Thursday, June 26, 2008

NBA Mock Draft – Version 6.0

NOTE: This version of the mock draft DOES NOT project trades. Our final version will. Why? It’s more fun.

* Indiana trades the 41st pick and the rights to Jermaine O’Neal to Toronto for the 17th pick and the rights to TJ Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and Maceo Baston
* Denver trades the 20th pick to Charlotte for a future, protected first-round pick
* New Orleans trades the 27th pick to Portland for cash considerations

1. Chicago. Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. I think we’ve heard enough about this. Did you know Rose was from Chicago? Ben Gordon will love this pick. Kirk Hinrich won’t.

2. Miami. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, Kansas State. This may change in our final version due to intensified talks. Miami may actually draft OJ Mayo outright with the #2 pick. If that happens, I’ll be writing the article prompting Riles to go into permanent retirement.

3. Minnesota. OJ Mayo, SG/PG, USC. Mayo is now the consensus third pick among the experts. Yes, I’m gloating, because the real media is now saying what I’ve said for months. Mayo realized he had teammates and started distributing the rock, and he got tougher on defense.

4. Seattle. Brook Lopez, C, Stanford. Lopez is an inside scoring threat who may have some defensive holes in his game. Without his twin brother (Robin), Brook may struggle. Not to mention, he’s playing the pros, and there’s this thing called defensive 3 seconds. Without a trade happening, Lopez may fall to the 9th pick.

5. Memphis. Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. With JC Navarro out and Mike Miller rumored to be following (out of Memphis, not to Spain), Gordon can almost immediately step in at the 2 position. As everyone knows, numerous overtures have been made for this pick. The rumor is that any deal involving the 5th pick would include the albatross contract of Brian Cardinal ($13M over two years).

6. New York. Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA. Though I think Augustin is the better pick, Westbrook’s versatility and defensive skills make him a great pick here. Bayless is an amazing talent, but it was determined rather early that he’d be a bad fit here by numerous sources.

7. LA Clippers. Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG, Arizona. If the Clippers keep the pick, Bayless is their man. Apparently, he’s proven to them that he’s a point guard and not a point god.

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.

9. Charlotte. DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. He’s the best player available (BPA) who isn’t a swingman. If you know anything about the ‘Cats, it’s that they love drafting 2s and 3s. Not this year.

10. New Jersey. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Armani Jeans Milano. He’s the pick here. The Blazers were thinking of trading up; however, Charlotte drafted DJ Augustin.

11. Indiana. Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas. Arthur provides athleticism, size and discipline. Arthur will need to work on consistency in order to see the floor. The Pacers could go in the direction of a shot-blocking center, but that’s a reach.

12. Sacramento. Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas. A cagy on-the-ball defender, Chalmers is equally excellent in terms of anticipation. Though not a true PG, Chalmers has demonstrated the aptitude to lead a team in workouts. Reggie Theus really wanted to take Teddy with this pick.

13. Portland. Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Kansas. Rush has quieted the critics and demonstrated the excellence that many expected three years ago when he was trying to decide whether to forgo college. Do not be surprised if Portland trades this pick and Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract to Memphis for Mike Miller. If you haven’t read that anywhere, that’s because I just made it up. It makes more financial sense than most of the garbage I’ve read.

14. Golden State. Kevin Love, PF, UCLA. Love WILL NOT fall this far. If he does, then the Warriors will snap him up. I just did this to illustrate what trades and the lack thereof will do on draft night.

15. Phoenix (from Atlanta). Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State. A good fit for a European to back up Shaq and eventually take over the role. Koufos needs to overcome the soft label.

16. Philadelphia. Marreese Speights, PF, Florida. The Sixers are in sore need of a scoring big. If they do not pull a trade for Josh Smith, Speights will be a part of the path they travel.

17. Indiana (from Toronto). Robin Lopez, C, Stanford. Robin, the more agile of the Lopez twins, will do three things well: play defense, alter shots and rebound.

18. Washington. Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown. 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. Washington could go in the direction of a power forward, such as JJ Hickson.

19. Cleveland. Jason Thompson, PF, Rider. 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 a role player.

20. Charlotte (from Denver). JaVale McGee, C, Nevada. After free-falling due to maturity issues, Miami latches onto its second big. McGee is an athletic shot blocker who can disrupt plenty of shots.

21. New Jersey (from Dallas). JJ Hickson, PF, NC State. Hickson’s talent is unquestioned. His ability to mesh with other talented players is.

22. Orlando. Anthony Randolph, SF, LSU. This is the absolute furthest that I can see Randolph drop on draft night. Being a tweener is scary. Courtney Lee is still the likely pick.

