With the NBA season officially over, it’s time to look towards the future. And, of course, there is no better way to guess what the future holds for teams, than by guessing who they will take in this year’s NBA Draft.
So with that in mind:
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall, PG Kentucky
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind who the first pick of the 2010 NBA Draft will be. Wall has the athleticism, poise and potential to lead a team from the gutter to mediocrity. With the Wizards clearly on a rebuilding mission, Wall is the perfect cornerstone for what is becoming an increasingly point guard-oriented league.
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 76ers – Evan Turner, PG Ohio State
At one point, it was debated whether or not Evan Turner was someone who could complete for the number one overall pick. Since the end of the college basketball season, however, many have cooled on Turner. While he is clearly the most “NBA ready” out of the available players, many critics ask what that really means. A player like OKC Thunder’s James Harden was also considered NBA ready, and while he did provide some great production at times, it’s hardly enough to justify passing up on a truly promising “raw talent.”
Luckily for Turner, there are no clear-cut undebatable raw talents. Look for the Sixers to nab Turner, and for Andre Igoudala to find a permanent home at the small forward position.
3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors, PF/C Georgia Tech
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, look for them to add 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
Wesley Johnson would give the Timberwolves a consistant, 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.
It was said that DeMarcus Cousins was briefly considered by the Timberwolves, but his well-covered character flaws have turned the Wolves off. Further, he apparently won’t even work out for the team.
Of course if this team has taught us anything, it’s that they don’t seem to care if the players they draft don’t want to play for them. They would rather just draft them, and then watch their games on Euro-basketball TV than grab someone who may actually help them in the near future.
5. Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins, C Kentucky
This is where things have the potential to get interesting.
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 – Greg Monroe, F Georgetown
The Golden State Warriors are a wildcard in any draft. On one hand you consistently expect them to go for talent over skill to fit with their up-tempo offense. By the same token, you would figure that at times they would go with shooters despite a lack of athleticism to stretch the defenses of teams they're playing against.
And then you have their most likely pick for this draft, Greg Monroe. 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 qualify for the Warriors. 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.
7. Detroit Pistons – Al-Farouq Aminu, C Wake Forest
The biggest knock against this guy is his showing in the NCAA tournament. Whereas going into the college basketball postseason Al-Farouq Aminu was considered one of the game’s upper-tier players, a dismal showing cost him a few potential draft slots.
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 Pistons would be pushing their unlucky streak one step further by picking him up.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Luke Babitt, F Nevada
Luke Babbitt, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. To be drafted by the Clippers is unfortunate, but someone has to bite the bullet for the rest of the 2010 class.
For the Clippers, Babbitt provides a good -- but not great -- small forward to fill their one major hole. On top of that, he showed a lot of maturity in his sophomore year, and averaged an impressive 22 points on a very efficient 50 percent shooting from the field.
9. Utah Jazz – Cole Aldrich, C Kansas
Cole Aldrich makes the most sense for a team looking to lend some assistance to Mehmet Okur in the frontcourt.
Alrdich has underrated athleticism and skill, and good size. The only major hole in his game is limited post game, but that can be developed, particularly on a team as well-coached as the Jazz.
10. Indiana Pacers – Ed Davis, F North Carolina
Ed Davis is an interesting prospect. He is yet another prime example of a lot of raw talent, but not as much skill. Dubbed “overrated” by quite a few experts, Davis’ lack of post moves may seriously hinder his production levels in the pros.
Further, while he did do well at the workouts, he also suffered a season-ending injury in his final year and never really showed scouts what he could do for a team when it mattered most.