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Mocking Birds

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.

SNP: Can I go with ditto? 

2. Philadelphia 76ersEvan Turner (G) - Ohio State
Even if they trade him away it's pretty hard to imagine a scenario where Turner doesn't go in this spot.  He's a 6'7" guard who can play multiple positions, run the offense, excel in transition, and play above average defense.  The most complete and NBA-ready player in the draft.  Nearly a sure thing. 

Casper: You have to wonder how much of a look Favors or Cousins will get at 2 if Philadelphia doesn't trade the pick.  Turner certainly has received most of the attention at that spot, but some people (like this guy) think another player is the better pick.

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. 

4. Minnesota Timberwolves: DeMarcus Cousins (C) - Kentucky
Our Beloved Puppies will never again have the chance to draft a teenage center with a 9'5" standing reach, a 7'6" wingspan, and the best freshman big man production in the last 15 years of college ball...much less with the 4th pick in a draft.  Plus, as an added bonus, he would immediately replace Kevin Love as the best Twitterer on the team.  

 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.  

6. Golden State WarriorsWes Johnson (F) - Syracuse
Stephen Curry and Wes Johnson on the break and from beyond the arc?  Drafting Johnson would almost demand that they trade the ridiculously high usage Monta Ellis and they already have a few nice young wing players, but a long and athletic forward who can stroke it from 3 seems like a natural fit for the guys from the bay. 

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.

SNP: I can't believe that Joe Dumars hasn't been run out of that position yet.  How much more damage can he do to that team?  If only there were a way he could figure out how to get Elton Brand...

8. Los Angles Clippers: Al Farouq Aminu (F) - Wake Forrest
Putting this guy as a hybrid 3/4 next to Blake Griffin could be interesting.  He's raw and will need a lot of seasoning because he really can't shoot the damn ball at the moment, but his combination of length and athleticism will serve the team well right from the get-go.  

Casper: I go back and forth on whether I think the Clippers should go with AFA.  He's got the potential, but like you said, lots of things need work.  The hype-monster that is Paul George may end up going there.

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.  

10. Indiana Pacers: Eric Bledsoe (PG) - Kentucky
I think Indy could move this pick but they need a PG in a bad way and I think Bledsoe or Avery Bradley could be a sneaky pick in this spot.  Both would probably be a reach at this point, but this is the area of the draft that is very deep and where players until around pick 20 are virtually interchangeable.  Bledsoe really came on late in the season and I think he'll take some work to get proficient at the point, but he still has an upside for the position.  Elliot Williams could be another sneaky pick in this spot.  I don't envy Indy's position here.  They are a team in need of lottery talent but at a point in the draft where everything is kind of a wash between players.  They also need a position that isn't particularly deep in this year's draft.  

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. 

12. Memphis Grizzlies: Patrick Patterson (PF) - Kentucky
This is a match made in heaven and should be of particular concern to Wolves fans.  If Memphis holds onto Rudy Gay, they will have a young core of Mayo, Gay, Gasol, Thabeet, and Patterson.  Yet another young team that has lapped Our Beloved Puppies. Patterson had the highest ortg on Kentucky to go along with the lowest TO rate (10.5%!) and a .626% mark from 2 pt land.  

Casper: Can't knock the Patterson pick.  He's solid through and through and Randolph is... well... yeah.

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.

SNP: I hope somebody before pick 16 is high on Udoh because I think he's got bust written all over him and I want him as far away from the Wolves as possible.  George and DeRozan on the wings would be quite the athletic pairing. 

14. Houston Rockets: James Anderson - OSU
I have a gut feeling that there is no way on god's green earth that Anderson gets past Morey and the Rockets.  A Brooks/Anderson backcourt seems like a perfect pairing with a healthy Yao back in the mix. The guy is the best shooter in the draft and he can score in a variety of ways.  The Rockets also have enough frontcourt talent to make up for any defensive problems that may be caused by Anderson letting people blow by him.

Casper: Anderson is a nice prospect, but I wonder: could he and Martin be effective on the court together?  I don't know who'd they take, however - they are one team which can afford a risk since they have "solid players" everywhere, but Anderson certainly is nice value.

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.

SNP: I could also see Houston take a backup PG with combo skills like Avery Bradley or Elliot Williams.  They reportedly worked out Williams the other day. 

16.  Minnesota Timberwolves: Gordon Hayward (SF) -- Butler
They miss out by one spot from getting the really good white small forward in the draft but they come close with Hayward.  I doubt that the Wolves end up with this pick at the end of draft night/free agency, but should they keep it, they have to address their lack of shooting.  Here's hoping that Hayward's awful 3p% this past season is not how he is trending from long distance.  Elliot Williams would be a nice pick here too.  

Casper: Ugh.  Ekpe falls into the Timberwolves laps and instead of revamping the frontcourt you have them take Hayward!  Nooooooooo!!!

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. 

18. Miami Heat: Daniel Orton (PF/C) - Kentucky
They need help across the board, and while it appears that Orton is headed down most draft boards, this is a team where it makes a lot of sense to take a flier on a young big.  They need some help up front after the O'Neal experiment didn't work out and while Beasley is still having issues adjusting to the NBA at the 4.  

Casper: I'm not an Orton fan.  I hate Orton.  But apparently he's looked good enough in workouts to justify that selection and Miami could use a cheap option at Center.

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. 

20: San Antonio Spurs: Damien James (SF) - Texas
The second Longhorn in a row is a perfect fit for what should be the last year of the win-now Spurs.  If they can land Tiago Splitter, they will need a rookie that can come in from day 1 and play some minutes at the position where Richard Jefferson failed.  I think this is one of the best fits between a player and a team in the entire draft.  

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.

SNP: I am very interested to see what OKC does, as I may be a fan of theirs in a few months.  

22: Portland Trail Blazers: Solomon Alabi (C)- FSU
The Blazers need some big man insurance.  I don't see how they can not address their front court in this draft.  With Oden's ongoing health issues, Pryz having crazy bad luck, and Marcus Camby getting up there in age, they need some a bad way. 

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.

24: Atlanta Hawks: Terrico White (G) - Mississippi
Acie Law didn't work and Crawford surely doesn't have too many more years in him like what we just saw.  I figure they could use a promising guard with decent size at this point in the draft.

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. 

26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Grevis Vasquez (PG/SG) - Maryland
OKC can't keep all of its picks but I have a sneaky suspicion that they end up with another guard to compliment Westbrook and Harden.  Vasquez is a bit brash, but his all-around game would fit in well with the Thunder. 

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. 

Casper (with his 2nd pick in a row)

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.

SNP: A Sam Young/Pondexter rotation at the 3 would be enough to make up for the migration of Rudy Gay up the Mississippi river.  

29. Orlando Magic: Craig Brackens (PF) - ISU
I just can't see this guy falling out of the first round.  He's too good of a player.  

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.

Well folks, that about does it for the mock draft.  We'll have the final draft boards out sometime tomorrow.