NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Pitch Perfect
6/19/2010 11:30 PM ET By Tom Ziller
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, Kentucky
Wall is not only the best prospect of the 2010 draft -- he might be the best prospect since Kevin Durant in 2007. There's no reason for the Wizards to even think about passing on Wall.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
Doug Collins is a defensive-minded coach. Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday -- all starters next season -- project or are plus defenders, but unpolished on offense. Collins and his team will need all the offensive help they can get going forward. It helps, then, that Cousins is one of the best offensive big men prospects in years. The word on Cousins is that he needs someone on his tail every day; Collins will be on his draft pick's tail every day, whether the rook needs it or not.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
The Nets' offense was the worst in the league last year, and only figures to improve through wholesale changes. New coach Avery Johnson gets dap for his defense, but he's also a fine offensive coach. (Of course, when you're coaching Dirk Nowitzki, it's hard to look bad.) A bounceback for Devin Harris, a bigger role for Terrence Williams, continued improvement for Brook Lopez and the addition of a name free agent could really make the offense sing. But in Favors the Nets can set their frontline for the next decade. Favors projects to be a great NBA defender in a few years, and a brilliant finisher. Mixed with Lopez's size and post skill, this could be a devastating combo.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Evan Turner, Ohio State
The Wolves desperately need a perimeter creator, despite the presence of Jonny Flynn, who had a really poor rookie campaign for someone considered by many to be "ready." Turner will waste a lot of possessions with a middling jumper and turnovers galore, but he'll also put pressure on opposing defenses from Day 1, and open up the floor for Flynn and whoever survives the Al Jefferson-Kevin Love fight scene.
5. Sacramento Kings: Greg Monroe, Georgetown
As I wrote last month, only one legit first-round prospect rebounded better than Monroe on the defensive end last season: Cole Aldrich. Monroe projects to be so much better than Aldrich on offense that it's almost a no-brainer that he's become the de facto third big man in the draft behind Cousins and Favors. He could start next to any of the Kings' three incumbent bigs (Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Samuel Dalembert), and honestly, the Kings, who value versatility, would love that.
6. Golden State Warriors: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
Whether it's right or not, I'm looking at Stephen Curry as the only factor when it comes to fit and the Golden State Warriors. Don Nelson won't be the coach much longer, and Monta Ellis, Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins could all be on their way out soon. Johnson can hit the three, get to the bucket and possibly defend two or three positions. Johnson and Curry could be deadly on offense together.
7. Detroit Pistons: Hassan Whiteside, Marshall
The Pistons' defense hasn't been worse since before Ben Wallace's initial arrival in Motown. Whiteside today isn't polished enough to be a great defender from the start, but he projects as such a few years down the line. Detroit has to be patient, with youth just about everywhere on the roster (once you ignore the team's most expensive players).
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
The only hole in the Clippers' line-up is at small forward -- hence the quixotic chase for LeBron James and the overwhelming conventional wisdom L.A. will be one of the teams attempting to pry Rudy Gay from Memphis. Aminu is different than both (obviously), more of a Josh Smith styled enigma than a go-to scorer. Luckily for the Clips, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Baron Davis and (one would assume) Blake Griffin can score.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich, Kansas
I understand angst against Aldrich -- he's not prone to joga bonito. But defense and rebounding are important, darnit, and Aldrich's has been college's best post defender for a few years. With Paul Millsap committed at power forward, Mehmet Okur approaching the end of his contract and potentially missing time to start the season, and Kyrylo Fesenko earning playoff starts due to injury, Aldrich makes sense ... unless workouts have shown him completely unable to function against NBA athleticism.
10. Indiana Pacers: Xavier Henry, Kansas
Henry's stock isn't entirely different from that of Eric Gordon two years ago. There's just some distinctly unexciting about shooters this time of year. Gordon ended up landing in the top-10, and Henry ought to as well. The two-guard slot is easy to fill, but not with players the quality of Henry. He and Danny Granger could be a real revelation together.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Ed Davis, North Carolina
Davis is a real wild card -- he played sparingly as a freshman behind Tyler Hansbrough and was injured fairly early in his sophomore season. But he has potential on offense and on the boards, and he could be a good long-term replacement for David West.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
Zach Randolph can't live forever. :-(
Seriously, Randolph has just one more year on his deal. The Grizzlies are soft on defense with scoring-focused Randolph and a porous backcourt, despite having one of the burliest (in every sense of the word) centers in the league in Marc Gasol. Udoh should be a plus defender at power forward within a couple years, and his 15-footer has looked nice in workouts. The new Darrell Arthur!
