We were 20 picks into SB Nation's annual blogger mock draft yesterday when we learned the news of Joel Embiid's foot injury. That is going to prompt a reboot and version 2.0 will be published sometime next week before the draft. In the meantime I thought I would share what we were presented with at pick No. 15 in version 1.0.
Now this draft was rather active from the beginning with a number of trades. Some were good and some were head scratchers in my opinion and I don't look for that much activity to happen in next Thursday's draft but if it does, then you can bet this will be one of the most memorable drafts ever.
There were few surprises in the lottery, although Julius Randle went several picks higher than I would have thought. Twelve picks in, we learned that one of Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris or James Young would be available to Peachtree Hoops at No. 15. That group also included the likes of Kyle Anderson, Rodney Hood, K.J. McDaniels and many of the others that we have discussed here who were also on our big board. We chose to center on Stauskas, Harris and Young because they were three players that we thought would go in the lottery.
At this point we are pretty happy to end up with either of the three. Stauskas ended up going No. 13 but Michigan State's Adreian Payne went 14th leaving us the option to decide between Harris and Young for our pick.
After a bit of discussion I elected to go with Harris at No. 15.
The decision was difficult because Young is a guy who I have had high on my list throughout the process. I like his upside and think he can develop either into a solid small forward or a big option at shooting guard. But there is just something about Harris that I couldn't pass on. Defensively we felt that he could come in and contribute right away. Even in Atlanta's crowded backcourt, Harris might be the second best defender behind DeMarre Carroll from Day 1.
Offensively we felt he was good enough. He doesn't have Young's upside as an offensive player I don't think he will be a liability either.
The one concern I had is Atlanta's current crowded back court picture which already includes Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver and John Jenkins. That doesn't even mention Shelvin Mack who was the back up point guard last season and is a restricted free agent this summer. Harris measured out shorter than initially thought at the combine but he would be the only player in that group with defense as his calling card. In short, I think Harris' presence would force movement elsewhere and I don't think Atlanta's back court situation is grounds for passing on a guy like Harris.
In this short exercise I learned one thing that is appealing and that is there are a number of guys I wouldn't mind seeing the Hawks take at No. 15. A guy like Harris, Stauskas or Young I wasn't even really thinking about when the Mock Draft begin yet they somehow were available. There is so much projected talent in this draft don't be surprised if someone unexpected starts to slide.
Unlike the Hawks, we get a redo next week so let me know what you thought about this pick. Would you take Harris over Young? Or is there another name that I completely overlooked that is worth considering. Let us know in the comments.