By: David K.
This is my first mock draft that has taken team needs into account. Now that the NBA regular season is done, the preliminary order is set until the draft lottery takes place on May 19th. Remember, I got as many picks correct last year as ESPN’s “expert” Chad Ford and watched 274 college basketball games this season, so I feel pretty good about my projections.
1. Sacramento- Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
-If the Kings land the top pick, it’s a gutsy call, but I think Rubio is their guy. Sacramento has a few young bigs, but has a major need for a long-term franchise player and a point guard, both roles that Rubio can fill. Plus, I think Rubio is the “sexier” pick and the Maloof brothers are all about “sexy.”
Think: Steve Nash
2. Washington- Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-9, So.
-Griffin has proven to be the most dominant player in college basketball and will likely be the number one pick if any team but the Kings are selecting first. While he doesn’t fill a need for the Wizards, he is too good to pass up with the second pick.
Think: Amare Stoudamire
3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
-The Clips already have Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman up-front, but Camby is a free agent after next season. Thabeet is the third best prospect in this class and absolutely owns the paint on the defensive end. Not being needed to contribute major minutes in his first season might actually be a good thing since his offensive game still needs to improve.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller
4. Oklahoma City- Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
-The Thunder could use a big man or a scoring two-guard, both of which will available with the fourth pick. Hill is a tremendous athlete for his size and has improved his outside shot. He would add to the young nucleus in OKC.
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge
5. Minnesota- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
-I love Evans and think he would be the perfect fit for the T-Wolves who need a player that can attack the basket which is Evans’ strength. He can also play some point guard, a position that Randy Foye has never really taken over since arriving in Minnesota. The knock on Evans is his inconsistent outside shot, but that improves with time.
Think: Manu Ginobli
6. Memphis – James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
-What the Griz could really use is a power forward and would probably love Hill to slip to them at five. But since he doesn’t, Harden is the next best option. He has the ability to take over a game whenever he wants, although he also tends to be too unselfish at times as well. Harden doesn’t fill a need, but putting him on the floor with Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Mike Conley would provide a lot of offensive firepower.
Think: Paul Pierce
7. Golden State- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
-DeRozan would be a great fit for Nellie Ball because of his great athleticism and versatility. The Trojan freshman really came along strong during the final month of the season, though his three-point shot still needs work.
Think: Vince Carter
8. ?New York- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
This is probably the highest you will see Flynn in any mock draft, but I think he would thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo style of play. Flynn just gets it. He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, when his team needs him to be a scorer, and he is ready to contribute immediately.
Think: Raymond Felton
9. Toronto- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
-The Raptors have a major hole for a wing player who can take it to the rack. Henderson took a major step during his junior season and will likely continue to improve at the next level. He is that athletic scorer needed in Toronto and can also stroke it from deep.
Think: J.R. Smith
10. Milwaukee- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
-Jennings is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. He has not had great success playing overseas, but still has tons of potential. I could see Jennings going as high as five or six, but also dropping to the late lottery. Since Luke Ridnour is not the answer at point for the Bucks, Jennings would a wise pick.
Think: Kenny Anderson
11. New Jersey- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
-This would be somewhat of a steal for the Nets at 11. Clark has the potential to be a point forward-type player in the NBA, is a freak of an athlete, and has nice range on his jumper. He would be a great fit in New Jersey as they need some help on the wing.
Think: Lamar Odom
12. Charlotte- Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-5, Jr.
Playing for the National Champion Tar Heels certainly elevated Ellington’s stock. The Bobcats could use some depth on the wing and Ellington would provide that. He has one of the smoothest shooting strokes in college hoops and can also take it to the rack.
Think: Richard Hamilton
13. Indiana- Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
-The Pacers are in a spot where they might need to just take the best available player. They have some bodies up-front, but not a lot of athleticism, which is what Brackins would bring to Indiana. He is a lengthy forward, but not very strong, has a nice touch on his shot and can knock down mid-range jumper.
Think: Hakim Warrick
14. Phoenix- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
-Steve Nash is getting up their in age and if the Suns pick up his option for next season, would become a free agent in 2010. Like Ellington, Lawson’s stock soared during UNC’s title run. He was probably the best floor general in college hoops and has greatly improved his three-point shot.
