Trying to predict the unpredictable is like racing your friend up a seventeen-story building taking the stairs, while your friend takes the elevator. You probably are not going to win, but if by some chance your friend gets stuck on the elevator with the kid who pushed every floor on the way up and you actually win, it is the highlight of your day.
Maybe that is the reason that people do mock drafts even before they have the correct order! It is simply for that opportunity for them to say, "I told you so."
Every "analyst" is desperate for that one shining moment he can point to and say, "I knew it, I am a genius." They don't care about the other 25 picks they got wrong because they can just blame it on the unpredictability of the draft.
I hate to throw my name in there with the rest of them, but I guess there really is nothing to lose.
I tried to look at this mock draft in the eyes of each team. There may be better players on the board but if your team took a shooting guard the year before, I tried to stay away from doing the same.
Instead of just looking at scouting reports and where people are projected to go, I tried to add my two cents on how I thought players would project in the NBA.
This is my first of three mock drafts to come. I tried to throw in some possible trades and think about an actual lottery that could happen besides New Jersey having the number one pick. It’s actually quite interesting if you look at the past NBA drafts and the team with the worst record not always getting the first pick.
Please tell me I’m wrong, I would love to hear it. Just try not to be the guy who last year said, “Dude, there is no way the Minnesota Timberwolves draft two point guards in the first round.”
Let the predicting the unpredictable begin.
* Denotes a predicted trade.
In the past previous six NBA drafts the team with the worst record has only picked first once! In the 2003-2004 NBA season, the Orlando Magic had the worst record in the NBA and were fortunate enough to have the number one pick which they used to draft Dwight Howard.
The Orlando Magic are actually a rare case in which the team with the worst record got the first pick of the NBA draft. You would think it would happen more often, but that just isn't the case in the lottery.
I can't say that I think Minnesota will get the first pick but I have a feeling it isn't going to be New Jersey.
I think John Wall is the unanimous first overall pick regardless of who gets to pick first. That is saying a lot but it isn't like players like Wall come around all the time.
Now I know you are thinking that Minnesota will not take another PG in the first round after taking two last year, but I’m not so sure. Timberwolves fans would ideally like to see Evan Turner with the first pick but I don't think there GM would be so wise as to pass up such an attractive piece such as Wall.
You also have to remember the mess the Timberwolves had to deal with last year with Rubio not wanting to play for them. Also, I think Ricky Rubio is just about as interesting of a prospect as John Wall is, but I think John Wall will be a better NBA player.
One thing most Timberwolves fans would agree with is that Johnny Flynn is not the answer.
Sorry Timberwolves fans but if you get the first pick in the 2010 NBA draft, Wall will be the man.
When you finish the season with just over a handful of wins, you probably have a team that needs to be blown up.
However, in this situation, New Jersey has a pretty young impressive core. Brook Lopez emerged as a quality big man capable of hanging with the best in the NBA.
The backcourt has some young pieces in Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Factor in that they are in the Lebron James sweepstakes and the most obvious position becomes the power forward position.
Yi Jianlian was supposed to be the more athletic, more versatile, Yao Ming protégé. However, it hasn’t turned out that way.
I think New Jersey could go a lot of different ways with the second overall pick. Maybe they try to trade up and get Wall but if not, I think they will look for an athletic power forward with big upside.
The only clear cut prospect who fits that definition is Derrick Favors.
Derrick Favors is a long athletic power forward who is great offensively and defensively. He is a great rebounder as well as shot blocker and also has a good looking perimeter game.
He still needs to work on his offensive game but he has the opportunity to become a star in the NBA.
Ronny Turriaf. When Ronny Turriaf is your starting center, you probably need an upgrade. I don't know what happened to Biedrins but the Warriors can't rely on him anymore to get the job done.
The Warriors have a lot of great individual talents in the backcourt but not a lot of talent in the frontcourt (Maybe Anthony Randolph but he hasn't turned out like I had hoped).
