2010 NBA Mock Draft: Five Kentucky Players Go In First Round
Kentucky came up short in the NCAA Tournament, but they are poised to win the 2010 NBA Draft.
I believe that the Wildcats will have five players drafted in the first round, and four in the lottery.
With players deciding to stay in school or stay in Europe, prospects like Daniel Orton may have vaulted themselves into the lottery.
Let's see who your team will be picking in this year's draft.
1. New Jersey Nets - John Wall, Kentucky, Guard
John Wall average 16 points and over six assists in his first season at Kentucky. He is a true point guard with good size and off-the-charts speed and athletic ability.
Like with most one-year players, he is still a little raw. So everyone is picking apart his game. Does he play defense? Does he have a jumper?
At Kentucky, I always thought he should have been more selfish when the Cats got into trouble. However, all of the criticisms are minor.
Unless the winner of the NBA Draft Lottery has a point guard, he is almost a lock to go No. 1.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves - Evan Turner, Ohio State, Forward
Evan Turner averaged 20 points and carried Ohio State in his junior year. Without Turner, they could not beat a team like Minnesota. With Turner, they became a threat to make the Final Four.
Now, if my team were taking him, I would be worried about his back. A second overall pick who broke his back would worry me.
I would think about Greg Oden, who has not been healthy in his young career. Or, I would think about Blake Griffin, who did not play in his rookie season.
He is more polished now than Wall. If the top team is set a point guard, Turner becomes a viable choice for the top pick.
3. Sacramento Kings - Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech, Power Forward
When Derrick Favors announced he would make the jump to the NBA after one year at Georgia Tech, he instantly became a top five choice based on the dreaded "P" word - potential.
Teams love to take projects. Even more so when the project is a 6'9" power forward.
He has potential, but the team will need to take two to three years before he reaches his potential.
He is a player that could do well with another year in school. But he's staying in the draft. Any team will need to be patient with him.
4. Golden State Warriors - DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky, Center
He 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 are wondering if he is receptive to coaching.
His workouts will determine if he stays in the top 5 or drifts into the bottom half of the top 10.
If he can play in the up-tempo Kentucky offense, he can handle Don Nelson and his fast-paced offense.
5. Washington Wizards - Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, Small Forward
No matter what the Wizards decide to do with Gilbert Arenas, Johnson could a great pickup.
He has a great jumpshot, but sometimes falls in love with it. But he is a pure shooter. One question is his toughness. Will he be willing to go into the lane and take contact?
Even if they keep Arenas, Johnson would match his skills very well. I really like Johnson's game and could be a good contributor in one to two years.
6. Philadelphia 76ers - Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest, Small Forward
He 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. The Sixers do need a player who can hit three-pointers, so he could fill that need.
I like the fact that he went back for a second year at Wake and he benefited from that time.
7. Detroit Pistons - Ed Davis, North Carolina, Power Forward
Because of the chance of an NBA lockout next year, Davis will be staying in the 2010 draft. Ed Davis got hurt late in the season as North Carolina had a subpar season.
There does not seem to be any ill effects from the wrist injury and Detroit needs a big man in the paint. I think Davis would be a pretty good fit.
8. L.A. Clippers - Cole Aldrich, Kansas, Center
Cole Aldrich is the second-best center in the draft. However, I am not sold on the Kansas center. When I see this guy, I think Kevin Love.
He will be a regular and has some skills. But as a dominant NBA big man? No.
I hate to doom him to the Clippers. But someone must play there.
9. Utah Jazz - Greg Monroe, Georgetown, Power Forward
After signing with an agent, it looks like he will stay in the draft.
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. Enter the Utah Jazz. The Jazz boasts a great point guard and one of the best power forwards in the league.
Utah also needs depth in the frontcourt. I think it is a good fit.
10. Indiana Pacers - Ekpe Udoh, Baylor, Power Forward
Ekpe Udoh was a player who transferred to Baylor from Michigan and averaged 14 points and 10 boards for a Baylor team that made it to the Elite Eight.
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 the draft board. I think Indiana is a team that could a big man. He just might take some time to develop.
11. New Orleans Hornets - Daniel Orton, Kentucky, Power Forward/Center
Daniel Orton was the only Kentucky freshmen that surprised me when declaring for the draft.
The power forward only averaged about 12 minutes a game and three points last season. He only hit double digits in points twice all season.
Now, he did have Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins playing in front of him.
But he is a player who would really benefit from one more season at Kentucky. But teams love projects and I think Orton will be a lottery pick.
