston Celtics select C Mason Plumlee, (Duke).

If Boston takes Plumlee at 16, that would unfortunately eliminate all possibilities of the former Duke center ending up in Indiana with his brother. There wouldn't be a much better foursome in the NBA than the brothers Hansbrough paired with the brothers Plumlee. But it looks like that scenario will only happen in my and the Morris twins' dreams.

On the actual court, Plumlee is a similar player to his brother. He's an athletic center that has been an above-average rebounder in each of the past three seasons at Duke. He's still working on actual skill in most aspects of the game and isn't a player right now that a team can give the ball to in the post and let him do his thing. He's also not someone that you're going to let step outside of the paint and take shots. Mainly, Plumlee, who is excellent at running the floor in transition, is limited in the half court to being a solid pick-and-roll man that can scrap some extra points on the offensive glass.

Defensively, Plumlee has the body to man bigger centers in the post. He is thick across the chest and boasts a strong 7-foot, 238-pound frame. But he isn't that long and that could give him some issues. A 6-foot-11 wingspan isn't exactly what a team would hope for from someone Plumlee's height.

17. Atlanta Hawks select SF Giannis Adetokunbo, (Filathlitikos).

And finally, the first foreign player is off the board. Hold on while I call Fran Fraschilla to write this paragraph for me.

Adetokunbo is a Greek talent who will probably get stashed away in Europe for a few years before coming into the NBA. That'll give him time to refine his game while also giving the American public ample time to learn how to pronounce that treacherous surname. The 6-foot-9 forward has one of the rawest games in this year's draft. He still has a stick-like frame and has yet to hit the 200-pound mark, but he has plenty of time to fill out; he doesn't turn 19 years old until December.

Although we don't know all that much about Adetokunbo, we do know that he handles the ball and runs the offense on the under-20 Greek team and does so pretty well. With that, his basketball IQ is pretty high for someone his age. Remember that we're essentially talking about a high schooler here. This isn't a pick that would pay immediate dividends. Atlanta would have to wait it out, but if the Hawks are trying to build for the future, this is a pick with a high ceiling down the road.

18. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets) select C Rudy Gobert, (Cholet).

More Hawks, more foreigners, more projects, more building for the future. The Hawks somehow managed to trade that Joe Johnson contract last offseason, and this season, it's free agent Josh Smith who is primed to leave Atlanta. If the Hawks can get something back for Smith in a sign-and-trade, that would be nice, but it's time for them to start building toward the future and Danny Ferry knows that. Atlanta could get a decent role player at this spot, but what good would that do on a team that isn't set up to contend for a title even with Al Horford still in town?

The Hawks are in the perfect position to Gobert or go home. And Gobert they must because at some point in the womb, the French center decided he was going to completely disregard all usual human proportions.

I'll do growing my own way.

It's not just that Gobert is 7-foot-2 and could use a rubber band as a belt. He is disproportionally long. We're talking 7-foot-9 wingspan long. We're talking 9-foot-7 standing reach long. His 29-inch vertical is completely unnecessary. All he needs is to get three inches off the ground for his fingertips to grace the bottom of the rim. The rest is just icing on the cake.

At 20 years old, Gobert is still a project, just like Adetokunbo. And also like Adetokunbo, he might not come right over to the U.S. He could need a little more time to refine his game, but if those back-to-back picks work out, it gives Atlanta a formative frontcourt with a veteran Al Horford, who can play his preferred position of power forward.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers) select SF Sergey Karasev, (Triumph Moscow).

Three straight foreign guys. Someone get Fraschilla some Luden's. He's starting to lose his voice. And while you're at it, can you bring some tissues for Mikhail Prokhorov?

The Nets would be perfect for Karasev, purely from a marketing standpoint. A Russian on Prokhorov's team would be heavenly in Brooklyn, but unfortunately, Karasev is just barely too good to make it all the way to the Nets. This pick has a similar logic to the Cavs' first overall pick. (See, there's some organizational strategy actually being factored into this?) If Cleveland isn't trying to contend next year, Karasev is the best possible pick of anyone left on the board.

