1) New Jersey Nets- John Wall- PG (Kentucky)
Wall will be a superstar sooner rather than later, and almost any team in this draft would love to have him.
2) Minnesota Timberwolves- Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)
Turner has the Buckeyes on a huge roll in the Big 10, with an eye on a potential number one seed if they can win out and claim the conference tournament championship. He has also forced his way into the National Player of the Year discussion.
3) Golden State Warriors- Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech)
It's a three horse race for this selection, with Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, and Wesley Johnson in the discussion. Johnson fits perfectly into the Warriors' system, but their need for a big man is far more pressing. Favors and Cousins both have All-Star potential, but while Cousins may be farther along at this point, there are still lingering character concerns surrounding his actions off the court.
4) Utah Jazz (from New York)- Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse)
Utah is thrilled to see the Knicks struggles continue, as their pick has a real chance of landing in the top five. The Jazz are faced with a tough choice between Cousins and Johnson, but again the character and chemistry issues surrounding the Kentucky big man are the deciding factor.
5) Detroit Pistons- DeMarcus Cousins- C (Kentucky)
Some media reports make Cousins out to be some sort of monster off the floor, and while those issues are likely largely overblown, they become stories for a reason. That is to say, while Cousins may not be as big of a risk as some believe, there is at least some cause for concern. This will likely be enough to drop him out of the top three, but hardly enough for him to slip past the first six or seven spots. Detroit is a great fit because of their lack of frontcourt depth and back-to-the-basket scoring.
6) Sacramento Kings- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)
Sacramento was reportedly in the running to acquire Troy Murphy before the trading deadline, and Motiejunas is a stretch power forward in the Murphy mold. They would love to land a franchise point guard, but the value is far from there at number six. On the other hand, taking on a bit of a project seems understandable for a franchise in rebuilding mode.
7) Indiana Pacers- Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)
Henry's stock has been all over the map this season, but he has made a nice recovery over the past couple of weeks, just in time for a strong tournament push. If he can play well and lead the Jayhawks to the Final 4, he could still be looking at a top five pick.
8) Washington Wizards- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)
This is a really tough spot to project because the Wizards are in such a transitional stage right now. Who will and won't be on their roster a year from now is still very much in question, so this pick could go several directions. Al-Farouq Aminu is the highest player on my board, but he doesn't seem to fit. Next is Cole Aldrich, but something tells me that he won't be the guy here either. That leaves Monroe and Ed Davis. I had Monroe here first, but changed my mind. A month from now, the Georgetown big man will likely be considered the better pick because of his team's success in March, but come draft time, that won't matter anymore, and Davis will move back ahead because of his production at UNC.
9) Philadelphia 76ers- Al-Farouq Aminu- SF/PF (Wake Forest)
Most mocks project Aminu as a small forward at the next level, but moving him to the swing spot hinders his rebounding, which has proven to be one of his best assets. His jump shot is also very suspect, leading me to believe he'll play mostly down low (at least in the near future). Still, his athleticism and versatility will be a great addition to a 76ers team in need of an identity.
10) Los Angeles Clippers- Hassan Whiteside- PF (Marshall)
This is a tough pick to project, but for a different reason than the Wizards' choice at number eight. The Clippers roster for next season is very thin, but quite defined. Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Chris Kaman are likely in for the long-term, with Baron Davis likely stuck in Donald Sterling's own personal purgatory. The only other player likely to return next year is DeAndre Jordan, and he is hardly an impact player at this point in his career.
Cole Aldrich and Avery Bradley are the highest players on my board, but they are practically carbon copies of Kaman and Gordon, respectively. Greg Monroe and Patrick Patterson are also high on my board, but they are traditional power forwards, like last year's first overall pick, Griffin.
This leaves the Clippers with a bit of a reach (I'm sure no one saw that coming.) for either Whiteside, who provides huge potential though he is a project, or Stanley Robinson, who plays a need position and has unreal athleticism, but boasts little growth potential.
Someone is bound to take the bait on the Whiteside hype, and why wouldn't it be the Clippers?
11) Charlotte Bobcats- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)
The Bobcats' books are a mess. They already have three centers on their roster for next season, but Aldrich has too much value to pass up at number 11. This could easily be a traded pick, with Minnesota a possible destination. (Charlotte would get back the pick they owe Minnesota plus cash and/or a second round pick.)
