Syracuse couldn’t bring home a national title in 2012, but this year’s departing group has a chance to be one of SU’s most successful NBA draft classes. With draft night finally here, we present The Fizz’s official prediction for where the three (sorry Scoop, have a speedy recovery!) NBA-bound Orange will be selected.
- Dion Waiters, SG, 6-4, 221: Portland, 1st Round, Pick #11
This is tough to call because in the mid-to-late lottery there are numerous teams looking to bolster their backcourts, and there’s a handful of similar players like Waiters, including Austin Rivers and Weber State point guard Damien Lillard.
Waiters created waves by cancelling workouts with NBA teams and essentially shutting himself down until the draft, and it’s been reported Phoenix promised to select Dion with the 13th overall pick. Problem is, Waiters has been steadily climbing up draft boards and he might not last until then. Portland also owns the 6th overall pick, which it could use to take a huge gamble on UConn big man Andre Drummond. If so, the Blazers would look to do the opposite with their other 1st round selection. Dion has the talent to be taken at #6, but Portland may think it can still get him at #11.
Even if it’s not Portland who grabs him, here’s betting Waiters doesn’t make it to the Suns at #13 the way his stock has been skyrocketing. Regardless, it would be surprising to see Waiters end up anywhere other than Portland, Toronto, or Phoenix.
- Fab Melo, C, 7-0, 255: Boston Celtics, 1st Round, Pick #22
Boston has the 21st and 22nd picks in the first round, and something tells me Danny Ainge is primed to make a splash and trade up. Boston will likely bring Kevin Garnett back and try to fill in the holes around its aging core, San Antonio Spurs style. If that’s the plan, the C’s won’t want to carry five rookie contract players, which they’ll be doing if they stay put and make all their picks. Expect Fab to be wearing green.
It just makes too much sense. The Celtics desperately need size. Not a lanky tweener, and not an undersized power forward. They need a legitimate 7-footer who’s a pure center. They need all of the 7 feet, 255 pounds that Melo provides. And they’ve needed it ever since they traded Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder. This season, KG was forced to play center after Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox went out for the year with injuries. He performed admirably, but he’s always been a true power forward.
Melo also stands to benefit from joining the Celtics. He can enter a winning culture with a fantastic coach, and get whipped into NBA form by Garnett, the ideal mentor for a young big man.
- Kris Joseph, SF, 6-7, 215: Detroit Pistons, 2nd Round, #14
Joseph has been well documented by The Fizz as a jack of all trades, master of none. He doesn’t have one definitive strength that appeals to NBA executives. Whoever drafts him will be a team in the second round strictly selecting the best player available, as opposed to looking for someone to fit a specific niche.
Which is why the Pistons come to mind. Detroit is likely to draft a center with its lottery pick. And as a team far away from championship competition looking to stockpile talent, Detroit is a decent bet to snag K-Jo with one of its two second round picks. Predicting the second round is a crapshoot, but Joseph has been linked to Pistons. They invited him for a workout on June 26th, just two days before the draft.
Posted: Andrew Kanell