It is never too soon to talk about the NBA Draft.
So here is my projection for the 2010 Draft. I have included players who have not declared their intentions. So there are players who could decide to return to school.
I also did not match players to teams. But I did rank the top 30 players based on talent or potential.
My list includes: five players from Kentucky, two players who played in this year's NCAA title game, and a player from a losing team.
John Wall averaged 16 points and over six assists in his first season at Kentucky.
He is a true point guard with good size, speed and athletic ability. Like with most players who spend on year in college, he is still a little raw.
I always thought he should have been more selfish when the Wildcats got in trouble. For example, I wished that he would have taken control of the West VIrginia game in the NCAA Tournament.
Once he learns the game, he could grow into a top tier point guard.
Evan Turner averaged 20 points a game and carried Ohio State in his junior year.
Without Turner, they would not heave beaten a team like Minnesota. With Turner, they became a threat to make the Final Four.
He is more polished than Wall. However, if the top team doesn't need a point guard, Turner becomes a viable choice for the top pick.
DeMarcus Cousins is probably the second-most NBA ready player, next to Turner.
The 6'11" center is the best big man in the draft, however, there are some issues about his maturity.
There were some times when Cousins tuned out Kentucky Coach John Calipari. That will not work in the NBA.
Scouts will be looking to see if he shows that he is receptive to coaching. Those answers will determine whether he is a top five pick or top 10 pick.
Wesley Johnson transfered to Syracuse from Iowa State and became a top five draft pick.
He has a great jumpshot, but sometimes falls in love with it. He is a pure shooter, but one question is his toughness.
Will he be willing to go into the lane and take contact? I really like his game and could be a good contributor in one-to-two years, if not sooner.
Derrick Favors announced last week that he would make the jump to the NBA after a year at Georgia Tech.
The 6'9" power forward is a project.
He has potential, but the team will need to wait two-to-three years before he reaches his potential. He is a player that could do well with another year in school. So the team that takes him will need to be patient.
Al-Farouq Aminu could have left Wake Forest after his freshman year, but he came back and raised his draft stock.
He is a 6'8" small forward, but does not have a lot of bulk. He is another wing player who loves taking jump shots.
I like the fact that he went back for a second year at Wake and he benefited from that.
Ed Davis got hurt and the injury ended his season for North Carolina last year.
The sophomore has not yet declared if he will enter the draft. If he declares, he is a top 10 pick.
I hope he goes back to school after rehabbing his wrist injury. If he declares and there is an issue with his rehab, his stock could fall.
One more year at Carolina could be the best thing for him and he could be a top five pick.
Cole Aldrich is the second-best big man in the draft.
However, I am not sold on the Kansas center. When I see this guy, I think of Kevin Love. Who does Kevin Love play for? Exactly.
He will be a regular in the NBA and he does has skills. But will he be a dominant NBA big man? No.
Greg Monroe says that he is leaning toward staying at Georgetown. Good.
He is a great, passing, big man. I love watching him play. But NBA power forwards would eat this guy for breakfast in the paint right now.
A pass-first mentally can work on a team with established players. But you are not going to build a franchise around Greg Monroe.
Hassan Whiteside saw his coach and the team's top assistant leave for another job.
So Whiteside declared for the draft and said that he would hire an agent.
One red flag; he decided to refuse to speak with the media after receiving criticism late last season. He played at Marshall, so if he can't handle that then he better hope to land in a small market team.
He has potential, but he has project written all over him. Hasheem Thabeet had a better resume than this kid. Thabeet was demoted to the D-League.
Ekpe Udoh was a player who transferred to Baylor from Michigan.
Last season, he averaged 14 points and 10 boards for a Baylor team that made it to the Elite 8.
I believe he is a more offensively skilled than most big man "projects".
Another year at Baylor would could make him a top five pick. Most mock drafts have a mid-first round grade on him. But I think he is going to vault up draft board.
Patrick Patterson survived the Billy Gillispie era at Kentucky and was a rock in John Calipari's first season with the 'Cats.
In the NBA, Patterson wll play power forward so he will be undersized at 6'8". But when I see Patterson, I think a lot about DeJuan Blair, who had a great rookie season with San Antonio.
Any team who has a pick around 9-15 could use a Patrick Patterson on the roster.
Jan Vesely is athletic, but is still a project offensively.
The 6'11" European center will need a couple of years before he is really ready for the NBA. He is still under contract to his European team until 2013.
