Sacramento Kings: Ricky Rubio – PG
Many think the obvious number one overall pick will be Blake Griffin, but like last year with the Rose/Beasley debate, I’m here to tell you why the experts are wrong. Ricky Rubio is the best PG prospect since I can’t remember who. This guy has size, quickness, and speed. He put on a show during the Olympics not only offensively, but defensively as well. This guy can pass and score. Many Pgs such as Chris Paul have said this player will put their name to shame.
On top of the fact that Rubio is the top prospect in this draft, he is a huge need for the Kings. Yes, I know they have Beno Udrih, but is he really that good. He will be fine as a back up, but if a back up is the only legit PG you have then you have problems.
They have plenty of young bigs – Thompson and Hawes are both quite serviceable. If they need a big they can take a flyer on someone like Jerome Jordan or Michael Washington later in the draft.
Here are the facts. Jason Thompson is a solid, young PF who could emerge into one of the games best. Blake Griffin is too small to play center in this league. The Kings don’t have a legit starting PG on their team. If you don’t have a do-it-all guard you aren’t going to win in this league. Just as last year, the prime time guard goes over the highly talented forward.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Blake Griffin – F
As if fate was on their side (Or maybe the Kings just get it) the Thunder end up landing the home town kid, and one of the most talented bigs in this draft. It might not be known how big this hid is (Is he 6’8, 6’10, or somewhere in between), he is defiantly someone that can play either forward spot for one of the leagues worst.
They could go with a more pressing need here like James Harden or Hasheem Thabeet, but who’s gonna pass up the home town kid? Maybe a GM that doesn’t know how to win? I for one am not on the Blake Griffin bandwagon, but I still think he will be a good player. His main strength is his scoring, but the Thunder have enough scorers to give defensive players nightmares.
Although I’m not a huge fan of taking him here, this is a mock draft of what will happen, not what I think should happen.
Washington Wizards: Hasheem Thabeet – C
Most would have James Harden going here, but I’m going to tell you why he won’t. This guy has thrived against weak Pac-10 competition. When tournament time comes around he won’t struggle, but we will see he isn’t as good as we think he is. Harden is a good scorer, rebounder, and defender, but he isn’t a good ball handler or passer. Also, the Wizards already have a couple good young Guards in Nick Young and DeShawn Stevenson.
The other reason they won’t take Harden is because they need a defensive post presence. Thabeet is a beast inside and he has the frame to be able to add a few pounds. The Wizards have plenty of offense in the post. What they need is defense. Thabeet is a shot blocker and a rebounder. He doesn’t have an offensive game, but he doesn’t need to. He can get his through put backs and alley oops. Ben Wallace had no offensive game, and if I remember correctly, he’s a pretty decent player.
Los Angeles Clippers: Brandon Jennings – PG
It is rare you see a team draft a back up with the #4 pick, but no matter what position they take they will be drafting a back up. This team has an extremely talented core of players, but their season has been filled with injuries and unmotivated players.
That said, the Clippers have no back up PG to speak of, and it’s not like they’re in love with Baron Davis. IMO Jennings is only ranked this high because of a weak draft class, and some would say he is highly over rated. If he came out last year he would be ranked behind Rose, Westbrook, and Augustin for sure, and possibly be a mid to late first rounder.
His strengths are his quickness and his athleticism. He is also a decent passer. Don’t expect this kid to be launching shots from three. He is a drive and kick kind of guy. Like I said earlier, I’m not a huge fan of this guy, but he should be a decent pro.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Hill – PF
This team has two cows as their big men (Gasol, Milicic). It’s time to inject some athleticism. With top picks like Mayo, Gay, and Conley in that starting line-up, they don’t need anymore flashy players. Let’s give them a Mo-Town special. Hill is an absolute freak as an athlete, and he is very physical.
Hill’s strengths are his rebounding and inside scoring. He doesn’t have a great mid range shot, but he can still knock it down. The only problem with Hill is foul trouble. When I watch him play I see a lot of stuff let buy that won’t fly in the pros. He could be a Chris Wilcox type. I don’t expect him to be a great, but he should be a decent player.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Al-Farouq Aminu – F
The Timberwolves have needs at SF and PG. Right now there isn’t a PG worth taking, so the obvious selection is SF.
Aminu is a player that brings some much needed size and athleticism to that 3 spot. They have size (Miller), they have athleticism (Brewer), but they don’t have both. Aminu is a good defender and a decent scorer. He will bring some added toughness to the team. Some think this guy will be a bust. I say he will be a better than last years #6 pick.
Golden State Warriors: Greg Monroe – PF
Do you notice a trend here? Look really hard. Harder, harder, there it is! 6 of the top 7 picks belong to western conference teams. Its hard to dub your self supreme when you have so many bottom feeders.