Think: Jameer Nelson
15. Detroit- Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
I think it’s safe to say the Allen Iverson deal backfired. AI and Rasheed Wallace are both free agents so the Pistons could go in either direction with this pick. Teague is a scoring point guard who shot the ball at a very high percentage last season.
Think: Keyon Dooling
16. Chicago- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
-The Bulls risk losing Ben Gordon to free agency this off-season so would be smart to draft a wing player. Budinger’s strength is his versatility. He can jump out of the gym and hit the three ball. His tendency to disappear during stretches of games is his biggest knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson
17. Philadelphia- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
-With Andre Miller eligible for free agency, the Sixers likely draft a point guard in case Miller signs elsewhere. Maynor is a playmaker on the offensive end, a true floor general, and has good size to play the point in the NBA. He must continue to become a more consistent shooter.
Think: Antonio Daniels
18. #Minnesota- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
-With the second of their three first round picks, I still think the T-Wolves need to address their need for athletes on the wing. Williams is the definition of versatile. He attacks the hoop, is a very improved shooter, can rebound, is a great passer, and plays defense. I think he is a steal of a mid-first round pick.
Think: Gerald Wallace.
19. Atlanta- Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
-With only seven players under contract for next season, the Hawks need depth at every position and probably take the best available player. Patterson has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism, and decent range on his jumper.
Think: Kenyon Martin
20. Utah- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
-I am still surprised Mullens decided to go pro as he would have been better served returning to the Buckeyes and developing his game. But based on his athleticism, size, and potential, he is definitely worth a mid-first round pick The Jazz likely go for a post player since Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur could both opt out of their contracts this off-season.
Think: Spencer Hawes
21. New Orleans- DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So
Blair would give the Hornets a brusier to come off their bench, something they don’t really have. What Blair lacks in height, he makes up with his outstanding strength. He knows how to use his big body on the block and boards. It is uncertain how that will translate to the pro game, as Blair will need to work on his mid-range jumper to be effective at the next level.
Think: Craig Smith
22. Dallas- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
-The Mavs need to prepare for like post-Jason Kidd since he is an unrestricted free agent. Mills can create his own shot, excels in transition, and is lightning quick off the dribble. He had a very successful Olympics last summer playing for Australia and caught the eyes of a lot of NBA scouts.
Think: Ramon Sessions
23. &Sacramento- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
-Assuming the Kings take Rubio at #1, they should look for a wing player here. A sub par season hurt his stock some as he was once a projected lottery pick. James was one of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, has an NBA-ready build, and has a nice shot from the perimeter.
Think: Marvin Williams
24. Portland- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
-The Blazers roster is pretty much set for next season, so I would not be surprised if they dealt out of this pick or drafted another Euro player and stashed him overseas. For now, I’ll give them the best available player. Johnson is an athletic forward who can put the ball on the deck and attack the rim. His frame is ready for the rigor of the NBA, but his shot is not.
Think: Wilson Chandler
25. +Oklahoma City- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
-OKC lands a nice role player in Young. He can elevate, hit it from deep, has a tremendous basketball IQ, can take bigger defenders off the dribble, and post up smaller guys. His lack of NBA-type athleticism drops him to this spot.
Think: Michael Finley
26. %Chicago- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
-Despite being one of the most decorated in college basketball, a lot of people are questioning how his game will translate into the NBA. I don’t see him being anything more than an energy guy off the bench at the next level which is all Chicago would be asking of him at this point.
Think: Eduardo Najera
27. $Memphis- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
-Despite underachieving at G-Town this past season, Summers has thrown his name into the draft. He has an NBA-ready body, is a good slasher, and a decent outside shooter. I question how he will match-up athletically with other three’s in the NBA. He is worth the risk for Memphis this late.
Think: Bobby Simmons
28. ^Minnesota- Vladimir Dasic, SF, Montenegro, 1988
-I doubt the T-Wolves actually keep all three of their picks, so why not take a guy they can stash overseas for a year or two. Dasic is like most Euro’s in that he is an athletic, lengthy wing player. He will need to become more physical to adapt to the NBA.
