Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18th, 2010 - Mock Draft

The 2010 NBA Draft Lottery selection finished a little more than two hours ago. Some fans (Washington and Philly, I'm looking at you) were elated. Others? Heart-broken.

However, what's done is done. The past is in the past. We can only look forward. As such, here's my first post-lottery NBA Mock Draft.

1. Washington - John Wall (PG):

The Arenas era is over; the John Wall era has now begun. It will be a tough year for the Blue Jesus, but with Washington having significant cap room; maybe he can lure someone there.

2. Philadelphia - Evan Turner (SG/SF):
While this should be a lock, you never know. The Sixers could decide to rebuild their frontcourt and not duplicate talent on the wing. However, I think they take Turner and figure out what to do with Iggy and their frontcourt later.

3. New Jersey - Derrick Favors (PF/C):
Lopez isn’t really a brutish player down low, but he’s a skilled offensive player who can step out and hit a jumper. Favors is a brutish player and he has the athleticism Lopez lacks. This is a spectacular fit and likely the second best player for the Nets so they can’t be too disappointed.

4. Minnesota - DeMarcus Cousins (C):
Kahn looked like he had just been punched in the nose when his card came up fourth. This represents a BPA pick and one which will drastically change the shape of the franchise as Al and Cousins likely cannot coexist, but Cousins is the larger and more talented of the two. Cousins has big-time potential if he puts it all together.

5. Sacramento - Al-Farouq Aminu (SF/PF):
This is a very tough pick for the Kings. They don’t really scoring as much as they need length, athleticism, and defense, while also grabbing a player who has the flexibility to play both the 3 and the 4. Even though this is a reach in my eyes, I’m going with Aminu here.

6. Golden State - Wesley Johnson (SF):
Tailor-made fit for the Warriors style. They could have certainly used Favors or Cousins to beef up their frontcourt, but Johnson gives them a very athletic wing that can shoot and also upgrades their height even though he’s 6’7.

7. Detroit - Ed Davis (PF/C):
Detroit needs help just about everywhere. While they do need immediate defensive help, I don’t think they can afford passing up the potential that Davis brings in order to take a safe pick like Aldrich. Since the Pistons don’t seem enamored with Villanueva starting, taking Davis fills a gap in their rotation and also can offer good play on both ends of the floor in due time.

8. LA Clippers - Xavier Henry (SG/SF):
This relegates them to being somewhat small on the wings. However, their offensive firepower surrounding Griffin would be excellent, and Henry may also bring the versatility to guard both 2s and 3s effectively.

9. Utah (from NY) - Cole Aldrich (C):
Gift wrapping Utah an NBA-ready defensive Center would be like an early Christmas. He doesn’t offer much upside, but it beats relying on Fesenko or Koufos, while also being a somewhat decent fit with Millsap.

10. Indiana - Ekpe Udoh (PF/C):
This is a tough spot for Indiana. Do they go with upside or readiness? Athleticism or skill? Size or playmaking? They kind of get all of that here. Monroe will get a look here, but next to Hibbert, Udoh fits far better and he has more of what they need.

11. New Orleans - Greg Monroe (PF/C):
New Orleans likes that he fell. He brings some of the things that West and Okafor do not have, while also being ready enough to play big minutes behind those two immediately.

12. Memphis - Devin Ebanks (SF/PF):
If they allow Gay to walk, then Ebanks fills a need quite well for them. Yes, some may say this is too early, but I think he’ll impress in workouts with his defense, midrange game, and playmaking. They need balance on their roster and Ebanks should be an excellent role player.

13. Toronto - Hassan Whiteside (PF/C):
If they lose Bosh, which it appears they will, then Toronto needs to go upside. Donatas may get a look, but I don’t know how similar he is to Bargnani, so I’m afraid to place him here at this point. Whiteside gives them weakside defense immediately, as well as immense potential; but has a lot of work to do in the weight room and in the therapists office.

14. Houston: Donatas Motiejunas (PF/C):
Upside pick that Houston can afford to take. Even if they make a play for Bosh or if they decide to keep Scola for another year; Donatas could learn on the bench in a system that seems like it would fit his strength.

15. Milwaukee (from CHI) - James Anderson (SG/SF):
Jennings needs a guy to play off his dominant ball-handling that can shoot and occasionally take it to the rim. Anderson brings that as well as decent playmaking and defense to the table for a team that could use the help on the wing immediately.

