Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2010 NBA Mock Draft (Version 3)

1)    Minnesota Timberwolves- John Wall- PG (Kentucky)


Minnesota may be the only team dreading this pick.  Wall may be the consensus number 1 pick by draft night, and Minnesota's surplus at point guard has been well documented.  That said, however, Wall is listed at 6'4" and could play alongside a smaller point guard in the NBA (much like Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry in Golden State).  There is also a very real possibility that Minnesota will look to trade down if they land this pick.


2)    New Jersey Nets- Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech)


The Nets have been ravaged by injuries this season, but they have a great foundation for the future.  Devin Harris and Brook Lopez will be the cornerstones, with Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Terrence Williams, and Yi Jianlian as complimentary pieces.  What the franchise lacks, however, is an athletic banger on the inside.  Favors would fill that void very nicely.


3)    Utah Jazz (from New York via Phoenix)- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)


Davis has the skill set to be an All-Star at the next level.  He has size, touch near the rim, and good shot blocking ability.  He is a little raw and will likely have to work hard for minutes as three of the Tar Heels' best players (Davis, John Henson, and Deon Thompson) are all true power forwards.  However, Davis is dripping with upside, and Utah has multiple first-round picks and a long-term starting power forward in Paul Milsap.


4)    Memphis Grizzlies- Greg Monroe- PF (Georgetown)


The Grizzlies went with size last year when point guards were readily available and got burned.  This time around, I expect to see them follow the herd and in this draft, that means drafting size.  Monroe has a great frame and a real understanding of the game.  He needs to show leadership and competitive fire to move up draft boards, but if he does, he has the talent to land in the top 5.


5)    Golden State Warriors- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)


Golden State doesn't have much use for big men in their system, but Motiejunas has a great jump shot and a legitimate 7-foot frame.  He will need some seasoning, but Don Nelson's aversion to young players will give him time.


6)    Los Angeles Clippers- Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma)


Warren has a lot to prove this season, playing without Blake Griffin, but if the first two games are any indication, he's well on his way to silencing his doubters.  Warren has combo-guard size, but really needs to show consistent point guard skills to land this high.  Also has a solid strong and can score in bunches.


7)    New Orleans Hornets- Al Farouq-Aminu- SF (Wake Forest)


Farouq-Aminu is very athletic and has good basketball IQ.  He had a chance to be a lottery pick in last year's draft but decided to return to Wake Forest for another season.  With his set of skills and an extra year of college experience, Farouq-Aminu should be one of the more NBA-ready prospects in this class, which is music to Chris Paul's ears.


8)    Charlotte Bobcats- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)


The Bobcats would love to find a way to move up and land Wall, as they are in dire need of a franchise point guard.  I believe that the Minnesota Timberwolves have a very real interest in Aldridge, a local product, and a good fit into their thin frontcourt.  If the draft falls this way, I think a Wall-and-Ryan Gomes for Aldrich-and-Gerald Wallace trade makes a lot of sense.  (The salaries don't match, but it provides the groundwork for a win-win deal.)


9)    Washington Wizards- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)


The Wizards have 8 players under contract for next season (assuming they make a pick up the last year of Randy Foye's rookie contract), for a total of $58 million.  They are off to another slow start despite the 8th highest payroll in the league.  If things don't turn around quickly, I expect the Wizards to become sellers around the trade deadline.  Caron Butler's name was mentioned in trade rumors regularly last season, and his salary commitment (about $20 million combined for this season and next) and talent level may make him affordable.  Ebanks would be a nice replacement.


10) Philadelphia 76ers- Paul George- SG/SF (Fresno State)


George is an athletic swingman, who strikes me as a poor-man's Andre Iguodala.  They duo would give the 76ers a ton of versatility and make them a very precarious team to defend.


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


With Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, and Will Bynum in the backcourt and two rookies backing up Tayshaun Prince at the small forward, Detroit will be one of the easiest teams to project come draft time.  Craig Brackins and DeMarcus Cousins will get a look here too, but Alabi has fantastic size and surprisingly refined skills.


12) Oklahoma City Thunder- DeMarcus Cousins- PF (Kentucky)


The Thunder have done a great job building around Kevin Durant.  Jeff Green is a good glue guy and Russell Westbrook has flashes of brilliance surrounding episodes of painful immaturity.  The frontcourt, however, is still very much a work in progress.  Cousins has great athleticism and potential.  He is definitely worth a bit of a gamble at #12.


13) Utah Jazz- Terrico White- SG (Mississippi)


Landing a quality big man along with a promising off-guard like Davis and White is a dream scenario for the Jazz.  White can score in bunches and really stretch the floor, allowing Deron Williams to operate.


