3 Shades of Blue has never been a great place to go for visions of the future in the past but we are hoping to change that going forward. In that regard, Joe Fong brings us version 2 of his NBA Mock Draft. There have been a few noticeable changes in this version as certain players have moved up the board as others have withdrawn completely from the draft. We are running Joe’s comments from the previous version so you can see where the changes are being made and why.
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall, PG, Kentucky, Fr.
Best Case Rajon Rondo meets Jason Kidd
Worst Case George Hill with better passing ability
(5/25) John Wall – After a season of turmoil from the Gilbert Arenas situation to the death of longtime owner Abe Pollin Washington gets the privilege of making the easiest selection in the draft, selecting the prodigious point guard Wall who projects to be a generational-type of talent.
(6/13) Wall more than solidified his stock as the first overall pick with an impressive showing at the Draft Combine. Washington has also grown fond of the idea of a Wall-Arenas backcourt. With Evan Turner not working out in Washington, and a team employee leaking on Facebook that new owner Ted Leonsis and GM Ernie Grunfield are selecting Wall, its all but a done deal.
2. Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner, SG/SF, Ohio State, Jr.
Best Case Brandon Roy
Worst Case Trevor Ariza
(5/25) Evan Turner – Jack of all trades type of forward. His versatility to play SG, SF, and even short spurts at PG is a valuable commodity in todays NBA. In his time in Detroit, Doug Collins had a do-everything type of guy in Grant Hill. Is Wesley Johnson a better fit alongside the ball-dominant Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, and possibly Allen Iverson? Value-wise, Turner is the 2nd pick, but Philadelphia could entertain offers from Minnesota for the rights to select Turner.
(6/13) Word is that the Sixers may be enamored with Derrick Favors, and Doug Collins may feel like Evan Turner would conflict with the presence of Iguadala. They could be interested in trading either down or out of the first round. A potential deal between the Sixers and TWolves would involve both teams swapping picks, with the TWolves selecting Turner at #2 and the Sixers selecting Cousins or Wesley Johnson at #4.
3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech, Fr.
Best Case Amare Stoudemire/Antonio McDyess
Worst Case Poor Mans Kenyon Martin
(5/25) Derrick Favors – New Jersey lost out on John Wall, but drafts a physical specimen in Favors to solidify the frontcourt with Brook Lopez. The Nets have had little to no stability since the departure of Martin in 04.
(6/13) At the Combine, Favors tested out extremely well, displaying his Dwight Howard-esque athleticism and measurables. This is Favors floor if he doesnt go to Philadelphia at #2. To this point in the draft, no surprises. Add Favors to a starting lineup of Devin Harris, possibly Joe Johnson, Terrence Williams, and Brook Lopez to go with Courtney Lee, Yi Jianlian, and Keyon Dooling off the bench, and all of a sudden, new coach Avery Johnson could get this franchise quickly back on its feet after one of the worst seasons in the history of the Association.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse, Jr.
Best Case Rich Mans Travis Outlaw
Worst Case Jamario Moon
(5/25) Wesley Johnson – GM David Kahn used the 09 draft and free agency to solidify the point guard position in Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, and Ramon Sessions. With solid frontcourt pieces in Big Al and Kevin Love, the Wolves will upgrade the wing position. Kahn may be enamored with Evan Turner; look for him to inquire about swapping picks with Philadelphia. If not, Johnson could play the 3 with Corey Brewer sliding to the 2.
(6/13) The TWolves organization has stated that the top priority in this draft is finding another talented wing to pair with Corey Brewer. However, some analysts speculate that DeMarcus Cousins could go here, considering that neither Kevin Love nor Al Jefferson is a true center. Wesley Johnsons sweet outside shooting stroke and tremendous athletic ability get the nod over Cousins abrasive personality and questionable work ethic. Plus, I dont see Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins being able to share touches.
5. Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky, Fr.
