Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2007 NBA Mock Draft Version 3.0

Following San Antonio's game 3 victory over Cleveland, the focus in the NBA will soon shift to the NBA Draft and to what will happen after the first draft picks are selected.

At the 3rd pick, I still have the Hawks taking Mike Conley Jr., though I have a feeling that they want to draft a better version of Shelden Williams in the form of Al Horford instead and take their chances on the point guard falling to the 11th pick. The biggest drop within the top ten picks of the mock draft is Yi Jianlian slipping to the 8th pick overall. This is mostly due to his absence from the pre-draft camp and his representatives' desires to have him remain a mystery.

A high riser, at least in this mock draft, is Joakim Noah, who seems a very good fit in Minnesota, as he actually plays defense and will not require a lot of offensive touches on a trigger-happy team. I'm still not a big fan, or a fan at all, but I've seen stranger things happen.

As expected, there is a run of fabulous guards at the end of the first round. New to the first round are Daequan Cook, Aaron Brooks, and Ali Traore, all of whom excelled at the pre-draft camp last week. Though Traore is more of a second-round talent, teams drafting at the close of the 1st round will ultimately reach for his size and potential.

A player I have my eye on is Ramon Sessions, whose 6'3" 190-pound frame and well-rounded skills, make him a potential 1st round pick; however, this depends upon who is drafting, as many trades take place at the draft's midway point.

At the close of the second round, there is a huge run on international players with potential (six of the last 10 picks) who will be drafted in lieu of more talented domestic players who can be signed via free agency. This tactic allows for NBA teams to gain the rights to players who, in their assessment, currently lack the skills and experience to crack the team's roster, but will do so in the future with the necessary skill development and experience.

One final programming note - This will be the last version of the mock draft until the final version, which will come out either a day before or on the day of the NBA Draft (June 28).

