Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 NBA Mock Draft (Version 6)

The draft order of the following is based on my most recent NBA power rankings

 


1)    New Jersey Nets- John Wall- PG (Kentucky)

 

Wall is on his way to the National Player of the Year award and has all the tools to be a superstar within his first two or three years in the league.  The teams at the top of the draft (New Jersey and Minnesota) have a tough choice to make because they've already invested in point guard options for the future, but Wall's talent is inescapable.  He will be the #1 pick regardless of the scenario at the top of the draft.

 

2)    Minnesota Timberwolves- Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse)

 

Minnesota can't win low-scoring games because they're a poor defensive team, and as constructed, they don't have enough firepower to win high-scoring games.  Johnson is an atypical prospect because of his defensive numbers (2.2 steals and 2.2 blocks per game) and his 3-point shooting ability (54% from beyond the arc).  I've been as slow as anyone to buy into the hype, but if Johnson can continue his current production and carry it over at the next level, he should be able to help the Timberwolves immensely at both ends.

 

3)    Philadelphia 76ers- Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)

 

Henry looks to have all of the offensive tools to be an All-Star at the next level.  He's currently averaging 18 points per game for a Kansas team chalked (HA!) full of talent because he has been perhaps the most efficient player in the country.  He is shooting 56% from the floor, 53% from the 3-point line, and 82% from the free throw line.  The 76ers could use a point guard like Willie Warren, or look at Derrick Favors, but Henry is a better value than Warren and a better fit than Favors.

 

4)    Golden State Warriors- Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech)

 

Favors is averaging over 13 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks a game on 68% shooting from the field, and while Golden State doesn't have a wealth of need for a bruising big man, I would be shocked to see them pass on him at #4.  If nothing else, Favors would have huge value as a trade asset.

 

5)    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.

 

6)    Chicago Bulls- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)

 

Joakim Noah has been a very pleasant surprise for the Bulls this season, but he doesn't fill the team's dire need for an interior scoring option.  Chicago could also use a dependable 3-point threat, but with Henry and Johnson off the board, Chicago will play it safe with Aldrich.

 

7)    Washington Wizards- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)

 

Davis has immense potential, but I still have questions about his desire and work ethic.  If Washington lands in the lottery, they'll likely make a high-profile trade at the deadline (Caron Butler appears to be the most likely to change addresses), but if they're unable to make a move, they'll look to sure-up their front line with Davis or hometown product Greg Monroe.

 

8)    Utah Jazz (from New York via Phoenix)-Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)

 

Utah has been one of the more impressive teams in the league over the last few weeks, so they're basically playing with house money in New York's slot at #8.  Turner's devastating back injury will likely cost him on draft night, but he should be able to return for the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments.  If he can show that the affects of the injury are behind him, he'll still likely land in the lottery.

 

9)    Charlotte Bobcats- 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 last week, but mismatches like that will be few and far between at the next level.  His production and leadership must continue to improve if he wants to land in the lottery.

 

10) Memphis Grizzlies- Al-Farouq Aminu- SF (Wake Forest)

 

Rudy Gay will almost certainly cut ties with the Grizzlies organization this summer, leaving the Grizzlies looking for a dynamic replacement at small forward who can get up-and-down with Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo.  Aminu has great athleticism and upside, but many consider him a project. 

 

11) Los Angeles Clippers-Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)

 

Frankly, I haven't got the slightest clue where Motiejunas falls in this draft because I've heard very little about him lately.  While I'm sure he'll land somewhere in the lottery, that absence of publicity can't do anything to help his draft stock.  He's #7 on my big board, and his finesse game would be a nice compliment to the power game of Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin.

 

12) New Orleans Hornets-Paul George- SF (Fresno State)

 

New Orleans could use depth up front or a dynamic wingman to join Chris Paul and Marcus Thornton on the Hornets' perimeter-of-the-future.  George's blend of size (6'8"), athleticism, and free throw shooting (91%) make him a nice fit beside Paul and Thornton.

