In case you haven't heard, the D-League's Expansion Draft will be held tomorrow, September 2, at 2 p.m. ET. There are only two teams participating, the Maine Red Claws and the Springfield Armor (even though I didn't think the Armor were an expansion team, since they're just the new Anaheim Arsenal), and the list of players available can be found here. It's basically just the players from last year's Anaheim and Colorado rosters. The draft will be done snake-style, where the team with the first pick in the first round has the last pick in the second round, etc., which seems a bit silly with just two teams, but I'm not the one in charge here. The draft will last ten rounds, and Springfield won the coin toss so they're going first.
We thought it would be fun to run a mock draft, so Aisander and I drafted players we thought would be good for the D-League's two newest teams. He had Springfield, I had Maine. At least, he had Springfield until he stopped e-mailing me his picks. We limited our player list to only those who haven't already signed contracts in Europe or the NBA (except in a few instances I'll mention when we get to them) - even though the D-League teams are drafting a player's D-League rights, so for instance if Maine drafts Joe Dabbert he could join the team once the South Korean season ends or he doesn't feel like playing over there anymore. But, we thought this would be a little more interesting, and it also gives us a chance to comment in players who don't get a lot of mentions around here.
Check out the RU Expansion Mock Draft after the jump. All the player comments are mine except where noted.
1. Springfield - James Mays, 6'8" F
If I'm Springfield (or any franchise for that matter), I want to make sure I'm getting a quality big man who scores efficiently and can rebound. Mays fits that bill perfectly. He was an absolute beast for the 14ers last year, averaging 19.0 points and just shy of 9.0 rebounds a game. He was one of the more dominant players in the D-League up until he was injured mid-season. And really, his ACL is the only thing that gives me pause. But if James Mays is healthy, then I'm taking him first. -- AD
2. Maine - Cedric Bozeman, 6'6" G/F
I had planned on drafting Mays, who went to Clemson, to try and get Maine's affiliate the Charlotte Bobcats to pay attention to the team even though we're so closely tied with the Celtics. But Bozeman's a good consolation prize. He's a versatile swingman who rebounds well for his position and can distribute the ball a little bit as well, so he's the Maine Red Claws' first pick.
3. Maine - Josh Davis, 6'8" F
The versatility theme continues, plus Scott would have a fit if Davis fell any lower than this. Davis is a really solid frontcourt player who can shoot threes, defend, pass and rebound, and he even played some center in Colorado's fast-paced offense last year. With Bozeman and Davis on board, I'm liking the roster already.
4. Springfield - Kedrick Brown, 6'6" G/F
Well I was dying to pick Josh Davis, aka Scott Schroeder's man crush, but lo and behold you've snapped him up. So instead I'm going with a solid NBA-caliber swingman. Brown was originally drafted by the Boston Celtics, but has played the last two seasons with the Arsenal. He's been a solid player, averaging around 15 points and 6 boards a game. Brown is capable of scoring big numbers when he's hot, blowing up for over 30 a few times last season. He's a seasoned vet at this point in his career, which is something any new franchise/coach could use. -- AD
*It should be noted that Brown has signed a contract to play overseas this season, which I didn't realize until I was putting this post together. I'll leave him on Ais's roster as a penalty for his not finishing this thing. I also should tell you that Aisander was responsible for cutting out all of the players who had already signed elsewhere, so it's possible that he was trying to pull a fast one on me.
5. Springfield - John Lucas III, 5'11" G
I was going to go with Eddie Gill here, but John Lucas really was solid off the bench for the 14ers last season, stepping it up when Gill was struggling. I like Lucas primarily because he's younger and a little bit quicker. As a point guard, he is a good, not great floor leader, who runs the offense smoothly and shot a blistering 45% from three last year. He's solid as a scoring and passing PG, averaging about 15 points and 4.5 assists last season. I also like Lucas because his assist-to-turnover ratio was 4:1, because hanging onto the ball is an important part of the game, no matter what Will Conroy might tell you. -- AD
6. Maine - Eddie Gill, 6'1" G
Lucas may be younger and quicker, but I like Gill to run the point for my team. It's true that he's had some stints with the New Jersey Nets, who the Armor are affiliated with this year, but I think first-year head coach Austin Ainge will appreciate having a savvy veteran running his offense and getting everyone in the right place. Gill sometimes settles for three-pointers a little too often, but he finished third in the D-League in assists last season both on a per-game and per-season basis, and there's the added bonus of him being a decent midseason call-up option for the Celtics should their search for a backup point guard prove fruitless.
7. Maine - Marcus Campbell, 7'0" C
Marcus Campbell, 7'0" C - I guess someone has to draft a center, and Campbell's the best available. He was third in the D-League last year in rebounds per minute (just ahead of Kentrell Gransberry) and he's a decent shotblocker as well. He's 27, so this is probably as good as it gets for Campbell, and he doesn't get to the line quite as often as you'd like your big man to, but he'd give the Red Claws a solid inside game to go with their skilled perimeter players.
