As we all know, the months leading up to the NBA Draft can make for an overwhelming flurry of inside scoops, conspiracy theories and rumors from all around the internet; this year appears to be no different. Fortunately, Hoops Addict has been keeping tabs on all the top college prospects and was in attendance at NBA pre-draft workouts in Toronto and Washington this month to help put it all in perspective.
While there is a lot up in the air, this is our best attempt to get through all the speculation and give you some insight into who the top 30 prospects are.
1. Washington – John Wall (Kentucky): Everything that everyone’s saying is true. He’s the undisputed No. 1 pick regardless of who is picking here. And the doubts about whether he can play with Arenas? Pure rubbish.
2. Philadelphia – Evan Turner (Ohio State): Second best talent in this draft even with the back injury he sustained earlier this season. I’ll be shocked if Philly doesn’t snag him here. Even with Igoudala in the mix he’s a good fit because AI can slide over to small forward.
3. New Jersey – Wesley Johnson (Syracuse): He’s an athletic wing that Minnesota is hoping and praying will drop to them at the fourth pick. No chance. The big rumor is Minnesota is trying to trade up to obtain either Evan Turner or Johnson because there’s no chance New Jersey passes on either player if they are still on the board.
4. Minnesota – Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech): He’s an athlete with a body that will fill out but his skills just aren’t there yet. Hasn’t proven himself to be a top four pick, but that isn’t stopping everyone from projecting him to be there and New Jersey would have a tough time passing on him. He’ll form a great dynamic duo playing alongside Brook Lopez for years to come.
5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky): The scouting reports are true: one minute he’s a force the next minute a ghost. If I was a player personnel guy selecting in the lottery, I don’t know that I’d want to put my job on the line with him. Sure, some of his struggles earlier in the season were due to foul trouble, but as the season has progressed he hasn’t really been able to fix this issue (he picked up four or more fouls in 14 of his first 29 games). What will he do against quicker, stronger and smarter players in the NBA? I’m not sold even thought it appears most front office personnel are in love with his gaudy stats.
6. Golden State – Greg Monroe (Georgetown): As Aaron Torres told me: “To the Monroe supporters, the argument is clear: He’s an athletic big guy with great passing skills, that’s playing in an offense that doesn’t fairly display his abilities. Ok, I get it. But to us outsiders who watch him every game, he’s an innately skilled big man that chooses to hang out on the perimeter, too often makes not only the extra pass, but the unnecessary one, and doesn’t have a killer instinct on offense.”
7. Detroit – Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest): He would have helped his stock with a better showing in the NCAA Tournament. However, his raw athleticism has leaving many scouts and NBA front offices drooling. He still isn’t a great shooter, struggles as a ball handler and can look like a ‘tweener on both ends of the floor. To me he’s the prototypical guy that is blessed with a ton of talent but then makes GM’s look bad for selecting him in the first round. Buyer beware.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Gordon Hayward (Butler): He had a heck of an NCAA Tournament but I’m still not sold on him. Sorry. To me he reminds me a lot of Ed O’Bannon who used a great run in the Tournament to raise his stock. After watching him this season he doesn’t appear to have the explosive game or athleticism needed to succeed at the NBA. But, if looks as if the Clippers are high on him. Figures.
9. Utah – Ed Davis (North Carolina): A ton of raw potential but he’s yet to put it together and excel on the court. However, GM’s love potential and because of it he’ll be a lottery pick when he declares for the NBA Draft. He just “looks,” like he should be better than he actually is. If your team is drafting him expecting to be the go-to low post scorer, at any point in his career, I think they’ll be mistaken.
10. Indiana – Ekpe Udoh (Baylor): Normally transferring from Michigan to Baylor would destroy any college players chances of making the jump to the NBA. Udoh is poised to be the exception. He was a marginal prospect at Michigan but he’s remade himself into a shot-blocking machine with a decent offensive game. Some scouts are drawing comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko.
11. New Orleans – Cole Aldrich (Kansas): Big, strong kid with slightly underrated athleticism. Instinctual defensive player whose post game needs work. This is a player that has the potential to sore up NBA teams draft boards after they have him in for pre-draft workouts.
12. Memphis – Luke Babbitt (Nevada): Babbitt had a solid freshman season and then showed a ton of growth his sophomore season. He averaged an impressive 21.9 points per game while shooting a sizzling 50.0% from the field.
13. Toronto – Avery Bradley (Texas): He’s the closest thing to Monta Ellis I’ve seen in the college game, an unreal athlete, with a soft touch, incredible body control, long range jumper, basically he’s got it all. He’s going to be one of these guys that we hear NBA scouts go back and forth on non-stop before the draft. He’s not a true point guard, which means that I believe he’s going to be the guy more than anyone else, that needs to find a team that’s the right “fit,” for him. The absolute ideal circumstance would be Sacramento, where he won’t have to be a ball-handler and playmaker, go off of Tyreke Evans and guard true point guards.
