Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 NBA Mock Draft v1

  1. Los Angeles Clippers- Perry Jones- PF/C (Baylor)

There isn't a clear cut number one pick right now, although Kyrie Irving's injury appears to have solved a bit of the puzzle. Harrison Barnes would be a great fit for the Clippers, but Jones's potential is off the charts. If he measures out as an NBA center, he could be a great fit with Blake Griffin for a long time.

  1. Sacramento Kings- Harrison Barnes- SF (North Carolina)

Barnes has had some less than stellar performances, but he'll still be a top three pick regardless of his performance the rest of the season. The Kings have a young stud guard and a potential franchise big man, so Barnes would be a great fit on the wing.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves- Terrence Jones- PF (Kentucky)

Sooner or later the Timberwolves have to fall into a quality pick, right? Jones may have been the most impressive player in the country so far this season, so it's an easy pick for the Wolves. He isn't the best fit, but he's the best on the board by a considerable margin, and he'll be a really good NBA player.

  1. New Jersey Nets- Jared Sullinger- PF (Ohio State)

It will be fun to see Sullinger and the Joneses (Perry and Terrence) face off in group workouts. Sullinger is very physical and would be a great fit between Brook Lopez and Carmelo Anthony. (?)

  1. Washington Wizards- Enes Kanter- PF (Turkey)

Javale McGee and Andray Blatche have been good, but is either one a starter on a title contender? The Wizards need a youth infusion up front, and although Kanter is raw, he could develop into a big time NBA player. It's tough to say without having seen him in the NCAA, but Kanter could go down as the steal of this draft.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Brandon Knight- PG/SG (Kentucky)

The Cavaliers have one need and one need only- star power, and Knight provides it. He has as much upside as anyone in this draft, and I expect big strides from him between now and March Madness.

  1. Detroit Pistons- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)

Motiejunas has had a lot of hype for a long time, and I'd be surprised if he dropped out of the draft again this year. He's still young, and very raw, but he has great size and physical tools, and the Pistons are nowhere near playoff contention, so they can afford to draft a project.

  1. Toronto Raptors- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)

Jose Calderon has been better, but the Raptors are still a long way away, and could use an upgrade at essentially every position. Walker is a fierce competitor and should be effective at the next level.

  1. Golden State Warriors- John Henson- PF (North Carolina)

Henson definitely has some holes in his game, but his length and athleticism have a lot of scouts intrigued.

  1. Charlotte Bobcats- Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic)

Vesely made a head-scratching move by dropping out of the 2010 draft, but he should still land in the lottery, barring a huge drop in production. He has good size and is tougher than past elite European prospects.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers- Derrick Williams- PF (Arizona)

Williams is another guy off to a great start this season, and I expect him to help bring Arizona back into the national spotlight by the time the NCAA tournament rolls around.

  1. Houston Rockets- Jeff Taylor- SF (Vanderbilt)

Taylor seems like the type of under-the-radar player Darryl Morey always seems to find. He's had a solid career at Vanderbilt and has the toughness to have a long career in the NBA.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies- Marcus Morris- PF (Kansas)

Morris has been a steady performer and is off to a great start this season. I expect him to be in lottery contention by March Madness.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers- Jonas Valanciunas- C (Lithuania)

Portland loves two things- international players and centers. Valanciunas covers both for a team which is stocked on the wings, and without a quality PG option at this draft slot.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks- Josh Selby- SG (Kansas)

I, for one, am really excited to see Josh Selby join an already stacked Kansas squad. If he's integrated properly, Kansas may be 1b to Duke's 1a.

  1. Indiana Pacers- Trey Thompkins- PF (Georgia)

The Pacers are trotting out Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough as their starting power forward, and that has to change. Thompkins is a big body with good hands, and I expect Georgia to make waves come tournament time.

  1. Phoenix Suns- Jordan Hamilton- SF (Texas)

Hamilton is a spectacular value at this spot, so the Suns will probably trade this pick for pennies on the dollar. Hamilton has good length and can fill it up in a hurry.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers (From NOH)- Jimmer Fredette- PG (BYU)

Fredette reminds me of Stephen Curry in a way. They both put up huge numbers in college, but were never really taken seriously because they (1) played at mid-majors and (2) didn't look like NBA players.