1st Round

  1. Portland. Greg Oden, C, Ohio State. As if it ever was in doubt. Drafting Greg Oden gives the Blazers a centerpiece they need and allows LaMarcus Aldridge the opportunity to move back to his natural 4 position. Oden's shot-blocking abilities makes Przybilla expendable.
  2. Seattle. Kevin Durant, F, Texas. With Rashard Lewis opting for free agency, we know he won't be cashing in for the Sonics. So what if Durant can't lift 185 pounds? He is the perfect fit for Seattle as he can play both forward positions and his iron will and desire to perform shall overcome his perceived lack of strength.
  3. Atlanta. Mike Conley Jr., PG, Ohio State. Absolute need over want. As much as the Hawks want to go with Brandan Wright, they must go with Conley Jr. because they badly need a point guard. Although Conley Jr. struggles at times in the shooting department, his ball-handling skills and ability to penetrate are top notch. Not to mention, Conley Jr. is a winner, something the Hawks badly need.
  4. Memphis. Al Horford, PF, Florida. Al Horford came to Gainesville with a NBA body just needing to work on his skills. On draft night, Memphis will get a 18 and 10 guy who'll do many positive things that won't end in a stat sheet.
  5. Boston. Brandan Wright, PF, North Carolina. Yi is heavily considered, but his mystique backfires and the Celts opt for Wright, whose game inside 8 feet is lethal. Wright will need to improve his overall shooting game and add some weight. He carries the strongest upside of any player not named Oden or Durant.
  6. Milwaukee. Corey Brewer, SG/SF, Florida. Defense is a major need for the Bucks and Brewer is the second-best defensive player in the draft, save Greg Oden. His versatility will be a needed asset for a team who could have been confused for an infirmary this season.
  7. Minnesota. Joakim Noah, PF, Florida. The T-Wolves pass up on Yi (stupidly), because they see him as a lesser KG who is untradeable. Noah, whose weaknesses have been documented on this site, provides a long defender who can be the high energy player that Kevin McHale was wishing for.
  8. Charlotte. Yi Jianlian, PF, Guangdong Tigers (China). Albeit there are rumors about his age being 22 and not 19 as advertised, Yi is the real deal. He's not Yao though. Yi is a good ball handler, a very good shooter, and an awesome passer, and excels in the open court. He'll need to work on his defense before he gets legitimate All-Star consideration.
  9. Chicago (from New York). Spencer Hawes, C, Washington. Hawes is another case of need exceeding want. The pure 7-footer can score in the post, something the Bulls badly need as evidenced by the NBA playoffs the last two seasons. Besides being able to score in the post, Hawes has a jumpshot and can pass out of double teams. Nevertheless, Hawes will be exposed at the NBA level if he doesn't improve mightily on defense.
  10. Sacramento. Jeff Green, SF, Georgetown. In Jeff Green, the Kings get a long-term replacement for Ron Artest, who's in the Maloofs eternal doghouse. The consummate team player, Green will contribute to the Kings in unconventional ways that will result in more victories.
  11. Atlanta (from Indiana). Julian Wright, SF, Kansas. The Joshes - Childress and Smith - have contracts that expire in '08 and it'll be nearly impossible to re-sign both. Julian Wright has all the tools to succeed immediately, but will need to take a seat on the bench for his first season. At worst, Wright is excellent trade bait.
  12. Philadelphia. Al Thornton, PF, Florida State. Undersized yet aggressive, Thornton has the largest motor of any player at his position save Kevin Durant. Thornton has also never had a problem mixing up with the bigs and his rebounding numbers speak to that. Thornton can still improve in terms of his ability to score on the perimeter.
  13. New Orleans. Nick Young, SG, Southern Cal. A sharp shooter with a knack for the mid-range game. Not a normal spot-up shooter, Young is not afraid to take difficult shots. Although he improved his defense under the tutelage of Tim Floyd, Young has plenty of room for improvement.
  14. LA Clippers. Tiago Splitter, PF/C, Tau Ceramica (Brazil). The Brazilian big man can run the floor and he proved it for one of Europe's best clubs. Although he may not play for a year due to his contract situation, Splitter is ready to play in this league and compete for a starting position. Questions do remain however about his ability to assert himself on the offensive end.
  15. Detroit (from Orlando). Josh McRoberts, PF, Duke. McRoberts provides an active body on both ends of the court, who is a defensive specialist. He fits into the Detroit system should the Pistons choose not to re-sign McDyess and Webber.
  16. Washington. Jason Smith, PF, Colorado State. The Wizards sorely need a big that can score and Smith fulfills that need. Smith, who's a better-than-average rebounder can help address another key Wizards problem. His ability to shoot well fits the style of the Wizards, but back-to-the basket game remains a major doubt.
  17. New Jersey. Derrick Byars, SG/SF, Vanderbilt. Byars is an athletic scorer with a complete game. At 6'7" 225, he can take his fair share of lumps and isn't afraid to mix it up with the bigs. At the next level, Byars will need better shot selection and improve his ball handling, but these are highly achievable given what he has already accomplished.
  18. Golden State. Thaddeus Young, SF, Georgia Tech. Although Young had a disappointing freshman year, his upside cannot be forgotten. He can shoot from the outside, drive to the hoop, and score at will. However, he is still very raw and will need to add muscle in order to take the bumps and bruises of a 82-game NBA season.
  19. LA Lakers. Rodney Stuckey, SG, Eastern Washington. Stuckey is an excellent scorer who can be the guard who will benefit from Kobe's ability to attract double teams. Stuckey can also create for himself. Additionally, he can play exceptional defense, but his competition in the NBA might be slightly better than that of the Big Sky Conference.
  20. Miami. Javaris Crittenton, PG, Georgia Tech. The Heat need to get young and they need to do it quickly. Crittenton is a great penetrator with tremendous quickness and athleticism. At 6'5" 195, he can already challenge NBA point guards, but remains very raw. On too many occasions, Crittenton picked up cheap fouls and he will need more discipline. He will also need to improve his outside shot.
  21. Philadelphia (from Denver). Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M. Unselfish and clutch. These are the two adjectives you want most in your point guard and Law embodies them better than any other point guard in the draft. Who cares if he's not a natural point if he has the qualities and intangibles down pat?
  22. Charlotte (from Toronto). Rudy Fernandez, Joventut Badalona (Spain). Enter the Spanish Ginobili. Fernandez is an excellent spot-up shooter can also take his man off the dribble. His high basketball IQ and unselfish will drive opponents crazy. At this point, Fernandez will need weight to his small frame in order to absorb the NBA rigors.
  23. New York (from Chicago). Daequan Cook, SG, Ohio State. After a successful pre-draft camp, Cook solidified his spot in the 1st round and the Knicks feel Cook can make an instantaneous impact in the Big Apple. Daequan will need to work on his defense if he wants to crack Isiah's rotation immediately.
  24. Phoenix (from Cleveland via Boston). Marco Belinelli, SG, Climamio Bologna (Italy). The athletic shooting guard has a quick release and is not deterred by physical defenders. On the defensive side, Belinelli struggles with lateral quickness.
  25. Utah. Morris Almond, SG, Rice. A prototypical 2 guard, Almond was the only option at Rice. His range will expand the court and allow Deron Williams to run the floor more effectively. Conversely, Almond fails to bring the same intensity to the defensive side of the ball. Jerry Sloan will make sure that changes ... quickly.
  26. Houston. Marcus Williams, SG/SF, Arizona. Williams is the type of player who can contribute early and often. He excelled in an open court system and has a steady mid-range game that can expand to beyond the 3-point line. Williams' major weaknesses: his defense and strength.
  27. Detroit. Gabe Pruitt, PG, Southern Cal. A difficult decision possibly necessitated by Billups' exit from the Motor City. Pruitt is an athletic guard who is a strong offensive player who is very quick and takes chances on the defensive end. Pruitt need to learn how to distribute better at the next level.
  28. San Antonio. Aaron Brooks, PG, Oregon. Another pre-draft camp success, Brooks demonstrated that he has the skills and abilities to play the 1 in the NBA. We all already knew that he could shoot and d it up.
  29. Phoenix. Sean Williams, PF, Boston College. Williams is a defensive-minded forward who can alter shots and rebound very well. He is a major risk as Williams has had many disciplinary issues that resulted in his dismissal from the basketball team. If this pick is traded to a team seeking a point guard, don't be surprised to see Ramon Sessions go in this spot.
  30. Philadelphia (from Dallas via Denver and Golden State). Ali Traore, PF/C, Le Havre (France). Traore has the quickness and leaping ability to be a serviceable part of the Sixers. Traore also showed that he can finish around the basket and is not afraid to mix it up with the big physical types. He will need to improve his free throw shooting and work ethic. The Sixers may go after Aaron Gray due to the similarities between Dalembert and Traore.

