Sunday, June 22, 2008

NBA Mock Draft – Version 4.0

“The What Are They Going To Do Edition”

NOTE: This version of the mock draft projects potential trades. These were guided by rumors, need and teams having too many draft picks.

* New York trades the 6th pick to Phoenix and the rights to Malik Rose for the 15th and 48th picks and the rights to Leandro Barbosa.

Barbosa: Will he reunite with Mike D'Antoni?

Courtesy: All Posters

* Portland trades the 13th and 33rd picks and the rights to Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake to Detroit for their 2009 1st-round pick and the rights to Tayshaun Prince.
* Golden State trades the 14th pick to New York for the 15th and 48th picks.
* Milwaukee trades the rights to Mo Williams to Miami for their 2009 1st-round pick (unprotected).
* Denver trades the 20th pick and the rights to Linus Kleiza to Memphis for the 28th pick and the rights to Kyle Lowry.
* Sacramento trades the 43rd pick to the LA Lakers for the 58th pick and a future second round pick.
* Washington trades the 47th pick to Atlanta for a future 2nd-round pick.
* Seattle trades the 50th pick to Dallas for cash considerations.
* Utah trades the 53rd pick to the LA Clippers for a future 2nd-round pick.
* Portland trades the 55th pick to Philadelphia for cash considerations.
* Seattle trades the 56th pick to Washington for a future 2nd-round pick.
* LA Lakers trades the 58th pick to Cleveland for a future 2nd-round pick.
* Detroit trades the 59th pick to New York for cash considerations.

1. Chicago. Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. It’s looking more and more like the Bulls are going to draft Rose, who is earning comparisons with Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Rose isn’t quite there yet, but he’ll be excellent if he stays off the Gummi Bears come next spring. What does this mean for incumbent point guard Kirk Hinrich? Could he be dealt on draft night to a team with a need for a point guard like Indiana?

2. Miami. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, Kansas State. The K-State stud immediately addresses a toughness need and fits into the existing plans, though the Heat would ultimately prefer a Rose in their future. Beasley is an immediate 15 and 9 contributor and can play in an up-tempo style with DWade and Shawn Marion. That said, there are rumors that the Grizzlies are aiming to trade the 5th pick, Mike Miller and Kyle Lowry for the 2nd pick, which they would use on Beasley.

3. Minnesota. OJ Mayo, SG/PG, USC. Mayo is now the consensus third pick among the experts. Who had him as the third pick for much longer? Mayo adds a playmaker to a team that is sorely in need of one. At USC, Mayo improved his recognition out of double teams and overall defense, and that was only in less than half of an NBA season.

4. Seattle. Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG, Arizona. Somehow, the Sonics have been convinced that Bayless in indeed the point guard of the future. Or, they are convinced that Luke Ridnour and Bayless can play in the same backcourt with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green on the floor at the same time.

5. Memphis. Kevin Love, PF, UCLA. In how many ways can I mention that I hate this pick. Love is physical and he can score points in bunches. However, he will have to really improve his conditioning in order to earn minutes. It’s been two months since he got posterized by CDR and no one has forgotten about it. Does the expected announcement of Marc Gasol’s arrival change this?

6. Phoenix (from New York). Brook Lopez, C, Stanford. The Suns have a new style and they maximize the value of Barbosa by trading him away to his old coach. Malik Rose (a defensive-oriented player who more importantly has an expiring contract) may very well be dealt again. In Lopez, the Suns gain an inside scoring threat who is the heir apparent to The Diesel. Lopez’s defensive presence will put to task early and often next season.

7. LA Clippers. Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. An extreme talent, Gordon can straight ball and has the technical skills needed to succeed immediately. Does he have the head? Following the dismissal of Kelvin Sampson, Gordon’s play dropped. If Corey Maggette is not back, Gordon may be in pole position to be the Rookie of the Year.

8. Milwaukee. Joe Alexander, SF, West Virginia. The athletic Alexander provides a multi-faceted player who is a very good team defender and an explosive scorer. The Bucks wish they had two picks in this area, as they also like the wiry Anthony Randolph.

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. Don’t be shocked if Michael Jordan trades this pick for another Tar Heel (Rasheed Wallace).

10. New Jersey. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Armani Jeans Milano. Last week, the rumor mill dictated that unless the Italian received a Top 10 promise, he’d be opting out of the draft. He stayed in. Not to mention, he can drive to the hoop and shoot.

11. Indiana. Russell Westbrook, PG/SG, UCLA. Between now and Thursday, I expect the Pacers to have offered the Bulls the 11th pick for Kirk Hinrich in a package deal shipping Marquis Daniels contract. Long story short, that won’t happen, and the Pacers finally draft a point guard. In my final mock last year, I had the Pacers selecting Ramon Sessions … would’ve been nice. Westbrook is a premier defender with improving ball skills. His length and strength make him the more viable option over true floor general DJ Augustin.