  1. Atlanta Hawks- Tobias Harris- SF (Tennessee)

Harris is raw, but very talented. He could probably use another year in college, but is still a top 20 pick based on potential.

  1. New York Knicks- Mason Plumlee- PF (Duke)

The Knicks made some sneaky picks last year and now appear to be set on the wings as well as the center position. Plumlee has good size and is athletic enough to play in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system.

  1. Denver Nuggets- Tyler Honeycutt- SF (UCLA)

This just in: Carmelo Anthony will not be a Nugget in 2011. Denver has some depth, but very little at the small forward spot, and Honeycutt would be a nice addition. He can rebound and score in bunches and he'll have plenty of opportunities to fill Melo's shoes.

  1. Orlando Magic- Alec Burks- SG (Colorado)

Vince Carter won't be able to play forever, and Burks is just what the Magic are looking for- a go-to scorer with a reliable outside jump shot.

  1. Chicago Bulls- Scotty Hopson- SG (Tennessee)

Hopson has really vaulted his stock so far this season, and should be a first round lock because of his ability to score and create his own shot. The Bulls would love to land Burks, but they'll settle for Hopson.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder- Tristan Thompson- PF (Texas)

This would be a huge find for the Thunder. Thompson is one of the most gifted big men in college basketball and could develop into a Chris Bosh-type player.

  1. Utah Jazz- Kalin Lucas- PG (Michigan State)

Lucas has been a consistent performer for Tom Izzo for a long time, and appears to be the prototypical NBA backup point guard. He's quick, he's smart, and he's capable of making a big play if called upon.

  1. Toronto Raptors (from MIA)- Kyle Singler- SF (Duke)

Singler almost has to be a first round pick based on reputation alone. The Raptors need a lot of help, and with a point guard already picked, a wing makes a lot of sense.

  1. New Jersey Nets (from LAL)- LaceDarius Dunn- SG (Baylor)

Dunn has made it clear that he is less than a great guy, but he's a gifted scorer who can get his own shot and maybe run the point from time-to-time. If the Melo trade goes through and the draft goes as I'm projecting, imagine a lineup of Devin Harris, Dunn, Melo, Sullinger, and Brook Lopez. Not too bad.

  1. Dallas Mavericks- CJ Leslie- SF (North Carolina State)

Leslie has been inconsistent so far, but that is to be expected from a young player. He has good size and upside, but may not have a set position at the next level.

  1. Boston Celtics- JuJuan Johnson- C (Purdue)

Boston could potentially lose half of its roster to retirement in the off-season, so an NBA-ready big man like Johnson makes a lot of sense.

  1. San Antonio Spurs- Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)

Harris exploded onto the season as a freshmen last year. He has slumped as a sophomore, but I doubt that the Spurs have forgotten. Harris is a hard worker and has good upside, which are usually traits of Spurs' draft picks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-2011 NBA Predictions

  1. Boston

  2. New York

  3. New Jersey

  4. Philadelphia

  5. Toronto


  1. Chicago

  2. Milwaukee

  3. Indiana

  4. Cleveland

  5. Detroit


  1. Miami

  2. Orlando

  3. Atlanta

  4. Washington

  5. Charlotte


  1. Utah

  2. Oklahoma City

  3. Portland

  4. Denver

  5. Minnesota


  1. LA Lakers

  2. Phoenix

  3. LA Clippers

  4. Golden State

  5. Sacramento


  1. Dallas

  2. Houston

  3. San Antonio

  4. New Orleans

  5. Memphis


  1. Miami

  2. Boston

  3. Orlando

  4. Chicago

  5. Atlanta

  6. Milwaukee

  7. New York

  8. Washington

  9. New Jersey

  10. Charlotte

  11. Philadelphia

  12. Indiana

  13. Cleveland

  14. Detroit

  15. Toronto

Playoffs: Miami over Washington; Boston over New York; Orlando over Milwaukee; Atlanta over Chicago; Miami over Chicago; Boston over Orlando; Miami over Boston.


