May 22, 2007
While Kevin Durant would fill a more pressing need for the Blazers, Greg Oden is the anchor of all anchors. With Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge as staples in the frontcourt, Kevin Pritchard will probably try to move both Zach Randolph and Darius Miles in the offseason. If so, Randolph should generate interest across the league, with Chicago and Golden State as leading candidates.
2. Seattle Sonics: Kevin Durant - Texas
This is a nightmare situation for Durant. He'll fill in for Rashard Lewis on an untalented team bound for a long rebuilding phase. And the thought of KD in Oklahoma City is just terrible. Seattle needs to convince Lewis to agree to a sign and trade, and get a big time contributor in return. This will probably involve a three-team trade, with Lewis ending up in Charlotte or Orlando.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Mike Conley Jr. - Ohio State
Great result for the Hawks. Conley has a nice combination of speed and vision, and should fit in well with Joe Johnson in the Hawks backcourt. With Josh Smith on the wing, Atlanta will at least be fun to watch.
*Atlanta could ruin this mock draft if they like Acie Law more than Conley, in which case they'd take a big man like Brandan Wright here (and then take Law at 11).
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Al Horford - Florida
Will he replace Pau Gasol or play alongside him? The Grizzlies would probably be wise to revisit a trade with the Bulls. Ben Gordon, Andres Noccioni, and the ninth pick in the draft would certainly get the deal done.
5. Boston Celtics: Brandan Wright - North Carolina
I feel the potential for some Warriors-like seasons in the Celtics' future. Get used to picking 9th through 13th in the draft—forever.
6. Milwaukee Bucks: Corey Brewer - Florida
Nice upgrade at small forward. He'll need to improve his handle and shot, but will make an immediate impact on defense.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Julian Wright - Kansas
Trade Garnett—please. We're all sick of hearing the same story every year. With his immense skills, Wright should thrive playing next to KG. And by thrive I mean suffer through an endless string of early-round playoff losses.
8. Charlotte Bobcats: Yi Jianlian - China
The four to Emeka Okafor's five. And word has it that Michael Jordan reads Chad Ford religiously. After an impressive workout in the L.A. this week, Yi's stock is at an all-time high. I expect him to drop a little bit in the coming month, as teams in front of the Bobcats will be scared of by his "bust" potential.
9. Chicago Bulls: Spencer Hawes - Washington
The Bulls should make a trade here if they can...or they could take the stiff that seems to fit best on paper. It's likely that John Paxson will shop this pick to the Grizzlies or Blazers in an effort to acquire a low-post scorer, or possibly to a team looking to move up to grab Joakim Noah.
10. Sacramento Kings: Joakim Noah - Florida
The Kings have to take the best player on the board. They have one player (Kevin Martin) who is in the team's long-term plans. The Kings are already thinking about Eric Gordon and O.J. Mayo (a good fit for Sacramento on several levels).
11. Atlanta Hawks: Jason Smith - Colorado State
Smith will benefit if Roy Hibbert returns to Georgetown for his senior year (as is expected). The Hawks have very clear needs to fill at point guard and center, in that order.
12. Philadelphia 76ers: Jeff Green - Georgetown
Green is a versatile player that should play regular minutes next year for the 76ers. Due to average athleticism, his long-term upside isn't as high as others, but he's a hard worker and a safe pick.
13. New Orleans Hornets: Nick Young - USC
An explosive shooting guard to play alongside Chris Paul. Young would be a great fit in New Orleans, and the combination of Paul, Young, David West, and Tyson Chandler could do some damage in coming years.
14. L.A. Clippers: Acie Law IV - Texas A&M
"This is what I do." - Acie Law IV
Sam Cassell = old. Shaun Livingston = broken. The Clippers need a competent point guard, and Law might be able to fill Cassell's role in the clutch.
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