So his team would either need to buy out that contract or wait a couple of years. Since he needs the work, there would be no real need for a team to bring him to the States now.
Donatas Motiejunas he is a seven foot power forward who is absolutely ready for the NBA.
The question: Will his contract keep him out of the league in 2010-11? He is considering staying out until next year because contract issues.
That is the only reason why he would fall in the draft. He can score in the NBA, but defense is an issue.
Xavier Henry is another "one-and-done player" who spent his year at Kansas. But Henry is a player who is very much ready for the NBA.
He was the second-leading scorer for the Jayhawks. He is another player who could more up draft boards.
James Anderson averaged 22 points a game for Oklahoma State.
He is a very athletic swingman.
However, he cannot really create his own shot. If he gets to the right team with an established point guard, he could be very successful.
Avery Bradley is a small 6'2" shooting guard from Texas who is a great scorer.
However, he is not fast or athletic enough to play point guard. He would be perfect for a Don Nelson-style offense. He is small and loves to shoot, which is perfect for Nelson.
Paul George averaged almost 17 points and seven boards a game for a Fresno State team with a losing record this season.
He told the Fresno Bee that he would have to be guaranteed a top 18 pick to remain in the draft.
He has first-round talent, but he could return to school if his workouts do not go well.
By the way, Fresno State is going to be BAD next season. With or without him, they are going to struggle. So he may realize that coming back to school will not help his draft status.
Eric Bledsoe is one of the five Kentucky early entries.
He is a shooting guard who is a pretty streaky shooter. He can either shoot you back into games or shoot you out of games. He will be a point guard in the NBA.
But can he really run an NBA team?
He averaged 11 points a game as a freshman. I think he would do very well to stay at Kentucky, become the starting point guard, and become a top 10 pick next year.
However, he will likely be drafted late in the first round.
Devin Ebanks is a forward who could return to West Virginia for his junior year.
I think he could have a big season with the Mountaineers next season and push into the top 10.
But after watching Da'Sean Butler go down with a knee injury in the Final Four, he might think that it is wise if we was drafted now.
Gordon Hayward is also known as "the guy from Butler who missed the half-court shot at the end of the national title game against Duke".
He is a sophomore small forward, who is considering leaving school.
Hayward had a great tournament, but he is a mid-first rounder at most. I think one more year at Butler would benefit him.
Daniel Orton was the only Kentucky freshmen that surprised me when they announced his draft intentions.
The power forward only averaged about 12 minutes and three points a game last season. He only hit double digits points twice all season.
Now, he did have Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins playing in front of him. He is a player who would really benefit from one or two more seasons at Kentucky.
A late first-rounder at best and that is not promised. A team would be drafting him knowing that he is a project.
Quincy Pondexter has improved each season at Washington.
He is a shooter who averaged over 19 points a game in his senior season. He will play small forward in the NBA, but doesn't do anything great.
But he appears to be solid in all areas. He will be solid pickup for a team in the first-round.
Dominique Jones is a 6'4" player who would need to be shooting guard in the NBA.
He was top scorer in the Big East with 21 points a game. Will his size reduce his ability to get his own shot?
That would be the big question with Jones. He could go back to school, but it looks like the South Florida junior will be staying in the draft.
Gani Lawal averaged 13 points a game for Georgia Tech.
The junior power forward is athletic, but he is a project.He has a ton of potential.
Kyle Singler can be a very good NBA small forward.
He is good at everything, but not great at one thing. He has played three years at Duke and can still go back for his senior season.
Unlike most underclassmen coming out, he really won't gain anything by staying at Duke. I think he is going to be a mid-to-late first rounder max this year or next year.
Stanley Robinson is an athletic 6'8" small forward, who is still developing offensively.
He can score with having plays called for him. He could fall into the second round, but it is not likely.
He averaged 14.5 points a game in his senior season at Connecticut.
Damion James average 18 points and 10 rebounds in his senior season at Texas.
He is not great with the ball when it comes to passing or ball handling. He was third-team All-American player. He does not really have a position to play in the NBA.
I really like this player. With the right team, he would be very productive.
Armon Johnson led Nevada in assists in each of his three seasons.
Johnson averaged 14 points and 4.4 assists and 3.7 in three years.
He will probably need to improving his passing to play point guard in the NBA.
Luke Babbitt finished second in the WAC with 21.9 points per game. He is scorer, but he is not an athletic player.
Babbitt is a sophomore, but he is a player that probably would not benefit from two more years in school.