  1. LA Lakers

  2. Dallas

  3. Utah

  4. Oklahoma City

  5. Portland

  6. Houston

  7. San Antonio

  8. Phoenix

  9. New Orleans

  10. Denver

  11. LA Clippers

  12. Memphis

  13. Golden State

  14. Sacramento

  15. Minnesota

Playoffs: Lakers over Phoenix; San Antonio over Dallas; Utah over Houston; Oklahoma City over Portland; Lakers over Oklahoma City; Utah over San Antonio; Utah over Lakers.

NBA Finals: Miami over Utah (6 games)

MVP: Kevin Durant (OKC)

Dark Horse: Deron Williams (UTA)

ROY: John Wall (WAS)

Dark Horse: Tiago Splitter (SAS)

COY: Jerry Sloan (UTA)

Dark Horse: Lawrence Frank (NJN)

Defensive POY: Dwight Howard (ORL)

Dark Horse: Serge Ibaka (OKC)

6th Man: Jason Terry (DAL)

Dark Horse: Corey Maggette (MIL)

MIP: Kevin Love (MIN)

Dark Horse: JaVale McGee (WAS)

Executive of the Year: Pat Riley (MIA)

Dark Horse: David Kahn (MIN) (Didn't you ever see Angels in the Outfield?  It could happen...)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reacting to LeBron's Decision

We've had about a week to contemplate the world-rocking "decision" LeBron James made in front of the entire world. It seems that everyone has an opinion, ranging from outrage over his choice to outrage over others' outrage. All-in-all it seems like no one with a clue can just leave well enough alone. The man made his choice, a choice which was well founded and thought out. In the days following LeBron's admittedly nauseating television special, the Heat have managed to add several middle-of-the-road role players to a roster centering on three high profile superstars.

I had several conversations last week about the favorites to win the 2011 NBA Championship. Clearly, Wade, James, and Bosh is a great start, but before adding Mike Miller and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and re-signing Udonis Haslem, the LA Lakers remained the clear-cut favorites. Now, with several quality rotation pieces to surround their superstars, the Heat are beginning to look like legit title contenders.

Aside from the team's championship aspirations, playing for the Heat offers LeBron two assets that the Cavaliers could never hope to match. First, he moves to Miami and plays in South Beach. Perfect weather, gorgeous women, and an unequaled party atmosphere have to be considered when discussing the life choices of a 25-year old young man. Second, signing with the Heat affords LeBron the right to play with two of his best friends. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who has discussed the possibility of recruiting a group of close friends to live together (or at least in close quarters) to prolong the lifestyle which became so comfortable during our college years.

It's easy for fans and the media to forget that before this was a basketball decision, it was a life decision. LeBron James is not simply a basketball player going to play a game in Miami, he is a man going to live there. Above all else, he is a human being just like the rest of us, and although his job pays better than most and is more visible to the general public, his desire to be happy must not be discounted. People spoke to no end about chasing money or chasing championships, but what about chasing happiness?

Sure, leaving the Cavaliers to join up with Wade and Bosh will assure that LeBron's legacy will never be the same, but does LeBron really care? After all, a legacy is the way we remember LeBron's career, not the way he remembers his life. And that is a vital distinction.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

2011 "Way Too Early" Mock Draft

The draft order is based on my off-season power rankings and projections of off-season player movement.
  1. Toronto Raptors- Harrison Barnes- SF (North Carolina)

