More NBA Draft workouts are beginning and we've already mulled over the shooting, athletic and size measurements from the NBA Combine so it seems like this morning is as good of time as ever to come out with another mock draft.
Please check out our Guide To Mock Drafts to answer any questions before any flambéing occurs. After the jump I've provided brief analysis on all 30 first round picks.
Also, if you have any issues, leave the feedback in the comments and we can discuss it there. Still, if there are so many issues that you think you can make a better version, post it in the fan posts and, if we like it, it could make the front page. If there are enough people that use the fan posts for their mock, we'll probably have a contest - with prizes!
|2||Philadelphia 76ers||(Ohio State)|
|3||New Jersey Nets||(Georgia Tech)|
|5||Sacramento Kings||Wesley Johnson (Syracuse)|
|6||Golden State Warriors||(Wake Forest)|
|8||Los Angeles Clippers||(Baylor)|
|9||Utah Jazz (from NYK)|
|11||New Orleans Hornets||(Kentucky)|
|12||Memphis Grizzlies||Donatas Motiejunas (Lithuania)
|15||Milwaukee Bucks (from CHI)||Hassan Whiteside (Milwaukee)|
|16||Minnesota Timberwolves (from CHA)|
|17||Chicago Bulls (from MIL)||(Fresno State)|
|20||San Antonio Spurs||Damion James (Texas)|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder||(Florida State)|
|22||Portland Trail Blazers|
|23||Minnesota Timberwolves (from UTA)||James Anderson (Oklahoma State)|
|25||Memphis Grizzlies (from DEN)||(Kentucky)|
|26||Oklahoma City Thunder (from PHX)|
|27||New Jersey Nets (from DAL)|
|28||Memphis Grizzlies (from LAL)|
|30||Washington Wizards (from CLE)||(West Virginia)|
|31||New Jersey Nets|
|32||Oklahoma City Thunder (from MIN)||Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech)|
|35||Golden State Warriors|
|36||Detroit Pistons||Dominique Jones (South Florida)|
|37||Milwaukee Bucks (from PHI)||
Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati)
|38||New York Knicks|
|39||New York Knicks (from LAC)|
|41||Miami Heat (from NOH)||
Jerome Jordan (Tulsa)
|42||Miami Heat (from TOR)||
Trevor Booker (Clemson)
|43||Los Angeles Lakers (from MEM)|
|44||Portland Trail Blazers (from CHI)||Charles Garcia (Seattle)|
|45||Minnesota Timberwolves (from HOU)||Robin Benzing (Germany)|
|46||Phoenix Suns (from CHA)|
Jeremy Wise (Bakersfield)
|49||San Antonio Spurs|
|50||Dallas Mavericks (from OKC)|
|51||Oklahoma City Thunder (from POR)||Ryan Richards (England)|
|54||Los Angeles Clippers (from DEN)||Da'Sean Butler (West Virginia)|
|55||Utah Jazz||Elijah Millsap (UAB)|
|56||Minnesota Timberwolves (from PHX)|
|57||Indiana Pacers (from DAL)|
|58||Los Angeles Lakers||Tibor Pleiss (Germany)
|59||Orlando Magic||Nemanja Bjelica (Serbia)
|60||Phoenix Suns (from CLE)||
Tyren Johnson (Louisiana Lafayette)
1. Washington Wizards - John Wall, PG (Kentucky freshman)
While there seems to be some dissent wondering if John Wall can play next to the current face of the Wizards franchise, Gilbert Arenas, it seems that the answer is a resounding yes. Arenas will no longer have to constantly create all of his shots (formerly known as the Wizards offense) while Wall has shown that he can play alongside another point guard already - he did so at Kentucky when fellow first-round pick Eric Bledsoe was in. The only problem right now is that this apparently puts the Wizards plans for the future in limbo - is it time to sign a big free agent to win now or keep rebuilding slowly?
2. Philadelphia 76ers - Evan Turner, SG/SF (Ohio State junior)
The Sixers are already said to be open to trading this pick according to Sam Amico, but that wouldn't seem to be the prudent idea - regardless of their current roster. With Willie Green and Jason Kapono both seeing more NBA starts than they should have last season (meaning that they started NBA games), it definitely makes sense to draft Turner to play on the wing Andre Iguodala. Jordan Sams over at Liberty Ballers weighs in with an additional five reasons to draft Turner with the second overall pick.