Think: Nicolas Batum
29. L.A. Lakers- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
-Smith would provide some insurance if Lamar Odom leaves via free agency. The former Vol is fearless when attacking the hoop and thrives on the break. He is not a great outside shooter, but his rebounding and passing abilities help his stock.
Think: Thabo Sefolosha
30. Cleveland- Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.
Thornton is a little undersized to play the two in the NBA, but there is no question the kid can flat-out shoot the rock, and what he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength. I think he would be a great late first round pick especially for the Cavs who would just need him to compliment LeBron for a few stretches a game.
Think: Daequan Cook
31. Sacramento- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-2, Sr.
32. Portland- Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
33. Washington- Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
34. Denver- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr.
35. Memphis- Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
36. Detroit- Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
37. San Antonio- Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
38. Portland- Omri Casspi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
39. Detroit- Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
40. Charlotte- Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
41. Milwaukee- Vitor Faverani, F, Brazil, 6-11, 1989
42. L.A. Lakers- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
43. Miami- Lee Cummard, G/F, BYU, 6-7, Sr.
44. Detroit- Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
45. Minnesota- Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
46. Cleveland- Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
47. Minnesota- Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
48. Phoenix- Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
49. Atlanta- Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
50. Utah- Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
51. San Antonio- Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
52. Indiana- Leo Lyons, F, Missouri, 6-9, Sr.
53. San Antonio- Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
54. Charlotte- Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2, PG
55. Portland- Luigi Datome, SF, Italy, 6-8. 1987
56. Portland- Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
57. Phoenix- Eric Devendorf, G, 6-4, Syracuse, Jr.
58. Boston- Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
59. L.A. Lakers- Rodrigue Beaubois
60. Miami- Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.
Declared for the Draft:
>Dominique Archie, SF, South Carolina, 6-7, Jr.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
>Derrick Brown, F, Xavier, 6-9, Jr.
Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
>Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-6, So.
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
>Dwayne Collins, PF, Miami, 6-8, Jr.
>Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
>Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga, 6-0, So.
Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
>Eric Devendorf, G, Syracuse, 6-4, Jr.
>Devin Downey, PG, South Carolina, 5-9, Jr
Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
>Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Daniel Hackett, PG, USC, 6-4, Jr.
>Luke Harangody, PF, Notre Dame, 6-8, Jr.
James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
>Paul Harris, G/F. Syracuse, 6-5, Jr.
Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, Jr.
>Jrue Holliday, G, UCLA, 6-4, Fr
>Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
>Mac Koshwal, C, DePaul, 6-10, So.
>Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky, 6-4, Jr
Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
>Tasmin Mitchell, SF, LSU, 6-7, Jr.
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
>Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
>Shawn Taggart, PF, Memphis, 6-10, Jr.
>Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
Michael Washington, PF, Arkansas, 6-9, Jr.
Jeremy Wise, PG, Southern Miss., 6-2, Jr.
>Nic Wise, PG, 5-10, Arizona, Jr.
>has yet to hire an agent
Staying in School:
Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas, 6-11, So.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma St., 6-6, So.
Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson, 6-7, Jr.
Patrick Christopher, SG, Cal, 6-5, Jr.
Sherron Collins, PG, Kansas, 5-11, Jr.
Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina, 6-10, Fr.
Devin Ebanks, F, West Virginia, 6-9, Fr.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue, 6-10, So.
Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas, 6-10, Jr.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-4, Fr.
Other First Round talent still undecided:
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.
?Utah gets New York ’09 1st round pick (top 22 protected) via Phoenix
#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
&Kings get Houston ’09 1st round pick via Ron Artest trade
+Thunder gets Spurs’ ’09 1st round pick (lottery preotected) via Kurt Thomas trade
%Bulls get lower of Thunder’s ’09 1st round pick (from either SA or Den) via Thabo Sefolosha trade
$Memphis gets Orlando ’09 1st round pick via Rafer Alston trade
^Minnesota gets Boston’s ’09 1st round pick (top 3 protected) via Kevin Garnett trade