The 6-foot-7 small forward is an excellent shooter from long range and has an above-average basketball IQ when navigating the court. We've seen as much of Karasev as we are going to see from an international prospect. He participated in the 2012 Olympics, playing for David Blatt on the Russian National Team, and he also attended this year's Nike Hoop Summit.

Karasev doesn't handle the ball all too much, but he's a strong passer with first-rate court vision, especially for a 19-year-old kid. On top of that, he is a knock-down spot-up shooter that can get hot quickly. That's the type of player that slots in perfectly with a core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Nerlens Noel. A shooter that can space the floor is exactly what that offense would need.

20. Chicago Bulls select SG Tim Hardaway Jr., (Michigan).

Hardaway is someone who Tom Thibodeau could make into a shooting guard version of Jimmy Butler. The second-generation baller is already a solid perimeter defender and has good range on his shot. After a season-long shooting slump in his sophomore season at Michigan, he returned to more appropriate form as a junior, knocking down 37.4 percent of his long-range shots on 5.1 attempts per game.

Hardaway didn't always take the best shots in college, but that's a problem that could be solved in the pros. He won't be handling the ball nearly as much as he did at Michigan, and he wouldn't be put in a position to make many decisions in Thib's system. Go out there, play some defense, and make some threes and you're good to go. Turning Hardaway into a catch-and-shoot offensive player will be the main goal. He shot 39.6 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers last season.

21. Utah Jazz (from Warriors) select PG Shane Larkin, (Miami).

The Jazz finally gets its point guard, but is the first undersized point guard to go off the board someone who can excel in the NBA? Plenty of teams are high on Larkin higher than 21st overall but it's hard to imagine a point guard under six feet going in the top 15 of this draft, even with Larkin's range and shooting accuracy. The fake Jazz had the chance to take him at 14, but fake Utah went with fake Shabazz Muhammad instead. Now it ends up with fake Larkin anyway seven picks later.

The pro-Larkin argument says that he can be successful in the NBA despite his size in a similar way to what Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Brooks, or Nate Robinson have done. Short point guards can thrive as long as they can shoot. That won't be an issue for Larkin and everyone who's ever seen him play knows that Larkin would never believe otherwise. His off-the-charts shooting confidence was actually one of the most important parts of Miami's offense last year. Yes, his shooting confidence was as much of a key to the offense as his actual shooting.

It's the defensive end that might give Larkin some trouble. He is highly athletic, but what happens if an opposing team decides to go big and throws out a lineup with a 6-foot-4 point guard? What is a guard with a wingspan that is a shade under 5-foot-11 to do then? Because of that, Larkin can't be just average offensively; he has to be a sparkplug.

22. Brooklyn Nets select PF Tony Mitchell, (North Texas).

The Nets made their splash last offseason by trading for Joe Johnson's albatross of a contract. The next year followed with a faint chorus of the-Nets-are-the-new-Hawks themed jokes. That, of course, gave us images of Josh Smith on the Nets, the perfect way to become the Eastern Conference's perennial four or five seed. Well, we might actually get to see how that would play out if the Nets do end up with Tony Mitchell at No. 22.

Mitchell has a chance to be Josh Smith and that is meant in both a complimentary and critical way. He's a superior athlete that can run the floor and has a 38-inch vertical. He has that Josh Smith-type body, standing at 6-foot-9 with quick feet on the perimeter. He has the skill set of a good defensive player and his 7-foot-3 wingspan helps explain his 3.3 blocks per 40 minutes last year at North Texas.

