2010 NBA Mock Draft: How Far Will Cousins Fall?
Players have been rising and falling on draft boards as NBA talent evaluators start to get an up close and personal look at the top prospects.
Some players who were thought to be super athletes tested poorly in Chicago, while others looked surprisingly good.
However the pre-draft process is not only about how prospects can play, but how well they interview. Some of the big name prospects have come off terribly, and you only get one first impression.
Questions about character and commitment have always plagued Cousins, and this last week has been tough on him.
Meanwhile, some prospects are skyrocketing as they get the opportunity to display their ability against other big name players.
Read more analysis and opinions at www.HoopSpeak.com and follow Beckley on @hoopspeak!
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, Kentucky 6'4'' PG
John Wall was the best athlete at the NBA combine, posting numbers reminiscent of Derrick Rose, but with significantly quicker lateral movement. That's right-- he's quicker than Derrick Rose.
He also has an enormous 6'9" wingspan and is smooth and polished with reporters...there's nothing not to like about this kid.
The Wizards are going to take Wall. People who think that the Wiz will even consider the ramifications of picking Wall for Gilbert Arenas are stupid. You don't build around an old, overpaid, underperforming crazy person.
You take John Wall, and you never look back.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech 6'10'' PF/C
At the Chicago combine, Favors measurements were nearly identical to Dwight Howard's, which means he has the size and certainly the athleticism to play center in the NBA.
The 76ers need a center and Cousins would be an awful fit with new no nonsense coach Doug Collins. Favors upside is far superior to that of Evan Turner, so he is the best pick for the 76ers.
That is, if they don't trade down for the T-Wolves pick at No. 4 in exchange for another pick in the first round.
3. New Jersey Nets: Evan Turner. Ohio State 6'7'' PG/SG/PF
This would be an excellent fit for the Nets. Turner is a capable wing defender, passes well (important for wings playing with a scoring point guard) and gives the Nets the ability to go huge when he plays the point.
Turner is also a player ready to average 16 points and five assists next year, and could help the Nets reach the playoffs if they can land one more free agent.
Turner doesn't have tremendous upside, but he can definitely ball and he has the winning attitude that the Nets need.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky 6'11'' C
Before you dismissively shake your head, keep three things in mind: DeMarcus Cousins is the most productive big man in the draft, The T-Wolves have said they want to break up the Love-Jefferson front line, and David Kahn drafted Flynn and Rubio.
If they can move Jefferson for a shooter, this pick makes a ton of sense. Love and another shooter can spread the floor and Cousins will be able to dominate 80% of NBA centers THIS season.
He's a better rebounder than Jefferson and will become a great scorer. This franchise is already a mess, so I don't see why we should think they wouldn't do this.
They should just trade the pick because there is nothing of great value for them here, and if they can move up to grab Turner, they'll do it in a heart beat.
5. Sacramento Kings: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse 6'8'' SF
Johnson is the most talented player available to the Kings, and he will be an excellent fit with Tyreke Evans.
Johnson has phenomenal athleticism and showed it off in Chicago. He doesn't need the ball to be effective, can shoot with excellent elevation, rebounds extremely well and will be a very strong and versatile defender.
With Johnson and Evans patrolling the wings, the Kings have the foundation for a very tough defense and two pieces to build around offensively.
6. Golden State Warriors: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest 6'9'' SF/PF
For a player touted as a supreme athlete, Aminu tested very poorly in Chicago. His vertical was only 33.5 inches, though his wingspan was very impressive.
Aminu has an excellent motor and needs to be in a system like the Warriors uptempo offense to be successful. I don't really love him, but I think his effort level and desire to improve his offensive game gives room for optimism.
He could thrive along side Anthony Randolph in a front court that would have ungodly athleticism and break neck speed.
7. Detroit Pistons: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor 6'10'' PF
Ekpe is older, but still has upside. He has shown a very impressive ability to develop his game, which should make any team that drafts him confident he will continue to improve as a pro.
Udoh might be a bit of a reach here, but the Pistons would be getting an elite defender with underrated offensive skills both as a shooter and passer.
The Pistons really want to trade up and get Favors or Cousins, but I don't really see what they could offer that could entice any of the teams in position to take those two to trade.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Gordon Hayward, Butler 6'8'' SF
Hayward was one of the players who was really helped by his scores at the Chicago combine. His vertical was a very respectable 34.5 inches, and his lateral quickness was excellent for a player his size (only slightly slower than Wesley Johnson).
Hayward is a player that can shoot the three and doesn't need the ball in his hands to do a lot of positive things for a Clippers team that can use his positive energy.
With Blake Griffin in the post, a small forward who can light it up from deep is crucial, and Hayward fits that bill.
9. The Utah Jazz: Greg Monroe, Georgetown 6'11'' C
This pick just makes so much sense for both the team and the player. Monroe has legit center size but isn't much of an athlete. The Utah flex system would take advantage of his ball handling and passing while hiding his flaws.
