Never too early to start an NBA Draft thread, especially as a Wizards fan. Some very intriguing prospects in this years draft.
As always it depends on who declares, but there is some serious talent
Without further or due my first mock of the season (First 15 Picks Only):
1) Oklahoma City Thunder: Blake Griffin: He is head and shoulders the top prospect in the draft. IMO he would have been a top 5 pick had he declared last year, but the fact that he never considered speaks wonders. In the early season he has been a monster his first two games. Game one he had 24 points, 18 rebounds, on 9-11 from the field. Game two he had 20 points, 19 rebounds, and 6 blocks on 8-9 shooting from the field. He's biggest weaknesses are his height and free throw shooting, but big guys don't come along often with his combination of strength, athleticism, along with post and perimeter skills. He should be the #1 pick in the upcoming draft no question. With Griffin, Durant, Jeff Green who has shown improved offensive skills, and Russell Westbrook the Thunder could be in the process of building a really good team.
2) Minnesota T'Wolves: Hasheem Thabeet: I have been on and off Thabeet for a long time. His freshman season I was all over him as a lottery pick, last year I said he shouldn't get drafted in the first, now I am back on him, and I am sure NBA GM's are too. He has worked hard on his offensive skill set and in the early season he has shown to make major strides. The Wolves already have Al Jefferson who is one of the top 5 most talented big men scorers in the NBA, but he is an undersized Center whenever he plays that spot. He is a natural 4, and Thabeet is the perfect match for him. Thabeet will not demand touches in the paint which would create traffic for Jefferson to do his work, but he would protect Jefferson's back on defense, and cover for Jefferson's defensive deficiencies. If Thabeet can just develop a go to hook shot he is a surefire top 5 pick. You can't teach 7-3" with his freakish wingspan and athleticism. If Alexis Ajninca can go as high as he did, there is no reason why Thabeet can't be a top pick.
3) LA Clippers: Demarr Derozan: Personally I have Derozan rated as a late lottery pick and would easily put a guy like James Harden over him, but this pick just makes far too much sense. Derozan is a local kid who would come in with so much hype and certainly sell tickets. DeMar Derozan definitely has the talent to be good but to me he screams Gerald Green than Rudy G. Only time will tell though.
4) Washington Wizards: James Harden: This is an awfully tough pick to project. The Wizards need a skilled big man no doubt, a burly PF type guy, but with the 4th pick guys like Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill, and Jeff Adrien are wayy reaches, they are more like late first round guys. The Wizards really have no need for another wing with guys like Nick Young, Deshawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, etc., but when you pick this high you go bpa. And Harden is BPA. Harden is probably the most most NBA ready player in the draft. His basketball IQ and overall skill set is unmatched in this draft.
5) Memphis Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans: Another head scratching pick, but again with the lack of skilled big men the Grizzlies make this pick. Just seemed right to me, Evans staying at home in Memphis were he plays college ball joining a young team. Evans IMO will be a lottery pick but I am not a huge fan of his. Personally I don't think there is any way you can put structure around the way he plays. He is out to get his. He should have a great time chucking up shots in Memphis with OJ Mayo. IMO he should be a mid first-late first project type player ala JR Smith, but teams will be enamored with his ability to put the ball in the hoop. If I were running a pickup game he'd be my first pick no doubt, but he lacks a basketball IQ and understanding of a team system.
6) Dallas Mavericks: Brandon Jennings: Take note this is where Dallas is ranked now, but they most certainly won't be picking this high. Jason Kidd is near the end of the run and it would be nice for him to teach the young kid all he knows. Jennings is a talented kid but he lacks a jump shot, and physically is weak. He also needs more control in his game. All of this you would assume he would make improvements playing in Italy.
7) Charlotte Bobcats: Tyler Hansbrough. Shoking pick #3. The Bobcats always reach on players though, so this pick actually makes sense. No doubt there is no motor in maybe any level of basketball that matches Hansbrough but he is undersized and lacks many skills. He may be able to bull over guys in college but in the NBA game that's not happening. Still he would be a great fit with Charlotte. He'd be the hometown hero and would provide great energy off the bench. Anyways you can't really do any worse than Sean May can you?
8) Sacramento Kings: Patrick Patterson: Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes are extremely talented bigs, but they are soft. Patterson would bring that toughness to the front line. He is an immediate upgrade from Shelden Williams. Patterson is a bull inside who is an above average athlete. If he were 2 inches taller he'd be in consideration for the top pick in the draft.
9) Golden State Warriors: JRue Holiday: Another talented Combo guard to add to the team. Insurance for Monta Ellis. Personally I don't buy into the hype that much, and think Holiday will never be a prospect like Russell Westbrook.
10) New Jersey Nets: Derrick Brown: Brown is an awfully interesting prospect. Physically there are very few to match him. He is so strong and athletic that he has played a lot in the paint in his collegiate career. He projects however to definitely be a wing in the NBA and he's a nice guy to see develop and learn under LeBron James in 2010.
11) Indiana Pacers: DeJuan Summers: Summers suffers the same fate as Jeff Green. Playing in the Georgetown Princeton offense he is unable to have eye popping stats to impress scouts. However Summers has the prototypical SF tools. He is a near clone to Caron Butler, but obviously weaker in most areas. He is 6-8" and arguably the biggest and strongest SF prospect. He like Green plays PF on the team but is clearly an NBA 3. He has an effortless outside stroke, can post up, and has potential to be a great defender. Playing under JTIII has drastically improved his basketball IQ. He developed a great tandem with Roy Hibbert and college, and they could continue that in the NBA. To be drafted this high however he needs to show more offensive assertiveness, and not settle with just playing within the system. While the Princeton offense requires all to play within the system Jeff Green was still the go to guy in clutch situations and could take over himself. Summers needs to prove that ability.
12) Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Ogilvy: A poor man's Andrew Bogut, but he is more athletic though. Ogilvy's upside is rather limited, but you can't deny his production. Match him with Andrew Bogut and you will have Australia waving their flags every game.
13) Philadelphia 76ers: Sam Young: Thaddeus Young has the raw talent that GM's drool about, while Sam Young flies under the radar. Yes he is older, doesn't project to be a star in this league, but he is an NBA ready player, with an NBA body, and NBA skills. What separates him from most is his intensity.
14) Chicago Bulls: Stephen Curry: I'm sure Bulls fans will absolutely hate this pick, but with no real skilled post player warranting a pick this high they go Curry. While on the outside Bulls fans must be thinking another combo guard, Curry is not just another combo guard. I am making this pick with the assumption that either Ben Gordon or Kirk Hinrich will no longer be with the team in 09/10. The most glaring weakness with the Bulls this season has been their absolutely horrendous outside shooting. They have been throwing enough bricks to build another great wall. Curry is one of the better shooters to come along in a very long time. Unlike JJ Reddick Curry actually has the ability to create his own shots with the ball in his hands. You don't need to run screens for him to get open. Curry has a great basketball IQ and can actually run the point. Playing with Rose helps cover his deficiencies and they could interchangeably run point.
15) Oklahoma City Thunder: Eric Maynor: A top mid major prospect, Maynor immediately gives the Thunder a true PG. Pair him with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder now have a formidable backcourt to match the great talent in the front court. Maynor is a pure point which is hard to find now a days.
