Sam Smith's 2010 Mock Draft for Draft Day
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So here’s the last mock draft. It’s time for the real thing Thursday evening, the 2010 NBA Draft.
We’ve known for a long time Kentucky’s John Wall will go first, and Evan Turner, the local kid from St. Joseph’s, will get the Michael Jordan treatment: He’ll play for Doug Collins.
But there’s not much certainty after that. The Nets were counting on No. 1 with that run at the all-time worst record, and now have several options. It’s seemed they were trying to lure Minnesota at No. 4, who wanted Derrick Favors, into a swap to pick up some extra picks, but Minnesota hasn’t bitten yet.
Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins is an enigma, given his NBA classic center size and skill, but fears of eating himself out of the league with a big body fat count at the league predraft camp has teams debating.
Georgetown’s Greg Monroe could step right in as the top rookie big guy with Favors still too young, and then it opens up. Swingman shooters like Luke Babbitt and Gordon Hayward have moved up while Cole Aldrich of Kansas seems to be sinking. North Carolina’s Ed Davis also has been floating as teams like him a lot but know they’ll have to wait some. It’s not a patient league anymore. Ask the coaches.
Miami made a trade to give up their pick so someone would take a player to give them more salary cap room for free agency. The Bulls have been trying to do the same, so teams like the Clippers and Wizards could end up with more picks.
Minnesota has four firsts and the rights to last year’s hot pick, Ricky Rubio, and is trying to do something major to make themselves appealing to a free agent. There are several teams trying to get out of the first round as this will be the last year under the old rookie deal and some teams don’t want rookie guaranteed deals when the rules may change next summer.
The talent is more toward wings and big men in this draft and less in point guards, as it was last year. And there’s pretty good depth as teams ought to be able to find some rotations players into the second round.
There’s a lot of guessing, so here’s my look at how the first round might go:
1. Washington Wizards. John Wall, Kentucky, 6-3, 196. Assuming they can get rid of Gilbert Arenas, he should be in a race with last year’s No. 1, Blake Griffin, for rookie of the year. He’s a franchise changer.
2. Philadelphia 76ers. Evan Turner, Ohio State, 6-6, 214. Should move right into a big, defensive backcourt under new coach Doug Collins with Jrue Holiday and perhaps be the start of something big.
3. New Jersey Nets. Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech, 6-9, 245. This is where the intrigue begins. Favors had long been the favorite here on talent, but word surfaced Wednesday that the agent for Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson was telling the Nets if they take Johnson, who doesn’t want to go to Minnesota, he’ll deliver another client, Carlos Boozer, giving the Nets one of the top free agent forwards. Favors is generally regarded as the better long term talent, though not ready yet. Lots of guessing here as the consensus among teams late Wednesday night was the Nets switched to Johnson.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves. Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, 6-6, 205. They don’t want Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins, who is by far the best big man talent and if there weren’t questions of motivation and attitude would challenge Wall for top pick.
5. Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky, 6-10, 292. Some personnel guys believe they’ll go for Georgetown’s Greg Monroe because he fits better with Tyreke Evans who is a ball control guard while Cousins needs offense to run through him. Kings Geoff Petrie likes to surprise and likes passing big men, which is more Monroe and a safer choice, though Cousins was supposed to have won them over in later workouts.
6. Golden State Warriors. Greg Monroe, Georgetown, 6-10, 247. There was some talk late Wednesday they were onto Ekpe Udoh instead. They also are trying to get the books in line for sale, so the pick may be traded as well before it’s over as the Thunder and Trail Blazers are trying to get into the top 10 with the Thunder after Udoh.
7. Detroit Pistons. Ekpe Udoh, Baylor, 6-9, 240. He’s the first real high riser in the draft who came on late. Several teams are chasing him, and the Pistons desperately need size. Detroit has been hoping Cousins or Monroe drops and might give up something to flip with the Warriors.
8. L.A. Clippers. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest, 6-7, 220. Big time athlete with an uncertain game. If the Clippers go for him, the Bulls can probably forget them making a run at Luol Deng as the teams have had talks about Deng going into the Clippers’ cap space. There’s nothing to the Clippers moving this pick to the Bulls. It never came up.
9. Utah Jazz. Gordon Hayward, Butler, 6-7, 215. Although many have long projected them for size, they’ve supposedly had interest in shooting and a small forward, and Hayward would be an ideal Jerry Sloan player. This probably breaks the heart of the Pacers, who supposedly have been in talks with the Thunder for two lower picks and point guard Eric Maynor.
10. Indiana Pacers. Luke Babbitt, Nevada, 6-8, 220. If they keep the pick he’s a shooter who could fill it up like Chris Mullin and would be an explosive pair with Danny Granger. But they could deal. I’d assume if Hayward is gone, then the Pacers move down and get a point guard. If the Thunder can get here it’s one step closer to No. 6. They also like Paul George of Fresno State and could go for a power forward as there are said to be looking to deal Jeff Green because they cannot pay all three of their young core players.
11. New Orleans Hornets. Ed Davis, North Carolina, 6-9, 230. Certainly a team in flux which, though they deny it now, clearly has been asking around about dealing Chris Paul. So anything is possible. He’s big and long and an athlete who could give them a chance to move David West.
12.Memphis Grizzlies. Paul George, Fresno State, 6-8, 215. He’s one of the guys the Bulls would look at if he were falling, a sweet shooting wingman. If the Grizzlies get him you can see them making a deal involving Rudy Gay, whom the Timberwolves have been trying to get.
