SLAMonline Mock Draft: B.J. Mullens, No. 15
Pistons pick to plug big hole in the middle.
With the 15th pick in the 2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Detroit Pistons select….
B.J. Mullens. As the general manager of a club again at a crossroads I chose to go with Mullens because I’m convinced he’s the best at his position notwithstanding Hasheem Thabeet. And what the team needs from this rebuilding process is a big man to hold down a soon-to-be undersized frontcourt.
Admittedly there were a few other players-of-interest ahead of the big man like Jeff Teague and Eric Maynor, two exceptional true point guards who would undoubtedly bolster the backcourt but because of the huge hole opening up with the inevitable departure of Rasheed Wallace and perhaps Antonio McDyess, this team desperately needs size up front. The expiration of Sheed’s contract frees up a lot of money to go after a younger but mature athlete of his caliber from another team thereby lessening the pressure on B.J. to make an impact out the gate. As was said before, all options are still on the table as it relates to dealing other players we can derive value out of for trades.
B.J.’s size, length and athleticism were a major factor in the decision to take him as the first pick but his weakness on defense and questionable perimeter game led us to consider a few other big men who were available at this stage of the game. Power forward Earl Clark was at the top of the list because of the mismatch potential he’d present to many opponents with his size and length and his awesome perimeter game. Like Mullens, Clark can run the floor and finish in transition where he’s most explosive and affective now. But of course, he was selected before we could get a shot at him. The same could be said of Austin Daye of Gonzaga. He has considerably more experience at the collegiate level than Mullens and could provide more opportunities for mismatches but his size could also be a detriment as it prevents him from being a strong finisher and weak defender against bigger and stronger opponents. His rehabilitated knee was also a major factor in looking elsewhere because questions remain as to whether he could add the necessary bulk to his thin frame without it taking away from his effectiveness on the perimeter. Wake Forest’s James Johnson was another good look for his inside game that’s reminiscent of Adrian Dantley and Mark Aguirre but ultimately we were also too concerned about him being undersized at an already stacked position.
B.J. has his downside to be sure but we feel his deficiencies are surmountable with the proper amount of attention from our developmental staff and focus and dedication on his part. The strides he has already taken to improve his passing and play in the post as well as his pick-and-roll play demonstrate that he has what it takes to become a better basketball player in order to contribute to his team on all fronts. His lack of experience is not of major concern because he’ll get the necessary experience through plenty of burn time.
With a tremendous upside and the capacity to grow with the proper training–something we feel he hasn’t adequately gotten at this juncture of his young career–B.J. is a gifted athlete with a relatively mature and easygoing nature and would make a great addition to our locker room. His adverse upbringing in nearby Columbus was rife with challenges that he’s overcome to get himself this far on his natural talent. He has strong hands and a quality touch and he’s light on his feet and can finish at the rim. At 260 his frame could withstand another 15 to 20 pounds without slowing him down. At 275 he’ll have more of an advantage when it comes to establishing an advantage inside on both ends of the floor. He has more going for him than Thabeet did at this point in his career although he’s nowhere near a defensive presence so one of the tasks will be to develop his all-around offensive polish and expand his range while backing up a more experienced veteran.
|2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft Results|
|1||L.A. Clippers||Blake Griffin|
|2||Memphis Grizzlies||Hasheem Thabeet|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||Ricky Rubio|
|4||Sacramento Kings||Brandon Jennings|
|5||Washington Wizards||Jordan Hill|
|6||Minnesota Timberwolves||Demar DeRozan|
|7||Golden State Warriors||James Harden|
|8||New York Knicks||Stephen Curry|
|9||Toronto Raptors||Tyreke Evans|
|10||Milwaukee Bucks||Jonny Flynn|
|11||New Jersey Nets||DeJuan Blair|
|12||Charlotte Bobcats||Terrence Williams|
|13||Indiana Pacers||Earl Clark|
|14||Phoenix Suns||Jrue Holiday|
|15||Detroit Pistons||B.J. Mullens|