  2. Minnesota Timberwolves- Brandon Knight- PG/SG (Kentucky)

  3. Philadelphia 76ers- Enes Kanter- PF (Kentucky)

  4. Golden State Warriors- Jan Vesely- SF (Czech Republic)

  5. Detroit Pistons- Kyrie Irving- PG (Duke)

  6. Indiana Pacers- Perry Jones- PF (Baylor)

  7. Charlotte Bobcats- Josh Selby- PG/SG (Kansas)

  8. Sacramento Kings- CJ Leslie- SF (North Carolina State)

  9. New Orleans Hornets- Jordan Hamilton- SG/SF (Texas)

  10. Washington Wizards- Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)

  11. Memphis Grizzlies- Tristan Thompson- PF (Texas)

  12. Milwaukee Bucks- Donatas Motiejunas- PF (Lithuania)

  13. Phoenix Suns- John Henson- SF/PF (North Carolina)

  14. Los Angeles Clippers- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)

  15. Houston Rockets (from New York)- Lucas Nogueira- C (Brazil)

  16. Cleveland Cavaliers- Jeff Taylor- SF (Vanderbilt)

  17. Utah Jazz- Mason Plumlee- PF (Duke)

  18. San Antonio Spurs- Jimmer Fredette- PG (Brigham Young)

  19. New Jersey Nets- LaceDarius Dunn- SG (Baylor)

  20. New York Knicks (from Houston)- Keith Benson- C (Oakland)

  21. Portland Trail Blazers- Marcus Morris- PF (Kansas)

  22. Atlanta Hawks- JaMychal Green- PF (Alabama)

  23. Denver Nuggets- Aaric Murray- C (LaSalle)

  24. Oklahoma City Thunder- Robin Benzing- SF (Germany)

  25. Miami Heat- Chris Wright- SF (Dayton)

  26. Boston Celtics- Kenneth Faried- PF (Morehead State)

  27. Dallas Mavericks- Mario Delas- SF (Croatia)

  28. Orlando Magic- Kalin Lucas- PG (Michigan State)

  29. Chicago Bulls- Arnett Moultrie- PF (UTEP)

  30. Los Angeles Lakers- Malcolm Lee- PG/SG (UCLA)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Draft Grade Curve

I always loved when teachers graded on a curve.  Too bad for Donnie Walsh and David Kahn that the Thunder and the Kings sucked up and got A's...


Oklahoma City Thunder

Sacramento Kings


New Jersey Nets

Los Angeles Clippers

Milwaukee Bucks

Detroit Pistons


New Orleans Hornets

Washington Wizards

Houston Rockets

Memphis Grizzlies

Denver Nuggets


Portland Trail Blazers

Indiana Pacers

Dallas Mavericks

Philadelphia 76ers

Boston Celtics

Toronto Raptors


San Antonio Spurs

Atlanta Hawks

Los Angeles Lakers


Cleveland Cavaliers

Utah Jazz


Orlando Magic

Miami Heat

Phoenix Suns


Golden State Warriors

Minnesota Timberwolves


Charlotte Bobcats


New York Knicks

Paul Allen


Chicago Bulls

2010 NBA Draft Grades

Atlanta Hawks- Jordan Crawford (27), Pape Sy (53)

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.

Grade: B-

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: D-

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+.

Grade: INC

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.

Grade: C

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: B+

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.

Grade: A-

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.

Grade: D

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.

Grade: B+

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: A-

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.

Grade: B-

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.

Grade: B+

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.

Grade: C-

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.

Grade: A-

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.

Grade: D

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.

Grade: A-

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.

Grade: B+

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.

Grade: A

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).

Grade: C-

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: C-

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.

Grade: B

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!

Grade: F

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".

Grade: A

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.

Grade: B-

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: C

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.

Grade: B+

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Final 2010 NBA Mock Draft

Here's what I've got. Keep in mind I don't know anything about anything. With that said, the following is Court Visionaries' Final 2010 Mock Draft:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.)

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!)

  1. 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.

  1. New Jersey Nets- Tibor Pleiss- C (Germany)

  2. Miami Heat- Daniel Orton- PF/C (Kentucky)

  3. Sacramento Kings- Ryan Richards- C (England)

  4. Portland Trail Blazers- Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)

  5. Washington Wizards- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)

  6. Detroit Pistons- Armon Johnson- PG (Nevada)

  7. Milwaukee Bucks- Elliot Williams- SG (Memphis)

  8. New York Knicks- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)

  9. New York Knicks- Darington Hobson- SF (New Mexico)

  10. Indiana Pacers- Sherron Collins- PG (Kansas)

  11. Miami Heat- Stanley Robinson- SF (Connecticut)

  12. Miami Heat- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)

  13. LA Lakers- Terrico White- SG (Mississippi)

  14. Milwaukee Bucks- Matt Bouldin- PG (Gonzaga)

  15. Minnesota Timberwolves- Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)

  16. Phoenix Suns- Trevor Booker- PF (Clemson)

  17. Milwaukee Bucks- Artsiom Parakhouski- C (Radford)

  18. Miami Heat- Jeremy Wise- PG (Bakersfield Jam- D League)

  19. San Antonio Spurs- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)

  20. Dallas Mavericks- Nemanja Bjelica- SF (Serbia)

  21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Brian Zoubek- C (Duke)

