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MAMBINO 2014 NBA Mock Draft

The time is upon us once again MAMBINites: the NBA Draft, a haven for hoophead nerds everywhere, is finally here.
This particular year’s edition has been through all sorts of permutations–once called the greatest draft since 2003, expectations have since been tapered. Bloggers and writers projected no less than five franchise-caliber superstars coming into the NBA this June, but as the NCAA season wore on, it was apparent that this wasn’t going to be the epic class we thought.
Nevertheless, the MAMBINO crew is just as jakked up for this year’s annual rite of passage as we ever are. This draft may not have a James-Wade-Anthony-Bosh-type cache, but it is certainly filled with difference makers and All-Stars. We’ve racked up our selections for lottery picks 1-14, giving you a solid profile of what WE think Thursday’s event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn will look like.
Full disclosure: we wrote this one up a week ago, but Joel Embiid’s foot injury threw our entire post into disarray. In many ways, this is the MAMBINO 2014 NBA Mock Draft 2.0, but we’re proceeding in this new and daring world where a 7-footer has foot and back problems. New AND daring!
With the 1st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Jabari Parker from Duke University
El Miz: The Joel Embiid njury should change nothing. If I was the GM of the Cavs and my boss was not Dan G, then Embiid would be the pick. I’ll roll the dice on the injury Wheel of Fortune for the player with the most upside by far in the draft. But Dan G does not want an injured center who may not play until the calendar turns to 2015. Dan G wants to win and win soon, and “he is sick of winning the lottery”! He makes this clear, banging out late night e-mails in Sans Serif asking “who will win rookie of the year, please advise” and “do any of these guys have asthma, please advise.”… Read more...

MAMBINO’s NBA Mock Draft, Part 2

Yesterday, we hit you with the first part of our 2013 NBA Mock Draft, going through and selecting on behalf of the lottery teams. Today in part 2, we’ll mock the rest of the first round. Onward!
With the 15th pick, the Milwaukee Bucks would be thrilled to select Shabazz Muhammad, forward from UCLA. 
AO: The Bucks are in NBA no mans land, just good enough to make the playoffs and be swept. That’s not where you want to be.  There are lots of rumblings about the potential re-signings, or non signings, of the overrated back court of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.  Assuming one of those two will be back (max), and the hilarious offensive-ineptitude of their frontcourt, the Bucks have a strong need for scoring across the board.  Shabazz is a guy who was rated #1 in this draft for a long period.  His quick one year tenure at UCLA was forgettable, but no one doubts this is one of the most skilled guys in the draft.  He can score, handle and shoot.  Passing and defense are another issue, but at #15, the Bucks would be lucky to grab someone who could potentially lead their team in scoring.… Read more...

MAMBINO’s NBA Mock Draft, Part 1

With an epic NBA Finals in the books and new legacies defined, the most exciting part of the season continues on with the 2013 NBA Draft.


Most prognosticators have called this weakest draft since Kenyon Martin, Darius Miles and the other dregs of the NBA sewer system bogged up our beloved L in 2000. However, what I’m seeing is a talent pool that might not have a definite superstar in it’s upper echelons, but rather a sizeable amount of solid role players and borderline All-Stars. Not too shabby.


To sate our endless appetite for anything smelling like the NBA, us hoophead junkies assembled like Voltron this week to do our annual mock draft. We all were assigned teams and told to get into the minds of each team’s GM, and pick not only along talent, but also need. The MAMBINO crew will be there in person this Thursday to see what we got right, what we got terribly wrong and yes, if we can boo David Stern as lustily with the 1st pick as we do the 30th. It’s the Commissioner’s last draft before his retirement, so we’ll make sure to emerge from Barclays Center with our vocal chords raw. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for some in-arena perspective @TheGreatMambino. Today we’ll cover the lottery picks in part 1, and tomorrow we’ll do the rest of the first round in part 2.


Without further ado….let’s go!


With the number 1 pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett, forward from UNLV


AO: Obviously, lots of rumors surrounding this pick.  Looking at it from a pure “need” standpoint, Bennett is the right mix of safe + potential.  Sure, Cleveland doesn’t have a foundation in the middle, although Anderson Varajeo and Tyler Zeller are both competent, the former being a borderline All-Star when healthy.  But I’m not sold on the bigs in this draft.