Best Case Rich Mans Eddy Curry
Worst Case Old, roughed up Derrick Coleman/Nathan Jawai
(5/25) DeMarcus Cousins – The Kings need help on the wing, but Spencer Hawes has not exactly turned into a Brad Miller type of center the way they hoped. They struck gold with a Calipari product last year, so why not again? Cousins may be the only player that we can say ten years from now made an impact of the magnitude of John Wall. Comes with the headaches though. Pairing a huge Cousins with Carl Landry looks solid on paper to go withTyreke.
(6/13) The Kings could take Al-Farouq Aminu, but with the emergence of Omri Casspi and Donte Green along with Andres Nocioni, GM Geoff Petrie can afford to take the best available talent in Cousins. If Petrie feels that Cousins character issues pose too much of a problem, then Greg Monroe could be a possibility, as many GMs view Monroe as a second coming of Vlade Divac. The fact that Monroe comes from the Princeton offense at Georgetown is intriguing considering the Kings history as a Princeton team and the presence of legendary Princeton coach Pete Carril. If Cousins character checks out, then he should be the pick though.
6. Golden State Warriors – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, Wake Forest, So.
Best Case Gerald Wallace meets Luol Deng
Worst Case Poor Mans Al Thornton
(5/25) Al-Farouq Aminu – Aminu, a freakish athlete with jaw-dropping measurables, would flourish in Don Nelsons high octane transition offense. He could rotate with Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph at the 3 and 4 positions because of his positional versatility.
(6/13) Aminu still makes plenty of sense here for the Warriors, but they could also take a look at Patrick Patterson, who tested out extremely well at the Combine, runs the floor well enough to play in Don Nelsons offense, and possesses the physical and mental toughness that Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph do not have. Plus, the Warriors franchise is for sale and adding a very safe building block in Patterson would be extremely beneficial for both the old and new ownership parties. Trading out for an established veteran is certainly a possibility here, too.
7. Detroit Pistons – Greg Monroe, PF/C, Georgetown, So.
Best Case Vlade Divac/Chris Webber
Worst Case Josh McRoberts
(5/25) Cole Aldrich – Detroit knows all about blue-collar centers that do the dirty work night in and night out from guys like Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, and Ben Wallace. Joe Dumars knows Wallace is on his last leg and pondering retirement, and that Kwame Brown is headed towards free agency where he belongs. Greg Monroe is a possibility here as well.
(6/13) Greg Monroe is more talented than Cole Aldrich, and the Pistons have never really minded having true power forwards play the center position, ala Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess. If Cousins falls to this spot due to character issues, Detroit will happily take him off the board, because the Pistons flat out need more talent. Cousins could be the second-best talent behind Wildcat teammate John Wall.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Paul George, SG/SF, Fresno St., So.
Best Case Rudy Gay
Worst Case Gerald Green
(5/25) Paul George – First surprise of the draft. George could rise quickly up the draft boards once people get a grasp of how freakishly athletic this kid really is. Still surprised? The Clippers are known to reach in the draft, and with starters in place at every position except SF (B. Davis, E. Gordon, B. Griffin, C. Kaman), and cap space to be major players in free agency, the Clips add a serious dose of youthful athleticism on the wing, like Toronto did last year with Derozan.
(6/23) The gaping hole at the 3 for the Clippers narrows this pick down quite a bit. Aminu would be a fantastic selection, but he likely is off the board at #8. That leaves Paul George and Xavier Henry. I think the nod goes to George because I think his elite athleticism fits extremely well in a potentially explosive group like Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, and Blake Griffin. He also stretches the floor with his impressive range. George cant create his own shot, but with guys like Gordon and Davis, he wont have to.
9. Utah Jazz (from NY via Phoenix) – Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas, Jr.
Best Case Joel Przybilla/Greg Ostertag
Worst Case Scot Pollard
(5/25) Greg Monroe – Highly-skilled big man that can serve as an insurance policy in case Boozer leaves or Millsap demands a trade this summer. Monroe is not freakishly athletic, but has a terrific feel for the game that Jerry Sloan covets.