I think the Warriors go with the best big man left on the board.
In this case, that man is DeMarcus Cousins. Some people have him going first but I don't think he will go above Wall.
He isn't an athletic specimen but he certainly has all the skills you look for in a dominating big man. He has good size, an NBA-ready body, and a great arsenal weapons to use. He was one of the most productive big men in the NCAA and he should be able to translate his game to the next level.
The only thing holding this kid back is his attitude.
The Washington Wizards are probably in a worst position than anyone else in the NBA. Their main team last year was blown apart by guns and trades.
They will only have six players under contract for the 2010 season and will look to be big players in free agency. The only problem is that besides from Andray Blatche they are severely lacking pieces to have a basketball team.
The Wizards would be so fortunate to have Evan Turner land in their laps.
Evan Turner was the best player in college basketball last year and he is the one player that will be able to have an immediate impact in his rookie year. His game reminds me a lot of Tyreke Evans. How bizarre?
They both are tremendous at getting to the basket and finishing. They both have good court vision, both can rebound, and both have a lot of work to do on their jump shots.
I think Evan Turner has a better shot than Tyreke Evans but Tyreke Evans is more gifted physically and athletically.
I don't see how teams will pass on this guy but if they do, Washington will have a great asset to start rebuilding their team.
Evan Turner should probably be the favorite to win rookie of the year.
The Sacramento Kings are a decent ball club. They have a future star in Tyreke Evans and some nice looking role players in Carl Landry and Beno Udrih. There were nights when they could compete with any team in the league and then there were nights when they really couldn’t.
The Sacramento Kings are dying to upgrade the center position. Spencer Hawes is surely not the answer. They have great power forwards in Carl Landry and Jason Thompson but they really need a defensive presence down low.
They need someone who can operate with their back towards the basket on one end and on the other end they need an intimidating force. Unfortunately, I don’t think Cole Aldrich is the answer.
Unless the Kings trade up and grab DeMarcus Cousins or trade back to grab one of the other centers in the draft, I think they have to go with the best player available.
Wesley Johnson had a breakout year last year and I think he would be on the top of their board. Let’s face it, Donte Greene is a good looking young guy but I don’t think he is the Real McCoy.
Wesley Johnson is a great looking prospect. He is a good shooter which is something Sacramento could use to help Tyreke out and he is very versatile. He has the ability to play a lot of different positions.
He did play in the Syracuse zone so I don’t know how his defensive skills will translate to the NBA, but he was also coached by Jim Boeheim so that has to count for something.
I know Sacramento will be dying to get that center but I think they will settle for Wes Johnson.
I can't remember the last time Utah had a lottery pick. It will be interesting to see what Utah does with this pick they acquired from New York.
I think you might see Utah either trade up or trade back in order to grab one of the better PF/C in the draft.
After watching the first couple of games against the L.A. Lakers it is easy to see what Utah needs to obtain in order to be able to defeat L.A. one day—length.
When you watch the L.A. series you see the Lakers basically driving to the rim and scoring at will. If they aren't driving to the rim, they are just throwing it down to their big guys and taking advantage of the mismatches.
Utah could really use an interior presence to help keep opponents out of the paint.
I think that every single one of Utah's big men are a waste of seven feet.
Don't get me wrong I think Okur is a heck of a player but he should be way better. He doesn't take advantage of his skill set like he should. He shows up for games and is a big part of the reason the Jazz have been good, but for the most part you can't find him on the basketball court.
Also with Carlos Boozer on the verge of hitting the free agent market it would be good to have someone who could play the power forward or the center position.
They need a seven-footer who can actually play inside, not on the perimeter.
That is why I could see them taking Greg Monroe. If they draft Cole Aldrich, they will just be getting a clone of Koufos and Fesenko. They need a big man that can protect the hoop.
Please don't tell me Aldrich is that guy. He really isn't. And please don't tell me Koufos is the answer. I cringe every time I see Koufos on the court.
