And so it goes: With the NBA Finals on the verge of completion along with a few big domestic Euroleague league and the 2010 FIBA World Championship still months away, the attention of many a basketball fan must turn to the NBA Draft. BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, continues his reassessment of the official BallinEurope NBA Mock Draft with updated prognostications for the second 15 choices in round one.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Anderson (6’6’’, SG, Oklahoma State, Junior). Minnesota again. Look for them to trade some picks away, but if not James Anderson is a solid two guard. The Wolves don’t need bigs or point guards and they took a small forward with their first pick in the BiE mock, so a shooting guard seems fine here.
17. Chicago Bulls: 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’s gone or if Xavier Henry is available, I suggest they pick him up; otherwise James Anderson may go here as the next best shooting guard.
18. Miami Heat: Luke Babbitt (6’8’’, SF, Nevada, Sophomore). Miami could be the final destination and a championship contender for the next decade if D-Wade can convince both Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson to come to town; with Beasley, the Heat have two solid shooting guards, one of which will play small forward, and a centre/power forward in Bosh. Add all this to the continued development of Beasley and all is looking up for a Heat Dynasty. Babbitt would be a solid backup small forward to J.J. if he plays SF.
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 him up here if he’s available. If not, I suggest either Jordan Crawford, who has great range and would learn from Ray Allen – plus, he dunked on Lebron so the fans will love him. Sherron Collins, who would be a great backup to Rajon Rondo much in the mold of Ty Lawson backing up Chauncey Billups, would also be good here.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Avery Bradley (6’2’’, SG, Texas, Fresh). San Antonio are solid: They have bigs like Blair developing at home, and they have bigs developing in Europe like Tiago Splitter. Therefore, the Spurs take a guard and Bradley is probably the best available. [Wait a minute, did you say Tiago Splitter? As in ACB/ACB finals MVP Tiago Splitter? Well, that calls for a YouTube! –Ed.]
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Orton (6’10’’, PF, Kentucky, Fresh). I am 100% sure Oklahoma will pick Orton up if he is available: He is an Oklahoma boy who didn’t have great college numbers but he could fit in well in the city.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Solomon Alabi (7’1’’, C, Florida State, Sophomore). Alabi is a solid big man who can rebound, defend and score. Portland were weak upfront after all the injuries they suffered this season, so they may pick up another big man in case the injury woes continue. If not, they may take a point guard such as Sherron Collins, who is a great leader with speed and skill.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Devin Ebanks (6’8’’, SF, West Virginia, Sophomore). They need a solid backup at small forward and Ebanks is the best available. Minnesota is reasonably solid at other positions such as PG, SG, PF and C, so small forward no matter who’s available is the best option.
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. If not they could grab a backup big man such as Gani Lawal or Jarvis Vernado.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Lance Stephenson (6’5’’, SG, Cincinnati, Fresh). Lance Stephenson may be the next O.J. Mayo, so having him and the real O.J. will help Stephenson learn and maybe control his attitude. I think Memphis may trade some picks away but if not they select the best available here.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gordon Hayward (6’9’’, SF, Butler, Sophomore). Gordon Hayward is a solid player, Oklahoma is a solid team just needed some depth behind Kevin Durant. Hayward will provide this depth.
27. New Jersey Nets: Terrico White (6’5’’, SG, Ole Miss, Sophomore). New Jersey are still building. Their rookies for last year improved as the season went on and they still have Devin Harris and Courtney Lee. White could come off the bench and contribute as a backup to either Harris or Lee.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Gani Lawal (6’9’’, PF, Georgia Tech, Junior). Memphis adopt the best player strategy. Lawal is a beast of a 6’9” power forward who will learn from Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol. We’re still unsure about Hasheem Thabeet, which is why they don’t take a centre here.
29. Orlando Magic: Quincy Pondexter (6’7’’, SF, Washington, Senior). Pondexter can shoot, defend, slash and generally create havoc for opposing defences. Guard-wise, the Magic just do not match up to other teams. Pondexter can either play shooting guard or small forward, therefore making him the perfect fit for the Magic.
30. Washington Wizards: Nemanja Bjelica (6’10’’, SF, Serbia). Bjelica is a great 6’10” small forward, shooting guard, point guard and can even play power forward if needed, Memphis need a player that is this versatile. If not, they may take Terrico White here and Bjelica with their next pick.
Sam Chadwick is a assistant coach for the Solent Kestrels U13 team. He also writes a basketball-centered blog called Hype.