Second Mock-December 3-2008
Without Further or do I bring to you:
My Latest Mock:Full First round:With Explanations
1)Oklahoma City Thunder:Blake Griffin:PF:Oklahoma:
No question here that this is the pick. Griffin is clearly the best player in the nation right now. He is a man playing amongst kids. He is a whole different level athletically than everyone else. Monster rebounded. A can’t miss big man prospect. Maybe not a future superstar, but a definite future All-star. The Thunder have a nice young nucleus. It is no doubt that Mr. Durant is their franchise player. He takes the big shots he commands the shots. Aside from that they actually have some awfully nice looking pieces. Durants anointed sidekick from when they were chosen together Jeff Green is showing some real consistency in this his second year. His offensive game is really coming along and I foresee him being the second option on this team in the future. He can pose a mismatch for anyone because of his size and ability to post as well as shoot outside when he is on. Russell Westbrook is an exciting young guy but is still a very raw PG. Earl Watson is serviceable for now he just can't shoot. Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox are two guys I really like but they never bring consistency. Collison is a rebounding machine when he feels like it, and Wilcox can dominate games but it's so random you can't count on him. Drafting Blake Griffin should help stabilize that front court which actually has some decent pieces to it. The Sonics have failed miserably drafting big men ala Robert Swift, Johan Petro, Saer Sene, but I think Griffin is as sure of a bet that you will get from this draft.
2)Washington Wizards:James Harden:SG:Arizona State:
This is an awfully hard pick to project for the Wizards. They need a true center with post skills but Thabeet brings them nothing new from what they already have. Mullens is not worth waiting for as they already have so many big man projects. With that the Wizards go with the most NBA ready, and Harden is so smooth and skilled he is ready to be a 15 ppg scorer in the NBA from day 1. He will bring that consistency that Nick young does not. The Wizards really want a skilled post player here, but with Blake Griffin gone they simply must just go with James Harden. And trust me I have no problem with having to "settle" with James Harden if you can call it that. Another option could be Al-Faroq-Aminu as he has some Jamison in him minus all of the crappy stuff, but we already have Blatche who were are expecting things out of. Ideally the Wizards would move Jamison as I truly believe we are going into a youth movement, but it's hard to see someone want to take in his contract and the way he's been chucking up 3's that has got to be a turn off. We need to hire Jeff Van Gundy ASAP.
3)LA Clippers: DeMar Derozan:SG:USC:
I've made this pick before but it still makes sense to me. DeRozan is a local guy who is an insane athlete with decent basketball skills. He is yet to put anything together but this is purely a potential pick. Personally as I prospect I don't even like him as much as Gerald Green coming out of high school, but Derozan definitely has the facility to be a good player. Whether or not he puts it all together, only time will tell.
4)Memphis Grizzlies: Patrick Patterson:PF:Kentucky:
Call me crazy, but I really think his stock will rise this high in the draft come June because of the total lack of powerful true post big men. The Grizzlies are a nice young and athletic team with plenty of guys willing to shoot the ball, but they lack toughness down low outside of Marc Gasol. Patterson you can knock his height all you want but the guy really has what you look for in a productive PF. Maybe not a star PF but in a thin draft class in which late lottery talent is not far off from late first round talent, I'd take a solid starter any day. I have been a huge fan of Patterson since he was in high school, and think he is vastly underrated. He has an NBA ready body for sure and is a great athlete who can finish around the basket. The thing that separates him from most other big men in the draft are his soft hands and soft touch. As much as people think he will fail because of his height, the same things were said about Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, amongst others. He may only measure around 6-7" without shoes but he has a 7-3" winspan and his strength allows him to boxout any taller player rendering their height useless.
5)Sacramento Kings:Jrue Holiday:PG/SG:UCLA:
The Kings have a nice young nucleus in place. Kevin Martin is a borderline allstar while Jason Thompson is starting to look like a genius pick which everyone got on top of them for. The one thing they lack since they lost Mike Bibby is a true PG. While Jrue is far from a true point the Kings are looking for someone who can knock down the jumper off the pick and roll. Jrue has a far way to go but he can play enough PG right now to get by. Personally I prefer Russell Westbrook to him and think Jrue is much closer to Darren Collison than Dwade, but this pick here is made based on potential as well as him having established buzz and hype in the area.
