Toronto Raptors- Harrison Barnes- SF (North Carolina)
Minnesota Timberwolves- Brandon Knight- PG/SG (Kentucky)
Philadelphia 76ers- Enes Kanter- PF (Kentucky)
Golden State Warriors- Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic)
Detroit Pistons- Kyrie Irving- PG (Duke)
Indiana Pacers- Perry Jones- PF (Baylor)
Charlotte Bobcats- Josh Selby- PG/SG (Kansas)
Sacramento Kings- CJ Leslie- SF (North Carolina State)
New Orleans Hornets- Jordan Hamilton- SG/SF (Texas)
Washington Wizards- Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)
Memphis Grizzlies- Tristan Thompson- PF (Texas)
Milwaukee Bucks- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)
Phoenix Suns- John Henson- SF/PF (North Carolina)
Los Angeles Clippers- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)
Houston Rockets (from New York)- Lucas Nogueira- C (Brazil)
Cleveland Cavaliers- Jeff Taylor- SF (Vanderbilt)
Utah Jazz- Mason Plumlee- PF (Duke)
San Antonio Spurs- Jimmer Fredette- PG (Brigham Young)
New Jersey Nets- LaceDarius Dunn- SG (Baylor)
New York Knicks (from Houston)- Keith Benson- C (Oakland)
Portland Trail Blazers- Marcus Morris- PF (Kansas)
Atlanta Hawks- JaMychal Green- PF (Alabama)
Denver Nuggets- Aaric Murray- C (LaSalle)
Oklahoma City Thunder- Robin Benzing- SF (Germany)
Miami Heat- Chris Wright- SF (Dayton)
Boston Celtics- Kenneth Faried- PF (Morehead State)
Dallas Mavericks- Mario Delas- SF (Croatia)
Orlando Magic- Kalin Lucas- PG (Michigan State)
Chicago Bulls- Arnett Moultrie- PF (UTEP)
Los Angeles Lakers- Malcolm Lee- PG/SG (UCLA)
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Oklahoma City Thunder
New Jersey Nets
Los Angeles Clippers
New Orleans Hornets
Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors
New York Knicks
Atlanta turned their pick (#24) into two picks (#27, #31) and then traded #31 for cash, getting the player they really wanted (Crawford) in the process. They also got a guy they really liked (Sy) in the late second round. He's relatively unknown and needs a lot of work, but picking him in the mid 50's is very low risk.
Crawford could help ease the loss of Joe Johnson, but Atlanta will still need to upgrade their frontcourt rotation if they hope to return to their form from 2009-2010.
Boston Celtics- Avery Bradley (19), Luke Harangody (52)
The Celtics got great value from Bradley at #19, and he could turn out to be quite a steal. However, he doesn't seem to be the kind of player who will be able to help in the short term. Harangody is the exact opposite story. What he is today is about all he'll ever be. He was extremely productive in college, but his role at the next level will be very limited. I would be surprised to see him log more than eight minutes a game if he even makes the roster.
Boston's "Big 3" are all on their downside, but Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins have done a great job of bridging the gap. Bradley could take over the shooting guard role down the line, but re-signing Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will be of paramount importance in the short-term.
Charlotte Bobcats- No Picks
Charlotte traded their first round pick to Denver for the rights to Alexis Ajinca, which turned out really great. Their pick (Luke Babbit) ended up in Portland via Minnesota via Denver, and the team still finds themselves without a playoff win or a point guard. But, hey, at least they have MJ.
Chicago Bulls- No Picks
The Bulls took a page out of the Miami Heat playbook and traded a proven commodity (Kirk Hinrich) and a mid teens pick (#17) for nothing more than cap space. As July approaches, it could prove to be genius, but the jury's still out. If the Bulls come up short in free agency, their grade will be an F. If they can get two big name players to team with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, they'll get a A+.
Cleveland Cavaliers- No Picks
The Cavs first round pick went to Washington as part of Antawn Jamison deal, and ended up in Minnesota in a draft night deal. Jamison fit in well in Cleveland, but the Cavs still couldn't manage to win a ring for The King.
Dallas Mavericks- Dominique Jones (25)
Dallas traded their original pick (#27) to New Jersey as a part of the Jason Kidd- Devin Harris trade. They bought back into the first round on draft night and picked a guy that had targeted around #20 (Jones) at #25. Jones is a nice fit in Dallas, because of his ability to create and defend.
Like many teams around the league, the Mavericks have a lot to win or lose this summer, but all signs indicate that Dirk Nowitzki will return next season. Dallas also has some assets to offer, including Erick Dampier's non-guaranteed contract, so they could be movers and shakers in the trade market.
Denver Nuggets- No Picks
Denver's original pick went to Memphis in the Stephen Hunter trade (August 2009), and the pick they acquired from Charlotte went to Minnesota for the rights to Ty Lawson. Lawson had a good year last year, and was reportedly dangled to Indiana for the #10 pick this time around. I'm no mathematician (well, actually I am), but I would rather have #10 than #16. Even though that trade didn't work out, Lawson's value makes that trade more than worthwhile for the Nuggets.
Detroit Pistons- Greg Monroe (7), Terrico White (36)
The Pistons got fantastic value from both of their picks. Monroe was by all accounts a top five pick, and the Pistons were thrilled to get him at #7. I'm a little wary about his fit in Detroit, but there's no question that Joe Dumars and company made the right choice. Terrico White is another guy with a wealth of upside, who probably deserved first round consideration. Again, I'm a little wary of his fit in Detroit because I'm not sold on him as a point guard. However, the NBA draft is about stockpiling valuable assets, and that's exactly what Detroit did.
Golden State Warriors- Ekpe Udoh (6)
Udoh really impressed at his workout with the Warriors. Reports are that he won the team over by showing up in suit and dazzling with his personality as much as his basketball skill. Udoh will be a nice fit in Golden State, but his value at #6 is non-existent. The team could have moved back three, four, or maybe five slots and still gotten him along with another asset. They also could have selected Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu, who is a very similar player with much higher upside.
Houston Rockets- Patrick Patterson (14)
I expected more action from the Rockets on draft night, but they were lucky to get a player like Patterson with the last pick in the lottery. He's one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft, and the Rockets' frontcourt situation moving forward (Yao Ming, Luis Scola, Jordan Hill, Chuck Hayes, and Patterson) is arguably the best in the NBA.
The Rockets just missed out on a playoff appearance in a very tough Western Conference last year, but I would be shocked to see them miss out in 2010-2011, regardless of Yao Ming's injury status. Darryl Morey is one of the best GMs in the game, and he has assembled a talented and deep roster, which should make waves sooner rather than later. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Houston involved in a sign-and-trade for someone this summer.
Indiana Pacers- Paul George (10), Lance Stephenson (40), Magnum Rolle (51)
The Pacers got two players (George and Stephenson) who develop into starters down the line. George is somewhat risky because of the low level of competition against which he played at Fresno State, but he's arguably the most confident player in the draft. I love the fit of Stephenson for two reasons- first, he dropped out of the first and will have to fight to keep his career alive, and two, he'll be playing in Indianapolis, half a continent away from that city that declared him "The Chosen One". Rolle is a wild card. He has good athleticism, but lacks polish. I would be surprised to see him make the roster any time soon.
I still wonder whether the George pick is part of a larger trade plan that will take place sometime in July. Indiana was widely reported to be after a point guard, but was unable to find a suitable option. They had been in discussions with Minnesota for Jonny Flynn, and the Wolves are reportedly very high on George. Stay tuned for further developments.
Los Angeles Clippers- Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Eric Bledsoe (18), Willie Warren (54)
It pains me to say this, but the Clippers actually did a very competent job. I still believe that Aminu is more of a power forward at the next level, but if he can develop an outside jumper, he could certainly prove me wrong. Bledsoe will need some time to learn how to run a team, but Baron Davis should hold down the fort in the meantime. Warren was considered by some to be a top 5 pick before the season, so his value at #54 is astronomical. I like the idea of him re-uniting with former Sooner teammate Blake Griffin.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Warren as the Clippers' backup point guard on opening night with Bledsoe just outside of the active roster. In time, their roles will flip-flop, but for now, Warren is more ready to produce. The Clips may find themselves in the lottery again next year in a stacked Western Conference, but they're certainly stockpiling some nice pieces. The level of protection on the first rounder sent to Oklahoma City could be the defining factor in the Clippers' draft, but in any event, they added some pieces they really liked.
