NBA Mock Draft: Complete First Round
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1. John Wall
Strengths: He has great size, length, speed, and athleticism that will immediately translate to the NBA game. Beyond that, he already has experience juggling egos as he dealt with all the personalities at Kentucky this season. Wall excels at putting the ball on the floor and in isolation situations. As the season went on he showed an increased ability to knock down his jump shot. Defensively, he is solid, but not spectacular.
Weaknesses: There are some questions about Wall’s jumper, as he didn’t really have a reliable one for most of the season. His range doesn’t extend to the NBA three yet, but he can learn to shoot better from distance. His turnovers were high for a point guard, but that comes with being a freshman.
2. Evan Turner
Personally, I think Evan Turner is better than John Wall. BUT if I am being realistic I think he will go second.
Strengths: Turner is an amazing clutch player and a great great passer. He averages 20 points a game, 9 rebounds per game, and 6 assists per game.
Weaknesses: His frame can support more weight and to be more durable he should add more muscle.
3. Derrick Favors
Again, Personally I don't think Favors should go this high.
He shot over 60% from the field and averaged nearly a double-double. There is definitely room for improvement for Favors. He needs to get better from the foul-line and has to do a better job of passing and finding open teammates.
4. DeMarcus Cousins
The bigman for Kentucky was absolutely dominant for the Wildcats this season averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds as a Freshman. He showed great touch around the basket and the strength to get deep position against just about anybody. On defense he plays strong, but sometimes too physical and found himself in foul trouble on occasion.
The questions around Cousins are more off the court than on. He frequently was yelling at Coach Cal and didn’t seem to be listening to instruction.
He reminds a lot of people of Zach Randolph, right down to his temper. In order to make that comparison complete he should develop a consistent jumper and learn from the change in attitude Zach has had this season with Memphis.
Cousins won’t fall out of the Top 5 unless he gets hurt or has just terrible individual workouts.
5. Al-Farouq Aminu
Al-Farouq is one of a very limited number of players who helped their cause by returning to school for another year.
Last year Aminu was a sure fire first round pick, and likely a late lottery pick, but now, after an impressive Sophomore campaign at Wake Forest, Aminu could go as high as the Top 5.
6. Wes Johnson
Johnson showed great growth in his outside shooting this year, knocking down over 41% of his attempts from three. That was a huge improvement over his 30% in his two years at Iowa State.
7. Cole Aldrich
Cole Aldrich would have been the best Center prospect in the draft last year, but returned to Kansas to win a National Title. Unfortunately, Kansas got upset by Northern Iowa, and Cole had to wait a year to be a lottery pick.
8. Xavier Henry
Henry didn’t finish the season very strong, which may stop him from declaring for the draft. In the NCAA Tournament he managed only 19 total points in 2 games, including the stunning loss to Northern Iowa.
On the bright side, Henry showed that he knows how to use his frame to his advantage and averaged 7 rebounds in the Tournament.
His ability to do things other than score will be important to improve his stock, but just based on his size and athletic ability he’s a likely lottery pick.
9. Patrick Patterson
That marked improvement showed that Patterson can do more than just hit the boards like many thought last year.
The complete package he’s shown has certainly raised his draft stock and increased his number of suitors. It will be fun to see him battle versatile forwards like Wesley Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu in competing for a Top 10 spot.
10. Greg Monroe
People question whether Greg Monroe is competitive and has the heart to really be a premier player at the next level.
For a player as skilled as he is, he disappears for stretches and doesn’t take over games against weaker opponents. A Big East game against Syracuse is a prime example: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 6 turnovers and only 7 field goal attempts. That isn’t the type of game you want out of your big man.
11. Ekpe Udoh
Udoh brings a wonderful combination of size (6-10) and athleticism. Against Duke, he had a national coming out party with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks.
12. Ed Davis
Coming into his sophomore season Ed Davis was considered by many to be a contender for the number one overall pick. After his sophomore season, Davis is still a lottery pick, but not a true contender for the top five, let alone number one overall.
13. Jan Vesely
He has a diverse skill set that will allow him to play primarily small forward in the league, but could get some minutes at power forward.
He’s a legitimate 6′ 11″ and has the size and athleticism needed to compete at the NBA level. His scoring comes primarily in transition, but he’s developing the ability to spot up and put the ball on the floor. The team that takes him will be doing so on potential, but could see a huge reward.
14. Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside certainly was on NBA radars to be drafted, but not this early. The 7-0 Freshman from North Carolina exploded on the national scene with his 14 point, 17 rebound, and 9 block game against Ohio in only his fifth game as a college athlete.
Things didn’t stop there for Whiteside who was one of only two players (the other was Evan Turner) to have multiple triple-doubles this season.
15. Damion James
Damion James was an early season contender for the John Wooden award for the best player in college basketball. As the season went on, his play, and his teams play, faltered and he slowly fell out of the conversation. He doesn’t have the upside of some, but his abilities project him as a mid-first round pick.
16. Stanley Robinson
Strengths: Absolutely a freak of nature athlete with good strength for a hybrid forward. Showed the ability to score working off the ball this season for UConn. Has an effective mid-range game and finishes well at the rim.
Weaknesses: . Should work on his passing and basketball IQ.
17. Larry Sanders
Strengths: Incredibly long wingspan, allegedly measured at 7′ 6″ which would be the longest measured at the draft combine in Chicago.
