Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007 NBA Mock Draft - Version 5.0 (FINAL)

We are just hours and minutes away from the NBA Draft and we finally have the FINAL edition of the mock draft. There’s no going back, so I don’t care if the NBA announces a deal between now and the start of the draft. We have predicted a few trades that may occur, but this mock draft does not include any of the blockbusters that have occupied ESPN’s airwaves the last few days.

The drama begins at pick 3, where we’ll holding firm to Al Horford despite the Yi Jianlian reports. If Yi is taken, the Grizzlies must heavily consider Horford in lieu of Mike Conley Jr., who we have as the fourth pick. This speculation, if it comes to fruition, will cause a ripple effect taking shape throughout the duration of the lottery. Every lottery has a player who slips out and our final mock shows that it will be Al Thornton, who may be drafted as high as 10th, but may fall to the Wizards at 16. Beginning in the mid-teens, there will be a steady run on shooting guards, many of whom have all-star potential for many years to come.

Being that this is the deepest draft in recent memory, the second round has plenty of talented players, especially at point guard and power forward. Similar to last year’s draft, we have 10 internationally-based players being selected this year in the second round.

Going along with reports, we have Phoenix selling away one of its first-round picks to Cleveland. While Toronto was considered as a potential buyer, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has given Danny Ferry the green light in terms of going over the salary cap, signifying that they may buy into the draft. Also, New York has the perfect opportunity at the 38th pick to nab Taurean Green, who Isiah Thomas is enamored with. There’s also the Pacers, who have been rumored to be interested in entering the draft, and I expect them to do so in the second round. And, of course, there’s Portland, who have four second-round draft picks, all of which they will not use. There is also the Houston Rockets, who are looking to wheel and deal with new head coach Rick Adelman in charge.

With that said, we know a few things that I will reiterate. First, the draft will be exciting. Anticipation does it by itself. Expect David Stern to make a smart remark at least once during the course of the first round. Second, there will be sheer amazement expressed by the pundits who will hear coherent English from at least one internationally-based player. Jim Grey will then break the story on how that player has a second cousin he visited every year who is American. Third, prepare to be pissed off by your team’s front office, who made a promise to a player who wouldn’t be drafted for another 15 picks. This is because many members of the front office (i.e. the decision makers) are made up of people who got their job from the old boy network rather than any merit-based work. In spite of this, the draft will be an awesome four-and-a-half hours of television.

Phoenix trades the rights to the 29th pick to Cleveland for cash.
Philadelphia trades the rights to the 38th pick to New York for two future second-round picks (unprotected).
Golden State trades the rights to the 46th pick to Indiana for a future second-round pick (unprotected).
Portland trades the rights to the 52nd pick to the LA Clippers for a future second-round pick (unprotected).

1st Round

1. Portland. Greg Oden, C, Ohio State. We’ve known this for weeks. As of last night, it’s official. Let the Przybilla trade offers begin.
2. Seattle. Kevin Durant, SF, Texas. No brainer here. Durant goes first in most other drafts. Truckload of talent and very underrated 7’5” wingspan to boot.
3. Atlanta. Al Horford, PF, Florida. Belkin’s blocking the Amare/Garnett 3-way and Atlanta forgets that they lack a point guard. Horford’s a steep upgrade over Shelden “Bust” (formerly “Forehead”) Williams.
4. Memphis. Mike Conley Jr., PG, Ohio State. Iavaroni wants a point guard badly and he’ll get Conley if he so wants him. Questionable shooting but a great perimeter defender who’ll harass ball handlers.
5. Boston. Yi Jianlian, PF, Guangdong Tigers (China). It’s a toss-up between Yi, Brewer and Green in that order.
6. Milwaukee. Corey Brewer, SF, Florida. Defense, defense, defense! If you watched a Bucks game last season, you’re nodding. Solid pick by the Bucks brass.
7. Minnesota. Brandan Wright, PF, North Carolina. Despite being labeled as a tweener, Wright can be dominant in the post at both ends and will be an immediate defensive presence.
8. Charlotte. Jeff Green, SF, Georgetown. It’s a toss-up between Green and Joakim Noah. Before yesterday, I liked Noah in this spot, but Gerald Wallace opting out of his contract opens up a gap that Green can better fill.
9. Chicago (from New York). Spencer Hawes, C, Washington. Lack of low-post scoring is the reason why the Bulls couldn’t beat the Pistons. The Bulls are also high on Julian Wright.
10. Sacramento. Joakim Noah, PF, Florida. This may be ill will coming to fruition, but Noah fits the bill for the need at power forward. Al Thornton is also heavily considered at this pick.
11. Atlanta (from Indiana). Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M. Billy Knight is so bad that a good move is when he pulls a bad trade off the table (like Ridnour for the 11th pick). Law will start in Atlanta barring injury.
12. Philadelphia. Julian Wright, SF/PF, Kansas. Wright declined workouts with the Clippers and Pistons, so he might have a promise from either Chicago, Sacramento or Philly. Philly makes the most sense.
13. New Orleans. Nick Young, SG, USC. Need over size??? Yes, the Hornets actually go with a shooting guard.