13. Toronto Raptors: Paul George, Fresno State
The Raptors desperately need talent up and down the roster. If Toronto wants to run (as the defense-lite roster would seem built for), George and DeMar DeRozan could be a nice future wing pair. George could help on the boards too, where center-forward Andrea Bargnani is a disaster.
14. Houston Rockets: Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
Patterson is ready to plug in, like, yesterday. Houston wants to contend and after the loss of Carl Landry could use another forward more inclined to score than Chuck Hayes.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: James Anderson, Oklahoma State
The Bucks can insure against the potential loss of free agent John Salmons by picking up Anderson, an aggressive scoring guard who has the defensive chops to play under Scott Skiles.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Solomon Alabi, Florida State
Florida State has the nation's best defense last season, and Alabi was the top reason why. Here's to hoping David Kahn and Kurt Rambis forget all about the reclamation of Darko and pick up a stopper of a center like Solomon Alabi, even if he'd be useless in the Triangle and in the mid-range.
17. Chicago Bulls: Larry Sanders, VCU
This particular pitch is both an endorsement of Sanders, one of college ball's most beastly bigs, and a vote of no confidence for Taj Gibson, who started 70 games at power forward for the Bulls last season. No offense to Gibson, who availed himself just fine and became a top-15 rookie despite being picked 26th. But Sanders figures to be a better player in every facet.
18. Miami Heat: Luke Babbitt, Nevada
This is way too low for Babbitt, but this is a solid draft with some really intriguing wings (Johnson, Aminu). Babbitt was quite efficient with the ball at Nevada, and could be a nice complement to Dwyane Wade and a mystery big man in Miami.
19. Boston Celtics: Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky
Bledsoe, the best player available, could fit as a part of a three-guard rotation in Boston, potentially replacing Ray Allen at the off-guard and spelling Rondo at lead. The key here is in Bledsoe's potential as a floor-spacing shooter and scorer. The Celtics under Rondo become much more easily defended when Allen isn't hitting his jumpers.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Lawal may be a few years older than teammate Favors, but he did produce at a similar level. S.A.'s frontcourt is in flux, with Tiago Splitter allegedly leaning toward coming stateside. But Lawal can likely pop in immediately and contribute on the glass and defense.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Seraphin, Cholet Basket (France)
Seraphin projects as a physical, tough power forward. The Thunder could stash him to allow Nick Collison and Nenad Krstic to finish their contracts and Serge Ibaka to continue to develop.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Avery Bradley, Texas
Bradley is the best player available at this point, and a potential contender for Jerryd Bayless in the backcourt.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Elliot Williams, Memphis
Williams might turn into a fine NBA scorer, and that can only help the puddle-deep Wolves.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Jerome Jordan, Tulsa
Jordan was one of the best rebounders in the nation, and an efficient scorer in the paint. The Hawks always fill the depth chart on the cheap in the frontcourt; Jordan could give them a cheap and promising piece for four years.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Gordon Hayward, Butler
Hayward could be a steal this low in the first. In my opinion, this is about right, based on the full body of his work at Butler. Hayward's excellent tournament run means something, but (in my opinion) not everything folks think it does.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Damion James, Texas
Does anyone think James won't be a fine pro? He may lack the upside of other prospects, but it seems pretty clear he'll be able to contribute in the pros.
27. New Jersey Nets: Mikhail Torrance, Alabama
I'd personally rather Terrence Williams was a starting point-forward than a back-up point guard, so give New Jersey Torrance, a tall, efficient playmaker. The new Javaris Crittenton.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Samardo Samuels, Louisville
Another big man with potential to add to the corps. Samuels might be massively underrated heading into the draft -- he can't rebound on defense for beans, but he can score OK and defend well.
29. Orlando Magic: Terrico White, Mississippi
As we said in the last FH mock, White is a big point guard who could replace Jason Williams and perhaps help replace trade-bait Vince Carter and restricted free agent J.J. Redick off the ball.
30. Washington Wizards: Trevor Booker, Clemson
The Wizards have this pick (from the Antawn Jamison trade) as well as the 35th pick. If you're committing two years of guaranteed salary to a player, you want to make sure he's a fairly sure thing. Booker won't likely ever be a legit NBA starter, but he's not going to flame out either.
Evan Turner falling on our laps? another lucky break for Minny.. similar to the Rubio scenario we had last year..
and i saw a video on yahoo sports saying that Khan is the most unqualified GM in 10 years to get a position.. the statement made me change my views about Khan.. He did have a bad draft last year.. and questionable FA signings..