14) Toronto Raptors- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)


Toronto will have their hands full trying to keep Chris Bosh in the Great White North this off-season, and if they fail, they need a contingency plan.  Patterson may never be the player that Bosh is, but few are.  He does possess a similarly effective face up game, and a strong, albeit slightly undersized body.


15) Sacramento Kings- Evan Turner- SG/SF (Ohio State)


The Kings appear to be building around Kevin Martin, Jason Thompson, and Tyreke Evans, so small forward and center make sense.  Turner has really helped his draft stock in his first two games, averaging 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 assists in two wins, and could land much higher on draft night. 


16) San Antonio Spurs- Sylven Landesberg- SG (Virginia)


Landesberg had an under the radar freshman season, but is ready to breakout as a sophomore.  He can put up points in a hurry and would be a good replacement for an aging Michael Finley.


17) Chicago Bulls- Xavier Henry- SG (Kansas)


Henry has huge upside and fills a need for a young Bulls team.  He is only a freshman and chose Kansas to play with his older brother, but if the Jayhawks can make a Final Four run, Henry may follow teammates Cole Aldrich and Sheron Collins to the NBA.


18) Indiana Pacers- James Anderson- SG (Oklahoma State)


The Pacers are young, but need long-term answers in the backcourt.  Anderson has deadly range and will get a chance to prove himself against some of the best guards in the country (Warren, Henry, Sheron Collins, Avery Bradley) in the Big 12. 


19) Milwaukee Bucks- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)


The Bucks lost Charlie Villanueva last summer and only appear to only have short-term plans with Hakim Warrick, so a power forward makes sense, especially one as talented as Brackins.  He is slightly undersized, but is rugged and tough inside.


20) Houston Rockets- Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)


Jordan is a project, but has good size and strength.  With Yao's future still up in the air, and a team full of undersized power forwards, Jordan will fit nicely.


21) Portland Trail Blazers- Jan Vesely- SF/PF (Czech Republic)


It may be a cliché to project an international player to the Trail Blazers, but clichés become clichés for a reason.  The Blazers have a very full roster as it stands and while a trade remains a possibility, if the draft were today, stashing a player in Europe for a year or two would be a great option for the Blazers.  Portland is also still in search of their small forward of the future, and Vesely has as good a chance as anyone left on the board.


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


Orlando is one of the most complete teams in the league this season, but while Jason Williams has been a serviceable back up point guard so far, he's clearly not the answer in the long term.  Collins has an NBA-caliber crossover and can get by defenders at will.  He doesn't have great size or the typical NBA body type, but neither does Jameer Nelson, who has been very successful in Orlando.


23) Miami Heat- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)


Miami will be one of the big players this off-season, and with every loss by the Knicks and Nets, they look like a more desirable destination.  With that said, Varnado has a very similar body to Jermaine O'Neal and is one of the best players on the board at #23.


24) Boston Celtics- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)


Lawal will likely take a back seat to Favors in the Yellowjackets' frontcourt this season, but he is very athletic and has a good all-around game.  Boston already lost Leon Powe and is likely to cut ties with the erratic Glen Davis in the near future.  Lawal would provide good energy off the bench.


25) Atlanta Hawks- Damion James- SF (Texas)


James is one of the most versatile players in this draft.  He can step out and shoot the jump shot as well as play on the block on both ends.  He would be a good fit along with Marvin Williams and Josh Smith in the Hawks' forward rotation.


26) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)


Memphis seems to have an affinity for Connecticut Huskies (Rudy Gay, Marcus Williams, Hasheem Thabeet) and they definitely need some depth at point guard.  Walker showed signs in limited minutes as a freshman and should have a breakout sophomore year.


27) Cleveland Cavaliers- Dexter Pittman- C (Texas)


Cleveland could use an infusion of youth into their extremely old rotation at the center position.  Pittman is a little undersized for an NBA center, but he has a wide body and nice touch near the basket.


28) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Tyshawn Taylor- PG/SG (Kansas)


Taylor has great skills and his on-court performance will likely move him up draft boards, but his off-court character issues will give some teams pause.  He's definitely worth a pick at #28, especially since the Nets have a sure thing in Favors at #2.


29) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Alexey Shved- PG/SG (Russia)


Shved has fantastic size for a combo guard and if the Grizzlies keep 3 first-rounders, they'll likely stash at least one in Europe for a couple of years.


30) Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)


Stephenson has character issues, but has an enormous ceiling.  A big freshman season could land Stephenson in the lottery, but until he shows maturity and big-game ability, he'll be a late first-rounder.  The Thunder have a lot of versatility and multiple first-rounder, so they can roll the dice on Stephenson's upside.

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