Golden State is in the same situation as the Clippers. They have a lot of talent, but injuries and bad chemistry have kept them from being successful. Since they are set on playing Anthony Randolph at the 3 they could afford to look at a big man here.
Greg Monroe is a perfect fit for their style of ball. He is extremely gifted offensively, and at 6’11 240 lbs. he poses a mismatch for anybody. Monroe might not be the best defender, but you don’t play defense when you play Nelly Ball. If given a starting role and the right amount of playing time, look for this big out of Georgetown to be a rookie of the year candidate.
Toronto Raptors: James Harden – SG
If you’ve been reading through this and haven’t seen James Harden yet your not dreaming. As I said before, he isn’t the top 3 talent most dub him. That paired along with the bevy of teams that don’t need a 2 guard, Harden ends up falling to a team that is jumping with joy.
Anthony Parker is a solid player, but he’s no starter. Harden brings them a solid perimeter defender who can score from anywhere. He brings leadership, and he is a good clutch performer. Him and a big name free agent could be all it takes to keep Bosh in Toronto.
New York Knicks: Stephen Curry – G
Gosh the Knicks are so bad, and their only 5 ½ games out of the playoffs! They could use any guard on the board, and they could use some big man depth. The only positions they are okay at are PF and SF. I could see them taking a guy like Curry because he fills two needs in one. He can run an offense, although it’s not clear how well. He is also a great scorer, and that’s one thing they’re lack in there back court.
There are three knocks on this kid. One is his size, then there’s his defense, and finally there is his streakiness. His size is definitely something he needs to improve, but his defensive abilities mean nothing if he is going to play for D’Antoni. His streakiness could pose a problem, but he seems to always be money at the end of games. He will also be on a team where he doesn’t need to be the only scorer, and that could end up working to his advantage in the long run.
Charlotte Bobcats: Jrue Holliday – G
The Bobcats are a team that is great at home, but struggles mightily on the road. Jrue Holliday will bring them some of that toughness that they lack. He is a solid all around player that can pass, score, defend, and rebound. Some have compared him to Dwyane Wade. While he might not be that good, he is still a solid player.
Along with SG, C is another weak spot for Charlotte. They might have Emeka Okafor, but he is way better suited for the 4. If they aren’t sold on going guard here, they could always look to take a bug man, but there might be none worth taking at this point.
Indiana Pacers: B.J. Mullens – C
Over the past two months Mullens has finally started to show what made scouts rave about this guy. At 7’ 275 lbs. Mullens has arguably the best combination of size and athletic ability we have seen in a while. He isn’t very polished on either side of the ball, but his overall potential is amazing, and that makes him a perfect option here at 11.
Indiana doesn’t have anything great at center. Murphy and Hibbert are there, but Murphy is more of a 4, and Hibbert hasn’t showed much promise, having more DNPs than double figure games in the month of January. Mullens is the right choice for this team, unless you think Rasho Nesterovic is your savior of course.
New Jersey Nets: Earl Clark – F
If the Nets want to lure in LeBron in the summer of 2010 they’ll need to bring in some key pieces to put around him. Clark is good at almost everything. He might be undersized for the 4, but he is a decent rebounder and defender. The best part of his game is his offense. He is a good passer in the high post, and is a decent scorer as well. I’d compare him to Boris Diaw, but a little quicker and with better handles.
Milwaukee Bucks: Kyle Singler – F
For right now the Bucks are set at PG and C. They Have Richard Jefferson and Michael Redd at the 2 and 3, but both of those names were in trade rumors this year and could very well be dealt in the off-season. They have Charlie Villenuava and Joe Alexander at the 4, but they aren’t really that starter worthy.
A guy like Singler could help them kill two birds with one stone. He is big enough to play the 4, and he is quick enough to play the two. He gives them a guy with good range for a 6’9 forward, and he is a decent all around player. Don’t look for him to be the star of your team, but he can defiantly be that glue that holds things together.
Phoenix Suns: Ty Lawson – G
The Suns might be high on Dragic, but Nash isn’t going to be around for ever, and this team needs more than one PG. With a duo of Leandro Barbosa and Lawson the Suns would arguably have the fastest back court the NBA has ever seen. He is a solid defender, a good scorer, and a good passer. Some might say Jeff Teague would be a good fit here, but Teague is more of a scorer than an all around PG, plus he might not be that great on the defensive end.
The Suns also have needs at a couple other positions. If they plan on pushing J-Rich to SF and slotting LB at the 2 they could look at getting another PF. Patrick Patterson would be a good option but he is off the board. There aren’t that many big men worth taking here unless you’re on the Kyle Singler/DeJuan Blair bandwagon.