16. Minnesota (from CHA) - Paul George (SG/SF):
They need help on the wing. George brings a sweet stroke, playmaking, defense, length, and athleticism to the table. How does a guy like that fall? He’s inconsistent and hasn’t played the toughest of competition.

17. Chicago (from MIL) - Patrick Patterson (PF):
I’m sure they’d be annoyed if they missed out on Anderson, however Patterson is a very nice consolation prize. At worst, he gives them a smart, versatile PF off the bench. At best? Could work himself into a position where he’s able to play on the court with Noah and another PF.

18. Miami - Eric Bledsoe (PG/SG):
Blesdoe isn’t a true PG, but he’s a very good athlete, can shoot from 3, and is a great man defender. He may even be able to step in immediately and play the small role that a PG next to Wade is required to play.

19. Boston - Willie Warren (PG/SG):
If his head is on straight, he can offer them a sweet stroke as well as playmaking. While likely not bigger than 6’3, he should possess enough length and athleticism to not be a complete liability on the defensive end when he’s on the floor. You have to admit, him and Rondo make for a curious pairing.

20. San Antonio - Damion James (SF/PF):
They need toughness, length, and shooting at the SF spot since Jefferson clearly didn’t give them that. James brings those, and seems like a Popovich kind of player.

21. Oklahoma City - Daniel Orton (PF/C):
I personally would dislike this pick if I were an OKC fan, however this is a mock, not my big board. Some team will reach for him early because of his size, athleticism, and thug-like nature on the court. Maybe he can turn into Kendrick Perkins. Then again, maybe he’ll become like most guys who average 7pts, 8rebs, and 6fouls per 36 minutes and never amount to anything.

22. Portland - Luke Babbitt (SF/PF):
NBA ready player who can help step in and space the floor at the 3 or 4 spot? While he lacks athleticism, I don’t know if that’s a high priority for bench players on playoff teams; and I don’t think they could justify taking an athletic PF/C like Sanders with so much money tied up there - even if Oden and Przybilla will likely be injured to start the season.

23. Minnesota (from UTA) - Larry Sanders (PF/C):
They need defensive help, and they can’t afford to stash someone overseas. Sanders is an immediate upgrade to Hollins, and brings in athleticism, defense, and a budding jumper. With Cousins already on board, this could be a pretty nice fit and gives them a trio of Love, Cousins, and Sanders which offer a variety of talents.

24. Atlanta - Solomon Alabi (C):
They need size and defense. Alabi brings both, and a relatively efficient offensive game built around his hook. He needs to get stronger and become less of a foul machine against good frontcourt players, however, but in his first year he can just be a 20-25mpg role player.

25. Memphis (from DEN) - Avery Bradley (PG/SG):
I’m honestly curious as to what positions Memphis will draft. Bradley could be a pretty solid fit here as he offers a great jumper as well as defensive skill from the PG spot. However, it would mean Mayo needs to play more of a playmaker role - but if Gay is truly gone, then the ball will be in his hands much like it’s in Roy’s, and maybe this pairing would work out. That would require a lot of improvement on Mayo’s end, however.

26. Oklahoma City (from PHX) - Artsiom Parakhouski (C):
OKC needs help on the boards and Krstic isn’t getting it done being a presence on the inside. While Orton may need time to develop, Parakhouski could offer them help right away and gives them a great rebounder and relatively decent offensive option in the post. In time, he’ll be a luxury off the bench, but he could potentially start for them as a rookie, and be the yin to Ibaka’s yang.

27. New Jersey (from DAL) - Gordon Hayward (SF):
They upgraded their PF spot immensely by taking Favors, now they need to keep filling in role players around their frontcourt. Hayward, if he can be consistent in his stroke, would be a fine scorer on the wing to work off of the playmaking of Williams and the aggressiveness of Harris.

28. Memphis (from LAL) - Kevin Seraphin (PF/C):
Purely a BPA pick. They take him and then keep him overseas for a year until they have room. Once they bring him over, it seems like he and Gasol would work well together and he’d bring much needed athleticism combined with balanced skills.

29. Orlando - Darington Hobson (SG/SF):
They can afford to take BPA here, and Hobson gives them a versatile wing which allows Nelson to play off the ball some when he’s on the court as well as being able to space the floor as a spot-up shooter. His lack of athleticism should not hurt as much with Howard being the goal keeper.

30. Washington (from CLE) - Quincy Pondexter (SF):
Surrounding Wall with athletes is a must. Pondexter has great potential on the defensive end to be a stopper, and may eventually settle into a role like James Posey - though he’ll need to keep working on his jumper.

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