In 1990 the NBA instituted a weighted lottery system that is still utilized to this day. With this system in place, only three times has the team with the league's worst record actually won the draft lottery (New Jersey Nets in 1990, Cleveland in 2003 & Orlando in 2004).
After the Kevin McHale era, Latrell Sprewell 'not being able to feed his family', the Kevin Garnett trade, and the Ricky Rubio fiasco; Minnesota is due for some prosperous karma. It is my belief that despite only having 19.9% odds, the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise will win the NBA draft lottery for the first time in their 21 year existence. With that said, here is my 2010 NBA Mock Draft.
This would mark the fourth point guard Minnesota GM David Kahn has drafted in less than twelve months on the job. Talents like Jonny Flynn come around once a year. Talents like John Wall come around once every 10 years. No question Minnesota selects the Kentucky phenom here.
As far as bolstering one's stock goes, no individual did more for themselves than Evan Turner did during March Madness. With a new owner, new coach, new city and a new building all on the horizon, Turner's versatility and star potential prove to much for New Jersey to pass up here.
In his 16 years of service as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Sacramento Kings, Geoff Petrie has never made a selection higher than 4th overall. That changes this year. Petrie has a plethora of options at his disposal at pick number 3; but Derrick Favors' athleticism, lateral quickness and defensive potential will put him in a Kings uniform come June.
Golden State gets a 6'11", 270 lb. center prodigy gift wrapped at the 4th spot. Cousins is not an ideal fit in Don Nelson's small ball, occasional 4 guard offense, but the Warriors address an area of desperate need with this selection.
The talent starved Wizards begin their rebuilding efforts with the drafting of Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu. Small forward is a position of reasonable strength for Washington, but Aminu's youth, wingspan and defensive commitment warrants his selection.
The 76ers leave potentially more talented options on the board to fill a position of need. Cole Aldrich's NBA ready body and basketball IQ land him in Philly, where he could challenge Samuel Dalembert for the starting center position from day one.
After six consecutive seasons in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Detroit Pistons have suffered a rather abrupt fall from grace. This will mark the first time Joe Dumars has selected with a lottery pick since his infamous Darko Milicic selection in 2003. Milicic's failure isn't enough to prevent Dumars from calling Greg Monroe's name on draft night. As one of the most skilled big men in college basketball a year ago, Georgetown's Greg Monroe comes to a team in critical need of help in the post.
Seldom does a pick this low enter a situation where he could realistically earn a starting spot in training camp. Wesley Johnson's 3 point shooting is an ideal compliment to Baron Davis and the inside presence of first time All-Star Chris Kaman. Assuming Rasual Butler and/or Travis Outlaw are resigned, Johnson will contend with them for the rights to the starting small forward job.
Just when New Yorkers thought they were done with all things Stephon Marbury and Isiah Thomas, one final reminder comes in the form of the Knick's 2010 lottery pick belonging to the Utah Jazz. What started as a throw-in, protected draft pick included in the Marbury trade 6 years ago has now blossomed into an unprotected lottery draft choice for the Jazz. Utah eagerly jumps at the opportunity to select sophomore forward Ed Davis with this gift. The 6'10" forward adds an athletic forward to Utah's capable group of big men.
The NCAA tournament served as a wake up call for NBA types when scouting Ekpe Udoh. Ekpe is an easy pick for the Indiana Pacers at 10. Blessed with shot blocking skills and effective rebounding to boot, he adds a missing dimension to the young Pacers roster.
Amazing that pedestrian averages of 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds a game translates to a lottery pick, but that is indeed the case with Kentucky freshman Daniel Orton. Hornet's brass is floored by Orton's wingspan, NBA body and above average athleticism, thus leapfrogging Daniel Orton over Wildcat teammate Patrick Patterson.
The fourth Kentucky Wildcat to be drafted in the first round, the Grizzlies snag Patrick Patterson with the 12th draft choice. Patterson joins the likes of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Hasheem Thabeet in a crowded front court. Patterson's mid-range and ability to run the floor are of particular interest to Memphis.
Generally regarded as the most talented international prospect in this draft, Donatas Motiejunas fits in logically with the Toronto Raptors. The Raptor's roster is laden with international players with defensive concerns and Donatas fits that description to a tee. Motiejunas shares certain strengths with Andrea Bargnani, but is left-handed, more athletic and is capable of creating his own shot.
