Alright the season is over and now begins the much anticipated NBA summer of 2010. It all starts off with the NBA draft which kicks off tomorrow night. Here is where we see GMs make their money, and promising NBA hopefuls either become superstars or busts — see Michael Olowakandi.
Below, I have outlined a mock draft of the first 14 picks (lottery) tomorrow night. I am not doing this by what I think will happen, but how I, as a GM of the lottery teams, would make my picks. In a couple of years, we can all take a look at this and see how dumb I was and laugh, or I will be submitting this as my resume to all 30 NBA owners asking for a job.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, Kentucky
Hands down best player in the draft and the least risky. This is a layup of all layups for the Wizards. ‘Nuff said.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, Ohio State
This draft is really broken down into tiers with Wall and Turner in the top tier. Turner reminds me of a less athletic Dwayne Wade and can really play. He is not going to dominate scoring wise, but he will be a great all-around player, something the Sixers could really use.
3. New Jersey Nets: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
This probably is a surprising pick by most readers, but I would take Johnson here by process of elimination. Other candidates for this spot are Cousins and Favors, but while I think there is tremendous upside from both of those guys, I also believe they are dogs. Too risky for me. Johnson is a guy who is going to be a very nice wing player who can shoot. You can never go wrong with guys like these and fits in nicely with what the Nets are trying to do. They can add a power forward via free agency if they want.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Demarcus Cousins, Kentucky
I hate taking Cousins this high because of his dog-factor, but he is awfully talented and BIG. I think the T-Wolves have the ability to be a little risky and seem to have a good group of guys in Minnesota that will push Cousins. I think battling against Al Jefferson in practice everyday will have to keep Cousins’ head on straight and weight down.
5. Sacramento Kings: Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Recently, the Kings traded away their 7 footer in Hawes for Dalembert who will only be in Sac-Town for a year. Therefore, a center could be a nice fit for them at this pick. Monroe is probably the most polished center in the draft fundamentally, particularly his passing ability. He could be a nice compliment to Evans much like the Bucks have with Jennings and Bogut, who is another great passing big man.
6. Golden State Warriors: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
The Warriors roster is going to look nothing like it is today at the start of the NBA season, mark my words. What the Warriors haven’t had in a number of years is a powerful big man, which is exactly what Favors is. There is tremendous upside here in Favors and could very well be a star down the road. I just think he has too many lazy tendencies, which is why I dropped him to 6.
7. Detroit Pistons: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Aminu probably doesn’t fit the Pistons’ roster splendidly, but would imagine their are going to be some roster overhauling in Detroit anyways. Also, at this high of pick, you probably take the best available anyways and Aminu is just that at #7. An athletic defensive minded player to bring the Pistons back to the Bad Boys days.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Xavier Henry, Kansas
The Clips have talent and free agent cap room. Time to roll the dice on Henry. As a freshman, he has tremendous upside that could very well pay off down the road. He can shoot the ball and has a chance to be a great scorer in the league, a great compliment to Gordon, Griffin and Kaman.
9. Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward, Butler
Love this kid and how well he knows how to play. Downside is I think he needs to get more aggressive, probably come with some extra bulk, and think he could have used an extra year in college for just that. I do think, however, that getting to a team like the Jazz will be a perfect fit for him. In two or three years, with Deron Williams, he could be the difference maker to get the Jazz over the hump.
10. Indiana Pacers: Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Yes, the Pacers have Roy Hibbert…So what. Why not another 7 footer. The Pacers need talent and lets keep bringing in more and more. I am unsure why Aldrich has dropped in so many mock drafts, some as low as 20. The guy is a 7 footer who can post, bang and block shots. I think he is a great grab from anybody 10+.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
You can never really go wrong with a guy that has as much defensive instinct as Udoh. The guy will play hard on the defensive end and has the ability to hit an open mid-range jumper. Yes, his offensive skills are lacking, but he is athletic and Chris Paul is the PG. Paul will find easy baskets for Udoh.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Ed Davis, UNC
Davis was a top 5 pick in everybody’s boards at the beginning of the year. He drops because of his true scoring ability, but he is still long and a presence. I think the Grizzlies would be awfully happy to get Davis into their front court. Plenty of potential still left in him.
13. Toronto Raptors: Avery Bradley, Texas
Another stretch here versus other mock drafts. I really like Bradley’s tenancious d (not jack black) and believe he will continue to improve–only a freshman. He showed no signs of immaturity as a Frosh and think that bolds well for him in the future with the NBA. Very similar to the Raptors pick last year with DeRozan.
14. Houston Rockets, Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky
This guy gets so overlooked because of the talent he played with. If he had stayed, probably a top five pick next year. Most mocks have him further down, but I really like this kid. Very similar to Bradley before him and think he is well worth the risk for the Rockets. A player that can be that could be a true difference maker that will take them to the upper echelon of the Western Conference.