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Chad Ford's Mock Draft 3.0

 

The NBA draft combine is now behind us, and for the first time NBA teams have credible measurement, medical and athletic info on every prospect in the draft.

This week a number of players expected to be drafted in the middle of the first round or sitting on the first-round bubble are competing in Minnesota in group workouts. From there, NBA teams will start their individual workouts in earnest.

There is still plenty of movement expected in the 29 days before the June 24 draft, but for now, here's our best stab, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, at how the draft might play out in June.

Mock Draft 3.0

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Washington

John Wall

Position: PG
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 196 pounds
Age: 19
School: Kentucky

Analysis: While GM Ernie Grunfeld continues to maintain that the Wizards haven't made any decisions and plan to bring in both Wall and Turner to work out, a Wizards source at the NBA draft combine acknowledged to me privately that the team will take Wall barring any unforeseen complications with his physical.

While a backcourt of Wall and Gilbert Arenas does raise some questions, it should be fine. Arenas has always been more of a 2-guard anyway, and Wall's star quality makes him the obvious choice for the Wizards to build around.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Philadelphia

Derrick Favors

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 245
Age: 18
School: Georgia Tech

Analysis: I've heard various sources make pretty forceful arguments that three different players are second on the 76ers' board: Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors. At times, I've been persuaded by all three. But now it looks like the Sixes are leaning toward Favors, according to what I was told on Monday by a credible source familiar with coach Doug Collins' thinking.

Turner isn't a great fit next to Andre Iguodala. And while Cousins is a perfect fit in the middle, the team has some concerns about his on-court attitude. That leaves Favors, who has as much upside as any player in the draft.

His measurements out of Chicago are virtually identical to Dwight Howard's -- which means he should be just fine playing center. All of this can change once players undergo individual workouts and interviews, but from what I can gather, Favors has the lead if the Sixers decide to keep the pick.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

New Jersey

Evan Turner

Position: SG
Height: 6-7
Weight: 214
Age: 21
School: Ohio State

Analysis: If Turner slides to No. 3, it's a dream scenario for New Jersey. While the Nets think very highly of Favors, they also have a chance to fill the power forward position with a free agent like Carlos Boozer or Amare Stoudemire.

The Nets want to turn this thing around quickly and Turner has the ability to step in and play from day one. He can play both the 2 and the 3, and can share time on the wing with Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams.

The team also is high on Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson. I'm told he's in the mix at the No. 3 spot, as well. But for now, Turner has the edge.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Minnesota

Wesley Johnson

Position: SF
Height: 6-8
Weight: 206
Age: 22
School: Syracuse

Analysis: The Wolves are exploring possibilities of moving up in the draft. Evan Turner is their target and they have the assets to make a deal with either Philly or New Jersey.

If they keep the pick, Johnson seems like a terrific fit. He's long and athletic, rebounds from the 3 spot and can hit an open jumper. Some believe he's the next Shawn Marion.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Sacramento

Al-Farouq Aminu

Position: SF
Height: 6-9
Weight: 215
Age: 19
School: Wake Forest

Analysis: It's not easy to figure out which way the Kings are going right now. They play things close to the chest, and last year we got it wrong all the way up until the day of the draft.

This year is not that much different. They aren't really hurting at any one particular position, with the possible exception of center.

Cousins could make some sense here, but for now the word (albeit a shaky one) has Aminu in the lead.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Golden State

DeMarcus Cousins

Position: C
Height: 6-11
Weight: 292
Age: 19
School: Kentucky

Analysis: I think the Warriors will do backflips if Cousins slips this far.

He actually had a pretty good week in Chicago. A number of NBA GMs told me that based on Cousins' body of work, interviews and his measurements, they believe Cousins has as much talent as anyone in the draft, including John Wall.

Cousins has been compared to everyone from Shaq to Zach Randolph, but here's an interesting historical comparison to ponder -- could he be the next Moses Malone?

"He's huge, he scores around the basket, he's a terrific rebounder and he plays with a chip on his shoulder," one GM said. "How many 20-10 centers come along? Not very many. As far as a talent goes, he could be incredible in the NBA. The league has gotten smaller and quicker. Cousins would kill most of the big guys in our league today."