2nd Round

  1. Seattle (from Memphis). Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh.
  2. Boston. Ante Tomic, PF/C, KK Zagreb (Croatia).
  3. San Antonio (from Milwaukee). Kyle Visser, PF/C, Wake Forest.
  4. Dallas (from Atlanta). Arron Afflalo, SG, UCLA.
  5. Seattle. Nick Fazekas, PF, Nevada.
  6. Golden State (from Minnesota). Reyshawn Terry, SF, North Carolina.
  7. Portland. Alando Tucker, SF, Wisconsin.
  8. Philadelphia (from New York via Chicago). Demetris Nichols, SG/SF, Syracuse.
  9. Orlando (from Sacramento via Utah). Ramon Sessions, PG, Nevada.
  10. LA Lakers (from Charlotte). Jared Dudley, SF, Boston College.
  11. Minnesota (from Philadelphia). Dominic McGuire, SF, Fresno State.
  12. Portland (from Indiana). Marc Gasol, C, Akasvayu Girona (Spain).
  13. New Orleans. DeVon Hardin, PF/C, California.
  14. Orlando. Glen Davis, PF, Louisiana State.
  15. LA Clippers. Taurean Green, PG, Florida.
  16. Golden State (from New Jersey). Stanko Barac, C, Siroki Prima (Bosnia).
  17. Washington. Bobby Brown, PG, Cal State Fullerton.
  18. LA Lakers. Carl Landry, PF, Purdue.
  19. Chicago (from Golden State via Denver, Boston and Phoenix). Quinton Hosley, SF, Fresno State.
  20. Dallas (from Miami via LA Lakers). Jermareo Davidson, PF, Alabama.
  21. Chicago (from Denver). Stephane Lasme, PF, Massachusetts.
  22. Portland (from Toronto). Renaldas Seibutis, SG, Maroussi Athens (Lithuania).
  23. Portland (from Chicago). Petteri Koponen, PG, Honka Playboys (Finland).
  24. Orlando (from Cleveland). Zoran Erceg, PF/C, FMP Zeleznic Beograd (Croatia).
  25. Utah. Ivan Radenovic, PF, Arizona.
  26. Milwaukee (from Houston). Zabian Dowdell, PG/SG, Virginia Tech.
  27. Detroit. Kyrylo Fesenko, PF/C, SK Cherkassy (Ukraine).
  28. San Antonio. Coby Karl, SG, Boise State.
  29. Phoenix. Artem Zabelin, SF/PF, Dynamo SP (Russia).
  30. Dallas. Mirza Begic, C, KK Geoplin Slovan (Croatia).