(6/13) Aldrich is very reminiscent of Ostertag, who manned the middle in the Stockton/Malone era. Ironically, Aldrich and Ostertag both reign from the Kansas Jawhawk program. A blue-collar guy that will do the dirty work for Jerry Sloan. The Jazz have to be concerned with Mehmet Okurs injury status and Aldrich would be a safe pick here at #9, especially since Carlos Boozer could be on his way out. Replacing free agent-to-be Kyle Korver with Xavier Henry or Luke Babbitt is an interesting proposition as well.
10. Indiana Pacers – Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina, So.
Best Case Al Horford
Worst Case Alan Henderson
(5/25) Ed Davis – Yes! The Pacers resist the temptation to draft hometown hero Gordon Hayward here. Or do they? With Troy Murphy set to become a free agent after next season, adding a young post player like Ed Davis would bolster a frontcourt that is severely lacking upside and overall talent. Motiejunas should get looks here.
(6/13) Despite the fact that people still speculate that Hayward could go here, I just dont believe that Larry Bird is that dumb. No team in the NBA needs more of an overall talent upgrade than Indiana, and the point guard situation is a mess. Earl Watson, TJ Ford, and AJ Price (now on the shelf for 6 months) arent going to get the job done, but unfortunately there arent any point guards worth selecting here. The Pacers may deal down to nab either Bledsoe or Armon Johnson. Xavier Henry is definitely an option here for the club as well, and analysts insist that Gordon Hayward is still in the mix.
11. New Orleans Hornets – Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, Jr.
Best Case Charles Oakley in his prime
Worst Case Drew Gooden
(5/25) Donatas Motiejunas – Another European seven-footer that can shoot; therefore everyone compares him to Nowitzki/Bargnani. The Hornets seem to be a team that isnt going anywhere soon, so they can gamble on a guy like Motiejunas as a potential successor to David West. Motiejunas is very smooth for his size and has tremendous offensive talent. Defensively, a big question mark.
(6/13) Patrick Patterson would add a huge dose of toughness and rebounding to the Hornets frontcourt. After David West and Emeka Okafor on the depth chart, there isnt much else in the way of frontcourt athleticism or depth, with Darius Songaila likely returning. With Motiejunas withdrawing because he couldnt get a promise in the top 12, the Hornets are rumored to be interested in Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson, Xavier Henry, and Paul George. In this mock draft, assuming Aldrich and George are gone, and since the Hornets have Marcus Thornton, James Posey, Peja Stojakovic, Morris Peterson, and Julian Wright, Patterson gets the nod over Henry. Larry Sanders could go here, but hed be a reach, and neither he nor Ekpe Udoh is as NBA ready and offensively polished as Patterson. If the Hornets are able to consummate a deal in which they package Darren Collison with one of their bad contracts (Stojakovic, Posey, Okafor), this pick could be made by someone else.
12. Memphis Grizzlies Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada, So.
Best Case Ersan Ilyasova/Poor Mans Chris Mullin
Worst Case Austin Croshere
(5/25) Xavier Henry – The Grizzlies were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league last season. Adding a pure shooter like Henry would bolster both the shooting percentages and the bench play. Also, a possible insurance policy in the event that the Grizzlies cant bring back Rudy Gay. James Anderson also gets serious consideration here.
(6/13) Luke Babbitt is a favorite amongst fans and analysts to go here, but he would be yet another defensive liability on a team already full of them. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies desire to shore up the outside shooting and overall bench scoring could steer the front office in Babbitts direction. Babbitt already has an extremely polished offensive game, with excellent ball handling skills and shot making ability. Paul George would be an outstanding selection here, but if hes unavailable, then Xavier Henry would provide a solid scoring punch off the bench. Patrick Patterson or Ed Davis would bolster the interior defense behind Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
13. Toronto Raptors – Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor, Jr.
Best Case Al Horford
Worst Case Tony Battie
(5/25) Patrick Patterson – With Bosh potentially leaving Toronto, GM Bryan Colangelo brings in a gritty, hard-nosed power forward that will crash the boards hard every night. A bruiser in the paint, the antithesis of Andrea Bargnani defensively.