Cousins also fared well in the measurement category, comparing favorably in size to NBA centers. He measured a legit 6-foot-11 with a tremendous 7-foot-6 wingspan and 9-foot-5 standing reach. Those numbers put him on par with the likes of Dwight Howard, Greg Oden and Brook Lopez. His interviews weren't nearly as bad as everyone made them out to be, either.

While the Warriors have Andris Biedrins in the middle, he's nothing like Cousins, who can come in and be a big-time scorer right away. Teaming Cousins with with Stephen Curry and Anthony Randolph would give the Warriors a great foundation.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Detroit

Ed Davis

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 227
Age: 20
School: North Carolina

Analysis: Pistons president Joe Dumars has said he wants his team to regain the grit and toughness of past Pistons teams. But picking at No. 7 makes that a bit of a challenge. The Pistons are really high on both Cousins and Favors, but most likely they'll have to move up in the draft to get one of them. Regardless, the Pistons are taking a big man.

If they stay at No. 7, Davis makes some sense. He's got a nose for the ball and attacks the offensive glass. But he's also not the most polished player in the draft. Greg Monroe and Ekpe Udoh are other possibilities here. Apparently Cole Aldrich really isn't in the mix here.

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Los Angeles Clippers

Gordon Hayward

Position: SF
Height: 6-8
Weight: 211
Age: 20
School: Butler

 

Analysis: The Clippers could go in a lot of different directions with this pick and I keep getting mixed signals.

The latest tip to come out of Chicago pointed in the direction of Hayward. He's one of the most versatile guys in the draft, and while he struggled a bit this season, he can really knock down shots. Given that the team plans to feature Blake Griffin next year, that's a big deal.

With the loss of Marcus Camby, Ekpe Udoh is also a real possibility here, as is Xavier Henry.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Utah
(via New York)

Greg Monroe

Position: PF
Height: 6-11
Weight: 247
Age: 19
School: Georgetown

 

Analysis: The Jazz are in a position to lose Carlos Boozer this summer via free agency, but Monroe would be a solid consolation prize. He's not superathletic, but he's the most skilled big guy in the draft and would be a perfect fit in coach Jerry Sloan's half-court offense.

His measurements out of Chicago also support his cause. He measured 6-foot-11 in shoes with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and a standing reach that puts him on par with most of the top big men in the draft.

But don't ignore a coming challenge by Gordon Hayward. The Jazz love him and need someone to replace free agent Kyle Korver.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Indiana

Avery Bradley

Position: SG
Height: 6-3
Weight: 180
Age: 19
School: Texas

 

Analysis: The Pacers are one of the most difficult teams to peg right now. They have so many needs and are talking to everyone about moving up, moving down, or maybe even moving out of the draft, according to a number of other teams who have targeted the Pacers' pick.

The Pacers' biggest need is at point guard. A month ago, I think Bradley would've been considered a stretch here, but more and more scouts and GMs believe he could be this year's Russell Westbrook. Ekpe Udoh, Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry and Gordon Hayward are also possibilities here, too.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

New Orleans

Cole Aldrich

Position: C
Height: 6-10
Weight: 236
Age: 21
School: Kansas

Analysis: The Hornets need size and will feel that they're getting a steal if Aldrich falls this far.

Aldrich didn't measure particularly well in Chicago, standing just 6-foot-9 in socks. He makes up for much of that with a huge 7-foot-4 wingspan and a versatile game that allows him to face the basket. Aldrich could go as high as No. 5. I don't think he slides further than this.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Memphis

Luke Babbitt

Position: SF
Height: 6-9
Weight: 214
Age: 20
School: Nevada

 

Analysis: This pick may seem like a bit of a reach, but sources say the Grizzlies have locked in early on Babbitt -- and they're concerned he won't be there when they pick again at No. 25. While I have no idea who he can guard at the next level, the guy can really score. The question: Is he the next Adam Morrison or the next Chris Mullin? The Grizzlies are banking on the latter.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Toronto

Daniel Orton

Position: C
Height: 6-10
Weight: 269
Age: 19
School: Kentucky

Analysis: While Orton averaged just 3 ppg and 3 rpg, he's considered a player with tremendous upside thanks to a wide body, long arms and the ability to play both in the paint and facing the basket. He measured short in Chicago (6-8¾ in socks) but has a huge wingspan (7-4¼) to make up for it.

With the Raptors on the verge of losing Chris Bosh this summer, they have to start thinking about a long-term replacement in the middle. The team would like to move Andrea Bargnani to the 4 and needs a tough rebounder and shot-blocker in the middle. Ekpe Udoh, Hassan Whiteside and Solomon Alabi will also get long looks here.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Houston

Ekpe Udoh

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 237
Age: 22
School: Baylor

 

Analysis: Udoh is the type of long, shot-blocking forward who should find a comfortable home in Houston. While he's a bit older than the rest of the class and doesn't have elite athleticism, he's still improving -- one of the few older players in the draft with any real upside left. Patrick Patterson and Hassan Whiteside are other possibilities here.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Milwaukee
(via Chicago)

Xavier Henry

Position: SG
Height: 6-7
Weight: 210
Age: 19
School: Kansas

 

Analysis: Henry looked good at the NBA draft combine in the drills, where he shot the lights out. It also didn't hurt that he ended up ranking as the sixth-best player in the draft in John Hollinger's Draft Rater.

Teams as high up as the Clippers, Jazz and Pacers are looking at him closely. At this point, if Gordon Hayward goes higher, I don't see Henry slipping past the Bucks, who can use him at both the 2 and the 3. With John Salmons looking to opt out, they're going to need to add some more versatility to the wing position.

James Anderson and Patrick Patterson are other possibilities with this pick.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Minnesota
(via Charlotte)

Paul George

Position: SF
Height: 6-9
Weight: 214
Age: 20
School: Fresno State

 

Analysis: After Whiteside, George is one of the biggest upside players in the draft. He didn't dominate at Fresno State, but as a 6-9 2-guard who can really shoot the basketball, he draws comparisons to everyone from Joe Johnson to Wilson Chandler to Trevor Ariza.

The Wolves need shooting and size in their backcourt, so he should be the perfect fit. Pair him with Wesley Johnson or Evan Turner and the Wolves just got a lot better.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Chicago
(via Milwaukee)

James Anderson

Position: SG
Height: 6-6
Weight: 210
Age: 21
School: Oklahoma State

 

 

Analysis: Anderson was one of the best scorers in college basketball and could be a very good fit in the Bulls' backcourt. His ability to stretch the defense and attack the basket would make him a nice complement to Derrick Rose.

Even if the team ends up landing LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, look for Anderson to be the guy. As far as NBA ready players go, there are few better in this draft. I'd expect him to play the same sort of role James Harden did in OKC last season.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Miami

Eric Bledsoe

Position: PG
Height: 6-2
Weight: 192
Age: 20
School: Kentucky

 

Analysis: Bledsoe is a tough, Pat Riley type of player and could be a long-term upgrade from the Mario Chalmers-Carlos Arroyo duo at point guard.

Bledsoe was one of the players who really helped himself at the draft combine. Playing outside of John Wall's shadow, he often looked like the best guard on the floor. Physically, he's ready for the NBA right now. But he still needs more experience running the point. Long term, Bledsoe could pay off.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Boston

Solomon Alabi

Position: C
Height: 7-1
Weight: 237
Age: 22
School: Florida State

 

Analysis: Alabi may seem like a bit of a reach to some, but I was impressed with the feedback I received from NBA scouts and GMs after the combine. Not only did he measure as the biggest player in the draft, but he showed a nice skills game and a terrific motor in the drills.

Some scouts are comparing him to Dikembe Mutombo. I don't think Alabi has the same sort of rebounding and shot blocking ability, but he does have a similar demeanor and presence on the court.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

San Antonio

Damion James

Position: SF
Height: 6-8
Weight: 227
Age: 22
School: Texas

 

Analysis: James is one of the more underrated players in the draft. Very few players have his combination of athleticism and motor.

