Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NBA Mock Draft - Version 3.0

1. Chicago. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, Kansas State. Many have Derrick Rose going first and I have little problem with that. Rumors are abound that the Bulls are shopping Kirk Hinrich. On the flipside, there are just as many rumors, if not more, that the Bulls may trade for TJ Ford or Jose Calderon. All of these known, the Bulls still have not fully addressed the need for a dynamic frontcourt player who can score at will. Beasley immediately addresses that need and is a 15 and 9 contributor out of the gate.

2. Miami. Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. Two seasons removed from an NBA title, the Heat were holders of the league’s worst record. For having a horrible season, they get the point guard they’ve been dying for. Enter Derrick Rose, a true point who can slash, pass, create his own shot and finish around the basket. Needless to say, Rose is also a fabulous defender and a team-oriented player.

3. Minnesota. OJ Mayo, SG/PG, USC. Seemingly stocked at the guard position, the roster is short of playmakers who can turn it up on the defensive end and OJ Mayo is that. The Wolves will take a very long look at Brook Lopez, the offensively gifted center out of Stanford; however, Lopez has been lacking in the rebounding and defensive department.

4. Seattle. Brook Lopez, C, Stanford. No more project centers! Though Brook Lopez does not carry the upside of a Greg Oden, he is no project like his predecessors (Robert Swift, Saer Sene, Johan Petro to name a few). Seattle will consider Jerryd Bayless as well, but can you imagine the number of shots left to the other three players on the court after Bayless and Durant have taken their shots? Neither can I. But that’s because I don’t want to.

5. Memphis. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Armani Jeans Milano. In an extremely unenviable position, the Grizzlies will look for a trading partner. If they cannot find one, they will begrudgingly select Gallinari who’s no slouch. He’s a live body with superb shooting and driving skills. Gallinari will need to add some meat to handle the rigors of the 82-game NBA schedule, but don’t we all? Other options include Darrell Arthur (not as skilled as Gallinari, but more physical) Anthony Randolph (too much of an upside pick), Kevin Love (poor fitness) and DeAndre Jordan (see Randolph). Here’s one more question: How similar is Gallinari to Rudy Gay?

6. New York. Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas. Unsatisfied with the long-term prospects of both Zack Randolph and Eddy Curry (David Lee is awesome, but he may not fit into Mike D'Antoni's plans), the Knicks invest their future in Arthur, who brings a solid mix of size, lateral quickness, a mid-range jumper and the ability to run the floor.

7. LA Clippers. Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG, Arizona. With uncertainty in sight (both Elton Brand and Corey Maggette may opt out) at all positions except center and one forward position, the Clippers need a playmaker. If you’ve watched Bayless, you’ll know exactly how aggressive he can be on offense. However, his defensive intensity leaves something to be desired.

8. Milwaukee. Anthony Randolph, SF, LSU. Every draft has a Mr. Upside. This is him. Though he played in the SEC, Randolph remained in national obscurity for much of the year to all except scouts and college basketball die-hards. Randolph has a ridiculous wingspan and agility to boot. Though he needs to bulk up, Randolph will make an immediate impact on the defensive end to a Bucks squad that has more holes than Swiss cheese.

9. Charlotte. DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M. Though limited offensively, Jordan makes up for that with his sheer size and athleticism. With a shaky frontline and their best frontcourt player (Okafor) able to leave in the summer (qualifying offer of $7.1M), Michael selects another Jordan … who will be riding pine because Larry Brown doesn’t like playing rookies.

10. New Jersey. Kevin Love, PF, UCLA. Talk about a great fit. Love adds an interior scorer who can create mismatches. His passing ability only makes him better. That said, Love’s conditioning has come into question.

No Love from CDR

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

11. Indiana. DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. Last season, the Achilles’ heel of the Pacers has been the point guard position. Enter DJ Augustin, who, though small (5’11”, 180 pounds), makes up for it with toughness and guile. Additionally, he’s a true floor general with a sense for the game, and has been known to include teammates well.

12. Sacramento. Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. Though not the greatest fit, Gordon is by far the most talented player left on the board. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, Gordon has a NBA body. Nevertheless, his stock has dropped following a disappointing March. If the Kings cannot re-sign Beno Udrih, they may select Russell Westbrook.

13. Portland. Joe Alexander, SF, West Virginia. It is already common knowledge that the Blazers are shopping this pick. Since this version of the mock draft does not include trades, the Blazers address their weakest position – small forward. Though the upside of Donte Greene is tough to pass up, Joe Alexander has a more complete game and can contribute in more ways than simply score points.

