During my first mock draft at The Wife Hates Sports, I stuck with the standard selections at the top – with John Wall and Evan Turner being the first two players off the board. While that slate (and a lot of it for that matter) remains the same, there are a few changes, which will be highlighted in GREEN where applicable for the players that moved up and in RED for those who have dropped (as well as discussing why each change was made).
In particular, Georgia Tech’s former big man Derrick Favors has continued to receive positive reports, and therefore has seen a boost in my latest mock draft.
There is also one new addition (and one dropped out), plus I’m sticking to my guns on a few selections that many have countered to be off base (e.g. Gordon Hayward).
But enough chit-chat, here’s my latest take on each and every one of the picks in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft – to be held on June 24th:
KP’s 2010 NBA Mock Draft: First Round – Take Two
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall (PG, Kentucky)
Wall is freakishly fast and extremely athletic, showing consistent ability to make highlight reel plays. He was the talk of college basketball throughout most of the season, and will likely be the very same if and when he heads to the nation’s capital.
2. Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner (SG, Ohio State)
Turner doesn’t just show the talent and ability, but also grit and guts – making it back from a nasty fractured back injury during the regular season. Expect him to the most hyped up talent to play in the “City of Brotherly Love” since Allen Iverson.
3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors (PF, Georgia Tech) – STOCK UP
The word out of pre-draft camp in Chicago states that Favors is drawing comparisons size-wise to Orlando’s Dwight Howard. With a body like that, it will be tough for a team to pass him up, especially when combining the type of talent and upside that he has.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson (SF, Syracuse) – STOCK UP
Reports out of Minnesota are saying that head coach Kurt Rambis and president of basketball operations David Kahn have been quoted as saying that a high priority for the team is at the small forward or shooting guard position. With this theory in mind and Turner already off the board, the most obvious choice left at pick four is Johnson, the former Syracuse star.
5. Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins (C, Kentucky) – STOCK DOWN
Many draft critics and prognosticators have referred to him as “unstable”, or having off-court red flags, and so on. But with an NBA frame already, plus the ability to put up consistent double-doubles, I still see Cousins cracking the top five – though a few picks lower from my first mock draft.
6. Golden State Warriors – Al-Farouq Aminu (SF, Wake Forest)
Aminu fits the fast-paced “Nellie Ball” offense quite well due to his versatility and ability to score in bunches. At Wake Forest, he frequently posted double-doubles and was considered by many to be a top ten selection last season – but decided to wait a year before coming out.
7. Detroit Pistons – Cole Aldrich (C, Kansas)
He’s fairly mobile for his 6’11” frame – and with some polish, Aldrich has the potential to provide legitimate assistance to an NBA team on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Greg Monroe (PF, Georgetown)
The Clippers were 27th in the league in points per game during the regular season. Adding another presence down low (that can also score) would be a need – and Monroe and his 16.1 PPG (plus 9.6 RPG) last season could result in a talented duo with Blake Griffin – who is returning from injury next season.
9. Utah Jazz – Ekpe Udoh (PF, Baylor)
The Jazz may need someone to step in and replace Boozer quickly – and the best option with this pick is Udoh, who not only has shown that he can be a physical rebounder and shot blocker, but also could easily improve into a quality offensive player, too.
10. Indiana Pacers – Gordon Hayward (SF, Butler)
Many likely think Hayward will not crack the top ten, but his wide-ranged skillset plus the fact that he was a hometown darling during March Madness in Indy makes him a darkhorse to rise up to this slot. Hayward and Butler drew so many comparisons to Bird and Indiana State, plus the movie Hoosiers – so why not keep him around?
11. New Orleans Hornets – Ed Davis (PF, North Carolina)
The Hornets were dead last in the NBA in blocks per game – and therefore could use a man down low to wreak some havoc. The 6’10” Davis was a high-energy guy at North Carolina and has both great rebounding and shot blocking skills.
12. Memphis Grizzlies – Luke Babbitt (SF, Nevada)
The Grizzlies – a team set with more talented youth at the guard position – would be better off adding a frontcourt piece, but also was among the worst in the NBA from behind the arc. This is why Babbitt makes sense, a 6’9” forward that hit nearly 43 percent of his 3’s during his freshman year and 41.6 percent from three-point land during his sophomore season.
13. Toronto Raptors – Daniel Orton (C, Kentucky)
Orton – who played limited minutes behind DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky – is arguably the player in this draft with the most upside. The 19 year-old big man would be a solid fit for a Toronto team that could very well be saying goodbye to Chris Bosh this offseason.
14. Houston Rockets – Hassan Whiteside (C, Marshall) – STOCK UP
The international player Motiejunas – who I originally had slotted here – has withdrawn from the draft, as reported by ESPN’s Chad Ford. Therefore, with him out of the picture, I still see the Rockets looking to a big man – and the highest rated big man available (who also sports the biggest wingspan in the draft) is Whiteside – originally slated to go 21st to Oklahoma City.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Patrick Patterson (PF, Kentucky)
The Bucks were among the worst in the league in turnover differential, and therefore a well-rounded player that can take care of the basketball makes sense here. Patterson is that type of player – and does a little bit of everything, from rebounding, to blocking shots, to consistent scoring, all while not turning the ball over much.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves – Paul George (SF, Fresno State)
The Timberwolves should continue to use their extra picks adding depth to the frontcourt, and the focus here should be to add more offense. George averaged 16.8 PPG last season, has great range and some have even compared him to stars like Joe Johnson or Tracy McGrady.
