The Nicholson Watch - Version 3

Nicholson's stock could be rising according to one NBA Draft site. (Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE)

In this version of the Nicholson Watch, Can Ball Ray looks to another NBA Draft site and sees a marked shift up the chart for Andrew and gives a brief idea of why he thinks being selected could work for him ...

So we have another installment of the Nicholson Watch and this time we shift our eyes to NBADraft.net.

There seems to be a huge difference in locations between the mock Draft's of Draft Express and NBADraft.net. That doesn't mean it's a 20 spot difference but seven spots, the difference between 30 and 23 is still very stark. NBADraft.net has Andrew Nicholson at 23 in their latest mock Draft going to Atlanta and this looks like an intriguing spot and situation.

Now according to this list of Hawks contracts on Hoops Hype, there are only six players under contract until next season. Of those players obligated to be in uniform three of them are legit frontcourt players: Josh Smith, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. As themselves, they could form a pretty decent combo for any team. The issue I see for Nicholson is that he would likely project as a stretch four right now in the NBA and there are two very good players who already take that spot on the Hawks.

Smith is the incumbent at the position and though Horford is more five than four, he can man that spot if need be. That would leave Nicholson in a minutes game. That may, I'm sorry that will, stunt any playing time. Playing behind accomplished, big money contract guys tends to do that. That would mean that watching the game from the bench, possibly in street clothes, for long stretches could be a foreseeable reality.

The upside to all this is the Nicholson gets to play against and learn from Smith, who is an athletic, active defender, and Horford who is a voracious rebounder and low post scorer. Smith can match his speed and quickness while Horford can muscle him all over the floor. That is a huge lift to the Bell curve he'll go through and playing minor minutes will help him ease into the NBA game nicely while his frame gets stronger and he gets used to the speed of the game. He would only get better, if anything by osmosis, going up against these two daily in practice.

Overall, I think that this would be a good situation for Nicholson. With Horford having had the crazy injury this season that could possibly sideline him beyond the start of next season in a worst case scenario, Andrew has a chance to step into a larger role than what would be expected if Horford is ready to go. Either way, this wouldn't be that bad a spot for him. The Hawks could be in full rebuilding mode when Nicholson gets there so the pressure to win/perform could be lessened somewhat which could do nothing but help his development in year one.

Note: The site has Kris Joseph heading to Cleveland at number 34. Interesting. Though I'd think that the Cavs need all the help they can get, I don't think adding another rookie wing to a team lacking any significant leadership or experience (sorry 'Twan and AP) is the answer.

Note Two: The site has Robert Sacre going to New Jersey at 57. On a team with Brook Lopez, I don't know if a younger version of him would help particularly when you have Sheldon Williams and Johan Petro right behind him. It could be good if gets to play but if Lopez is back from injury and Williams is still considered a basketball player, time will be tight.

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