3. New Jersey Nets - Derrick Favors, PF (Georgia Tech freshman)
While DeMarcus Cousins is the more NBA-ready prospect, Favors has what those in the know call "Ridiculous Upside" at the ripe young age of 18. It doesn't hurt that he's much more suited to play next to current big man Brook Lopez with his blend of speed and athleticism, either. It's probably the not most prudent pick to win now or, for that matter, to lure LeBron James to New Jersey/Brooklyn/where ever but it should pay off in the long-run - and after finishing with the worst record in the NBA this year, the Nets should definitely be thinking long-term so they don't end up in this same predicament sometime soon. If Turner doesn't fall, Favors apparently isn't the definite pick because Philly plans to work out both him and DeMarcus Cousins before the draft.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - DeMarcus Cousins, C (Kentucky freshman)
Canis Hoopus actually had DeMarcus Cousins at the top of their big board, so while they're unhappy that they didn't win the lottery, Stop-N-Pop reasons that "it's not that awful." While neither Al Jefferson or Kevin Love are certifiable centers, Cousins certainly is at 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds. While there are red flags concerning Cousins' attitude, there isn't a player in the draft that doesn't have issues - nor is there a better on-the-court player available at this selection. As good as Wesley Johnson is looking, I think the options to fill with the wing will still plentiful with the Wolves' second (and maybe even third) pick in the first round.
5. Sacramento Kings - Wesley Johnson, SF (Syracuse junior)
I really, really like Wesley Johnson. He didn't play last season after transferring from Iowa State, but there's a lot to like about the guy. He can shoot, run the floor, and he hit the boards pretty hard at 'Cuse. Unfortunately, he'll be 23 when the NBA season starts and he played in Syracuse's zone defense (tough to project to the NBA). Though the Kings most wanted a legitimate big man to pair with former lottery picks Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes, the best player available won't be a terrible option - especially when the small forward spot was the least productive position for Sactown last season. Johnson can shoot (42% from beyond the arc last season), rebound and get up and down the floor and seemingly play defense (he averaged just under two steals and two blocks per game). He's probably not going to be the star Tyreke Evans turned out to be, but he'll more than likely make Evans happy when he's able to dish the ball to Johnson for a corner three. As a bonus, Sactown Royalty's Aykis16 thinks Johnson can play the 2 next to Tyreke Evans as the shooting complement to Evans' slashing.
6. Golden State Warriors - Al-Farouq Aminu, F (Wake Forest sophomore)
While it's almost unanimous that the Golden State Warriors need a big man to replace the production(?) of Andris Biedrins, it'd be a mistake to take a plodder for the fun-and-gun Warriors offense. Aminu is an athletic tweener that can play both forward spots in the Warriors offense - and we know how much Don Nelson loves to play Nellieball with versatile players all around the court. Aminu is currently working on his jumper and ball handling in Los Angeles according to Draft Express, two of the biggest knocks against currently against him, and it sounds like everything is going great. Since Anthony Tolliver did well in Golden State's system, I have no doubt that Aminu can do the same. According to Blogger So Dear, SB Nation's Wake Forest blog, it seems Aminu should translate better to the NBA than I had planned. As a plus, I'm fairly certain he's not going to be the next DerMarr Johnson. Last, but not least, LarryLegendOfOracle has a pretty in-depth fan post over at Godlen State of Mind on why Aminu should be the pick in this spot.
7. Detroit Pistons - Greg Monroe, PF/C (Georgetown sophomore)
Greg Monroe is not going to do the dirty-work that Ben Wallace brought the Pistons, but with Jason Maxiell that isn't exactly a need. Monroe is the most skilled big man in the draft as he can shoot, pass, score in the post and even put the ball on the floor. His rebounding is often said to be a problem, but he did average 9.6 boards while at Georgetown last season. While he's not a throwback Piston, the Pistons aren't really built like that right now anyway. For more in-depth reasoning, check my man Patrick Hayes making the case for the Pistons to draft Monroe. The crew over at Detroit Bad Boys isn't really interested in bringing Monroe aboard, however.
8. Los Angeles Clippers - Ekpe Udoh, PF/C (Baylor Junior)
The Clippers don't need a big man, really - and I realize this. Still, I don't envision them reaching for Gordon Hayward like Chad Ford thinks. Therefore, I went with Udoh based on the fact that Marcus Camby was a decent fit and Udoh measured out pretty well at the NBA Combine. Maybe by this time next week Luke Babbitt will have made his way into this spot. Until now, though, Udoh is the man.
