Continuing with our look at FanSided Editors’ mock draft, with each team’s editor’s comments in italics:
4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum, Australian Institute of Sport
Selecting Dante here felt like a no-brainer for the Magic. Pairing him with Victor Oladipo going forward will give Orlando their backcourt for years to come. Dante brings forth an incredible level of playmaking ability, and will be able to step in and make his teammates better. Adding Dante to the already young and improving core could give the Magic the missing piece in their rebuild.
Brian says: Exum comes from off the radar screen (Australia!) so one assumes Orlando has done their due diligence on him and his ability to step up to the challenge of the world’s toughest hoops league. All the prestige sites have Exum highly rated.
5. Utah Jazz – Noah Vonleh, Indiana
The Jazz are in an interesting spot. They would have loved to have been slotted in one of the top four spots and drafted a guy that can make a huge contribution to their rebuild process. Staying put at five will net them a good player, but more than likely someone who will take time to develop. With the hire of new head coach Quin Snyder, they are looking for a big guy who can stretch the floor. Vonleh can do just that. He can step out and shoot, plus he can be a great rim protector to go down next to Derrick Favors in the post. He will take some time to develop, but Snyder and the Jazz will probably look in this area.
Brian says: Vonleh is no bigger than average for PF, but has huge wingspan and hands. He’s very young, yet looks ready to make the big step. If the Jazz are patient, this fellow could be a serious contributor in 3 years. They aren’t going anywhere quickly, so presumably he’ll get lots of floor time to develop.
6. Celtics — Aaron Gordon (PF)
Boston has to choose between Julius Randle, who has a NBA-ready post game, or Aaron Gordon, an athletic freak who can defend virtually every position on the floor. It’s a risk, but Gordon has a huge ceiling and too much potential on both sides of the floor to ignore. His offense may be limited to put-back and alley oops, but with Rajon Rondo running the point Gordon could wind up becoming the East Coast version of Blake Griffin. He’s a project, but one that should reap huge long-term dividends for the Celtics.
Brian says: A project player for the Celtics? I can’t remember the last time they did that. Another ridiculously young man (18!) who clearly hasn’t filled out his body yet, so I’m dubious about any Blake Griffin comparisons. Gordon is a very heady player, with sound technique. This guy needs to play, and be coached. Can Boston wait?
To be continued…