2. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Unbelievable talent from Spain. Generated a lot of hype at the 2008 Olympics. The best point guard in a point-guard heavy draft. His energy and ball handling capabilities can take over a game. Don’t take stock into agents’ threats.
3. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The best big man in the draft. At 7′3″ and 265 lbs., he will have to put some weight on, but he is definitely a piece to build around.
If he is to succeed in the NBA, he has to get tougher. Too many times in college, he would flop and come out of the game due to something minor.
4. SACRAMENTO KINGS
A strong 6′10″ forward from Arizona is a decent consolation prize for the Kings, who terribly lost the lottery. Hill is strong and likes to play around the bucket. He is a great rebounder, with a nice mid-range jumper.
5. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Scoring machine. He is not a true point guard, but can play it. He loves to score and handle the ball, but Gilbert Arenas likes to do the same thing. Evans thinks he can make it work.
The Wizards need a big man, so if Hill doesn’t drop to them, they may trade this pick.
6. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Brandon Jennings – Before taking off for Rome after his senior year in high school, Jennings was the best player in America not playing in College or professionally. He will need to work on his frame (6′1″, 170 lbs.), but his quickness is off the charts. Could be a minor steal here.
7. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Had a good season at Arizona State, but really did not impress during the NCAA tournament. Players usually use the tourney to upgrade their value (see: Patrick O’Bryant, Corey Maggette), but Harden did not. Buyer beware.
8. NEW YORK KNICKS
Curry is a clutch performer and one of my favorite athletes. The eighth spot is a little high for Curry, but apparently, Mike D’Antoni has an eye out for Curry, and Curry has stated that he would prefer to play in New York. All of the other mock drafts seem to think the same.
9. TORONTO RAPTORS
From Southern California to Canada. DeRozan was one of the top recruits going into college, but had a mediocre freshman year. However, the skill is clearly there and he will be able to score at the NBA level. An athletic 6′6″ guard is exactly what the Raptors need.
Showed heart and ability to carry a team in North Carolina’s run to the NCAA championship. He is a natural leader, who fits perfect into a team that lacks one. Lawson is a pure point guard who can slash to the basket with a decent jumper.
11. NEW JERSEY NETS
Athletic combo forward who can play defense and rebound. At 6′10″, he has the ability to get to the basket. He is a nice fit for the Nets, who lack a strong presence at the forward position. Not going to blow anyone away with the jumper, but can develop one like Vince Carter did.
12. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
One of the most developed players in the draft. Before this season, he was simply known as a slasher and a dunker. However, he drastically improved his jump shot, which gives him a deadly scoring combination. Good make up, with his father a former NBA player.
13. INDIANA PACERS
Does not do anything great, but does everything well. This, plus his 6′8″ frame and natural athletic ability make him a viable candidate to be a lottery pick. He can score a different number of ways and can use his long wing span to defend.
14. PHOENIX SUNS
Became America’s favorite point guard after leading Syracuse to the Big East tournament finals. Flynn is an amazing point guard. He is quick, and eager to play in the NBA. The Suns need a point guard to eventually replace Steve Nash, and Flynn is their man.
15. DETROIT PISTONS
Very, very good guard. At VCU, he did not get much pub until he singlehandedly beat Duke in the NCAA’s in 2008. He has an uncanny ability to find the net and has an NBA ready jumper. He has already met with Pistons brass.
16. CHICAGO BULLS
A big man with soft hands is always a good combination. However, Blair only stands at 6′6″, but is thick at 287 lbs. He is undersized to be a forward, but Big Baby Davis is making it work, so there is hope for Blair. He is an offensive rebound machine. Did I mention the hands?
17. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
The final part of the superstar guard recruiting class (Jennings, Evans, DeRozan). Holiday had an unimpressive season at UCLA, but showed flashes of his potential in parts of games, when Nick Collison was on the bench. The skills are there, Holiday just needs to develop.
18. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Best shooter in the draft. His form is flawless, and that is why he will find his way into the NBA. However, he and Rashad McCants play a similar game, so he will need to learn how to create his own shot, or improve his defense, like JJ Redick has done.
19. ATLANTA HAWKS
The Hawks will be hunting down a point guard. Luckily for them, there will be lots of good ones available. Teague is one of the better ones. Not only is he quick, but he can score. He will have to be mentored for a year or two, but he will be a serviceable NBA contributor.
20. UTAH JAZZ
The Jazz may lose Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko to free agency. In a point guard draft, the Jazz need anything but a point. Daye is a 6′10″ power forward that will need to bulk up (190 lbs). He is used to good coaching at Gonzaga so Utah will not be a shock.
21. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
Unbelievable athletic, uncanny leaping ability. Could have gone to any college on a volleyball scholarship. Nice fit with the Hornets. He can shoot the ball very well for a big man (6′7″) and can play the run and gun game with Chris Paul. Consider this a steal if he goes this late.
22. DALLAS MAVERICKS
Hard-working and dedicated. Winner of the Naismith award is a depth forward in the NBA. However, his commitment to improving his game could eventually pay off with the Mavs. They need some toughness and grit—and Hansbrough showed that he can nail mid-rangers.
23. SACRAMENTO KINGS
After picking up a big man in the draft (No. 4 Hill), the Kings need to add depth at the point position. Williams led the No. 1 overall seed Louisville into the Final Four. However, he will need to work on his jump shot and scoring ability to be a serviceable guard.
24. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
Not a big fan, but serves as a depth forward-center for the guard-heavy Blazers. This seven footer does not need to step in right away, which is a good thing because he needs some work refining his overall game. Has a lot of potential, but needs time to develop.
25. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Raw. Really raw, but has shown steady improvement at Georgia Tech. At 6′9″/233, he has a nice athletic frame, but will need to develop his overall game, which he has made clear that he wants to do. A lot of potential, if willing to work.
26. CHICAGO BULLS
The Bulls are known for taking the most athletic players in the draft. No exception here. Thornton attended LSU, where they produce athletic twos and threes every year. Thornton can serve as a nice insurance policy if Ben Gordon decides to walk.
27. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Big-game player who could be the quickest player in the draft. As a graduating member of a distinguished UCLA program, he is pretty close to being NBA ready. That being said, there is not much more growth for Collison except improving a jump shot.
28. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Another senior from a distinguished program; therefore, pretty close to being NBA ready. Young has nice size to play the 2 or 3 position with a great jump shot. He is athletic enough to play defense at the NBA level.
29. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Did not get much recognition because he went to St. Mary’s. However, Mills was able to generate a lot of hype for himself and his school before he went down to injury. Mills did not play in the second half of the season, but showed enough to be a capable point guard at the NBA level.
30. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Does not do anything exceptionally well, but does not have many holes in his game. He is a good all around player. At 6′8″ and 225 lbs. he has a nice athletic body, which shows promise for improvement. The Cavs can use some more athleticism—especially if LeBron walks.