OK folks, it's the stretch run. We have our top 20 fan picks for the Hoopus Community Draft Board. Tomorrow we'll run the final Hoopus Score Draft Board along with a few other notes throughout the day.
Tonight, instead of another draft vote, we're going to put up a mock draft done by Casperkid23 and myself over the weekend.
Before we get to that little ditty below the fold, I would like to remind everyone that if there is one thing we have learned about the NBA this year it is that everyone in the league lies about everything to everyone in the months of April, May, June, and July. There are going to be a thousand rumors out there in the next 48+ hours. The Wolves really are putting in a lot of work to cover as many scenarios as possible and this means that there will be a lot of potential deals, rumors, whatever.
As far as we here at Hoopus are concerned, we just have to wait and see what Kahn and Co. do in the draft. They are the 4th team in what we consider to be a 4-player draft and that is the baseline of what we will be judging their performance on. You can make up your own goalposts but that's what we're rolling with here at Hoopus. They are guaranteed Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, or DeMarcus Cousins. There is no reason they should walk away with anything less unless there is a trade that increases the value of the 4th pick in a fairly substantial way. There's also no reason to make any judgments about this front office's 2010 performance until the rubber hits the road.
With that being said, the mock draft is below the fold.
Casper: Time to kick off this mock.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall (PG) - Kentucky
This pick was written in ink about a month ago. The Wizards get the consensus best player in the draft and someone who is charismatic enough and talented enough to rebuild their franchise around.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors (PF/C) - Georgia Tech
Brook Lopez isn't exactly a great athlete, and he certainly needs help on the frontline by someone who could be dominant on the interior. Favors won't be a big factor next year on the offensive end, but down the line he could be an excellent player on both ends of the court. I have a question for you SNP - if the Nets trade this pick, do you think Cousins or Favors will get more looks with the 3rd pick given the report of Cousins performances in workouts?
SNP: I know it isn't widely viewed this way, but the tandem of Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors seems like a match made in frontcourt heaven and I can't imagine the Nyets passing up an opportunity to have two of the best young bigs in the league.
Casper: Psh, I toss you a question and you don't even respond to it! David Kahn, I hope you read what SNP just wrote - do not pass on Cousins for Johnson with the 4th pick please. Just please, do not pass on one of the top-4 for Wes Johnson.
5. Sacramento Kings: Greg Monroe (PF/C) - Georgetown
I'm still a firm believer that if the draft falls as it has these first four picks, that Sacramento should pick Johnson... but rumors say otherwise. With Monroe, the Kings get a once-in-a-generation playmaker in the frontcourt, and with the recent acquirement of Dalembert his rebounding and defensive woes may be covered up - at least for one season.
SNP: Brain farting in emails: It's my specialty. I think Cousins could end up being a hot product on draft day, especially with rumors that New Jersey has put the pick up for auction. He's too talented of a big man for the rest of the league not to take interest when it comes time to actually make the picks. I think someone will move up and grab him at 3. As for Monroe, he was a decent passer in college but he also turned the ball over on a 1/5th of his used possessions.
Casper: Yeah, Golden State can't pass up that kind of value - doesn't matter who's on their roster. I wouldn't be surprised if AFA is a dark horse pick, however.
7. Detroit Pistons: Ed Davis (PF) - North Carolina
Detroit is kind of a mess. They are built to win now, but they can't because they aren't talented enough. This pick could very well be moved, either in an attempt to move up or to pick up a veteran to help them get back to the playoffs. If it's not, I think they go with Davis because he can provide them with solid production his rookie season, doesn't duplicate what they have, and has the potential to be a great player on both ends when he hits his peak. The fact that he has ties in Detroit helps his cause.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich (C) - Kansas
I don't know which direction Utah wants to go with this pick, because a couple of the wings on the board would look awfully good next to Deron. However, I'm going with Cole at this spot. The Lakers, led by Pau, absolutely killed the Jazz in the playoffs this year. Their defense, not their offense, let them down - Aldrich will help with that.
SNP: Cole is going to have a nice long NBA career. He is legitimately huge and can rebound. He'll be a fantastic fit for the pick and roll and I think he will eventually turn into a very effective offensive player.
Casper: Bledsoe is definitely a risk at that point, but Indiana does really need a PG, so if they don't trade the pick (I'd put the odds of them trading it at about 66%) then he's a viable choice, especially since he's apparently been impressing in workouts. I don't really like him however...
11. New Orleans Hornets: Xavier Henry (SG/SF) - Kansas
It was a tough call in this spot, because the Hornets need help up front. However, they also need scorers on the wing since Thornton is the only viable option now that Peja is a shell of his former self, so Henry should be the pick here. He can play SG or slide to SF when Thornton is on the floor, and should also surprise people with his abilities as a defender. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hayward get a look here either.
