By: David K.
This is my second 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. The deadline has also passed for college underclassmen to announce if they are declaring for the draft or returning to school. Those underclassmen that have yet to hire an agent have until June 15th to do so. 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- James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
OKC would likely take a long look at Jordan Hill as well, but Harden fills a major void for a shooting guard. 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 would be a nice running mate for Kevin Durant.
Think: Paul Pierce
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 – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
The Griz would be ecstatic if Hill fell to them. With young perimeter players like Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay, Memphis needs someone to play down low. Hill has great athleticism which would be perfect for a young team that wants to run. He also has nice touch around the basket, but will need to get stronger
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge
7. Golden State- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
Jennings is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft because he did not have great success playing overseas this year, but is loaded with potential. He would be a perfect fit for a team needing a true point guard who can get other players involved, but also score when called upon.
Think: Kenny Anderson
8. New York- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
With Larry Hughes, Cuttino Mobley, and Quentin Richardson all one year away from free agency, the Knicks need to find a long-term solution at the two-guard. DeRozan is an incredible athlete and really came along strong during the final month of the season, though his three-point shot still needs work.
Think: Vince Carter
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- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Flynn seems like a player who Scott Skiles would love to coach. He is tough, plays with a lot of heart, and just gets it. He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, when his team needs him to be a scorer. Since Luke Ridnour is not the answer and Ramon Sessions is a free agent, Flynn is the choice.
Think: Raymond Felton
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- Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-3, Jr.
Is he a one or a two? Despite being the most talented pure shooter in college basketball and having limitless range from the outside, the fact that Dell’s son is a “tweener” could deter teams from taking him. Plus, he is rail thin. He likely won’t fall out of the lottery and the Pacers could use a sharpshooter to bring off their bench.
Think: Jason Terry
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- DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So
It has been pretty clear against the Celtics, that the Bulls lack that low post bruiser. Enter Blair. At 6-7, he is undersized to play power forward, but he is just so strong and long which makes him a force on the block and board. 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. A shooting guard could also be an option in case Ben Gordon leaves via free agency.
Think: Craig Smith
17. Philadelphia- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
With Andre Miller eligible for free agency, the Sixers likely draft a point guard.. 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- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 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. One major NBA Draft web-site has Johnson listed as the tenth best prospect in this draft, which is a bit ridiculous in my mind. The former Demon Deacon is an athletic forward who can play the three or four, and while his frame is ready for the rigor of the NBA, his shot is not.
Think: Wilson Chandler
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- Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
The Hornets need to add some depth up-front as Hilton Armstrong is their only reserve post player under contract for next season. Patterson has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism, and decent range on his jumper.
Think: Kenyon Martin
22. Dallas- Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
The Mavs have two important players entering free agency, Jason Kidd and Brandon Bass, so drafting a replacement for either makes sense. Lawal is a slightly under-sized power forward who has a nice low-post game. He is a solid rebounder, decent shot blocker, but doesn’t have much of a perimeter game.
Think: Brandon Bass
23. &Sacramento- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
Assuming the Kings take Rubio at #1, they should look for a wing player here. Budinger’s strength is his versatility. He can jump out of the gym, hit the three ball, and has a nice inside-outside game, but his tendency to disappear during stretches is a major knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson
24. Portland- Victor Claver, F, Spain, 6-11, 1989
The Blazers roster is pretty much set for next season, so the logical move would be to trade out of this pick or draft another Euro player and stash him overseas. Claver is a typical Euro-style player in that he is long, has a good all-around skill set, but needs to get stronger.
Think: Donte Greene
25. +Oklahoma City- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
Despite being one of the most decorated in recent college basketball history, 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, but could bring his work ethic and winning mentality to OKC.
Think: Eduardo Najera
26. %Chicago- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
Since I have the Bulls going big at #16, they likely take a wing player in case Gordon does bolt this off-season. Young 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
27. $Memphis- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
The Griz are likely to address their need for a back-up point guard with this pick. 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
28. ^Minnesota- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
I doubt the T-Wolves actually keep all three of their picks, but James would be a good value here. A sub par season hurt his stock as he was once a projected lottery pick. He was one of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, has an NBA-ready build, and a nice shot from the perimeter.
Think: Maurice Evans
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- Vladimir Dasic, SF, Montenegro, 1988
32. Portland- Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
33. Washington- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-2, Sr.
34. Denver- .Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
35. Memphis- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
36. Detroit- Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
37. San Antonio- Omri Casspi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
38. Portland- Milan Macvan, PF, Serbia, 6-9, 1989
39. Detroit- Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
40. Charlotte- Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
41. Milwaukee- Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
42. L.A. Lakers- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
43. Miami- Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
44. Detroit- Lee Cummard, G/F, BYU, 6-7, Sr.
45. Minnesota- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr
46. Cleveland- Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
47. Minnesota- Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
48. Phoenix- Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
49. Atlanta- Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
50. Utah- Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
51. San Antonio- Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
52. Indiana- Leo Lyons, F, Missouri, 6-9, Sr.
53. San Antonio- Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
54. Charlotte- Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
55. Portland- Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
56. Portland- Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
57. Phoenix- Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2
58. Boston- Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
59. L.A. Lakers- Sergio Llull, PG, Spain, 6-5, 1988
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.
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
>Bryan Davis, PF, Texas A&M, 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
>Osiris Eldridge, SG, Illinois State, 6-3, Jr.
Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina, 6-5, Jr.
>Chinemelu Elonu, F/C. Texas A&M, 6-10, Jr.
>Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
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.
>Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, 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.
>Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina, 5-11, Jr.
>Ater Majok, PF, UConn, 6-10, Fr.
>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.
>Scottie Reynolds, PG, Villanova, 6-2, Jr.
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
>David Sloan, G, Texas A&M, 6-3, Jr.
>Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
>Shawn Taggart, PF, Memphis, 6-10, Jr.
>Jonathan Tavernari, G/F, BYU, 6-6, Jr.
>Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
>Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State, 6-9, Jr.
>Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
>Michael Washington, PF, Arkansas, 6-9, Jr.
>Jeremy Wise, PG, Southern Miss., 6-2, Jr.
>Nic Wise, PG, Arizona, 5-10, 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.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
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.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.
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.
Stanley Robinson, SF, UConn, 6-8, Jr.
DeShawn Sims, SF, Michigan, 6-8, Jr.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-4, Fr.
#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
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