He doesn't have a position on offense, but he can defend multiple positions on the floor. He should be able to step in right away with the Spurs' veterans and provide meaningful minutes

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Oklahoma City

Donatas Motiejunas

Position: PF
Height: 7-0
Weight: 220
Age: 19
Country: Lithuania

Analysis: If Motiejunas believes he'll slip this far, he most likely will withdraw from the draft. But he'd be a great long-term pickup for the Thunder if they can get him this low.

He's a very skilled forward who has some Pau Gasol and Toni Kukoc in his game. He is playing at a high level in Europe but needs to get stronger.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Portland

Patrick Patterson

Position: PF
Height: 6-8
Weight: 245
Age: 21
School: Kentucky

 

Analysis: Patterson would be a steal for the Blazers if he slips this low. While Patterson does little to wow you, he's the type of unselfish, productive big man that will fit in well with the team Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard has put together.

He measured well in Chicago and was apparently one of the best interviewees there, so he could find himself moving back up into the late lottery. But I'm still struggling to find him a home.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Minnesota
(via Utah)

Kevin Seraphin

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 258
Age: 20
Country: France

 

Analysis: With their third pick of this draft, you can expect the Wolves to stash a player overseas. Seraphin hasn't really produced big numbers in France, but he has Serge Ibaka-like physical upside.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Atlanta

Hassan Whiteside

Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 227
Age: 20
School: Marshall

 

Analysis: How can a guy who just measured with a freakish 7-foot-7 wingspan slip this far? The word out of Chicago was that the interviews didn't go so well. And as I wrote in my draft combinewrap-up blog post, I had the chance to sit down with Whiteside and I can understand why.

Whiteside isn't a bad kid, but he's a very naïve one at this point in a way that reminds me a bit of Tyrus Thomas. Eventually some team will decide the talent is too much to pass on. But I think he did some damage to his stock last week. He can certainly make up for that in workouts ... but he's just created a bigger mountain to climb.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Memphis
(via Denver)

Larry Sanders

Position: SF
Height: 6-11
Weight: 222
Age: 21
School: Va. Commonwealth

Analysis: If the Grizzlies go a little safe with their first pick, they can swing for the fences with Sanders. With a freakish wingspan and terrific athleticism, Sanders could add a different look to the Grizzlies' front court.

Both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are big bodies, but neither player can run the floor and do the things Sanders can do.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Oklahoma City
(via Phoenix)

Craig Brackins

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 229
Age: 22
School: Iowa State

Analysis: Brackins would be a good pick for the Thunder. He's a high-character guy who can score inside and outside and will play hard. Right now Nenad Krstic is the only guy who can really get it done in the post. Brackins could be a nice long-term fit.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

New Jersey
(via Dallas)

Keith Gallon

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 302
Age: 19
School: Oklahoma

 

 

Analysis:We've had Terrico White pegged here for a couple of weeks and he could still be the pick. But if the Nets get their hands on Evan Turner at No. 3, then they probably focus on a big with their other pick.

Gallon is one of the best-shooting big men in the draft. If he can get in better shape, he's a talent at this spot in the draft.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Memphis
(via L.A. Lakers)

Quincy Pondexter

Position: SF
Height: 6-7
Weight: 220
Age: 22
School: Washington

 

Analysis: Pondexter was one of the best seniors in the country. He is an elite athlete and proved this season that he can really score. He's a jump shot away from being a star. Think the next Desmond Mason.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Orlando

Willie Warren

Position: PG
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210
Age: 20
School: Oklahoma

 

Analysis: At the beginning of the season, Warren was considered a potential top-10 pick. However, a poor season and some injuries, plus some bad chemistry with his coach, really hurt his stock.

But he is a steal here and the type of versatile guard who could make an impact for the Magic.

 

PICKTEAMPLAYERVITALS

Washington
(via Cleveland)

Jarvis Varnado

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 210
Age: 22
School: Mississippi State

Analysis: Varnado may not be much to look at on the offensive end, but on the defensive end, he's a beast combining a great motor, long arms and elite athleticism. Once he gets stronger, I could see him as a Chris Andersen-type of defender.

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