My 2010 First Round Mock Draft
I don't think I need to explain this much. This is pretty much explained by the title alone. This is my mock draft. This is what I think will happen in just over 48 hours during the 2010 NBA Draft. I will take a second to state once again that this is what I think will happen, not necessarily what I think should happen. This is based on recent buzz certain players have gotten, what has happened with previous drafts and the buzz the players have gotten during them, and where players fit in with teams. Like mentioned in the title, this is just the first round, and this is also assuming no trades are done to change the current order. So, I shall now continue.
1. Washington Wizards - John Wall
Wall is the consensus first overall pick. The only player even in the same neighborhood as him is Ohio State's Evan Turner. Physically Wall just has too many of the same athletic skills as Derrick Rose, but with a little bit more size than Rose. The only area where he seems to be about average or maybe slightly below is his strength, but that is something which can obviously change. With the Wizards, look for them to either trade away Arenas or put him at his more natural (as far as style of game goes) shooting guard position. John Wall is one of those guys who you draft now and worry about fit later, he's one of those talents.
2. Philadelphia 76ers - Evan Turner
In my view, Turner is clearly the second best talent in this draft. The big question with him is how he can fit in with Andre Iguodala in Philadelphia. Some feel that both of them have to dominate the ball in order to be effective. However, while he wasn't at the level he is now, Iguodala was still a good player when he was playing alongside Allen Iverson during the final years of Iverson's first run with the 76ers. On top of that, Turner hasn't been proven at all to be someone who has to dominate the ball, he just hasn't had a team where he hasn't had to. Playing with guys like Andre Iguodala would allow Turner to work more with his teammates instead of having to dominate the ball. Even if I am incorrect though, Turner, like Wall, is one of those talents who you take now and worry about fit later. He's better than anyone on that 76ers team.
3. New Jersey Nets - Derrick Favors
This is where teams can really start to look at multiple choices. The Nets have guys like Wesley Johnson, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Derrick Favors to pick from. While I think all of those players make sense for the Nets, their biggest lacking position right now is at the power forward spot. Cousins would be nice, but I think both him and Brook Lopez are centers, not power forwards. Greg Monroe wouldn't be a bad pick in any other year, but this year the best fit for the spot looks to be Derrick Favors. Right now he's a defensive guy, but he's a true student of the game. He's not going to be a star off the bat, you're going to need a year or two of growing from him, but he can wind up being a very nice all-around fundamental type of player with great athleticism.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - Wesley Johnson
Not who I would pick at this point, but I can't say it's a bad choice either. The Timberwolves seem set on picking Johnson right here, and I can't totally argue since their problem at the big man spots isn't skill or depth, but rather overall size. Their problem at the wing is just having someone better than Ryan Gomes or Corey Brewer there. Wesley Johnson, without a doubt, should be able to provide this. Johnson is a versatile scorer who can pass the ball and defend as well. He's everything you could want in a wing, but also seems to have the character to not bring any extra baggage either.
5. Sacramento Kings - DeMarcus Cousins
Up until several days ago I didn't have any idea who the Kings would pick here. Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins were the two guys I couldn't pick from. However, when the Kings traded away Spencer Hawes this past week it became clear to me that they were going to go with Cousins. Sure, the Kings did get Samuel Dalembert in return, but Dalembert was taken more for his contract and likely less to be a long term solution at the 5 spot for the Kings. At this point the Kings realized that letting a player with the potential of Cousins get by would just be a mistake. Cousins reminds many of Eddy Curry due to his size being very similar and also due to him having perceived character problems, but the difference between the two is that Cousins has character problems which won't likely hurt his actual game. Cousins has perceived anger management problems, which may result in a technical foul, ejection, and suspension here and there, but with Curry the problem was him just being lazy and having no heart to put into the game, and that's costed Curry his career. Cousins is an outstanding talent who isn't without baggage, but also can be that dominant type of center to take a team to the next level.
6. Golden State Warriors - Greg Monroe
Monroe is something that every team in the league would love to have, a big man who can pass the ball better than most point guards in the league. Monroe would likely be a center in Don Nelson's system in Golden State, but he is someone who can play power forward or center for just about any team in the league. His skillset itself is out of this world, his only questions are motivation and strength. Both of those can change or turn out to be different than perceived.
7. Detroit Pistons - Cole Aldrich
The Pistons have struggled to find a good center for their team since Ben Wallace first left to Chicago during the 2006 offseason through free agency. Aldrich doesn't have the ceiling which screams superstar at the NBA level, but he's someone who's seen as more of a "sure thing" type of pick. He's got good size and strength to play at the NBA level and has a polished game on both sides of the ball. He's someone who can come in, probably start off as a bench guy, but soon move to being the starting center, and can be a good player there for a long time.