Los Angeles Lakers- Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)
Ebanks sank like a rock on draft night because he doesn't have any translatable NBA skills. He has great length and adequate athleticism, but he's far from being able to produce at the next level. With that said, his value at #43 is undeniable. Caracter was a highly touted high school recruit who finally started putting the pieces together after his transfer from Louisville to UTEP. He's very strong and has an NBA body, and I think he could be an upgrade over Josh Powell.
Memphis Grizzlies- Xavier Henry (12), Greivis Vasquez (28)
Memphis wanted Paul George at #12, but settled for Henry, who I think will be a top 5 player from this class. His fit at small forward (likely in place of Rudy Gay) is questionable, but he has good size and he's very strong. Vasquez is very versatile and is a much better backup point option than Jamaal Tinsley.
Memphis has a very solid starting five, and they drafted size and more size in 2009 (Hasheem Thabeet and DeMarre Carroll), so a couple of guards this time around makes sense. Up next for Memphis is re-signing Rudy Gay at (almost) any cost.
Miami Heat- Dexter Pittman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42)
Miami took an interesting stance in the lead up to the draft. They traded Daequan Cook and #18 (Eric Bledsoe) to Oklahoma City for #32, and then wasted that pick on a guy they could've gotten at #42 (Pittman). Conversely, Oklahoma City turned around and traded Miami's pick to the Clippers for a future first. Wouldn't Miami love to have a 2011 Clippers' first rounder in their back pocket? I understand that they need to clear cap room, but will an extra $2 M really make that big of a difference? Finding a new home for Michael Beasley would have made much more sense.
There other two picks were better. Varnado is a proven shot blocker and a very mature kid with a great attitude. Da'Sean Butler is a pure scorer with good size, who could make a nice impact at a very palatable cap number. Miami also traded the rights to their 48th pick (Latavious Williams) to Oklahoma City for a protected 2011 second rounder.
Miami did what they had to do to get Dwyane Wade a sidekick, but they may have showed their hand too early. Chicago turned around and one-upped them a day later, and it's beginning to look like the Heat will have to settle for a second tier free agent like Joe Johnson or Carlos Boozer.
Milwaukee Bucks- Larry Sanders (15), Darington Hobson (37), Jerome Jordan (44), Tiny Gallon (47)
It's hard not to take the entire draft week into consideration when grading Milwaukee. Trades earlier in the week netted the Bucks scorers Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts, which essentially stamps John Salmons' ticket out of town. Then the Bucks landed what amounts to an entire big man rotation (PF- Gallon, C- Jordan, PF/C- Sanders) on the night of the draft, along with another promising, versatile swing man (Hobson).
None of these players are overwhelmingly NBA-ready, but they all show some promise, with all but Jordan displaying significant upside. Best of all, Milwaukee only has to guarantee one rookie contract next season, providing them with some valuable roster and cap flexibility.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30), Nemanja Bjelica (35), Paulao Prestes (45), Martell Webster (Trade)
David Kahn has officially done it again. After drafting four point guards last year (2 were traded away), the Wolves managed to outdo themselves, selecting 4 small forwards this time around, while trading one away for yet another three man. Johnson is a great athlete and shooter, but his ability to create his own shot is still somewhat suspect. Several experts have chosen him as the early ROY favorite, but only time will tell. Hayward was a huge reach at #30, and probably would have been available 15 picks later. Bjelica and Prestes are low-risk picks, but Bjelica recently signed a three year contract to stay in Europe, which reportedly includes $1 M buyouts after each season.
With cap space, draft picks, and expendable young assets, Minnesota was in position to make some huge improvements on draft night, but instead made one minor move and took several calculated risks. There is still a lot of summer left, and a sign-and-trade is a possibility, but Minnesota have really got their work cut out for them. They will almost certainly be a lottery team again next year, with a top 5 selection very likely.
New Jersey Nets- Derrick Favors (3), Damion James (24)
Favors may be raw, but he has as much potential as anyone in this class, including John Wall. He measured out splendidly at the Combine, and I have no doubt that he and Brook Lopez will be the best frontcourt tandem in the league within three years. The trio of Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, and Damion James gives the Nets a huge amount of flexibility. Assuming that Lopez would join those three on the floor, the group could be joined by a point, a two, a three, or a four without skipping a beat. James also adds a dimension of toughness that the hapless 2009-2010 Nets badly needed.
With a huge amount of available cap space, the Nets could still make a huge splash this summer, but the turnaround is already well underway. Assuming the team can stay healthy and add even a mid-level talent in free agency, they should challenge for an Eastern Conference playoff spot next season.
New Orleans Hornets- Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26)
New Orleans' selection of Cole Aldrich made almost no sense, as Aldrich is a very similar player to Emeka Okafor. However, the Hornets were able to package his rights along with Morris Peterson's toxic contract to move down for two later first rounders. The Hornets made both picks count, acquiring arguably the best stretch four man (Brackins) and the most NBA-ready scorer (Pondexter) in the draft.
The Hornets added some quality talent to their roster, but more importantly they found a way to sneak in under the luxury tax threshold without conceding Chris Paul or David West.
New York Knicks- Andy Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39)
The Knicks were at it again, taking two players that they clearly valued, but who may have been available as undrafted free agents. Rautins would have probably gotten snatched up somewhere in the 50's, but Fields wasn't on my or Chad Ford's top 100 list. His inclusion in the 30's was the single biggest surprise of the draft (aside from Wes Johnson's pants).
This summer is clearly a make-or-break period for one of the NBA's most storied franchises, and this was not a good start. Can you really travel to Ohio on July 1st and say, "Hey LeBron James, look at the two young prospects we brought in for you"? Absolutely not. There's no way that Rautins and Fields are names that will appeal to the NBA's elite. Players such as Lance Stephenson, Willie Warren, Devin Ebanks, Jerome Jordan, Tiny Gallon, Gani Lawal, and Solomon Alabi were all available, and the Knicks decided on Rautins and Fields instead!?! Please. Good luck throwing max money in Rudy Gay's direction and letting him bring you back to the promised land.
Grade: Is there anything lower than an F?
Oklahoma City Thunder- Cole Aldrich (11), Tibor Pleiss (31), Latavious Williams (48), Ryan Reid (57), Morris Peterson (Trade), Daequan Cook (Trade)
Someone call 911 because Sam Presti just murdered the draft AGAIN. Presti took back one bad contract (Peterson) and one bi-annual level contract (Cook) in order to move up from #21 and #26 to #11 and #18. Hey then traded the 18th pick to the Clippers for a future first, which depending on the protection level could easily be a lottery pick sooner rather than later. But he wasn't done. Presti traded cash for arguably the most valuable non-lottery pick in the draft (#31), drafting a promising young 7-footer (Pleiss) to stash in Europe for a year or two. He also traded a future second rounder for the rights to high school-to-D League forward Latavious Williams, and moved down 7 spots from #51 to #58, recouped a little cash, and drafted Ryan Reid, an absolute unknown who averaged only 6.8 points per game as a senior at Florida State.
Orlando Magic- Daniel Orton (29), Stanley Robinson (59)
Boy was I wrong about the Magic's draft plans. Orlando has surrounded two highly paid centers (Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat) by myriad shooters. With their two picks, however, they picked the draft's biggest project (Orton), and one of its poorest shooters (Robinson).
Philadelphia 76ers- Evan Turner (2)
Philadelphia did the right thing at #2, even though I'm still concerned with their roster's ability to shoot from the outside and stretch the floor. Andre Iguodala could still be on his way out of Philly, but I would be surprised to see a move unless the 76ers could fetch proper value.
