1) New Jersey Nets- John Wall- PG (Kentucky)
I still think Derrick Favors will be a possibility here because he is a much better fit for this franchise, but Wall's talent is too much to pass up. Devin Harris is a good young player, who still has a lot of room to grow, but Wall has all the makings of a superstar. He has good size (at 6'4") and tons of athleticism. In the early season's premier matchup of NBA talent on Saturday, Wall looked to be in a league of his own against the Tar Heels. He pushed the issue at times and had some turnover problems, but had two highlight reel baskets in transition in the opening minutes and his Wildcats escaped with a win.
2) Minnesota Timberwolves- Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech)
Minnesota badly needs a perimeter scoring option, but David Kahn showed in his first draft with the team that he'd put value and ability above team need, especially in the top five. Favors is a freak athlete with an NBA body (6'10" and 246 lbs), who will be a defensive presence from day one. He is still young, but learning from an NBA great like Kurt Rambis could do him a world of good, and a frontcourt rotation of Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, and Favors would make Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio look very, very good.
3) Philadelphia 76ers- Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse)
Johnson has made a meteoric rise up draft boards over the first few weeks of the season. He is a gifted athlete with good size and a versatile skill set. He has proven to be an above average defender, but his real value (at least to the 76ers) is his outside shooting ability. This draft class is stocked with talented big men and athletic slashers, but few shooters as talented as Johnson.
4) Indiana Pacers- Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma)
Indiana has a nice thing going with Danny Granger and Troy Murphy, and the emergences of Dahntay Jones and Roy Hibbert, but they still have huge holes in their backcourt. The jury is still out on whether Warren can run the point for an NBA team, but the Pacers could use his penetration and scoring ability at either guard spot.
5) Golden State Warriors- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)
The personal problems that kept Ebanks on the sidelines for the start of the season seem to have abated, which has the talented sophomore forward moving back up draft boards. Ebanks is long and athletic with good court vision, and could develop into a really promising player at the next level. The Warriors have a stocked backcourt, and little desire for true big men, so Ebanks is a nice fit for their current system.
6) Utah Jazz (from New York via Phoenix)- Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)
Henry made a huge splash, scoring 27 points in his first college game, and will likely be the third first-year player drafted (behind Wall and Favors) if he decides to enter his name. His size (6'6" and 220 lbs) may allow him to play multiple positions in the NBA, providing Utah with much needed flexibility on the perimeter. He has been a consistent scorer (17 points per game on 53% from the field) and a legitimate deep threat (50% from 3-point range), which would be a nice complement to the defensive minded options (Ronnie Brewer and Andrei Kirilenko) on Utah's roster.
7) Memphis Grizzlies- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)
In a somewhat curious cost-cutting maneuver, Memphis consolidated their scouting department down to just one overseas scout during the off-season. Motiejunas is by far the best international prospect available, and fits pretty nicely into the Grizzlies' re-building plans. A true center like Cole Aldrich, or an athletic wingman to replace Rudy Gay (Evan Turner or Al-Farouq Aminu) is a possibility as well, but Motiejunas has a ton of upside and is worth a bit of a gamble at #7, especially since Memphis has three first round picks in 2010.
8) Detroit Pistons- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)
This is the dream scenario for the Pistons, who are stocked on the perimeter with Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, and Will Bynum in the backcourt and two rookies backing up Tayshaun Prince at the small forward. They also have a face up shooter and a below average rebounder at power forward in Charlie Villanueva, making Aldrich's post moves and rebounding acumen a great fit.
9) Chicago Bulls- Evan Turner- SG/SF (Ohio State)
Turner's back injury will surely hurt his draft stock, but early indications are that he'll be able to play again in two months or so, which should be enough time for him show scouts that the injury is behind him. He is a fantastic athlete with a wide variety of skills, and plays at a need position for the Bulls. He isn't a great outside shooter at this point, which may give Chicago pause, but his all-around skills are too much to pass up.
10) Milwaukee Bucks- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)
I've never been high on Davis and watching North Carolina's loss to Kentucky didn't do much to shake my impressions. Davis floats around the perimeter far too much offensively and often looks lost after showing a double team. He does have flashes of brilliance, but seems to take plays off. With all of that said, Davis is still a young player and his game will likely mature along with him. Milwaukee took a risk and scored big in the 2009 draft with Brandon Jennings, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them gamble again at #10.
11) Los Angeles Clippers- Al-Farouq Aminu- SF (Wake Forest)
Aminu looks and plays awkwardly, leading many scouts to deem him a long-term project. Personally, I find Aminu's ability to contribute while he learns to be astounding. Before all is said and done, he'll likely challenge for an All-American slot. He may need some seasoning, but all the tools are there, and he'd be a great value at #11.
12) New Orleans Hornets- Paul George- SF (Fresno State)
New Orleans could really use an infusion of youth and athleticism on the perimeter, and George is a great fit. He doesn't have a great outside shot, but he has good size and slashing ability. He can also get to the rim at will and has been very impressive converting opportunities at the free throw line.
