In the 2012 ESPN TrueHoop Network Mock Draft, I had the chance to select on behalf of the Mavericks. Here are the picks that preceded my choice:
1. New Orleans: Anthony Davis (Joe Gerrity, Hornets247)
2. Charlotte: Thomas Robinson (Spencer Percy, Queen City Hoops)
3. Washington: Bradley Beal (Kyle Weidie, Truth About It)
4. Cleveland: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Colin McGowan, Cavs: The Blog)
5. Sacramento: Harrison Barnes (James Ham, Cowbell Kingdom)
6. Portland: Andre Drummond (Sean Highkin, Portland Roundball Society)
7. Golden State: Dion Waiters (Rasheed Malek, WarriorsWorld.net)
8. Toronto: Jeremy Lamb (Sam Holako, Raptors Republic)
9. Detroit: John Henson (Dan Feldman, PistonPowered)
10. New Orleans: Damian Lillard (Joe Gerrity, Hornets247)
11. Portland: Kendall Marshall (Sean Highkin, Portland Roundball Society)
12. Milwaukee: Perry Jones III (Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball)
13. Phoenix: Terrence Ross (Ryan Weisert, Valley of the Suns)
14. Houston: Tyler Zeller (Jared Dubin, Hardwood Paroxysm)
15. Philadelphia: Terrence Jones (Carey Smith, Philadunkia)
16. Houston: Austin Rivers (Robert Silverman, KnickerBlogger)
And with the 17th pick, I chose Quincy Miller.
The Mavericks’ primary need is simple: scoring. For the most part, that’s been expected to come in the form of a shooting guard (Terrence Ross) or an athletic big (Terrence Jones) in this particular draft. With both of those players already selected and every top-tier shooting guard gone (with the possible exclusion of Evan Fournier), it seemed logical to take a player with the potential to be both a terrific scorer and player.
Few players in this draft come with more mystery than Miller, whose questionable knees and uneven freshman season at Baylor led to his likely fall from the lottery. At 6’10 and 219 pounds, Miller is at once possessed with terrific height for his position (he may also play some power forward in the NBA) countered with an unfortunate lack of strength. Miller is able to tower over his counterparts and make use of his 7’4 wingspan at will, allowing him to generate frequent scoring opportunities against bigger players in the post. Miller rarely struggles to find enough room to release his shot, as few defenders can even come close to reaching his release point, but he does often grasp unsuccessfully for position, an issue that reverts back to his lack of strength.
Perhaps more intriguing than Miller’s inside game is his outside-the-arc range. It’s rare to see a 6’10 player who has also proven to be a capable shooter, but Miller’s solid 34.8% mark from three displays that he’s capable of stretching the floor past his very good mid-range game. Beyond that, Miller’s freshman season at Baylor was statistically unremarkable, though certainly solid for a 19 year-old only one year removed from ACL surgery. It’s worth noting that Miller’s per-36 numbers do not tell the full story of what he potentially adds to a team, as Miller has also distinguished himself as a strong defensive prospect who can bother smaller small forwards with his length and has shown a knack for defensive rotations.
When a unique prospect like Miller fails to display consistency after sustaining a major injury, understandable questions begin to arise regarding his long-term health and role. Will his athleticism wane going forward, or will he able to capitalize on his incredible height, defensive potential, and scoring ability as he transitions to the pros? Though the first question is certainly worth a certain amount of worry, the second question makes pondering Quincy Miller worth any trouble it brings. He’s someone that generates rightful questions but also emanates impressive possibility, possibility that’s locked somewhere within a towering player who may be just beginning to scratch the surface of his ability. Miller is more than capable of being the youthful infusion of wing scoring and versatility that the Mavericks desperately need, and that makes him worth selecting with the 17th pick.
Following my pick of Miller, here’s the conclusion of the THN mock draft:
18. Minnesota: Meyers Leonard (Steve McPherson, Hardwood Paroxysm)
19. Orlando: Tony Wroten (Eddy Rivera, MBN)
20. Denver: Andrew Nicholson (Kalen Deremo, Roundball Mining Company)
21. Boston: Jared Sullinger (Brendan Jackson, CelticsHub.com)
22. Boston: Moe Harkless (Brendan Jackson, CelticsHub.com)
23. Atlanta: Royce White (Bret LaGree, Hoopinion)
24. Cleveland: Arnett Moultrie (Colin McGowan, Cavs: The Blog)
25. Memphis: Fab Melo (Red Coleman, 3sob.com)
26. Indiana: Marquis Teague (Tim Donahue, 8p9s)
27. Miami: Jeff Taylor (Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak)
28. Oklahoma City: Draymond Green (Royce Young, Daily Thunder)
29. Chicago: Will Barton (Matt McHale, Bulls by the Horns)
30. Golden State: Jared Cunningham (Rasheed Malek, WarriorsWorld.net)