As talented as Turner is, I still believe the 2010-2011 76ers will be a high lottery team, with a top 5 pick very likely.
Phoenix Suns- Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60)
Lawal and Collins are two of the three best rebounders in the class, along with Trevor Booker, who was picked at #23 and traded to the Washington Wizards. Each player constitutes significant value, and with Amare Stoudemire potentially on his way out, the Suns did have a need up front. However, the similarities between the two players are remarkable, and the need for both is inexplicable.
Portland Trail Blazers- Luke Babbit (16), Elliot Williams (22), Armon Johnson (34), Ryan Gomes (Trade)
Portland got a little bit of everything in the draft. Babbit is a good rebounder and shooter, while Williams is a slasher, and Johnson is a play-maker. They dealt soon-to-be sixth year small forward Martell Webster for the rights to Babbit and Ryan Gomes, who's non-guaranteed contract was dumped needlessly by the Timberwolves.
The Blazers have a huge amount of depth on their perimeter with Brandon Roy, Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless, Nicolas Batum, Babbit, and Williams guaranteed deals for next year, and Johnson likely to join the roster as well. Power forward is still a need, as the drop off between LaMarcus Aldridge and backup Juwan Howard is enormous. Perhaps Fernandez will be moved for a veteran big man, but we'll have to stay tuned.
Almost forgot, owner Paul Allen fired well-respected GM Kevin Pritchard just hours before the draft, then expected Pritchard to finish out the draft. What a guy!
Sacramento Kings- DeMarcus Cousins (5), Hassan Whiteside (33)
Cousins and Whiteside each have huge upside, and if both can keep their personalities in check, Sacramento will be well on their way to title contention. With that said, my first reaction to the Whiteside choice was "I wonder if the Kings can hire Ron Artest's (now infamous) psychiatrist".
San Antonio Spurs- James Anderson (20), Ryan Richards (49)
San Antonio was very pleased to have two players they coveted fall right into their laps. Anderson struggles to create his own shot, but he is a great scorer, and he's widely regarded as the best outside shooter in the class. Richards is a 7-footer from England, who has a limited resume, but showed good athleticism at the Combine.
Toronto Raptors- Ed Davis (13), Solomon Alabi (50)
I was surprised to see the Raptors end the night without a point guard, but I must say, they may have gotten as much value out of their picks as anyone in the league. Davis was considered a possibility as high as #7, and Alabi was thought to be a first round prospect before tumbling on draft night.
Chris Bosh is almost certainly headed for a United States address this summer, and a sign-and-trade makes the most sense, but Davis and Alabi should mitigate the need to receive a big man in return. With that said, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers actually gained the most from the Raptors' draft. A package of Mo Williams, Delonte West, JJ Hickson, and picks would be pretty tempting to Toronto as they're currently constructed.
Utah Jazz- Gordon Hayward (9), Jeremy Evans (55)
Gordon Hayward is considered a sexy pick after Butler's NCAA tournament run, but his value at #9 is less than ideal. A big man or a combo forward like Luke Babbit would have made more sense at that spot. Utah hoped to address their frontcourt needs by drafting Evans at #55, but his was another surprising selection. Evans was steady at Western Kentucky, shooting 62% or better in each of his four seasons, but he never averaged more than 10 points or 7 rebounds, which doesn't bode well for his transition from the Ohio Valley Conference to the NBA.
Washington Wizards- John Wall (1), Kevin Seraphin (17), Trevor Booker (23), Hamady N'Diaye (56), Kirk Hinrich (Trade)
Washington is in the midst of a huge transition, and it's clear that their focus was at the point and the post. They managed to acquire John Wall (and his dance) and a veteran backup (Hinrich), which pushes Gilbert Arenas even farther out of the picture. They also selected one NBA-ready big man (Booker) and two projects (Seraphin and N'Diaye), which exemplifies their re-building status.
Arenas needs to be moved, no matter what the cost. His burden at this point likely outweighs his undeniable talent, but there is likely someone out there who will be willing to accept both his contract and his personality, although another asset would likely have to be attached.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Washington Wizards- John Wall- PG (Kentucky)
With all the rumors circulating as the draft approaches, there's one thing you can take to the bank: John Wall will be sporting a Wizards' jersey on opening night.
Philadelphia 76ers- Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)
There is still an outside chance that Favors or Cousins moves into this spot or that Philly finds a taker for Elton Brand, but staying put and drafting Turner makes much more sense.
New Jersey Nets- Derrick Favors- PF/C (Georgia Tech)
I'm convinced that the "Nets want Wes Johnson" rumors were nothing but a smokescreen, and I really hope David Khan doesn't do something stupid. After a strong workout for New Jersey, DeMarcus Cousins has a shot here too.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Wesley Johnson- SG/SF (Syracuse)
Minnesota badly needs a wing, and they're reportedly very high on Johnson. I still believe he would be available at #7 if he makes it this far, but the Wolves will stay put and get their guy at #4.
Sacramento Kings- DeMarcus Cousins- C (Kentucky)
Sacramento strikes gold again. Down the line, Cousins will be regarded as the second best player in this draft class, and he and Tyreke Evans can work on persuading Coach Cal to join them in Cali.
Golden State Warriors- Ekpe Udoh- PF (Baylor)
Weeks ago, Udoh was considered a risky pick because of his age (23). However, showing up to his Warriors' workout in a suit was apparently enough to win over the Golden State brass. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Detroit Pistons- Greg Monroe- PF/C (Georgetown)
I like Monroe and he provides good value at #7, but I really don't like his fit in Detroit. He likes to pop out to the elbow and play the pivot, when what Detroit really needs is a low-post banger.
Los Angeles Clippers- Al-Farouq Aminu- SF/PF (Wake Forest)
This is nearly the perfect scenario for the Clippers, so I'm sure they'll find some way to screw it up. I still wouldn't be surprised to see Hassan Whiteside or Daniel Orton picked here.
Utah Jazz- Luke Babbit- SF (Nevada)
Word is that Utah is high on Monroe, Davis, and a trio of white players (Babbit, Aldrich, and Hayward). Guess which route I'm expecting? Babbit can score from the three spot and play some emergency four if needed, providing some much needed versatility to Utah's frontcourt.
Indiana Pacers- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)
It still wouldn't surprise me to see the Pacers throw a Hail Mary and pick Gordon Hayward here, but their second straight UNC power forward is a better value, and frankly, given Tyler Hansbrough's career prospects, a bigger need.
New Orleans Hornets- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)
I'll probably be kicking myself for not picking Paul George at this spot, but I would love to see Patterson play alongside Chris Paul.
Memphis Grizzlies- Paul George- SG/SF (Fresno State)
George has great size and nice range, but his confidence seems to be his greatest asset. He would give Memphis a nice safety net if Rudy Gay leaves this summer.
Toronto Raptors- Avery Bradley- PG/SG (Texas)
Toronto seems to be in the market for a guard and a big man, but with everyone and their brother trying to acquire a late first-rounder, they may have to settle for one pick. They'll expect a big man in any Chris Bosh S&T, so drafting a guard is a safe play here.
Houston Rockets- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)
I think I started saying Houston needed a backup center around, um, my FIRST mock of the year. I softened on that stance a while back, but Aldrich is great value here. Word is that Oklahoma City will try to move up for him, but if not, he's a great fit with the Rockets.
Milwaukee Bucks (from Chicago)- Larry Sanders- PF/C (Virginia Commonwealth)
After trading for Chris Douglas-Roberts and Corey Maggette, it's fairly clear what the Bucks need to do with this pick. If none of the lottery-level power forwards drop, Milwaukee would be happy to settle for Sanders.
Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte)- Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)
Hi, my name is A.J and I'm a Timberwolves' fan. There, I said it. Now please, David Kahn, I'm begging you, DON'T TRADE THIS PICK. This draft is about 18 players deep and this pick is well within the range that will fetch a good player. Henry and Johnson, or Henry and Favors for that matter, would be a great addition to a Ricky Rubio- Kevin Love core.