Noel and Len have both been rumored to be the target for CLE, but they are both projects, not ready to come in and contribute right away.  CLE is set at the 1 and 2 with Mr. Irving and Mr. Waiters.  The front court is mostly unproven and young.  Why would you want more of that?  Why assume that risk of drafting a bust, especially when everyone agrees the ceilings are pretty low w/ Noel and Len.  Instead, I’d take a guy in Bennett who can play the 3 and leverage his size at that position.  He’s a good enough shooter to be a legit 3, but will also be capable of playing the stretch 4 for at least some minutes.  Lastly, I think Dan Gilbert and co like to play things close to the vest (except when the best player in the NBA leaves his team on national TV, then, yea, he gets a bit “public”).  No one saw Waiters coming last year.  Who knows what Tricky Dan has behind his bowtie?


With the 2nd pick, the Orlando Magic select Nerlens Noel, center from the University of Kentucky.

KOBEsh: A debatable number 1 pick, Noel (if healthy) could be an absolute defensive destroyer for any NBA team. Orlando has found a hidden gem in Nikola Vucevic, whose rebounding is certainly underrated, but can’t be depended upon as shot blocking intimidation in the paint. Pairing him with Noel could make for a formidable Magic frontline, with Nerlens serving as the Tyson Chandler (the best case scenario, by far for Noel) to Vucevic’s offensive capabilities. By drafting the center, Orlando is essentially punting next season (as Noel is still recovering from a torn ACL), and setting themselves up for another lottery pick in the STACKED 2014 Draft. Not a bad … Read more...

Basketball World Cup vs. Olympic Games vs. Champions League? A MAMBINO Debate

For the past 20 years, the Olympic tournament has been the preeminent form of international basketball competition here in America. However, over the rest of the world, the FIBA World Championships, held two years in between Summer Olympic Games, is held in the highest esteem as the most important international tourney. 

As player salaries increase and the competitive balance for basketball around the globe evens, several once-dormant debates have arisen around the advent of the recent games on London. Several NBA owners, as well as the Commissioner David Stern, have publicly called for a NBA-sponsored tournament, which would be a re-branded FIBA World Championship event, so that basketball could be given it’s “proper focus”, rather than lost amongst the myriad of Olympic events in a two week span. Most importantly, such a tournament would give the NBA control over the finances and profits of the “Basketball World Cup”, which would surely put owners at ease when watching their million-dollar assets take the floor in a non-profit making enterprise known as the Olympics. 

The debate rages on the airwaves and on the internet, and of course, MAMBINO is no different. A few of our writers are on an immense NBA e-mail chain whose length is literally thousands of e-mails long over several years. We’ve all wasted countless hours raving and ranting about our beloved L on this supreme procrastination tool, but from it arises pointed debates like the following string of call and responses. Read on as our argument spans the pros and cons of  World Cup of Hoops, a basketball “Champions League” and the proposed Under-23 rule. 

El Miz: I may be in the minority, but I think the NBA should definitely go ahead and push for a World Cup of Hoops. I don’t hear any soccer fans saying they wish there was no World Cup and that there should only be Olympic soccer. I don’t really see the downside — players, owners (re: the NBA) get to actually benefit financially from competing, and the sport itself would benefit (if done right, of course) from the spotlight shining SOLELY on the best professional basketball players once every four years instead of sharing it with the other Olympics (it’s been hard enough to even find basketball highlights).

If it were a FIBA mandate in conjunction with the NBA, I don’t think the Olympics would be an event where ONLY the US had an under-23 team. The Olympics are an amateur event and if EVERY team–China, USA, Russia, Spain, Argentina, etc.–sent their best 23 and under team along with a vet or two, that would be a fun and worthy tournament in its own right.

Everything I’ve read about the Olympics is its just like the NCAA — a small group of power brokers benefit financially in an outrageous disproportion to the athletes who compete.  These power brokers contribute little if any value and only are there in the first place because “its how things have always been.” More power to Commissioner David Stern, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the NBA, etc. to see the opportunity to have a World Cup of Hoops — have the first one all around Europe, have the second in China, have the third in South America, and have the fourth in the US of A.  Make sure that you acquire the correct distribution so that people can follow on their iPad, on their laptop, on their computer — make box scores available everywhere, highlights super easy to get. I don’t see why that would be any less compelling th

2012 NBA Mock Draft, 2.0

I’m not sure why I keep calling these “Mock” Drafts. The Mambino way is never to actually predict what these pro teams will do. As I’ve said word for word in past posts, doing so is an exercise in stupidity. The NBA roundtable knows more basketball than your average fan, but we don’t pretend to have access to team war rooms, private prospect workouts, and my favorite, “sources.”

