NBA 2010 Mock Draft:
With only one day left until the NBA Draft, I revive my annual tradition of projecting the field in the first round. This should be one of the most chaotic drafts in recent memory, and I’m thinking that if I get 7 or 8 picks right, I’ve done well. All of this is assuming that no trades go down…but we all know that is not going to happen. Now that I’ve hopefully lowered everyone’s expectations for my performance, here we go.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall
This doesn’t require any explanation.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner
The draft could begin defying expectation as early as this pick, as I honestly think three guys–Turner, Derrick Favors, and DeMarcus Cousins–are in play here. Apparently Cousins had a good workout in Philly a few days ago and since there wasn’t a hostile crowd at the workout, did not provoke fans. Turner should be a nice player for Philly, but if I were them, I would try to trade Iguodala if they take him. They’re too similar to me.
3. New Jersey Nets: Wesley Johnson
Though Cousins and especially Favors I feel are better picks here, apparently New Jersey will draft a 2/3 and then try to find a power forward in free agency. There’s some discussion that Carlos Boozer, the Blind Man Back-Stabbing Dookie Alaskan, will be a package deal to the Nets with Johnson because they share an agent. This would give them quite a formidable lineup, with only a 2 missing. The Prokhorov wants to win now.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Favors
I actually love Derrick Favors, and it was a shame that Paul Hewitt didn’t allow him to just take over at Georgia Tech. However, if the wolves take Favors here, they have to make a deal trading either Al Jefferson or Kevin Love, because these three are too good not to be on the court often. The problem is, Al Jefferson makes a ton of money and he’s signed through 2013, so that’s the guy they would likely trade.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins
The Kings just acquired Sam Dalembert, but his deal is up after this year and I wouldn’t think he’s likely to be re-signed. This gives the Kings a really nice inside-out combo with Tyreke Evans.
6. Golden State Warriors: Ekpe Udoh
Your boy Chad Ford says that this will be an interesting battle between Udoh and Greg Monroe, a highly skilled big man who plays little defense (a perfect fit for Don Nelson). He says the Warriors are likely to pick Udoh here, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Greg Monroe goes, despite his reportedly poor workout.
7. Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe
If I’m the Pistons, I’m pretty happy that Monroe slipped down this low. Their roster is very imbalanced though, and Monroe isn’t a true center. He’s a very good passer, and if he can develop a back to the basket game, could be a really good player down the road.
8. LA Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu
Getting him here I think would be a huge steal for the Clippers and would give them, at least talent-wise, a top class roster for next season with the return of a healthy Blake Griffin. An Aminu-Griffin-Chris Kaman combo would be a nightmare to deal with, and Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, and Travis Outlaw aren’t bad pieces either. On the other hand, they are the Clippers, so expect massive injury problems and about 30 wins.
9. Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward
Luke Babbitt or Ed Davis are other possibilities, but Babbitt plays no defense, and I think Jerry Sloan would eat him alive. Davis is somewhat of a project, and despite his talent, I don’t believe they’ll take him either. So I’ll say they take Hayward, who’s a similar player to Babbitt but a little more hard-nosed.
10. Indiana Pacers: Ed Davis
Ed Davis has some major talent, but he was really average last year for North Carolina. The beast off the bench during the national championship run was gone and replaced by a timid player who hadn’t really developed a right hand or a jumpshot. That said, if you have watched him you know he has terrific talent. Let’s be honest–who cares? It’s the Pacers. Another possibility here is Babbitt, because Indiana has a bunch of white guys.
11. New Orleans: Xavier Henry
Luke Babbitt could go here too, as the Hornets desperately need some wing scoring to replace creaky Peja Stojakovic. Both these guys are good shooters, and Henry would fill a need they’ve had for years. While I’m here, ESPN’s blatant attempt to try and get New Orleans to trade Chris Paul was ridiculous. There is absolutely no logical reason to trade Chris Paul. You don’t trade a top 5 player in the league because his backup came in and played well for two months. Another reason to hate ESPN.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Paul George
Wait…did the Grizzlies just make a pick here that I like? Really? Wow. That never happens. Let me take a moment…ok. I think there are three posibilities here–George, Patrick Patterson, and Xavier Henry. Of the three, George clearly has the most talent. Patterson is a big guy who will play well, Henry would be my second choice, but George is 6’9, has good outside shooting range, and good athleticism. He can play either the 2 or the 3 and would be perfect for this team. Plus, he was in for a workout Tuesday at FedEx Forum and apparently the team likes him. I happen to like Avery Bradley a lot too if George and Henry are off the board. There are reports that the Grizz may trade up to 16, but apparently that is not a done deal yet. For the sake of this mock, I’m keeping them at 12, 25, and 28.
13. Toronto Raptors: Patrick Patterson
I thought long and hard about this pick for some reason even though no one cares about the Raptors. In a perfect world, I think the Raptors would like to have a center here and be able to move Andrea Bargnani to the 4, but I don’t think Cole Aldrich is good enough for that to be a reasonable answer right now. I think they take Patterson and either play him at the 4 and Bargnani at the 5 or deal the pick. The Raptors, Pistons, Bucks, and T-Wolves are teams to watch for a trade tomorrow night for sure.
