Thursday, June 24, 2010
1. Washington – John Wall, PG, Kentucky. The last time Washington had the 1st pick, it was in a weak draft and they selected Kwame Brown. This draft is different. Barring injury, Wall will be a franchise player. Expect the Wizards to win at least 35 games this season.
2. Philadelphia – Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State. If Wall is 1A, then Turner is 1B. Despite rumors indicating that Turner would eventually land in Minnesota for a package of picks, just look no further than the mere handful of players that the 76ers have worked out. They have their man in Turner.
3. New Jersey – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech. The physical forward is an impact player at both ends of the floor and can become a 20/10 guy in three years’ time. Favors will need to learn how to stay out of foul trouble. Rumors are flying about a blockbuster trade with Indiana involving Danny Granger and Devin Harris.
4. Minnesota – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse. A great shooter, rebounder, and defender. Though others have not pointed this out, I question Johnson’s durability.
5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky. Jay Bilas (and everyone else) put it best. DeMarcus Cousins is the only thing preventing DeMarcus Cousins from being a star in this league. He’s talented, a great rebounder, with a surprising 7’5” wingspan. Cousins needs to become more skilled, but the Kings will be happy to acquire his physicality down low to abut that of Samuel Dalembert.
6. Golden State – Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown. Monroe is the best passing big man in the draft, and perhaps the most complete frontcourt player in the draft.
7. Detroit – Epke Udoh, PF, Baylor. He’s an athletic 4 who can play the 5. He’s 23, which causes concern. His athleticism fits into the scheme, but Udoh is limited in the half-court set.
8. LA Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest. An amazing leaper with excellent athleticism and versatility, Aminu could be the best prospect from this draft. The knocks on him are his [in]ability to create his own shot and securing the basketball.
9. Utah – Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada. There are two camps. One that Utah taking Luke Babbitt and one that has them taking Ed Davis. Babbitt is a great shooter, who excelled in two seasons at Nevada. He could the long-term replacement for Kyle Korver.
10. Indiana - Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler. Larry Bird has expressed his interest in Hayward, who like Bird, played his hoops in Indiana. Hayward is a brilliant scorer, who’s an underrated defender and rebounder. He can dominate without a lot of offensive touches, which is something that can be said about few players in this draft class.
11. New Orleans – Paul George, SF, Fresno State. At 6’9”, he’s taller than the other wing prospects in this draft and is among the most skilled as well.
12. Memphis – Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky. Patterson is an inside-outside threat who had a marked improvement at the defensive end this season. If the Grizz do not re-sign Zach Randolph, then Patterson serves as an insurance policy. Let’s just hope Randolph is not his off-court mentor.
13. Toronto – Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina. Davis presents a lot of upside at the power forward position. Wiry and explosive, Davis is active in the paint. Davis struggled in his sophomore season, enabling him to nearly drop out of the lottery.
TRADE: Toronto trades the 13th pick overall to Portland for the 22nd pick overall and cash considerations
14. Houston – Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas. Aldrich will not a league MVP title, but he can patrol the lane at the defensive end and improve a weak Houston frontcourt.
15. Milwaukee – Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas. Henry’s an upside guy who has great athleticism and a freakish wingspan. However, he’ll need to make better decisions re: shot selection and improve at the defensive end.
16. Minnesota – Larry Sanders, PF/C, VCU. A prolific shot-blocker at VCU, Sanders improved each year offensively. He’ll be a nice addition to the frontline.
17. Chicago – Damion James, SF/PF, Texas. James is a hustle player who averaged a double-double for much of his collegiate career in the Big XII thanks to a 7-foot wingspan. To get better, James will need to improve his ball-handling and passing skills.
TRADE: Chicago sends Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick overall to Washington for future considerations
18. Oklahoma City – Tibor Pleiss, C, Brose Baskets. Among the more skilled big men in this draft class, Pleiss’s weight has been listed as 210 and as high as 257 depending on your source.
19. Boston - James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State. Boston will not hold onto this pick, so Anderson is the best player available.
TRADE: Boston trades the 19th pick overall to Cleveland for a future 1st-round pick, Leon Powe and cash considerations
20. San Antonio – Avery Bradley, SG, Texas. A combo guard, Bradley may be the best backcourt defender in this year’s class. At 6’2”, Bradley may be expected to play the point, which he struggled at.
21. Oklahoma City – Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, Kentucky. Bledsoe is among the best on-the-ball defenders in the draft. While not a true point guard, he can develop into one.
TRADE: Oklahoma City trades the 21st pick overall to Indiana for cash considerations
22. Portland - Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State. Alabi is a proven shot-blocker with a limited offensive profile. He has ties to the Toronto organization, which makes this pick more believable. Not to mention, Toronto cannot spell defense.
(PICK GOES TO TORONTO per earlier listed trade)
23. Minnesota – Kevin Seraphin, C/PF, Cholet. Raw in terms of offensive footwork, Seraphin can contribute defensively. Don’t be surprised if Seraphin stays in Europe for a year or two to develop.
24. Atlanta - Dominique Jones, SG, South Florida. Jones is a dynamic combo guard with an NBA body who can create shots for himself in a variety of ways and has been known to have several scoring outbursts.
25. Memphis – Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia. Ebanks is a wiry, physical player who crashes the boards and does not give up on defense. Unless he adds muscle, he will be pushed around when asked to guard power forwards.
26. Oklahoma City - Hassan Whiteside, PF/C, Marshall. The rationale for picking Whiteside is that he presents a skill set as a specialist (shot blocking). He is unproven offensively, but that is not a bad thing if he can clean up the boards.
TRADE: Oklahoma City trades the 26th pick overall and Byron Mullens to Denver for cash considerations and a future pick
27. New Jersey – Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier. When he was at Indiana, you could see the potential. You could see that Crawford could go on scoring sprees. He could easily average 20 points a game in the right situation.
28. Memphis – Daniel Orton, PF, Kentucky. When a team has players who take a lot of shots, you need to surround them with role players who can contribute in other ways. Orton fits that bill as a physical defender who can also block shots. Don’t be surprised if he slips into the 2nd round.
TRADE: Memphis trades the 28th pick overall and Marko Jaric to Dallas for DeShawn Stevenson, Eduardo Najera and cash considerations
29. Orlando - Greivis Vasquez, PG, Maryland. The Magic have only worked out a few players. If they hang onto the pick, then Vasquez can immediately step in at backup point guard, which will be a position of need with Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson out of contract.
30. Washington - Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington. A matchup nightmare. That’s what opposing coaches have called Pondexter over the years. Pondexter excels in an open game, but has improved his skills in the half-court set.
31. New Jersey – Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa
32. Miami – Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech
33. Sacramento – Sherron Collins, PG, Kansas
34. Portland – Ryan Richards, PF, Gran Canaria
35. Washington – Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State
36. Detroit – Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada
37. Milwaukee – Terrico White, PG/SG, Ole Miss
38. New York – Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis
39. New York – Stanley Robinson, SF/PF, Connecticut
40. Indiana – Willie Warren, PG/SG, Oklahoma
41. Miami – Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati
42. Miami - Jon Scheyer, PG, Duke
43. LA Lakers – Alexey Shved, PG, Dynamo Moscow
44. Milwaukee – Omar Samhan, C, St. Mary’s
45. Minnesota – Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson
46. Phoenix - Darington Hobson, SF, Milwaukee
47. Milwaukee - Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State
TRADE: Milwaukee trades the 47th pick overall to New York for cash considerations
48. Miami – Lazar Hayward, SF, Marquette
49. San Antonio – Elijah Millsap, SF, UAB
50. Dallas – Dexter Pittman, C, Texas
51. Oklahoma City – Nemanja Bjelica, SF, Red Star
52. Boston – Ryan Thompson, SG, Rider
53. Atlanta – Keith “Tiny” Gallon, PF, Oklahoma
TRADE: Atlanta trades the 53rd pick overall to New Jersey for cash considerations
54. LA Clippers – Mikhail Torrence, PG/SG, Alabama
55. Utah – Thomas Huertel, PG, Strasbourg
TRADE: Utah trades the 55th pick to Toronto for cash considerations
56. Minnesota – Charles Garcia, SF, Seattle
57. Indiana – Samardo Samuels, PF, Louisville
TRADE: Indiana trades the 57th pick overall to Houston for a future 2nd-round pick and cash considerations
58. LA Lakers – Luke Harangody, PF, Notre Dame
TRADE: LA Lakers trade the 58th overall pick to Golden State for cash considerations
59. Orlando – Da’Sean Butler, SF, West Virginia
60. Phoenix – Andy Rautins, SG, Syracuse
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
- The Nets are now turning their sights to Wes Johnson with the 3rd pick.
- Al-Farouq Aminu canceled his visit to the Detroit Pistons who hold the 7th pick. This could mean that he has a promise in the top 6. If Wes Johnson goes in the top 4, then this is very possible.
- While Ryan Richards is rising up draft charts, Hassan Whiteside is sliding down the big board. Richards will not last after pick 33.
- The Mavs, Cavs, and Nuggets want back in the first round. The Raptors and Wizards want to each add a pick. Possible sellers include the Clippers (8), Pacers (10; seeking a point guard in return), Chicago (17), Miami (18), Boston (19) Atlanta (24), Oklahoma City (multiple), Memphis (multiple) and Orlando (29). The rumored cost of a 1st-round pick is $3M, but that sounds like a conservative estimate.
- Trade rumor reported by ESPN's Andy Katz: Memphis would acquire the 16th pick from Minnesota for the 25th and 28th. This would give Minnesota 4 first-round picks [that they don't need] and two second-round picks. I'm still trying to understand Michael Kahn's master plan. Clearly, he is no Sam Presti. Kahn's lack of creativity as a general manager is only matched by NBA veterans' non-desire to play in Minnesota. It may be possible that the stockpiling of picks is a precursor to acquiring Evan Turner via trade from Philadelphia, who holds only one pick but has many holes. Could the 4th, 23rd, and 25th/28th be enough to lure the Sixers?
- Don't be shocked if Portland successfully packages the 22nd and 34th picks and possibly a player for a higher pick in the 1st round. Kevin Pritchard may be on his way out, but I'll be damned if there's a GM who's done more for draft night ratings [and shrewd evaluation of players] than he has.
- Though Clement had mentioned CP3 trade rumors weeks ago, I'm choosing to ignore trade rumors in the mainstream media.
- On the same day John Salmons opted for the early termination clause of his contract, the Bucks traded for oft-injured Corey Maggette. To get him, they gave up garbage of lesser value. The beauty of the expiring contract ...
Monday, June 21, 2010
1. Washington – John Wall, PG, Kentucky. The last time Washington had the 1st pick, it was in a weak draft and they selected Kwame Brown. This draft is different. Barring injury, Wall will be a franchise player.
2. Philadelphia – Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State. If Wall is 1A, then Turner is 1B. Despite making the pick, expect the 76ers to trade the rights to Turner to either New Jersey or Minnesota.
3. New Jersey – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech. The physical forward is an impact player at both ends of the floor and can become a 20/10 guy in three years’ time. Favors will need to learn how to stay out of foul trouble.
4. Minnesota – DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky. Let’s face it. Al Jefferson is not a center. Wesley Johnson, who many have tabbed as the pick here, is not a desirable trade piece for Philadelphia. Joe Dumars is desperate to land the big man and may throw everything and the kitchen sink to land Cousins. That said, who wants their garbage?
5. Sacramento – Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown. The Kings now have Dalembert, Thompson, Landry, but their frontcourt remains their biggest weakness. Monroe is the best passing big man in the draft, and perhaps the most complete frontcourt player in the draft.
6. Golden State – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse. The Warriors love their wing players, and both Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu are amazing fits. The nod goes to Johnson, who is a better defensive player.
7. Detroit – Epke Udoh, PF, Baylor. Since they drafted every small forward in last year’s draft pool, the Pistons are in an unenviable position. Based on who the Pistons have worked out so far, Udoh is the pick. He’s an athletic 4 who can play 5. He’s 23, which causes concern. If Detroit decides to go in a different direction, Cole Aldrich may be the pick.
8. LA Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest. Aminu will not slip past this pick and the Clippers get a steal. An amazing leaper with excellent athleticism and versatility, Aminu could be the best prospect from this draft. The knocks on him are his [in]ability to create his own shot and securing the basketball.
9. Utah – Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina. I’m not in love with this pick, but Davis is the best prospect at a ‘need’ position with the likely departure of Carlos Boozer and the bust that is Kosta Koufos.
10. Indiana - Avery Bradley, SG, Texas. Expect the Pacers to trade down, because they are stocked with young big men and are weak in the frontcourt. If they are lazy or are forced to play their hand, Bradley, who they’d like to convert to the point, is the pick. That said, Bradley had moments when he lacked vision and made bad decisions.
11. New Orleans – Paul George, SF, Fresno State. The Hornets have made no secret that they are in love with George. At 6’9”, he’s taller than the other wing prospects in this draft and is among the most skilled as well.
12. Memphis – Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky. Patterson is an inside-outside threat who had a marked improvement at the defensive end this season. If the Grizz do not re-sign Zach Randolph, then Patterson serves as an insurance policy. Let’s just hope Randolph is not his off-court mentor.
13. Toronto – Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas. The Raptors need a true center. Bargnani played center, but will likely return to his natural position of power forward. Aldrich was a dominant defender at the collegiate level, and can make adjustments to the pro game quickly though it may not come in his first season.
14. Houston – Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler. The Rockets brass have come up and said that they will select the best prospect, even if they are already stocked at the position. Hayward is their man because of his ability to take over a game without having to score points.
15. Milwaukee – Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada. Babbitt may be the best pure shooter in this year’s crop, and it’s wise to surround Brandon Jennings with as many role players as possible. The jury is out on how his defense will fit into Scott Skiles’s plans.
16. Minnesota – Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas. If the Wolves land Evan Turner via trade or select Wesley Johnson, then they will select Hassan Whiteside. If they do not, they cannot pass up on Henry’s upside and freakish ability. Henry will need to improve his shot selection at the next level.
17. Chicago – James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State. A proven scorer and defender is exactly what the Bulls need. If the Bulls trade down, they may select Gani Lawal, Jerome Jordan or Dominique Jones.
18. Miami – Hassan Whiteside, PF/C, Marshall. This pick is wide open given that Miami will be affected more by free agency than any other team. The rationale for picking Whiteside is that he presents a skill set as a specialist (shot blocking). He is unproven offensively, but that is not a bad thing if he can clean up the boards.
19. Boston – Larry Sanders, PF/C, VCU. With the rumored retirement of Rasheed Wallace and Kendrick Perkins being out of contract, the Celtics need to get replenished down low. Sanders is a shot blocker who’s improved as a 1-on-1 defender. If the Celtics go with Daniel Orton, it may spell the end of Perkins’s stay in Beantown.
20. San Antonio – Dominique Jones, SG, South Florida. Jones is a dynamic combo guard with an NBA body who can create shots for himself in a variety of ways and has been known to have several scoring outbursts. Unfortunately, the tweener label applies.
21. Oklahoma City – Daniel Orton, PF, Kentucky. When a team has two players who take a lot of shots, you need to surround them with role players who can contribute in other ways. Orton fits that bill as a physical defender who can also block shots.
22. Portland – Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, Kentucky. Portland has a knack for selecting players who other teams want in order to get their guy. I will assume that their guy will be off the board in time for their pick. Bledsoe is among the best on-the-ball defenders in the draft. While not a true point guard, he can develop into one.
23. Minnesota – Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State. Alabi is a proven shot-blocker with a limited offensive profile. Toronto may buy back into the first round to grab Alabi, who has ties with the organization.
24. Atlanta – Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech. The Hawks need muscle and the local product may be the guy to provide it. They, however, can go in many directions. If so, Devin Ebanks may hear his name at this point.
25. Memphis – Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis. Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer may leave in free agency, so it may be good to stock up now in case one or both leave. Williams is a scorer, but is also a strong defender despite his small frame.
26. Oklahoma City – Damion James, SF, Texas. James is a hustle player who averaged a double-double for much of his collegiate career in the Big XII thanks to a 7-foot wingspan. To get better, James will need to improve his ball-handling and passing skills.
27. New Jersey – Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia. Ebanks is a wiry, physical player who crashes the boards and does not give up on defense. Unless he adds muscle, he will be pushed around when asked to guard power forwards.
28. Memphis – Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington. A matchup nightmare. That’s what opposing coaches have called Pondexter over the years. Pondexter excels in an open game, but has improved his skills in the half-court set.
29. Orlando – Greivis Vasquez, PG, Maryland. The Magic have only worked out a few players. If they hang onto the pick, then Vasquez can immediately step in at backup point guard, which will be a position of need with Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson out of contract.
30. Washington – Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa. Slated as a second-round pick until recent weeks, Jordan has impressed teams in workouts with his defensive prowess. His 7’5” wingspan doesn’t hurt either.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Have no fear, for CNNSI.com's Georgina Turner has us covered:
Group C is wide open after Friday's play, with three points separating all four teams. When the last two games kick off simultaneously at 10 a.m. ET next Wednesday, almost anything could happen. Here's how the various scenarios pan out for the U.S.:
If the U.S. defeats Algeria -- It will go through regardless of the other result, though its final ranking will be affected by that result. If Slovenia beats England, the U.S. will qualify second. If England beats Slovenia, it will be level on points with the U.S. and goal difference will come into play -- currently, that goes in favor of the U.S.
If the U.S. loses to Algeria -- It cannot progress to the next round, no matter the other result.
If the U.S. ties with Algeria and England loses to Slovenia -- Bob Bradley's team will qualify second behind the Slovenians.
If the U.S. ties and England wins -- England and Slovenia will qualify.
If the U.S. ties and England and Slovenia also draw -- Slovenia will top the group. England and the U.S. will be split by goal difference, but the U.S. currently has a two-goal advantage in goals scored in that category.
Be warned: If Wednesday's results mirror Friday's -- with England drawing 2-2 with Slovenia and the U.S. tying 0-0 with Algeria -- Slovenia will qualify first, and FIFA will draw lots for second place.As for Saturday and Sunday's slates, here are 5 questions I am pondering...
1) Will the "real" Cameroon (vs. Denmark) either STAND UP or just fade away with a disappointing showing this World Cup?
2) After Germany's hiccup (or more) against Serbia earlier today, will Ghana prove to be the top dog in Group D (vs. Australia)?
3) Can Ivory Coast, with Drogba perhaps starting in Game #2, keep up with Brazil up and down the field?
4) Is Italy the next "giant" due for major disappointment in their second game?
5) How good is Paraguay?
We'll find out soon enough, right? RIGHT!?
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The themes below encapsulate the key storylines that will dominate draft night.
- Washington holds 3 picks among the first 35 and have only 6 players under contract. It’s a foregone conclusion that John Wall will be the first pick. If the Bullets can parlay picks 30 and 35 into bench contributors, then Ernie Grunfeld will live to see more days as the Bullets GM.
- Philadelphia has the 2nd pick overall (their only pick), and Evan Turner would be the value pick. However, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young are already on a roster that lacks inside muscle. Not to mention, Samuel Dalembert, the team's only real roster, is in the last year of his contract.
- Minnesota owns 3 picks in the first round (pick #s 4, 16, 23) and 5 picks overall. They could use interior depth, but have a gaping hole at the shooting guard position. Could Minnesota package 3 picks into a trade with the 76ers and select Evan Turner?
- If your roster is starving for power forwards and centers, then this is your draft. I have given 1st-round grades to 11 power forwards and centers. If I had any love for Kevin Seraphin, that number would be one higher.
- After John Wall, there are no true point guards with a 1st-round grade. Shooting guards Avery Bradley, Eric Bledsoe, Armon Johnson (combo guard), and Terrico White may play point guard at the next level.
- Toronto is actively attempting to acquire a pick in the 20s. Cap-starved teams like Orlando and teams with multiple first round picks (Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Memphis) are possible dance partners for the Raptors. That said, the Raptors have approximately $46M locked up in contracts next season that do not include Chris Bosh. They are in serious trouble.
- What will Mikhail Prokhorov do in his first draft? His Nets hold picks 3, 27 and 31. They some good young pieces in Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Yi Jianlian, Terrence Williams, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, but will be wise to add muscle to the frontcourt.
- According to John Sheridan of ESPN.com, the current asking price for a spare 2nd-round pick has a starting price of $1.5M. Of course, picks in the early half of the 2nd round are more expensive. Last year, Houston paid Washington $2.5M in Lil' Flip albums for the 32nd pick overall.
- The Knicks will be calling teams to possibly purchase 2nd-round picks (in addition to their two early second-round picks), who would cost them a paltry cap figure of $473,604, and effectively fill out their roster.
- Who will fall precipitously on draft night? We don't know yet, and we won't know until draft night. All I know is that calls and texts will be prefaced by, "What were they thinking? I can't believe [insert name] is still on the board." Two years ago, it was Darrell Arthur. Last year, it was Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair and Sam Young.
Monday, June 07, 2010
#1. Washington Wizards select … John Wall (G, Kentucky)
He’s offering almost everything Derrick Rose did. While point guards often take a back seat to big men with the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, there is NO valid reason I can see not to take Wall and build your franchise around him. Of course, this is the Wizards…
#2. Philadelphia 76ers select … DeMarcus Cousins (C, Kentucky)
Pay made an excellent case that, if the 76ers front office decides to keep Iggy, Turner isn’t the right man for Philadelphia with the #2 pick. While there is NO denying his immense all-around talents, I’d be willing to take a chance on Cousins. He has a mean streak that, if harnessed, could produce scary results (especially in a center-starved Eastern Conference). Assuming his fitness is addressed, of course.
#3. New Jersey Nets select ... Evan Turner (G/F, Ohio State)
You don’t get the #1 pick, yet you may walk away with pound-for-pound the best pure talent in this draft. He can help immediately, but shouldn’t be asked to. He is a vital cog, but not a 1A performer for a future title contender. Instead, Turner reminds me of a clone combining some of the best traits of Danny Granger (if his outside shooting improves) and Scottie Pippen (if his defense improves). Scary stuff, right?
If not, this pick becomes a true wild-card.
Credit: NBC Sports
#4. Minnesota Timberwolves select … Derrick Favors (PF/C, Georgia Tech)
I’m not completely sold on the guy, but he offers a lot more bulk than many of the other options at the all-too-popular PF/C position this draft. Current Minnesota-big Al Jefferson may not be a permanent fixture for the franchise, so Favors, as the very least, offers a future replacement. If Jefferson is a T-Wolf for good, I’d jump all over Wes Johnson’s athleticism as a #3 alongside Love and the aforementioned Jefferson.
#5. Sacramento Kings select … Greg Monroe (PF/C, Georgetown)
Utah has to be praying Monroe slips to #9, but he won’t. Monroe is a new-age Brad Miller, who enjoyed quite a bit of success in SacTown during his tenure. While Monroe doesn’t scream “All-Star” to me, he is a great compliment alongside Tyreke Evans and the youthful Kings.
Note: I’d love to swap at #9 with Utah and see Sacremento wait and select Kansas’ Xavier Henry, by the way.
#6. Golden State Warriors select … Cole Aldrich (C, Kansas)
I’m not nearly as high on Aldrich as this pick might entail. However, I think Biedrins (and his contract) should be moved this offseason, if possible. The last thing this team needs is another developing swingman-esque athlete on their roster (Morrow, Maggette, Randolph). I love Wes Johnson’s potential…but don’t like him sitting so much on an already youthful team.
#7. Detroit Pistons select … Wesley Johnson (SF/PF, Syracuse)
It’s odd to see Detroit selecting this early, isn’t it? If only they didn’t give out those two deals last year (Gordon/Villenueva especially), they’d be a much bigger player in the Summer of 2010. Johnson has a tremendous upside, but needs steady coaching and stability. He needs to learn how to find his shot off the dribble and NOT fall in love with an inconsistent outside shot. His length alone already allows Detroit to move Tayshaun Prince, as well.
#8. Los Angeles Clippers select … Ekpe Udoh (PF/C, Baylor)
I love this guy. I loved everything he did in the NCAA Tournament. The Clipper have their young nucleus…for now…with Gordon (PG) and Griffin (PF). Nevertheless, the rest of their roster (especially with veterans Baron Davis and Chris Kaman far from locked into the teams’ future), isn’t much to smile about. Udoh is a big body who can split minutes at the 4 with Griffin and bring some muscle into the paint. He also doesn’t need the ball in hands to be a productive contributor. I see a lot of Serge Ibaka in him.
#9. Utah Jazz select … Xavier Henry (SG, Kansas)
Call me crazy, but this guy might be the sleeper of the early-to-mid 1st round. Henry just scratched the surface last year and would benefit tremendously from Jerry Sloan and the veteran-laden Jazz. Imagine if he used his length to play defense. Scary. While replacing Boozer (potentially leaving this summer) may be priority #1 for the Jazz, the 2-guard position in Utah hasn’t been nearly productive enough in recent years. In fact, when has it been since Jeff Hornacek???
#10. Indiana Pacers select … Al Farouq-Aminu (SF/PF, Wake Forest)
I think he may be one of the easiest busts to predict, especially if he goes in the top 5 or 6. Nevertheless, I hope he finds a team that allows him to mature at a realistic pace. He doesn’t need to be in a place like Golden State or Los Angeles, earning minutes based on measurements. Instead, let the Pacers avoid the all-too-easy pick – Gordon Hayward – and give themselves an athletic, high-risk/high-reward piece to their young nucleus.
#11. New Orleans Hornets select … Hassan Whiteside (C, Marshall)
CP3 is leaving. Count on it. Nevertheless, Darren Collison may be more than just a stop gap at the point guard position. Then again, is there a point worth of this slot? I doubt it, highly. I know Okafor is there, but let’s be honest…he’s not a center. Never has been in the NBA. So why not take a chance on Whiteside and see if he’s more Andrew Bynum than Saer Sene.
#12. Memphis Grizzlies select … Avery Bradley (SG, Texas)
A high-riser, maybe for only me, Bradley would allow the Grizzlies to make some tough moves on the fates of their young roster. There’s no telling where Rudy Gay ends up and Mike Coley has far from sewn up the point guard position in Memphis. Frankly, I’d be willing to build around Mayo (PG) and work from there. Selecting another untested big, alongside the already-developing Hasheem Thabeet, is a mistake. Take a 2-guard who can play with or without the ball. Zach Randolph’s legal troubles (surprise surprise) may alter this completely.
#13. Toronto Raptors select … Larry Sanders (PF/C, VCU)
Homer, right? Probably. Here come the Ed Davis-lovers. Bosh decides this pick (basically), doesn’t he? Problem is, they won’t know for sure come draft day where Bosh stands. While he’s likely gone (even if it’s a sign-and-trade), the Raptors also need to deal with Hedo and the potential of a large chunk of cap-space available with no free agent to lure. Sanders, who has done as well as any bigs in rookie camps, still has a LOT of work to do. Especially with his attitude. Nevertheless, Sanders has just as many, if not greater, physical tools equal of the BCS-conference draftees many have going before him. He is just scratching the surface, while also performing at a higher level than several bigs who have only been “projected” to perform (Whiteside, Orton, etc.).
#14. Houston Rockets select … James Anderson (SG, Oklahoma State)
He’s my Paul Pierce/Danny Graner/Rajon Rondo/DeJuan Blair of this year’s draft. A guy I know will be a solid NBA pro. Some are superstars and some are glue guys. Nevertheless, each draft has a guy or two that far too many GOOD teams passed over. Anderson could be a star, but won’t be a top 10 (or even top 20???) pick. The Rockets would be wise to get this guy on their roster, no matter if it’s “too early” or not. He’d also earn plenty of minutes, which he might not do going in the twenties.
Of course, the true story will be told soon enough. 17+ days, to be prices.