(6/13) The Raptors would absolutely love to nab a guy like Udoh at #13. Udoh brings a heavy dose of defensive prowess and shot blocking to the Raptors frontcourt, considering Andrea Bargnani is a huge defensive liability. Udohs character and intangibles make him attractive to a team that could lose its franchise player, Chris Bosh. With the Raptors looking to move Jose Calderon, an athletic guard may be in Bryan Colangelos sights, notably Avery Bradley.
14. Houston Rockets – Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall, Fr.
Best Case Marcus Camby
Worst Case Saer Sene
(5/25) Hassan Whiteside – With Yao hopefully returning this season, the Rockets have to be wary about their franchise players multiple season-ending injuries – Whiteside would be a solid investment in the future. A shot-blocking menace in Conference USA, Whiteside could eventually be Yaos successor. Houston may unfortunately find out that Yao may not have much left, so they need to prepare themselves. Whiteside is worth the gamble, despite his red flags.
(6/13) With center being the glaring weakness of the Rockets, Whiteside still gets the nod here. Guys like Larry Sanders and Daniel Orton get looks here, but ultimately Whiteside gets the nod. With the potential departure of Luis Scola and the loss of Carl Landry at the trade deadline, the Rockets could also target a power forward here, though Whiteside can play both power forward and center. If Ekpe Udoh were to fall here, Darryl Morey would love to keep the Baylor product in the state of Texas.
15. Milwaukee Bucks (from Chicago) Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas, Fr.
Best Case Cuttino Mobley/Morris Peterson
Worst Case Poor Mans Martell Webster
(5/25) Ekpe Udoh – Milwaukee lacks depth in the frontcourt, with Kurt Thomas and Dan Gadzuric rotating behind Andrew Bogut. Udoh could be a steal here, as he could contribute immediately as a defensive presence as a big-time shot blocker. James Anderson gets looks here because John Salmons is testing the free agent market.
(6/13) The Bucks would love for Udoh, Patterson, or Davis to drop here, because they need frontcourt depth badly. But since all three could be gone by #15, the Bucks could look at guys like James Anderson or Xavier Henry to replace free agent-to-be John Salmons and add depth on the wing with Michael Redds multiple season ending knee injuries. Or they could grab Luke Babbitt, who was rumored to be extremely impressive in his private workout with the team. Babbitt may be too similar to Ersan Ilyasova for the Bucks taste though. Henry likely gets the nod over Anderson due to upside.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte) – Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky, Fr.
Best Case Erick Dampier (Golden State version)
Worst Case Taller Joel Anthony
(5/25) Daniel Orton – The Wolves are trying to model their rebuilding process after the Trailblazers and the Thunder, building through the draft and creating cap space. Orton, despite his lack of experience having played behind Demarcus Cousins, has huge upside, and the Wolves are a team that can wait to develop him. Last summer, the Wolves were interested in trading up for Hasheem Thabeet, as well as dealing for Chris Kaman, so a center with Ortons potential makes sense here.
(6/13) If the TWolves select Wesley Johnson with the 4th pick, then this pick could be Orton. If GM David Kahn trades up to grab Evan Turner, this pick will probably belong to Philadelphia, and if Kahn decides to grab Cousins at #4, then this pick could be James Anderson. Solomon Alabi would fill the need for a center, but he would definitely be a reach at #16. Larry Sanders is also a possibility here, since neither Kevin Love nor Al Jefferson is a shot blocker, and Darko Milicic is Darko Milicic.
17. Chicago Bulls (from Milwaukee) Avery Bradley, SG, Texas, Fr.
Best Case George Hill/Monta Ellis
Worst Case Ronnie Price
(5/25) James Anderson – The Bulls get a steal here. Anderson is one of the safest picks in the draft not named Wall or Turner. After dealing Salmons for cap flexibility at the deadline, the Bulls get the opportunity to replace his scoring with Anderson. And with LeBron possibly coming to town, Anderson would be immediately ready to contribute as one of the first wings off the bench.