I'm also not sure that Greg Monroe is precisely their guy but I like him a lot more than Cole Aldrich. I really don't see Cole Aldrich as a lottery pick but that is a different subject.
Greg Monroe is a lengthy guy that the Jazz could play at the center position. He isn't a beast athletically but he is a very nice player with a high basketball IQ and the ability to pass out of the double team.
Unless the Jazz are sold on Cole Aldrich or can maneuver their way back in the draft, I think they go with Greg Monroe.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The Detroit Pistons were one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference year in and year out. They had an awesome starting unit of Rasheed Wallace, Chauncy Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Wallace.
They had gone to six straight Conference Finals in a row but they just weren't happy with only one Championship. They knew they had to do something to put them over the top.
Joe Dumars decided he was going to trade Mr. Big Shot (Chauncy Billups), the heart and soul of the team, in order to bring in the highly coveted Allen Iverson.
Fast forward a couple of years and the Pistons are a lottery team. But at least they have this offseason right? Well, Dumars decided to go for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva instead.
I love Joe Dumars and I think he is a great GM but unfortunately he hasn't had the best of luck in the past couple of years.
The Pistons have a decent backcourt with the likes of Rodney Stucky, Rip Hamilton, Will Bynum, and Ben Gordon but their frontcourt is just not getting it done.
When your frontcourt consists of an aging Ben Wallace and an underperforming Jason Maxiel, you better be looking to upgrade.
The Pistons are looking for a player that can command a double team and play with his back to the basket.
Ed Davis is a guy who has a chance to be a very special player. He came to college with a bunch of expectations. He had a solid rookie campaign and won a National Title.
However, his second season he didn't quite live up to the hype and the Tar Heels fell off the face of the earth.
Davis is a very long big man who is a great rebounder and shot blocker. He is very good in the paint and the Pistons could really use a big body like him down low.
The LA Clippers are a few puzzle pieces away from being a very good team. They have the former number one overall pick in Blake Griffin, a very talented center in Chris Kaman, and decent backcourt.
I think that Baron Davis is getting older and Steve Blake is just Steve Blake so they could look to bolster their point guard position.
However, I think they will look to fill the void that Al Thornton left with another Al.
Al-Farouq Aminu is a very talented SF/PF. He has all the physical tools to be a great pro. He is long and super athletic. He is only 6'8" but he has a 7'4" wingspan.
The only knock on the guy is that no one really knows what position he will play in the NBA. He is not a true small forward because he lacks a polished outside game but he has a good mid-range game. He lacks height to play with power forward position but makes up for it with his length.
I see him as a more athletic Carl Landry. I really like his versatility and I think he would be a great pick because you never know what Blake Griffin will actually turn out to be.
The 76ers mission this offseason is going to be to replace Samuel Dalembert. Their backcourt looks pretty solid with Jrue Holiday leading the way. I think they could use someone besides Andre on the wing but they probably feel the need to replace Dalembert to be more important.
They might be lucky if they don't have to reach for someone at the 6th or 7th spot. At the 9th spot it is not that big of a reach to go for the next best center to replace Dalembert.
I think they go with Hassan Whiteside.
Hassan Whiteside is very skinny and lanky but he has a lot of upside. He's a super-long, lanky shot-blocker who nearly had four triple-doubles this season in points, rebounds and blocked shots. He also led the NCAA in block shots this year.
I think the 76ers would love to see a more athletic clone of Dalembert. He should be able to take Dalembert spot and with a little work should be able to be better offensively.
The Indiana Pacers are pretty far from being a playoff team in my opinion. Although, they have one of the best players in the game today, they truly don't have much star quality players anywhere else on the depth chart.
I feel really bad for T.J. Ford because I thought he could have been something special. However, Earl Watson should probably be a back up point guard.
I could see them going for a center and it might be fitting that they grab Cole Aldrich to add to their collection of solid but lacking-athleticism white basketball players. However, they have a great defensive center in Roy Hibbert.
