1. Washington Wizards – John Wall, PG Kentucky
No surprises here. John Wall will become the new face of the Wizards franchise and attempt to take the team from the bottom to a respectable mediocrity. The only interesting part of the equation is what will happen to Gilbert Arenas. With a practically unmovable contract, the artist formerly known as Agent Zero is likely to remain in Washington. It will certainly be fun to see how he meshes with another guard who needs to dominate the ball in order to be effective. Hopefully, no guns will be pulled.
2. Philadelphia Sixers – Evan Turner, SG Ohio State
Another expected pick. He could be the early favorite for Rookie of the Year when the season gets jumping.
3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors, PF Georgia Tech
The Nets could’ve done something risky here, but they went with the safe choice. In Brook Lopez, the Nets currently have one of the most promising young big men in the league. With their center position shored up for the foreseeable future, they added to their frontcourt with Derrick Favors. The Georgia Tech big-man standout has the potential to become one of the league’s great forwards, and he already possesses an NBA-ready body that makes general managers salivate.
The biggest question regarding Favors is his skill level. Still, the one big gamble franchises consistently make is that you can teach skill, you can’t teach size and athleticism.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson, SF Syracuse
A very good pick by the Wolves. Johnson gives them a consistent, reliable scorer at the wing position. While Johnson is by no means the most talented player in this draft, he is clearly an upgrade over the extremely disappointing Corey Brewer.
5. Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins, C Kentucky
This is the first questionable pick of the draft. Cousins has the skill to fit with any team, really, but you wonder if the Kings may have been better off trying to go after one of the better-passing bigs in this draft. Despite Cousins’ well documented character flaws, he is an unquestionable talent. He’s big, skilled and has the potential to be the best player to come out of this draft. That’s the upside.
The downside is that he was in constant foul trouble in college, and you have to wonder how that will translate against stronger faster players in the pro ranks. Plus, you know, he has the maturity level of a ten-year-old.
6. Golden State Warriors – Ekpe Udoh, PF Baylor
A very AK-47-ish player. Monster shot blocker, good defender and okay in terms of skill. The Warriors either made a very smart move, or drafted the first bust of the evening.
7. Detroit Pistons – Greg Monroe, PF Georgetown
A good pick by the Pistons. In some ways, Monroe would be better off with the Sacramento Kings in a slower offense because he has a unique passing ability that you don’t really see in big men anymore. In other ways he’s just athletic enough to work for the Pistons. He plays with a certain finesse that makes him a pleasure to watch sometimes, and frustrating to watch other times.
His flaws include, but are not limited to: standing by the perimeter way too often and suffering from the Lamar Odom-syndrome of making unnecessary passes when he should be more aggressive.
8. LA Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF Wake Forest
It’s the Clippers, so who really knows? He has the raw athleticism and talent to really make a difference, but his poor shooting makes him vulnerable if you push him away from the hoop.
A lot of NBA GM’s have lost their jobs drafting freakishly athletic big men with no skill, so you have to wonder whether or not the Clippers are pushing their unlucky streak one step further by picking him up.
Then again, it’s the Clippers. They could draft Kobe Bryant and still somehow screw it up.
9. Utah Jazz – Gordon Hayward, SF Butler
The second bad pick of the evening. Listen, Hayward had a great NCAA tournament, but so did Ed O’Bannon. He doesn’t have the athleticism or skill to succeed in this league, and the Jazz aren’t exactly overflowing with offensive weapons that will pull defenders off him. Worse than him going up against small forwards in the league who will suffocate himself defensively, is the fact that he doesn’t have the speed/strength to stick the league’s quality small forwards on the other end.
10. Indiana Pacers – Paul George, SF Fresno State
A sleeper pick. He’s the prototypical small forward for the NBA. The athleticism and size are there, the skills need refining.
Through 10 Picks:
Winners: Everyone other than the two teams below.
Losers: The Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz