If you could squeeze in some added interest due to a certain (VCU) Ram in the draft (Maynor!)...then you'd understand even further. By the way, be sure to check out the new poll to voice YOUR opinion, too!
Before I embarrass myself any further, enjoy... except it might be helpful to understand that I'm "mocking" who I believe would be the best fit for each team. Does that make it truly a mock draft??? Meh.
Anybody who can "accidentally" do something like this seems to be #1 pick potential, right?
1. LA Clippers - Blake Griffin [PF, Oklahoma]
Move Zack Randolph as fast as possible (20 and 10 be darned), wait out B Diddy for another season-plus until he and his U-G-L-Y contract can be moved, and relish the talented trio of Thornton, Gordon, and Griffin and the future to come, even as the Clippers.
2. Memphis - Hasheem Thabeet [C, Connecticut]
As talented as Rubio may be, Thabeet is a defensive presence that could be paired alongside Marc Gasol not-so-surprisingly well. OJ Mayo and Rudi Gay need a stable point guard, which may not be Mike Conley (Jr.) nor Mr. Rubio.
3. Oklahoma City - James Harden [SG, Arizona State]
I wonder about this guy after seeing his performance in the NCAA Tournament this past season. However, I do realize that Harden would fit nicely in an offense in which Kevin Durant garners a ton of attention. Losing out on Thabeet is a big blow to a team in dire need of an interior defensive presence.
The emerging Spanish-driven interest in anime basketball will soon sweep the U.S.
Wait and see.
Wait and see.
4. Sacramento - Ricky Rubio [PG, DKV Joventut]
Excitement has been missing in Sacremento for quite some time. While still young, Rubio could become just as special as Tony Parker in the next half-decade. Seriously.
5. Washington - Stephen Curry [PG/SG, Davidson]
"Earning" the #5 pick was all-too-typical for the lowly Wizards. The real hope for this franchise rests on the (relative) health of Agent Zero. While Evans has all the tools, Curry could be a lethal shooter if Arenas/Butler/Jamison can (somehow) remain healthy for a playoff run down the stretch next season.
6. Minnesota - Tyreke Evans [PG, Memphis]
Minnesota still doesn't have an answer at point guard. Duh. The Foye/Roy debacle a few years back may sting this franchise for the next dozen-or-so years. Ditto for Love/Mayo. Step 1 to rebuilding for the better is taking a young, talented playmaker with leadership qualities which are ever expanding. Enter, Tyreke Evans.
7. Golden State - Jrue Holliday [PG, UCLA]
The last thing Golden State needs is another tweener in the front court. While far from a polished point, Holliday is an outstanding defender (for a 19-year old, especially) who has the ability to find his own shot and those of his teammates.
8. New York - Johnny Flynn [PG, Syracuse]
"Six in the City" is a friendly reminder to what this phenom can do at MSG. While the build-up for LeBron includes the purging of BLOATED salaries, there is also a need for talent to surround LeBron, or whomever (Bosh, Amare, Wade, ???) the Knicks throw a max contract at in the summer of 2010.
The YouTube-esque antics of "Cowboy" Bosh might not be necessary if he went continental, US that is!
9. Toronto - Jordan Hill [PF, Arizona]
I like Pay's direction here for the Raptors (Ellington), but only if Bosh was going to remain a Raptor. I don't see that happening as the big man will no longer be the most talented NBA player outside of the continental US. While Hill still has plenty of question marks, a top 5-grade from countless scouts and mock draft "experts" is enough to lead me to believe he's (maybe) the right fit to compliment and potentially replace the uber-talented aformentioned Mr. Bosh.
10. Milwaukee - Brandon Jennings [PG, Lottomatica Roma]
I can't tell you much about the kid, as I don't watch ANY international basketball outside of the World Championships and Olympics. Nevertheless, he has a talented skill set and professional experience (limited or not), or so I read. With Sessions a major question mark for the Bucks front office, it never hurts to have quality depth at a vital position ready.
11. New Jersey - DeMar DeRozan [SG/SF, USC]
He's coveted by quite a few teams, so landing at #11 isn't likely. Nevertheless, I don't have the same upside-driven mentality for DeRozan as I do for Holliday (maybe it's because only one of them befuddled my Rams). The Nets, outside of Vinsanity, have a nice core of young talent, with a selection like such only helping their roster continue to emerge.
Even MJ wouldn't be foolish enough to waste another lottery pick, especially on K-Fed's twin right? Right!?!?!?
12. Charlotte - DeJuan Blair [PF, Pittsburgh]
Toughness, attitude, and effort have been a few things missing from MJ's recent draft picks. Blair plays like a Larry Brown-coached player already. Done and done.
13. Indiana - Earl Clark [SF/PF, Lousville]
He clearly appears to have top 5 talent. I just wonder about his body and what position he fits into in the NBA system. I could say more, but I'm perplexed on this guy.
14. Phoenix - Ty Lawson [PG, North Carolina]
A lot of people think Johnny Flynn or Eric Maynor is the "guy" who will replace Steve Nash. Not so fast. Nash has potentially 3-4 more years of quality play in him. Nevertheless, Phoenix isn't exactly building for a title anymore (especially with Amare's contract situation growing ever present); meanwhile, backcourt depth is always a MUST. As for Lawson, the guy proved last season how incredibly gritty and talented he has become.
Playing alonside 50 Cent might work out quite well for one of the draft's most talented seniors.