9. Utah Jazz - Cole Aldrich, C (Kansas Junior)
This pick is destiny (even if it isn't a pick of destiny). Aldrich could actually go higher, and quite possibly will, but I don't think he'll fall further than this spot. The Jazz are more than likely losing Boozer and with Mehmet Okur more than likely out to begin next season, Utah is going to need a big man. At this point, Aldrich is the man.
10. Indiana Pacers - Xavier Henry, SG (Kansas freshman)
Xavier Henry seems to be losing fans every day, unfortunately (Ford dropped him to the 19th spot in his most recent mock). Fortunately for Pacers fans, I've not heard/read anything that makes me not think he's the best option in Indiana to replace fellow Kansas alum Brandon Rush. Henry has NBA size and an NBA-ready stroke, meaning he should be able to step right in and contribute. As for how Henry will fit with the Pacers, check out this profile of the X-Man on IndyCornrows.
The Hornets could probably have used a small forward just as well at this spot, but there really isn't one available - without reaching. In Orton, they'll get their center of the future as well as their top backup in the frontcourt right now (with Emeka being able to slide to the 4). Jeff Bower has shown he knows what he's doing with the draft and I don't think he's scared of taking a potential-laden pick (especially since he doesn't have to worry about coaching him). I'm trying to decide if I like this highlight video from his high school days because he shows a soft touch and seems to be more agile than planned or hate it because he doesn't look as strong as I thought he was. Last, but not least, I have no idea why I refuse to get away from this pick since Orton didn't come out as tall as planned at the combine (though his reach makes up for it).
12. Memphis Grizzlies - Donatas Motiejunas, PF (Lithuania)
It's tough to draft for the Grizzlies this year because there aren't really any major holes - especially if they're able to hold on to Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer because that all but completes the 12-man rotation. We know that Zach Randolph has recently got himself into trouble, but he's still said to be a "valued member of the Grizzlies family and Memphis community." That said, Randolph's contract ends at the conclusion of next season - the same time that Motiejunas' contract ends overseas. Since the Grizzlies don't have any room, money, and more than likely don't want a player 'learning' from Randolph, this seems like a good spot for Motiejunas.
With the possibility of Chris Bosh leaving, a big man seems to be the likeliest pick at this juncture (both because it fills a potential need and their aren't many other options available). While I don't know that Patterson is going to make Raptor fans forget about losing Bosh (if it does indeed happen), he'll have a much better attitude than the much maligned Hedo Turkoglu - and maybe even the guy the Raptors take on to replace Turkoglu. That said, if Turkoglu leaves the Raptors draft needs could change. Let's assume this pick will change by next time we do a mock draft.
It isn't easy guessing what Daryl Morey knows that I don't, so I decided to give him what I see as the best available player that isn't a big-time headcase. Davis didn't dominate as a sophomore, but he's an athletic big man who's active on the boards and can block shots. He also has a high motor and all of those lovely buzz words that will begin to buzz soon enough.
15. Milwaukee Bucks - Hassan Whiteside, PF/C (Marshall junior)
He's falling because of his attitude, which is reportedly pretty bad, and BrewHoop's Frank Madden "would be surprised if the Bucks were the first team willing to make the gamble." That said, the Bucks frontcourt isn't exactly teeming with talent going into next season (sorry, Dan Gadzuric). While Whiteside could be quite the enigma, especially with Scott Skiles coaching him (remember the Skiles-Tyrus Thomas issues? Did you see Chad Ford just said Whiteside reminds him of Thomas?), I don't think it makes sense for the Bucks to pass on his talent. He could definitely play next to Andrew Bogut and create a lot of havoc on the defensive end.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves - Luke Babbitt, SF (Nevada Sophomore)
Last week I picked Gordon Hayward here, but I've recently decided I like Luke Babbitt more for some reason. He can shoot, he has good size, he's as athletic as Blake Griffin (LOL?) and would be the offensive answer to Corey Brewer's defensive specialist role.
I asked your friendly BullsBlogger from BlogABull what the Bulls might be looking for and he essentially said three-point shooting, preferably from a 2-guard and preferably with athleticism. After George recently told Chad Ford that he thinks he might be better at the 2 than the 3, this choice is perfect. George has a host of highlight reel dunks, but can also shoot very well from long-range (especially if the Bulls rein him in just a bit). George probably solidified this being about as far as he drops after performing well at the NBA Draft Combine.
18. Miami Heat - Avery Bradley, G (Texas freshman)
The defense is the backbone with Bradley - and most think he'll be able to transition to the point in the NBA. Though the Heat have bigger fish to fry (Dwayne Wade needs to stay), Bradley's very quick and can defend the other team's best guard so Wade has more energy to do work on offense. Bradley could be moving up the draft boards after a few good workouts, but I didn't really have a spot to place him before here with the Heat.
19. Boston Celtics - Gordon Hayward, SF (Butler Sophomore)
What do the Celtics need? I've been lurking over at CelticsBlog for awhile, but they really seem quite content (even Scalabrine gets some love). That said, I'm going to go with the best available player in Babbitt. A good-sized shooter, he'd be a great option off the bench for a team with very few holes (see Playoffs, NBA 2010). He could also possibly slide Paul Pierce over to the two-guard and replace Ray Allen's shooting prowess if Allen isn't retained.
I hate to sell out my D-League guys by having the Spurs draft a small forward, but it seems that this was the consensus in the last mock and I'm here to make people happy. James isn't necessarily a small forward by trade (more by body tape), but he has experience, athleticism and is pretty tough - basically, he's an intangible guy. Oh, he also averaged a double-double in the Big 12 last season and shot a pretty good 38% from beyond the (college) arc. I'm not sure that shooting number is going to hold up, but the Spurs could do worse here.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Solomon Alabi, PF (Florida State junior)
This pick probably isn't going to need to contribute right away, which is why it makes sense to pick a big with potential (he'll at least have better numbers than Byron Mullens, if nothing else). He kind of replicates the skillset of Serge Ibaka, but if one Ibaka on the floor is nice, two would be even better! Right? Oh, also he's 7-foot-1 and runs the floor like a gazelle. For more on Alabi and the Thunder, check Welcome To Loud City's profile on the Seminole from last month.
22. Portland Trailblazers - Kevin Seraphin, PF (France)
Honestly, Seraphin just feels like a Blazers' pick. Without any immediate needs (replacing Rudy Fernandez?), the Blazers might be best off taking Seraphin and stashing him until he's ready (though he's apparently willing to come over this season). UPDATE: Seraphin apparently injured his meniscus on Monday and is out for three to four weeks. That probably doesn't bode well for his draft stock.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves - James Anderson, SG (Oklahoma State Junior)
Anderson didn't do anything to separate himself from the pack at the Combine in the tangible measurements which probably wouldn't be a big deal had he ended his college career with a bang. Unfortunately, his college career ended with more of a thud as he was shut down in the NCAA Tournament by Iman Shumpert. With the numbers showing Anderson also shot pretty poorly in the shooting drills at the Combine, his stock is no doubt falling until he impresses someone in workouts.
25. Memphis Grizzlies -Eric Bledsoe, G (Kentucky freshman)
This pick is not necessarily based on need, but he would almost certainly make a splash for the Grizzlies off the bench (at least more than their draft picks last season). In addition, Bledsoe would be EXCELLENT value if available here.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder - Stanley Robinson SF/PF (Connecticut senior)
He seems like an OKC type of guy - a lanky, athletic leaper that can play multiple positions. Since the Thunder don't exactly have a need, I expect them to take a player like Robinson just in case - if nothing else, they can let him develop in Tulsa until there is a need. For more on Sticks, check out Welcome To Loud City's profile.
27. New Jersey Nets -Terrico White, SG (Mississippi Sophomore)
The Nets could use a shooter on the wing and Crawford seems to be the best available (maybe in the entire draft?). At this point, it would probably be considered a reach but the potential is there.
28. Memphis Grizzlies - Devin Ebanks, SF (West Virginia Sophomore)
Just go with it. With the possibility of losing both Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer, the wing is a position of need. While I'm not totally sold on Ebanks, there's a lot to like getting him at this spot. If nothing else, the pick adds to the athletes (and possibly the headcases).
29. Orlando Magic - Willie Warren, G (Oklahoma sophomore)
With Anthony Johnson and Jason Williams both becoming free agents, the Magic could do a lot worse as Warren was projected as a top five pick coming into the season. I'm not sure what happens when he gets to the NBA, but it's probably worth this pick to try and figure it out. The magic are deep enough to be able to take the loss if he looks as bad as he did this past season, but it'll be a steal if he's able to regain his freshman form. He also shot pretty well at the Combine.
30. Washington Wizards - Quincy Pondexter, F (Washington Senior)
"Who cares who the Wizards pick at 30? They got John Wall!" was the esteemed Tom Ziller's reasoning for the Wizards 30th pick over at AOL Fanhouse. Although I've inserted a different player, the explanation fits. I actually like him higher than this, but his skipping the Combine probably put him a bit "out of sight, out of mind" in the eyes of some decision makers.