I think the only logical thing to do for Indiana is to draft a point guard who has the ability to be special with a little work.
Eric Bledsoe could be that guy. Bledsoe is definitely a risky pick because we haven't got to see his game a lot since he was playing back up to superstar John Wall. However, the guy has the skill set to be a really good point guard at the NBA level.
The Indiana Pacers might just have to wait on him to develop a little bit. I think picking him at the 10th spot and waiting for him to develop is a great move for Indiana.
The New Orleans Hornets have a good looking ball club but they are just missing a couple of pieces. I would love for them to grab Xavier Henry but the already have him in Marcus Thornton.
They would really love to grab another swing player to upgrade their SF position but I just don't see someone here for the to take.
They will try to trade out of this position but if they can't they will go with the best player available.
Ekpe Udoh could be that guy.
Ekpe was a major reason why the Baylor Bears advanced so far in the NCAA tournament. He is a great athlete who will be very good defensively. He is long and has good hops that will allow him to be a good shot blocker at the next level.
Memphis is in the same position as the Hornets. They have a very solid ball club but are just missing a couple of pieces. Also, Rudy Gay might be packing his things with the 2010 free agency.
I think the Grizzlies will be looking for a young point guard or someone to replace Rudy Gay.
Since Eric Bledsoe is gone in this draft and Damion James is a tweener, I think they have to take the best player available.
Donatas Motiejunas is a very interesting prospect and since the Grizzlies have had success in Marc Gasol, I think they will be more willing to wait for an international prospect to develop.
Motiejunas is a very athletic big man who can handle and run the best guards in the NBA. He is a little scrawny so he will have to add some weight but I think he is a very interesting prospect that would be a good NBA player given time.
If the Raptors didn't make the postseason in the Eastern Conference with Chris Bosh, that means they are going to be a really long way away from being a good team once Bosh leaves.
I think this pick is a no-brainer. The Raptors are going to try to pick the best PF available in hopes that he will be able to fill Chris Bosh's shoes.
This draft is very deep at the PF position and Patrick Patterson is the next best PF available.
Although Patterson is undersized he has a PF body. He is an excellent shot blocker and rebounder and can be a physical presence down low.
Toronto could also draft a center and move Andrea to power forward but I think they go with this power forward instead.
When I first started this mock draft, I planned to include more trades than just one. However, I wasn't as knowledgeable with every teams management as I am with the Rockets and Daryl Morey.
Daryl Morey already said in an interview on Sports Radio 790 that he was going to be looking to move up or down come draft time. Also, if you look at the past two years, the Rockets have made some type of move in the draft.
Whether it be buying picks or trading picks for players, the Rockets have done it. I see them doing it again this year.
They will either move up and draft the best center or move back and take the best center.
The Rockets have a lot of great pieces on this ball club but they can no longer rely on Yao Ming to stay healthy. They have to find a better back up than Chuck Hayes.
I love Chuck Hayes but when you are 6'6", it is hard to be a back up center.
The Rockets see an opportunity to trade back and acquire more pieces than can deal to land a major free agent this offseason (Chris Bosh) via sign-and-trade.
The Celtics are old and they will be looking for someone who can take either Ray Allen's or Paul Pierces spot.
If Xavier Henry is still on the board at pick 14, I think someone will be willing to move up to take him. In this case, I have the Celtics making the leap.
Henry is an all-purpose swingman with an NBA body and deep range on his shot. He would be a great pick up and he could replace Ray Allen in a couple of years.
Milwaukee has a solid young team and a great coach. All they really need is a good small forward.
I think they could either go with Paul George, Damion James, or whoever they believe is the best small forward available.
I like Damion James but the problem he has at the next level is that he is really an undersized power forward.
I still believe he has too much potential to let him go, so I think the Bucks will take him.
Ryan Gomes is a decent young player but he hasn't showed me enough improvement in his five-year NBA career to make me believe he is the answer.