  22. Boston Celtics- Derrick Caracter- PF (UTEP)

  23. Atlanta Hawks- Charles Garcia- PF (Seattle)

  24. Los Angeles Clippers- Thomas Heurtel- PG (France)

  25. Utah Jazz- Paulao Prestes- PF (Brazil)

  26. Minnesota Timberwolves- Da'Sean Butler- SG (West Virginia)

  27. Indiana Pacers- Sylven Landesberg- SG (Virginia)

  28. Los Angeles Lakers- Latavious Williams- SF (Tulsa 66ers- D League)

  29. Orlando Magic- Alexey Shved- PG (Russia)

  30. Phoenix Suns- Miroslav Raduljica- C (Serbia)

Final 2010 Player Rankings

Below is my final player ranking for the 2010 NBA Draft. Each player is listed with his (likely) NBA position, college or professional affiliation, current NBA comparison (if applicable), and relevant final season statistics.


  1. John Wall- PG (Kentucky) [Russell Westbrook]- (16.6 pts, 4.3 rebs, 6.5 asts, 1.8 stls, 46% FG, 75% FT, 33% 3P)

  2. DeMarcus Cousins- C (Kentucky) [Al Jefferson]- (15.1 pts, 9.8 rebs, 1.8 blks, 1stls, 56% FG, 60% FT)

  3. Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech) [Amare Stoudemire]- (12.4 pts, 8.4 rebs, 2.1 blks, .9 stls, 61% FG, 63% FT)

  4. 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)

  5. 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)

  6. Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky) [Udonis Haslem]- (14.3 pts, 7.4 rebs, 1.3 blks, 58% FG, 69% FT, 35% 3P)

  7. Al-Farouq Aminu- SF (Wake Forest) [Luol Deng]- (15.8 pts, 10.7 rebs, 1.4 stls, 1.4 blks, 45% FG, 70% FT)

  8. 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)

  9. 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)

  10. Cole Aldrich- C (Kansas) [Emeka Okafor]- (11.3 pts, 9.8 rebs, 3.5 blks, .8 stls, 56% FG, 68% FT)

  11. 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)

  12. Ekpe Udoh-PF (Baylor) [Hakim Warrick]- (13.9 pts, 9.8 rebs, 2.7 asts, 3.7 blks, .8 stls, 49% FG, 69% FT)

  13. Ed Davis- PF (North Carolina) [Zach Randolph]- (12.9 pts, 9.2 rebs, 2.7 blks, 58% FG, 66% FT)

  14. 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)

  15. Luke Babbit- SF (Nevada) [Mike Miller]- (21.9 pts, 8.9 rebs, .8 blks, 1 stls, 50% FG, 92% FT, 42% 3P)

  16. Gordon Hayward- SF (Butler)- (15.5 pts, 8.2 rebs, 1.1 stls, .8 blks, 46% FG, 83% FT, 29% 3P)


  1. Hassan Whiteside- PF (Marshall) [Andray Blatche]- (13.1 pts, 8.9 rebs, 5.4 blks, 52% FG, 59% FT)

  2. 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)

  3. 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)

  4. Larry Sanders- PF (Virginia Commonwealth) [Serge Ibaka]- (14.4 pts, 9.1 rebs, 2.6 blks, 53% FG, 64% FT)

  5. Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)- (11.7 pts, 6.2 rebs, 2.3 blks, 53% FG, 79% FT)

  6. Eric Bledsoe-PG (Kentucky) [Kyle Lowry]- (11.3 pts, 3.1 rebs, 2.9 asts, 1.4 stls, 46% FG, 67% FT, 38% 3P)


  1. Jordan Crawford- SG (Xavier)- (20.5 pts, 4.7 rebs, 2.9 asts, 1.3 stls, 46% FG, 77% FT, 39% 3P)

  2. Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech) [Reggie Evans]- (13.1 pts, 8.5 rebs, 1.4 blks, 53% FG, 57% FT)