6) Minnesota T'Wolves: Hasheem Thabeet:C:UCONN:
Many people rag on Thabeet for his lack of offensive skills and deservingly so, but one thing you can't deny is that guys that tall and athletic hardly come around. His offense game right now is limited to put backs, being lucky around the rim, and the occasional hook, but there is no doubt that he makes a major impact on the floor on the defensive end. With Al Jefferson being one of the top 5 most skilled offensive post players in the league you can afford to have a guy in the lineup who is offensively inept. I'm sure T'wolves fans don't want to hear having Kevin Love on the bench after taking him so high but they would really benefit from having Jefferson at the 4 and a defensive minded big at the 5. Love still is an incredibly skilled player who will still get his 20-30 minutes a game which is exactly what he should be getting. There are just times when you can't have Love isolated out there with an athletic big.
7) Golden State Warriors: Brandon Jennings:PG:USA:
I am absolutely sure that many NBA teams are afraid to take Jennings. I will say that there are plenty of NBA systems which he doesn't fit in. Jennings is erratic at times but when he's running in the open floor there is no stopping him. His ability to finish at the rim and find his teammates while going at full speed is second to few. He is still physically skinny and his jumpshot is raw but running the Warriors he could easily average double digits assists early on in his career. The Warriors would be a dream fit for him. Jamal Crawford, Monta, Maggette, Sjax, Belli are all scorers. What they need is someone to give them the ball. I thought Marcus Williams would bring them that but obviously his attitude and lack of athleticism are major turnoffs for Nellie. It's about time they stop drafting big men, because they suck at it. Geez Patrick O'bryant gives me chills, the guy sucks so much. I was laughing when people compared Javale Mcgee to O'bryant, maybe stature but Mcgee is a freak athlete where as O'Bryant is just a freak. Hopefully the Warriors can stop this streak of drafting 6-10" guys who are lighter than Kate Moss.
8) Charlotte Bobcats: BJ Mullens:C:Ohio State:
The Bobcats easily most glaring need is for a big man. Emeka Okafor is undersized guarding some centers and Sean May has proven that you really can't take the kid seriously. With that they take Mullens who is a long way from contributing. Many think of him as a top 3 prospect but I don't see him. Personally I would have him in the mid first where a playoff contender could take him and wait on him. He has shown me nothing to say that he should be a contender for the #1 pick which many pegged him in the preseason. He isn't physical like Greg Oden and isn't nearly the offensive player Kosta Koufus showed to be in his one year at Ohio State. I really think Mullens would benefit from a couple more years in college. Let his game develop. I am in no way saying he is a bad prospect, because in fact he's a great prospect. He is big, long, and extremely athletic. Don't get it twisted he may lack some melanin but he is definitely a great athlete. Mullens can finish around the hoop but is absolutely lost on defense and has no clue how to play defenses and read under screens and rotational defense. All that will come with time I guess and the Bobcats have time to wait as they aren't winning any time soon. This however is a far better pick than Alexis Ajinca who I heard landed in Utah because of a slight wind storm in Charlotte.
9) Milwaukee Bucks: Gani Lawal:PF:Georgia Tech:
When you look at the Bucks they are pretty set at positions 1-3. Ramon Sessions I think is going to be a great player and should be the outright starter for this team. Luke Ridnour though has played as well as he has in a while so he helps solidify the PG position. The wings are filled with players like Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Joe Alexander, Luc Richard who is an absolute steal, as well as Charlie V who I consider a wing. I think they need an athletic big. Gani Lawal definitely fits the bill. No doubt he is taking his game to a completely different level this year and accordingly his draft stock has risen. If he can show the kind of consistency he has in the early season he will easily find himself in the lottery. He still is very raw and IMO needs to fill out his frame more, he also benefits from going to Georgia Tech and getting the Chris Bosh comparison even though I see some similarities, not close.
10) Indiana Pacers:Al Farouq-Aminu:SF/PF:Wake Forest:
SF is far from the Pacers biggest need with Danny Granger a future allstar, but IMO at this point in the draft it would be impossible to pass on Aminu who falls more because of team needs rather than talent. Aminu is no doubt one of them most talented freshman in the entire country who can do anything on the floor. He can shoot, rebound, and handle the ball. Polish is really his biggest hurdle but that will come with time.