I like Gordon Hayward but I just don't see the fit.
I think Minnesota will go with Paul George out of Fresno State. George is a good shooter but he is also more athletic and will get you more rebounds.
He is flying under the radar but I think when the draft time comes around, I think he will move up on people's boards. Plus, I really like his athleticism.
I think it is pretty obvious that Chicago will be going after the hometown hero Dwyane Wade. I don't think they are going after him because he is from Chicago, I think it is because of his position (and the fact that he is one of the best players in the NBA).
I don't think anyone knows what Wade is going to do and because he won't be able to sign before the draft, I think Chicago will go for the best shooting guard available to pair up with D-Rose.
I don't think they would go for Avery Bradley because Bradley would be shorter than D-Rose. I think they go for James Anderson.
Anderson is a big time scoring threat and he also has the ability to hit from deep. I think most Chicago fans would be happy to see James Anderson. Although it would be a horrible consolation prize if they didn't get Wade also.
Although the Heat feel confident about Wade sticking around in Miami, they have to be prepared to lose him.
If they do lose Wade they will need someone to come in and give them scoring right away. They also need an upgrade over Chalmers and Arroyo.
I'm not sure if Dominique Jones is the exact guy they are looking for but I think he might be able to a little bit of both of those things.
Jones has an NBA body and would be able to provide Miami with scoring immediately.
He is a very physical guard who excels at getting to the basket. He also has the ability to slide over to point and take some minutes at that position.
There really is no replacement for Wade so if I was Miami, all my attention would be on Wade.
*The Rockets would receive the 19th pick of the 2010 NBA draft from their trade with Boston, as well as some other assets.
The Rockets are decent at all of their positions except for the center position. Yao Ming is the best center in the league when he is healthy but the keyword there is when. Frankly, Yao has yet to prove that he can stay healthy and coming off surgery does not make me anymore convinced.
I think the Rockets will go with a center who they feel has the most potential. With Cole Aldrich still on the board, it might make more sense for them to go with him because I think Aldrich will be a great back up center or a decent role player in the league.
However, Daniel Orton has a bigger upside. Whenever a guy can come out of college after averaging 3 ppg and 3rpg and be considered a lottery pick that usually means the guy is something special.
Orton is definitely a project but the Rockets have good low-post players that can help him grow and not to mention they also have Jack Sickma that can work with him.
The Rockets went from being one of the better defensive teams in the league to being one of the worst. Orton would be able to play defense immediately and over time have the chance to be really special. He reminds me a lot of Andrew Bynum but then again he reminds me of Kendrick Perkins.
This is definitely a big risk to not take the sure thing in Aldrich but if the Rockets think Orton can be special, I don't see them passing on him.
This is a tough decision here but I think the Rockets would go with Daniel Orton.
This is a classic Spurs pick.
The Richard Jefferson deal didn't turn out like they had hoped so they will probably be looking to get a young talent at the small forward position.
They could also look for a center here but I just like Gordon Hayward to the Spurs.
Hayward is a funny looking guy, but the kid has skills. He is a versatile player who can score in a variety of ways. Although his numbers don't always suggest it, he is a great shooter.
The Spurs would love to get a guy like Hayward and he just looks like a Spur.
I know a lot of you are mad at me for letting a potential lottery pick slide all the way to the twenties.
Honestly, I think a GM will take him in the lottery, but I don't think they should. I don't think Cole Aldrich is a "lottery" pick.
If you are a GM would you really want to spend a top ten pick on a guy who will probably never be a star? Would you want to devote that kind of money to a decent role player?
I think not. I love Cole Aldrich, and I think he will be a solid pro but he doesn't have the upside you look for in the lottery.
All that being said, I think Oklahoma would love for Aldrich to drop into their hands.
The Thunder have a great young team led by one of the best players in the NBA in Kevin Durant.