A Georgetown player seems to get overrated and drafted too early (see Green, Jeff) every year, but if Monroe lasts until No. 9 he is a no-brainer for a Jazz team looking to shore up its front line.
10. Indiana Pacers: Avery Bradley, Texas 6'3'' PG
Bradley's stock is skyrocketing due to the comparisons to Russel Westbrook. Bradley is a special athlete, almost as fast and explosive as John Wall, but he isn't as quick laterally as Westbrook.
The Pacers need a point guard and Bradley is emerging as the second best prospect at this position. If Hayward is available there's no way they pass him up, but I doubt he'll last until No. 10.
Bradley needs to continue to shine in work out competitions, because the primary concerns about him are his handle and ability to make decisions. He's gotten A+ grades so far, but needs to show consistent range to merit this pick.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Cole Aldrich, Kansas 6'10'' C
Aldrich would be a great value at this spot, though he doesn't have much upside. He is long and strong, though not all that tall (7'4" wingspan but only 6'9.5" in socks.)
He blocks shots and rebounds at an excellent rate, and has the perfect pick and roll/pop game to go with Chris Paul.
The Hornets really need size, otherwise I could see them going with a shooter like Paul George at this pick.
Aldrich has the ability to warrant a higher selection, but the lottery worked out in such a way that he will be available here, and the Hornets can't pass him up.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Luke Babbitt, Nevada 6'9'' SF
The Grizz have been targeting Babbitt since the beginning of the draft as they need some scoring insurance to protect them if Rudy Gay bolts.
Babbitt tested much better than almost anyone expected at the combine, with a 38" vert and a shocking 10.98 second lane-agility score. The kid can flat out score and although he won't offer much in the way of defense, the Grizzlies are definitely filling a need if they get Babbitt's versatile offensive game.
13. Toronto Raptors: Ed Davis, UNC 6'10'' PF
Ed Davis would be a find at this spot. He may go earlier, in which case the Raptors would probably take Daniel Orton, but Davis is more polished and a safer pick than Orton.
He's agile, fast and will excel in an open court game. It's unclear if Davis would be such a highly touted prospect if he didn't don the Carolina uniform for two years.
If Hassan Whiteside can show some maturity and game he might go here as well as he would provide the defensive ability the Raptors so desperately desire.
14. Houston Rockets: Patrick Patterson, Kentucky 6'8'' PF
The Rockets need to replace some of the toughness they lost when Carl Landry departed, and Patterson is a good fit here. He has a nice inside-outside game and is a capable rebounder.
The Rockets could also go with Hassan Whiteside, Daniel Orton, Donatas Motiejunas (to come over in 2011.) Houston needs size, but I don't think they'll just draft a big guy if they don't see him as the right fit.
Houston has some flexibility to grab the guy they want (Bosh?) So they should use this pick to grab a guy they know will contribute.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Paul George, Fresno State 6'8'' SG
Paul George has looked great so far in the pre-draft season. He is fluid, 6'8" and a money shooter. GMs and scouts have been loving his game, which at times makes him look like the most polished player on the court.
He's played so well that he has the potential to go in the lottery, though he will probably be around when Milwaukee picks. I like him more than Xavier Henry because he is a little bigger and has a better handle.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Anderson, Oklahoma State 6'6'' SG
Anderson is a mature, smooth, productive scorer who has great range. He may not have the upside of Henry, but he is ready to score as a pro today, and the Timberwolves can't afford another Rashad McCants.
They might also take Xavier Henry, but if they are committing to the triangle, Anderson's versatile game makes much more sense.
He showed an ability in college to score on just about anyone, despite his average athleticism. He's not nearly as big or good, but think about the way Paul Pierce scores with ease by creating separation through footwork and craft.
17. Chicago Bulls: Xavier Henry, Kansas 6'7'' SG
The muscular shooting guard would be a great pick for the Bulls. Henry has a very nice release, but he didn't show much else at Kansas.
A player like George or Anderson is a better fit for a Bulls team that needs a player who is developed right now, but if Henry falls to this spot they'll gladly take him.
He has superior athleticism which projects well defensively, but his game will need to mature for a few years before we know just how good of an offensive player he can be.
Adding a pull up game and developing his handle will go a long way in this respect.
18. Miami Heat: Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky PG 6'1''
Bledsoe has had a great spring and looks like he may even crack the lottery by the time June 24 rolls around.
He is a freak athlete with very long arms and tremendous speed. He may be the most competitive guard in the draft not named Wall, and he has been gang busters in workouts.
More and more, Bledsoe looks ready to play point guard in the NBA, and could form a devastating back court with Dwayne Wade.
19. Boston Celtics: Craig Brackins, Iowa State 6'9'' PF
Solomon Alabi might be their pick here, but Brackins fits the Celtics' need better. As the most offensively skilled big in the draft, Brackins will be able to spread the floor and execute the pick and roll in a way that keeps the middle open for Rondo.
Brackins is in the best shape of his life and impressing plenty of people around the league.
