I’m not going to lie; I’m a major NBA Draft junkie. I sort of like the NFL Draft, but it takes way too long and there’s nowhere near the excitement that there is in the NBA.
Major stars get traded every year on draft night (All-Star, Jermaine O’Neal has already been moved) and a team can it’s identity over night with wheeling and dealing (see the 2008 champ Boston Celtics).
I don’t have a ton of NBA sources like Chad Ford or Stephen A. Smith, but I do have a couple. I’ve also covered the last two NBA Pre-Draft camps in Orlando, Florida as well as covering the Orlando Magic, AAU basketball and Conference USA basketball.
While predicting the draft is an inexact science because of the many trades I’ve mentioned earlier, here are my predictions on who will be drafted where. This mock doesn’t factor in trades, but it does predict the order that NBA Commissioner David Stern will call the players names.
UPDATE: It's become convential wisdom that O.J. Mayo isn't going to drop to No. 6, which is where I originally had him falling. That changes my top 10 a little.
1. Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose, Guard, Memphis
I don’t really think that Rose is the best player in the draft, or the best player for the Bulls, but it seems obvious to everyone that this is where he will be selected. I think Rose will be decent, but let’s slow down on the comparisons to Chris Paul and Deron Williams.
2. Miami Heat – Michael Beasley, Forward, Kansas State
It’s been decades since two guards were taken with the first two picks of the draft and it’s not going to happen tonight. The Heat, or the team that trades for this pick, will select Beasley.
If Miami does take Beasley, he shouldn’t get too comfortable in his new hat. I have a feeling a deal might be in the works to get Elton Brand from the Clippers in a swap for Beasley.
Everyone is asking why Riley would pass on Beasley. But after spending some time with him at the Pre-Draft Camp it’ pretty easy to see why Riley wouldn’t like him.
I really didn’t care for his candor. A lot of the other media members were charmed by his lame jokes and good quotes, but it’s clear that he’s enjoying the spotlight a little too much.
3. MinnesotaTimberwolves – O.J. Mayo, Guard, USC
Despite what you’ve heard, Mayo is a point guard.
He didn’t play the point at USC because the team wasn’t very good and he had to carry the team. I really don’t see how the analysts don’t like this guy, but in my opinion he is the best player in the draft.
4. Seattle Supersonics – Brook Lopez, Center, Stanford
A lot of people have questioned Lopez as a legitimate top five prospect, but believe me, he is. I watch a lot of Pac-10 basketball and it’s easy to see why the Sonics would take him in this spot.
Having a player like Lopez that can rebound and block shots to play behind defensive liablility Kevin Durant will help the Sonics right away. I originally had him going No. 3 to the T-Wolves.
5. Memphis Grizzlies – Kevin Love, Forward, UCLA
Some people love this guy, some people hate him. As an Oregon homer you can bet that I’m one of the Kevin Lovers. Love’s dad was an NBA player and he groomed he his son to be a star.
Love has put in the work his entire life and he’ll be a 10-year NBA player at worst. He may not be a perennial All-Star but he’s a safe pick that will be a good team player that will have a positive impact on the sometimes poisonous Memphis locker room.
6. New York Knicks – Danilo Gallinari, Forward, Italy
I orginally had him falling to the Nets at No. 10, but it looks like Mike D'antoni's Italian connection will make the Danilo a Knick.
7. Los Angeles Clippers – Eric Gordon, Guard, Indiana
Gordon is a great shooter who I think will be pretty good pro. He gives the Clippers a nice scoring guard to match with one of last year’s top rookies Al Thornton.
8. Milwaukee Bucks – Joe Alexander, Forward, West Virginia
Here comes the most overrated player in the entire draft. It blows my mind that this guy has moved up this far. You hear over and over again about his athleticism. Who cares? Gerald Green is a great athlete; look at what he has become.
Alexander had one good season in college, and that was because he played primarily the four and could run over smaller, less athletic players. In the NBA he’ll be a three, and he wasn’t a good three in college, why would be in the pros?
Another poor pick by the Bucks.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Russell Westbrook, Guard, UCLA
After working out with the Bobcats, Westbrook suddenly canceled the rest of his workouts. This leads me to believe that he was guaranteed to be selected here.
10. New Jersey Nets – Jerryd Bayless, Guard, Arizona
Bayless has an enormous chip on his shoulder and he’ll tell anyone that will listen that he’s better than advertised.
Arizona had a poor season, but I have to think that if Lute Olsen were coaching the team things would have been different. I originally had him going at No. 4 to Seattle, but the Mayo domino effect has him sliding all the way down to 10.
11. Indiana Pacers – Kosta Koufos, Center, Ohio State
This guy has flown up the charts, and had the Pacers not traded for T.J. Ford they probably wouldn’t be drafting him here. Koufos is a little raw, but he’s played great in international competitions and if he can develop a back to the basket game, he’ll be a decent NBA center.
12. Sacramento Kings – D.J. Augustin, Guard, Texas
This is what makes doing these mock drafts so tough. Augustin has impressed every team that he’s worked out for, and I think he might go higher, but what can I do? I think he will be a pretty good NBA point guard. Augustin is a little undersized, but so is Chris Paul.
13. Portland Trailblazers – Anthony Randolph, Forward, LSU
The Blazers really want Alexander, Westbrook or Augustin, and with Kevin Pritchard running the show for Portland, I highly doubt the Blazers will be picking at 13.
If they can’t move up to get one of those guys, they’ll move back or perhaps out of the draft. As far as Randolph, he’s a project that could turn into a Chris Bosh-type player.
