You think your team is gonna load up the bench with another big star only to let it whither away? What? No? You’re not Ginebra? Okay.
Do you know what your team ACTUALLY needs and not just firing off blank “I think he’ll do good because…“?
If you don’t, well, let me help you there. How this mock draft is set up is through roster needs (doesn’t apply to Barako) and drafting the best talent available (which applies to loaded teams).
1. Talk N Text
Actual Need: Center, rim protector
Top of the Head Pick: Moala Tautuaa
No-brainer Pick: Moala Tautuaa
Mo has been waylaying people in the PBA D-League but we’re sorry that we cannot provide the stats (because you know, PBA). It’s suffice to say that Tautuaa can be even better than Asi Taulava who relied purely on brute force to power the then-PhonePals to titles. Tautuaa has a post game that actually features footwork that only JuneMar Fajardo can beat. He knows how to throw his weight around the paint or maybe that’s because aside from Ola Adeogun, there’s really no one to match up with his mass inside and around the hoop.
Actual Need: Franchise player
Top of the Head Pick: Ray-Ray Parks
No-brainer Pick: Ray-Ray Parks
KIA has lots of holes to fill up. They already have somebody who can be their point guard for like five years (LA Revilla), an able, starter-level center (Kyle Pascual) and two forwards who can provide bench depth (JR Cawaling and Kenneth Ighalo). They really lack a go-to scorer and face of the franchise. Enter the son of the late multiple Best Import awardee, Bobby Ray Parks, Ray-Ray. He has proven in the UAAP that he can carry an offense for major stretches of the game. Although he still lacks in the feel side especially when it comes to actually involving teammates, KIA can do no wrong by giving him a cap and team jacket. True, Parks hasn’t shot the ball well since his freshman year in the UAAP (his FG% bottomed out in a drastic fashion: 41.7 to 39.4 to a horrid 35.9). But he has the size to be an overpowering wing that can grab rebounds (7.4 for his UAAP career) and dish it from time to time (3.4 a game in three years against 2.7 throwaways).
Actual Need: Point Guard or Center
No-brainer Pick: Baser Amer
You start a team by having a good or a great point guard. It’s not Christmas everyday but Meralco taking Baser Amer would be catching Santa Claus in the flesh. Rosario deserves a look here but Meralco’s lineup already features a logjam at the forward spots. Earl Thompson should also be in their radar, but in the end, Baser will be the answer to the league’s worst point guard lot. Ever. Amer can either start ahead of Cortez or become his understudy because get this, after Cortez, the Meralco PGs are: Jai Reyes, Anjo Caram, and by all that is holy, Simon Atkins. Reyes is too small (mind you, I love Jai as a Blue Eagle, but his build lacks in the pros). Caram can pass, but cannot shoot consistently to be a threat. Atkins cannot do either of those things. So yes, why not draft an almost six-foot point guard who is a traditional pass-first guy and is a walking triple-double threat. (Hi Ryan Buenafe! I miss your game so bad.)
Actual Need: Belief in the next generation
Top of the Head Pick: Troy Rosario
No-brainer Pick: Earl Scottie Thompson
I cannot, for the life of me, imagine another Perpetual Help superstar get snubbed in the first round (remember Juneric Baloria?). Or for that matter, drafting a prized combo guard only to nail him to the bench and deem him as unfit (James Forrester). Sure they can add height by drafting Rosario. But they already have a Japeth Aguilar (bless his maturity and mentality), Greg Slaughter, and Rodney Brondial. That’s another logjam situation for the poor kid. Now, Caguioa is not getting any younger, Tenorio has lost his balls, and Urbiztondo cannot shoot consistently to save his career. What do you do? Draft the next best guard prospect in Earl Scottie Thompson. You cannot categorize him as a point or a shooting guard. The NCAA MVP does the roles of a ball distributor and offense initiator so well that it is easy to overlook his explosiveness to the basket and ability to score. He terrorized NCAA defenses (who are as rugged as they come) and made everything look easy when he goes for a beeline at the hoop.
5. Rain or Shine
Actual Need: Less brutish tactics and more basketball
Top of the Head Pick: Troy Rosario
No-brainer Pick: Troy Rosario
Rain or Shine is the best situation for Rosario. The Painters lack an offensive big man to pair up with Raymond Almazan. Enter Troy. The former Bulldog is primed to make a significant leap as a pro. His UAAP career stats might not have been stellar considering the stock he is receiving (7.1ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.2apg, 0.5bpg, 43%FG, 63%FT). His best season came during his senior year where he clocked 11.3ppg and 8.4rpg to merit at least a mention in the Top 5 players of Season 78. The years before that, it was either he got injured or the coach just plain shot himself in the foot by playing Javillonar ahead of him, inexplicably. Why is Rosario so coveted by most RoS fans? Well, his range stretches out to at least 20 feet, giving Almazan plenty of room to grab those offensive rebounds. He’s also one of the best in crashing the defensive glass in his last UAAP season, and you can’t deny the inherent mobility he displayed for a guy who is almost 6’8″. He does have to bulk up to be able to keep in pace with the punishment in the PBA without hampering his speed and agility. But make no mistake, Paul Lee may just love his new Pick N Roll partner and Yeng Guiao can have his Extra Rice boys mainly play off the pine.