Chicago Bulls (from Milwaukee)- James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State)
Anderson to the Bulls- all is right with the world. I don't even care if this doesn't happen, I've been picking it for too long to give up now.
Oklahoma City Thunder (from Miami)- Eric Bledsoe- PG (Kentucky)
There's a 0% chance that the Thunder pick Bledsoe, but I think someone will, and they'll go through Sam Presti to get it done.
Boston Celtics- Jordan Crawford- SG (Xavier)
Solomon Alabi might be in play at this spot, but I still doubt that Ray Allen will be back, and Crawford is the best replacement available.
San Antonio Spurs- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)
San Antonio needs some youth up front, and Alabi has great size at 7'1". Gordon Hayward could also be in play at this spot if he's still on the board.
Oklahoma City- Gordon Hayward- SF (Butler)
Word is that Oklahoma City is looking to move into the lottery for Hayward, so they would be thrilled to get him at #21. What role he plays in OKC is another issue entirely.
Portland Trail Blazers- Dominique Jones- SG (South Florida)
In the past 24 hours, I've heard that the Blazers are after no less than five players with this pick. However, I Jones is Portland because he and Nicolas Batum would be the league's best perimeter defensive duo. (Sorry Kobe and Ron-Ron.)
Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah)- Hassan Whiteside- C (Marshall)
Minnesota's draft plans are such a mystery to me that I think I can feel an ulcer coming on. With that said, if they stay here, Whiteside would be a great choice, and if they don't, he could be the target for a trade partner like Cleveland, Toronto, or New York.
Atlanta Hawks- Damion James- SF (Texas)
James is NBA-ready and very versatile. He should give Atlanta quality minutes at the three and the four from day one.
Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Kevin Seraphin- PF (France)
Like Minnesota, Memphis has multiple picks and myriad choices, especially at this spot. If they stay, an international player like Seraphin or Tibor Pleiss will be the pick. If not, a team like Portland or Washington could move in for Seraphin's rights.
New York Knicks (from Oklahoma City from Phoenix)- Greivis Vasquez- SG (Maryland)
Man, I can't wait for draft night! The early-to-mid 20's will be absolutely nuts. Several teams want in, and several teams are willing to move out for the right price. Reports are circling that the Knicks covet Vasquez, who has reportedly received a promise from Miami at #32, meaning Donnie Walsh and company will have to ante up to get him.
New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)
The Nets could use a replacement for Chris Douglas-Roberts if they hold onto this pick. I would love to see Stephenson succeed, but I think playing in the greater New York area could be the death blow to his NBA prospects.
Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Willie Warren- PG/SG (Oklahoma)
Memphis is one of the teams that may be interested in moving up to draft Eric Bledsoe, but if they can't, they settle for Warren, who was once considered a surefire lottery pick.
Orlando Magic- Mikhail Torrance- PG/SG (Alabama)
Torrance is flying under the radar, but he has good size (6'5"), displayed a consistent jump shot at the Combine, and has the ability to play both guard spots. Think of him as a more athletic J.J. Redick. (Sorry that was redundant. Bazinga!)
Washington Wizards (from Cleveland)- Tiny Gallon- PF (Oklahoma)
Gallon is a good outside shooter and incredibly strong. He is definitely a project, but his upside is worth the risk at this point in the draft.
New Jersey Nets- Tibor Pleiss- C (Germany)
Miami Heat- Daniel Orton- PF/C (Kentucky)
Sacramento Kings- Ryan Richards- C (England)
Portland Trail Blazers- Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)
Washington Wizards- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)
Detroit Pistons- Armon Johnson- PG (Nevada)
Milwaukee Bucks- Elliot Williams- SG (Memphis)
New York Knicks- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)
New York Knicks- Darington Hobson- SF (New Mexico)
Indiana Pacers- Sherron Collins- PG (Kansas)
Miami Heat- Stanley Robinson- SF (Connecticut)
Miami Heat- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)
LA Lakers- Terrico White- SG (Mississippi)
Milwaukee Bucks- Matt Bouldin- PG (Gonzaga)
Minnesota Timberwolves- Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)
Phoenix Suns- Trevor Booker- PF (Clemson)
Milwaukee Bucks- Artsiom Parakhouski- C (Radford)
Miami Heat- Jeremy Wise- PG (Bakersfield Jam- D League)
San Antonio Spurs- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)
Dallas Mavericks- Nemanja Bjelica- SF (Serbia)
Oklahoma City Thunder- Brian Zoubek- C (Duke)
Boston Celtics- Derrick Caracter- PF (UTEP)
Atlanta Hawks- Charles Garcia- PF (Seattle)
Los Angeles Clippers- Thomas Heurtel- PG (France)
Utah Jazz- Paulao Prestes- PF (Brazil)
Minnesota Timberwolves- Da'Sean Butler- SG (West Virginia)
Indiana Pacers- Sylven Landesberg- SG (Virginia)
Los Angeles Lakers- Latavious Williams- SF (Tulsa 66ers- D League)
Orlando Magic- Alexey Shved- PG (Russia)
Phoenix Suns- Miroslav Raduljica- C (Serbia)
John Wall- PG (Kentucky) [Russell Westbrook]- (16.6 pts, 4.3 rebs, 6.5 asts, 1.8 stls, 46% FG, 75% FT, 33% 3P)
DeMarcus Cousins- C (Kentucky) [Al Jefferson]- (15.1 pts, 9.8 rebs, 1.8 blks, 1stls, 56% FG, 60% FT)
Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech) [Amare Stoudemire]- (12.4 pts, 8.4 rebs, 2.1 blks, .9 stls, 61% FG, 63% FT)
Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)[Brandon Roy]- (20.4 pts, 9.2 rebs, 6 asts, 1.7 stls, .9 blks, 52% FG, 76% FT, 26% 3P)
Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas) [Corey Maggette/Michael Finley]- (13.4 pts, 4.4 rebs, 1.5 asts, 1.5 stls, 46% FG, 78% FT, 42% 3P)
Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky) [Udonis Haslem]- (14.3 pts, 7.4 rebs, 1.3 blks, 58% FG, 69% FT, 35% 3P)
Al-Farouq Aminu- SF (Wake Forest) [Luol Deng]- (15.8 pts, 10.7 rebs, 1.4 stls, 1.4 blks, 45% FG, 70% FT)
Greg Monroe- PF (Georgetown) [Pau Gasol]- (16.1 pts, 9.6 rebs, 3.8 asts, 1.2 stls, 1.8 blks, 53% FG, 66% FT)
Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse) [Corey Brewer]- (16.5 pts, 8.5 rebs, 2.2 asts, 1.7 stls, 1.8 blks, 50% FG, 77% FT, 42% 3P)
Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas) [Emeka Okafor]- (11.3 pts, 9.8 rebs, 3.5 blks, .8 stls, 56% FG, 68% FT)
Paul George- SF (Fresno State) [Danny Granger/Chris Douglas-Roberts]- (16.8 pts, 7.2 rebs, 3 asts, 2.2 stls, .8 blks, 42% FG, 91% FT, 35% 3P)
Ekpe Udoh-PF (Baylor) [Hakim Warrick]- (13.9 pts, 9.8 rebs, 2.7 asts, 3.7 blks, .8 stls, 49% FG, 69% FT)
Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina) [Zach Randolph]- (12.9 pts, 9.2 rebs, 2.7 blks, 58% FG, 66% FT)
Avery Bradley- SG (Texas) [Eric Gordon/Randy Foye]- (11.6 pts, 2.9 rebs, 2.1 asts, 1.3 stls, 43% FG, 55% FT, 38% 3P)
Luke Babbit- SF (Nevada) [Mike Miller]- (21.9 pts, 8.9 rebs, .8 blks, 1 stls, 50% FG, 92% FT, 42% 3P)
Gordon Hayward- SF (Butler)- (15.5 pts, 8.2 rebs, 1.1 stls, .8 blks, 46% FG, 83% FT, 29% 3P)
LIKELY FIRST ROUNDERS
Hassan Whiteside- PF (Marshall) [Andray Blatche]- (13.1 pts, 8.9 rebs, 5.4 blks, 52% FG, 59% FT)
James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State) [Michael Redd]- (22.3 pts, 5.8 rebs, 2.4 asts, 1.4 stls, 46% FG, 81% FT, 34% 3P)
Damion James- SF (Texas) [Luol Deng/Jonas Jerebko]- (18 pts, 10.3 rebs, 1.7 stls, 1.2 blks, 50% FG, 67% FT, 38% 3P)
Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth) [Serge Ibaka]- (14.4 pts, 9.1 rebs, 2.6 blks, 53% FG, 64% FT)
Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)- (11.7 pts, 6.2 rebs, 2.3 blks, 53% FG, 79% FT)
Eric Bledsoe-PG (Kentucky) [Kyle Lowry]- (11.3 pts, 3.1 rebs, 2.9 asts, 1.4 stls, 46% FG, 67% FT, 38% 3P)
1ST ROUND BUBBLE
Jordan Crawford- SG (Xavier)- (20.5 pts, 4.7 rebs, 2.9 asts, 1.3 stls, 46% FG, 77% FT, 39% 3P)
Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech) [Reggie Evans]- (13.1 pts, 8.5 rebs, 1.4 blks, 53% FG, 57% FT)
Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)- (19.3 pts, 7.4 rebs, 1.3 stls, 53% FG, 83% FT, 35% 3P)
Mikhail Torrance- SG (Alabama) – (15.6 pts, 3.7 rebs, 5.1 asts, .8 stls, 47% FG, 87% FT, 36% 3P)
Daniel Orton- C (Kentucky)-(3.4 pts, 3.3 rebs, 1.4 blks, 53% FG, 52% FT)
Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma) - (16.3 pts, 3.3 rebs, 4.1 asts, 1 stls, 44% FG, 80% FT, 31% 3P)
Dominique Jones- SG (South Florida)- (21.4 pts, 6.1 rebs, 3.6 asts, 1.7 stls, 45% FG, 74% FT, 31% 3P)
Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia) [Rudy Gay]- (12 pts, 8.1 rebs, 2.4 asts, 1.1 stls, .7 blks, 46% FG, 77% FT, 10% 3P)
Stanley Robinson- SF (Connecticut) [Gerald Green]- (14.5 pts, 7.6 rebs, 1.2 blks, .9 stls, 53% FG, 63% FT, 34% 3P)
Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State) [Charlie Villanueva]- (16.5 pts, 8.5 rebs, 2.2 asts, 1.2 blks, .8 stls, 42% FG, 76% FT, 31% 3P)
Terrico White- SG (Mississippi)- (15.1 pts, 4.6 rebs, 1.5 asts, .9 stls, 43% FG, 71% FT, 34% 3P)
Darington Hobson- SF (New Mexico)- (15.9 pts, 9.3 rebs, 4.6 asts, 1.3 stls, 44% FG, 65% FT, 36% 3P)
Greivis Vasquez- SG (Maryland)- (19.6 pts, 4.6 rebs, 6.3 asts, 1.7 stls, 43% FG, 86% FT, 36% 3P)
Armon Johnson-PG (Nevada)- (15.7 pts, 3.4 rebs, 5.6 asts, .8 stls, 50% FG, 68% FT, 24% 3P)
Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati) [Larry Hughes]- (12.3 pts, 5.4 rebs, 2.5 asts, .9 stls, 44% FG, 66% FT, 22% 3P)
Tiny Gallon- PF (Oklahoma)- (10.3 pts, 7.9 rebs, .7 stls, .8 blks, 55% FG, 70% FT)
Elliot Williams-SG (Memphis)- (17.9 pts, 4 rebs, 3.8 asts, 1.3 stls, 46% FG, 76% FT, 37% 3P)
1ST ROUND INETERNATIONAL BUBBLE
Kevin Seraphin- PF (France)- (6 pts, 4.5 rebs, 1 blks, 51% FG, 59% FT, 16 mins)
Tibor Pleiss- C (Germany) – (8.3 pts, 5.7 rebs, .8 blks, 52% FG, 76% FT, 18 mins)
Miroslav Raduljica- C (Serbia) [Marc Gasol]- (13.7 pts, 6.4 rebs, 58% FG, 78% FT, 27 mins)
Nemanja Bjelica- SF (Serbia)- (9.2 pts, 4.9 rebs, 2.3 asts, 43% FG, 76% FT, 24 mins)
LIKELY SECOND ROUNDERS
Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State) [Ben Wallace]- (13.8 pts, 10.3 rebs, 4.7 blks, 58% FG, 61% FT)
Sheron Collins- PG (Kansas) [Jameer Nelson]- (15.5 pts, 4.5 asts, 1.1 stls, 43% FG, 86% FT, 37% 3P)
Da'Sean Butler- SG (West Virginia)- (17.2 pts, 6.2 rebs, 3.1 asts, 1 stls, 41% FG, 79% FT, 35% 3P)
Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)- (15.4 pts, 9.1 rebs, 2.3 blks, 55% FG, 69% FT)
Artsiom Parakhouski- C (Radford) [Marcin Gortat]- (21.4 pts, 13.4 rebs, 2.1 blks, 58% FG, 56% FT)
Sylven Landesberg- SG (Virginia)- (17.3 pts, 4.9 rebs, 2.9 asts, .8 stls, 44% FG, 81% FT, 38% 3P)
Trevor Booker- PF (Clemson) [Jason Maxiell]- (15.2 pts, 8.4 rebs, 2.5 asts, 1.3 stls, 1.4 blks, 52% FG, 59% FT)
Luke Harangody- PF (Notre Dame) [Jon Brockman]- (21.8 pts, 9.1 rebs, 48% FG, 79% FT, 31% 3P)
Charles Garcia- PF (Seattle)- (18.7 pts, 8.3 rebs, .8 blks, 47% FG, 62% FT)
Derrick Caracter- PF (UTEP)- (14.1 pts, 8.1 rebs, 1 stls, .9 blks, 57% FG, 67% FT)
Samardo Samuels- PF (Louisville)- (15.3 pts, 7 rebs, 1.1 blks, 52% FG, 71% FT)
A.J. Ogilvy- C (Vanderbilt)- (13.4 pts, 6.2 rebs, 1.5 blks, 1 stls, 51% FG, 73% FT)
Omar Samhan-C (Saint Mary's)- (21.3 pts, 10.9 rebs, 2.9 blks, 55% FG, 73% FT)
Jeremy Wise- PG (Bakersfield Jam- D League) – (16.6 pts, 3.2 rebs, 5.1 asts, 1.3 stls, 52% FG, 85% FT, 38% 3P)
Manny Harris- SG (Michigan)- (18.1 pts, 6 rebs, 4.1 asts, 1.8 stls, 42% FG, 80% FT, 31% 3P)
JP Prince- SF (Tennessee)- (9.9 pts, 3.7 rebs, 3.1 asts. 1.5 stls, 53% FG, 63% FT, 32% 3P)
Aubrey Coleman-SG (Houston)- (25.6 pts, 7.4 rebs, 2.6 asts, 2.7 stls, 43% FG, 74% FT, 32% 3P)
Brian Zoubek- C (Duke) – (5.6 pts, 7.7 rebs, .7 stls, .8 blks, 64% FG, 55% FT)
Dexter Pittman- C (Texas)- (10.4 pts, 5.9 rebs, 1.9 blks, 65% FG, 56% FT)
Wayne Chism- PF (Tennessee)- (12.6 pts, 7.2 rebs, 1.3 blks, 1.1 stls, 47% FG, 76% FT, 32% 3P)
Dwayne Collins- PF (Miami)- (12 pts, 7.8 rebs, 1.1 blks, 60% FG, 57% FT)
Lazar Hayward-PF (Marquette)- (18.1 pts, 7.5 rebs, 1.9 stls, 43% FG, 84% FT, 35% 3P)
Jerome Randle- PG (California) – (18.6 pts, 2.1 rebs, 4.3 asts, .7 stls, 46% FG, 93% FT, 40% 3P)
Matt Bouldin- PG (Gonzaga)- (15.6 pts, 4.7 rebs, 4 asts, 1.4 stls, 45% FG, 86% FT, 37% 3P)
Latavious Williams- PF (Tulsa 66ers- D League)- (7.7 pts, 7.7 rebs, .8 blks, .7 stls, 53% FG, 61% FT, 21 mins)
Ryan Thompson- SG (Rider)- (17.2 pts, 5 rebs, 2.8 asts, 1.2 stls, 42% FG, 82% FT, 32% 3P)
