The 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft is still underway, with each SB Nation blogger making selections for their respective teams. Poor Man's Commish from SB Nation's Golden State Warriors blog Golden State of Mind (Unstoppable baby!), checks in to make the sixth overall selection in this year's mock.
With the sixth overall pick in the 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft, the Golden State Warriors have selected Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse Orange.
PMC explains: Before I talk about Wes Johnson, I have to profess that I covet Luke Babbitt as the biggest steal of the draft, as was discussed in gory detail (and not actually suggested by me) on Golden State Of Mind -- but just not quite enough to pass up on Johnson. Also, I'm thankful that our friends up north at Sactown Royalty selected Greg Monroe at #5, otherwise I would've been scrambling for some YouTube evidence to support my distant memory of Georgetown footage of Monroe, as someone who is liable to mentally check out of a game every now and then. If the Kings had selected Johnson at #5, I probably would've picked Babbitt at #6. And while Al-Farouq Aminu is quite an athlete and maybe a shoo-in as a participant in the 2011 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, I would've picked elite basketball skill and IQ over elite athleticism -- although Babbitt's Combine measurements suggest that he can be considered a fringe elite athlete as well.
But this pick is about Johnson, not Babbitt. What a steal at #6! I think that's more a function of how talented the top 4-5 picks are, more than anything else. Around the third week of May, I had the fortune and privilege of watching an ESPNU re-broadcast of #8 Villanova at #4 Syracuse in a Big East regular season conference game from late February. In the boxscore, Johnson only shot 2-for-11, but he contributed in many other ways. He collected 11 rebounds and 4 assists, went 8-for-10 from the free throw line, showed off his smooth outside stroke going 2-for-6 from downtown (.415 for the season!), and had 2 steals and no turnovers.
The progression of his stats in all categories from his freshman and sophomore years at Iowa State is astounding. The 7'1" wingspan helps, too, and you can see him take full advantage of his length in YouTube highlight clips. Johnson likes to compare his game to Scottie Pippen's and he epitomized him in that game. However, the only adjustment I'd make to that comparison is that Johnson can slide over to the 2 more naturally whereas Pippen could slide over to the 4, with Pippen's stance a lot more "stand-up straight" than Johnson's lower center of gravity with an attack stance resembling more of a shooting guard. Finally, Johnson has extraordinary vision, can thread the needle, and is an unselfish player who doesn't need the ball in his hands to make an impact on the game. To top it off, he has an incredibly wonderful personality and work ethic. Not many players entering the Draft possess all of these skills and traits.
Scott's note: For the record, the entire GSoM nation seems to agree.
Ridiculous Upside reacts: Honestly, I think this was as much of a no-brainer as the John Wall to Washington pick. I watched Golden State play more than almost any other NBA team last season (blame it on the D-League call-ups) and the blend that Johnson brings to the table would have been perfect - unfortunately, it also probably would have meant the Reggie Williams era never needed to happen.
Syracuse blog weighs in: Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician's head honcho Sean Keeley reflects fondly on Johnson's lone season in 'Cuse.
More likely, we'll remember being No. 1 in March for the first time ever. We'll remember winning the Big East crown when we were picked to finish sixth in the conference. We'll remember the Villanova win, the Georgetown wins and all the other 30+ wins SU accumulated this season. Being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament after starting the season a 7- or 8-seed in many people's eye. Feeling like, on any given day, this team could have beaten any other team in the nation.
Wes Johnson's smile will be one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of all those things. And if the price to pay is that we only got one season with him, so be it. That was the most fun Syracuse basketball season since, well, Carmelo led the 2003 team all the way to the title. You can't take those for granted anymore.
Ridiculous Upside's Top 5 remaining prospects: 1 - Al-Farouq Aminu, F, Wake Forest. 2 - Patrick Patterson PF, Kentucky. 3 - Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada. 4 - Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas. 5 - Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor.
Sound off, SB Nation! What say you of the Johnson-to-Golden State pick?
And please, remember to check out Golden State of Mind for everything you need to know about the Warriors (and more!).