12. Memphis Grizzlies - Xavier Henry, Kansas, Shooting Guard
Henry is a player who is very much ready for the NBA.
Memphis would love it if he was there at No. 12. If Rudy Gay leaves via free agency, Henry could step right into the starting lineup.
13. Toronto Raptors - Patrick Patterson, Kentucky, Power Forward
In the NBA, Patterson will 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 from around nine to 15 could use a Patterson on the roster. Since Toronto could lose Chris Bosh through free agency, the Raptors will needs someone in the paint.
14. Houston Rockets - Hassan Whiteside, Marshall, Center
Hassan Whiteside saw his coach and the team's top assistant leave for another job.
So Whiteside declared and said that he would hire an agent.
One red flag: He decided to refuse to talk with the media after criticism late last season. He played at Marshall. If he can't handle Marshall, he better hope to land in a small market.
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.
However, Houston has no clue what will happen with Yao Ming. So if he comes back healthy, they have time to wait for this freshman.
15. Milwaukee Bucks - Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania, Forward/Center
Donatas Motiejunas is a 7" power forward who is absolutely ready for the NBA.
The question: Will his contract keep him out of the NBA 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. For the Bucks, he can be paired with Andrew Bogut in the front court.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves - James Anderson, Oklahoma State, Forward
James Anderson averaged 22 points a game for Oklahoma State as a very athletic swingman. He has trouble creating his own shot. However, if he gets to the right team with a good point guard, he could be very successful.
17. Chicago Bulls - Avery Bradley, Texas, Guard
Avery Bradley is a small (6'2") shooting guard from Texas who is a great scorer. But he is not fast or athletic enough to play point guard.
Since Chicago is settled at point with Derrick Rose, he would be a nice addition to the Bulls' backcourt.
18. Miami Heat - Paul George, Fresno State, Small Forward
Paul George averaged almost 17 points and seven boards a game for a Fresno State team with a losing record last 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 find out that coming back to school will not help his future
19. Boston Celtics - Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky, Guard
Eric Bledsoe would be fifth Kentucky player drafted in the first round.
He was the shooting guard who was a pretty streaky shooter. He can either shoot you back into games or shoot you out of games.
He should do pretty well backing up Rajon Rondo.
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. But he will likely stay in the draft and get picked up mid-to-late first round.
20. San Antonio Spurs - Devin Ebanks, West Virginia, Small Forward
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 be thinking that he needs to go now.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Gordon Hayward, Butler, Small Forward
He is a sophomore small forward, who is considering leaving school. Hayward had a great NCAA tournament, but he is a late first-rounder at best. I think one more year at Butler would benefit him.
For OKC, he would be a good contributor from the bench.
22. Portland Trail Blazers - Kevin Seraphin, France, Power Forward
Portland seems to love to draft international players and stash them away until they need them (e.g. Petteri Koponen, Joel Freeland, and Victor Claver).
Seraphin fits into that category. He has potential, but he needs work.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves - Quincy Pondexter, Washington, Forward
Quincy Pondexter 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 does not do anything great. But he appears to be solid in all areas. He will be solid pickup for Minnesota.
24. Atlanta Hawks - Dominique Jones, South Florida, Guard
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 just over 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.
25. Memphis Grizzlies - Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech, Power Forward
Gani Lawal averaged 13 points a game for Georgia Tech. The junior power forward is athletic, but is project. But he has a ton of potential.
The Grizzlies could use front court depth off the bench. Lawal could fill that role for Memphis.
26. Oklahoma City - Solomon Alabi, Florida State, Center
Alabi is a 7'1" center from Nigeria who averaged 11 points and six boards as a redshirt sophomore.
OKC needs a low-post presence. If they don't trade up to get one of the top centers or sign Chris Bosh, Alabi would be good here.
27. New Jersey Nets - Stanley Robinson, UConn, Forward
Stanley Robinson is an athletic 6'8" small forward, who is still developing offensively. He can score without 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 UConn and would love playing with John Wall.
28. Memphis Grizzlies - Damion James, Texas, Guard
Damion James averaged 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, so is not really a small forward or a power forward.
But I really like this player. He could quickly get into the playing rotation at Memphis if he is on the board this late.
29. Orlando Magic - Armon Johnson, Nevada, Guard
Armon Johnson led Nevada in assists in each of his three seasons. The point guard scored at least 1,000 points and had 50 assists. Johnson averaged 14 points and 4.4 assists and 3.7 in three years.
He could easily challenge J.J. Redick for playing minutes with the Magic.
30. Washington Wizards - Luke Babbitt, Nevada, Forward
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.