  3. Quincy Pondexter- SF (Washington)- (19.3 pts, 7.4 rebs, 1.3 stls, 53% FG, 83% FT, 35% 3P)

  4. Mikhail Torrance- SG (Alabama) – (15.6 pts, 3.7 rebs, 5.1 asts, .8 stls, 47% FG, 87% FT, 36% 3P)

  5. Daniel Orton- C (Kentucky)-(3.4 pts, 3.3 rebs, 1.4 blks, 53% FG, 52% FT)

  6. Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma) - (16.3 pts, 3.3 rebs, 4.1 asts, 1 stls, 44% FG, 80% FT, 31% 3P)

  7. Dominique Jones- SG (South Florida)- (21.4 pts, 6.1 rebs, 3.6 asts, 1.7 stls, 45% FG, 74% FT, 31% 3P)

  8. 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)

  9. Stanley Robinson- SF (Connecticut) [Gerald Green]- (14.5 pts, 7.6 rebs, 1.2 blks, .9 stls, 53% FG, 63% FT, 34% 3P)

  10. 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)

  11. Terrico White- SG (Mississippi)- (15.1 pts, 4.6 rebs, 1.5 asts, .9 stls, 43% FG, 71% FT, 34% 3P)

  12. Darington Hobson- SF (New Mexico)- (15.9 pts, 9.3 rebs, 4.6 asts, 1.3 stls, 44% FG, 65% FT, 36% 3P)

  13. Greivis Vasquez- SG (Maryland)- (19.6 pts, 4.6 rebs, 6.3 asts, 1.7 stls, 43% FG, 86% FT, 36% 3P)

  14. Armon Johnson-PG (Nevada)- (15.7 pts, 3.4 rebs, 5.6 asts, .8 stls, 50% FG, 68% FT, 24% 3P)

  15. Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati) [Larry Hughes]- (12.3 pts, 5.4 rebs, 2.5 asts, .9 stls, 44% FG, 66% FT, 22% 3P)

  16. Tiny Gallon- PF (Oklahoma)- (10.3 pts, 7.9 rebs, .7 stls, .8 blks, 55% FG, 70% FT)

  17. Elliot Williams-SG (Memphis)- (17.9 pts, 4 rebs, 3.8 asts, 1.3 stls, 46% FG, 76% FT, 37% 3P)


  1. Kevin Seraphin- PF (France)- (6 pts, 4.5 rebs, 1 blks, 51% FG, 59% FT, 16 mins)

  2. Tibor Pleiss- C (Germany) – (8.3 pts, 5.7 rebs, .8 blks, 52% FG, 76% FT, 18 mins)

  3. Miroslav Raduljica- C (Serbia) [Marc Gasol]- (13.7 pts, 6.4 rebs, 58% FG, 78% FT, 27 mins)

  4. Nemanja Bjelica- SF (Serbia)- (9.2 pts, 4.9 rebs, 2.3 asts, 43% FG, 76% FT, 24 mins)


  1. Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State) [Ben Wallace]- (13.8 pts, 10.3 rebs, 4.7 blks, 58% FG, 61% FT)

  2. Sheron Collins- PG (Kansas) [Jameer Nelson]- (15.5 pts, 4.5 asts, 1.1 stls, 43% FG, 86% FT, 37% 3P)

  3. Da'Sean Butler- SG (West Virginia)- (17.2 pts, 6.2 rebs, 3.1 asts, 1 stls, 41% FG, 79% FT, 35% 3P)

  4. Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)- (15.4 pts, 9.1 rebs, 2.3 blks, 55% FG, 69% FT)

  5. Artsiom Parakhouski- C (Radford) [Marcin Gortat]- (21.4 pts, 13.4 rebs, 2.1 blks, 58% FG, 56% FT)

  6. Sylven Landesberg- SG (Virginia)- (17.3 pts, 4.9 rebs, 2.9 asts, .8 stls, 44% FG, 81% FT, 38% 3P)

  7. 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)

