Friday, December 25, 2009

2010 NBA Mock Draft (Version 7)


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


Wall continues to distinguish himself as the best player in the country.  After leading the Wildcats to their 2,000th all-time win, many analysts believe Wall is the front-runner to win National Player of the Year.  His athleticism and size are impossible to overlook, even for a team with a franchise point guard already on the roster.


2)    Minnesota Timberwolves- Wesley Johnson- SG (Syracuse)


Johnson is an extremely hard worker with a diverse skill set on both sides of the ball.  He can take the ball to the tin with authority, as well as score efficiently from the outside.  His defense, though, is what distances him from the other perimeter players in this draft.  Minnesota needs help on both sides of the ball, and Johnson provides it.


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


Golden State jumps into the top three for the first time and lands the preeminent post player in this class.  Don Nelson's up-tempo system relies on perimeter shooters and slashers, but after injuries to Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf, the Warriors' lack of depth up front has become a serious issue.  Favors could be a Dwight Howard-like presence surrounded by Golden State's plethora of firepower.


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


Henry is a fantastic scorer and possibly the most efficient player in the country.  Philadelphia could use a point guard or a swingman with range, so Henry and Willie Warren are really the only two choices with Johnson off the board, and Henry has a much higher ceiling. 


5)    Washington Wizards- Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina)


Washington is in free-fall mode and I'm sure a mutiny will be sure to follow.  There is almost assuredly a trade on the horizon, so this pick could reflect the result of such a move.  Caron Butler would likely be the odd man out because of his palatable contract and disposition, so Evan Turner or Al-Farouq Aminu could land here, depending on the Wizards' incoming package.


6)    Indiana Pacers- Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma)


It seems that no matter where the Pacers land in the top 10, Willie Warren seems to be slotted in as their pick.  He has solid point guard size and a good drive and kick game, which would benefit Indiana's core of shooters (Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, and Brandon Rush).


7)    Charlotte Bobcats- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)


Motiejunas had a ton of hype before the start of the season, but we haven't really heard much from him yet this year.  Regardless, he's till the elite international prospect in this draft class, so he'll garner some intrigue.  Charlotte could use a big man, so it'll likely be between Motiejunas, Cole Aldrich, and Greg Monroe at this spot.


8)    Utah Jazz (from New York via Phoenix)- Evan Turner- SG (Ohio State)


It'll be interesting to see how far Turner's stock drops after his devastating neck injury, but he seems like a great fit for a Utah team that could use a versatile swingman that can pull the ball in the basket.  Cole Aldrich is another possibility here.


9)    Detroit Pistons- Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas)


Aldrich's stock is hurting a bit after failing to make a field goal in 27 minutes against Michigan and struggling with foul trouble against Cal, but this is the dream scenario for the Pistons. Detroit is stocked on the perimeter and have a face up shooter and a below average rebounder at power forward in Charlie Villanueva, making Aldrich's post moves and rebounding acumen a great fit.


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


Monroe is a polarizing prospect due to his high level of skill, but surprisingly pedestrian production.  However, much like former Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green, I expect Monroe's numbers to actually increase at the next level.


11) Los Angeles Clippers- Avery Bradley- PG (Texas)


This is Bradley's first inclusion to my mock draft, not because of his lack of talent, but because of his lack of minutes and exposure.  However, on Saturday against North Carolina, Bradley had his coming out party, with a career-high 20 points.  The Clippers have a nice young nucleus with Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Al Thornton, but they badly need a point guard-of-the-future, and they'll likely roll the dice on Bradley.


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


New Orleans will likely target an athletic wingman like Aminu, Devin Ebanks or Paul George, but getting a player of Aminu's caliber at #12 is a bargain.  He has top five talent and will likely be motivated by a bit of a drop on draft night.


13) Sacramento Kings- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)


Ebanks is still struggling to get back into the flow of things after missing the start of the Mountaineers' season, but his talent is unassailable.  Like the Clippers and the Thunder, Sacramento has a nice young core of players (Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin and Jason Thompson), but could use an answer at the small forward.  Ebanks will likely need some time, but could turn into a great player at the next level.


