Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 NBA Mock Draft (Final Four Version)

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


Wall's early exit from the Big Dance shouldn't hurt his draft stock.  Even in the loss to West Virginia he showed another gear and fantastic play-making ability in the open court.


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


There has been some buzz circulating that Turner may actually be the first overall pick, ahead of Wall.  I think that notion is absurd at best, but Turner is definitely the second best player in this class and a perfect fit for a Timberwolves team in need of an identity and a leader.


3)    Washington Wizards-Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech)


Washington is clearly in re-building mode, so they'll tap the highest potential player available.  DeMarcus Cousins may be a part of that discussion as well, but the last thing the Wizards need is another headache.


4)    Golden State Warriors-Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse)


Golden State loves long perimeter players who can shoot.  They could also use a true power forward like Favors, with Anthony Randolph's development and commitment to the organization still in question, but with him gone, this becomes a pretty easy choice for Golden State.  I believe that Johnson's shooting ability would make him a shooting guard for just about any other team in the league, but he'll likely play small or even power forward (in stints) for the Warriors.


5)    Detroit Pistons-DeMarcus Cousins- C (Kentucky)


The Wizards and Warriors will likely stay away from Cousins because of the concern that he would only add to their ongoing turmoil. The Pistons, however, with their history of success with the Bad Boys and their overwhelming need for a lane-clogging center would love for this scenario to unfold.


6)    Sacramento Kings-Al-Farouq Aminu- SF (Wake Forest)


Sacramento's most pressing need is at point guard, and depending on where their pick falls, they could be tempted to take a gamble on Eric Bledsoe (assuming that he declares).  The more prudent choice, however, would be gamble on Aminu's development or grab the best available center (Greg Monroe or Cole Aldrich).  A trade of this pick along with Andres Nocioni's contract is possible here too.


7)    Indiana Pacers-Greg Monroe- PF/C (Georgetown)


The Pacers would love to find a do-it-all shooting guard, and I wouldn't be surprised if Xavier Henry was high on their list, but the value here is in big men.  Monroe is a very intriguing big man whose skill set seems like it would appeal to GM Larry Bird.


8)    Philadelphia 76ers-Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)


Philadelphia has a nice young core, but their future plans are very much up in the air.  This pick could go a lot of different ways depending on who their coach will be in 2010-2011, and who they plan on moving this summer.  (Remember, Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert were rumored to be on the move at the trade deadline.)


9)    Utah Jazz-Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)


Aldrich is NBA ready and has a very steady game.  He'll probably never be an All-Star, but he'll provide whoever drafts him with consistent production and few headaches.


10) Los Angeles Clippers-Hassan Whiteside- C (Marshall)


Whiteside is an interesting prospect because of his length and athleticism, but he is far from a finished product.  He will definitely need some time to mature physically and mentally, but his ceiling is very, very high.


11) New Orleans Hornets-Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)


Davis' wrist injury and North Carolina's struggles lead some to believe that Davis will return to school next year, but very few players pass on being a lottery pick once, let alone twice.  New Orleans needs depth up front and at the small forward.  Jan Vesely is a possibility, but they need help sooner rather than later, making Davis a better fit.


12) Houston Rockets-Eric Bledsoe- PG (Kentucky)


I've been steadfast in saying that Houston needed to tap a backup center like Whiteside or Solomon Alabi with this pick.  I still believe that, but Bledsoe's value is much higher at this pick, and Kyle Lowry could leave this summer, making the backup point guard job very much up in the air.


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


Say what you will about Anderson's ability to create his own shot.  He is a great shooter and a solid athlete, who would be the perfect fit along with Derrick Rose on the Bulls' perimeter.


14) Memphis Grizzlies-Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic)


Memphis has stated publicly that they intend to match any offer for Rudy Gay, which leads me to believe that he'll sign his qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.  Vesely would be a nice replacement down the line without using a roster space this season, which is important, as Memphis boasts three first round selections.


15) Miami Heat-Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)


Patterson doesn't have the explosive athleticism or the raw talent of many of the big men in this class, but he has a lot of heart and a solid track record.  I see him as Udonis Haslem 2.0 in the NBA, but with a more manageable price tag.