12) Memphis Grizzlies- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)
Patterson isn't a freak athlete and probably will never be an All-Star, but he'll have a productive and steady career. He is a relatively safe pick at this point in the draft.
13) Houston Rockets- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)
Alabi needs some seasoning, but could develop into a very nice player down the line. His size and surprising shooting touch will allow him to spell Yao Ming right out of the gate.
14) New Orleans Hornets- Greg Monroe- PF (Georgetown)
New Orleans could use an athletic swingman like Stanley Robinson, but they could also use frontcourt depth, and Monroe has huge value at #14.
15) Miami Heat- Avery Bradley- SG (Texas)
Bradley is a tough prospect to place because he is undersized and hasn't been very consistent as a freshman. If he develops the skills to run an offense, he'll be a tough guard at the next level, much like Monta Ellis. If not, he still has the potential to be an above average two guard, a lot like Eric Gordon. Playing in Miami with Dwyane Wade (presumably) would give him the flexibility to be either/or.
16) Milwaukee Bucks- James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State)
This is the first time I've had Anderson going anywhere but Chicago in quite a while, but with all the elite power forwards off the board, Milwaukee will focus on replacing the aging Michael Redd. Anderson and Brandon Jennings will be a strong backcourt partnership for years to come.
17) Chicago Bulls- Stanley Robinson- SF (Connecticut)
Missing out on Anderson makes the Bulls even more likely to overpay Joe Johnson this summer. With the matter of a shooter taken care of, Chicago eyes an athlete in Robinson, who will take some pressure off of Luol Deng.
18) Miami Heat (from Toronto)- Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth)
Miami will likely need to fill out their roster with several minimum-salary level players, so they'll look to maximize their first rounders. After grabbing a do-it-all guard in Bradley with their first choice, they choose a long, high upside big man at #18.
19) Portland Trail Blazers- Damion James- SF (Texas)
James may not have the upside of Paul George or Devin Ebanks, but he is an established player, who knows his strengths. He is a great rebounder and has a very smooth mid-range game.
20) San Antonio Spurs- Ekpe Udoh- PF (Baylor)
Udoh is a great leaper with good shot-blocking instincts and a quickly developing offensive game. He also has good hustle and a positive attitude, which are Greg Popovich staples.
21) Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)- Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic)
Vesely has good size and defensive instincts and has shown promise on the offensive end. He'll likely need a year or two in Europe, but the Thunder have a very full roster moving forward, so he's a nice fit here.
22) Oklahoma City Thunder- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)
The Thunder would love to get their hands on Sanders, but Lawal is an acceptable backup option. He is the best rebounder in this class and should be a productive third or fourth forward.
23) Atlanta Hawks- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)
Stephenson has some character concerns, which should hurt his stock, but he has all the tools to replace Joe Johnson if he changes addresses this summer.
24) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)
Ebanks has fallen steadily after beginning the season as a potential top five pick. His play has been inconsistent and uninspired, and staying at West Virginia for a third season seems like his best option, unless the Mountaineers can generate a late run in March.
25) Boston Celtics- Luke Babbit- SF (Nevada)
Babbit is a solid rebounder and a very efficient scorer, who could become a very valuable weapon off the Celtics' bench.
26) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah)- Paul George- SF (Fresno State)
George has all the tools to be a spectacular NBA player, but he really needs to grow up and learn to fit in to a team game. He seems like the type of player whose best years will be with a subsequent team.
27) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma)
Warren's season is finished after contracting mono, so what you see is what you get. And honestly, what we saw wasn't very good. His season will close with more questions than answers, and if he declares, his status is a fringe first rounder at best.
28) Orlando Magic- Armon Johnson- PG (Nevada)
Johnson has good size and has posted good numbers for a winning team at Nevada, but he has some holes in his game, as well. Specifically, he struggles from the outside (21%) and the free throw line (63%).
29) Cleveland Cavaliers- Da'Sean Butler- SG (West Virginia)
Butler has great size for a shooting guard, and he possesses a deadly outside shot along with the willingness to fire at will. He should take some of the perimeter pressure off of LeBron James assuming the King holds court in Cleveland.
30) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Mario Delas- SF (Croatia)
Delas is a little under the radar, but I see a lot of similarities to Hedo Turkoglu. In limited minutes in the European League, Delas has shot 71% from the field and 92% from the free throw line.