2ND ROUND INTERNATIONAL BUBBLE
Alexey Shved- PG (Russia) [Marko Jaric]- (2 games)
Thomas Heurtel- PG (France) – (9.4 pts, 2 rebs, 4.8 asts, 1.1 stls, 46% FG, 73% FT)
Paulao Prestes- PF (Brazil) – (9.2 pts, 7.3 rebs, .8 stls, .7 blks, 57% FG, 66% FT)
COULD BE SELECTED
Hamady N'Diaye- C (Rutgers) – (9.4 pts, 7.1 rebs, 4.5 blks, 58% FG, 62% FT)
Mac Koshwal- PF (DePaul) – (16.1 pts, 10.1 rebs, 1.8 stls, .9 blks, 54% FG, 55% FT)
Michael Washington- PF (Arkansas)- (12.5 pts, 6.1 rebs, 1.3 blks, 50% FG, 65% FT)
Scottie Reynolds- PG (Villanova)- (18.2 pts, 2.7 rebs, 3.3 asts, 1.5 stls, 46% FG, 84% FT, 39% 3P)
John Scheyer- SG (Duke)- (18.2 pts, 3.6 rebs, 4.9 asts, 1.6 stls, 40% FG, 98% FT, 38% 3P)
Ben Uzoh- PG (Tulsa)- (15.3 pts, 4.7 rebs, 4.7 asts, 1 stls, 46% FG, 77% FT, 34% 3P)
Deon Thompson- PF (North Carolina)- (13.7 pts, 6.7 rebs, 1 blks, 1.1 stls, 48% FG, 69% FT)
Ryan Wittman- SF (Cornell)- (17.5 pts, 4 rebs, 1.1 stls, 47% FG, 83% FT, 43% 3P)
A.J. Slaughter- SG (Western Kentucky)- (17.5 pts, 3.2 rebs, 4.3 asts, 1.6 stls, 42% FG, 83% FT, 36% 3P)
Tyler Smith- SF (Tennessee)- (11.7 pts, 4.7 rebs, 3.7 asts, 1.4 stls, 57% FG, 70% FT, 12 games)
Raymar Morgan- SF (Michigan State)- (11.3 pts, 6.2 rebs, 1.1 stls, 53% FG, 67% FT, 29% 3P)
Andy Rautins- SG (Syracuse)- (12.1 pts, 3.4 rebs, 4.9 asts, 2 stls, 44% FG, 82% FT, 41% 3P)
Jerome Dyson- SG (Connecticut)- (17.3 pts, 4.3 rebs, 4.2 asts, 1.3 stls, 39% FG, 72% FT, 29% 3P)
Arinze Onuaku- C (Syracuse)- (10.5 pts, 5.1 rebs, .9 stls, 1.1 blks, 67% FG, 43% FT)
DeShawn Sims-SF (Michigan)- (16.8 pts, 7.6 rebs, 1.1 stls, 49% FG, 67% FT, 28% 3P)
Landon Milbourne- SF (Maryland) – (12.7 pts, 4.9 rebs, 1.1 stls, 1.2 blks, 50% FG, 73% FT, 34% 3P)
Malcolm Delaney- PG (Virginia Tech)- (20.2 pts, 3.7 rebs, 4.5 asts, 1.2 stls, 39% FG, 84% FT, 31% 3P)
Marquis Gilstrap- SF (Iowa State)- (14.9 pts, 9.3 rebs, .9 stls, .9 blks, 44% FG, 67% FT, 38% 3P)
TOP 10 RETURNING TO SCHOOL/EUROPE
Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic) [Jonas Jerebko]- (8.2 pts, 4 rebs, .9 stls, 55% FG, 63% FT, 37% 3P, 3.7 fouls, 22 mins)
Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)- (14.9 pts, 7.1 rebs, .9 stls, 55% FG, 68% FT, 45% 3P)
Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania) [Mehmet Okur/Andrea Bargnani]- (10.5 pts, 5.1 rebs, 1.6 stls, 56% FG, 72% FT, 31% 3P, 21 mins)
Jordan Hamilton- SF (Texas)- (10 pts, 3.7 rebs, .8 stls, 41% FG, 58% FT, 37% 3P)
John Henson- PF (North Carolina)- (5.7 pts, 4.4 rebs, 1.6 blks, 49% FG, 44% FT)
Mason Plumlee- PF (Duke)- (3.7 pts, 3.1 rebs, .9 blks, 46% FG, 54% FT)
Jimmer Fredette- PG (BYU)- (22.1 pts, 3.1 rebs, 4.7 asts, 1.2 stls, 46% FG, 89% FT, 44% 3P)
Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)- (14.6 pts, 4.3 rebs, 5.1 asts, 2.1 stls, 40% FG, 77% FT, 34% 3P)
Marcus Morris- PF (Kansas) [Joe Smith]- (12.8 pts, 6.1 rebs, .9 stls, 57% FG, 66% FT)
Malcolm Lee- PG/SG (UCLA)- (12.1 pts, 4.4 rebs, 3.1 asts, 1.1 stls, 43% FG, 71% FT, 25% 3P)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Cousins is the mother of all risky picks. He has character and maturity red flags, as well as questions about his weight and work ethic. On top of all of that, it will require a top 6 pick to acquire his services.
Like Cousins, Whiteside is a huge wild card. He played one year of college ball in a less than competitive conference, and he also has character and maturity concerns. He is slightly less risky than Cousins because the asking price is lower (he'll probably land in the late lottery or the teens), but the return on investment will likely be farther down the line.
Stephenson looks like he'll fall into the second round, and he could be a steal in that range, but he's still extremely risky, especially if the New York Knicks pin their hopes on him. Stephenson built quite a reputation in NYC, but that cred has only hurt him from a psychological standpoint. He'll have to work very hard to make it at the next level, and I'm just not sure he has it in him.
Orton is the ugly stepchild of a Cousins- Whiteside marriage. He combines Whiteside's lack of experience with Cousins' weight issues, but interestingly doesn't seem to encompass any of the character red flags which torment the players higher on the list.
Ebanks is somewhat of a conditional risk. He was a heralded high school recruit and a relatively successful college player, but questions linger about his role at the next level. He could work well in the right system, but he also has very serious bust potential.
Raduljica didn't endear himself to scouts when he skipped out on his individual workout at the Adidas EuroCamp. Serious questions linger as to whether or not he has any intention of ever playing in America.
Monroe and Davis are both very talented players with high ceilings, but each provides sizable risk due to questions about their motors. As sophomores, they were supposed to carry their teams deep into the NCAA tournament. Instead, Davis' Tar Heels missed March Madness altogether, while Monroe's Hoyas were a first round upset at the hands of a #14 seed. Each player will be a lottery pick (Monroe in the top 6 and Davis likely in the top 10), but teams should proceed with caution.
Vasquez has garnered some first round buzz after several strong individual workouts, and I personally love his heart and attitude, but the jury is still out on his physical skills and natural position. He is tall and very thin, with great basketball IQ, but may not be strong enough to play off the ball or quick enough to play on it.
10a) Paul George
10b) Avery Bradley
George and Bradley each have a good chance of going in the lottery, or at least in the first 17 picks. However, each man has a problem with the translation of his skills. George was an adept scorer in a mid-major collegiate conference, while Bradley garnered the reputation of a defensive stopper. As the quality of their competition increases, it will be interesting to see how their roles and skills develop.
To paraphrase the great Ricky Bobby, John Wall wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence. His athleticism is top notch, as are his maturity and work ethic. Wall has superstar written all over him and it's safe to assume his ascension will occur sooner rather than later.