SNP: Something just seems off to me about Henry and I don't quite know what it is.
13. Toronto Raptors: Paul George (SG/SF) - Fresno State
I've recently read that the Raptors are high on Udoh and that if he falls he will likely be the choice - but in my mind he doesn't fit very well with Bargnani because neither are big interior players. What I do believe, however, is that George and DeRozan on the wings would be a nice complement. Those two fit together pretty well as far as their strengths and weaknesses go, and their athleticism is off the charts.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Luke Babbitt (SF/PF) - Nevada
Another pick based off rumors. The Bucks need help scoring, and Babbitt is certainly a polished offensive scorer, though might not be able to create for himself at the same level he did in college. They could go in a variety of directions, including going for a PF/C to work next to Bogut, but it sounds like they'll go Babbitt if the draft played out like this.
17. Chicago Bulls: Ekpe Udoh (PF/C) - Baylor
This is a gut pick for me. If Udoh falls to them, I think they'll be far more apt to use Gibson to get a team with room (like the Timberwolves) to absorb Deng's contract. If they can get a primarily offensive PF/C in FA (along with LeBron or Joe Johnson), and an NBA-ready, multi-talented player like Udoh... watch out.
SNP: Udoh sets off all kinds of warning bells for yours truly. 23, terrible shooter...I'm hoping he stays as far away from the Wolves as possible.
19. Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley (SG) - Texas
This would give Boston two incredibly athletic, long guards who are worthy of All-Defensive team nominations. Where Rondo excels at slashing, Bradley excels at shooting. He may even be able to contribute right away next year with his ability to spot up or work in mid-range as well as being able to lock down most guards. If he eventually is able to play PG part-time, watch out.
SNP: That's a perfect pick for the Celtics. They are going to have a lot of tough decisions in the off season. They may even need some help up front now that Kendrick Perkins is hurt and Sheed is probably on his way out.
Casper: Damion James is a solid pick for the Spurs - a near-perfect fit for their system.
21: Oklahoma City Thunder: Hassan Whiteside (PF/C) - Marshall
Seems to fit the type of player OKC would want, and he would have another year to add weight and skill while working behind Krstic, Collison, and Ibaka. Even though they already have one project C in Mullens, Whiteside is a different type of player and could pay huge dividends.
Casper: Portland would have so many bigs in that scenario, but if you look at their roster they need the most help up front.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Seraphin (PF/C) - Cholet
I'd say there's a high probability either this pick or the 16th will be moved. But if the draft plays out like this and there's no clear upgrade available at SG, Minnesota goes for a potential stash pick and takes Seraphin. This gives them an athletic player up front who can either come over or stay overseas. If he came over immediately, that would likely signify that Al or Love were moved for a non-big. In that scenario, he'd primarily be a bruiser down low good for rebounding and defense - and hopefully be ahead of Hollins in the rotation.
SNP: I have no clue about anything related to Seraphin.
Casper: Solid pick for the Nets as a defensive role player.
Casper: Terrico should fit in well in Atlanta as Crawford's understudy for a year. I really like him as a late-1st or early-2nd sleeper.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Elliot Williams (SG) - Memphis
The hometown product will feel right at home on the Grizzlies. The question is: could he potentially play part-time PG, or share the duties when paired with Mayo on the court? That's a tricky one, but he certainly has the handles to do so. Regardless, Williams' slashing abilities should translate to the NBA level, and help bolster the backcourt.
SNP: I think Williams is going to surprise a lot of people in this draft if he can go to the right team and have a back court mate that can share ball handling responsibilities. He also compliments Mayo in that he can take the ball to the hoop like Mayo cannot.
Casper: OKC has to trade out of one of their 1sts because their roster just can't handle any more players. Tibor Pleiss is rumored to be a choice of theirs to stash.
27. New Jersey Nets: Devin Ebanks (SF) - West Virginia
They need help defensively and Ebanks is one of the best in the draft in that department. In addition, he has the skillset to be an excellent role player and should be a spectacular value pick at this stage in the draft.
SNP: Ebanks is another one of those players I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. I have no idea what he will bring to the pro game and he didn't exactly produce in college.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Quincy Pondexter (SF) - Washington
They really don't have the room for 3 rookies, so I expect some of their picks to be packaged or sold. However, if they keep it, they might as well go Pondexter and grab more athleticism and defense.
Casper: Orlando sure does love their stretch 4's. I wouldn't be surprised if Hobson got a look there.
30. Washington Wizards: Stanley Robinson (SF) - Connecticut
The Wizards need another person on the wing for Wall to run with, and since Thornton likely isn't a long-term solution, they go for Robinson and hope that he keeps working so that he can become a fringe starter.