14. Golden State. Russell Westbrook, PG/SG, UCLA. With a maximum of nine players under contract, the Warriors may trade down to amass more selections. Prepared to lose Monta Ellis this summer and perhaps Baron Davis next summer (it’s very unlikely he’ll pass on a $17M player option this summer), the Warriors select Russell Westbrook, who arose from the UCLA bench to heavy lottery consideration. The 6’4” guard will need to work on his ball-handling skills, but his lack of a true position will actually benefit him in Don Nelson’s open system. His defensive abilities make him an instant asset.

15. Phoenix (from Atlanta). Nicolas Batum, SG, Le Mans. Since the Suns are missing a head coach, this selection is quite difficult. If they run with a system similar to the one they had under Mike D’Antoni, the Suns will roll with Nicolas Batum, a wiry 6’8” shooting guard from across the Atlantic, who has the tools necessary to be a top 15 player in this league. He just needs to get stronger. All things considered, if Shaq decides to call it a day, the needs become readily clear.

16. Philadelphia. Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown. With Dalembert more inconsistent than Yao Ming is tall and injury-prone, the 76ers go after Hibbert, who can add scoring punch and alter shots in the lane. Hibbert will need to work on his footwork and add creativity to his game.

17. Toronto. Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Kansas. Set at only the power forward position, the Raptors go after the multi-faceted Rush, whose most noted weakness is that he’s unselfish to a fault. An all-around stud, Rush has stellar athleticism, pure shooting touch and can defend up to three positions well.

18. Washington. Robin Lopez, C, Stanford. Upon watching the Wizards bow out of the playoffs, two things were clear. The teams lack toughness and they cannot rebound. While the two are not mutually exclusive, Robin Lopez fills the void (albeit, not entirely) at both. Offensively, Robin may be a liability and that may limit his playing time.

19. Cleveland. Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas. For as great as LeBron James is, this year’s playoffs showed us exactly why the Cavs need a point guard. Though Mario Chalmers played the 2, he is capable of playing the point (otherwise, Ty Lawson becomes the pick). A cagy on-the-ball defender, Chalmers is equally excellent in terms of anticipation – two things that Mike Brown will love. Did I mention that he can shoot from behind the arc and is not afraid to take the big shot?

20. Denver. Jason Thompson, PF, Rider. After giving up a million points in four games against the LA Lakers, the Nuggets brass are closer to coming to terms with the fact that they need a defensive-minded player. Averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for little-known Rider during his junior and senior year, Jason Thompson used his leaping skills and footwork to become a solid shot blocker.

21. New Jersey (from Dallas). Donte Greene, SF/PF, Syracuse. With Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson signed through 2011, it’s unlikely that Greene would see much of the floor early on. However, with the trade winds indicating that Jefferson is being shopped and history proving that neither stay healthy for an entire season, Greene is a superb value at this pick. In Greene, the Nets obtain a great shooter with length who is ultra aggressive on offense. Greene will need to work on strength, shot selection and defense.

Greene: Unlikely to go this late

Courtesy: Syracuse University

22. Orlando. Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona. When a team has a great rebounder, you can never have enough shooting. Though he struggled for a good portion of his sophomore campaign, Budinger has exceptional range and improved on moving without the ball. Additionally, though he’s no Mo Cheeks, he vastly elevated his game defensively. Also receiving consideration for this pick are Wayne Ellington and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

23. Utah. JaVale McGee, C, Nevada. Though Utah has many skilled big men in their arsenal, none are defensive specialists. McGee’s 7’6” wingspan will garner immediate playing time, but he will need to add strength and discipline in order to maximize on his high ceiling. Patience will no doubt be a virtue for McGee.

24. Seattle (from Phoenix). Marreese Speights, PF, Florida. Having taken Brook Lopez with their first pick, the Sonics continue to play the draft board by going with Speights. Adept at the 4, Speights already has the frame and some skills to compete in the Association. Nevertheless, Speights must continue to gather basketball IQ, as his tendency to not use his strength and inability to maintain focus and intensity have plagued his game.

25. Houston. Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State. In Koufos, the Rockets get a true center with shooting range, a la Yao. Despite average athleticism, Koufos is a sound defender and a good rebounder. In the meanwhile, Koufos must get more aggressive to battle with the big uglies in order to shed the unfair yet accurate tag of being a European big man.

26. San Antonio. Joey Dorsey, PF/C, Memphis. If you could describe the Spurs and Joey Dorsey in a single word, the words “tough” and “winner” come to mind. Needless to say, though the Spurs have Ian Mahinmi and Tiago Splitter in the pipeline, the Spurs have an aging frontcourt. Dorsey’s mean streak, strength and ability to be a facilitator despite lacking offensive tools make him the smart money pick. Expect the Spurs to consider reaching for a swingman with this selection.