11) Philadelphia 76ers:Sam Young:SF:Pittsburgh:
This pick will surely scratch some heads but the 76ers were expected to be contenders right now but they have failed to do so. The problem is the youth on the team. Andre Iguodala who I loved has taken 5 steps backwards. Thaddeus Young is oozing with potential but has yet to do it on a consistent basis. Mareese Speights looks legit which is why I don't think they need to go big man. Jason Smith though sucked prior to injury but still I think they need a consistent wing man and Sam Young a local product is the epitome of consistency. Young has an NBA ready body. Offensively he is athletic, has a mid range jumper, an improved outside J, and has one of the weirdest but most effective pump fakes out there. Defensively though he is a dream with his physical on man defense. Being a Pitt player you know he has that killer instinct mentality.
12) Miami Heat:Stephen Curry:PG/SG: Davidson:
Shooters, that's the name of the game. With guys like Dwade, Beasley and maybe Marion who love to penetrate inside it is imperative the Miami heat gather a collection of shooters who can be recipients to kick outs from Wade's penetration, as well as spread out the floor so that Wade doesn't always have to worry about a crowded lane. In terms of shooters, there is none better in the country than Stephen Curry. It's just in his genes. Dell Curry was one of the best shooters and even his freshman brother at Liberty Seth Curry is lighting up teams and winning games. Sure Curry is undersized and looks like a 12 year old but he can flat out stroke the ball. His 0 points the other week was an aberration and more of a product of the other team wanting to shut him down even if it meant giving up open layups under the hoop. While Curry has made his name for being a shooter he is a capable lead guard. His handle is decent and he can find his teammates when doubled. Playing at all times with either Dwade or Mario Chalmers with him who are big guards, Curry will not have the issue of being an undersized 2. Dwayne Wade and Chalmers can both guard 2 guards enabling Curry to guard point guards eliminating him from being a defensive liability. The fit seems right. And he will surely be scorching for the heat.
13) Chicago Bulls:Tyreke Evans:SG:Memphis:
The Bulls desperately need some help here down low but really there is no viable option, so instead they decide to add another scorer with the assumption that either BG or Kirk Hinrich will be gone. Evans has tried his best to do his Derrick Rose imitation and Memphis this year which has lead to some absolutely atrocious shooting nights. The kid however can score the ball. Isn't a great shooter but he can score. With Rose demanding more attention next year Evans will be faced with many one on one opportunities, and going one on one there is no better player in the nation than Tyreke Evans. If you give him the ball he will put it in the hoop. He is similar in some ways to OJ Mayo but definitely longer. I know Bulls fans also probably want someone more defensive minded, but watching this team there are times when they just can't buy a bucket. Tyreke Evans can get you out of a scoring slump quick. He knows how to draw fouls and get to the free throw line.
14) New York Knicks:Victor Claver:SF:Spain:
As always, it's almost ceremoniously but the entire Garden will boo this pick as Claver an unknown foreigner to the crowd emerges from the stands. He wasn't invited to be in the green room but he is sitting in the stands wearing a brown suit with his agent on his right and on his left his slick haired dad and his mom showing her cleavage and a little leg. He will take about 20 minutes to get to the stage where David Sterns waits legs shaking as he hates standing up more than a minute. He will put on his oversized Knicks cap as the whole crowd boo's him as he holds up the Knicks 00 jersey. Stephen A Smith will be screaming and hollering about who the eff is this guy. Spike Lee will have the thumbs down. Claver will go on to an interview with Stuart Scott where he has a translator beside him but attempts to answer the questions with his poor English. Vicky D will then go on the air screaming:"How can you pass on the best player in the country Tyler Hansborough, Baby!!! This is Crazy!!! You pass on the next Kevin Mchale for the next Darko!!! This is pure madness!!! Tyreke Evans is still on the board!! He's a diaper dandy baby!!!. After that ridiculous ranting Fran Fraschilla will then hit the stage and bring us with a bootleg looking grainy version of game film on Claver. He will then make the proclamation that Claver is the next Dirk mixed in with a little Peja and Hedo.
Anyways I went on a little tangent there but that's exactly how I picture the Knicks pick in my head. I know Knicks fans probably think this a bad pick because they just took Gallinari and some people are already impatient with him, but D'Antoni will never shoot down an opportunity to draft foreign and add a shooter who fits his system. I have actually watched a great deal of Claver and I can say that I actually like him more than Gallinari. He is much smoother athlete. A more well rounded and smarter basketball player. This isn't one of those Euro's who is just there to chuck up outside shots and score as much as he can. He has great vision and can really pass the ball. As you would expect from a Euro big man he is extremely efficient on the perimeter. I think he compares favorably to Hedo. He isn't the shooter than Hedo is and doesn't have that killer instinct on offense, but he is a much smoother athlete.
15)Dallas Mavericks: DaJuan Summers:SF:Georgetown:
Summers is top 10 talent, but because of the system he plays in his stats won’t impress scouts. Measurements wise he is more than a prototypical NBA 3. He is 6-8” and a burly yet athletic 235-240 pounds. As a player he is one of the smartest and unselfish players in the college game today. Playing under JTIII you know that he has a great understanding for the game. Offensively he can really do anything. Great mid range game, decent 3 point shot, can drive, can post. Hailing from the same area as Carmelo Anthony he has a similar offensive game when he is assertive. His scoring demeanor though is closer to Jeff Green. Defensively he plays the 4 in college so he is a good rebounded and can defend multiple positions. Foot speed isn’t the greatest, but it’s good enough. If the Mavs draft him, it would enable them to move Josh Howard who has become a team enigma.
16)Toronto Raptors: Damion James:SF:Texas:
Very often I throw the word "NBA Ready Body" loosely, but when it comes to James he truly has an NBA ready body. Skills wise he is still rather raw. He has the facility to be a great player, but hasn't shown that consistency. His biggest weakness is shooting which the past two years he has taken long strides with. Going to the hoop you better get out of his way. Defensively he has the tools to really be a shut down guy with his length, strength, and athleticism. For Raptors fans he may sound eerily similar to Joey Graham which could scare you away, but James is a whole different player, and he can actually raise his arms above his shoulders.
17)New Jersey Nets:Tyler Smith:SF:Tennessee:
It is clear that the Nets need another scorer. You can't win consistently when you rely so heavily on Devin Harris and Vince Carter to be your only two offensive producers. As much as Jarvis Hayes wants to be Michael Jordan, he just isn't any good. Never was and never will be. He'll show his flashes but its all a tease. Tyler Smith is not a shooter but he is a scorer. He has consistently put up points the last 3 years in college. He should have some friendly competition next season with Chris Douglas Roberts for playing time.
18)San Antonio Spurs:Tyler Hansborough:PF:North Carolina:
This is a Spurs pick if I have ever seen one. It is exactly the type of player they would draft. Tyler is one of the most accomplished collegiate basketball players in the past 2 decades. The problem though is that he's undersized and not particularly skilled. He gets by in college with his strength, but in the NBA he won't be able to just muscle out guys. He is going to get pushed away from the rim and have to resort with half hook shots. He no doubt will find a spot in a rotation with his motor and tenacity, but you are looking at a spot up 7th or 8th man off the bench. He's a good guy to have and a great practice asset to push other players, but his NBA potential is most definitely limited.