Anonymous said...

I wanted to make a few comments on your mock. Okay, more than a few.

...The Lottery Picks Analysis...
1) Duh. Portland is building a good character team, which is obviously different from their past. But I think they may be a couple of years, and a solid small power forward, from being a playoff team. I love Sergio Rodriguez. He is the PG of the team. Not Conley. They don't need to do Randolph/Jack for Conley, it doesn't make sense. You can get a ton of more value for Randolph. Maybe even a Richard Jefferson, SF-type.

2) The fact that he can't bench 185 lb, doesn't mean he isn't an NBA elite-level player in the future. He'll be fine at his length. Seattle might not be the best place for him; especially in that market. Whereas Oden serves better in small-market.

3) They need a PG, badly. They need to move away from athletic wingmen. You can't say that Marvin Williams, Childress, and Smith are misses in the draft...but there's too many of them. I doubt Conley, this high. Trade out. But you won't get him past Millwaukee.

4) Horford here is the best value. Missed out on Oden, but you get a proven PF.

5) Not the right pick. They need an overall defensive player, with all-around potential like Corey Brewer. Boston can't afford to keep piling on players they want to be good in a few years. They need to trade out of the pick though. I would package it for Shawn Marion. But don't give up the farm. They need excitement, badly.

6) Assuming Conley is gone of course, the Bucks need a PG obviously (not wanting to pay Mo Williams or start Charlie Bell)...they lack defense. They might take Noah, for shot-blocking and rebounding.

7) Either Noah or Brewer here. Noah does make sense. Mike James being traded does put Conley into consideration here.

8) Not sure how to react. Jeff Green, who I don't think is the right pick, seems to be the pick. I just don't think this is a logical pick. They need a center. Re-signing Gerald Wallace matters a ton. Green will prob be the pick, for his defense.

9) I don't agree. It's hard to peg. They need a low-post skilled player. Hawes may be that, but is he right now? Or do you take a dynamic player like Jianlian (if available)? Will Hawes contribute next year? Is Yi is gone, Nocioni's departure could mean a SF is needed. This is a wait and see analysis pick.

10) If they lose Artest, of course it's Green, if there, at 10. Considering he should be of fthe boards by now, you take him. If they play on keeping Artest, you don't do it. You take a serious look at Thornton, Wright, or even Acie Law (probably too high, since Bibby may stay and they have Douby and plenty of other multi-dimenstional bench guards who don't do much right). Aren't Kenny Thomas and Abdur-Rahim past their prime too? Al Thornton or Hawes maybe.

11) If they don't get Conley here, they have to Acie Law (if available). The PGs in this draft are a value at the Hawks' picks. Do a trade. Al Thornton is a good PF pick here. Again, trade trade trade. Don't keep both picks.

12) Philly with Thornton is a great fit. Also look at Nick Young or maybe even Josh McRoberts. A strong scorer or a skilled low-post guys work.

13) If they lose Desmond Mason, Nick Young or Thornton makes ton of sense. Armstrong and Simmons don't seem to look very special. They need an offensive minded-player to help Chandler on the pick-and-roll.

14) They need a new PG, especially with Livingston. They can't afford to take Splitter here. Draft or trade this pick for a PG. They need no other position to be concentrated upon outside of here. Kaman will be fine next year.

Other random thoughts...

-I like Splitter, but the knock is his explosiveness, but he is the PJ Brown-type athletic PF (with that old-school jump shot). Picks 15-20 seem the highest.
-Byars reminds me of Jarvis Hayes, and not in a good way. That jump shot may not work in the NBA.
-Thaddeus Young is gifted, but is he really motivated, and worthy of topp15 praise? Nope.
-I don't think Acie Law's game will translate into the NBA well. He could be a bust. He does have a ton of heart though.
-Fernandez reminds me a lot of Rodriguez last year. He'll slip and be stolen. Too athletic as a swingman who can drive to the hoops and has tons of experience with the Spanish team.
-Belinelli is the guy for the Knicks. He is an outside shooting guard who is athletic and isn't a tweener.
-I like Almond. His jump-shot will translate and he is more explosive than people give him credit for. He is very streaky though.
-Marcus Williams could drop mid-2nd round. He could easily be a guy who didn't work in college and be rock solid in the pros. They again, does he do anything incredible well? Not yet, at least.
-Sean Williams, late first or early second, is a great shot blocker. He is worth the risk, even if he is the next Eddie Griffin "pain in the butt".
-Ali Traore, prob not a first-rounder, apparently has a jump-shot, back-to-the-basket game and seems like a Nene-type player. A tweener. A PF, and nothing more.
-Afflalo...second round. His game doesn't translate. Reminds me of a Keith Bogans.
-Ante the right situation, could be a Krstic.