27. New Orleans. DJ White, PF, Indiana. Following their exit from the playoffs, the Hornets realized that they need to add more depth to the frontline. In spite of being undersized and having difficulty staying healthy, DJ White can contribute almost immediately and can deputize for David West on occasion.

28. Memphis (from LA Lakers). Nikola Pekovic, PF, Partizan Belgrade. In desperate need of a big, Memphis leaches onto Pekovic, who had great success in the Euroleague. A back to the basket player, Pekovic has demonstrated explosiveness near the rim. To round out his game, he will need to work on his J. His ability to run the floor is an added bonus for Marc Iavaroni.

29. Detroit. JJ Hickson, PF, NC State. Though seemingly loaded at power forward, the Pistons select Hickson, who lost steam as the season persisted. Since Hickson is only 19, the Pistons know they will need to reign him in quickly in order to benefit from his strength, rebounding ability and overall potential for excellence.

30. Boston. Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina. You can never have enough shooters. With two years left on Ray Allen’s contract, Ellington can begin grooming himself to win the starting role in 2010. This season, Ellington escaped from the criticism that he was “only a shooter”. The goal for next year is to overcome the stigma of “only playing offense”.

2nd Round

31. Minnesota (from Miami). Nathan Jawal, PF/C, Cairns Taipans. After selecting OJ Mayo, the Wolves set their sights on Nathan Jawal, an Australian big who actually enjoys getting physical. Like most aggressive players, Jawal will need to refine much of his game while continuing to learn the game.

32. Seattle. Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina. The Sonics just got much quicker. Upon drafting two bigs, it was imperative that they select a backup point (assuming that either Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson gets dealt this summer).

33. Portland (from Memphis). Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis. Likely selecting for another team at this point, the Blazers take the best player available. Should they wish to opt for the international stow-away route, the Blazers can opt for Alexis Ajinca or Omer Asik.

34. Minnesota. Davon Jefferson, SF, USC. Same approach, different team. Jefferson is an athletically gifted player but lacks the functional skills (shooting, dribbling) to dominate. Jefferson can be an energy guy for any roster in the very least and can become a star if he works on shooting and dribbling.

35. LA Clippers. Kyle Weaver, PG/SG, Washington State. One of the headiest players in the draft pool, Weaver is a tenacious defender. He will need to refine his offensive game if he wants to be the man down the stretch. His ball-handling skills allow for him to be an effective point guard who can cause matchup problems due to his height.

36. Portland (from New York). Alexis Ajinca, C/PF, HTV Hyeres-Toulon. Ajinca provides the agility and length to alter shots and rebound effectively. He is still getting accustomed to the game and has little to no offensive game. Ajinca likely needs two years of seasoning prior to seeing an NBA floor.

37. Milwaukee. DeVon Hardin, PF, California. Hardin adds a defensive mind who requires few shots to be effective and fits the mold of Scott Skiles.

38. Charlotte. Jamont Gordon, PG/SG, Mississippi State. You have to love versatility to make this pick. Gordon is a grinder who’s tough and gives you a tougher option at the point. Do not be surprised if the Bobcats opt for Lester Hudson, the scoring point out of UT-Martin.

39. Chicago. Lester Hudson, PG/SG, UT-Martin. If the Bulls go with Beasley, this pick will be a point. It’s surprising that Hudson has stuck around this late. Hudson is an effective scorer who can pass but not necessarily run a team.

Hudson: The darkhorse candidate to be a 1st-round pick. Who's that guy covering him?

Courtesy: The Love of Sports

40. New Jersey. Ryan Anderson, SF/PF, California. Because the Nets know their major hole is a scoring forward, they take a second swing with Anderson, who excelled in the PAC-10. A lack of foot speed hinders Anderson’s overall potential and ability to be superb on both sides of the ball.

41. Indiana. Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky. Not quite a need, Lee provides explosiveness and a great shooting touch.

42. Sacramento (from Atlanta). Victor Claver, PF/SF, Pamesa Valencia. Despite being only 19, Claver plays in Europe’s highest level and has shown considerable athleticism and agility, as well as a growing skill set to boot. His intelligence continues to grow. Claver may be best served to hone his game and earn a guarantee from a team before bolting for the NBA.

43. Sacramento. Rodrigue Beaubois, PG, Cholet. Compared to Rajon Rondo by, Beaubois has been buoyed by a 6’10” wingspan as well as tremendous foot speed. Poor decision making and an inability to get through screens hurt his prospects but he is only 20.

