Being the draft geek I am, this is a big week for Mr. Chi City. The NBA draft is this Thursday and it’s time for yours truly to build his basketball evaluation resume. It is my goal in life to one day run an NBA team. I live to watch a guy play in college, evaluate his game, and give a prediction for what that guy will be on the NBA level. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Watching the NBA for as long as I have, it still boggles my mind how some of these GM’s make the decisions they make. I’ve sat there and watched in amazement far too many times the basketball stupidity that happens every year. Marvin Williams over Chris Paul? Michael Olawokandi going number 1 in ’98? The Bulls taking Marcus Fizer when they had Elton Brand? Timberwolves GM David Kahn taking 2 point guards with back to back picks last year? I can go on for hours. The point is I am 97% certain I can run a team better than Kahn runs the T-Wolves, and the way Wallace mismanages the Grizzlies. Since this is the first time my thoughts on players will be exposed for people to read, there is a lot of pressure on me. This could be my springboard to the big seat or it could be a sign to stick to franchise mode on NBA2K ’10. No pressure, Louie. Let’s get this going…
Random Tangent: I pick on Wallace and Kahn so much for the following reasons. Kahn traded for the 5th pick in last year’s draft giving him the 5 & 6 picks. What does he do? He takes Ricky Rubio, who surprisingly fell to 5. Good pick. I love Rubio’s game. He had Chris Paul and Deron Williams saying he was the real deal after the ’08 Gold Medal game in Beijing. Kahn then decided it was a good call to draft Syracuse point guard Johnny Flynn. Who takes two point guards back to back? All Kahn had to do was take Rubio at 5 and Stephen Curry at 6. Like Ari Gold would say….Boom. That would be a dynamic young backcourt the Wolves and their fans could get excited about. Rubio, Curry, and Kevin Love would be a good core to build towards the future. They will look to trade Al Jefferson, which will bring them some assets as well.
Chris Wallace is responsible for the Lakers winning their 2nd consecutive title. Wallace is the douche bag who gave away Pau Gasol two weeks before the trade deadline and, stupidly, took Hasheem Thabeet at 2 last year. It’s not all Wallace’s fault (owner Michael Heisley makes the final call on certain players), but the Gasol trade is inexcusable.
Here then is my 2010 NBA Mock Draft…
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, PG, Kentucky: When the Wizards won the draft lottery, I felt terrible for J-Wall. Any young player who gets stuck playing with Gilbert Arenas doesn’t see that as a reward. It’s a trip to basketball hell. The Wizards would love to trade Agent Ass-bag, but nobody is biting on that contract (5 years averaging $16 million plus). Wall is not Derrick Rose. Let’s get that out of the way real quick. NBA “gurus” tend to get porn style excited over new prospects, which is fine. I like Wall’s game a lot. He’s 6’4”, electric quickness, crazy hops, and a killer instinct that many young players don’t have. His jump shot needs work, but it won’t be long before Wall is viewed as a top flight NBA point guard. He will be a Rajon Rondo type, if Rondo had a 40 inch vertical. I just feel bad he has to be exposed to Agent Ass-bag. Hang in there, John.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State: My favorite player in this draft. I’m convinced Doug Collins only took the Sixers job knowing Turner would be there for the taking. Turner is often compared to Brandon Roy, but I think Turner is better. His ability to play the 1, 2, and 3 spots makes him the most versatile player in the draft. The Chicago kid who Bruce Weber didn’t want reminds me of Anfernee Hardaway. He isn’t as quick as Penny was, but this kid will be a stud. Doug Collins is the perfect coach for a young guard (see Jordan, Michael), and having Turner in the fold will put the 76ers back on the map. Philly needs a lift considering Rocky Balboa is retired, and the Flyers just got rolled by the Blackhawks.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech: The 6’10” freshman was hyped like Felipe Lopez was before his freshman year at St. John’s. Favors didn’t dominate in his lone year at G-Tech, but he has that dog in him, as they say. I like his athletic ability, size, and potential. This isn’t the next Tyrus Thomas. Favors may be raw, but he will flourish playing next to Brook Lopez. Favors has Dwight Howard type athleticism and, if he’s given time, he will be a stud (Everytime I say stud in this mock draft, imagine I’m doing it in Charles Barkley’s voice when he says “stud”). I’m introducing a big man rule soon, but know now that I’m putting Favors above the rule. I’m a big fan of his. He won’t be in the Rookie of the Year chase, but he can be a pre-knee injury Amare Stoudemire down the road.