Another option could be a SF or C. Once again there aren’t any big men worth picking at this point, but a player like Evan Turner, Terrence Williams, or Demar DeRozen could be an option. What ever the Suns do, they better get it right. Their fan base won’t be able to tolerate another Robin Lopez or Alando Tucker.
Chicago Bulls: Patrick Patterson – PF
Patterson is an absolute beast in college, and the Bulls will be hoping for the same in the pros. He is a good interior scorer, and he is as strong as an ox. Patterson is a solid rebounder and an above average defender. The Bulls have been looking for an inside presence for years, and no offense, but Jokim Noah isn’t cutting it.
They don’t really have any other glaring needs. Their back court is solid, and with the addition of John Salmons they now have a duo of good SFs. The missing link is a big man, and Patterson could be that link.
Philadelphia 76ers: DeJuan Blair – PF
The sixers signed Elton Brand in the off-season, but they didn’t get what they expected. Now there going to draft the next best thing. Blair is an absolute best on the boards. He is averaging more per 40 minutes than anyone in the last 40 years. He isn’t that athletic, but neither is Brand, and at one point he was a candidate for MVP.
With a 7’3 wingspan and a solid frame, Blair more than makes up for his lack of athleticism. He gives so much hustle and he is stronger than most NBA players. If there’s any question of how he will pan out, just look at how he played against Hasheem Thabeet. Blair’s offensive game is quite mediocre, but his hustle and rebounding should get him all the points he needs.
Detroit Pistons: James Johnson – PF
The Pistons are in a place they haven’t seen in a while. They are taking their own pick in the top 20. With Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rodney Stucky they are set at the 1, two, and three for a few years. Off the bench they bring Wil Bynum and Aaron Afflolow, who bring the defense at those positions. What they really need is some front court depth. Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess will both be gone next year, and I doubt the Pistons plan on bringing back Kwame Brown either. That gives them Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell as their big men. Gosh, that really does scare you, doesn’t it? They need some depth up front, and while there might not be a center worth taking here, there is defiantly a couple power forwards.
If there is anything Johnson can do it is score. He is a decent ball handler as well. Over shadowed by the likes of Jeff Teague and Al Farouq-Aminu he could feel as if he has something to prove. This guy isn’t great defensively, but he is no slouch either. This should be another in a long line of good picks since that Darko incident.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeff Teague – G
That Aminu pick isn’t looking so bad now, is it? The other day I was watching Wake Forest take on Clemson and I noticed three things. One of them was very encouraging. The other two were down right scary. First, the kid can score. He might be one of the best scoring guards to come out of the draft in a while. One thing that scared me was it looked like he needs to be in a high paced offense in able to succeed. That may not be a huge problem, but it limits the teams he can go to.
The thing that really scared me was the fact that he plays no defense. At times it looked like he was disinterested and was showing some false hustle. He showed little lateral quickness, and he couldn’t keep anyone in front of him. He wasn’t even active with his hands. If he wants to be a starter at the next level he needs to give some effort on the defensive end. Otherwise he will just be another Jason Terry.
Atlanta Hawks: Evan Turner – G/F
The Hawks are one of those teams that are solid at every position. At this point in the draft most teams should be anyway. The one thing the Hawks could really use is a 6<sup>th</sup> man that can play multiple positions on the court. Turner is exactly that. It might have taken this guy a while to burst onto the seen, but he is a kid with some pro level talent. He is solid on offense and capable on defense. He also brings in some insurance if Joe Johnson tries to leave during the summer of 2010.
Dallas Mavericks: Darren Collison - PG
It’s not like Jason Kidd is getting any younger. Dallas will need a starting PG next year, and I doubt they think J.J. Barea is their fix. Collison is one of the best defenders in this draft, and even though he will be a rookie he will have experience. He might not be a scorer, but he can shoot lights out when needed to. Collison and Barea should be a solid combination for at least a few years.
Chicago Bulls: Tyreke Evans – G
The Bulls don't really have a true SG, and they don't really have a backup PG either. Tyreke Evans is a guy that can help with both. I wouldn't expect him to ever be a starter with this group, but he can be a solid 6th or 7th man. His ability to set up his teammates or score on his own is something you rarely see with players of his size. He is not only gifted offensively, but defensively as well. His lenght is above average, and he has good latteral quickness.
Portland Trail Blazers: Eric Maynor – PG
If there is one thing Portland truly needs it is a PG. Steve Blake and Sergio Rodriguez? I mean, there good but they aren't that great. Jarryd Bayless is a guy that some people are high on but he is more of a combo guard than a pure point Maynor has put VCU on the map with victories over Duke and Kentucky. He might be a little small, he might not be great at anything, but he is good at everything.
New Orleans Hornets: Willie Warren - G
Warren is a guy that can come off the bench and really help out the Hornets. He is a guy that can come off the bench and play the one or two. Something the Hornets have lacked this year is a solid backup for Chris Paul, and Warren is someone that can come in and do just that. He is a scoring threat and can run the point. Why not kill two birds with one stone if you're New Orleans.