I love Patrick Patterson, and I would bet some lucky team in the late lottery will share my sentiments. He showed his maturity, leadership, and professionalism in his three years at Kentucky, and his should be a productive 6th man from the start.
James is a true competitor. He is extremely consistent and workmanlike, and while he may never be an All-Star, I would be willing to bet he won't be a bust either.
Pondexter will likely be the second college senior drafted (after James), and for good reason. He is a very capable scorer from anywhere on the floor and he should be able to play the two or the three at the next level. He could definitely be a sleeper in the late 20's or early 30's.
It's widely agreed that rebounding is the one skill that best translates from college to the pros, and while I mean no disrespect to Trevor Booker and Dwayne Collins, I think Lawal is the best rebounder in this class. He goes up strong for every miss, leaping laterally to corral rebounds with either hand. He may not have much of an impact offensively, but his toughness will be valuable from day one.
Cousins' brash demeanor will almost necessitate that he play early and often at the next level. It may lead him to persistent foul trouble as well, but his size, strength, and touch around the rim will make him effective when he can stay on the floor.
A few weeks ago, I likened Jones to the Celtics' Tony Allen, and after watching Allen play the role of "Kobe Stopper" in the Finals, I like the comparison even more. Not to say that Jones will be able to handle the five-time champ one-on-one, but his role at the next level will be much the same. Like Allen, Jones' jump shot is still a work in progress, but his defensive persistence should win him some valuable minutes.
Even John Madden can tell you that the team that scores the most points will win the game the majority of the time. Babbit may not have a natural position at the next level, but he can score from anywhere on the floor, an asset which is far too valuable to leave stashed on the end of the bench.
It may be tough for Turner to make the transition to the NBA, simply because he operates so effectively with the ball in his hands. Playing without the ball is like a whole new game, and no one can be exactly sure how Turner will cope. With that said, he is extremely talented, and whoever picks him will have invested too much not to let him work through the kinks.
Aldrich's stock may be at an all-time low right now after a poor showing at the Combine, but his skill set is undeniable. He can block shots and rebound, and he is surprisingly effective on the low block, though his offensive game could still use some fine-tuning.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Timberwolves love Wes Johnson. It has been widely reported that DeMarcus Cousins declined to workout in Minnesota, making Johnson the likely choice at #4 unless they can move up to get Evan Turner. Whether or not the Wolves think Johnson is the best player available at #4, he doesn't provide sufficient value at that spot. Cousins is the consensus #4 prospect in the draft, and there are many teams who would love his services in spite of his well-documented red flags. The Sacramento Kings are believed to be interested in either Cousins or Georgetown's Greg Monroe at #5, while the Golden State Warriors at #6 are believed to be after Cousins, Monroe, and Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu. In any event, it seems perfectly reasonable that Johnson would be available as far down as #7, which is currently held by the Detroit Pistons, who are also believed to be interested in a center, which brings me to my next point.
Does anyone really believe that the Pistons are happy with their position at #7? In other words, do we really believe that the guy they want will be available at that spot? This is a relatively deep draft, but unless the guy they really covet is Ed Davis, it doesn't seem to be a logical sentiment. Davis is a nice player, but how many people really believe he'll be a better pro than Cousins or Monroe? If the Pistons had the ability to move up and draft a truly elite big man, they would be crazy not to do it. Minnesota has multiple needs on the perimeter, and no single player in this draft will solve all of their problems. However, Detroit could offer them a proven commodity on both ends (Tayshaun Prince) and the player they really want (Wes Johnson) for a chance to move up three spots. It would save the Pistons a little over $11 M next year, and give them a lot of roster flexibility. They could go small (Stuckey, Gordon, Hamilton with two bigs), medium (Stuckey, Gordon/Hamilton, Daye/Summers with two bigs), or large (Stuckey, Gordon/Hamilton, Jerebko with two bigs) and still be effective. They would also move up and get the big man they really covet (after Derrick Favors), while maintaining enough cap room ($13 M) to go after a big name power forward.
I love this trade for the Kings. Instead of paying Andres Nocioni for the next two years, Sacramento gets Samuel Dalembert, who has an expiring contract. They also get a sizable upgrade over Spencer Hawes, who has grown out of favor in Sacramento, and is quite frankly soft. Dalembert will provide a much needed defensive presence, and will be a great compliment to the stretch games of Carl Landry and Jason Thompson. The Kings are expected to draft a big man with the #5 pick in the draft (either Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins or Georgetown's Greg Monroe), which also makes an established big man a nice fit. Rookies are generally inconsistent and have habitual foul trouble, which makes a veteran big like Dalembert a real asset. Then, by the time their rookie gets his feet wet, Dalembert's contract will come off the books, leaving extra minutes for their developing young player.
This trade really doesn't make sense for Philadelphia unless they value Spencer Hawes more than most teams around the league. He does provide a reasonable fit next to the more athletic Marresse Speights, but his play thus far has been less than stellar. Nocioni had some good years in Chicago, but his motivation to play in the NBA seems to be waning. Paying him $13.5 M over the next two years is clearly a liability, especially for a team in the midst of a re-building effort. However, the real question regarding Nocioni's acquisition is his role with the team moving forward. The most likely scenario seems to be a buyout, which wouldn't help the team financially, but would make their rotation much more manageable. Consider the 76ers roster as it stands: if Jrue Holiday averages 30 minutes a game, Lou Williams gets 25, Andre Iguodala gets 40, Thaddeus Young and Nocioni split 35 between them, and Speights, Hawes, and Elton Brand get 30 minutes apiece. That only leaves 20 minutes per game for the incoming #2 pick. Of those 20, one minute would be available for a guard spot, 13 would be available at small forward, and six would be available up front. Even with a player as versatile as Evan Turner, playing a role like that seems far fetched. Buying out Nocioni would free up another 10-15 minutes per game, but I think the move is more indicative of an intent to draft Derrick Favors than one to draft Turner.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Washington Wizards- John Wall- PG (Kentucky)
No question at the top of this draft.
Philadelphia 76ers- Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)
Turner has to be the pick here, whether Philly makes the call or not.
New Jersey Nets- Derrick Favors- PF/C (Georgia Tech)
If I were in charge of the Nets, I would have taken Favors at #1. Picking him at #3 should be a no brainer.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Wesley Johnson- SG/SF (Syracuse)
I still don't think the Timberwolves will make the pick here, but if they do, it'll almost certainly be Johnson.
Sacramento Kings- Greg Monroe- PF/C (Georgetown)
Word out of Sacramento is that the Kings prefer Monroe to Cousins. However, they're scheduling workouts with Gordon Hayward and Luke Babbit, which means it may be Toronto picking in this spot.
Golden State Warriors- Al-Farouq Aminu- SF/PF (Wake Forest)
Cousins would be a great value, but Aminu fits nicely into the Warriors' system.
Detroit Pistons- DeMarcus Cousins- C (Kentucky)
Detroit's dream comes true on draft night. Cousins may be a basket case, but he's a great talent. I think he'll be the second best player from this draft class.
Los Angeles Clippers- Paul George- SG/SF (Fresno State)
This may be a bit too high for George, but he fits well with the Clippers, he's a California product, and his stock is definitely on the rise.
Utah Jazz (from New York)- Luke Babbit- SF (Nevada)
Word from the Jazz is that Babbit may actually be at the very top of Utah's board. Plus, once again, he's white!
Indiana Pacers- Avery Bradley- PG/SG (Texas)
Bradley has cancelled some workouts recently, but he still has the potential to be a lottery pick. Especially in a thin point guard draft, he should have a chance to land with the Pacers at #10.
New Orleans Hornets- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)
Patterson is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft and is very low risk. His work ethic and maturity should fit perfectly with Chris Paul's fiery demeanor.
Memphis Grizzlies- Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)
Henry has huge upside and certainly fits the bill of the best player available at #12. That should be the Grizzlies' target, as they don't have any glaring weaknesses aside from their lack of depth.