19)New Orleans Hornets: Darren Collison:PG:UCLA:
I was so high on Collison two years ago and even last year though he'd be a mid first rounder had he declared, and while he may have fallen off the radar for doing a big no no in scouts eyes which is staying 4 years in college, he has become a much better player. A better leader, a more polished player. Who would have thought it but the Hornets are really struggling without Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo. They miss that guy who could spell Chris Paul and even play alongside of him and handle the ball duties when Paul is tired. Colllison is very capable of filling that role. He is a taller guard who has a long wingspan and is an excellent defender. Offensively he can run the point as well as finish on his own shots. Chris Paul is your franchises most valuable asset, your #1 priority must be to preserve him for as long of a career thats possible.
20)Phoenix Suns:Gerald Henderson:SG: Duke
: I'm not fond of Duke players and think all of them are busts, and I don't even like Henderson that much but I do like his fit with the suns. Henderson is a run in gun type of wing. He isn't the greatest shooter but he finds a way to score. He is a little bit short but he definitely has the skills to go along with the athleticism. He is IMO the best prospect on that Duke team, trust me not a fan of Kyle Singler at all. he's got bust written all over him. I'd take Chase Buddinger over him every single day of the week and I'm not even that high on Buddinger.
21)Sacramento Kings:Ty Lawson:PG:North Carolina:
After taking JRue with their first pick, it's time to take a pure point. By taking Lawson you still have insurance in case JRue can't run the point. At the very worse Holiday will be an excellent spark plug off the bench. Ty Lawson is short and can't shoot worth a lick but he can handle the ball, run the point, and pass the ball. He is a more explosive Brevin Knight. He is the type of guy you want running your offense. It's a shame he has made no improvements in his jump shot or else he'd be a lottery pick.
22)Minnesota T'Wolves:Chase Budinger:SF:Arizona:
With the T'wolves first selection they took Hasheem Thabeet to take pressure off Jefferson down low, with this pick they take another solid player who can contribute immediately. Corey Brewer has been an utter bust just as I expected, and even is overrated as a defender. Budinger gives you versatility with the ability to do everything on the court. He isn't going to be a big name starter but he's a better version of Mark Madsen. A glue to any team. He is very unselfish and very skilled.
23) Atlanta Hawks:Eric Maynor:PG:VCU:
The Atlanta Hawks have been long without a true PG. Mike Bibby has definitely improved his play this year but he will be gone after this season not unless he’s willing to take a huge pay cut. As in the MLE. If he likes Atlanta enough maybe he will, with that said the Hawks are still looking for someone to run point. Maynor is such an intelligent player who can score as well as run a team. He has great size and a killer instinct. Eric Maynor would definitely bring stability to the Hawks backcourt. Playing with freakish athletes like Jesse Pellot-Rosa as well as now with Larry Sanders, Maynor is accustomed to throwing the lob. With Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Mo Evans you can get 8 assists a game off lobs. What I love about Maynor and think will translate to the NBA and the Hawks is that despite being a talented scorer he knows when to turn it off and on. If his team can't score he'll take over and get inside and finish. If his team is hot he doesn't mind going the whole game without taking a shot to find his teammates. If he can do that at VCU with inferior talent, I am sure he would have no problem in the NBA deferring to guys like Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. Also a little bit underrated about Maynor's game is the fact that he is a great rebounding PG and a good defender who is very tenacious with his man to man defense.
24) Detroit Pistons:Patrick Mills:PG:St.Mary's:
I am one of those people who did not like the Chauncey Billups trade and I still don't. Rodney Stuckey is still a far ways from developing his point guard skills. That's why I think you take a pure point for at least bench purposes. Mills is short and undersized but a terrific player who proved his worth in the Olympics. He's the quickest player in the draft and can get to any spot on the court he wants to like Tony Parker. He doesn't have that offensive potential like Parker but he isn't that far behind the other PG prospects. His Olympic performance definitely put him on the radar. Fans will immediately love him because he's like a little pit bull.