12. Sacramento. Anthony Randolph, SF, LSU. Randolph has certain values available that the Kings need (length, defense, athletic ability). If Ron Artest does not take up his player option, this pick is very likely.

13. Detroit (from Portland). Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas. With Rasheed Wallace possibly on the outs and the Pistons never short of bigs, Arthur provides athleticism, size and discipline. Arthur will need to work on consistency in order to see the floor.

Pritchard: May not work this deal, but will be active on Thursday.

Courtesy: Oregon Live

14. New York (from Golden State). DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. With the Warriors in desperate need for young, cheap bodies, they’re happy move down a spot to gain a 2nd-round pick. Perhaps the 2nd best true floor general in the draft, Augustin is a pint-sized guard who has a penchant for making those around him better. His durability and inability to be effective against bigger guards are valid concerns. Will the Knicks attempt to reach a buyout with a certain Starbury?

15. Golden State (from Atlanta via Phoenix and New York). Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse. Though he struggled down the stretch and settled for bad shots, Greene carries undeniable upside and can thrive in Golden State’s wide open system.

16. Philadelphia. Marreese Speights, PF, Florida. 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. On occasion, Speights can fill in at the 5 to spell Samuel Dalembert.

17. Toronto. Nicolas Batum, SG, Le Mans. The Raptors are in a great position if both Batum and Brandon Rush are available. Given their international lean, the 6’8” shooting guard from across the Atlantic has the tools necessary to be a top 15 player in this league. He just needs to get stronger.

18. Washington. JaVale McGee, C, Nevada. After falling out of the lottery, the Wizards latch onto McGee, who immediately addresses defensive and rebounding needs. With Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas coming off the books in two years, this is a good pick.

19. Cleveland. Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State. Though a finesse player and sometimes a recipient of the soft label, Koufos was excellent in workouts is an inside player who can benefit greatly from a driver like LeBron James.

20. Memphis (from Denver). Robin Lopez, C, Stanford. Robin, the more agile of the Lopez twins, will do three things that has not been seen in Memphis the last couple of years: play defense, alter shots and rebound. On offense, Lopez may be a liability, but both Marc Gasol and Kevin Love can fill it up.

21. New Jersey (from Dallas). Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown. After giving up millions of dollars to return to school, Hibbert adds scoring punch and can alter shots in the lane. Though more polished than some of his colleagues, Hibbert still needs to work on his footwork and add imagination to his game.

22. Orlando. Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Kansas. Does anyone else not buy the “Tony Battie back from injury is like having a 1st-round pick” talk? Sure, a first-round pick with little upside. On a completely unrelated note, Brandon Rush falls all the way to 22 despite having all the tools to be a star in this league.

Rush: Bound to be drafted before Orlando's pick

Courtesy: Yardbarker

23. Utah. Jason Thompson, PF, Rider. With Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Paul Millsap with an opportunity next summer, the Jazz would be wise to supplement their frontline. Thompson averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for little-known Rider during his junior and senior year. Thompson’s biggest transition will go from being the man to being the 4th man off the bench.

24. Seattle (from Phoenix). 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”. An impressive YouTube video montage was supplemented by earning MVP honors at Eurocamp. 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.

25. Houston. JJ Hickson, PF, NC State. Hickson’s talent is unquestioned. His ability to mesh with other talented players is. This is a boom or bust pick and Houston is in position to take such a risk instead of drafting a project center like Alexis Ajinca.

26. San Antonio. Ryan Anderson, SF/PF, California. Ryan Anderson stayed in the draft after some impressive workouts. Anderson can light it up, which is more than I can say for the majority of the Spurs’ bench. Courtney Lee is an option at this pick as well.

27. New Orleans. Mario Chalmers, PG/SG, Kansas. With Jannero Pargo likely to cash in on a good season, Chalmers can fill the gap. A cagy on-the-ball defender, Chalmers is equally excellent in terms of anticipation. In the immediate, he will be the backup point who will spell Morris Peterson.

28. Denver (from LA Lakers via Memphis). 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.

29. Detroit. Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis. At the 29th pick, CDR is a steal. Though he has had difficulty adding weight, CDR can get to the line via the mismatches he creates in addition to his ability to score off the dribble. His long arms can disrupt passing lanes as well.

30. Boston. Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky. With James Posey foregoing his player option, the Celtics decide that it’s time to go after a shooting guard. Lee, who is a very good shooter, needs to improve defensively to earn minutes in Doc Rivers’ rotation.