13. Toronto Raptors. Avery Bradley, Texas, 6-2, 180. A Ben Gordon type with not quite the shot but a terrific defender. Though they went for DeMar DeRozan last year, he’s a talent lots of teams like and you could get in deals as they are expected to do.
14. Houston Rockets. Xavier Henry, Kansas, 6-5, 210. They are not expected to keep this pick and likely trade out of the first round as Portland is trying to get here for Memphis’ Elliott Williams, whom they feel the Bulls will take. There also was a rumor floating around late Wednesday that center Hassan Whiteside was moving up to the end of the lottery and while raw, he could be an eventual replacement for Yao Ming, who missed last season with more foot problems.
15. Milwaukee Bucks. Larry Sanders, Virginia Commonwealth, 6-9, 225. He’s an explosive, athletic inside player, runner and jumper, so you’d figure Scott Skiles would have nightmares about Tyrus Thomas. But he’d help Andrew Bogut and they need size and athletic ability and now with Corey Maggette are getting more. Also, contrary to expectations, they will make a strong run to resign John Salmons to play guard with Maggette at forward.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves. Patrick Patterson, Kentucky, 6-8, 240. An All around versatile player who can shoot and is a solid guy. Not a great talent, but a worker and someone who’d fit in the triangle they are trying to develop. Plus, they are said to be anxious to move Al Jefferson and need someone up front.
17. Bulls. Damion James, Texas, 6-6, 225. This pick could be long gone to someone as part of a cap space deal, but James fits more the style I see the Bulls wanting to play under Tom Thibodeau. He’s an undersized rebounder like Shawn Marion who’s a big time athlete and hard worker who gets things done defensively in games. I wasn’t sure they’d take someone to compete with James Johnson, but I think the defensive priority would get him taken over James Anderson, who remains a possibility. The interesting guy to me here is Cole Aldrich, who I still have on the board and I feel will slip. Can the Bulls afford to pass on a big guy. He’s more a plodding type big man instead of an athlete, but the Bulls could lose Brad Miller and would need size. They’d have to give him a look, as well as Elliott Williams, even with injury questions as he hasn’t been working out.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder. Cole Aldrich, Kansas, 6-9, 235. They got the pick from the Heat, who cleared some more cap room in closing in on room for two free agents to add to Dwyane Wade. The Heat and the Bulls have been the two teams in this draft chasing more room and offering picks and players. They need size up front, though they will be in talks to move up with this pick.
19. Boston Celtics. Hassan Whiteside, Marshall, 6-11, 225. Another team that is looking to move its pick or get out of the first round. But if they stay you assume they’ll go for size as Rasheed Wallace is supposed to retire and Big Baby is no big. The other possibility is probably Florida State’s Solomon Alabi.
20. San Antonio Spurs. Elliott Williams, Memphis, 6-3, 180. Hard worker and tough defender who just happened to do one workout, here, and then come up injured or maybe with a promise at a place he wants to go. The Spurs need to begin getting young, athletic, talent and he’s a worker who’d fit into their system. Again, Portland is trying to get to him.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder. Devin Ebanks, West Virginia, 6-7, 210. Fits their profile of long guys who can run the court and versatile so he can play with Kevin Durant as well. A smart player, good passer with a good feel for the game.
22. Portland Trail Blazers. Greivis Vasquez, Maryland, 6-5, 210. A clever big guard who can run a team. The Grizzlies are said to be chasing him and to move up Portland could be using this threat to get a higher pick from Memphis. It’s also why Memphis supposedly is looking to move up for one of Minnesota’s higher picks.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves. Solomon Alabi, 7-0, 240. They seem intent on signing Darko, but they were one of the league’s smallest teams and can use the size, especially in case Darko just played for a contract last season when he performed well at the end of the season for them.
24. Atlanta Hawks. Terrico White, Mississippi, 6-4, 205. A super athlete combo guard as they have to be figuring they’ll lose Joe Johnson. If they do they’ll probably make a run at John Salmons as Jamal Crawford can play some point. But White would fit with their running game.
25. Memphis Grizzlies. Jordan Crawford, Xavier, 6-3, 200. He’s a big time scoring guard whom the Grizzlies have had their eyes on and have supposedly been willing to trade up to get.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder. Tibor Pleiss, Germany, 6-11, 215. With the extra pick he’s a good guy to stash overseas for while and eventually they’ll need more big guys.
27. New Jersey Nets. James Anderson, Oklahoma State, 6-5, 210. A solid shooting guard as they’ll be trying to clean up a roster of many questionable guys with Avery Johnson coming in to coach. Many have had him higher, so he’ll be a solid pick if he gets here.
28. Memphis Grizzlies. Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky, 6-0, 190. They’ve never been quite sold on Mike Conley and while Bledsoe didn’t get to play point being with John Wall he could be a good future and insurance depending on what they do with Conley.
29. Orlando Magic. Armon Johnson, Reno, 6-2, 195. They need help at the point as Jameer Nelson couldn’t guard pretty much anyone in the playoffs. They won’t replace him, but Johnson is fundamentally solid, will defend is quick and a good ballhandler.
30. Washington Wizards. Daniel Orton, Kentucky. 6-9, 270. Maybe worth a shot for a guy who was projected much higher but worked out poorly and didn’t do much in college. He’s a big body. Too big now, but with a long wingspan and some possibilities if they can find a desire.