8. Los Angeles Clippers - Al-Farouq Aminu
Aminu is too good of a prospect to pass on at this point. He's like an athletic version of Luol Deng. He still has the personality and problem creating his own shot as Deng, but he also has the physical characteristics and great mid-range jump shot which Deng has become famous for. With an opening at the 3 for the Clippers, he's the perfect fit to fill in what could be a scary starting lineup.
9. Utah Jazz - Patrick Patterson
This was a very tough pick, but seeing as how Utah looks like they may be losing Carlos Boozer this offseason, having another power forward to play along with Paul Millsap would be a good idea, and at this point Patrick Patterson is probably the most sure thing. Patterson is more of a defender, but he does have a polished offensive game and offsets what some see as a lack of height with his strength. Luke Babbitt is also an option here, as would be Ekpe Udoh, but Patterson is the guy that I see Utah going with here.
10. Indiana Pacers - Ekpe Udoh
The Pacers would most like to fill in this pick with a point guard, but seeing how the next available point guard is someone who they can get by trading for or buying a late pick in the first round, I don't see them stretching and instead going for adding depth to their bigs. Especially with Troy Murphy supposedly on the trading block, Ekpe Udoh makes perfect sense here. He's a big man with the size to play the 4 or the 5. He's a defensive player with a good jumper and a developing offensive post game.
11. New Orleans Hornets - Xavier Henry
The Hornets could really use a good shooting guard to compliment Chris Paul. Xavier Henry has the potential to be a star in the making. He's an excellent shooter who can also play good defense. His biggest weakness is his ball handling, but having two good point guards on that team can really help to disguise this weakness, allowing him to get to the basket with more open lanes and get more wide open jumpers.
12. Memphis Grizzlies - Luke Babbitt
Babbitt seems to be the small forward still on the board at this point that is the favorite among NBA GMs. The Grizzlies are either going to have to look at who from their current team they're willing to let go at this point, mainly Rudy Gay or OJ Mayo, and by picking Babbitt they may be saying that they're willing to let Rudy Gay go. Babbitt would allow them to keep Mayo around for a long term deal while not having to give Babbitt a lot of money for another four years.
13. Toronto Raptors - Paul George
Paul George just makes the most sense at this point. While the Raptors could draft Hassan Whiteside and, if they do lost Chris Bosh, move Bargnani over to power forward and put Whiteside at center, that move is risky in a number of ways. Paul George seems to be a smart player with a strong will to win. He's got a ton of potential and can play either the 2 or the 3 at the NBA level. His jump shot past mid-range is still a work in progress, but he's still young and will continue to grow in the early years of his career.
14. Houston Rockets - Devin Ebanks
The Rockets already have Chase Budinger as one of their small forwards, Ebanks would give them another small forward who excels in other things, giving the Rockets increased versatility at that spot. Ebanks is more of a high potential defensive type of 3 who will never lead your team in 3 pointers made.
15. Milwaukee Bucks - Gordon Hayward
The Bucks are looking for a wing player who can create well off the dribble. Salmons is opting out, but at the same time there is a good chance that he will still return next season. Hayward is the best option for them here. I don't know what he has to do to prove he's athletic, as he's got a good vertical, is fairly quick, and has good strength. He'll fit in very well with the Bucks here since it doesn't look like Michael Redd will be healthy again.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves - Ed Davis
At this point a prospect like Ed Davis is too good to pass up on. He's one of those new breed of stretch forwards, someone who can play the 3 or the 4 for the Timberwolves. He has a long way to go as far as development goes, but he's got the potential to actually wind up being a top 10 pick, so at this point he's a risk well worth taking.
17. Chicago Bulls - James Anderson
Anderson is by far the best pick at this point for the Bulls. They need post scoring and three point shooting, and the best way to improve at either of those spots is with James Anderson who may be the best shooter in this year's draft. He's put some off with his poor interviews as of late, being a rather boring and quiet type of interview, but on the floor things are much different due to his athleticism, defense, and outstanding shooting ability.
18. Miami Heat - Avery Bradley
Bradley would be a nice addition as a bench for the Heat as an instant offense type of guy. If the Heat do hold on to Dwyane Wade, Bradley would be an excellent person to come in and take the pressure off of him so that he can get more rest during the games due to his offensive game. Mario Chalmers, if he remains with the team, would also be able to get more rest due to Bradley also being able to replace his abilities on the floor.
