Sam Smith's 2010 Mock Draft (Version I)
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Listed below is the mock draft I did for the Bulls season ticket holders’ magazine, BasketBull, the night of the draft lottery last month. It was a first look at the first round once the 30 teams were settled.
The draft is always fluid and always changes right up to the day of the draft as teams get a closer look at players, and, in many times, actually over think the process as they watch these guys all year and then can change their minds after one workout. That’s why you see players moving up or down the various mock drafts that get changed almost weekly.
Back in mid-May, I had Florida State center Solomon Alabi as the Bulls’ choice at No. 17. He’s generally been regarded somewhat lower in the first round—though not much lower—but I believe the Bulls’ greatest need is a big man, given they could lose Brad Miller and Omer Asik from Turkey remains uncertain as he’s been hurt the last two years.
Looking over the latest mock drafts this week, ESPN had the Bulls selecting shooting guard James Anderson of Oklahoma State; DraftExpress had small forward Damion James of Texas; and NBA DraftNet had center Hassan Whiteside of Marshall.
I actually don’t see the Bulls taking any of those guys, though I also have no real idea who they are thinking about now. At No. 17, the best you can do is have a list of five or six guys and hope one falls to you.
I think this draft is going to be one of the toughest ever to predict because of this summer’s free agency. I think a lot of teams are going to use their picks as a carrot, including the Bulls, to try to either get more cap space or get another player they may feel makes them a more appealing team to the free agents.
Plus, Memphis and Minnesota each have three first round picks, and few expect them to use all three. So there could be picks swapped as well, so lining up a player with a team is going to be especially difficult.
The top picks are likely set. Washington will pick John Wall and although they’ll entertain offers, I think the 76ers will go with Evan Turner. The Nets probably will look to deal as well, but even if they do I see Derrick Favors as the No. 3 pick. From there it could go a lot of ways.
The mystery man is Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins, a huge talent with personal issues many teams may not want to chance. He could slide, though I don’t see him getting past Detroit at No. 7 given their lack of size. Plus, GM Joe Dumars always has taken chances on guys other teams ran away from. That should move up Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson.
Minnesota at No. 4 is said to be satisfied with Darko Milicic at center for next season and supposedly will pass on Cousins. So we’ll see who steps up.
Then it becomes more of that eye of the beholder thing with teams having varying opinions of the talents of players like Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldridge, who could go top 10 or down to the bottom of the lottery. Two guys who have moved up since the start of the season are Luke Babbitt of Nevada and Gordon Hayward of Butler, both versatile talents through NBA ready now.
Paul George and Avery Bradley have moved up as well, leaving a grab bag of big men and swing men floating around the first round.
With the Bulls getting under the cap for free agency and potentially looking to deal more players for additional cap room, they could have needs at virtually every position, especially if they deal Luol Deng or Kirk Hinrich. So the pick for the Bulls also could depend on whom they decide to deal, if, indeed, they do make a deal.
So below is a look at my mock draft from a few weeks ago. I’ll do one or two more next week and George, Bradley and Babbitt will move up. Perhaps Elliot Williams, who has been slipping workouts, which suggests he has a promise from some team.
Donatas Montiejunas just pulled out of the draft this week and I had Henry probably higher than he’ll be taken, though I’ve always believed if you like a player take him and don’t worry what everyone else thinks. Only the best executives generally do that because they don’t fear not impressing their colleagues. The best players don’t always go in the lottery. Look at Taj Gibson at No. 26. So if a guy can fit with your team and you like him, you take him no matter where everyone has him slotted.
If the Bulls end up with their pick, I assume they go with the best player they identified there given they’ll need bench help at just about every position, though I don’t expect a swingman as I figure they have to give James Johnson a shot this season after investing in him last year.
1. Washington: John Wall – PG – 6’4” 195 – Kentucky (Fr)
The top prize of this year’s Draft is a fast, athletic point guard, who possibly could transform a woebegone franchise from a perennial loser into a winner. The big question now is whether or not John Wall will be able to get his new teammates believing they can do some good.
2. Philadelphia: Evan Turner – SG/SF – 6’7” 205 – Ohio State (Jr)
A Chicago kid, Evan Turner, the reigning NCAA National Player of the Year, could actually end up slipping a notch below No. 2 if the Sixers become enamored enough with Derrick Favors. But, with talented point guard Jrue Holiday in place, Philly will probably want to continue building its backcourt. Turner can play multiple positions on the floor, with the ability to make a positive impact beginning Day 1.