Utah Jazz: Damar DeRozen – G/F
Talk about disappointment. DeRozen was supposed to replace O.J. Mayo and keep USC as a contender, but it looks like they’re going to come up short. Regardless, DeRozen is a heck of a talent and should be a consistent contributor to what ever team he is on.
Sacramento Kings: Craig Brackins – PF
If Sacramento truly wants a PF they can go ahead and get one here. I’m not a huge fan of this guy, but he does show some promise. He has the awkwardness of Al Jefferson and from what I’ve seen that seems to be an accurate comparison. He might never be as dominant, but he should be a good contributor to a bad team.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Jerome Jordan – C
With their first pick the Thunder solidified their forward position. Now they need a true bug man. Jordan is a guy that I like to compare to Dwight Howard. They have similar body types and a similar type of game. Jordan can rebound and block shots with the best of them, but his offensive game is lacking other than dunks and easy put backs. The good thing; he is a true 7’ center with the frame to add about 20-30 more pounds. This is one of those high risk high reward picks. He has the potential to be great, but he also has the potential to be a Kwame Brown type of player – no I don’t mean a complete bust, I mean a 7 and 5 guy.
Orlando Magic: Chase Buddinger – G/F
LUKE JACKSON ALERT!!! LUKE JACKSON ALERT!!! If you don’t know who he is, well there’s a reason why. Just ask Cavs fans who he is. Buddinger was supposed to be the next Larry Bird, but his failure to soar against big time opponents has me thinking he’s the next athletic white guy to turn into nothing. Someone is going to give this guy a shot, and IMHO that team will be regretting it.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyler Hansburough - PF
I know what your thinking. Why would the T'Wolves take a guy like Hansburough? Well, here's the reason. You can deny his athletic ability, you can deny his talent, but one thing you can't deny is his heart and his work ethic. He is the type of player that will make everyone work harder. He is the type of player that everyone needs. He might not be the leader in points, rebounds, or blocked shots, but he will be one of if not the leader on the team.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonny Flynn - PG
Flynn might not be the most talented or the most physically gifted player in this draft, but one thing he does have is heart and desire. He is solid at everything and he knows his place. If there is any question to this guy's ability just look at the 6 OT game against UCONN, or look at what he will accomplish during the tournament.
The Cavs need a true PG, and Flynn is just that. It's all fine and dandy to have guys like Mo Williams and Delonte West, but those guys are more 2s than 1s. You almost never get a star when drafting in this spot, but you can still get solid players.
Los Angeles Lakers: Terrence Williams - G/F
With the final pick of the first round the Lakers go to a position where they are thin at, both figuratively and literally. Shasha is more of a 2 than a 3 so you can't count him there. Adam Morrison, Luke Walton, and Trevor Ariza are all they got. While two of them are great role players, they still need someone to come in and be starter worthy.
Williams is a very athletic player who can play the two and the three. He isn't as good of a defender as Ariza, but he is still pretty solid. He should be starter worthy after a couple years, but I doubt he'll ever be an all-star. He is a top 25 talent, so the Lakers are lucky he fell this far.
Sacramento Kings: Damion James - PF
Denver Nuggets: Michael Washington - PF
Washington Wizards: Marcus Thorton - G
Portland Trail Blazers: DeJuan Summers - F
Houston Rockets: Sam Young - F
Detroit Pistons: Tyler Smith - F
San Antonio Spurs: Omri Casspi - F
Detroit Pistons: Vitor Faverani - PF/C
Portland Trail Blazers: Sergio Llull - G
Los Angelas Lakers: Vladimir Dasic - F
Miami Heat: Lee Cummard - SF
Charlotte Bobcats: Henk Norel - PF
Milwaukee Bucks: Robert Dozier - PF
Phoenix Suns: Antonio Anderson - G/F
Cleveland Cavaliers: Josh Heytvelt - PF
Minnesota Timberwolves: A.J. Price - PG
Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Rice - G
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeff Pendergraph - PF/C
Atlanta Hawks: Lester Hudson - G
Indiana Pacers: Wesley Matthews - G/F
Portland Trail Blazers: K.C. Rivers - G/F
San Antonio Spurs: Jack McClinton - G
New Orleans Hornets: Dominiq James - PG
Utah Jazz: Jeremy Pargo - PG
San Antonio Spurs: Jonas Jerebko - F
Charlotte Bobcats: Emir Preldzic - SF
Phoenix Suns: Slava Kravtsov - C
Boston Celtics: Danny Green - G/F
Miami Heat: Ahmad Nivins - PF
Los Angeles Lakers: Melinko Tepic - G