Weaknesses: Played in the CAA, so immediately there are questions about the level of competition. Still needs to improve his passing ability. Would be well served learning to put the ball on the floor in isolation situations
18. Eric Bledsoe
Strengths: Great wingspan and an elite caliber athlete. Has such long arms that he’s very strong defending man to man against either guard position. A true point guard, who didn’t get to show his play-making at Kentucky because he primarily played off the ball.
Weaknesses: Some people are convinced that he can’t play point guard at the next level. Turned the ball over too much, regardless of the position he played in college. Struggled to score consistently in college.
19. Daniel Orton
Strengths: Already has great size and build. Soft hands in the post and ability to finish with either hand around the basket. Understands positioning and getting as deep as possible on the offensive end.
Weaknesses: Lack of time on the court was due to not being the best big on Kentucky. Body is there, but needs more time on the court to develop a feel for the game. Ineffective when facing up.
20. Donatas Motiejunas
Strengths: Great size with a frame that can support a lot more weight. Effective scorer that uses his body well and has the ability to score from out to the NBA three point line. Unlike most Europeans, he doesn’t shy away from contact around the basket and in the low block.
Weaknesses: Body is still growing into itself and he needs to add more weight. Lacks in game experience. Appeared bored playing against players his age and appeared to get easily frustrated when struggling in Italy this season.
21. Devin Ebanks
Strengths: Physically imposing, possessing good size and an absolutely giant wingspan. Great ability to rebound the basketball, using his leaping ability and long arms to haul in everything in sight.
Weaknesses: Since he’ll be seeing the bulk of his minutes at the small forward position he will need to greatly improve his ball handling. His frame could still add more weight, which would allow him to play more minutes at power forward at the NBA level.
22. James Anderson
Strengths: Possess a great ability to score in a variety of different ways. Works well off the ball to get into good position to set his feet and knock down open shots.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t handle the ball well, despite showing a great ability to get to the rim. Will be interesting to see how he responds to not being the focal point of an offense.
23. Avery Bradley
Strengths: An absolute scoring machine, always looking for a way to attack and score. Makes a lot of shots that other players wouldn’t even attempt, which, when falling, makes him incredibly dangerous on the offensive end.
Weaknesses: Takes a few too many contested shots, which can absolutely kill a team if his shot isn’t falling. Undersized for a shooting guard at the NBA level and can struggle to get his shot up against longer athletic defenders.
24. Elliot Williams
Strengths: Showed some ability to play point guard, and ability to put the ball on the floor. Williams uses a great first step to get to the rim and score around the basket.
Weaknesses: Not a great perimeter scorer and struggles with his stroke from the free throw line and beyond. Not quite comfortable playing point guard, but seemed to be developing a better feel during the season.
25. Paul George
Strengths: Another player in the first round that has outstanding size and length for the small forward position in the NBA. George is also an incredibly gifted athlete who uses that athleticism to finish around the rim and get easy shots for himself working off the ball.
Weaknesses: A lot of his shots come from behind the three point line, which is fine, but to become a more effective NBA player he needs to work on putting the ball on the floor. Plays stiff on defense, often time not being in a good position which leaves him vulnerable to get beat off the dribble. He looks like a fantastic athlete/player, but there will be a question about his level of competition.
26. Willie Warren
Strengths: Despite a down year at Oklahoma, Warren still possesses a great ability to score in a variety of ways. His percentages were low this year, but that was due to the fact his team was struggling and he had to provide the bulk of the team’s offense. He has the ability to get to the rim and finishes well through contact. Has long wingspan allowing him to disrupt passing lanes.
Weaknesses: Not a true point guard and lacks enough size to play shooting guard full-time at the next level. Seen by some as a “chucker” who takes any shot regardless of the degree of difficulty. Lacks an understanding of the game, which leads to mistakes on both ends of the floor.
27. Solomon Alabi
Strengths: Alabi possess an incredible ability to block shots. His long arms and lean frame give him the tools to be an elite help defender at the NBA level. For his size he runs the floor well and has great agility. He has the mechanics to improve his face up game, and already shoots a decent percentage from the foul line.
Weaknesses: Solomon will most benefit from more time on the court and intensive training. Beyond that, his frame could put on substantially more weight, which he’ll have to do to play center at the NBA level. Offensively he is very raw, but aggressive, so he’ll have to learn how to play within himself for the first few years of his career.
28. Gani Lawal
Strengths: Lawal is physically an absolute monster. He is only 6′ 9″ but has a wingspan that is reportedly over 7′ 0″. That length allows him to rebound at a high rate despite not always seeming to be in position.
Weaknesses: Lawal didn’t stay in the draft last year because he felt he could add some polish by returning to the Yellow Jackets. The fact is, he’s still incredibly raw and has a lot of untapped potential. He probably can’t play significant minutes right away because he lacks some understanding about the game.
29. Jordan Crawford
30. Armon Johnson
Strengths: Armon possesses great size to play the point guard position at 6′ 3″ and is strong enough to back down smaller NBA point guards. Beyond his size, Johnson is an effective scorer making roughly 50 percent of his field goal attempts.
Weaknesses: Despite his exceptional size, his intangibles as a point guard are not quite there yet. He still looks to score first, which most teams, especially in the bottom of the first round, aren’t really looking for.