19. Boston Celtics - Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside is mainly a potential guy, but at this point, for a team like the Celtics he's a steal. With Rasheed Wallace likely retiring, the Celtics could use a long big man who can shoot a jumper, and that's exactly what Whiteside brings. While Whiteside is more of a center, in the future he could possibly develop enough to work well as a power forward next to Kendrick Perkins. Whiteside right now is mainly a defensive player, and playing along with Garnett and Perkins should only make him a better defender.
20. San Antonio Spurs - Daniel Orton
Orton's been moving up and down the boards quickly between the 11 and 25 spots. With San Antonio he would have a great mentor to make sure that his fundamentals and personality are top rate while getting the most out of his high potential. Orton's still a little bit of a mystery since he didn't get much playing time at Kentucky, but on that team he should turn into a good player as long as he's receptive to anything the coaches and players tell him.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Kevin Seraphin
The Thunder are still in need of a truly brusing big man who can play significant minutes for them. Seraphin is nothing short of a beast. He's slightly undersized for the center position, but his overall size and strength along with his excellent athleticism. Seraphin could really be a steal at this point, but he's still fairly raw, so at the offensive end he'll still need some time to develop.
22. Portland Trailblazers - Elliot Williams
Since Brandon Roy seems to miss time on a fairly regular basis due to injury, it wouldn't hurt to have someone who is ready to step in and minimize the damage of Roy being out when he does get hurt. Williams is an athletic shooting guard who, like Roy, is one of those all-around type of shooting guards. Having him come off the bench can be a very nice option for the Blazers, especially if Roy has further injury problems. Even if he doesn't, either one can play some point and would work well next to each other.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves - Larry Sanders
Sanders does give the Timberwolves another slightly undersized big man, but Sanders is nothing short of a defensive monster. He's the type of guy who can add a lot of toughness down low for the Timberwolves and who can really play much bigger than his height of 6'10".
24. Atlanta Hawks - Dominique Jones
The Hawks are likely losing Joe Johnson for this upcoming season, and it's between Jones and Stephenson. Jones is the player who seems to lack athleticism, which will make it harder for him to play the 2 in the NBA due to his lack of size, but Jones also bring a good attitude and is one of the more NBA ready players in this year's draft.
25. Memphis Grizzlies - Armon Johnson
Johnson should be a nice combo guard for the Grizzlies coming off the bench. He could be a point guard, and the starting point guard for the Grizzlies if he's able to improve on his passing abilities.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder - Craig Brackins
At this point Brackins is a steal, but then again, last year the #26 pick wound up being a steal when the Bulls took Taj Gibson, so the Thunder have the chance to make it into a streak for the #26 pick. Brackins is an athletic big man with a nice jumper. He's got decent post skills for an incoming rookie as well. He's another rookie big man prospect for the Thunder, giving them 3 (Byron Mullens from last year) potential strong big men for the future.
27. New Jersey Nets - Jordan Crawford
Turns out that Crawford isn't very athletic, even though he's had possibly the most famous dunk of the last year, but he's a good shooter who can get to the hoop. Given the lack of age on the wing for the Nets, he'll only add to that problem, but will also add more depth, which is what's really important when you don't have a lot of age there.
28. Memphis Grizzlies - Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe looks to be very raw, but he can very well be the point guard of the future for the Grizzlies. Bledsoe is a nice scoring point guard, but his passing skills are unproven so far. Most of his former teammates say that he is indeed a true point guard who can pass the ball well, but that remains to be seen. Maybe in the right system, one where he has guys who can shoot the ball to pass to and where he's encouraged to pass the ball, he can. Playing with John Wall at Kentucky since Wall is such a good passer, really forced him to shoot the ball more. He doesn't have that with Memphis.
29. Orlando Magic - Damion James
James is another "steal at this point" guys. James could very well wind up getting picked up to 10 picks earlier, but I see the Magic getting a steal with him at this point. James is very quick and can get to the basket with ease, but he doesn't seem to want to make it there enough. With some good coaching he can become one of the better slashers out there, and the Magic sorely need a slasher on their team from the wing. James is also a nice defender with a nice jump shot, which doesn't hurt anything.
30. Washington Wizards - Solomon Alabi
The Wizards get to open and close the first round. I have a feeling they're going with a 1 to open it and a 5 to close it. Alabi is a big man with excellent size and his nice athleticism. He's also got a nice jumper for a guy with his physical characteristics. His offensive post skills and his size are two things that will need to get better, but at least those are both things that he can work on.