14. Houston Rockets: Cole Aldrich
The Rockets desperately need a backup to Yao Ming at center (they were playing 6’6 Chuck Hayes there for God sake) and they get a serviceable backup with Aldrich. While he’ll never be a star, he is physical, can block shots, and rebound. Basically, he does everything Chuck Hayes does but is 5 or 6 inches taller.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Larry Sanders
Now that the Bucks have gotten Corey Maggette and CDR from the Nets, swingman is out. They take the long and athletic Sanders, who can really run the floor. He provides the Bucks with a nice compliment to Andrew Bogut.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Luke Babbitt
Assuming the Grizzlies don’t trade for this pick, and they may, the T-Wolves have to be happy that Babbitt slipped this low. He’s a good shooter and should be able to get some open threes with Jefferson/Love and Derrick Favors down low. Expect the Wolves to do a lot of moving as well.
17. Chicago Bulls: Damion James
The biggest needs for the Bulls at the moment are depth and a swing player, and James provides both. While he will never be a star, James can shoot and is very athletic. The Bulls will try and make a huge splash in free agency and go after LeBron James or Chris Bosh, so they can afford to not swing for the fences here.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Avery Bradley
The Thunder traded for this pick along with Daequan Cook yesterday afternoon. Bradley falls to OKC at 18, giving them a reliable backup for Russell Westbrook, a good shooter, and a tough defender. He’ll have to grow into the point guard position, but if he can do that, he’ll be a steal at 18. With Bradley, Cook, James Harden, and Nick Collison, they have a nice bench.
19. Boston Celtics: Eric Bledsoe
There’s also every chance the Celtics will move this pick as well. The Celtics need a lot of help, but I’m just not sure there’s anyone who starts immediately for them this low. They take Bledsoe to back up Rajon Rondo and somewhat replace the production they lost with Eddie House a couple of years ago.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Kevin Seraphin
I know nothing about this person other than he’s big, French, and athletic. The Spurs have a nice history with foreign players and are typically the best scouts of Euros in the league. Seraphin it is.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Solomon Alabi
Alabi is a physical specimen who should provide some help up front in the future for OKC. While I’m not the biggest Alabi fan, his size will help the Thunder, who start the undersized Jeff Green at power forward. If Alabi can learn to play the 4, he could be a good pick here.
22. Portland Trailblazers: Elliot Williams
Portland apparently really likes Elliot Williams, so the thought is they would pick him here, since he should be available here but not with their next pick at 34. There’s a possibility that the Blazers may try and deal up for another pick in the 20s (Grizzlies) to get him so they can take someone else here. Nice combo guard who can penetrate, defend, and occasionally shoot the three to back up Andre Miller/Brandon Roy.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Hassan Whiteside
Assuming the T-Wolves take Favors, who can play center, at 4, the Wolves can afford to take a flier on Whiteside, who could be a stud or could be a guy that you forget about next week. I truly expect him to spend some time in the D-League next year regardless of where he goes. Huge guy who has surprising mobility and range but he’s this generations Keith Closs, meaning he’s 7’3 and weighs about 140 pounds.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Dominique Jones
This guy can score in bunches—he averaged 21.4 points a game for South Florida last year. With Joe Johnson’s return in question, they need to replace some of his scoring ability, and Jones provides that. I think he could be a similar player to Flip Murray, Eddie House, or Rodney Stuckey.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: James Anderson
Bear in mind with this pick that I don’t believe that the Grizzlies will make both 25 and 28 tonight. There will be a trade at some point. That being said, getting Anderson here would be good. He’s a good scorer and shooter that could provide the same off the bench. Another possibility (crossing my fingers) is Lance Stephenson, who apparently was really good in the workout a couple of weeks ago. I love Lance Stephenson.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lance Stephenson
Leave it to Sam Presti to be a genius here.
27. New Jersey Nets: Jordan Crawford
This guy is going to be good, even though he’s a bit undersized. He replaces the departed Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was traded to Milwaukee yesterday, and provides much-needed scoring from the wing position off the bench.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Greivis Vazquez
Apparently the Barones love Greivis, who is a big point guard who can pass and shoot and makes huge plays. He is definitely not afraid with the ball in his hands late in games, but I hate him so much (Carolina fan) that I’ll have a hard time reconciling myself with this pick if they make it.
29. Orlando Magic: Quincy Pondexter
He’s a swingman who’s very athletic, is a good rebounder, and can shoot okay. Sure.
30. Washington Wizards: Daniel Orton
The Wizards go get John Wall’s teammate with the last pick in the first round. Orton barely got any playing time last year at Kentucky, so it’s difficult to say how he projects to the next level, but he is big, has nice feet, and a soft touch around the basket. A project, for sure.