Toronto Raptors- Ekpe Udoh- PF (Baylor)
I still like the idea of Udoh in Toronto, but this pick could actually end up being made by Sacramento. In that case, Cole Aldrich makes more sense here.
Houston Rockets- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)
I expect Daryl Morey to think outside of the box with this pick, but Aldrich is the perfect fit in Houston, and he provides great value.
Milwaukee Bucks (from Chicago)- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)
Milwaukee would love to land Henry here, but he'll go higher on draft night, so Davis is a nice consolation prize.
Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte)- Hassan Whiteside- C (Marshall)
Whiteside has great upside, but the thing about potential is that sometimes that's all it is. He has major character and maturity red flags, which may knock him out of the lottery, but not past the Timberwolves at #16.
Chicago Bulls (from Milwaukee)- Gordon Hayward- SF (Butler)
Hayward is a hot name in basketball circles right now, and though I love James Anderson here, I don't think the Bulls could pass on Hayward.
Miami Heat- Mikhail Torrance- PG/SG (Alabama)
This may be a surprise, but Torrance might be the hottest name around the league right now. He is a legit combo guard, and a natural scorer with great size.
Boston Celtics- Jordan Crawford- SG (Xavier)
This also may seem like a bit of a reach, but Crawford is the closest thing in this class to Ray Allen, who I'm almost certain will have a new address come October.
San Antonio Spurs- Damion James- SF/PF (Texas)
James is a hard worker and a local product, who provides San Antonio with some much needed versatility in the frontcourt.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Daniel Orton- PF/C (Kentucky)
Orton is another player with great upside who has proved very little. He won't provide much early, but he could develop into the last piece of the Thunder's puzzle.
Portland Trail Blazers- Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth)
Portland gave significant minutes to Juwan Howard last season. Enough said?
Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah)- James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State)
Anderson struggles to create his own shot, but he's a proven scorer and one of the best shooters in the class, which makes him too good to pass up at #23.
Atlanta Hawks- Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)
Atlanta needs depth almost everywhere, and Pondexter is the most NBA-ready player on the board at this spot.
Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Eric Bledsoe- PG (Kentucky)
I'm starting to wonder if someone (Cleveland, Charlotte, or Toronto) will move into Minnesota's spot (#23) to take Bledsoe. If not, Memphis would love to land him at #25.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)
Oklahoma City is reported to be very high on Ebanks, but they may wait to take him at #32. With that said, they have very few pressing needs aside from some added depth.
New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Dominique Jones- SG (South Florida)
Jones would be a nice addition to New Jersey's existing perimeter rotation. He could provide the defensive presence that the Nets lack on the outside.
Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)
Memphis has a nice core and several picks in this draft, but they still don't have a true stretch four, a void Brackins would fill nicely.
Orlando Magic- Elliot Williams- PG/SG (Memphis)
Word out of Williams' camp is that he has a first round promise, which has led to his canceling of several workouts. The Magic have a need at point guard, and a very appealing roster. This makes the most sense of any destination for Williams.
Washington Wizards (from Cleveland)- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)
Washington could go small forward or center here, but Alabi provides the best value.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Assuming New Jersey does the smart thing this summer and drafts Derrick Favors, their frontcourt rotation will be Brook Lopez, Favors, Kris Humphries, and Josh Boone. While Boone and Humphries aren't quality NBA starters, they are serviceable rotation players who compliment one another nicely. In other words, if this scenario plays out and the Nets can stay healthy next year, they'll be above average up front.
Devin Harris was an All-Star in 2009 and many believe he still has the potential to be a franchise point guard. The Nets also have a nice rotation of young perimeter players including 2009 first rounder Terrence Williams, off-guards Courtney Lee and Chris Douglas-Roberts, and wild card Yi Jianlian. Williams' transition to the NBA got off to a slow start, but he played very well down the stretch, showing the scoring and play-making ability that made him so successful at Louisville. Lee, Douglas-Roberts, and Yi all struggled with injuries throughout the season, which is a big reason why the Nets found themselves looking up at the rest of the league. (Remember that Harris missed 18 games, too.)
When healthy the 2010-2011 Nets could have a rotation of nine productive players (counting Favors) including four big men and five perimeter players. They also have a significant amount of money left under the cap (about $23 M assuming Humphries picks up his player option and the team decides to pick up their options on Keyon Dooling, Douglas-Roberts, and Boone, which total about $7.7 M).
Avery Johnson is well-respected by players throughout the league, and his hiring should be a selling point to prospective free agent targets, as should the deep pockets of new owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and the team's looming move to Brooklyn.
While LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would look great surrounded by Lopez, Favors, and Harris, I still think New Jersey has only an outside chance at one of those two. After James and Wade, the free agent crop is a little thin on the perimeter, with Joe Johnson the best remaining option. Although Johnson made it clear during the season that the Nets were far from his top option, they certainly offer an intriguing situation, both from an on-court and off-court standpoint. Of the three, Johnson is the most consistent outside shooter, and considering the current makeup of the Nets' roster, that is probably their biggest need.
Best Case Roster for 2010:
PG-Devin Harris, Willie Warren (#27), Keyon Dooling
SG-Joe Johnson (FA), Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts
SF-Terrence Williams, Yi Jianlian
PF-Derrick Favors (#3), Kris Humphries
C-Brook Lopez, Josh Boone
34-48 (10th in the Eastern Conference)
It's hard to put your finger on exactly where the 76ers are in the rebuilding process. After two playoff appearances in 2008 and 2009, Philadelphia limped to a 27-55 record in 2009-2010, their worst showing in 13 years. This summer, instead of adding pieces to a playoff puzzle, it appears that it's time to start making the tough decisions.
Philadelphia is already on the hook for 11 contracts next season, to the tune of nearly $66 M. Of that, about $16 M will go to Elton Brand, who despite his impressive career exploits averaged only 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this past season, appearing to be a shadow of his old self. Brand's contract is considered to be one of the most toxic in the NBA, with the 76ers reportedly requiring that any suitor for their #2 overall pick also be willing to take back Brand.
While Brand's deal may be as bad as it gets, it's not the only bad news for Philadelphia. The 76ers are also on the hook for $12.2 M to Samuel Dalembert and $6.6 M to Jason Kapono next season. Thankfully, however, those are both expiring deals, which should be much easier to unload if the team decides to go that route.
It's not all bad news, though. Rookie Jrue Holiday was a real revelation down the stretch, averaging 12.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.7 steals in March and April. Second-year center Marresse Speights started the year strongly, averaging 15 points, 7.1 rebounds, and a block per game over the season's first eight contests before sustaining a partial torn MCL. He never quite regained that form, but after a summer to heal, the 22-year old promises to be better than ever.
The most pivotal decision for the 76ers this summer may be determining the role of 23-year old combo guard Lou Williams. Williams was given an increased role in his fifth season, making the first 38 starts of his career. He played in 64 games, averaging 14 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 29.9 minutes per contest, while increasing his shooting percentages across the board.
The teams has hired a veteran coach (Doug Collins) and holds the rights to the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, but there are many decisions yet to be made. As mentioned, finding a way to move Brand's contract is priority number one, but that will prove to be easier said than done. The services of Ohio State's Evan Turner, the projected #2 pick, may be enough, but the price will have to be right.
The most discussed move centers around Minnesota trading Al Jefferson and the fourth pick to the 76ers for the second pick. Minnesota would look to receive another asset back, and I doubt that Brand fits the bill. He wouldn't be a bad fit behind Kevin Love if a third team could get into the mix and send back a proven perimeter player. As shown below, Philadelphia could offer Dalembert to the third team for Michael Beasley or Delonte West and then pass that player along to Minnesota.
Best Case Roster for 2010-2011
PG- Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams
SG- Andre Iguodala, Jodie Meeks, Willie Green
SF- Thaddeus Young, Jason Kapono, Rodney Carney (FA)
PF- Al Jefferson (Trade), Marresse Speights
C- DeMarcus Cousins (#4), Jason Smith
28-44 (13th in Eastern Conference)