But there is a lot of bad that comes with Mitchell. Originally, he wasn't supposed to be at North Texas at all. In fact, he was the highest ranked recruit in the history of Missouri basketball. He was going to be a stud in Columbia, but he was never ruled academically eligible to play. So onto North Texas he went, where he remained ineligible for his first semester. His game is as low-IQ as scouts would dread. He takes far too many jumpers (remember that whole Josh Smith thing?) and his effort on defense leaves to lot to be desired.

Mitchell should've been someone that comfortably sat in the lottery. If he had left school last year, he might have been just that. He's the type of player that a coach or general manager will look at and every once in a while exuberantly exclaim, "You know what? I can fix that guy". But there's always risk with that type, especially if it's a player that doesn't want to be fixed at all.

23. Indiana Pacers select C Lucas Nogueira, (Estudiantes).

A 20-year-old Nogueira makes sense for the Pacers even with Roy Hibbert potentially blocking his way to becoming a starting NBA center. One of the reasons the Pacers' defense finished No. 1 in the league this past season was because they had such consistency on a play-by-play basis. Hibbert is one of the best defensive anchors in the NBA and dominated by camping out in the lane and doing his Hibbert toe tap to avoid three-second calls. But when he comes out of the game, there isn't a shift in defensive scheme. Other players don't have to adjust. And that's because Ian Mahinmi plays the same type of style as Hibbert.

Nogueira fits into that category, as well. The 7-foot Brazilian isn't just a tower, but he's also quite quick for someone his size. His 7-foot-5 wingspan is almost impossible to get around and his 9-foot-6 standing reach is going to force an array of uncomfortable floaters. A Nogueira pick would allow the Pacers to flip Mahinmi, who is on a tradable four-year, $16 million contract, when the Brazilian is finally read to contribute.

24. New York Knicks select SG Ricky Ledo, (Providence).

Ledo sat out this past season at Providence and hasn't played basketball in going on two years. Because of that, it's hard to know what to expect from the 20 year old. What we do know, though, is that the Rhode Island-native has ability. He was the No. 6 recruit in the class of 2012 according to the Rivals150 and has impressed plenty of teams in his pre-draft workouts.

Ledo is mainly a combo guard, and it's difficult to see if he is more comfortable at the point or at shooting guard. He showed off a strong handle at the Combine and definitely has the quickness and skill set to create his own shot. At 6-foot-6, he would be able to shoot over pretty much every point guard in the league. He might struggle at first on the defensive end, considering that he hasn't properly climbed the talent ladder and might not be able to keep up with NBA ball handlers, but he is a pretty good athlete and is long enough to guard 1s and 2s.

25. Los Angeles Clippers select SG Reggie Bullock, (North Carolina).

This is a schematic pick for the Clips. With Doc Rivers now running the show in L.A., the Clippers need to fill out a roster that has the fingerprints of the former Celtics' coach all over it. That means the first step in the right direction for the Clips will be drafting a shooter.

This pick comes down to Bullock or Allen Crabbe, but Bullock barely edges Crabbe out, mainly because of what he can do on the defensive side of the ball. He's not a great defender, but he's good enough and can improve under the tutelage of Rivers. Where Bullock's game really stands out is as a shooter. He's tremendous in catch-and-shoot situations, and he moves well running off screens. Offensively, he could play a role similar to the one that Ray Allen or Jason Terry played in Doc's offense over the past five or six seasons. As a player, Bullock's hope might be that he turns into Danny Green, another North Carolina product, who has turned into one of the preeminent D and three guys in the NBA.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Grizzlies) select C Jeff Withey, (Kansas).

So Jeff Withey is just Cole Aldrich, right? Am I supposed to believe anything other than that? Teams probably know what to expect from a guy whose name appropriately almost spells "Whitey".

Withey was one of the best shot-blocking bigs in the NCAA over this past season. He averaged 5.0 blocks per 40 minutes and posted a 13.7 percent block rate. He isn't a great rebounder for his size but he gives you what you need on the defensive end when it comes to protecting the paint. There is a concern with Withey, though, and that anxiety stems from Lawrence, Kan.

