College, NBA / Apr 8, 2013 / 5:04 pm

Could Mitch McGary Be the No. 1 Overall Pick in the NBA Draft?

mitch mcgary

Serious question for the Dime community: If he declared, am I crazy to think that Michigan freshman Mitch McGary could potentially be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft?

I am trying, reeeally trying, to avoid buying into the hype surrounding Mitch’s meteoric rise over the past few weeks and to look at him objectively. The media, reliably starving for new stories and always willing to beat story angles to death, would have you believe that Mitch is the second coming of Bill Walton. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but if I am an NBA GM with No. 1 pick in the draft, I am taking a long look at Mitch McGary with that selection.

Before I get into McGary’s potential, let’s talk about the one thing that what we know about the rest of the draft field: It stinks. Look at any updated mock drafts that are out the from the industry’s most reliable sources – it’s a prospect crop that isn’t wowing anybody in any way. Alex Len? Shabazz Muhammed? Glenn Robinson III? All projected lottery picks. Trey Burke? Love the guy, can’t think of a more entertaining college basketball player to watch this season, but if you’re a 6-0 scoring guard, unless you’re explosively gifted like Allen Iverson, it’s not happening at the NBA level. Otto Porter? I was in the arena when G’Town got slapped by FGCU a few weeks ago, and Otto looked like he’d rather be playing checkers than saving the Hoyas’ season. And the popular No. 1 overall pick, Kansas swingman Ben McLeMore? Yep, he’s clearly intriguing, like a shorter Rudy Gay clone, but I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable burning a No. 1 overall pick on a guy who is clearly rich with physical gifts, but who is also wildly inconsistent and disappears for long stretches of important games (you could argue that’s because he is still figuring out what he’s capable of doing on a basketball court, but that’s for another post).

So that brings us to Mitch, a 6-10, 260-pound, athletic big who is also still figuring out what he can do on a basketball court, but who is also dominating when the lights are on. In that game Final Four game Saturday night against Syracuse, McGary was the best player in the arena, basically going by himself against Jim Boeheim‘s trees (guards and bigs). Our guy Trey was clearly bothered by the length of the ‘Cuse guards, a collection of guys who happen to be of the same general size and speed of most NBA guards/forwards. McGary though was excelling, for at least the fifth game in a row. And if he could knock down a few more of those short j’s, his offensive numbers would jump. Size, strength and touch – at the very least we know that McGary will likely kill in pre-draft workouts.

The only guys you could legitimately even make an argument for ahead of Mitch would be McLemore, Cody Zeller (tough 6-11 centers who can put the ball on the floor and knock down mid-range jumpers do not grow on trees), Nerlens Noel (though I think he’s too much of a gamble), and maybe Victor Oladipo.

If McGary goes out tonight and does work against Louisville‘s front line, specifically 6-11 junior Gorgui Dieng, you can’t tell me that your favorite NBA team would be better off taking 99% of the players in the draft mix over Mitch McGary.

All of that being said, Watch Mitch sing Justin Bieber in this video and you will likely disregard everything I just wrote:

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  • http://twitter.com/MojoHarden2 MoneyMakingMojo

    Damn so all you have to do is have 4 good games to be the 1st pick in the draft, I should of played basketball more because this has to be the craziest post I ever seen. This kid is good but he didn’t have any success the whole season has a great run in the tourney and he is the first pick in the draft. Does Dime do drug test because the more articles like this the more I’m going to slam online.com

  • DimeMag

    Really? So it’s crazy to think that NBA GMs would take a guy No. 1 after barely seeing him play against – but dominate – top competition? So we’re imagining Andrea Bargnani, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Yao Ming, and Kwame Brown? Especially in a universally weak draft class where one of the guys who might be taken No. 1 tore his ACL at the end of the season?

  • http://twitter.com/MojoHarden2 MoneyMakingMojo

    So you put a guy that average 5 and 5 as your number 1 pick and you purposely bring up the flaws of the others to justify your reasoning to putting a guy that didn’t even start number 1. Other freshman that did similar was Marvin Williams, Ed Davis, James Mcadoo and other bigs that had a nice tourney, guys like you hype them up then when they get picked high and don’t live up to the expectations you bash them. Really great way of providing the readers with somthing great to read smh.

  • DimeMag

    We never said we’re declaring him the No. 1 pick, just saying he’s played himself into that conversation. Pointing out the other guys’ flaws is to show how weak the class is overall, that there is no clear top pick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    i would go trey burke to be honest but very weak draft overall! not really sure who i would take 1 overall. love burke but he is not a number 1 overall. top 3 for sure thou!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.callihan1 Chris Callihan

    I think they were just giving you, reader, food for thought. Never said they’d actually pick him, just consider it

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.callihan1 Chris Callihan

    I love the dude, but I just think he’s too small. He’d need AI type athleticism to do in the league what he did in college. That being said, I hope I’m very wrong lol

  • Brad09′

    This is one of the worst articles I have ever read, bar none. Patrick Cassidy you should be in trouble for producing something this poor.

  • Brad09′

    To even think about him as a legit top 5 pic or Trey Burke is sooo crazy. Has anyone noticed these two lack athletic ability, lateral quickness or any real strength. Burke shot 35 percent in the tourney, great shooter I think not? What does McGary do that Psycho T didnt, those who say he played his way into the conversation, clearly dont get what it takes to be a number one pick

  • PJohnson

    McGary could very well be the #1 pick…in next year’s draft, assuming he has the dominant sophomore season that he’s likely to have. Yes, even with the expected stronger class next year, as long as he develops into a strong post defender who can stay out of foul trouble. And from a monetary perspective, staying would be the best decision for him. Assuming he gets drafted 10th this year, the rookie scale gives him ~$6mil over his first 3 years. If he goes 3rd next year, the rookie scale gives him ~$7.5mil over just his first two, so he’s already ahead at that point. He’d have to wait an extra year to get his bigger 2nd contract payout, but he’d get much better endorsement deals out of the gate being a top 3 draft pick and a publicly recognized commodity from playing a starring role at a school like Michigan.

  • pez

    “Really? So it’s crazy to think that NBA GMs would take a guy No. 1 after barely seeing him play against – but dominate – top competition?”

    Yes, it is. It’s ridiculous. Sure, you can contemplate anything you want. Nail as much jello to the wall as you care to. But it’s an absurd notion, even in a draft as weak as this one. He’s an average college player with good hustle. He had a nice stretch of five games, yes, against “top competition.” So why should we give that any more credence than the entire regular season when he was playing against — that’s right — top competition. He’s not even the best big man in the Big Ten. Adreian Payne, who has every bit of the motor McGary has, and a LOT more skill — including range. Don’t let me get in the way of your hammering, though…

  • pez

    Fair enough. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask that if you’re giving us “food for thought,” don’t make it regurgitated spam meatballs…