8. Springfield - Kentrell Gransberry, 6'9" F/C
Well it's official, the pickings are getting slightly slim. But I'll go ahead and take Gransberry, who is your typically undersized center with some weight issues. But there is some upside with Gransberry. If he can shed some weight and work on his footwork I think he's got a shot at being a decent bench rebounder/garbage scorer. He did not exactly light up the D-League last year, but he's a solid rotation player at this point. -- AD
9. Springfield - Billy Thomas, 6'5" G
Thomas is a vet, and will give you some solid play as either a starter or off the bench. And it can never hurt to have a guy with NBA experience and a nice shooting touch. Thomas is not always a consistent scoring threat, but when he's on he can be a great asset to any team. I think he's a nice catch at this point in the draft. -- AD
10. Maine - Marcus Taylor, 6'3" G
Taylor was a high school All-American; that's how far back we have to go with some of the players left in the draft. Taylor played only three games with the Arsenal after signing with them in February, but he scored 28 points in those three games and had some decent per-minute numbers. Hopefully with some more playing time he can serve as a solid 2-guard.
11. Maine - Ray Reed, 5'11" G
Reed was a combo guard at Cal State-Fullerton, and while he's been transitioning to more of a straight point guard that versatility may come in handy. He was also supposedly the Titans' best backcourt defender (according to the team's website, which is why I say "supposedly"), which is nice, though with his size I don't expect a ton of that in the D-League. Reed led the Arsenal in assists on a per-minute basis and doesn't turn the ball over too much, so I think he'll be a nice bench player for my Red Claws team. I have to say, I'm really starting to like this team I'm putting together.
12. Springfield - Malick Badiane, 6'10 C
This is where Ais dropped out. Badiane still has a lot of work to do on his game, but I'm not sold on Gransberry as a player who can give a lot of minutes at this point so Springfield needs another center to share time. Hopefully Badiane can continue to develop his athleticism (he'll occasionally spring for double-digit rebounds) into consistent production.
13. Springfield - Noel Felix, 6'8" F
In case Badiane doesn't work out or Gransberry can't stay out of foul trouble, Noel Felix should step in as a solid interior defender. He's not a great rebounder, but he can block some shots and his scoring has improved over the last two seasons.
14. Maine - Jamar Brown, 6'9" F
Jamar Brown was the third-string center for the 14ers last season (or maybe fourth-string, depending on whether you call Josh Davis the backup), and he has as much propensity for foul trouble as Gransberry does, but Brown also grabbed more rebounds per-minute last season than guys like Erik Daniels or Jasper Johnson, and the fact that I can draft that kind of rebounding ability this late in the draft shows how much I'm dominating this thing.
15. Maine - Andre Patterson, 6'8" F
I was trying to decide between Patterson and Ronald Allen, since the Red Claws as I've drafted them could use someone to fill in at small forward, and their stats are pretty similar. Eerily similar, in fact, at least on a per-minute basis. Patterson has a better field goal shooting percentage, though, so I'll take him. It looks like I win this round as well.
16. Springfield - Geno Carlisle, 6'3" G
Springfield needs a bench scorer and a backup shooting guard, so this is an easy pick. Carlisle doesn't do much besides shoot, and while his .375 three-point shooting percentage is good but not great, it's still pretty decent for the eighth round of an expansion draft.
17. Springfield - Ronald Allen, 6'9" F
While I made it seem like taking Patterson over Allen is a big victory, I should reiterate that they're very similar numbers-wise, and Allen got more starts last year. He's inconsistent, but still solid enough to be a contributor for this Springfield team.
18. Maine - Dabo Kabov, 6'5" F
I have no idea what kind of player Kabov is. He played in 10 games for the Arsenal last year and never made more than one field goal, and shot only five total free throws. If there's an upside he also never turned the ball over more than once in a game. But, it was around this time that I realized there weren't enough players to fill out ten rounds, so while Kabov doesn't look like a contributor at this point, I'm sure that Austin Ainge's legendary teaching skills can mold him into a useful player.
19. Maine - Dominique Coleman, 6'3" G
Yep, I went ahead and did it. Like I said, I needed to find a few more players, and Ais drafted a guy headed overseas a lot earlier. So the Red Claws will draft Coleman's rights as a longshot in hopes that he doesn't take a liking to Belgium and comes on back to the US. My crush on Coleman's game is well-documented at this point, but in short he can rebound, shoot threes, distribute the ball as needed, pick up some steals, and he made RU's All-Defensive team last year to boot.
20. Springfield - Kirk Walters, 6'11" C
Walters is a center who doesn't rebound particularly well, but Springfield needed another backup big and this is the last pick. Walters has decent size for a center, so despite the fact that he wasn't much of a rebounder at the University of Arizona either, perhaps there's some potential in there that just needs to be tapped into.
Let's review the draft:
|Aisander Arsenal||Jon Red Claws|
|James Mays||Cedric Bozeman|
|Kedrick Brown||Josh Davis|
|John Lucas III||Eddie Gill|
|Kentrell Gransberry||Marcus Campbell|
|Billy Thomas||Marcus Taylor|
|Malick Badiane||Ray Reed|
|Noel Felix||Jamar Brown|
|Geno Carlisle||Andre Patterson|
|Ronald Allen||Dabo Kabov|
|Kirk Walters||Dominique Coleman|
I think it's pretty clear who "won" this draft (hint: me). The Arsenal ended up with some talented players like Mays and Lucas and Badiane, but even without Dominique Coleman, I think the Red Claws ended up with a really solid roster, one that would have a chance at seriously competing in the Eastern conference. But we'll see how the real teams do tomorrow.