25) Portland Trailblazers:Omri Cassipi:SF:Israel:
I would be awfully surprised if the Blazers actually made this pick. With so many recent draft picks and young talents and even a guy like Joel Freeland waiting to come over, they really don't have the roster space to draft another youngster without sacrificing a veteran bench presense. I could see them trading this pick like the Suns in the past have done for cash considerations. That would give them greater flexibility in the future for resigning their guys, or if they want to make a FA play in the summer of 2010. I know Portland fans are having wet dreams about having LeBron but that isn't happening. But landing a guy like Joe Johnson could make this a championship contending team. If they do make this pick I see they go foreign where they can stash a guy for a while and still own his rights and explore bringing him in down the line. Cassipi is a kid who just needs maturity. I have seen him shoot and he can shoot but from what I've read he's a troubled character and is immature and right now a selfish player on the court. I'd stash him overseas and see if he ever becomes something.
26) Denver Nuggets:Robert Vaden:SG:UAB
:It appears that the trade for Chauncey Billups was a great one for the Nuggets. I do see the 2 guard position and major need for them. At this point who really knows about JR Smith. He shows you flashes to make you think he will be good but plays out of control and selfishly. Vaden is a guy who I have been very high on for a while. He's never really looked the part of a big time player, but he has always performed at a high level. He's a lights out, outside shooter who is a good defender and rebounder. This past offseason he lost a lot of weight and trimmed down to an NBA body showing me the type of determination and work ethic this kid possesses.
27) Orlando Magic:Earl Clark:SF:Louisville
:The future and status of Hedo Turk is in the air, so Clark gives the Magic the type of versatile 3/4 player that they like. Much like his teammate Terrence Williams, Juan Palacios and really almost every Lousiville Cardinal who has passed by the past 5 years, he is an underachiever. His stats don't really tell the type of prospect he is. Clark is a very smart and unselfish player who can do anything on the floor you ask him of.
28) Cleveland Cavs:Greivis Vasquez:PG:Maryland
:Mo Williams is proving that he is a good fit with the Cavs and LeBron, with that I give them Vasquez who gives them that same big guard with a scoring mentality. Vasquez has been absolutely lighting up the ACC the past 3 years, but got on the radar with his performance against Kobe in the championship of the Americas two years ago. His fearlessness to attack the NBA players impressed scouts most. Vasquez is a 6-5" PG who is one of the toughest players you will see. He will leave it out on the floor, scream at the crowd, smack the ground, cry after a loss, the kid just wants to win. You want that type of attitude in your locker room. He has such a fiery attitude and sometimes plays with a reckless abandon but he has organized chaos to his game similar to Manu. He may be swerving all over the court but he always keeps court awareness and knows exactly where his teammates are. His herky jerky style is awkward sometimes though.
29) Minnesota T'wolves:Raymar Morgan:SF:Michigan State
:With the Wolves final pick they take Morgan who is more of a project type player. Morgan is long and athletic and is really good inside. His game definitely needs polish though similar to Shannon Brown coming out of Michigan State to the NBA.
30) Los Angeles Lakers:Terrence Williams:SG/SF:Louisville:
Williams had minor surgery this year, but I think he is being overlooked during the NBA Draft process. He is the kind of player which I really feel will be a better pro player than college player. In terms of his body he is NBA ready. He is 6'6" and a frame which is ready to take the pounding of an 82 game schedule, and even more if he were to be drafted by the Lakers. His fit with the Lakers and Phil Jackson's triangle offense is perfect. He can back either the 2 or 3 positions which gives him so much more value. He is probably one of the most versatile players in the college game. He is a threat for a triple double every single time he steps on the court. He can rebound, defend, run the floor, pass, handle, and is a decent scorer. I think he would really be a valuable player for the Lakers off the bench.
Players who just missed the cut, and might make my next mock draft:
Connor Atchley, Curtis Jerrels, Jordan Hill, Jeff Adrien, Danny Green, Robert Dozier, A.J. Price, Tyrese Rice
Guys who need to stay in school, or overseas:
Ricky Rubio, BJ Mullens, Greg Monroe, Kyle Singler, Chris Wright(Dayton not Georgetown version), Austin Daye-Kid needs to add some weight and show more offensive skill