(6/13) Anderson could still be the pick, because the Bulls do have a solid foundation and they need to surround Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and whatever blue-chip free agent (LeBron, Wade, Joe Johnson?) they sign with players that can contribute immediately. However, Avery Bradley has far greater upside than Anderson, and some argue that Bradley is a lottery talent. Analysts have scrutinized Bradley for being extremely unproven and undersized, but playing alongside big, physical point guard like Derrick Rose would alleviate most concerns about Bradleys size and playmaking skills.
18. Miami Heat – Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky, Fr.
Best Case Russell Westbrook
Worst Case Marcus Banks
(5/25) Quincy Pondexter – The Heat will most certainly try to make a big splash in free agency by both resigning Dwyane Wade and adding either Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. The Heat are rumored to be enamored with Pondexter, and he may not be available when they select again at #42, so they may have to reach to get him if they cant trade down. Pondexter also skipped the NBA Draft Combine, which fuels speculation that he may have a 1st round promise already. With the potential departure of Quentin Richardson, Pondexter could fit in at the 3.
(6/13) The Heat have apparently turned their attention to the point guard position, and with only four players under contract for next season, Pat Riley is going to try to bring in the best player available in the draft to satisfy Dwyane Wade and whatever sidekick (Stoudemire, Bosh, Boozer, Joe Johnson) elects to sign with the club. Eric Bledsoe could be one of the best players to come out of this draft, but he is highly unproven due to teammate Wall at Kentucky. Fifth Kentucky Wildcat taken in the first eighteen picks?
19. Boston Celtics Larry Sanders, PF/C, VCU, Jr.
Best Case Theo Ratliff
Worst Case Sean Williams
(5/25) Luke Babbitt – Despite the Celtics strong playoff push this season, their championship run will slowly begin to diminish as the Big Three continues to age into NBA antiquity. Babbitt is an NBA-ready wing with craft offensive ability and deft shooting ability with range.
(6/13) In the NBA Finals thus far, the Celtics lack of length defensively in the paint has been repeatedly exposed by the Lakers. Kendrick Perkins and Glen Big Baby Davis are solid big men in the Celtics rotation, but neither one brings the intriguing helicopter-like wingspan and shot blocking ability of Sanders. Following the same philosophy, Solomon Alabi could be a possibility, but he would be a project for at least a year, and with Bostons championship window starting to close, Sanders ability to contribute immediately would likely get him the nod over Alabi. With several backcourt rotation players testing free agency, guys like James Anderson, Avery Bradley, and Gordon Hayward could all get looks from Danny Ainge.
20. San Antonio Spurs Elliot Williams, PG/SG, Memphis, So.
Best Case Rodney Stuckey
Worst Case Javaris Crittenton
(5/25) Larry Sanders – GM R.C. Buford is among the brightest in the business, and he isnt afraid to reach for a guy he really likes take George Hill for example. Thus Solomon Alabi could be a possibility. However, Sanders, a tremendous physical specimen, would be a project, but with the Spurs lack of frontcourt depth, he could contribute immediately as well. He has the potential to be a defensive stalwart in the NBA, and as the Spurs nucleus continues to age, they need to start looking towards the future. With the Mavs aging as well, the Spurs might want to get a head start.
(6/13) There are rumors surfacing that the Spurs may have made Elliot Williams a promise. And the Spurs have been known to make promises. Williams, meanwhile, has been unable to work out for other teams, citing undisclosed injuries. Hmm. Williams is a Gregg Popovich-type of player smart, coachable, and disciplined defensively; Williams athleticism and versatility would be welcomed in San Antonio if free agent-to-be Roger Mason Jr. does not resign with the club.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler, So.
Best Case Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Worst Case Luke Jackson/Better shooting Luke Walton
(5/25) Gordon Hayward – Mid-major wonder boy, Hayward is a solid all-around player that can contribute immediately, especially on a young team like the Thunder. As a part of a second unit that includes Eric Maynor, James Harden, and Nick Collison, Hayward adds depth to a team that some people argue is one of the top-3 teams in the West. Solomon Alabi is a possibility, but the Thunder may want to see what they have in Byron Mullens first.