14. Houston – Patrick Patterson (Kentucky): Undersized four with a developing mid-range jump shot, but at the end of the day, he wants to be a low post player, who just isn’t big enough to be one. Think David West, only an inch shorter.
15. Milwaukee – Xavier Henry (Kansas): Perfect NBA wing with good range and already developed NBA body. A lot of people have been sleeping on him but I’m anticipating he’ll find a way to land in the lottery. Look for Memphis to take him as insurance in case they can’t retain Rudy Gay.
16. Minnesota – Paul George (Fresno State): If a scientist was creating the perfect NBA “3″ in a laboratory, Hamilton would be it. The skills aren’t there just yet, but the athleticism and size are. In a draft class with very few elite wing players George could be one of the best options at that position come June.
17. Chicago – Damion James (Texas): One of the few guys who actually came back to school to get better and followed up on it. A little bit of an undersized four, but a good athlete and has an improved jump shot. Still think he’s going to be an energy guy in the NBA, but a productive one for a long time.
18. Miami – Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky): He had a fantastic freshman season but I can’t help but feel he would benefit from another year of college and playing for John Calipari. Hopefully he proves me wrong. The reports from how he interacted with the media were less than encouraging.
19. Boston – Solomon Alabi (Florida State): He’s a legit seven-footer who has a strong low post game. However, he’s kind of like Andrea Bargnani in that he doesn’t show a passion for crashing the glass. If you draft him you have to hope he buys into the need for post players to be strong rebounders or else he’ll have a hard time cracking your playing rotation.
20. San Antonio – Daniel Orton (Kentucky): This guy is soaring up draft boards and I’m a little stumped. Sure, he’s got a ton of potential, but he only averaged 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds his freshman season. He’s a guy who should have returned for another season of college ball.
21. Oklahoma City – Hassan Whiteside (Marshall): This is a guy who burst onto the scene and I have to admit I’m not sure what to make of him yet. He has a ton of potential but he hasn’t really awed me in the games I’ve watched him play in.
22. Portland – Larry Sanders (VCU): It’s a shame that most people will dwell on his final conference game where he only scored six points against ODU. Before that he was tearing up the CAA Tournament until that game. He finished the season averaging 14.1 points and 9.1 rebounds and looks to be a legit bench player next season for an NBA team. I still feel he has the chance to grow into a special player.
23. Minnesota – Stanley Robinson (Connecticut): A better athlete than all but maybe half a dozen guys in the NBA right. His 3-point shot is totally improved, as well as decision making. This guy has sleeper potential to be a lottery pick.
24. Atlanta – Elliot Williams (Memphis): He played his way into Duke’s rotation as a freshman and then was granted a transfer to Memphis due to family reasons. Last year in his sophomore season he put up solid numbers (17.9 points per game) but he’s a bit undersized (6′4″) for a shooting guard in the NBA. I’m interested to see how he’ll do getting his shot off against larger shooting guards during pre-draft workouts.
25. Memphis – James Anderson (Oklahoma State): Getting his stock tips from Willie Warren. I commend this guy for coming back if he didn’t think he was ready for the league, but that doesn’t mean it was the right decision.
26. Oklahoma City – Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech): Yes, his numbers dropped this past season, but a big part of that is due to the fact he had to learn to share the low post with Derrick Favors. After chatting with Jawal earlier this month and seeing him workout in Toronto I’m sold on him as a first round prospect.
27. New Jersey – Quincy Pondexter (Washington): Remember last season how senior guard Darren Collison dropped in the draft because scouts could pick out all his warts after watching him play for four seasons? This year Pondexter is in a similar situation. Look for him to go late in the first round and for a team to get a huge steal.
28. Memphis – Devin Ebanks (West Virginia): Impressive skills, but had a few off the court problems which might scare off some NBA teams. He was brought in for a workout in Toronto so it’s clear teams in the lottery at least sniffing around. Throw in his workout in Washington (late first round pick) and I’ll be shocked if he falls into the second round like some mock drafts are predicting.
29. Orlando – Willie Warren (Oklahoma): His stock is slipping every time he walks out his apartment. Will not be drafted in the lottery, and quite frankly is going to end up being one of those kids who “Should,” come back for another year but won’t.
30. Washington – Dominique Jones (South Florida), Jones was one of the elite scorers in NCAA basketball and would be a fantastic pick for Washington if he lasts this long.
Additional Multimedia From Pre-Draft Workouts: