Now that the order for the 2010 NBA Draft has been officially settled, BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, revisits his mock draft of last week with updated prognostications for the first 30 choices.
Prospective European draftees in Donatas Motiejunas and Miroslav Raduljica haven’t budged on Sam’s chart and much of the lower half remains the same, but new BiE favorite Nemanja Bjelica manages to sneak into the first round. And the inevitable shakeups in the top 10 keep things interesting as ever. And the BallinEurope crystal ball says…
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall (6’4’’, PG, Kentucky, Freshman) . As I said in the earlier mock, this is the easiest pick of the year: Even the Wizards can’t mess this up and after such a terrible season in Washington D.C., it’s nice to see something good happen. Hopefully, Wall can have the same impact with the Wizards that Derrick Rose had to the Chicago Bulls; they still need a few building blocks but winning the draft will increase their chances of landing a star free agent.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner (6’6’’, SG, Ohio State, Junior). This team was supposed to pick 6th, so 2nd really is an impressive jump for the Sixers and it’s much needed in Philly. The 76ers have a good point guard in Lou Williams and a backup in Jrue Holiday but at shooting guard they have to choose between Allen Iverson (who probably won’t play) and Jodie Meeks: Turner is an improvement over both of these players and can play point if needed. Look for Philly to get back to their running and gunning ways.
3. New Jersey Nets: Wesley Johnson (6’7’’, SF, Syracuse, Junior). This is okay for the Nets. Yeah, they dropped, but the worst team rarely gets the number 1 pick – that’s the whole point of the lottery. On the positive side, the Nets still have PF JianLian Yi, C Brook Lopez and PG Devin Harris, plus some good players like CDR and Courtney Lee. Was it just injuries that made them so bad in 2009-10? As the Nets have a great centre and a good power forward, look for them to pick a small forward who can score and defend.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Favors (6’9’’, PF, Georgia Tech, Freshman). Well, this is a pain. At no. 4, the next best player available is a power forward and the next player after that is a power forward, Minnesota doesn’t need a power forward, but rather a shooting guard/small forward. They needed Evan Turner basically, and I suggest they either trade down to get a shooting guard or pick Favors to see what they can get in a trade for him or one of their other forwards.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins (6’10’’, PF, Kentucky, Freshman). Like I said last time, Sacramento doesn’t need another big man, but Cousins is clearly the best available and can always be used as draft bait. His stock has fallen a bit, but there are no point guards good enough to allow Tyreke Evans to play shooting guard. The Kings could also pick a shooting guard and allow Tyreke to continue playing point by selecting Xavier Henry.
6. Golden State Warriors: Al-Farouq Aminu (6’9’’, SF, Wake Forest, Sophomore). Golden State is a fast-running, athletic team; Aminu will be able to fit in well, rebounding and just hustling for Golden State. Unfortunately the Warriors have coach Don Nelson The Rookie-Hater, so you never know how it will turn out in the Bay.
7. Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe (6’10’’, PF, Georgetown, Sophomore). From here, the mock draft pretty much stays the same. I kind of want Monroe in Milwaukee and if he drops that low, he would be a great pickup for them: Together with Brandon Jennings, adding Monroe would create one of the best duos in the league. However, Detroit may select him because of his skill set. If not, they could grab Patrick Patterson to help make the Pistons back into the Bad Boys.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Patrick Patterson (6’8”, PF, Kentucky, Jr). Patrick Patterson is a solid player, a power forward like Blake Griffin that could play small forward therefore giving him the size to defend players like Lebron. Patterson’s size, hustle and good work ethic would make him a great addition for the Clippers.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich (6’11”, C, Kansas, Junior) is a good pick here, especially if Boozer decides that he has had too much of the Jazz. Aldrich is probably the most polished of all centers in the draft and one who will work well under Jerry Sloan.
10. Indiana Pacers: Ed Davis (6’9”, PF, North Carolina, Sophomore). Davis’ injury spoiled his season and I think it will affect his draft stock. Some teams may take a chance; while Indiana has had a bad season and can really afford to take this chance, I suggest they pick someone a bit more proven.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Donatas Motiejunas (7’0”, PF, Lithuania). Everyone has the Hornets picking Motiejunas and I feel it’s a great pick for them, as I said last time, they don’t need another guard, they do need a good inside big man and Donatas can provide both inside/outside game. I feel he may surprise the folks in the ‘States with how good he is.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Bledsoe (6’1”, PG, Kentucky, Freshman). Apparently, Bledsoe is the second best PG in this draft; based on this, I say they should take him as Conley either needs to be replaced or needs a better back-up. If they don’t wanna pick him, I’d say Damion James as a small forward to replace Rudy Gay if he goes.
13. Toronto Raptors: Hassan Whiteside (7’0”, C, Marshall, Freshman). If Chris Bosh is off, the Raptors need a new low-post scoring threat, as well as a defensive presence in the key. Whiteside is the best available to fill this role. If Toronto drops lower, then Solomon Alabi is the best interior defender left but may not be as polished offensively.
14. Houston Rockets: Ekpe Udoh (6’10”, PF, Baylor, Junior). Houston already has a solid 1-2. As they traded away Carl Landry, Epke is athletic, hustling, scoring player who can fill some of Landry’s gap.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Larry Sanders (6’10”, PF, VCU, Junior). I wanted Milwaukee to get Monroe; unfortunately, they probably won’t. Instead there’s Saunders, which isn’t too bad.
16. Minnesota: Xavier Henry (6’6’’, SG, Kansas, Freshman). Here, Minnesota picks the best available shooting guard. Henry may go a lot higher, but if he’s available I feel Minnesota will pick him up straight away.
17. Chicago: Paul George (6’8’’, SF, Fresno State, Sophomore). Chicago has hosted some workouts and Paul George seems to be their favourite player so far, if he is gone or if Henry is available I suggest they pick him up otherwise James Anderson may go here as the next best shooting guard.
18. Miami Heat: Lance Stephenson (6’5”, SG, Cincinnati, Freshman). Miami can take a risk, D-Wade may leave, and The Heat will therefore need a shooting guard, thereby allowing Beasley to become the player he’s always wanted to be – I trust Pat Riley to contain his attitude. If not, Greivis Vasquez may be the Heat’s next best option.
19. Boston Celtics: Damion James (6’7”, SF, Texas, Senior). A solid, experienced small forward who is a lot like Paul Pierce, Boston would happily pick James up here if available. If not, I suggest Jordan Crawford, who has great range and would learn from Ray Allen; plus he dunked on Lebron, so the fans will love him, right?
20. San Antonio Spurs: James Anderson (6’6”, SG, Oklahoma State, Junior).They have a good PF, plus a backup PF in Blair, plus they own the rights to Tiago Splitter … the Spurs don’t really need an extra big, but do need depth at shooting guard. If Anderson is gone at this point, Stanley Robinson could serve as a back-up to Richard Jefferson.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Solomon Alabi (7’1”, C, Florida State, Sophomore). This team has improved so much. The Oklahoma City core is currently comprised of a PG (Westbrook), a SF (Durant) and a PF (Green), so they could do with a SG or Centre. Alabi may be the best centre available, or the Thunder may go for Vasquez for his height and playmaking skills.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Devin Ebanks (6’8”, SF, West Virginia, Sophomore). The Blazers need a solid backup at small forward and Ebanks is the best available at that position – if he’s available, Hayward is also a good pick.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Luke Babbitt (6’8”, SF, Nevada, Sophomore). Minnesota may just get rid of this pick as they have so many they may need a small forward so I think they should take Babbitt as he played well in college and is a good scoring threat and solid defender.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Jordan Crawford (6’4”, SG, Xavier, Sophomore). The Hawks could do with a shooting guard in case Joe Johnson leaves and they are solid at almost every other position. In lieu of Crawford, the Hawks could grab a backup big man such as Gani Lawal or Jarvis Vernado.
25. Memphis: Nemanja Bjelica (6’10’’, SF, Serbia). NBAdraft.net now has Memphis taking Nemanja Bjelica at 28th; he’s great small forward, shooting guard, point guard and can even play power forward if needed. Memphis needs a player that is this versatile. If not, they could take Terrico White here and gamble that Bjelica’s still around by their pick at no. 28.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Greivis Vasquez (6’5”, PG, Maryland, Senior). Oklahoma picked Alabi earlier in this mock draft, so now they can pick Vasquez as their SG/PG backup in a rotation with Harden, Sefolosha and Maynor. If Vasquez is gone here, OKC could pick up a back up small power forward such as Jarvis Varnado.
27. New Jersey Nets: Avery Bradley (6’2”, SG, Texas, Freshman). Assuming the Nets go for Wall at no. 1, and figuring in their solid frontcourt of players like Lopez, Jianlian Yi and Terrance Williams, the Nets grab an SG who is a great defender. If Bradley is taken, look for the Nets to maybe pick up Willie Warren, although I’m not too keen on him.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Terrico White (6’5”, SG, Ole Miss, Sophomore). I feel Memphis may trade away a pick or two for cash or something, but they could do with a bookend for Mayo, and Terrico may be best available. An alternative choice here might be Warren.
29. Orlando Magic: Gordon Hayward (6’9”, SF, Butler, Sophomore) is a solid player; Orlando is a solid team with only depth needed: Hayward will provide this depth. Otherwise, I’d suggest Armon Johnson as a backup guard.
30. Washington Wizards: Miroslav Raduljica (6’11”, C, Serbia). John Wall is a great first pick, so look for the Wizards to add a solid big man afterward to play alongside him. Miroslav may be the best player for such a purpose. If not, Washington may take Dominique Jones, who had a workout with the team on May 13th.
Sam Chadwick is a assistant coach for the Solent Kestrels U13 team. He also writes a basketball-centered blog called Hype.