3. New Jersey: Derrick Favors – PF/C – 6’10” 250 – Georgia Tech (Fr)
Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors is a terrific young talent who could be a perfect fit to play alongside Nets center Brook Lopez.
4. Minnesota: DeMarcus Cousins
PF/C – 6’11” 270 – Kentucky (Fr)
Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins is a bit of a risk, but who knows what will happen if he ends up in Minnesota? The Timberwolves already have way too many guards as they’re the smallest team in the league. My guess is they’ll go with Cousins.
5. Sacramento: Xavier Henry
SG – 6’7” 220 – Kansas (Fr)
The Kings are a smart drafting team who are always willing to take chances. By trading Kevin Martin last February, Sacramento has an immediate opening at shooting guard. They could put Henry next to 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans and right away have one heck of a backcourt.
6. Golden State: Wesley Johnson
SF – 6’7” 198 – Syracuse (Jr)
Golden State’s always a tough team to figure. You never know how they’ll play or with whom. Wes Johnson’s a good shooter and a terrific athlete. Think Shawn Marion with a jumper.
7. Detroit: Greg Monroe – PF – 6’11” 250 – Georgetown (So)
Like Minnesota, the Pistons already have too many guards. This crew needs size. Monroe’s an unusually gifted big man who is a terrific passer. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a lefty, too.
8. LA Clippers: Gordon Hayward – SF – 6’8” 200 – Butler (So)
Gordon Hayward is a guy who’s come up fast. He’s got plenty of skills. If last year’s top pick, Blake Griffin, comes back and is able to team with Hayward, the Clips could have a really nice frontcourt. Hayward’s often compared to Mike Dunleavy, but I think he’s way better than that.
9. Utah: Ed Davis – PF – 6’10” 215 – North Carolina (So)
He’s a little on the light side for an NBA power forward, but Ed Davis still projects as a tough guy with a solid post-up game. The Jazz are going to need size, assuming they lose Carlos Boozer or Paul Millsap over the summer.
10. Indiana: Donatas Motiejunas – PF – 7’0” 220 – Lithuania
A highly skilled seven-footer, Donatas Motiejunas is reminiscent of Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani. The Pacers need guards, but this guy is probably too good to pass up.
11. New Orleans: Al-Faroug Aminu
SF/PF – 6’8” 210 – Wake Forest (So)
New Orleans is another team that can use some shooting, but this really isn’t a good Draft for guards. Al-Faroug Aminu is a solid, all-around talent. Perhaps, he could end up being what they hoped Julian Wright would be.
12. Memphis: Ekpe Udoh – PF – 6’10 240 – Baylor (Jr)
The Grizzlies already have decent size up front, but next year Zach Randolph begins the final season of his contract. I can see them paying restricted free-agent Rudy Gay a lot of money to stay this summer and letting Randolph walk next year. Udoh is a pretty good defender and exceptionally long. He could end up being a nice fit next to center Marc Gasol.
13. Toronto: Cole Aldrich
C – 6’11” 250 – Kansas (Jr)
Who knows what the Raptors are going to do when Chris Bosh beats it out of town as an unrestricted free agent this summer? When Bosh takes off, they’ll want to move Bargnani to power forward and add a center. Aldrich is being likened to Joel Przybilla, which isn’t a bad thing. They might already have enough scoring in order to absorb Aldrich.
14. Houston: Hassan Whiteside
C – 6’11” 225 – Marshall (Fr)
The Rockets have a lot of uncertainty, even with Yao’s expected return. Even if Yao does bounce back, who really knows how long he can play? Hassan Whiteside’s a seven-footer with a ton of potential. He’s got a lot of athletic ability and could actually prove to be a better fit if they play fast with Aaron Brooks behind the wheel.
15. Milwaukee: James Anderson
SG – 6’6” 195 – Oklahoma State (Jr)
I’m thinking James Anderson could be a terrific replacement for Michael Redd in the not too distant future. He can definitely stretch the floor and is a tough defender. He seems like someone Scott Skiles would love.
16. Minnesota: Daniel Orton – C – 6’10” 260 – Kentucky (Fr)
Last year, Minnesota loaded up with guards. This year they’re going big. There’s also a chance the Wolves will trade either Al Jefferson or Kevin Love this summer. If they do, Orton’s big and wide, with a decent touch around the basket. They need to improve defensively inside. Orton could end up being a valuable piece of the puzzle.