Actual Need: Shooting Guard
Top of the Head Pick: Garvo Lanete
No-brainer Pick: Garvo Lanete
Finally my boy is in the Draft! Lanete has been continuously delaying his entry to the Pros to the point where it might hurt his chances. Nonetheless, now is probably the best year for the former King Lion to join. This will be a homer pick for NLEX but hey, Chico‘s younger bro is more than ready to play. Standing at a generous 6’2″ with a stocky build, Lanete bullied wing players around in his time with Frankie Lim’s ravenous San Beda side. I’ll go out on a limb and say that he’s the best two-way prospect for the class of 2015 as well. Who do you think took out Ronald Pascual defensively in the Stags’ last run to the title? He also has one thing that no other draftee in the class of 2015 has: the clutch gene. Ever since his college days, Lanete has always had plays designed for him to close out teams. Too bad we don’t have the stats for this guy but we’re not second-guessing this pick.
Actual Need: Asi’s apprentice
Top of the Head Pick: Arnold Van Opstal (had he decided to stay)
No-brainer Pick: Norbert Torres
The Bear was highly touted coming out of high school after he anchored National Youth teams left and right in the middle. As an Archer, his offensive skills were displayed to be underwhelming, never being fully developed to the extent that he had to always face up. Now, we’re not throwing shade at Torres but he is a young clone of Asi Taulava and Enrico Villanueva who both relied on brute force under the basket to create space, smash and crash. For what it’s worth, Torres was an excellent glass eater as an Archer and that alone can be of good use especially when he gets paired up with Aldrech Ramos. Assuming of course he isn’t setting up for his favorite top of the key three pointer. Yikes.
Actual Need: Younger James Ya-wait there’s Maliksi
Top of the Head Pick: Glen Khobuntin
No-brainer Pick: Glen Khobuntin
Coming out of the Letran Squires, Khobuntin was a goddamned beast. He was a walking double-double. Only he faltered in his first years as a Bulldog, having a tough time transitioning as the biggest guy and go-to fella on the court to one of the normal-sized forwards and role players. His four-year NU career was underwhelming (4.7 ppg, 4.1rpg, 35.8% FG), and I’m putting that lightly after having seen his true self as a Squire. The young man likes to play rough and crashed the boards surprisingly in his last UAAP season. His motor is questionable but if he transforms into Sakuragi 2.0, the 8.4ppg and 7.4rpg he posted last year may just be scratching the surface.
Actual Need: Jared Dilinger injury insurance
Top of the Head Pick: Aljon Mariano
No-brainer Pick: Chris Newsome
OH Lord. Picking Mariano over Newsome is a nightmare itself. Mariano has never been the same since his choke job in the Finals of Season 76. Mind you, he was mighty impressive that year to the tune of 12.8ppg, 7.1rpg and a UAAP career-high 2.4apg. He bottomed out last year at 11.0ppg, 5.5rpg and 35% shooting. If there ever was a fall from grace, this is it. Meralco can get the same out of Newsome, who has a better upside at this point of his career. His numbers over two years are: 13.3ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.6apg and a combined 1.6blk/stl while shooting a highly-efficient 47.3% from the field and an above average 37.2% from downtown. If he drops this far, Meralco might just have stole a gem.
Actual Need: MVP Abueva of San Sebastian
Top of the Head Pick: Maverick Ahanmisi
No-brainer Pick: Aljon Mariano
Ahanmisi might’ve given the Aces some much-needed height in the back court. But what I really felt was the weakness of Alaska was down at the Small Forward spot. This is where Mariano can come in and maybe redeem himself for that poop of a senior year at UST. Alaska also has Rome Dela Rosa, but he lacks the offensive polish and fundamentals that Mariano possesses. He might make a good back-up or a 3 & D option but not starter material like Mariano. Also, Mariano will make a better pro than Nico Salva.
Actual Need: Adamson Alex Nuyles
Top of the Head Pick: Roi Sumang
No-brainer Pick: Roi Sumang
They already have Brian Heruela. But this late in the first round, you have to draft the best talent available. Now, Sumang will never be mentioned in the same breath as the Amers or Thompsons as best point guard of the nation, or the Jalalons for that matter. But he knows one thing where Blackwater totally lacks: scoring. Blackwater should totally trade for Jong Baloria, but whatever.
12. Rain or Shine
Actual Needs: Mentioned above plus a Gabe Norwood back-up
Top of the Head Pick: Maverick Ahanmisi
No-brainer Pick: Maverick Ahanmisi
Again, we apologize for not being able to provide you with the stats you want (NCAA, D-League). But Ahanmisi, the former Minnesota Gopher, has been making waves lately. He stands 6’2″, not far off from the generous 6’5″ Gabe has. But he can play either guard position with a little bit of wing. Defensively, he’s not yet on Norwood’s level, but given Yeng Guiao’s berating, he might get there sooner than later.