It's a well-kept secret that Kansas just hasn't produced capable, NBA big men under Bill Self. Make sure you inhale especially deeply and then read off the names on this list: Wayne Simien, Julian Wright, Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur, Cole Aldrich, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and Thomas Robinson. Those are the eight big men that Kansas has sent to the NBA since 2006 and of them, only Arthur has lived up to his draft position. Withey is going later than guys like Robinson and Aldrich, so he could, like Arthur, be an exception of this Jayhawk rule, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a disturbing trend going on with Kansas big men over the past eight years.

27. Denver Nuggets select PG Dennis Schroeder, (Braunschweig).

The go-to comparison with Schroeder is Rajon Rondo. But it seems like everyone seems to jump on the Rondo comp train whenever there is a quick point guard, pass-first point guard that isn't yet a takeover shooter. We heard it last year with Tony Wroten and the same assessments are decorating our eardrums this year with Schroeder.

Schroeder has a major advantage over most international players in that he's been a high usage player at high levels before. He averaged 17.4 points and 4.7 assists per 36 minutes in 31 games in Germany last year. He also had 12 games in which he made multiple threes and attempted 13.6 shots per 36. It means something that he's already been a highly featured performer in a pro offense at the age of 19. He's not going to be overwhelmed when he has his first opportunity to run an NBA offense.

28. San Antonio Spurs select C Kelly Olynyk, (Gonzaga).

Olynyk is a 7-footer that could be able to step in and take over for Tiago Splitter should the Spurs lose their center to free agency this offseason. The former Gonzaga standout isn't a top-quality athlete, but he's good enough to get away with the moves he chooses to go to. It's not the size of the boat; it's the motion of the ocean.

Olynyk is pretty skilled offensively and is an underrated shooter from midrange. He can run the floor well in transition and bears a striking resemblance to Mimi Siku of "Jungle 2 Jungle", an obvious Tim Allen classic. His problem comes as a defender. His lack of athleticism hurts him as both a rim protector and a rebounder. With stubby arms and a no-step vertical of only 24.5 inches, it will be tough for him to pull down rebounds in the crowded paint.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder select SG Allen Crabbe, (California).

If Kevin Martin is gone, Crabbe can give the Thunder some of the shooting they'd lose with the departure of their sixth man. The former Cal guard isn't the best athlete in the world, but if there's one thing he can do, it's send home his long-range shots. As long as he's put in catch-and-shoot situations, he can stand out. It's when you ask Crabbe to create shots for himself and others that you get yourself in trouble. He's a good shooter that moves well off the ball, but his offensive contributions will probably end at or near that.

Giving a team a good spot-up option is fine from a No. 29 pick, but on the defensive end, Crabbe struggles. His footwork isn't great and he isn't particularly quick because of that. Offensive players have shaken Crabbe up one too many times. If he maintains his focus, he can become a decent defender, but turning into an elite defensive player is most likely not in his future.

30. Phoenix Suns (from Heat) select PG Isaiah Canaan, (Murray State).

Canaan has been one of the most exciting players in the country over the past two years. His shooting has become the center of Murray State's offense over the past couple of seasons, as he's knocked down almost 200 threes in that time span. A 41.9 percent long-range shooter for his four-year career, Canaan gets most of his shots off the dribble. He isn't an outstanding athlete, but he has a way of creating shots for himself and getting them up quickly. He is intelligent going around screens and has a quick release that can make defenders pay for going under a pick.

Canaan's big problem is that he, like Larkin, is inordinately small. Standing at only six feet he will have his struggles on defense. Unlike Larkin though, Canaan is not an exceptional athlete. He finds ways to get to the hoop and can elevate when he gets there (he showed off a 40.5-inch max vertical at the Combine), but he isn't overwhelmingly quick with or without the ball and doesn't finish exceptionally efficiently at the rim.

Picks 31-60 can be read here.