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse: God only knows what Kahn has up his sleeve this year, but Johnson seems to be the likely pick. The Wolves will likely trade Al Jefferson, which could open the door for Kahn to take DeMarcus Cousins. I think Johnson will be the pick because, besides needing everything, the Wolves desperately need outside shooting, length and athleticism. Johnson will bring that rag tag team all of those attributes. Rumors have the Wolves trying to trade their 1st round picks along with Johnny Flynn to Indiana. Johnson may go to the Nets at 3, which would put Kahn in a tough spot. If Johnson is off the board, the Bulls should try and move Luol Deng to Minnesota to solve their small forward issues. The Wolves do have the cap space to absorb Deng’s deal. If Johnson does go to the Nets at 3, look for the Wolves to…to…to… somehow screw this pick up like they always do. All eyes are on David Kahn again. I don’t think he knows who he wants if Johnson is off the board.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins, PF-C, Kentucky: The guy I called Rasheed Wallace 2.0 is the biggest mystery in this draft. There is no denying Cousins’ ability. He is a natural back to basket big man that can get you 20-10 every night. He’s a bigger version of Derrick Coleman in my opinion. He can roll out of bed and score on most of the bigs in the league right now. The problem? He’s a headcase that I wouldn’t draft if I had a top ten pick. I’d trade for him like Joe Dumars traded for Rasheed Wallace in ’04. Joe D stole Wallace when nobody wanted him and it paid off. The Pistons got a motivated ‘Sheed and he propelled them to a title. How Cousins fits in with a young team will be a huge question mark. If Cousins grows up and accepts coaching, he could be a perennial all-star. If not? He’s Eddy Curry. There won’t be an in-between. If it were me, I wouldn’t go near this kid.
This is where I need to enforce my big man rule. What’s the rule you ask? It’s simple, if a big man didn’t dominate in college, he likely won’t dominate in the NBA. It doesn’t always hold true, but it’s a common sense indicator that usually proves correct. You’d think GM’s would want to follow these thoughts considering all of the stiff 7-footers that have been drafted over the years. It won’t stop because NBA personnel guys are whores for 7-footers. Even if they can’t play dead, they’ll get a look. You’ll see what I mean as we move on with these picks.
6. Golden State Warriors: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown: Monroe is a guy I loved two years ago. However, the more I watched him play, the more I became indifferent about his potential. I question Monroe’s motor and drive. He seems to coast at times which will get him torched in the league. He is, without question, the best passing big man in this draft. He fits in Golden State because they like athletic bigs who can run the floor (They drafted Anthony Randolph & Brandan Wright), so Monroe fits. I want to like Monroe again, I really do. I just don’t know if that will happen in Golden State. Monroe is a possibility for my big man rule. He didn’t dominate smaller and inferior competition enough at the college level. Can he do it in the NBA? I’m skeptical. Plus, he’s not an elite level athlete. He’s a poor man’s Chris Bosh. If that’s the case, is he really that good? Epke Udoh is looking like he could be the pick here as the draft nears.
How many lottery picks have the Warriors had the past 15 years?! Jesus.
7. Detroit Pistons: Epke Udoh, PF-C, Baylor: Udoh is versatile and athletic. He was almost as impressive in the NCAA tournament as he has been in workouts. The Pistons need a big man desperately. I hate the makeup of their team. I’m pretty sure the old bad boy (Joe Dumars) does as well. Udoh will help the Pistons interior defense. Now, if they can just draft someone to fix that miserable city they’d be in business. Udoh also qualifies for my big man rule. A theme is developing with the big men in this class. The cynical side of me hopes the big men the Pistons want are off the board by this pick. Yes, I still hate the Pistons. I’d love to make the call to my buddy D-Ball ripping him about his squad taking Cole Aldrich here.
Get your Clippers jokes ready….
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler: The Clippers want to trade this pick, and may, by draft night. The Clippers need a small forward badly. They will try and sign LeBron James, but we know that isn’t happening. Hayward was a tournament darling, but he could be the pick here because he’s worked out surprisingly well. He’s shown more athletic ability than most white wing players do. Sorry, but it’s a fact. The fact that Mike Dunleavy is not running the Clippers anymore helps the odds of the Clips not messing this pick up. I wouldn’t take Hayward this high, but in the right situation, he could be a solid bench player. The Clippers could also take….
Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada: A really good athlete who is shooting up the draft board. Could we finally have an exciting white wing player? It’s finally possible. He shot 41% from 3 and averaged 22 ppg last season. He can play in the post some, and shoots 90% from the free throw line. My question with Babbitt is can he defend 3′s and 4′s in the NBA? I’ll believe it when I see it.
Hey Knicks fans, this is the pick you were supposed to have. You know, another chance to add a quality player to attract LeBron to New York. That won’t happen because Isiah Thomas traded it away as part of the Steve Francis trade a few years back. How did that work out for you? Knicks fans will parade around the Garden on Thursday night with their LeBron jerseys and tell people they don’t need this pick. If you factor in they traded Jordan Hill away at the deadline (last year’s number 8 overall), and gave up their next 2 first rounders (2011 and 2012 to Houston), the Knicks are very likely to not have a first round pick until 2013. You better make a big splash this summer or else Spike Lee will keep having to make bad Kobe Bryant documentaries. With the Knicks pick…
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas: How could this pick not happen? Greg Ostertag 2.0 is Jerry Sloan’s type of player. The Jazz need a wing player, but with Carlos Boozer on the verge of being grossly overpaid by some team with cap space (it better not be you Bulls), the Jazz can use a big. I think Aldrich can be serviceable, but I have a thing for not taking dopey white centers. Not in the 1st round anyway. I don’t think my big man rule applies to Aldrich because he’s just not very good at basketball. He should have destroyed weaker competition in the Big 12. He didn’t…11 ppg and 9 rpg backs up those thoughts. He should have been 18 and 14 easily in that conference. The Jazz could also take a wing player here. Xavier Henry? Paul George? I’d still opt for size if I’m trying to get passed the Lakers in the West.
10. Indiana Pacers: Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina: Davis averaged 12.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.7 blocks for the Tar Heels last season. Davis fills a need for the overly white Pacers, but they would like to trade this pick. The Pacers want to deal this pick for a point guard. If I were the Bulls I’d be trying to peddle Kirk Hinrich to Larry Bird yesterday. Yes, Davis qualifies for the big man rule.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Paul George, SF, Fresno State: George is a kid I liked for the Bulls before his stock soared the past few weeks. George is long and athletic. Think Trevo Ariza. He has good range on his shot and would be a solid spread the floor guy that could work beautifully with Chris Paul. You know, kind of like how Peja Stojakovic was supposed to.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas: Rudy Gay is another 2010 free agent who will be overpaid (my guess is the Clippers if they don’t draft a wing player), and his uncertain future in Memphis makes Henry a viable option. Henry was strictly used as a spot up shooter at Kansas last year, so we don’t know what his potential is. I don’t like it if he has to play with Zach Randolph and OJ Mayo, I can tell you that. I’d love Henry to fall to the Bulls at 17, but that might be wishful thinking. Henry will be able to come in from the get go and stroke NBA 3′s. He shot 42% from 3 last year, so at the very least, he can stretch defenses.
13. Toronto Raptors: Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall: It’s starting to sink in to Bryan Colangelo what many have known–Chris Bosh is leaving town like he stole something. Whiteside is a project, but the Raps need a center– no matter what they get back in a sign and trade for Bosh. The 7’1” Whiteside averaged 5 blocks per game last year, but he’s a few years away from being a starting caliber player. He could be real good, if given time.
14. Houston Rockets: Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky: I like Patterson. He reminds me of Udonis Haslem. He’s undersized, under appreciated, and does nothing but perform. Sounds like Haslem to me. Houston will try and make a play for Bosh, but Patterson fits in perfectly with the gritty Rockets. He doesn’t qualify for my rule because I know what I’m getting with him. He will play in the league for 10 years and be a productive player for every team he’s on.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State: The Bucks lucked into Brandon Jennings at 10 last year. Yea, the Knicks could have had him to. With their PG in the fold, the Bucks need a 2-guard. Michael Redd will try and comeback despite not having knees, and John Salmons may test free agency. The Bucks could use the sharpshooter to play next to Jennings. He has a similar game to Salmons’ in the sense he’s not a catch and shoot player. He’s a scorer (averaged 22 a game last year), kind of like Johnny Salmons. Except for the awful chin hair.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest: Since the T-Wolves love taking players that play the same position, I’m giving them Al-Farouq Aminu. I know it doesn’t make sense since I have them taking Wes Johnson, but hey, it’s the T-Wolves dammit. I hate Aminu’s game. He reminds me of concrete feet, Luol Deng. I know he averaged 15 and 10 last year, but his lack of athleticism is why he will slip in this game. If Aminu becomes a player, I’ll be shocked. You can have him.