14. Golden State Warriors – Donte’ Green, Forward, Syracuse
Green has bounced up and down the draft charts, but he’s a good athlete that could probably find a spot in the Don Nelson system. He’s long and athletic and with hard work could turn into a decent NBA player.
15. Phoenix Suns – Brandon Rush, Guard, Kansas
Rush will fit perfectly in the Suns new defensive scheme. He can guard three positions and would have probably been a lottery pick had he been able to stay in the draft last year.
16. Philadelphia 76ers – Darrel Arthur, Forward, Kansas
Some recent health issues have caused Arthur to drop, but I think he would be a good fit for the 76ers.
17. Indiana Pacers – Mario Chalmers, Guard, Kansas
With the injury-prone T.J. Ford as the Pacers new point guard, a quality young back-up is needed. That’s where the national championship game hero Chalmers comes into play.
18. WashingtonWizards – DeAndre Jordan, Center, Texas A&M
With the team mostly likely to lock-up Gilbert Arenas and Antwan Jamison to long-term contracts the Wizards are going to have to build through the draft for years to come. They have to make smart pick here and a player like Jordan could be a steal--or an enormous bust.
19. ClevelandCavaliers – Roy Hibbert, Center, Georgetown
Hibbert has yet to reach his full potential but I feel like he could be finally coming around. Zydrunas Ilguaskas isn’t going to be around forever, and if Hibbert is really a late bloomer he could become Big Z’s replacement.
20. Charlotte Bobcats – Robin Lopez, Center, Stanford
Lopez can have an immediate impact on the defensive end for the Bobcats next season, but only if Larry Brown will actually play him. We all know that Brown hates rookies, but I don’t think he’ll let Lopez rot away on the bench when he could be in the game blocking shots and grabbing rebounds.
21. New Jersey Nets – Chris Douglas-Roberts, Guard, Memphis
CDR was the best player on a team that only lost two games all season. Yet somehow he’s going in the 20’s and Rose is the top pick, go figure.
22. Orlando Magic – Courtney Lee, Guard, Western Kentucky
The Magic refuse to trade J.J. Redick, but I think they’re just going to bury him deeper on the bench with this pick.
23. Utah Jazz – Ryan Anderson, Forward, California
Anderson has been underrated during the entire draft process, but I think he’ll fit in nicely in Utah.
24. SeattleSupersonics – JaVale McGee, Center, Nevada
McGee was one of the 15 prospects invited to Orlando as a physical only player during the Pre-Draft Camp. This led a lot of people to believe that he’d be picked much higher. But after a lackluster performance in individual workouts his stock has dropped. The Sonics will be glad to scoop him up here.
25. HoustonRockets – Marresse Speights, Center, Florida
Speights probably would have been better served by staying in school, but he’ll get a chance to learn from Yao Ming and perhaps Dikembe Mutombo.
26. San AntonioSpurs – Nicolas Batum, Guard, France
The Spurs snag another good European late in the first round.
27. PortlandTrailblazers – Alexis Ajinca, Center, France
Greg Oden’s future back-up will probably stay in Europe for a few years before coming to Portland.
28. MemphisGrizzlies – J.J. Hickson, Forward, N.C. State
Another guy that probably should have stayed in school, Hickson has good potential but it will probably be a few years before he makes an impact.
29. DetroitPistons – Ante Tomic, Center, Croatia
Tomic will have the opportunity to come over right away. The Pistons need a real center to hold down the paint, especially if Rasheed Wallace is shipped out of town.
30. Boston Celtics – Jason Thompson, Guard, Rider
Thompson is a polished athlete that can defend and rebound. He could go higher, but if he lasts this long Kevin Garnett will have a new protégé.
31. MinnesotaTimberwolves – D.J. White, Forward, Indiana
32. Seattle Supersonics – Kyle Weaver, Guard, Washington State
33. PortlandTrailblazers – Serge Ibaka, Forward, Congo
34. MinnesotaTimberwolves – Nathan Jawai, Forward, Australia
35. Los AngelesClippers – Malik Hairston, Guard, Oregon
36. PortlandTrailblazers – Nikola Pekovic, Center, Serbia
37. Miluakee Bucks – Bill Walker, Forward, Kansas State
38. CharlotteBobcats – Damjan Rudez, Forward, Croatia
39. Chicago Bulls – Richard Hendrix, Forward, Alabama
40. New JerseyNets – George Hill, Guard, IUPUI
41. Toronto Raptors – Joey Dorsey, Forward, Memphis
42. SacramentoKings – DeVon Hardin, Forward, California
43. SacramentoKings – Mike Taylor, Guard, Iowa State/NBDL
44. UtahJazz – Jamont Gordon, Guard, Mississippi State
45. San AntonioSpurs – Goran Dragic, Guard, Slovenia
46. Seattle Supersonics – Gary Forbes, Guard, Massachusetts
47. Washington Wizards – Bryce Taylor, Guard, Oregon
48. PhoenixSuns – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA
49. Golden State Warriors – Pat Calathes, Forward, St. Joseph’s
50. SeattleSupersonics – Josh Ducan, Forward, Xavier
51. DallasMavericks – Trent Plaisted, Center, BYU
52. MiamiHeat – Shan Foster, Guard, Vanderbilt
53. Utah Jazz – Darnell Jackson, Forward, Kansas
54. Houston Rockets – Davon Jefferson, Guard, USC
55. Portland Trailblazers – Sean Singletary, Guard, Virginia
56. SeattleSupersonics – Sonny Weems, Guard, Arkansas
57. San AntonioSpurs – Mantas Kalnietis
58. Los AngelesLakers – Maarty Leunen, Forward, Oregon
59. DetroitPistons – Sasha Kaun, Forward, Kansas
60. Boston Celtics – Stanley Burrell, Guard, Xavier