(6/13) Gordon Hayward has impressed GMs with his impressive combination of size, athleticism, ball handling, and shooting ability so far in workouts and at the Combine, and his stock may be rising, as his agent is now talking top-ten for his client. Teams probably taking a hard look at Hayward include the Clippers, the Pacers, the Bucks, and the TWolves. If Hayward slips this far in the draft, then GM Sam Presti will be happy to nab him here at #21.
22. Portland Trailblazers Kevin Seraphin, PF, Cholet, France, Int.
Best Case Brandon Bass
Worst Case Post-prime Gary Trent
(5/25) Solomon Alabi – Bad luck for the Blazers this season. Despite all the injuries, still amongst the Wests best. Alabi would be a project, but with the multiple injuries to Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, depth at center could be critical to success. Stanley Robinson and Damion James could be possibilities, but with Victor Claver and Joel Freeland stashed overseas, unlikely. The Blazers could draft a guy like Kevin Seraphin and leave him overseas as well.
(6/13) The Blazers have youth and depth at every position, so they will likely try to trade this pick, or package their picks along with a talented young prospect to move up in the draft and upgrade the wing position. If the Blazers elect to stand pat, then they will most likely select another international player that they can leave overseas and bring over in a year or two. They could also take a look at Solomon Alabi or Larry Sanders, given the fact that both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla are coming off of season-ending knee injuries.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah) James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma St., Jr.
Best Case John Salmons
Worst Case Martell Webster
(5/25) Kevin Seraphin – With their third 1st rounder of the draft, Kahn goes with Seraphin, whom he can stash in Europe for a year or two. Adding three rookies to the plethora of young players that the Wolves already have makes the challenge of evaluating such a young roster more difficult than already is. Therefore, Kahn either deals this pick or goes international.
(6/13) The TWolves could select Wesley Johnson at #4 and Daniel Orton at #16. Even with Johnson on board, however, they could still use more help on the wing, and a guy like James Anderson is a very safe pick here at #23. Hes more of a pure scorer than Wayne Ellington, who was a first round pick last year. The TWolves could also take a look at international players like Kevin Seraphin and Miroslav Raduljica, so that they can avoid overloading the roster with youth all at once.
24. Atlanta Hawks Lance Stephenson, SG/SF, Cincinnati, Fr.
Best Case Isaiah Rider/Jamal Crawford
Worst Case Aaron McKie
(5/25) Damion James – Atlanta needs more physicality and rebounding on the wing, James could bring both. He could immediately become the back-up to Josh Smith or Marvin Williams. Gani Lawal is also a possibility.
(6/13) Since Joe Johnson is probably on his way out of Atlanta, GM Rick Sund will probably draft the best scoring wing available, and that could definitely be Lance Stephenson. Born Ready, he will likely be called upon to contribute immediately off the bench with Jamal Crawford likely moving into the starting lineup. Last year, Atlantas offensive scheme relied heavily on isolation plays; well then, Mike Woodson was given the boot, and word is that new coach Larry Drew will not let guys like Crawford and Josh Smith continue to go one-on-one for fifteen seconds of the shot clock. Stephenson is another guy who tends to overdribble (he would have been perfect for Woodson), but he is nevertheless the best wing prospect available, with his unique combination of power and quickness on the drive. However, if the Hawks feel like Stephenson is too ball-dominant, they can take a look at guys like Jordan Crawford, Willie Warren, and Dominique Jones.
25. Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver) Terrico White, PG/SG, Ole Miss, So.
Best Case Larry Hughes
Worst Case Reece Gaines
(5/25) Eric Bledsoe – Explosive guard that could eventually challenge Mike Conley for the starting job. The Grizzlies have stated repeatedly that they would like to upgrade the point guard position, primarily on the bench. Bledsoe could be that change of pace guy off the bench. Avery Bradley gets serious consideration here, but Bradleys stock drops because of his inability to play the PG position. Armon Johnson is also a possibility.