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


Oklahoma City has the makings of a great perimeter rotation with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Thabo Sefolosha, but could really use some depth at point guard and up front.  With Bradley gone, there isn't value at point guard, so it'll likely come down to Cousins, Craig Brackins, Patrick Patterson, Solomon Alabi and Dexter Pittman, who like Bradley could sniff the lottery after a big performance on the national stage.


15) Milwaukee Bucks- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)


Patterson has been a consistent and versatile performer under multiple coaches at Kentucky.  He seems to have the mental makeup required for a long NBA career.  Milwaukee could use an upgrade at any position from the two through the four, but Patterson is the best player available.


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


Something tells me that Taj Gibson's emergence will make Tyrus Thomas expendable sooner or later, so Chicago could go several ways with this pick.  If their roster remains in tact, they'll likely look for an outside shooter to spread the floor for Derrick Rose to drive and kick.


17) Miami Heat (from Toronto)- Paul George- SF (Fresno State)


I maintain that Miami is likely to draft the best player(s) available with their first round pick(s).  George has great size and athleticism and would give the Heat a lot of flexibility alongside Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley.


18) Miami Heat- Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth)


Sanders has good size and great natural shot-blocking ability, but he is extremely frail, not unlike Tyrus Thomas when he first entered the league.  He may need some time to develop, but could become a very effective member of Miami's frontcourt rotation.


19) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah)- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)


Alabi is the largest player in the first round discussion at 7'1", and while Minnesota has talent up front in Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, they lack a true center.  Alabi is exactly that and would provide some needed shot blocking on the inside.


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


Like Minnesota, Houston badly needs a true 7-footer to add to a rotation of power forwards.  Only time will tell if Yao Ming is able to return to form, but even if he does, having a quality backup like Jordan would take a lot of pressure off of Yao and his fragile lower extremities.


21) Portland Trail Blazers- Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)


Harris has made a splash on the national scene as of late, and would be a welcome addition for the Blazers.  A Gonzaga product would create a buzz for Portland, a franchise still looking for their answer at the small forward.


22) San Antonio Spurs- Dexter Pittman- C (Texas)


Pittman did himself a real favor by dominating North Carolina's celebrated front line on Saturday.  With his 23 points and 15 rebounds against Ed Davis, Deon Thompson and company, Pittman all but assured himself a first round look, if not an outside shot at the lottery.  He also has a great attitude and an admirable work ethic, which are invaluable under the Greg Popovich regime.


23) Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)


For all of Oklahoma City's strides in the past few drafts, they find themselves very thin at point guard.  Behind Russell Westbrook on the Thunder's depth chart you'll find Kevin Ollie and Shaun Livingston.  Walker would be a huge improvement.


24) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)


New Jersey would love more of a banger on the inside, but Brackins has a nice face up game and would be a good compliment to Brook Lopez.


25) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)


After grabbing Greg Monroe at #10, Memphis will look for a perimeter replacement for Rudy Gay, who will almost certainly change addresses this summer.  Stephenson is more of a shooting guard, but he has decent size and good length.


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


Lawal has taken a back seat to freshman Derrick Favors, but he's still putting up nice numbers, and has shown a very positive team-first attitude.  He is also a local product and would be a nice addition to a front line of Josh Smith, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia.


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


Collins is a similar prospect to Jameer Nelson when he came out of St. Joseph's a few years back.  He is undersized and wide, but is a great ball-handler with the ability to stretch the floor.


28) Cleveland Cavaliers- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)


Varnado is an excellent shot blocker, who would provide an infusion of youth and energy to an aging front line.


29) Boston Celtics- Damion James- SF (Texas)


James has good size and great heart.  He is a consistent scorer and an above average rebounder for a player of his size.  He has the tools to be a really solid rotation player at the next level.


30) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Jan Vesely- PF (Czech Republic)


Memphis doesn't have a huge need for Vesely right now, but with three first round picks, expect them to grab at least one foreign prospect to stash in Europe for a year or two.  Vesely has good size and versatility and is a good value at #30.

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