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. DJ White, PF, Indiana. In spite of being undersized and having difficulty staying healthy, DJ White can contribute almost immediately.

33. Detroit (from Memphis via Portland). Nikola Pekovic, PF, Partizan Belgrade. 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 jumpshot.

34. Minnesota. Bill Walker, SG/SF, Kansas State. Walker should have returned to school. But he did not. As a result, he does not receive guaranteed money as a 1st-round pick.

35. LA Clippers. Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama. It’s time for the Clippers to add some muscle. Hendrix lacks overall speed, but he makes up for it with physicality and basketball wherewithal.

36. Portland (from New York). Omer Asik, C, Fenerbache Ulker. Asik is a 7’0” in the truest sense (physical, active, long reach). Additionally, he’s athletic. He has plenty of room for improvement on offense, but is improving.

37. Milwaukee. Joey Dorsey, PF/C, Memphis. In an effort to toughen up the frontline, the Bucks take Dorsey, who will outhustle and outmuscle most opponents. However, his offensive game outside of three foot is limited to non-existent.

38. Charlotte. 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.

39. Chicago. 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.

40. New Jersey. DeVon Hardin, PF, California. Hardin adds a defensive-minded who requires few shots to be effective. His ability to play solid defense without taking too many chances allows for Lawrence Frank to selectively forget about his offensive output … or lack thereof.

41. Indiana. 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.

42. Sacramento (from Atlanta). 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.

43. LA Lakers (from Sacramento). Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, UCLA. The Lakers jump back into the 2nd round to acquire toughness. The Prince’s ability to hustle and defend up to three positions makes him the perfect reaction pick.

44. Utah (from Philadelphia). George Hill, PG, IUPUI. If the Jazz want to go from good to great, they will need to find a player who can spell Deron Williams from time to time. Hill is fundamentally sound and knows how to play bigger than his size. Additionally, Hill was rumored to have received a promise to be drafted. Was it Utah?

45. San Antonio (from Toronto). Sonny Weems, SG, Arkansas. A very good shooter who can slash to the basket, Weems is only starting to show his ball skills. To stay on the floor, he must reduce turnovers and become efficient.

46. Seattle (from Portland via Boston). Ante Tomic, PF/C, KK Zagreb. Though skilled in the post, Tomic has a frail body and can be taken advantage of. His ability to become stronger will define his career.

47. Atlanta (from Washington). Davon Jefferson, SF, USC. Atlanta finds a great time to get back into the draft. 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.

48. Golden State (from Cleveland via Phoenix and New York). Gary Forbes, SG, Massachusetts. Throughout his collegiate career, Forbes increased his basketball IQ and consistency. At 6’6” 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 Nellie.

49. Golden State. Trent Plaisted, PF/C, BYU. In the current Warriors 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.

50. Dallas (from Denver via Seattle). Jamont Gordon, SG/PG, 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.

51. Dallas. James Gist, SF/PF, Maryland. On the good side, Gist has plenty of talent and is extremely athletic. On the bad side, much of this talent is unrealized to this point.

52. Miami (from Orlando). Josh Duncan, PF/SF, Xavier. Duncan is an agile, versatile forward who is very tough. Critics say Duncan lacks upside, but he’s a winner who is fundamentally sound.

53. LA Clippers (from Utah). Mike Taylor, PG/SG, Idaho Stampede. Taylor has impressed in workouts and he is the best point guard remaining on the board.

54. Houston. Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt. You can never have enough shooters and that’s exactly what Foster is. Do not be surprised at all if Foster goes up to 15 picks earlier.

55. Philadelphia (from Phoenix via Portland). JR Giddens, SG, New Mexico. Athletic and explosive, Giddens can only be held back by himself. Shot selection and decision making has long plagued the guard. If he becomes more coachable, he could be a starter in the Association.

56. Washington (from New Orleans via Seattle). Walter Sharpe, PF, UAB. I’m no genius, but I read on multiple rumor boards that Washington invited him back for a 2nd workout. That’s enough to think a promise may be in place.

57. San Antonio. Drew Neitzel, PG, Michigan State. After not being on the radar, Neitzel impressed at the pre-draft camp and did enough in workouts to garner 2nd-round pick consideration.

58. Cleveland (from LA Lakers). Malik Hairston, SG/SF, Oregon. Hairston is a proven scorer who can score from a variety of places on the court. Of course, shooting 43% from behind the arc definitely brings a smile to LeBron’s face.

59. New York (from Detroit). Othello Hunter, PF, Ohio State. The hard-working Hunter is an instant energy player who will make hustle plays and use every ounce of his talent.

60. Boston. Darnell Jackson, PF, Kansas. Why not? Jackson is a winner and he is a Doc Rivers type of player. Team and defense come first.

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