16) Minnesota Timberwolves-Ekpe Udoh- PF (Baylor)


It is a bit of a buyer beware situation with Ekpe Udoh.  He has great athletic ability, but he's a 22-year old junior with faltering knees.  His offensive game has developed nicely since his transfer from Michigan, but will his body hold up long enough for him to reach his full potential?


17) Miami Heat-Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)


Without question, Henry is the steal of the draft.  He has an NBA ready body and a well-rounded offensive arsenal.  I think that Henry could be an All-Star caliber player within his first three or four years in the NBA.


18) Milwaukee Bucks-Avery Bradley- SG (Texas)


The Bucks would love to land Henry and could be tempted to move up to get him (Minnesota's 16 pick is a possibility, as well as Houston's at #12), but if they stay put they'll settle for Bradley, who needs more seasoning, but will be a better defender despite his lack of ideal size.


19) Portland Trail Blazers-Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)


Portland has been ravaged by injuries this season, so it's tough to tell what they'll have to work with next year.  They appear to be set in the backcourt (Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, Jerryd Bayless), and relatively comfortable up front (LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, and possibly Joel Pryzbilla), but small forward is still a question mark.  Pondexter is a very productive four-year college player and a relatively local product.


20) Oklahoma City Thunder-Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth)


I see a lot of Serge Ibaka in Sanders, but as they say, you can't get enough of a good thing.


21) San Antonio Spurs-Dominique Jones- SG (South Florida)


Jones is an under-the-radar prospect who could flourish in the right system.  I get the sense that Manu Ginobili is ready to part ways with the Spurs organization, and Jones would be a suitable replacement in the sixth man role.


22) Oklahoma City Thunder-Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)


OKC would love to move one of these picks or find a bargain on an international prospect, but given the opportunity to take Sanders and Alabi, I think they would.  Alabi has great size (7'1") and the potential to turn into a nice piece for an up-tempo team like the Thunder.


23) Boston Celtics-Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)


Ebanks has been all over the map this season, but he's gotten himself solidly back into the first round with his play over the first two weekends of the NCAA tournament.  With a strong showing in Indianapolis, he could vault himself back into the lottery discussion.


24) Atlanta Hawks-Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)


Lawal was largely overlooked this year thanks to the shadow of teammate Derrick Favors, but his rebounding prowess is hard to miss.  He should have a long and productive career as a defensive specialist.


25) Memphis Grizzlies-Jordan Crawford- SG (Xavier)


Crawford went from YouTube sensation to petulant underperformer early in his time at Xavier, but he really made a name for himself in March.  I'm still concerned with his attitude, but the physical skills are undeniable.  He's definitely worth a look at #25 for a team with looming questions on their perimeter.


26) New Jersey Nets-Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)


Varnado projects as a shot-blocking specialist at the next level, but if they Nets plan on making a run at Carlos Boozer or David Lee this summer, having a shot blocker waiting in the wings would be a great compliment.


27) Minnesota Timberwolves-Paul George- SF (Fresno State)


George had a cult following early in the season but fell off after his team struggled.  He has all the physical tools to be an 18 points per game scorer at the next level, but needs quality coaching and levelheaded players surrounding him in order to reach this potential.


28) Orlando Magic-Sheron Collins- PG (Kansas)


I said in my last mock that Collins' draft stock would take less of a hit than his lottery-hopeful teammates, but according to some scouts, the opposite is actually true.  Collins tried to do way too much in the Jayhawks' loss to Northern Iowa, and some are worried about his fit as a backup in the NBA.  Still, the depth at the point guard position should see him fall somewhere between #25 and #35.


29) Memphis Grizzlies-Kevin Seraphin- PF (France)


This may be a bit of a reach for Seraphin, but his youth (18-years old) may make him the most likely of the international prospects to be overvalued.  And, as we've seen the last few years, it's trendy to reach for international players late in round one. 


30) Washington Wizards-Greivis Vazquez- SG (Maryland)


Vazquez has appeal for the Warriors because he is a local product with a great head on his shoulders.  He should also be able to play multiple positions at the next level, which is a huge asset for a roster with a high turnover rate.

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