However, the Thunder are in need of a low-post threat. They drafted B.J. Mullens last year so they might be more incline to pick someone else but I don't think Mullens is as good as Aldrich.
I think Adrich would be able to contribute to the Thunder immediately.
He will be a good defender and rebounder but he probably won't thrive on the offensive end.
Portland is a team that looks really good on paper but they just seem to come up short all the time. They have an All-Star in Brandon Roy and pretty solid people all around.
It is hard to see which way Portland will go in the draft. One thing I did see was that Portland brought in a point guard and a power forward to work out today. That tells me they will be looking for one or the other come draft time.
If they do look to add a power forward it will probably be one that can rebound. Aldridge is a great power forward but if he has a weakness it is definitely his rebounding.
Kenneth Faried is not really known in the basketball world but the guy can flat out rebound. He is undersized for his position but he is an explosive leaper.
He is also a great defender but he will need time to develop his offensive game. Playing behind Aldridge should give him time to do that.
With three picks in the first round, Minnesota will surely be a better team. And if they want to be a better team they shouldn't really rely on Darko Milicic.
I think Minnesota will trade this pick but I can't think anyone who would be willing to trade up.
If they end up picking here, I think they will take a big athletic center.
Solomon Alabi is a long, athletic big man who is great on the defensive side of the ball. He is still raw offensively but he would be an intimidating force that would keep people out of the paint with his shot blocking ability.
The Atlanta Hawks are a real funny team. They have a lot of talent but it seems like they just like to play one-on-one instead of team basketball. I think this guy would fit that mold and could actually upgrade their small forward position.
Joe Johnson will probably be leaving in free agency, and the Hawks will need someone who can pick up the scoring.
Quincy Pondexter is very interesting prospect. He is a super athlete but he might be more athlete than basketball player.
He is tough, plays hard and excels at slashing to the basket. I think he would fit in well with the street ball kings.
Everyone knows that Mike Conley will never be an All-Star and that Memphis will be looking to upgrade the point guard position.
Willie Warren could be the steal of the draft. He was supposed to be a lottery pick if he came out last year but he decided to go back to school.
That decision was probably a million dollar mistake but I think he will be able to shine in the NBA.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a position where they can draft whoever they want. I think they could use someone to upgrade the power forward position because I just don't think Jeff Green's 6 rpg are going to get it done for the Thunder.
However, I don't know if anyone in this part of the draft would be an upgrade to Green.
I can see them taking a project like Kevin Seraphin and keeping him overseas until he is ready.
Seraphin is a very long, athletic power forward who is an interesting prospect but might need time to develop into a good player.
If New Jersey doesn't draft John Wall or Evan Turner maybe they can get a little bit of each.
Terrico White has the athleticism of John Wall and the decisions making ability of Evan Turner.
He is an explosive athlete that would be able to play both guard positions at the next level.
The first thing I read when I did research on Devin Ebanks was that he compared to Rudy Gay.
That did it for me. If you are going to lose Rudy Gay, why not replace him with someone with his skill set.
I swear Vince Carter is the same age as Jason Kidd which means he is just old. J.J. Reddick is a nice player but when Vince is done, I don't think he is the solution.
I don't know if Avery Bradley is the long term solution either but he is a heck of a defender. Scouts love him for his defense and his freakish athleticism.
I think he would benefit hanging out with Reddick and have a chance to be a decent starter in the NBA.
Flip Saunders was quoted as saying, "I think, as a coach, having had success in this league, what it really does is it reaffirms what I really believe you have to have to win, as far as your players that have a high character, high intelligence, have an aggressive, physical mind-set and players that care more about the team than they care about themselves."
Andray Blatche received a one-game suspension for being belligerent with the coaching staff and team trainers in January. And, two months later—after establishing himself as the team's go-to guy—Blatche refused to enter a game in a spat with Saunders.
I don't know how much longer that relationship is going to last.
Larry Sanders could provide some motivation for Blatch to straighten up and he could really help Washington on the defensive end.