The Celtics offense is so devastating because Garnett and Wallace can knock down jump shots and pull help defense away from the ultra speedy Rondo. With Perkins anchoring the middle defensively, Brackins is a great fit as a scorer on a team that might begin to lose some of the Big Three's scoring as soon as next season.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Solomon Alabi, Florida State 7'0'' C
The Spurs need to upgrade their interior defense. Duncan is finally starting to slip, and needs to be paired with a player that can make up for some of his shortcomings.
Alabi is very big and long, though he isn't a great athlete. Popovich has a history of developing talent so it seems likely Alabi would help the Spurs return to their previous levels of defensive dominance.
San Antonio may also go with Damion James here, though the greatest need is inside.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hassan Whiteside, Marshall 6'11 C
Hassan Whiteside would be a steal at No. 21 if the Thunder believe he isn't insane. He should be a lottery pick but has scared teams away with his attitude.
The dude showed up to the Chicago combine to be measured in flip flops, which means he is officially listed as only an inch taller in shoes (whereas Cole Aldrich was suspiciously almost 2.5 inches taller).
If he goes to the Thunder, the excellent locker room culture may be strong enough to inspire him to reach his potential. He has a 7'7" wingspan and would be a serious upgrade from Kristic defensively. Paired with Serge "Air Congo" Ibaka, the Thunder would could put out the most athletic front line in the league.
They may also take Damion James here, but the Thunder are already pretty deep at the SF/PF position.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Damion James, Texas 6'8'' SF
James is a good fit for the pace that Portland likes to play. He is a adept defender who can switch onto a couple different postions and an excellent rebounder.
If Portland signs Camby, as it looks likely they will, and Pryzbilla and Oden come back, they will look to add depth to the SF and SG positions.
Jordan Crawford is an interesting pick here as well, because he can stretch the floor and score in bunches for a bench that had trouble in that area.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Larry Sanders, VCU 6'11'' SF/PF
Larry Sanders is long, athletic, and could develop into a special player. If he had played at a bigger school, he probably would be a lottery pick.
At 6'11" with a great nose for offensive rebounds and ability to fill the lane on the fast break, you can envision Sanders as a frequent target of Rubio's back door and fast break lobs.
The Timberwolves would do well to add another dimension in their front court, and Sanders could develop into a real steal at this spot.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Elliot Williams, Memphis 6'4'' PG
A big, quick point guard, Williams might be the long term answer at the position for the Hawks.
He has great size and a good stroke, and he can guard both point and shooting guards. Though he looked to score first in college, he also showed a willingness to drive (especially to his stronger left hand) and dish to open team mates.
He has a great point guard personality and showed a willingness to lead, something the Hawks desperately need.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Terrico White, Ole Miss 6'5'' G
Terrico White has enormous potential and scoring ability. Physically, he is big enough to play either back court position.
He has explosive athleticism (40'' vert) and excellent size to go with a nice jump shot and handle. There is some question as to whether he can be a point guard, but he projects well as a Flip Murray type off the bench. The guy can just score.
26. Oklahoma City: Quincy Pondexter, Washington 6'6'' SF
Pondexter would be a safe pick that will add depth at the SG and SF positions. If the Thunder go big with their first pick, Pondexter will be an attractive option here.
He has high character and a great work rate on the court.
Q-Pon projects as an elite defender of SFs and SGs, and will be a good rebounder and slasher as a pro. If he develops an outside shot, he will be a very good rotational player and perhaps even a star.
27. New Jersey Nets: Stanley Robinson, Connecticut 6'8'' SF
Stanley Robinson has lottery level ability (38" vert, great skills,) but a second round noggin. When he's confident, he can do just about everything on the court well.
He has gotten off to an inconsistent start in the pre-draft season, but there's still time for him to work his way back into the mid first round.
If the Nets can get him here, it would be a great get talent-wise. Robinson can spread the floor, rebound and defend-- skills that would make him a good role player for the Nets.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State 6'9'' PF/C
A great shot blocker and rebounder, Varnado would add a dimension of athleticism to the Grizzlies front line that is sorely missing.
He can guard stretch fours and is very capable in the post because of his excellent length (7'4" wingspan) and footwork.
A high work rate and character player, he will be a better version of Chris Anderson.
29. Orlando Magic: Willie Warren, Oklahoma 6'4'' G
Warren's stock has plummeted, allowing the Magic to snag a really talented player at the end of the first round.
The Magic need a back up point guard because Jason Williams is on his last legs, especially on defense. Warren fits well with the Magic because he can stretch the floor with his shot and is big and quick enough to be a solid defender.
For a team with few holes to fill, Warren is a good risk to take.
30. Washington Wizards: Devin Ebanks, West Virginia 6'9'' SF
Ebanks would fit a need on the wing for the Wizards. There are some questions about his motor, but Wall will need someone to run with, and Ebanks would be a great fit.
If he can continue to develop his three point stroke he could be an effective role player and starter in a season or two.