Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 NBA Mock Draft (Version 9)

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


There's nothing new at the top of the draft.  Wall will almost surely be the number one pick regardless of which team lands here.


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


Johnson's end-to-end ability and capacity to play both perimeter positions make him a great fit for the Timberwolves.  He also appears to have leadership qualities that would be at a premium on such a young roster.


3)    Indiana Pacers- Derrick Favors- PF (Georgia Tech)


The Pacers have been decimated by injuries to their top two scorers and have recently demoted starting point guard T.J. Ford all the way to an inactive roster spot.  In other words, there are a lot of ways Indiana could go at number three.  A trade seems like a definite possibility, with Troy Murphy a likely choice to change addresses.  If he moves and the Pacers get a point guard in return, Favors would be a great fit.


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


Washington is another team in need of a major overhaul.  They have some nice pieces surrounding their nucleus, but they've yet to make a splash in the postseason and with Gilbert Arenas out indefinitely, things don't appear to be getting any better.  Cleaning house and starting over may be the only option, and Davis has as high of a ceiling as any player in the draft.


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


Don Nelson loves a roster filled with interchangeable athletes capable of stretching the floor.  Evan Turner is probably the best fit for the former, but Motiejunas has great size and shooting ability, which is Turner's biggest flaw at this point. 


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


Philadelphia moved down four spots in the mock after a 3-1 week but they still land a whale of a prospect in Henry, who is a deadly shooter and one of the most efficient players in the country.


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


Detroit is finally healthy, so now there's just one problem- they're still not very good.  The Pistons do have a very nice perimeter rotation, but badly need an upgrade up front.  Aldrich has myriad post moves and will be an effective rebounder from day one.


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


Turner returned from injury Wednesday night, nearly a full month ahead of schedule, which should quiet concerns about his durability.  He played only 18 minutes, but managed eight points, four rebounds, and five assists.  Turner gives Utah another nice perimeter option, and will eventually take over for Andre Kirilenko at the three spot.


9)    Milwaukee Bucks- Greg Monroe- PF (Georgetown)


Milwaukee gambles again in the late lottery, and hits another homerun.  Monroe has huge upside, but his numbers have been mildly impressive in the Hoya's half-court slow-it-down system.  He'll develop into a great pro and be a huge upgrade over Hakim Warrick.


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


The Clippers are set up front and have solid perimeter options (Eric Gordon and Al Thornton) moving forward, but they badly need to find a point guard-of-the-future.  Bradley is raw, but has impressive skills and athleticism.  Given a couple of years to learn behind Baron Davis, he could easily become the final piece of a perennial playoff team.


11) Sacramento Kings- Willie Warren- PG (Oklahoma)


Officially consider me a member of the 2011 Sacramento Kings bandwagon.  I've been saying for a few weeks that the Kings are a small forward short of being a future contender, but after watching a little more of Omri Casspi, I'm now sold.  The Kings are probably looking at their roster-of-the-future in Evans, Martin, Casspi, Thompson, and Hawes, but everybody could use a little depth.  Warren has great speed and combo-guard size.  He could easily play alongside either Evans or Martin in the backcourt.


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


Aminu is a great value at #12 and New Orleans could use an athletic three man, as it appears Julian Wright's time in the Big Easy is nearly through.  Aminu is a little raw, but he loves to get out and run, which should be music to Chris Paul's ears.


13) Memphis Grizzlies- Devin Ebanks- SF (West Virginia)


This is the perfect scenario for the Grizzlies, who will almost certainly lose Rudy Gay this summer.  Ebanks is nearly a carbon copy.  He has great size and length, and is a jaw-dropping athlete, who loves to get up-and-down.


14) Utah Jazz- DeMarcus Cousins- PF (Kentucky)


Utah moves into the lottery for the first time in a month and a half and I just think it may stay that way.  What made Utah's trade of promising rookie point guard Eric Maynor more puzzling than their haul (some German prospect whose name I've already forgotten), was that they filled the biggest need of the team directly behind them in the playoff race (Oklahoma City).  Maynor has played very well for the Thunder, who picked up a game and a half over Utah last week (plus a head-to-head win).  If Utah does land in the lottery (and consequently keeps from giving this pick to Minnesota) they'll look for a replacement for the soon-to-be-departed Carlos Boozer.  Cousins is a great shot blocker with an underrated offensive arsenal and big upside.


15) Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte)- Paul George- SF (Fresno State)


George is an astounding athlete with a surprisingly refined game.  He is averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and nearly three steals per game, while shooting 47% from the floor and 91% from the free throw line.  He would be a great fit alongside number two overall pick Wesley Johnson.


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


I've been making this pick for weeks and I stand by it.  Chicago drafted Taj Gibson and James Johnson last year, so they'll be looking at the perimeter this time around.  Anderson is the best pure shooter in the class and he would benefit from a great point guard like Derrick Rose.


17) Miami Heat (from Toronto)- Solomon Alabi- C (Florida State)


Miami will be a big player in free agency this summer, but with Jermaine O'Neal departing and no true centers available, Alabi would be a nice fit along with whatever group the Heat put together.


18) Miami Heat- Lance Stephenson- SG (Cincinnati)


It's looking more and more like the Heat will have back-to-back picks in this range due to the inferiority of the Eastern Conference, so taking a forward and a guard makes sense here.  Stephenson has some character questions, but he has a lot of talent to offer, and would likely be held in check by Dwyane Wade and company.


19) Oklahoma City Thunder- Jerome Jordan- C (Tulsa)


Oklahoma City has a really strong core moving forward.  Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor make a great point guard pair, while Kevin Durant, Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden have things covered on the perimeter.  Jeff Green is a very serviceable starting power forward, and it appears that Serge Ibaka is on his way to being a solid third big man.  Oklahoma City does still need a starting center and a backup power forward, but having two picks in the 19-25 range should fill those spots nicely.  Jordan is a good shot blocker and an efficient scorer from the field and the line.


20) Houston Rockets- Larry Sanders- PF/C (Virginia Commonwealth)


Houston would love to land a true center like Alabi or Jordan, but Sanders will do nicely as well.  He is lanky and raw, but is a strong shot-blocking presence, which the Rockets lack (aside from Yao Ming).


21) Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)- Jan Vesely- PF (Czech Republic)


Vesely, like Motiejunas is only 19-years old, and has a lot of growing to do.  He has played 22 minutes per game and averaged seven points and three rebounds in 14 Adriatic League games.  Many scouts believe he has the athleticism and defensive aggression to become a very solid NBA player after another year or two in Europe.


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


Pittman is a local product and a very hard worker.  He also has great hands and underrated shot-blocking ability.


23) Portland Trail Blazers- Craig Brackins- PF (Iowa State)


Brackins takes a bit of a tumble down to number 23.  He is a nice player with a perimeter-oriented game, but has had a bit of a down junior season after a sensational sophomore campaign. 


24) New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)- Patrick Patterson- PF (Kentucky)


Patterson is a huge value at number 24 (I have him at #13 on my big board.) and a great fit for a Nets team that is very thin up front.  Patterson is a huge upgrade over Tony Battie, Eduardo Najera, Sean Williams and Josh Boone.


25) Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)- Jarvis Varnado- PF (Mississippi State)


The Thunder would have loved to get their hands on Patterson, but they'll settle for Varnado, who could become a dynamic shot blocking presence off the bench, much like Chris Anderson in Denver.


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


I've had Gani Lawal slotted in with this pick for some time, but I think James is a better fit.  He plays the small forward, but has decent size (6'7") and is an effective rebounder (7.2 rebounds or better in all four seasons in Austin), meaning he could be the answer as the backup three and four all rolled into one.


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


In previous mocks, I had Kemba Walker slotted in as the fourth point guard after Wall, Warren and Bradley, but Walker has really struggled lately (His field goal percentage has dropped from 44% to 39.3% in the past couple of weeks.), which moves Collins ahead of him.


28) Boston Celtics- Chris Wright- SF (Dayton)


Wright has good size and a skill set similar to Ryan Gomes when he came out of Providence.  Gomes, remember, was drafted by Danny Ainge and the Celtics.


29) Cleveland Cavaliers- Da'Sean Butler- SG (West Virginia)


Cleveland badly needs a perimeter scorer to take the heat off of LeBron James.  If they're unable to acquire Michael Redd or another shooter, Butler would be a great fit.


30) Memphis Grizzlies (from LA Lakers)- Kemba Walker- PG (Connecticut)


Walker has struggled a bit as of late, but he has blazing speed and great court vision.  After fortifying their small and power forward slots with their first two picks, adding a backup to Mike Conley seems like a nice fit.

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