The Wonk selection is locked in at pick #12! The first topic I would like to address is the possibility of trading back with this pick. The two most logical trade partners for this scenario would be the Chicago Bulls "picks 16-19" and the Phoenix Suns "picks 14-17-27" Both of those teams have multiple first round picks. My view on the talent distribution in this draft could be described as this, there is around 8 players who are clearly the cream of the crop. What makes this draft so special in my opinion is the depth! After the top 8 there are at least another 10-12 players you could make an argument for to be picked in the back half of the lottery. I read a piece by well respected vjl110 on canus hoopus that backed this opinion up. He gives players a score that ranks them. Long story short, there are players projected in the mid teens that could have gone top five last year. Conversely a player like Victor Oladipo received a score that would have him drafted in the back half of the lottery of this years draft. This draft is that DEEP! If the Magic could trade back a few spots and pick up an additional pick they should pull the trigger immediately.
I love making predictions in my post. It's a great feeling to go out on a limb make a prediction and see it come to fruition. I've made successful predictions on Victor Oladipo as well as Dewayne Dedmon. So without further adieu here are my wonk pick possibilities. One of these five players will be a mid round selection by the Magic if no trade package is made to move up or back.
1. Tyler Ennis
2. Elfrid Payton
3. Clint Capela
4. James Young
5. Zach Lavine
My favorite player for the Wonk pick is Elfrid Payton. I have him higher on my board than Ennis. Before you all throw your laptops in the air and say shaun your crazy, hear me out. First, I base this partially on my familiarity with what Rob Hennigan values in a players talent portfolio. In my opinion he values high motor, super athletic guys who can play elite defense. In the past Hennigan has looked past shooting deficiencies, rather then draft a guy who can't play above the rim. Let's break down Elfrid vs Ennis
Athleticism, Elfrid Payton has crazy hops, elite first step, his nba comparison in my opinion is Rajon Rondo!
Defense, Elfrid Payton gets the edge due to his height and wingspan. When he utilizes those physical attributes with his basketball IQ this makes him a superior defensive prospect over Ennis
Point guard skills, to close to give an edge to either player. Ennis does have an edge with assist to turnover stats, but his lack of athleticism will hurt his ability to create on the NBA level. Both Ennis and Payton are elite floor general prospects. I consider it a tie.
Shooting, Ennis is clearly the better shooting prospect. Payton shot 26% from distance in his junior season. If Payton could hit the broad side of a barn he would be selected in the top half of the lottery!