23. Utah. 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 despite some excellent workouts. During the workouts, scouts have been wowed his Ajinca’s work ethic and a number of mock drafts have him going 13th to Portland!

24. Seattle (from Phoenix). Nicolas Batum, SG, Le Mans. Even with Durant, there is a dearth of playmakers for the Sonics, so Batum fills a big gap. Admittedly, I was scared when reading about his heart problems, but he has checked out fine.

25. Houston. DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M. Despite struggling in early workouts, Jordan is a talent and has an NBA-ready body. All he needs now is an NBA-ready mind and all that comes with it.

26. San Antonio. Ryan Anderson, SF/PF, California. Reports are firming up that the Spurs really like Anderson here. Teams love his shooting ability. According to the stats and competition, he’s an upgrade over Donte Greene, who has more upside.

27. Portland (from New Orleans). Nathan Jawai, PF/C, Cairns Taipans. Jawai is 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.

28. Memphis (from LA Lakers). 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.

29. Detroit. Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse. Another free faller due to being an upside guy. Greene may go 15 picks higher. With the right coach and the necessary work ethic, he could be a major contributor by January.

30. Boston. Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky. Lee fills a major team need at shooting guard.


31. Minnesota (from Miami). Serge Ibaka, PF/C, L’ Hospitalet. By now, you’ll know that Ibaka has become somewhat of an item in folklore. Last night, his agent notified NBA teams that he will remain in Spain until at least 2010-11, asking teams not to draft him in the 1st round. If drafted in the first round, then Ibaka would be forced to sign within the existing pay scale for rookie contracts.

32. Seattle. 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. Discussions of a five-year extension with his current team may scuttle draft prospects.

33. Portland (from Memphis). Bill Walker, SF, Kansas State. Walker should have returned to school, but he did not. Portland takes the BPA because they can.

34. Minnesota. DJ White, PF, Indiana. This pick is likely for someone else. White has 1st-round talent, but has had numerous injuries. He’s our best player available at this point.

35. LA Clippers. 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 is attractive to many teams. The Blazers may actually hang onto this pick.

36. Portland (from New York). 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. Classic Euro stash.

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

39. Chicago. Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis. Easily the BPA. CDR can get to the line and create easy shots for his teammates. He’s a very good defender too. The Bulls could also go in the direction of a SF.

40. New Jersey. 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. Some sites have the Nets taking Damjan Rudez.

41. Toronto (from Indiana). 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.

42. Sacramento (from Atlanta). 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. He is 2 years away, so international grooming can allow for Chalmers to eventually move over to his natural position.

43. Sacramento. 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.

44. Utah (from Philadelphia). 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.

45. San Antonio (from Toronto). George Hill, PG, IUPUI. 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.

46. Seattle (from Portland via Boston). Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, UCLA. The Prince’s ability to hustle and defend up to three positions makes him a good pick.

47. Washington. 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. Second-round promises are dumb.

48. Phoenix (from Cleveland). 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.

49. Golden State. Davon Jefferson, SF, USC. 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. The open court system should suit Jefferson.

50. Seattle (from Denver). 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.

51. Dallas. Sasha Kaun, C, Kansas. A small reach here. Kaun can easily go undrafted, but without trades, there’s a push for centers.

52. Miami (from Orlando). 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.

53. Utah. 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.

54. Houston. Damjan Rudez, SF, KK Split. Admittedly, I know very little about Rudez, other than that he has recently shot up draft charts. He’s 6’10” and only 200 pounds, so adding weight is a necessity. Otherwise, he’s very skilled, athletic and plays with moxie.

55. Portland (from Phoenix). 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.

56. Seattle (from New Orleans). 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.

57. San Antonio. Mike Taylor, PG/SG, Idaho Stampede. Taylor has impressed in workouts and he is the best point guard remaining on the board.

58. LA Lakers. Darnell Jackson, PF, Kansas. Why not? Jackson is a winner and knows his role. Team and defense come first.

59. Detroit. Sean Singletary, PG, Virginia. An excellent point guard for a very bad team, Singletary has the tools to be successful. Does he have the mindset?

60. Boston. 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.


Anonymous said...

you really think Thompson will go at 19? He had good averages, but who did he play last season? (Not asking to be a d*ck...seriously wondering if he played anyone of note/difficulty).

At best I see him going at 27, 28 or 29, to Portland, Memphis or Detroit, respectively.

Paymon said...

Thompson didn't have much competition. He played well against Kansas State, NC State and Penn State (best competition).

I will note that he measured out well and that he's not your classic project big. He can contribute immediately, and that's attractive to a new wave of GMs (it's actually just a new paradigm ... at least, reportedly).

In our final mock, he goes 21 to New Jersey.