14. LA Clippers. Javaris Crittenton, PG, Georgia Tech. Shawn Livingston’s career is in doubt after a brutal injury that has already ruled him out for next season. Word on the street is that the Clips may consider a swingman like Crittenton’s collegiate teammate, Thaddeus Young.
15. Detroit (from Orlando). Rodney Stuckey, SG/PG, Eastern Washington. I smell a promise. Stuckey fills the hole left by the Delfino trade and possibly the exit of Billups.
16. Washington. Al Thornton, PF/SF, Florida State. Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld has said in local radio interviews that the Wizards are content to sit and wait to see what develops at this pick. Best player available is selected.
17. New Jersey. Jason Smith, PF, Colorado State. The baggage of Sean Williams appears a bit much to the Nets front office. Glen “Sprained Ankle” Davis is also considered.
18. Golden State. Thaddeus Young, SF, Georgia Tech. With two crucial small forwards who can rebound on the go, Young is a great find and excellent value at pick 18. Jared Dudley, workout warrior, will also be considered.
19. LA Lakers. Rudy Fernandez, SG, DKV Joventut (Spain). Rudy is the truth and the Lakers know that they need a playmaker who’s drawn Ginobili comparisons. If I were GM, I’d go with Derrick Byars.
20. Miami. Marco Belinelli, SG, Climamio Bologna (Italy). Huge upside and no foreseeable buyout issues. The Heat really need a point guard, but doing so would mean severely reaching for Gabe Pruitt, in my humble opinion.
21. Philadelphia (from Denver). Sean Williams, PF/C, Boston College. Williams is troubled and we know that. He’s a defensive stud who will fortify the 76ers frontline.
22. Charlotte (from Toronto). Morris Almond, SG, Rice. Sharp-shooter with skills to pay the bills. He’ll certainly have a stronger supporting cast than he did at Rice.
23. New York (from Chicago). Wilson Chandler, SF, DePaul. Ugh. I’m giving Zeke a mulligan on this one because he shut us up with the picks of Lee, Balkman and Collins.
24. Phoenix (from Cleveland via Boston). Josh McRoberts, PF, Duke. This is exactly the tempo that suits McRoberts, who has amazing athleticism despite his awkwardness in the half-court set.
25. Utah. Derrick Byars, SG/SF, Vanderbilt. Major slippage and for no good reason. His lack of foot speed has been overblown by the haters. He’s a legit 2 and can play the 3. 26. Houston. Glen Davis, PF, Louisiana State. The sprained ankle was scary but that should not affect his draft positioning that much.
27. Detroit. Tiago Splitter, PF/C, Tau Ceramica (Spain). Possibly, playing on a good team may help his buyout situation. You never know. He’s one of the best players in Europe and still a very young man. Don’t be absolutely shocked if the Pistons reach for Kyrylo Fesenko.
28. San Antonio. Jared Dudley, SF, Boston College. The workout warrior has proven why measurements are just that. Like him or hate him, Dudley is a heady player who rarely makes bad decisions.
29. Phoenix - traded to Cleveland. Daequan Cook, SG, Ohio State. Cook isn’t exactly what the Cavs need, but he is explosive and can hit 3s, and what LeBron wants … LeBron gets.
30. Philadelphia (from Dallas via Denver and Golden State). Gabe Pruitt, PG, USC. Philadelphia gets its SF, PF, and PG combo that they badly wanted. Petteri Koponen may be an option.