17. Chicago Bulls: Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky: I fully expect the Bulls to try and trade this pick to clear more cap space. The Bulls want to sign two max free agents this summer (LeBron & Bosh) and moving this pick and Hinrich will accomplish that goal. If they keep this pick and move Hinrich, Bledsoe makes sense because they need a backup point guard. Bledsoe was overshadowed by John Wall at Kentucky, but I like his game. He gets after it defensively, and has the ability to run a team. Practicing against Derrick Rose everyday wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.
18. Miami Heat: Daniel Orton, PF, Kentucky: Miami needs a big man, and Orton can fill a need. I guess. Only in the NBA can a guy who averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds in college can go this high. Pat Riley will try and sign Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh, but he also loves big men. Orton, like many of the big men in this draft can eventually be a quality player. I have absolutely no idea if that will happen. I don’t think most teams do either. If there was a guy who was the definition of my big man rule, Orton would be it. Anyone who says they know what he’ll be is lying.
19. Boston Celtics: Dominique Jones, SG, South Florida: A guy the Bulls like is someone who can potentially fill a need if Ray Allen goes to the Heat as expected. Jones can fill it up. He averaged 21 a game last year. He’s only 6’4”, but at the 19th pick in this draft, you could do worse–w,hich I hope Boston does because I don’t like them or Danny Ainge.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Some foreign player you will have never heard of: This is the Spurs way. I fully expect them to take another Tiago Splitter type bum. Have fun with that. As you can see, I’m not big on foreign players in the NBA. Don’t even think of throwing Steve Nash at me. He’s Canadian, that doesn’t count.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Larry Sanders, PF, VCU: The Thunder need size despite my guy Serge Ibaka showing improvement. This much is certain, Thunder GM Sam Presti will make the right call with this pick. Sanders’ work ethic has been questioned. So yes, he qualifies for the rule.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Solomon Alibi, C, FSU: This pick is in question because the Blazers are screwing over GM Kevin Pritchard. Pritchard is a trooper and is doing his job even though he knows he’s about to be fired. Alibi is another project who could be Greg “Old Knees Johnson” Oden. Another guy who will be a rebounder/shot blocker and nothing more.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier: The guy who dunked on LeBron became a star in the NCAA tournament. He’s a bit undersized for an NBA 2-guard, but this kid has unlimited range. I would be happy if the Bulls took Crawford at 17. He can flat out play. He averaged 20 a game during the season, and 29 during the tournament. I’ll go to war with him anytime.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Damion James, SF, Texas: James averaged 18 & 10 last year. He fits the need of the Hawks always drafting small forwards.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Stanley Robinson, F, Connecticut
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Craig Brackens, PF, Iowa State
27. New Jersey Nets: Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada
28. Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies will probably trade this pick for future picks to use on point guards. If I were running the Grizzlies, I’d take Willy Warren.
29. Orlando Magic: Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech: The Magic may trade Brandon Bass this summer, so Lawal could be a pick for Orlando.
30. Washington Wizards: Willie Warren, SG, Oklahoma: All Warren did in college was produce. He can get his own shot, and playing with John Wall would be plus for any 2-guard.
There is always a lot of trade activity on draft night and this draft won’t be different. There will be a lot of talk of sign and trades regarding Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson, and others which will add to the drama of the night. It’s the start of the most talked about off-season in NBA history. There is a lot at stake for so many teams this summer that we can see a lot of panic moves. Don’t think panic trades won’t happen Thursday night. For the Bulls, the biggest summer they have had in over 12 years has started with the hiring of Tom Thibodeau. It continues Thursday and leads to July 1. It will be the most important two weeks the organization has ever had. No pressure Pax.
For me? Well, my first NBA mock draft as a blogger is in the books. I hope this turns out well or my future as an NBA GM will go down the toilet quicker than Conan’s Tonight Show ratings. If this goes badly, I’m going to light this blog on fire. Hey, at least I know I’m already better than Kahn, Wallace, the stiffs running the Clippers and Warriors. There’s still hope for Mr. Chi City….