Thursday, June 26, 2008

NBA Mock Draft – Version 6.1 (FINAL)

NOTE: This is the final version of the mock draft with projected trades. It will be updated until the draft starts. Press 'F5' to refresh.

* Milwaukee trades the 8th pick to Portland for the 13th and 33rd picks
* 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
* Washington trades the 18th pick to Houston for the 25th pick and future considerations
* Seattle trades the 50th pick to Dallas for cash considerations

* New Jersey trades the rights to Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons
* Seattle trades the 4th pick to LA Clippers for the 7th pick and a 2009 protected first-round pick (if OJ Mayo is off the board)
* 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. LA Clippers (from Seattle). Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. Knowing that Gordon would be selected by Memphis if they held onto the 5th pick, the Clippers jump up. Could this actually be part of a bigger trade with Elton Brand and Shawn Marion changing places along with the 2nd and 4th picks?

5. Memphis. Kevin Love, PF, UCLA. Devoid of a trade out of this pick, Love is the pick. If I were Chris Wallace, I’d have gone with Brook Lopez. Bayless is rumored to go here as well.

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. Seattle (from LA Clippers). 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.

8. Portland (from Milwaukee). Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG, Arizona. It makes zero sense for Milwaukee to trade for a small forward and reach for a power forward or center. DJ Augustin is coveted, but Bayless is the better prospect and can do more. Where does Joe Alexander go? If Gallinari is taken by the Knicks, could Yi and Alexander be together in Jersey?

9. Charlotte. DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. He’s the best player available who's not a swingman and could contribute immediately. Raymond Felton clearly has a competition on his hands.

10. New Jersey. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Armani Jeans Milano. He’s the pick here. With RJ leaving town, he's the new SF.

11. Indiana. Joe Alexander, SF, West Virginia. The inside/outside game of Alexander has to be extremely appetizing for the Pacers brass.

12. Sacramento. Anthony Randolph, SF, LSU. A year away from fruitful contribution, Randolph will watch Ron Artest play out his contract. He’ll also try to add weight too.

13. Milwaukee (from Portland). Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas. Arthur provides athleticism, size and discipline. Arthur will need to work on consistency in order to see the floor.

14. Golden State. Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State. This projection is due to the reports that the Warriors are in love with him following workouts. In my eyes, he’s a late first-rounder. Chalmers and Rush would be better picks.

15. Phoenix (from Atlanta). 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.

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. Houston (from Washington). 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.

19. Cleveland. 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. LeBron will love his 3-point shooting.

20. Charlotte (from Denver). 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.

21. New Jersey (from Dallas). 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.

22. Orlando. Nicolas Batum, SG, Le Mans. Batum is an amazing talent who slipped recently because of health concerns. Admittedly, I was scared when reading about his heart problems, but he has checked out fine.

23. Utah. JJ Hickson, PF, NC State. Hickson’s talent is unquestioned. His ability to mesh with other talented players is. If Boozer and Okur are out next summer, Hickson is a good young option.

24. Seattle (from Phoenix). Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse. Greene can fight for minutes early and often for Seattle. With Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, this team can create some mismatches.

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

26. San Antonio. Ryan Anderson, SF/PF, California. Right when reports firm up that they are taking Anderson, the Spurs brass informs all NBA teams that the 26th pick is up for grabs. For now, we’ll stick with Anderson.

27. Portland (from New Orleans). 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.

28. Memphis (from LA Lakers). Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky. Lee can fill it up and knows how to contribute without scoring points.

29. Detroit. Bill Walker, SF, Kansas State. Walker should have returned to school, but he did not. Portland takes the BPA because they can.

30. Boston. Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis. CDR can get to the line and create easy shots for his teammates. He’s a very good defender too. Doc Rivers likes that.


31. Minnesota (from Miami). 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.

32. Seattle. 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.

33. Milwaukee (from Memphis via Portland). 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.

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. 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.

36. Portland (from New York). 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.

37. Milwaukee. 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.

38. Charlotte. 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.

39. Chicago. Gary Forbes, SG/SF, 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.

40. New Jersey. 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.

41. Toronto (from Indiana). Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, UCLA. The Prince’s ability to hustle and defend up to three positions makes him a good pick.

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.

43. Sacramento. 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.

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). 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.

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. Dallas (from Denver via Seattle). 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.

51. Dallas. Josh Duncan, SF/PF, 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.

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). Sasha Kaun, C, Kansas. A small reach here. Kaun can immediately step into a backup role, though it’s rumored that he will be playing in Europe.

56. Seattle (from New Orleans). 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?

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. 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.

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.

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