Though not quite completely settled yet, most devotees have a pretty good idea of the pool for this year’s suddenly distinctly non-European flavored 2010 NBA Draft. BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, revisits the official BallinEurope NBA Mock Draft once again with updated prognostications for the first 15 choices in round one.
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, and even the Wizards can’t mess this up. After such a terrible season in Washington D.C., it’s nice to see something good happen. Hopefully John Wall can have the same impact that Derrick Rose had with the Chicago Bulls; the Wizards 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 sixth, so no. 2 really is a big jump for them and is much needed in Philly. The Sixers have a good point guard in Lou Williams and back up in Jrue Holiday but at shooting guard they have to choose between Allen Iverson (who probably won’t play) or Jodie Meeks. Evan 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: Derrick Favors (6’9”, PF, Georgia Tech, Freshman). New Jersey have some bigs, Yi Jianlian and Lopez mainly, but they didn’t expect the 3rd pick, so they may as well just add to the frontcourt they have by adding the best player available right now. At the rookie combine, Favors benched more than Dwight Howard and had a higher vertical. As the top three is set, I don’t see anyone squeezing into here except maybe Wesley Johnson, who may be taken as a more suitable choice for the Nyets.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson (6’7”, SF, Syracuse, Junior). Minnesota have so many picks it’s crazy: This is pick one of the T-wolves’ five selections. They obviously won’t take a point guard and they have enough bigs with AL Jefferson and Kev-Love, so a small forward with Johnson’s length and ability the Wolves would more than happily be picked up.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins (6’10”, PF, Kentucky, Freshman). Like I said last time, Sacramento doesn’t need another power forward/centre. However, Cousins is 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 which would allow Tyreke Evans to play shooting guard. So the Kings could pick a shooting guard and allow Evans to continue playing point by selecting Xavier Henry.
6. Golden State Warriors: Greg Monroe (6’10”, PF, Georgetown, Sophomore). From here, things pretty much stay the same. I kind of want Monroe in Milwaukee and if he drops this low he would be a great pick up for them – I feel that Monroe and Brandon Jennings would be one of the best duos in the league. Golden State loves running big men, especially those who can shoot, score, defend and rebound: Monroe ticks all those boxes and more.
7. Detroit Pistons: Patrick Patterson (6’8”, PF, Kentucky, Junior). Patterson is easily the best fit for the Pistons, they like long wingspans, they like tenacity, they like hustle. Patrick can get the Pistons back to the Bad Boys era.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu (6’9”, SF, Wake Forest, Sophomore). The Clippers are theoretically solid for 2010-11 with a healthy Blake Griffin, Chris Kamen’s emergence as an All-Star, and Eric Gordon’s continued improvement. Aminu is a 6’9” small forward who adds height at his position and is capable of defending the Lebrons of the league as well as contributing athleticism, rebounding and scoring.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich (6’11”, C, Kansas, Junior). Aldrich is a good pick here, especially if Carlos Boozer decides that he’s had too much of the Jazz. Aldrich is probably the most polished of all centres in the draft and one who will work well under coach Jerry Sloan.
10. Indiana Pacers: Ed Davis (6’9”, PF, North Carolina, Sophomore). Davis’ injury may be a concern, so the Pacers may not pick him up but he is a long-armed, athletic player who can definitely play alongside Danny Granger. If Indiana decides to take someone else because of the injury, I’d suggest Ekpe Udoh, as he too is a long athletic player who plays great interior defence due to his shot-blocking ability.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Hassan Whiteside (7’0”, C, Marshall, Freshman) . Donatas Motiejunas is off the board, staying in Europe another season: This will disappoint New Orleans, but imagine Hassan getting the lobs from Chris Paul like he used to do to Tyson Chandler. Or maybe the Hornets will re-sign Chandler … just kidding.
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 the Grizzlies should take him, as Conley either needs to be replaced or needs a better backup; recently he’s dropped a bit. For Memphis, I feel that the best option is Collins. Most people have him going in the second round, but I feel Bledsoe could play much the same as a Ty Lawson: a great leader with speed and skill.
13. Toronto Raptors: Ekpe Udoh (6’10”, PF, Baylor, Jr.) . Ekpe Udoh is athletic and he is big – not Chris Bosh big, but still 6’10”. Udoh plays defence, he blocks shots, he can dunk, he can score. Toronto may be rebuilding and Udoh is a building block.
14. Houston Rockets: Larry Sanders (6’10”, PF, VCU, Junior). Houston would have been a great fit for Udoh. Unfortunately they just missed him in this mock draft. Sanders is another 6’10” athletic kid who can hustle and play power forward for the Rockets.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Xavier Henry (6’6”, SG, Kansas, Freshman.) Keeping in mind that Salmons may leave at the end of the season and test the free-agency waters, Henry would be a great replacement. Personally, I want him to play for the Bulls but I don’t think its gonna happen. Henry and Jennings will make a great 1-2 punch.
Sam Chadwick is a assistant coach for the Solent Kestrels U13 team. He also writes a basketball-centered blog called Hype.