I love the NBA Draft. Love the hype, love the projections, love the bad suits. The NBA Draft is the chance for teams to load up and re-tool their rosters for next year. It’s also the night when some of the biggest trades of the year go down. Now obviously, this whole LeBron thing is weighing over the head of several franchises. This draft will be interesting to watch simply to see how teams position themselves for the up coming free agency period. Will Miami trade it’s pick to clear more cap room? (YES) Will Chicago draft a small forward? Do the Knicks try to trade into the first round? How will Minnesota and Memphis fuck up this year? All compelling story lines.
Now it’s hard to deny that this draft blows. I see one star (Wall) and a bunch of bench players who will probably end up in the D-League. Beyond the top five, anything could happen and I hope chaos reigns. I’m writing this on Wednesday, June 23. The draft will be held tomorrow night. Here is my mock. If trades or moves come in between now and the first pick I will try to update accordingly. Let’s do this!
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, Kentucky
What impressed me most about Wall in his one year at Kentucky is his speed and quickness. Fastest guy on the floor and break you down off the dribble. The obvious choice for the Wizards at number one. Needs to work on his shooting and passing, but can step in immediately and be a force on defense.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, Ohio State
Another no-brainer here. Turner, while similar to Andre Iguodala, is the best talent available and a great character guy for the organization. Built like Kevin Durant, but not as much of a scorer. Turner will be good in the league, but I question if he’ll be great. Could be more of a Danny Granger if he stays healthy.
3. New Jersey Nets: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
I saw Johnson play several games in the Big East and he never really impressed me. Never did I think that I was watching a top-three pick. He rarely played to his potential and his game felt very underwhelming. But remember, this is the NBA where potential and raw talent matter more on draft night than what they’ve proven during games. Johnson is long and athletic. Two words NBA GMs get hard over. He’s a hit or miss pick here for the Nets, but he’ll be a nice fit with LeBron in three years.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Word is that the Wolves really want Johnson. If Johnson goes at three, they have to take the best available, which would be Derrick Favors. Don’t love the pick but this draft is two players deep and the rest is a crap shoot. Favors has the body, but is still very raw.
5. Sacramento Kings: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forrest
Another Georgia Tech power forward. Again, don’t love this guy and the Kings just picked up Sam Dalenbert. Still, at number five, you either need to trade down, package the pick, or get the best value.
6. Golden State Warriors: Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
I like Ebanks for the Warriors because of his length and scoring ability. Don Nelson doesn’t give a shit about defense, but Ebanks could help on that front as well. He’s similar to budding star and potential teammate Anthony Randolph, but Ebanks is a great fit for Golden State’s up and down style. Sidebar: Love the new, throwback logo.
7. Detriot Pistons: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
Pistons need a big, strong defender on the inside. Last season was a huge disappointment coming off the signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Udoh came on strong in the NCAA tournament and really improved his draft stock.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
Cousins is the wild card of the lottery. Huge potential, a big body, rebounding machine, high shooting percentage. But he’s a child. An immature baby. The newest Eddy Curry. Everyone expects Cousins to fail. Who wants to be the GM to risk their career on a head case? Give Cousins a multi-million dollar contract and you could be rewarded with a 20-20 guy, or a guy who ends up like Zach Randolph. Cousins could go as high as number three or fall out of the lottery completely. I’m gonna send him to the Clippers because it’s the funniest (and worst) option.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich, Kansas
The Jazz have been waiting ten years to find their Greg Ostertag replacement.
10. Indiana Pacers: Gordon Hayward, Butler
The lock of the draft. The Pacers love white dudes who play hard. Seriously, they’re the whitest team in the NBA. Adding Gordon Hayward to their roster would solidify their reputation as Hoosiers reincarnated. Plus, Hayward went to Butler in Indianapolis and would be a great marketing pick. I think Hayward came out too early, but I understand he wants to capitalize on his buzz surrounding a huge NCAA tournament.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Luke Babbit, Nevada
What’s the best way to squash the Chris Paul trade rumors? Draft Luke Babbit, someone no one has ever seen play!