So what we do here is put on our GM caps and pretend like we run the basketball operations of a franchise. Below, we will compare our picks to expert mock drafts, which provide the best glimpse of what the teams will actually do tomorrow night in Newark. And by “we,” I mean our three regulars, KOBEsh, The CDP, and myself, and contributors El Miz and 6 on Hibbert.

Version 1 of this Draft took a format of alternating picks. For this second and final post on the 2012 NBA Draft, the 5 of us made consensus picks via majority rule. Check it.

We’ll start at the #2 selection, currently (but maybe not ultimately) owned by the Charlotte Bobcats. Anthony Davis to the New Orleans Hornets at #1 has been a lock even before Davis declared. Now he spends his time meeting kids in the Bayou and having playdates with head coach Monty Williams, a la Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich in 1997. “Joining” us will be Chad Ford of ESPN and the heads at
Team MAMBINO Chad Ford, ESPN
CHA Thomas Robinson Thomas Robinson Thomas Robinson
WAS Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Bradley Beal Bradley Beal
CLE Bradley Beal Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Harrison Barnes
SAC Andre Drummond Harrison Barnes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
POR Dion Waiters Damian Lillard Damian Lillard
After Davis, the draft is wide open, for two reasons. First, the Bobcats have needs at every single position, although I guess you could say point guard is locked up by the disappointing Kemba Walker. Second, because they have so many needs (even after trading for fellow UConn disappointment Ben Gordon), rumors are constantly floating regarding Charlotte trading down in the first round. And why not? Players 2-5 can make the argument that they should go right after Davis, and two of them, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal, may one day be the best player in this class. But for now, Mambino’s gonna go with Thomas Robinson, in agreement with Ford and

The most eye-opening difference concerns Portland’s pick at #6, where the Mambino consensus has selected Syracuse combo guard Dion Waiters instead of traditional point guard Damian Lillard from Weber State. Portland does need a true quarterback, with Raymond Felton’s jelly rolls on his way out of town. However, they also need scoring in the backcourt: Wesley Matthews didn’t really improve off of a promising season 2 years ago, and Jamal Crawford will definitely be ripping nets elsewhere. Ford himself describes Waiters as a “scoring machine,” and at 6’4″, Waiters would reach his NBA potential by playing the point. Of course, he could just blitzkrieg the league as a scoring 1 like Russell Westbrook, which would be totally fine as well.

GS Harrison Barnes Andre Drummond Andre Drummond
TOR Jeremy Lamb Dion Waiters Dion Waiters
DET John Henson John Henson John Henson
NO Damian Lillard Austin Rivers Austin Rivers
POR Meyers Leonard Tyler Zeller Meyers Leonard

Mambino thoroughly enjoys trashing Harrison “The Brand” Barnes, he of the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied his choice t

A Five-Game Series: Early Thoughts on the 2012 NBA Finals

Two games in, this Finals is shaping up to be everything we thought it’d be: exciting, epic, historic and potentially, dare I say, one of the greatest of all-time. This could all be a premature evaluation, but if you came to this blog looking for even-handed opinions rather than bold statements, then maybe you should head over to a lesser organization.

The series is knotted at one game a piece, and we’re down to what amounts to a five-game death match for the NBA title. On Sunday, both the Heat and the Thunder are headed to Miami for three games, and then (basketball Gods permitting), back to Oklahoma for two more.

To get the pulse on the most important storylines arising from this week’s games, we’ve assembled the MAMBINO basketball-heads to break down what we’ve seen, and what’s coming, roundtable style. Read on!

Russ Westbrook has seemingly turned into a modern-day AI over these playoffs, averaging 21/5/6, on 39% shooting in the last 10 games. Is he hurting the Thunder with this high-volume, low efficiency scoring?  
BockerKnocker: Conventional wisdom (and ironically, hero ball) dictates that the best player should take the most shots. But while everybody will pile on Russell Westbrook for his poor shooting percentages, the Thunder have compiled a 25-6 record this season when Robin has more field goal attempts than Batman. And in Game 2 specifically, when Kevin Durant left the game in foul trouble, it became harder to tell Westbrook that he shouldn’t be shooting the ball.

Is he hurting OKC when he misses a shot? Yes, but the kid more than makes up for it by BEING THE BEST ATHLETE IN THE NBA. Why must we require a point guard to be in a box? Pass-first PGs are put on such a pedestal nowadays; Steve Nash won two MVPs without playing a lick of defense! Westbrook is the premiere antithesis of the old guard’s theory, yet the dude still dropped 18 dimes in these first 2 games, while committing only 4 turnovers. Can’t we celebrate him for doing things that no other point guard can do, like tip dunking Durant’s missed layup last night? These things give him an excuse to wear those ludicrous, no-lens Sally Jessy Raphael specs and the Urkel getup.