17. Chicago Bulls – Xavier Henry (SG, Kansas)
If selected here, the 19 year-old Henry – coupled with Derrick Rose – would put together arguably the most explosive and talented young backcourt in the NBA. Certainly, if Henry is off the board, Chicago could choose to go after James Anderson, or maybe they’ll choose to go another direction and instead go all-in for LeBron James.
18. Miami Heat – Eric Bledsoe (PG, Kentucky)
The Wildcats once had a certain 6’1” guard who needed time to flourish in the NBA – and has done so tremendously, that being Rajon Rondo – surrounded by stars in Boston. Bledsoe could end up being a similar story – stuck behind John Wall in college, but potentially placed around significant NBA talent – perhaps in Miami (depending on how free agency goes for the Heat).
19. Boston Celtics – James Anderson (SG, Oklahoma State)
With the “Big 3” aging, the Celtics should look to add a young talent that could replace Ray Allen, who could be the first to move on (due to free agency). James Anderson is a scoring machine – averaging 22.3 PPG last season at Oklahoma State.
20. San Antonio Spurs – Avery Bradley (SG, Texas) – STOCK UP
There are a number of rumors swirling around regarding a potential trade that would ship Tony Parker out of San Antonio. Therefore, a guy like Bradley could be a good fit – with his ability to score, coupled with his suffocating defense and speed that perhaps only John Wall can top in this draft.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Trevor Booker (PF, Clemson) – STOCK UP
It would be a wise move for the Thunder to add a young big man to compliment Westbrook and Durant for years to come – and therefore, a guy like Booker (pictured below) – who plays bigger than his 6’8” frame (and proved that during pre-draft camp), could wind up being a bargain selection at this point in the draft. If not him, then perhaps Florida State’s Alabi with this pick.
22. Portland Trail Blazers – Solomon Alabi (C, Florida State)
With Greg Oden beginning to teeter more towards being an injury-prone bust than a star, the Blazers should consider taking a talented, raw big man for depth – and Alabi would fit that mold with this pick.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jarvis Varnado (PF, Mississippi State)
Some critics would pipe in and say this is too early for Varnado – but when you look at Minnesota, they aren’t afraid to pick outside the lines. Combine that with the fact that the team was tied for last in blocks per game (and Varnado led the NCAA in that category the last two seasons) – then this pick makes some sense.
24. Atlanta Hawks – Quincy Pondexter (SF, Washington) – STOCK DOWN
In my opinion, Pondexter is underrated – and has the type of game I can see filling a hole left behind by free agent Joe Johnson, who has stated that he will not return to Atlanta. He plays bigger than his 6’7” frame inside, plus is a scrappy playmaker that can also score in bunches (19.3 PPG during his senior season with the Huskies).
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Stanley Robinson (SF, Connecticut)
Robinson is one of the many freakishly athletic players to be recruited by Calhoun and the Huskies. On top of his streaky game and big-time talent, Robinson is also a 6’9” beast that has developed a solid three-point shot, which would be a welcome addition to the Grizzlies.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder – Larry Sanders (PF, Virginia Commonwealth)
Here’s yet another big talent that would fill a hole in the Oklahoma City frontcourt. Sanders – and his 6’10” frame – already has plus-talent rebounding and blocking shots, but is raw and needs improvement on offense, which shouldn’t be a problem for the Thunder, who have multiple scoring threats in place already.
27. New Jersey Nets – Devin Ebanks (SF, West Virginia)
The Nets were one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA last season, and could use a guy with upper-tier rebounding skills, who is also a high-energy player. That’s Ebanks – who is also originally from Queens, NY – not too far down the road.
28. Memphis Grizzlies – Elliot Williams (SG, Memphis)
It would be hard to resist the hometown kid, who also played for the Memphis Tigers last season and averaged nearly 18 points per game. On top of that, he takes care of the ball (1.3 assists per 1 turnover) – which is a stat that the Grizzlies lacked in last season.
29. Orlando Magic – Jordan Crawford (SG, Xavier)
Forget dunking on LeBron and forget the fact that he’s often called too short at his position (6’4”). Crawford can score, and if you saw him in the NCAA Tournament, you would know he hits a lot of clutch shots and makes a lot of plays happen. After seeing the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, Orlando could use a young and exciting player with this skillset.
30. Washington Wizards – Damion James (SF, Texas)
The Wizards were ranked in the bottom 5 in both assists per game and points per game. John Wall would help both by dishing out the ball, driving to the basket and feeding his teammates. The next addition would be a hard-working, fiery scorer in the frontcourt, and why not James – who increased his points per game every season at Texas (18.0 PPG during his senior year).
* Also posted to KP’s Bleacher Report page