(6/13) The Grizzlies have a serious size deficiency in the backcourt that limits their ability to defend the perimeter. The club also needs stability at the backup point guard position stability that neither Marcus Williams nor Jamaal Tinsley brought last season. Therefore, the Grizzlies could opt for Terrico White, a former Craigmont High School star in Memphis who played college basketball just down the road at Ole Miss. As a freshman, White played point guard for Rebels coach Andy Kennedy when Chris Warren went down with injury and played extremely well in the short time he manned the position. Despite the fact he is still highly unproven as a point guard, he could be a solid scoring option off the bench for the Grizzlies whose bench was absolutely painful to watch last season. His size allows him to move to the two-guard if he proves unable to play point guard in the NBA. Dealing this pick for a pair of second round picks could net the Grizzlies a big guard like Mikhail Torrence or Grievis Vasquez, along with an international prospect like Miroslav Raduljica or Nemanja Bjelica.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix) – Solomon Alabi, C, Florida St., So.
Best Case Samuel Dalembert/Hasheem Thabeet
Worst Case Poor Mans Francisco Elson
(5/25) Gani Lawal – D.J. White hasnt necessarily panned out, so the Thunder look to add more frontcourt depth with the hard-nosed Lawal.
(6/13) The Oklahoma City franchise, dating back to its days in Seattle, has struggled miserably to draft even a serviceable NBA center in the first round. They missed with Robert Swift, Saer Sene, Johan Petro, and possibly Byron Mullens, whom they acquired from Dallas for the rights to Rodrigue Beaubois. However, with this young Thunder quickly on the rise, the front office is going to need to find some sort of defensive stalwart to help defend the Bynums, Gasols, Stoudemires, Aldridges, Duncans, and Jeffersons of the Western Conference. Therefore, Sam Presti rolls the dice on Alabi, whose size, athleticism, and shot blocking are strikingly similar to the Grizzlies Hasheem Thabeet. Winning in the Western Conference Playoffs requires the ability to protect the rim, and Alabi is worth the gamble here at #26.
27. New Jersey (from Dallas) – Devin Ebanks, SF/PF, West Virginia, So.
Best Case Al Thornton
Worst Case James Singleton
(5/25) Devin Ebanks – The Nets add the lanky, athletic forward for depth behind Terrence Williams and Derrick Favors. Avery Bradley, Armon Johnson, or Elliot Williams are possibilities here.
(6/13) The Nets will be pleased to add a guy like Devin Ebanks, who has lottery talent but not enough productivity in college to warrant such a high selection. Damion James could be a blue-collar workhorse that takes his toughness and productivity to the Meadowlands. The Nets could also opt for Willie Warren, whose off-the-court red flags have jettisoned his draft stock from top-ten to likely second round. Warren has the talent to become a Ben Gordon-like sixth man instant offense from the perimeter.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (from Los Angeles Lakers) – Nemanja Bjelica, SF, Red Star, Serbia, Int.
Best Case Danilo Gallinari/Hedo Turkoglu
Worst Case Bostjan Nachbar
(5/25) Nemanja Bjelica – A point-forward with a terrific feel for the game. The Grizzlies can afford to leave him overseas to develop
(6/13) The Grizzlies probably wont be drafting here or maybe even at #25. I wouldnt be surprised if the two picks were packaged together for the rights to move up and select Eric Bledsoe, who is probably off the board by the time the Grizzlies are on the clock at #25. If they stand pat, an international player like Bjelica, Miroslav Raduljica, or Kevin Seraphin makes a lot of sense. Some draft analysts have Damion James going here, but with the Grizzlies missing badly on DeMarre Carroll last year, another 3-4 tweener wouldnt be logical. Dealing down or out could definitely be possibilities.
29. Orlando Magic Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada, Jr.
Best Case Keyon Dooling
Worst Case Marcus Banks
(5/25) Avery Bradley – Potential lockdown defender in the NBA, slipped because of his lack of size combined with his inability to play the point guard position like Bledsoe and Armon Johnson. Value-pick here for the Magic.