Okay, fine, there is absolutely no excuse for looking like that. But lay off the man. He’ll be just fine.

The Thunder have battled back from deep deficits, with a successful come back in Game 1 and coming damn close in Game 2. How is Scott Brooks getting his team down so much early?

Thunderstolt: Anyone who watches the Thunder consistently throughout the season knows they often don’t have the best starts (essentially playing 2-on-5 on offense with Thabo, Perk, and Ibaka will do that) and its been glaring now with the bright lights of the Finals.  Brooks justifies the starting lineup (which has not changed since Kendrick Perkins was acquired last season) with the fact that the defensive-minded unit outscores its opponent by an average of 7 points per 100 possessions even though the it is one of the worst offensively (24th in the league according to stats).  Essentially, Brooks trades off marginally bad offense for fantastic defense.
Hey Thunderstolt, I own you!

Thabo and Serge both had huge individual games in the WCF (Thabo in Game 3 & Serge in Game 4) but those seem so long ago because neither one has been able to replicate anything close to that since.  That won’t cut it in the playoffs when lineups not seen the entire season are used.  Spoelstra used a starting lineup last night of Chalmers, Wade, LeBr


2012 NBA Mock Draft

On Wednesday night, the lottery results were released, with the New Orleans Hornets coming out on top as the night’s biggest winner. In true Mambino fashion, we present to you the first version of the 2012 NBA Mock Draft, consisting of all lottery selections.

As always, this mock draft is based on what these teams “should” do, as opposed to what we think the teams “will” do. To choose the latter over the former is an exercise in futility, as readers of our NFL Mock Drafts know quite well.

Participating in v1 are your regular TGM cohorts, KOBEsh and I. Obviously. But we have some help, in the form of irregular correspondent El Miz, and brand new guest poster, 6 on Hibbert. Any NBA fan or recent Georgetown alum/student knows about the transformation of Roy Hibbert, who earned his first All-Star nod as the Center for the Indiana Pacers this past season. Well our boy 6oH, as you may guess, scored 6 points on Mr. Hibbert not too long ago. Eat it, Roy.

And now, onto the picks:

We spend so much time on the Brow.
But good Lord, check out those teeth!

1. BockerKnocker selects Anthony Davis, Kentucky PF/C, for New Orleans

Easiest pick to make. So easy that I wrote this little thing before the Lottery results were announced, and so easy that this pick will probably be skipped in version 2. The conspiracy theories have started ever since Adam Silver revealed that the Charlotte Bobcats, the league’s worst team by a mile, would be picking 2nd overall. What’s wrong with NOLA picking 1st?


Let’s just move on. Davis’ athleticism, and therefore potential, are screaming off the charts. He is agile enough to wreak havoc defensively, but what makes this kid so unique is his ability to stay with guys on the perimeter while also patrolling the paint. He swats a good number of shots and alters even more. That’s what happens when you grow SEVEN inches from junior to senior year in high school. He’s been playing guard all his life and already knows the basics of playing free safety. And who would want to get close to that devastating germ-infested eyesore of an eyebrow anyways?

2. 6 on Hibbert selects Andre Drummond, Connecticut C, for Charlotte

This might be a slightly unconventional pick, especially for the Bobcats, who always take the best NCAA player available (see Walker, Kemba; May, Sean; and Morrison, Adam). However, the Bobcats are the worst team since the Washington Generals and they need to swing for the fences. How much does MKG help this team? He doesn’t. How much does Thomas Robinson help this team? He doesn’t.

Their only choice is to hope and dream that Andre Drummond mixes Hasheem Thabeet’s raw talent with Emeka Okafor’s IQ. I wouldn’t bet on it but it’s high risk-high reward time for MJ and his laughingstock of a squad. They need a franchise player and this is their only choice.

3. KOBEsh selects Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky SG/SF, for Washington

The complete makeover of the Washington Wizards continues.

Looking at this Wiz team, the best case scenario in this draft would have been Anthony Davis, but unfortunately for everyone in the District it was not to be. However, GM Ernie Grunfeld has very clearly signaled to the Zards faithful that boneheads like Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, and Gilbert Arenas will no longer be tolerated. Instead, hard-working hustle players like Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, and Nene are going to be valued despite lesser skills and lower ceilings.

MKG could be the …