13) Sacramento Kings- Greg Monroe- PF (Georgetown)
Monroe is possibly the most polarizing prospect in this class, he has all the tools to be a great NBA player, but simply hasn't put them to use in his first year plus at Georgetown. He exploded for 24 points and 15 rebounds against an undersized Butler team on Tuesday, but mismatches like that will be few and far between at the next level. Sacramento could use a franchise small forward, but Omri Casspi has done a nice job thus far and with George, Aminu, Turner, Ebanks, and Johnson all off the board, they'll take the best player available and hope to hit a homerun.
14) Oklahoma City Thunder- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)
Alabi has been solid, but unimpressive so far this season, but he has great size (7'1") and a surprising free throw stroke (90%). He is definitely a project, as are most players of his size, but Oklahoma City needs help at the center position and after Aldrich, Alabi is the best available option.
15) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte via Denver)- James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma City)
Minnesota grabbed Favors at number two to sure up their long-term frontcourt rotation, but they still need a lot of help on the perimeter. With a wealth of cap space and (up to) three first-rounders to dangle, a big name trade could be a possibility for the Timberwolves, but if they stay at #15, Anderson's scoring ability and jump shot would make him a solid asset.
16) Washington Wizards- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)
For as bad as the Wizards have been, they find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race in the East, thanks to a 2-2 week and the ongoing decay of their conference. Making a playoff run makes a much-discussed trade less likely, and a defensive-minded big man would be the best fit with the current cast of characters. Varnado is hands down the best shot blocker in the country, which would make him a good fit on Washington's interior.
17) Miami Heat (from Toronto)- DeMarcus Cousins- PF (Kentucky)
Miami may be the biggest mover in the upcoming off-season. All of that uncertainty makes drafting for team need out of the question. Cousins is the best player on the board at #17 because of his potential and his offensive skills. He definitely needs some seasoning, but he could turn into a very good NBA player, and would be a valuable trade chip sooner rather than later.
18) Houston Rockets- Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)
Houston has some good things going. They have a solid twosome at point guard (Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry), a strong perimeter rotation (Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, Chase Budinger), and a surplus at power forward (Luis Scola, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, David Andersen). They also have two huge question marks in injured stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. McGrady will almost certainly be gone next season, and Yao's availability is still very much up in the air. Even if Yao is healthy, keeping him that way is a huge concern, and having a true 7-footer like Jordan to spell him would do wonders for Yao's feet and knees.
19) San Antonio Spurs- Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)
Pondexter seems to be the type of fundamental, do-it-all player that Greg Popovich loves. He may not have the athleticism of Richard Jefferson or many of the other small forwards in this class, but he is an all-around basketball player who could fit in with the Spurs in the long-term.
20) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah)- Jan Vesely- SF/PF (Czech Republic)
Vesely has great size (6'11") and could play multiple positions for Minnesota. Most importantly, though, Vesely could be stashed in Europe for another year or two, which would clear up a roster spot for the very young Timberwolves.
21) Miami Heat- Terrico White- SG (Mississippi)
Miami continues to grab the best players available, adding White, the SEC's reigning freshman of the year to their mix. He has struggled some as a sophomore, but can score in bunches and would take some of the pressure off of Dwyane Wade in the Miami backcourt.
22) Portland Trail Blazers- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)
Most people in basketball circles expect a trade of Andre Miller to come sooner rather than later, and a resulting move could have a big impact on this pick. Portland is stocked with talent and is looking for depth. A foreign player like Vesely or Alexey Shved is very possible here as well, but Brackins is by far the best player available.
23) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Larry Sanders- PF/C (Virginia Commonwealth)
The Nets could use a defensive presence on the interior, and if they pass on Favors at the top, Sanders would be a good consolation prize at the end of the first round.
24) Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)
For all of Oklahoma City's strides in the past few drafts, they find themselves very thin at point guard. Behind Russell Westbrook on the Thunder's depth chart you'll find Kevin Ollie and Shaun Livingston. Walker would be a huge improvement.
25) Atlanta Hawks- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)
Patterson has a nice offensive game, which would be a nice compliment to Josh Smith's overpowering defense. He would also be a nice upgrade from aging veteran Joe Smith.
26) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Chris Wright- SF (Dayton)
Memphis will hope to land a better up-and-down athlete to replace Rudy Gay, but Wright has a nice game and a lot of versatility. He'll be able to guard multiple positions with skills similar to Minnesota's Ryan Gomes.
27) Orlando Magic- Sheron Collins- PG (Kansas)
Collins is a similar prospect to Jameer Nelson when he came out of St. Joseph's a few years back. He is undersized and wide, but is a great ball-handler with the ability to stretch the floor.
28) Boston Celtics- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)
Lawal has taken a back seat to freshman Derrick Favors, but he's still putting up nice numbers, and has shown a very positive team-first attitude. He'd be a nice addition to Boston's reserve unit.
29) Cleveland Cavaliers- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)
Stephenson is a local prospect with a ton of athleticism and upside. He definitely needs some seasoning, but could learn and mature a lot playing alongside LeBron James.
30) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Alexey Shved- PG/SG (Russia)
Shved has good size (6'7") and solid combo guard skills. He'll likely need at least two more years in Europe before he's ready to contribute stateside, but he's worth a shot with the third of Memphis's first-rounders.