 

13) Sacramento Kings- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)

 

Ebanks is a curios prospect because of his absence from the team at the start of the season.  To date, he has only played three games with the Mountaineers and put up sub-par numbers (11 points, six rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block on 34% shooting) that are on pace with his freshman production.  He does have huge upside, but he remains a question mark to many at this point.  If he develops, however, Sacramento could be onto something with Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Ebanks, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes.

 

14) Oklahoma City- Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)

 

Oklahoma City has a franchise option at every position besides center and good depth at the two and the three, but a backup point guard, a backup power forward, and a starting center are all needs. If Oklahoma City decides on a center, Solomon Alabi is a possibility as well, but something tells me the Thunder would opt for Jordan first.  He is shooting 53% from the floor for Tulsa, while blocking nearly four shots per game.

 

15) Detroit Pistons- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)

 

With Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, and Will Bynum in the backcourt and two rookies backing up Tayshaun Prince at the small forward, Detroit will almost certainly target a big man with their first round pick.  They also have a perimeter-oriented power forward in Charlie Villanueva, so a towering 7'1" center like Alabi would be a nice fit.

 

16) Milwaukee Bucks- DeMarcus Cousins- PF (Kentucky)

 

Milwaukee swung for the fences with Brandon Jennings in the 2009 draft, and now he has them on the verge of the playoff race.  I would expect the Bucks' managements to try to hit another homerun in 2010, and Cousins has the most upside on the board.  He struggles from the free throw line (54%), but has averaged 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and over two blocks per game in Kentucky's undefeated start.

 

17) Miami Heat (from Toronto)- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)

 

Miami may be the biggest mover in the upcoming off-season.  All of that uncertainty makes drafting for team need out of the question.  Stephenson isn't the best player on the board, but he does have the most potential, and playing with a born leader like Dwyane Wade would help his maturity process vastly.

 

18) Miami Heat- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)

 

Different pick, same story for Miami.  After drafting a perimeter player at #17, they get the best available interior player at #18 in Brackins.  He has a smooth jumper and a nice face-up game, reminiscent of Charlie Villanueva.

 

19) Portland Trail Blazers- Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)

 

Gonzaga's German small forward has been very impressive and may consider a jump to the NBA after this season.  He is still somewhat under the radar, but  if his production continues (13 points and seven rebounds on 55% shooting), don't expect him to stay that way.

 

20) Houston Rockets-James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State)

 

Houston would love to find a true center to take some of the pressure off of Yao Ming's lower extremities upon his return, but with Aldrich, Jordan, and Alabi off the board, the other options (Jarvis Varnado and Larry Sanders, most notably) are more likely power forwards at the next level.  Instead, Houston will opt for Anderson's shooting ability.

 

21) 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.

 

22) Minnesota Timberwolves- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)

 

Minnesota grabbed a perimeter scorer in Johnson at #2, but they may be in the market for another swingman at #22.  With Harris, Anderson, and Pondexter off the board, however, they'll look for the interior defensive presence that Al Jefferson and Kevin Love simply can't provide.  Varnado and his 5.2 blocks per game seem to be the right ift.

 

23) 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.

 

24) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Larry Sanders- PF (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.

 

25) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Sheron Collins- PG (Kansas)

 

Memphis got their replacement for Rudy Gay early, which frees them up to take a backup point guard or big man toward the end of the first round.  Collins is a great value at #25 and he likely won't last until the Grizzlies choose again at #30.

 

26) 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.

 

27) Orlando Magic- Matthew Delladova- PG (St. Mary's)

 

Orlando would love to land Walker or Collins, as they are one of the NBA's deepest teams everywhere but point guard.  With both of those options off the board, they make look to move this pick or make a bit of a reach on Delladova, a promising young point guard from St. Mary's.

 

28) Cleveland Cavaliers- 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 would be a nice addition to a frontcourt of Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson as Cleveland moves forward.

 

29) Boston Celtics- Chris Wright- SF (Dayton)

 

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, who was originally drafted by Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

 

30) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Jan Vesely- PF (Czech Republic)

 

Memphis completes their first round by adding a reserve big man whom they can stash in Europe for a couple of years until Zach Randolph's ridiculous contract expires.

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