Shane Larkin rounded out the lottery on the Orlando Pinstriped Post Community Draft Board, winning the 14th spot on the board with 25 percent of the vote. Larkin played high-school basketball at Dr. Phillips in Orlando and has been a favorite of Orlando Magic fans for a while now.
Larkin declared for the NBA draft after an excellent sophomore season at the University of Miami. Larkin led the Hurricanes to one of their greatest seasons in school history, earning a no. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to third-seeded Marquette in the Sweet Sixteen.
This is what the OPP draft board looks like:
Dennis Schroeder (SB Nation scouting report)
Shane Larkin (SB Nation scouting report)
There were plenty of surprises in the board, but here are my top three:
1. Ben McLemore's separation over the field
Magic fans selecting McLemore is surprising for a couple of reasons. The biggest surprise is the vast separation that McLemore had over the rest of the field in the first round of voting. The 6-foot-5 Kansas guard took 51 percent of the vote. The combined votes for Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke, and Victor Oladipo still would have lost to McLemore by 21 votes. That type of gap between McLemore and the field is something I really didn't see coming.
2. Ben McLemore over Nerlens Noel
I want to be clear: Noel isn't a clear-cut top overall prospect. But it'll be shocking if the Magic select McLemore over the 6-foot-11 big man if the Cleveland Cavaliers--as silly as this sounds--chooses to go with Alex Len, Otto Porter, or Anthony Bennett with the first pick. McLemore isn't a game-changer. He isn't going to create his own offense any better than Arron Afflalo does now. Selecting McLemore over Noel is a hasty decision that uses the "getting better immediately" and "selecting pieces to fit a need" ideology that the Sacramento Kings used last year when they picked Thomas Robinson at No. 5, passing over Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and, in Harrison Barnes, a guy who averaged 16 points per game in the playoffs .
There's no need to rush. Picking the best player available gives the Magic the best flexibility moving forward. Noel would become a nice trade piece before even stepping on the floor. He makes Nikola Vucevic even more expendable. Never mind that the front court competition would squeeze out the most out of Andrew Nicholson and Tobias Harris. Never mind that the new regime in Orlando has done a nice job in the development of its young players over a course of season. Never mind the fact that Noel might not play until 2014 and that picking him serves as a "tank-for-Andrew-Wiggins" campaign that certain basketball-talkers are preaching. If Noel somehow falls into Orlando's lap, you take him.
3. The guard-heavy lottery
DraftExpress and ESPN's Chad Ford each have six guards in their top 14s. In contrast, the OPP Draft Board has eight guards in the Top 14. I think it's reasonable to infer that the community has a desire to get younger in the backcourt. Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is 21st on DraftExpress, but he's No. 11 on the OPP Draft Board. Miami's Larkin is the 19th-best prospect on DraftExpress and he's the 18th-best prospect on Chad Ford's big board, but he's 14th at our board. The desire for a young point guard makes him much more valuable to Magic fans. It doesn't hurt that he went to high school in Orlando and played his college ball four hours away.
What did we learn about the community's preferences?
Positional Need outweighed Best Player Available for the most part. But there was some discrepancy. For instance: McLemore beat out Noel for the top spot, Oladipo and Burke beat out Porter and Bennett for the No. 3 and 4 spots, but Alex Len still beat CJ McCollum for the seventh spot. And Noel didn't slip further than No. 2. While positional need was the community's priority, they understand that pure talent and potential can't afford to slip too far. For that, I applaud.
This is my big board:
Which brings me to Oladipo. I love what he brings with his energy and athleticism, but is a "motor" worth a second overall pick? Is his shot for real? Those are things that worry me. On the other hand, I watched him terrorize offenses for three years, improving his offensive game every year and making plays that changed an entire game. I watched him attack the offensive boards and finish with extreme efficiency.
I also debate Burke versus McCollum and they become interchangeable, for me, as time goes on. Burke's being underrated, mostly because it's been so long since anyone has seen him play in a real game. He isn't going to stand out in physical testing and that's hurt his draft stock more than anything. McCollum is a guy I really like. He's fantastic in the pick-and-roll and he can shoot from anywhere. Plus, check out this amazing Twitter sequence. How awesome is that? But I worry about his ability to finish around the rim. He shot just 54 percent from the rim this year (Burke shot 63 percent at the rim), via Hoop-Math.
Someone to keep an eye on is Erick Green from Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-3 point guard led the NCAA in scoring last season at 25 points per game. He's extremely fast, can finish at the rim with either hand and shoot from anywhere on the floor either off the dribble or spotting up. He shot 8.3 free throws per 36 minutes, shooting 81.6 percent from the charity stripe. He'll probably fall way too far in the draft--albeit not all the way to 51--but if the Magic wanted to move back and attain assets, Green could and should be a possible target.