17. Chicago: Solomon Alabi – C – 7’1” 245 – Florida State (So)
Solomon Alabi is a seven-footer who can block a lot of shots, rebound the ball and get out on the break. He’s raw, but who knows if or when Omer Asik is going to make it to the Windy City? Plus, the Bulls might lose free-agent Brad Miller this summer, so the team is going to need to add size.
18. Miami: Patrick Patterson – SF/PF – 6’8 245 – Kentucky (Jr)
Patrick Patterson’s a guy who some project to go much higher. Considered a bit of a tweener, meaning he’s somewhere between a small forward and a power forward, he reminds some of Andres Nocioni.
19. Boston: Luke Babbitt – SF – 6’9” 220 – Nevada (So)
Nevada’s Luke Babbitt is a highly skilled lefty with a strong all-around offensive game. Like Patrick Patterson, he’s also a tweener. He wasn’t much of a defender in college, so that’s also a bit of a concern, but he’s still a terrific talent.
20. San Antonio: Avery Bradley – SG – 6’3 180 – Texas (Fr)
Avery Bradley is a little small for an NBA shooting guard, but he plays bigger and shoots pretty well off the dribble. He’d fill an important need for the Spurs.
21. Oklahoma City: Larry Sanders – PF – 6’10 220 – Va. Commonwealth (Jr)
There’s a chance the Thunder could end up trading Jeff Green before they have to pay him big money at the end of next season, so the heady move would be to go for size up front with this pick. Larry Sanders is somewhat like Ibaka, but if you want to compete with the Lakers you need a lot of size.
22. Portland: Damion James – SF – 6’8” 224 – Texas (Sr)
The Blazers already have a ton of depth on their roster, so this pick ends up being a grab for the “best available” athlete. Damion James is pretty decent defender, who runs the court and can rebound the ball. He’s a big-time hustle guy.
23. Minnesota: Paul George – SG/SF – 6’8” 195 – Fresno State (So)
Minnesota’s third first-round pick could end up being a man with two first names — Paul George. He’s a good overall talent who’ll draw comparisons to Trevor Ariza.
24. Atlanta: Dominique Jones – SG – 6’4” 204 – South Florida (Jr)
In all likelihood, the Hawks are going to lose Joe Johnson to free agency this summer. Thus, they probably ought to look to get a shooter, and Jones is a talented combo guard who can score.
25. Memphis: Elliot Williams – SG – 6’4” 180 – Memphis (So)
The Grizzlies blew it last year by passing on Tyreke Evans, but this time I say they won’t allow another Memphis star leave town. Elliot Williams is a really good defender who needs to improve his shot, but he’s also just as quick as Russell Westbrook.
26. Oklahoma City: Eric Bledsoe – PG – 6’1” 190 – Kentucky (Fr)
Eric Bledsoe was held back somewhat last year as Kentucky played him out of position, thanks to John Wall controlling the ball most of the time. But this kid’s super-fast, and he’s developed a surprisingly steady shot. With so few point guards in the Draft, Bledsoe could make it into the first round. The Thunder does need a quality backup for Westbrook, so don’t be surprised if they snatch Bledsoe with this pick.
27. New Jersey: Stanley Robinson – SF – 6’9” 215 – Connecticut (Sr)
UConn’s Stanley Robinson is similar to Tyrus Thomas in that he’s blessed with an abundance of athletic ability and length. But, like a lot of other guys in the Draft, he’s also a “tweener” up front. All-in-all, he’d be a great late first-round pick.
28. Memphis: Mikhail Torrance – PG – 6’5” 210 – Alabama (Sr)
Again, another team with a third first-round pick, the Grizzlies could decide to dump this pick to another team or use it on a European player in the hope he’ll stay overseas for a year or two. But then again, if Memphis decides to use this pick, Mikhail Torrance is a pretty decent point guard in a weak draft for floor generals. He’s got size and can get just about anywhere he wants with the ball. He’s a sleeper pick.
29. Orlando: Kevin Seraphin – PF – 6’10 258 – France
An intriguing prospect, 6’10” Frenchman Kevin Seraphin seems to be someone worth taking a shot on. He’s only 20 years old, so he’s raw, but he’s a big, physical guy with tremendous upside.
30. Washington: Gani Lawal – PF – 6’9” 230 – Georgia Tech (Jr)
The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Not only do the Wizards open the Draft, they get to close the first round, too. Since they’re going to be rebuilding around John Wall, they probably will look to get an inside banger, and Gani Lawal should fit the bill rather nicely.