The final pick of the lottery goes to the Houston Rockets, and with it GM Daryl Morey snags Marshall center Hassan Whiteside. Hassan led the NCAA in shot blocks in 2010 as a freshman, and was named Conference USA's Defensive Player of the Year. Whiteside aligns with Yao Ming (due back from a broken left foot), Kevin Martin, Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza to form an impressively constructed roster.
Milwaukee owns this pick courtesy of the John Salmons-Hakim Warrick trade in February. 2009-10's Executive of the Year John Hammond adds Kansas freshman SG Xavier Henry to his roster. The sweet shooting, left-handed Henry will be groomed to replace someone with an eerily similar skillset in Michael Redd.
The Timberwolves are owners of the 16th draft choice courtesy of the Ty Lawson trade from Denver, via Charlotte. With it they peg James Anderson, the polished shooting guard from Oklahoma State.
Essentially swapping draft choices with the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago adds another no nonsense, defensive minded forward in Texas Longhorn Damion James. Damion posted superb averages of 18 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest a year ago. One major knock on James is his lack of a definite position at the next level.
Entering an off-season stock full of question marks regarding roster turnover, the Miami Heat will select PF Larry Sanders from VCU. The Heat take the best player available, and in so doing bring Sanders back to his home state of Florida.
Stanley Robinson makes the short trip from the University of Connecticut to the Boston Celtics. Widely considered the best senior available in this year's draft class, Robinson provides the Celtics with an explosive athlete and a player potentially capable of defending multiple positions.
San Antonio steals another elite prospect late in the draft, as they do seemingly every June. General Manager R.C. Buford and Head Coach Gregg Popovich watched in awe as Gordon Hayward aided in lifting a mid major program all the way to national contention. In addition to the value at pick 20, Hayward fills a position of need as well.
By any standard, 2009-10 was a phenomenal season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Look for them to add Florida State center Solomon Alabi, who has ideal length for the position and will join the youngest roster in the league.
Eric Bledsoe is the definition of a combo guard. Lacking the size to be a true shooting guard and the handle to be a true point guard, his position is undetermined at the next level. What Bledsoe does have going for him is his profound shooting stroke and tremendous athleticism.
With their 3rd pick in the first round, the Timberwolves will select Fresno State sophomore Paul George. George's astounding free throw accuracy and terrific rebounding prowess for his position guarantee his drafting in the first round. Paul George is stuck between the small forward and power forward positions, however.
Two seasons ago, Willie Warren was a sure fire top 10 pick. Fast forward a year, with the absence of Blake and Taylor Griffin in Oklahoma, and Warren has seen a free fall in his draft stock. Willie Warren's skill level and ball handling is too much for Atlanta to pass up here though.
Elliot Williams goes from the Memphis Tigers to the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. Williams' transfer from Duke to the University of Memphis worked wonders for his draft stock. Williams is a sophomore SG who should translate well to the pro game, although remains rather slight for the position.
Anyone who watched the Thunder play this past season knows their glaring weakness is their center situation. With their 2nd first round selection, Oklahoma City takes on another project big man in center Kevin Seraphin. Seraphin is a relatively unknown French product, but his 6'9", 258 lb. frame and athleticism have scouts going salivating.
This is one of several first round picks that changed hands in the Devin Harris-Jason Kidd swap in 2008. Composing arguably the least talented roster in the league, the New Jersey Nets go with best player available and select SF Luke Babbitt. Luke posted promising averages of 21.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 2009-10 for the Nevada Wolf Pack.
The Grizzlies peg senior small forward Quincy Pondexter with their final first round selection. Pondexter's impressive tournament run lands him in Memphis, where he could potentially aid in replacing Rudy Gay, a restricted free agent.
Forever known as the young man who dunked on Lebron James, Xavier guard Jordan Crawford gets drafted by the Orlando Magic. Crawford's scoring and 3 point percentage fit right in with the Magic's offensive flow.
As part of the Zydrunas Ilguaskas trade to the Wizards, and his subsequent release, this Cavalier's pick now belongs to Washington. The Wizards close out the first round by bringing Gani Lawal to D.C. Lawal's improved post game and outstanding hands are welcome additions to Washington's budding front court.