2nd Round

31. Seattle (from Memphis). Petteri Koponen, PG, Honka Playboys (Finland). The perfect guy to stash away for a few years while he grows in Europe with Ridnour, Watson and Wilks already on the roster.
32. Boston. Kyrylo Fesenko, C, Cherkassy (Ukraine). The C’s are rumored to be taking a European center. Stanko Barac could also be considered, but Fesenko is the better prospect.
33. San Antonio (from Milwaukee). Arron Afflalo, SG, UCLA. Afflalo goes to a solid team after all despite slipping into the second round.
34. Dallas (from Atlanta). Alando Tucker, SF, Wisconsin. Alando is an excellent heir to taking the Stackhouse role.
35. Seattle. Renaldas Seibutis, SG, Maroussi Athens (Greece). If this doesn’t happen, blame HoopsHype, who cited that many NBA teams are suggesting the Lithuanian gets drafted here.
36. Golden State (from Minnesota). Dominic McGuire, SF, Fresno State. Averaged double-digits in rebounding and was an excellent shot blocker for the Bulldogs.
37. Portland. Demetris Nichols, SF, Syracuse. It’s between Reyshawn Terry and Nichols, and Portland chooses the Syracuse stroker.
38. Philadelphia (from New York via Chicago) - traded to New York. Taurean Green, PG, Florida. There’s mutual love between Green, who wears #11, and Thomas. Green is a playmaker and a conductor at the same time. At this spot, he’s of great value.
39. Orlando (from Sacramento via Utah). Aaron Brooks, PG, Oregon. Another steal at the point guard position. However, Brooks may go to a team drafting late in the first round. If Brooks were two inches taller, he’d be drafted in the early 20s.
40. LA Lakers (from Charlotte). Marcus Williams, SG/SF, Arizona. Another fall guy. Williams is a solid scorer who can hit open shots. His defensive acumen has come into question more than once.
41. Minnesota (from Philadelphia). Marc Gasol, C, Akasvayu Girona (Spain). Pau’s younger brother has improved and still has room for improvement. Minnesota will consider Visser and Fazekas.
42. Portland (from Indiana). Zoran Erceg, PF, Zeleznik (Serbia). Another European stash-job in Portland, who have 4 (count ‘em, 4) second-round draft picks. Funny thing is that on some sites, he’s 196 pounds and on another, he’s 235.
43. New Orleans. Nick Fazekas, PF, Nevada. Major slide for Fazekas, who might get drafted in the 1st round for all I know. Visser will also be considered at this pick.
44. Orlando. Kyle Visser, PF/C, Wake Forest. Visser provides interior support for Dwight Howard. Even better news for the Magic is that former first-round draft pick Fran Vasquez wants to play for the team this season. Isn’t that nice of him?
45. LA Clippers. Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh. And there you have it! The run on big white men is complete. Gray will provide support for Chris Kaman.
46. Golden State (from New Jersey) - traded to Indiana. Ramon Sessions, PG, Nevada. The Pacers are getting sicked and tired of Jamaal Tinsley’s constant indiscretions, be it on the court or off of it. Sessions has the best combined skills of scoring, dishing and rebounding of any point guard in this draft.
47. Washington. Carl Landry, PF, Purdue. Injury problems slowed Landry, but he’s a proven low-post scorer who can rebound. The Wizards must be prepared to lose some of their inside players to free agency.
48. LA Lakers. Zabian Dowdell, PG/SG, Virginia Tech. Solid who made the transition to point during the pre-draft camp and workouts.
49. Chicago (from Golden State via Denver, Boston and Phoenix). Marko Tomas, SG, Real Madrid (Spain). Talk of JamesOn Curry’s promise at 49 has died down this week, so the Bulls go international with the lanky Spaniard.
50. Dallas (from Miami via LA Lakers). Stanko Barac, C, Siroki (Bosnia). Dallas is counting down to the end of Dampier’s contract … which is neverending. They also get a decent prospect in Barac, who’s a legit 7-footer.
51. Chicago (from Denver). Stephane Lasme, PF, Massachusetts. Awesome rebounder to fill the holes left by the departing PJ Brown and Mike Sweetney.
52. Portland (from Toronto) - traded to LA Clippers. Reyshawn Terry, SF, North Carolina. Major value here for the Clippers, who get a four-year college player minus half of the mileage.
53. Portland (from Chicago). Shagari Alleyne, C, Manhattan. Space eater, plain and simple. He can block shots too. Can you see the excitement?
54. Orlando (from Cleveland). Giorgos Printezis, SF, Olimpia Laresa. Solid prospect for the future who emerged at the Reebok Eurocamp. Printezis knows how to attack the basket, crash the boards and hustle.
55. Utah. Ivan Radenovic, PF, Arizona. Excellent collegiate career for Radenovic who showed he was worth second-round consideration during workouts.
56. Milwaukee (from Houston). Ali Traore, PF, Le Havre (France). After excelling at the pre-draft camp in the US, Traore was iffy at best at the aforementioned Eurocamp. His stock drops as a result.
57. Detroit. Jermareo Davidson, PF, Alabama. The last year’s been a nightmare for Davidson, who can take solace for one evening that all of his work was for something.
58. San Antonio. Milovan Rakovic, PF, Mega Ishrana (Serbia). How many power forwads and centers can the Spurs have on reserve in Europe? I’m serious. Yet another reason to hate the best organization in the NBA.
59. Phoenix. Herbert Hill, PF, Providence. Why not? Hill stunk it up at the pre-draft camp, after getting lots of love in preliminary draft talk.
60. Dallas. Russell Carter, SG, Notre Dame. It’s between Carter, DJ Strawberry and Trey Johnson, but Carter wins out.

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