As for some college name-guys:
-Aaron Grey...extremely watered down version of what he did in college, is what you will get. All of his weaknesses will be exposed.
-Reyshawn Terry...not at all. way.
-Nichols...good 3-pointer, athletic figure, so maybe a journeyman who finds a niche eventually.
-Dudley is skinnier and that helps. But prob not enough.
-Gasol is a good second-round choice, he'll give you what Oberto gives the Spurs.
-Alando Tucker...who knows?
-Big Baby. Is Tractor Traylor or Zach Randolph? Probably the first.
-Why did Taurean Green leave again?
-Herbert Hill and Avis Wyatt...there draft camps STUNK.

Final thoughts...
1) There better be actual deals. Portland, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, New York, and Chicago may be able to make big moves.
2) This draft may end up being overrated. Big time.
3) Numbers 5 to almost 20 will be a lot of mismatches and guessing.
4) The late second-round may have some big-time steals we will look back in in a couple years.
5) If I could see...Atlanta's team with a legit PG that could help them.

If I could've had Oden going anywhere, it would've been...Memphis.
If I could've had Durant going anywhere, it would've been...Boston. Maybe Minnesota, to be with KG.

Seattle is the worst place to go. Portland will work though. That's fine. Memphis, he develops faster with Gasol.

And last...would I trade these guys...
Phoenix - Marion (Yes.)
Minnesota - KG (Yes.)
Lakers - Kobe. (NO.)
Memphis - Gasol. (No. Not without Oden.)
Sacremento - Artest & Bibby (Yes. Yes. Yes.)
Boston - Pierce. (No way.)

NJ - Carter (No maximum.)
Seattle - Lewis (No.)
Bulls - Nocioni (Yes, they need to.)
Charlotte - Wallace (Of course.)
Detroit - Billups (Atlanta needs to make him the GM.)
Wizards - Hayes. (Just do whatever it takes to get Randolph out of Portland. Try!)

Get on the Gilbert Arenas bandwagon now. 2008 unrestricted!

He's gonna stay for the max. Wouldn't you love to pretend where he could go? His crazy butt could end up in the ABA. Man, if only he could go to New York. But he'd go anywhere. He'd find a scenario to be King. Even Los Angeles. In a heartbeat. He'd want to be the next helper for Kobe.

Wow, quite a ramble.
I'm out!


Paymon said...


Thanks for your solid input. We tend to agree on many things.

First, on Conley being drafted at pick 3, I agree that he won't last past Milwaukee if available. Also, Memphis and Boston have no incentive for moving up to pick 3. The key, therefore, is to move up from 11 to 5. Atlanta has a bevy of young tradeable talent (Shelden Williams, Josh Childress, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Salim Stoudamire, etc.), so if they package that and the 11th pick, then Danny Ainge may be willing to part with the 5th pick.

Second, there is very good point guard quality in the 2nd round, and I have the Clips taking Taurean Green, who can start immediately.

Third, the more and more I see of Ante Tomic, the less I'm impressed. His YouTube clip is wildly unremarkable.

Fourth, instead of there "might be" second round steals, I'm going to say that there will be. No less than a couple of the small forwards taken in the early second round have All-Star potential. There are specialists like Lasme and Karl who can be the missing piece on a championship team.

Anonymous said...

DeVon Hardin has shot up the ranks through some awesome workouts and is getting interest from New Jersey and Golden State.

Paymon said...

Spot on! Kudos to the NBA draft gurus who have had faith in Hardin prior to his huge leap forward now being reported. According to Andy Katz of, Hardin will remain in the draft and is expected to sign with an agent.

Also, the Hawks are leaning towards Al Horford with the 3rd pick, meaning Conley Jr. will slip to the Bucks, who may actually take Corey Brewer. If the Bucks take Conley Jr., then the Hawks are likely to pounce on Acie Law IV, whom the Hawks are high on.