(6/13) The Magic could certainly use some help behind Jameer Nelson, because Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson probably arent going to be around for much longer. A versatile, athletic guard with a solid outside shot like Johnson would immediately bolster the Magics bench. A guy like Willie Warren could replace the scoring of restricted free agent J.J. Redick and then some.
30. Washington Wizards (from Cleveland) Damion James, SF/PF, Texas, Sr.
Best Case Shawn Marion
Worst Case Demarre Carroll
(5/25) Craig Brackins – Brackins is a stretch-4 that would play solid minutes behind Andray Blatche. The Wizards desperately need help at center, but they can pick up a guy like Jerome Jordan with the 34th overall pick.
(6/13) The Wizards have only Javale McGee and Andray Blatche as the only rotation big men under contract. Plus, neither McGee nor Blatche is a real bruiser down low. Therefore, Gani Lawal could certainly be an option here. But the Wizards as a whole need to add toughness, versatility, and rebounding, thus, a guy like Damion James could suit them well, despite his tweener status. With John Wall on board, Andray Blatche emerging as a serious scoring threat, and Gilbert Arenas hopefully healthy and ready to redeem himself after last seasons gun debacle, the Wizards can start reassembling the pieces for another playoff run much sooner than previously expected (that is, prior to the lottery), and James is as NBA ready as anyone in the 2010 Draft.
Second Round Gems/Bubble First RoundersWillie Warren, PG/SG, Oklahoma, So.
Best Case Ben Gordon/Toney Douglas
Worst Case Willie Green
Serious character issues on and off the court caused Warrens stock to plummet from top-ten to second round. As a freshman at Oklahoma, as potent of a scorer as any in the 2010 Draft not named John Wall.
Gani Lawal, PF/C, Georgia Tech, Jr.
Best Case Chris Wilcox
Worst Case Post-prime Danny Fortson
Hard-nosed rebounder and bruiser down low with an outstanding motor.
Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier, So.
Best Case Marcus Thornton
Worst Case Jodie Meeks
Big-time college scorer best known for dunking on (or around) LeBron last summer. An offensive sparkplug off the bench that scores in bunches from the perimeter.
Darrington Hobson, SF, New Mexico, Jr.
Best Case Shorter Trevor Ariza
Worst Case Trenton Hassell
Been touted as the Evan Turner of the West. Another Jack-of-all-trades type of wing player, does a little bit of everything, but doesnt really excel at anything. Crafty left-hander with an aggressive style of play.
Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington, Sr.
Best Case Antoine Wright
Worst Case Bobby Jones
Versatile forward who does a little bit of everything and can contribute immediately to an NBA franchise.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa St., Jr.
Best Case Keith Van Horn
Worst Case Poor Mans Channing Frye
A stretch-4 with a solid outside stroke for a guy that stands about 610, Brackins was viewed as a potential lottery pick last year but elected to go back to Iowa State. Got injured this season and his stock plummeted. Could be a major steal in this draft.
Mikhail Torrence, PG/SG, Alabama, Sr.
Best Case Shaun Livingston
Worst Case Donnell Taylor
Big point guard with solid playmaking skills, strong body, with good athleticism and shot making ability. Played very well in his senior year in the SEC.
Grievis Vasquez, PG, Maryland, Sr.
Best Case Sasha Vujacic/Marko Jaric (Clippers version)
Worst Case Marko Jaric (Grizzlies, TWolves version)/Sun Yue
Fiery competitor that steps up in crunch time. Excellent playmaking ability for a 66 point guard, as well as solid scoring instincts. Emotional leader on the floor that, with 4 years as one of the most decorated ACC players of all time, can contribute to an NBA franchise immediately.
Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Benneton Treviso, Lithuania, Int.
Best Case Dirk Nowitzki
Worst Case Nikoloz Tskitishvili
Motiejunas could not secure a promise from a team in the top-twelve, so the 19 year old Nowitzki-like forward will reenter the draft next year.
NBA Mock Draft Database