Thursday, February 11, 2010

2010 NBA Mock Draft (Version 14)

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


Wall may be hitting the proverbial freshman wall (no pun intended), but he's still undeniably the best talent in this draft class.  This is a no-brainer for the Nets.


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


Favors has struggled lately, but he is a great athlete with superstar potential, so he is definitely worth a look anywhere in the top five and Golden State could really use some frontcourt depth.


3)    Minnesota Timberwolves- Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)


Turner is the most versatile player in this draft class.  He can play all three perimeter positions and is an excellent ball handler with good size.  He is also a solid athlete with a nose for the rim.  He'll have to improve his outside jump shot, but if he can, he has a chance to be special at the next level.


4)    Sacramento Kings- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)


Aldrich doesn't have the superstar potential that a GM would like to find in the top five, but he's a known commodity who should help from day one.  Spencer Hawes has been wildly erratic this season, and Aldrich would provide a stabilizing force down low for an improving franchise.


5)    Detroit Pistons- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)


Detroit will likely be looking at a fringe top-five pick, and they could really use a back-to-the-basket big man.  They'll have a tough choice of a group including Aldrich, Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins.  Aldrich probably makes the best fit, but with him gone, the Pistons will target Davis, who has big upside, but fewer character questions than Cousins.


6)    Washington Wizards- Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse)


Johnson is able to play multiple positions and can have a major impact on both ends of the floor.  If his game continues to grow like it has in his first season with the Orange, he will become the type of NBA player that the Wizards can build around.


7)    Indiana Pacers- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)


Motiejunas projects to be a Troy Murphy-type of big man who can stretch the floor with his jump shot.  Rumors have been circulating that Murphy may be on his way out of Indiana, making Motiejunas a seamless replacement.


8)    Utah Jazz (from New York)- DeMarcus Cousins- PF (Kentucky)


Cousins has always had superstar potential, but he has showed good consistency and improved maturity recently, which should make him a top-ten lock, with a chance at cracking the top five.  Utah will likely need depth up front when Carlos Boozer's deal expires this summer, and Cousins could develop into a wonderful bargain at #8.


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


Philadelphia could use a true point guard or a 3-point shooter capable of stretching the floor.  Henry has been very cold lately, but he's a very adept shooter with an NBA body who should be able to contribute from day one.


10) Los Angeles Clippers- Al-Farouq Aminu- SF (Wake Forest)


Aminu has good athleticism and rebounding ability, but some scouts question his natural position.  He shows flashes of the lateral quickness and ball skills required to play small forward, but his below average jump shot and physical style are far more reminiscent of a traditional power forward.


11) Miami Heat- Greg Monroe- PF (Georgetown)


The Heat have won just one game over the past two weeks and now find themselves staring at a spot in the lottery.  The Heat will have $44 million free this summer, but only three players under contract next year.  If Dwyane Wade leaves, absolutely anything could happen, but gambling on a player with Monroe's talent would be a great start to a big summer in South Beach.


12) New Orleans Hornets- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)


New Orleans quietly had one of the best drafts in the league last year, acquiring promising young guards Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, but they could still use some frontcourt depth.  Patterson plays like a grizzled NBA veteran.  He's a tough rebounder with a surprising jump shot and he should be a fixture as a productive role player for a long time.


13) Memphis Grizzlies- Avery Bradley- SG (Texas)


Bradley is a bit of a tweener.  He has great size for a point guard, but has played mostly off the ball at Texas.  His skills, however, speak for themselves.  He has been a factor defensively from day one and has shown flashes of explosiveness offensively.  He's definitely worth a bit of a gamble late in the lottery.


14) Houston Rockets- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)


Alabi has good size and surprising touch, hinting that there might be a wealth of untapped potential remaining.  He would be a nice addition to a team looking to take pressure off of Yao Ming's aging joints.


15) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte)- Hassan Whiteside- PF (Marshall)


This is Whiteside's first inclusion in the 2010 Mock Draft, and while I think he'll probably stay at Marshall for one more season, he might be wise to capitalize on his buzz by entering the draft this year.  The power forward depth of this class may hurt his draft position, but I would be surprised to see him outside of the 12-16 range.


16) Chicago Bulls- James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State)


Anderson is the best shooter in this class without question, and that is the one asset the Bulls need more than any other.


17) Milwaukee Bucks- Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth)


Sanders needs to put on at least 30 pounds in order to be a force in the NBA, but he's very springy, similar to Tyrus Thomas.  He should be a good weak-side shot-blocker from day one.


18) Miami Heat (from Toronto)- Stanley Robinson- SF (Connecticut)


As I mentioned earlier, Miami needs a lot of help moving forward, and an all-world athlete like Robinson should fill a role in their rebuilding.


19) Portland Trail Blazers- Damion James- SF (Texas)


Portland could use frontcourt help, but the value isn't really there with this pick.  Instead, they opt for James, who could be the answer at small forward, but can also log some minutes at the other forward spot.


20) Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)- Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic)


Oklahoma City will likely use some or all of their $12 million in cap space to sign a big name power forward like Amare Stoudemire, David Lee, or Carlos Boozer, which would bring them to 13 players under contract plus two first-round picks.  I would expect one pick to be an international player, leaving Sam Presti with a little roster flexibility.


21) Oklahoma City Thunder- Dexter Pittman- C (Texas)


Oklahoma City brings in Kevin Durant's former teammate to sure up their front line.  Pittman is a good rebounder with great touch near the basket.


22) San Antonio Spurs- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)


Ebanks has all the physical tools, but often looks disinterested and disconnected from the action on the floor.  If his individual workouts go well, he could land much higher, but for now, I'll slot him in at #22, where Greg Popovich can teach him to play the game the right way.


23) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)


Lawal is a phenomenal rebounder, who will take a lot of defensive pressure off of Brook Lopez.


24) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah)- Mario Delas- SF (Croatia)


Like many European prospects, Delas is raw, but he has averaged 10.5 points on 71% field goal shooting and 92% free throw shooting in his first two Euro League games this season.


25) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Ekpe Udoh- PF (Baylor)


Udoh is very long and has great shot-blocking instincts.  Like Larry Sanders, he needs to put on weight to be a factor in the NBA, but the Grizzlies' depth up front should protect him until he's ready.


26) Boston Celtics- Willie Warren- SG (Oklahoma)


It's hard to find a place for Willie Warren in this draft, which makes it more and more likely that he'll return to Oklahoma for his junior season.  This seemed far fetched a few weeks ago, when Warren was projected as a likely lottery pick, but his assists numbers (4.2 per game) and shooting percentages (42% from the field and 28% from 3-point range) are less than impressive.  If he does enter his name, he should expect to slide a bit, but not past the Celtics, who could use a backup point guard and a high-energy scorer off the bench.


27) Orlando Magic- Armon Johnson- PG (Nevada)


Johnson has great size (6'3") and has put up steady numbers at Nevada this season.  He struggles with his outside shot (21% for the season), but gets to the basket and scores in the mid range with ease (51% overall field goal percentage).


28) Atlanta Hawks- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)


Stephenson is a high upside prospect with questions about his character.  He is New York City's all-time leading high school scorer and had a good start to the season, but has struggled recently.  If he can return to his early season form, he should find his way into the first round.


29) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Paul George- SF (Fresno State)


George is an athletic slasher with a propensity for hoisting up contested outside shots.  If he can improve his shot selection as he matures, he will make Rudy Gay expendable when his rookie contract expires next year.


30) Cleveland Cavaliers- Luke Babbit- SF (Nevada)


Babbit is the best pure shooter available (53% from the floor and 40% from distance), and he can score in bunches (21.4 per game).  He is also an underrated rebounder (9.9 per game), who could either spell LeBron or play alongside him in certain situations.

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