44. Utah (from Philadelphia). Bill Walker, SG/SF. If Walker waits a year, he should be a first-round pick. On the flipside, he tore his ACL and may be worried about doing it again. With Walker, the Jazz get a 1st-round talent with the composure and maturity of an undrafted free agent.

45. San Antonio (from Toronto). Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt. Since the Spurs are set at three positions, they need to continue to surround themselves with specialists. In Foster, the Spurs get one of the best shooters in college basketball. Israeli Omri Casspi receives consideration but raises too many red flags for Pop.

46. Seattle (from Portland via Boston). Omri Casspi, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv. A known rising talent in Israel, Casspi is also one of the youngest. At 19, Casspi has a great feel for the game and is athletic, versatile, agile and aggressive. The only thing holding down Casspi is his ego.

47. Washington. Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama. The Wizards are suddenly becoming a physical team (if they want to be, of course). Hendrix lacks overall speed, but he makes up for it with physicality and basketball wherewithal.

48. Phoenix (from Cleveland). Trent Plaisted, PF/C, BYU. In the current Suns system, Plaisted’s athletic ability and face-up game make him a fantastic fit. Could be a 10-year veteran role player in the league.

49. Golden State. Othello Hunter, PF, Ohio State. And here goes the run on athletic fours. The hard-working Hunter is an instant energy player who will make hustle plays and use every ounce of his talent.

50. Seattle (from Denver). Serge Ibaka, PF/C, L’ Hospitalet. Per Aran Smith of, Ibaka is a “tremendous athlete blessed with insane length and leaping ability” who “conjures up memories of Shawn Kemp”. According to the YouTube clip, this guy has the potential to be the real deal. With solid footwork, an existing jumpshot (great form to boot) and an awesome work ethic, Ibaka is much further along than many other project bigs.

51. Dallas. Jeremy Pargo, PG/SG, Gonzaga. Rick Carlisle finally gets an opportunity to place his imprint on the franchise and he does so with a point guard who has some toughness. Pargo isn’t a great shooter and can be prone to turning the ball over, but he has proven to show up in big games.

52. Miami (from Orlando). Semih Erden, C, Fenerbahce Ulker. A pure seven footer, Erden has athleticism and lateral quickness to match his size; however, Erden needs vast improvement in the defense and rebounding departments. Not too bad for the Stan van Gundy pick.

53. Utah. Omer Asik, PF/C, Fenerbahce Ulker. Unless Utah sees a player it loves, they will likely find a trading partner for this pick. If not, they are best served to draft an international player who is not yet NBA-ready. Asik is a consistent performer with ball skills, but he is paper thin at 220 pounds (mind you, he’s 7’0”).

54. Houston. Will Daniels, SF, Rhode Island. Daniels is a basketball player with great hands. He knows his strengths and exerts effort at all times. On the flipside, Daniels has the tendency to get into foul trouble and take bad shots.

55. Portland (from Phoenix). Pat Calathes, SF, St. Joseph’s. Calathes brings versatility to the table; however, Calathes really needs to bulk up in order to diversify his game. Calathes may be best served in the European leagues.

56. Seattle (from New Orleans). Richard Roby, SG, Colorado. One of the best shooters in this draft class, the Sonics can always use a sharpshooter. Like many, Roby will need to add upper body strength to take the ball and finish near the hoop.

57. San Antonio. Gary Forbes, SG/SF, Massachusetts. Throughout his collegiate career, Forbes increased his basketball IQ and consistency. At 6’7” and 220 pounds, Forbes will have a size advantage over most shooting guards and be comparable to most small forwards. Also, he is very coachable, which is an attractive proposition for the Spurs front office.

58. Los Angeles Lakers. Maarty Leunen, PF/SF, Oregon. Leunen can provide scoring punch and always gives his all on the glass.

59. Detroit. Goran Dragic, PG, Union Olimpija. A tall point, Dragic is no stranger to the lane and scores most of his points there. He has been considered unselfish to a fault and the Slovenian likely needs a couple more seasons in Europe.

60. Boston. Sean Singletary, PG, Virginia. The point guard from Virginia would have been selected higher last year had he remained in the draft. In him, the Celtics get a proven ball handler who can both score and facilitate.

1 comment:

Josh said...

As an Israeli who has seen Omri Caaspi play all year round for the last couple of years, I don't understand the references to his ego. No issues in that section.

Foremost unlike past candidates from Israel, Casspi is as close as it gets to a guarantee. He should really be a low first-round pick.