  8. Luke Harangody- PF (Notre Dame) [Jon Brockman]- (21.8 pts, 9.1 rebs, 48% FG, 79% FT, 31% 3P)

  9. Charles Garcia- PF (Seattle)- (18.7 pts, 8.3 rebs, .8 blks, 47% FG, 62% FT)

  10. Derrick Caracter- PF (UTEP)- (14.1 pts, 8.1 rebs, 1 stls, .9 blks, 57% FG, 67% FT)

  11. Samardo Samuels- PF (Louisville)- (15.3 pts, 7 rebs, 1.1 blks, 52% FG, 71% FT)

  12. A.J. Ogilvy- C (Vanderbilt)- (13.4 pts, 6.2 rebs, 1.5 blks, 1 stls, 51% FG, 73% FT)

  13. Omar Samhan-C (Saint Mary's)- (21.3 pts, 10.9 rebs, 2.9 blks, 55% FG, 73% FT)

  14. 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)

  15. Manny Harris- SG (Michigan)- (18.1 pts, 6 rebs, 4.1 asts, 1.8 stls, 42% FG, 80% FT, 31% 3P)

  16. JP Prince- SF (Tennessee)- (9.9 pts, 3.7 rebs, 3.1 asts. 1.5 stls, 53% FG, 63% FT, 32% 3P)

  17. Aubrey Coleman-SG (Houston)- (25.6 pts, 7.4 rebs, 2.6 asts, 2.7 stls, 43% FG, 74% FT, 32% 3P)

  18. Brian Zoubek- C (Duke) – (5.6 pts, 7.7 rebs, .7 stls, .8 blks, 64% FG, 55% FT)

  19. Dexter Pittman- C (Texas)- (10.4 pts, 5.9 rebs, 1.9 blks, 65% FG, 56% FT)

  20. Wayne Chism- PF (Tennessee)- (12.6 pts, 7.2 rebs, 1.3 blks, 1.1 stls, 47% FG, 76% FT, 32% 3P)

  21. Dwayne Collins- PF (Miami)- (12 pts, 7.8 rebs, 1.1 blks, 60% FG, 57% FT)

  22. Lazar Hayward-PF (Marquette)- (18.1 pts, 7.5 rebs, 1.9 stls, 43% FG, 84% FT, 35% 3P)

  23. Jerome Randle- PG (California) – (18.6 pts, 2.1 rebs, 4.3 asts, .7 stls, 46% FG, 93% FT, 40% 3P)

  24. Matt Bouldin- PG (Gonzaga)- (15.6 pts, 4.7 rebs, 4 asts, 1.4 stls, 45% FG, 86% FT, 37% 3P)

  25. Latavious Williams- PF (Tulsa 66ers- D League)- (7.7 pts, 7.7 rebs, .8 blks, .7 stls, 53% FG, 61% FT, 21 mins)

  26. Ryan Thompson- SG (Rider)- (17.2 pts, 5 rebs, 2.8 asts, 1.2 stls, 42% FG, 82% FT, 32% 3P)


  1. Alexey Shved- PG (Russia) [Marko Jaric]- (2 games)

  2. Thomas Heurtel- PG (France) – (9.4 pts, 2 rebs, 4.8 asts, 1.1 stls, 46% FG, 73% FT)

  3. Paulao Prestes- PF (Brazil) – (9.2 pts, 7.3 rebs, .8 stls, .7 blks, 57% FG, 66% FT)


  1. Hamady N'Diaye- C (Rutgers) – (9.4 pts, 7.1 rebs, 4.5 blks, 58% FG, 62% FT)

  2. Mac Koshwal- PF (DePaul) – (16.1 pts, 10.1 rebs, 1.8 stls, .9 blks, 54% FG, 55% FT)

  3. Michael Washington- PF (Arkansas)- (12.5 pts, 6.1 rebs, 1.3 blks, 50% FG, 65% FT)

  4. Scottie Reynolds- PG (Villanova)- (18.2 pts, 2.7 rebs, 3.3 asts, 1.5 stls, 46% FG, 84% FT, 39% 3P)

  5. John Scheyer- SG (Duke)- (18.2 pts, 3.6 rebs, 4.9 asts, 1.6 stls, 40% FG, 98% FT, 38% 3P)

  6. Ben Uzoh- PG (Tulsa)- (15.3 pts, 4.7 rebs, 4.7 asts, 1 stls, 46% FG, 77% FT, 34% 3P)

  7. Deon Thompson- PF (North Carolina)- (13.7 pts, 6.7 rebs, 1 blks, 1.1 stls, 48% FG, 69% FT)

  8. Ryan Wittman- SF (Cornell)- (17.5 pts, 4 rebs, 1.1 stls, 47% FG, 83% FT, 43% 3P)

  9. A.J. Slaughter- SG (Western Kentucky)- (17.5 pts, 3.2 rebs, 4.3 asts, 1.6 stls, 42% FG, 83% FT, 36% 3P)

  10. Tyler Smith- SF (Tennessee)- (11.7 pts, 4.7 rebs, 3.7 asts, 1.4 stls, 57% FG, 70% FT, 12 games)

  11. Raymar Morgan- SF (Michigan State)- (11.3 pts, 6.2 rebs, 1.1 stls, 53% FG, 67% FT, 29% 3P)