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Monroe is a nice big man. He’s a smooth lefty with great court vision. At Georgetown, he was rarely used in the post so his moves are unpolished. I think he slips to Memphis.
13. Toronto Raptors: Patrick Paterson, Kentucky
Paterson is a solid forward with shooting range. I don’t think he’ll be a star, but could fill a need for the Raptors off the bench.
14. Houston Rockets: Damien James, Texas
James is probably a stretch at fourteen. He’s a great defender and inside scorer and could be a great off-the-bench energy guy for the Rockets. GM Daryl Morey is widely considered one of the smartest executives in the NBA and is famous for introducing various metrics for measuring a player’s value. Basically, he knows how to analyze talent and won’t fuck up this pick, even if it’s not Damien James.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Ed Davis, North Carolina
The Bucks just traded for scorer Corey Maggette so don’t expect them to draft a guard here. If Ed Davis is still on the board, he has the biggest potential. I think Davis is soft though and never lived up to the hype at UNC. If Davis is drafted by the Bucks, he’ll get eaten alive by coach Scott Skiles.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Paul George, Fresno St.
Who fucking cares? It’s the Timberwolves and Rubio isn’t there.
17. Chicago Bulls: Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
Stephenson is scorer. Huge nuts, but he thinks he’s better than he really is. Watching him at Cincy you could tell that he was done after one year. He could use more experience, but his one on one skills will serve him well in the NBA. This could be a strong back up plan regardless of whether LeBron signs with the Bulls.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Xavier Henry, Kansas
Miami traded this pick for more cap space. Look for the Thunder to snag Henry if he’s still on the board.
19. Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley, Texas
The Celtics are going to look very different next year. Ray Allen will most likely be gone. Rasheed Wallace might retire. KG and Pierce will be another year older. I expect Boston to go for a guard and Bradley is a combo player who is special on defense. He would fit well as Rondo’s back-up and could work his way into the starting line up if he worked on his shot.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Kevin Seraphin, France
The Spurs always have great drafts and they always love foreign players. Never heard of this dude, but he’s from France!
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jarvis Vernardo, Mississippi St.
The Thunder need a big guy to compliment Durant and Westbrook in the back court. Vernardo led the NCAA in blocked shots last year despite only being 6’9″. Sam Presti has built a young and exciting team in OKC so look for him to add another piece to the puzzle and select another high-character big man.
22. Portland Trailblazers: Elliot Williams, Memphis
I know nothing about Williams and the Blazers already have Brandon Roy and Jarred Bayless. No research went into this pick, much like most real NBA teams.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Hassan Whiteside, Marshall
My gut tells me they pick another point guard. But if they want to erase the memory of last year’s disaster, go with Whiteside. He’ll probably be another Hasheem Thabeet, but GM David Kahn hasn’t gotten fired yet so who cares?
24. Atlanta Hawks: Craig Brackins, Iowa St.
The Hawks need a guard but there’s no one on the board unless they want to reach. Bye bye Joe Johnson.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Stanley Robinson, Connecticut
In only makes sense for the Griz to add another UCONN player to their stocked line-up. Rudy Gay is most likely leaving so they’ve have an opening on the wing. Robinson is a great athlete but he needs to build his confidence and work on his shooting.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Grevis Vasquez, Maryland
Vasquez is a winner. I’ve seen too many onions games from him to doubt his NBA potential. Many mocks have him going in the second, but Presti should take him here to add another confident scorer.
27. New Jersey Nets: Jordan Crawford, Xavier
One game in the NCAA tournament is all Crawford needed to prove his value. I think he may be banking on it a little too much coming out early, but he should make a team.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Daniel Orton, Kentucky
This guy is fat, lazy and has bust written all over him after only one year at Kentucky. Sounds perfect for Memphis!
29. Orlando Magic: Dominique Jones, South Florida
Vince Carter Killed the magic in the playoffs. Orlando needs another big time scoring option to come off their bench. I loved watching Jones explode in the Big East. He’s a great late first round selection.
30. Washington Wizards: Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
WTF. More potential based bullshit. Congrats, you’re guaranteed millions of dollars for sitting the bench in the D-League for the next two years.