**Note** Derrick Favors does not declare for the 2010 Draft in this mock…
Western Conference Playoff Teams (in order of record)
Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (in order of record)
NBA Lottery Mock Draft
1. Memphis Grizzlies: John Wall, PG, Kentucky
The Grizzlies are putting together a nice group of young players, but, with so much youth and an inconsistent coaching staff, they could struggle next year. If they select first overall, it will be very hard for them to pass on a talent like Wall.
I am a believer that Mike Conley can be the future point guard, but Wall is the best prospect in the draft.
With the No. 2, 3, and 5 positions taken care of for the Grizzlies, Wall is a logical choice. The 6′4″ guard will be playing on an excellent Kentucky team this year that has national title hopes that can only show off Wall’s talent even more.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ed Davis, C, North Carolina
Look for the T-Wolves to be a solid team a few years down the road, but, after trading two of their most proven players in Randy Foye and Mike Miller, the growing pains will be large this year.
With Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn entering the starting lineup, this will be a very young team that will need to gain chemistry over time. If they select in the two spot, Ed Davis is the sure pick.
Listed as a power forward, the 6′10″ sophomore plays much bigger than that and is an excellent shot blocker. He will gang up with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love in the frontcourt to form one of the best young trios in the game.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
Much like the Grizzlies, the Thunder are putting all the pieces together the right way but still need more experience. In what looks to be the last piece of the puzzle, Greg Monroe joins a Thunder team with a ton of potential.
With Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and B.J. Mullens as a core, Monroe will be the finishing piece to one of the best young starting lineups in basketball.
Monroe is still very raw, but will add another year of college basketball seasoning before coming out next year.
4. Sacramento Kings: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
Aminu is another player who decided to pull his name from the draft this year and will gain some more experience because of it, just like Monroe.
His stock will either rise considerably, once he shows he can be the go-to guy without the likes of Jeff Teague and James Johnson, or it will drop if he fails to become the leader for the Demon Deacons.
If he is drafted to the Kings, he will join fellow small forwards Andres Nocioni and recent draft pick Omri Casspi. Aminu gives the Kings more of a finesse player than a bruiser and would be a great compliment.
5. Los Angeles Clippers: Willie Warren, PG, Oklahoma
Warren would have been a lottery pick last year but opted to go back to school for one more year. Without the Griffin brothers, on paper it would seem Warren will be in for a rough year.
However, a very solid recruiting class will give Warren a good supporting cast that should warrant him a top five selection. He will also meet up with his old teammate Blake Griffin as the heir apparent to Baron Davis.
6. New Jersey Nets: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
For some reason, I think the loss of Vince Carter is going to hurt the Nets more than most people believe. He was the glue that held the team together and was by far the most experienced veteran that played.
Now, Devin Harris is left to run the team and get them back to the playoffs. Power forward is now the biggest hole for the Nets, and a guy like Aldrich could fill the void.
While he is listed as a center, his game is set more for a power forward in the NBA. He tears down rebounds and has a solid mid-range game on offense. It would not be surprising to see him go earlier than this in next year’s draft.
7. Utah Jazz: Donatas Montiejunas, C, Lithuania
8. Charlotte Bobcats: John Henson, PF, North Carolina
After selecting a Dukie (Gerald Henderson) in this year’s draft, Larry Brown and Michael Jordan go back to their roots and select the next great Tar Heel. The Bobcats are pretty much set all around at the starting positions, so going with the best player left on the board seems right for them.
Henson is the top rated freshman in this year’s high school class and has all the tools to be great. If he can put on muscle and become more polished, he could make an argument for the top spot in the draft next year.
9. Detroit Pistons: Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
This is the year in which the Pistons go from constant playoff team to lottery.
With Rasheed Wallace likely to be moved via free agency, Detroit will take a hit and begin to rebuild. They have the core to do it with Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, and the veterans Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince.
However, Henry will be the best player on the board at this spot and become the replacement for Hamilton in the future. While he will play third fiddle to Sherron Collins and Aldrich, Henry’s potential is sky high which will make him a lottery pick.
10. Golden State Warriors: Solomon Alibi, C, Florida State
After drafting Stephen Curry with the seventh pick overall this year, the Warriors backcourt is pretty much set. Monta Ellis and Curry will join Stephen Jackson to form a high scoring, fast-paced break.
In the frontcourt, however, there is much more of a problem.
Andris Biedrins is the only sure thing and, unless a trade for Amar’e Stoudemire occurs, more talent will be needed there. Enter Alibi who is one of the lesser known prospects in this year’s crop thus far.
At 7′1″, he runs the floor extremely well and will give Golden State more options down low.
11. Washington Wizards: Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
Obtaining Randy Foye and hopefully a healthy Gilbert Arenas will help the Wizards next year, but I believe their window of opportunity has already closed and that they are not deep enough as a team to sniff the playoffs.
To help the rebuilding mode, the Wizards go with Evan Turner out of Ohio State.
The handful of times that I watched him play, I couldn’t help but think he will be a very solid NBA player. He is very long for his size and goes to the hole with power and balance.
Because of his versatility (much like Caron Butler), he can play multiple positions, and if he can work on his jump shot, he will be just fine in the Association.
12. Toronto Raptors: Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State
With Chris Bosh almost certain to leave after this season, the frontcourt will have a huge hole that needs filling. Varnado is the best defensive player in the college game right now and is poised to make run in the NCAA Tournament this year.
He could be the annual player whose stock rises after an outstanding tournament (Tyreke Evans, anyone?), and he is worth the pick.
If he can develop a more consistent post game, he will be a lottery pick. If he does not, he will be a mid-first rounder.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder: Stanley Robinson, SF, Connecticut
14. Milwaukee Bucks: Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
There may be a little bit of bias with this selection, having the Bucks as the ninth place team in the East, but if they stay healthy they will be in the playoff race all year.
However, falling just short means another lottery selection. For the second time in three years, they go with an athletic small forward Mountaineer.
Ebanks has all the potential in the world but is extremely raw in just about every aspect. It would surprise me to see him come out to the draft next year, but on potential alone he could be a lottery pick.
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