Mar 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores forward Jeffery Taylor (44) celebrates after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats, 71-64, in the finals of the 2012 SEC Tournament at the New Orleans Arena. Photo by Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE.
The 2012 SB Nation Blogger NBA Mock Draft was posted yesterday and the GSoM crew collectively made the first round picks for the Golden State Warriors.
With the seventh pick in the mock draft, we selected Weber State guard Damian Lillard, which I won't spend much time explaining here: he was the best player available on our GSoM community draft board and we've already discussed the pros and cons of the Warriors taking him in the lottery.
But the 30th pick proved to be a little bit tougher to select with no first round caliber posts remaining on the board and we ultimately selected 6'7" Vanderbilt wing Jeffery Taylor. There seems to be a strong possibility that the Warriors decide to draft a foreign player who they'll keep overseas for a few years or trade the pick to move up, but the following is a look at some of the players who might be available if they hold onto the 30th pick.
Jeffery Taylor, 6'7", F, Vanderbilt
Bjorn Zetterberg of Swish Scout wrote that Taylor's worst case NBA comparison was Thabo Sefolosha while DraftExpress has compared him to Aaron Afflalo and Bobby Jones. So you probably get the point: Taylor has earned a rep as a defensive stopper and more defense certainly won't hurt the Warriors.
But equally promising for Taylor is his improving shooting during his time at Vanderbilt: his 42.3% 3-point shooting in his senior year was a significant improvement over his 22% freshman year long-range shooting. DraftExpress ranked Taylor sixth among wing prospects in this year's draft and DX Director of Scouting Joseph Treutlein also makes the following observation that might be relevant to the Warriors based on how they've played in the past.
Taylor first stands out with his first ranked 1.407 PPP on transition baskets, though he actually did it on the seventh lowest distribution of possessions, seeing transition possessions just 14.5% of the time. Going to an up-tempo team better suited to utilize this area of his game could help him at the next level. Also notable is Taylor's recently developed jump shot, as his 1.226 PPS on catch-and-shoot jumpers ranks sixth overall.
That combination of defensive specialist and 3-point shooter is exactly the type of player that Brian McCormick wrote about today while laying out a few prospects that might be looking for the type of antidote to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Miami's LeBron James in order to make a run at the title. McCormick starts with the prospect of the Thunder drafting Taylor with as a better-shooting Sefolosha then looks at four additional guys who might fit the bill, two of which were available within five picks of 30 in the SB Nation blogger draft.
Quincy Miller, 6'10", F, Baylor
In most scenarios, Miller will be gone by the time the Warriors are selecting at #30, but would be intriguing if he slips due to concerns about how well he has recovered from ACL surgery during December of his senior year. McCormick writes that although expectations for Miller are higher than aiming to become a hybrid defender/shooter, it might be a role that earns him a spot in the league. But perhaps moreso than any other prospect who has stuck around in first round mock drafts, selecting Miller is gambling on potential: Treutlein wrote that, "Miller's efficiency ranks average to below average in nearly every category, giving credence to the notion of him being a jack of all trades, master of none at this very early point in his development." As Ed Weiland of Hoops Analyst writes, he's got physical tools that suggest upside but the numbers simply aren't there - you can at once easily see why DraftExpress listed him as a poor man's Kevin Durant while McCormick compared him to Donte Greene.
Jae Crowder, 6'6", F, Marquette
Crowder is a guy who hasn't been considered a first round pick by most, but McCormick suggests that despite lacking the height and length of the others he fits the mold of the hybrid defender/shooter better than any of the four he looked at. He wrote, "He is a more athletic, better shooting version of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who has been a borderline starter and highly valued defender since he was a second-round pick."
Offensively, Treutlein writes that, "Crowder similarly holds the top scoring efficiency marks on spot-ups (1.237 PPP) and cuts (1.374 PPP), a good sign for someone hoping to catch on as an off-the-ball, hustle player in the pros." Weiland writes that his measurements make him something of a risk, but players who have put up similar numbers in their senior years have also fared pretty well in the league.
The reality for the Warriors is that Crowder will likely be around for their first second rounder (#35) if mock drafts end up reflecting something similar to reality. But if Taylor and Miller are off the board as well as every big at #30, Crowder wouldn't be a bad pick either.
Marquis Teague, 6'2", PG, Kentucky
Teague was actually off the board at #30 in the SBN mock, but DraftExpress has had him linked to the Warriors for some time now. Coincidentally, they have him compared to Houston Rockets guard Kyle Lowry who has been floating around the rumor mill lately.
Teague was not the most productive guard prospect in this draft and Weiland notes that even his best numbers (assist rates) might have been inflated rather than suppressed by the talent surrounding him at Kentucky. Nevertheless, if the Warriors do go big at #7, Teague could still be an option at #30 if he's still on the board because he's young and has the physical tools to eventually become a contributor.
Draymond Green, 6'7", F, Michigan State
Green was actually available at #30 and with us choosing not to select him, he fell out of the first round in the SBN mock draft. Assuming a guy like Iowa State's Royce White is off the board at #30, Green will arguably be the most versatile guy available at this spot. The obvious limiting factor for Green is that despite his versatility, he's drawn the dreaded "tweener" label and Weiland notes that rebounding/passing combo forwards don't typically do well in the league. In addition, Treutlein notes that, "While Green fares well with his jumpers, he's on the opposite end of the spectrum finishing at the basket, where his 1.094 PPS and 28.1% shot distribution both rank third worst."
Green knows how to play ball and his motor is constantly going, but it's not entirely clear that his skills transfer well to the NBA.
Festus Ezeli, 6'11", C, Vanderbilt
Ezeli was in fact our top choice, but was off the board by the time #30 came around. Sam Amick of SI.com had the Warriors selecting Ezeli in his latest mock draft, writing that, "Ezeli inconsistent but moves well for his size, is a good shot-blocker and has the ability to make an impact on both ends with a frame that is among the biggest in this bunch."
If indeed the Warriors go small with their first pick - and Amick had them drafting Syracuse's Dion Waiters at #7 - having Ezeli drop to them would give them some depth in the frontcourt. However, he is hardly the ideal solution for someone that you'd be giving a guaranteed contract to - both Weiland and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress highlight how inefficient Ezeli was in his senior year and rank him near the bottom of their lists.
In SB Nation's mock draft Ezeli didn't fall past the Miami Heat, who "...should just try to find someone who can play for a few minutes if someone gets hurt and then be ready to contribute in a couple years," according to Diego Quezada of SBN's Peninsula Is Mightier/Hot Hot Hoops.
Even if mock drafts are often wrong, the consensus seems to be that there won't be a whole lot of post options available for the Warriors at #30 as we might have hoped a month or so ago when Ezeli, Syracuse's Fab Melo, and St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson all appeared to be possibilities at #30; most of the centers projected to have a NBA future will be gone by 30 and any other big worth considering will be around at #35.