15. Detroit - Eric Maynor [PG, Virginia Commonwealth]
Dealing Billups just to "change things up" was a cataclysmic error. Despite the money it will save in the long run, this team will crack at its very core without a steady point guard. It's unfair and unrealistic to ask any rookie to recapture that role. However, Maynor's pass-first attitude and clutch play in the closing moments are two things this team sorely needs sans-Chauncey.
...at the mid-way point...
So who’s MOCK you got??? Pay’s or mine?
16. Chicago - Terrence Williams [SG/SF, Louisville]
Much like Earl Clark at the 3, I wonder if it's at all realistic to expect Terrence Williams to play the 2 (or for that matter the 3) in the NBA? His raw athleticism in this draft may be unmatched, but somehow I don't see a new age Scottie Pippen. Speaking of the Bulls, Chicago is loaded with talent on a roster lacking a true superstar (Mr. Rose is getting there soon, though). Throw one more onto that heap now.
17. Philadelphia - Jeff Teague [PG, Wake Forest]
I don't think Teague will be much of an NBA talent. I do think he can adapt well as a backup point guard though. In fact, I can't think of a better role model than Andre Miller, who was never meant to be a backup (like Teague will be).
18. Minnesota (from Miami) - James Johnson [SF, Wake Forest]
Another guy I'm very low on. Johnson doesn't appear to be more than an 8 and 5 guy. Fortunately for him, teams are in desperate need to overpay such players.
Mr. MOP would see plenty of open shots thanks to the work of Joe Johnson and company.
19. Atlanta - Wayne Ellington [SG, North Carolina]
Ellington could go anywhere from the lottery to late first round. What the Final Four MOP needs is to find a team who doesn't need him to score. Instead, he can become a lethal assassin off of the bench, still securing 15-20 minutes a game, as a 3rd or 4th option on the court. Dell Curry and Dale Ellis had different bodies and skill sets than Ellington, but would be great sources of inspiration for the talented former Tar Heel.
20. Utah - Tyler Hansbrough [PF, North Carolina]
Doesn't it fit perfectly? Whether its Boozer or Milsap (or both?) that eventually bolts, Mr. College Basketball the past four seasons could emerge as a talented first-tier reserve for Jerry Sloan and the Jazz.
21. New Orleans - Chase Budinger [SF, Arizona]
While the team definitely took a step back last season after 2007's promising playoff run, not all is lost - especially if Tyson Chandler can restore his health - for Byron Scott's squad. Instead of looking for a long-term project at the center position, why not take an NBA-ready shooter who can be unselfish and still a scorer at the same time?
22. Dallas - Gerald Henderson [SG, Duke]
Unlikely to fall half this far, Henderson's defensive toughness and ability to attack the hoop would be isolated well by an already established playoff-equipped team. A new alternative for Jason Kidd may not fall far enough to 22…I think.
23. Sacramento (from Houston) - BJ Mullens [C, Ohio State]
Alongside Rubio (selected #4), Mullens has been labeled a #1-pick before. However, Mullens’ fall won't be to #4; but instead likely outside the lottery. Despite several young names already in their frontcourt, Mullens might do well in relative obscurity in SacTown, alongside a talented young point guard who can mature - language barrier or not - alongside him (aka Mr. Rubio).
24. Portland - Sam Young [SF, Pittsburgh]
The PG position still isn't solved - sorry Steve Blake - in Portland. Nevertheless, Sam Young is the exact type of player a playoff team wants. If his defense and weak-side rebounding improve, this is a guy who in 2 to 3 years could become a talented contributor every night. Staying in school may not have improved his draft stock much, but his game is far more polished.
25. Oklahoma City (from San Antonio) - Gani Lawal [PF, Georgia Tech]
Another guy I just don't like. Sorry ACC fans, but I am suspect about some of your outgoing bigs.
26. Chicago (from Denver through Oklahoma City) - Toney Douglas [PG/SG, Florida State]
Now HERE is an ACC guy I love. While Chicago may be wise to deal this pick (and potentially their earlier selection), Douglas can provide instant offense and underrated defensive ball hawking. Sign me up!
27. Memphis (from Orlando) - Austin Daye [SG/SF, Gonzaga]
The name I likely "forgot" way too late in the game. If Daye can competently shoot the NBA three, he may start in 2-3 seasons (for good). If he can't, he's a slasher (at best) who better become a good team defender if he wants more than 4-5 minutes a night anytime soon.
28. Minnesota (from Boston) - Darren Collison [PG, UCLA]
Three picks in the 1st round means the Timberwolves can continue finding pieces OR continue making costly errors in judgment. While I predict a foreign selection here, for the future, I chose Collison to cement their need for point guard depth IMMEDIATELY.
29. LA Lakers - Omri Casspi, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv.
I'm stealing what Pay said word for word. It was perfect.
One of the most talented young players in Europe over the last two years, Casspi has an inside/outside game that’s more of the finesse and flair style. If Casspi does not get a 1st-round promise, then he will withdraw from the draft as he did last year.
In case you were watching Olympic basketball, you might’ve remembered this talented import.
30. Cleveland - Patrick Mills [PG, St. Mary's]
I doubt very very much this is the pick. Nevertheless, LeBron needs playmakers badly. Honestly, I see the Cavaliers trying to secure a big man (Randolph, Sheed, BOSH!?!?!) by any means necessary. Mo Williams is a complimentary piece, but not enough of a #2. While Mills would be lucky to be a starting point guard in the NBA in the next couple seasons, he offers playmaking ability and international experience a few too many experts are underestimating. Until draft night...MOCK YEAH!!!
PS: Check out and vote in the new POLL!!!!