  12. Andy Rautins- SG (Syracuse)- (12.1 pts, 3.4 rebs, 4.9 asts, 2 stls, 44% FG, 82% FT, 41% 3P)

  13. Jerome Dyson- SG (Connecticut)- (17.3 pts, 4.3 rebs, 4.2 asts, 1.3 stls, 39% FG, 72% FT, 29% 3P)

  14. Arinze Onuaku- C (Syracuse)- (10.5 pts, 5.1 rebs, .9 stls, 1.1 blks, 67% FG, 43% FT)

  15. DeShawn Sims-SF (Michigan)- (16.8 pts, 7.6 rebs, 1.1 stls, 49% FG, 67% FT, 28% 3P)

  16. Landon Milbourne- SF (Maryland) – (12.7 pts, 4.9 rebs, 1.1 stls, 1.2 blks, 50% FG, 73% FT, 34% 3P)

  17. Malcolm Delaney- PG (Virginia Tech)- (20.2 pts, 3.7 rebs, 4.5 asts, 1.2 stls, 39% FG, 84% FT, 31% 3P)

  18. Marquis Gilstrap- SF (Iowa State)- (14.9 pts, 9.3 rebs, .9 stls, .9 blks, 44% FG, 67% FT, 38% 3P)


  1. 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)

  2. Elias Harris- SF (Gonzaga)- (14.9 pts, 7.1 rebs, .9 stls, 55% FG, 68% FT, 45% 3P)

  3. 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)

  4. Jordan Hamilton- SF (Texas)- (10 pts, 3.7 rebs, .8 stls, 41% FG, 58% FT, 37% 3P)

  5. John Henson- PF (North Carolina)- (5.7 pts, 4.4 rebs, 1.6 blks, 49% FG, 44% FT)

  6. Mason Plumlee- PF (Duke)- (3.7 pts, 3.1 rebs, .9 blks, 46% FG, 54% FT)

  7. Jimmer Fredette- PG (BYU)- (22.1 pts, 3.1 rebs, 4.7 asts, 1.2 stls, 46% FG, 89% FT, 44% 3P)

  8. Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)- (14.6 pts, 4.3 rebs, 5.1 asts, 2.1 stls, 40% FG, 77% FT, 34% 3P)

  9. Marcus Morris- PF (Kansas) [Joe Smith]- (12.8 pts, 6.1 rebs, .9 stls, 57% FG, 66% FT)

  10.  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

Top 10 Riskiest Picks

  1. DeMarcus Cousins

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.

  1. Hassan Whiteside

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.

  1. Lance Stephenson

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.

  1. Daniel Orton

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.

  1. Devin Ebanks

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.

  1. Miroslav Raduljica

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.

  1. Greg Monroe

  2. Ed Davis

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.

  1. Greivis Vasquez

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.

Top 10 NBA Ready Picks

  1. John Wall

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.

  1. Patrick Patterson

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.

  1. Damion James

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.

  1. Quincy Pondexter

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.

  1. Gani Lawal

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.

  1. DeMarcus Cousins

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.

  1. Dominique Jones

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.

  1. Luke Babbit

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.

  1. Evan Turner

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.

  1. Cole Aldrich

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

Logic Behind a MIN-DET Trade


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.