The 2010 NBA draft order is set, and mock drafts are pouring in all over the Internet.
This year’s crop of prospects boasts some intriguing talents—a nice balance between players who excelled at the college level and players whose value lies in their long term potential.
Like every year, there will be some guys taken in the lottery who will leave us wondering "who?" (see Hill, Jordan), while there will be others taken in the lottery who will leave us wondering "why not?" (see Lawson, Ty).
Let’s take a look at this year’s projected lottery picks, as well at those college stars that will be left out.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The Wizards will and should select John Wall with the first overall pick in this year’s draft. He is the type of player the Wizards can build their franchise around.
The real question is: where does that leave Gilbert Arenas? The Wizards will slide him over to the No. 2 and let him run with Wall, but I don’t think it will work. The Wizards will be looking to give away Arenas and his huge salary by January.
I love this kid. I think he will end up being the best player to come out of this draft, and he is a great fit for the 76ers. They need someone who can score, and the versatile Turner can do just that.
Don’t be surprised if Turner steps in and immediately becomes the team’s leading scorer. He and Andre Iguodala will make for a dynamic and exciting combination at the two and three.
Brook Lopez has emerged as a solid NBA big man, but the Nets need someone to compliment him down low. The big, explosive, and athletic Favors is the man for the job.
It will be interesting to see if Favors can step in and immediately contribute at the next level. He is an elite prospect, but he may need some time to adjust to playing with the pros.
The Timberwolves badly need a guy to go on the wing, and Johnson seems like the perfect man for the job. He is as NBA ready as they come and would immediately make the T-Wolves a much better team.
Johnson will become a great complement to Al Jefferson. If the T-Wolves address their need for a center later in the first round (16th and 23rd overall), they could become a playoff-quality team overnight.
Cousins is a physical specimen in every meaning of the word. He is huge, strong, long, and surprisingly athletic. His physical presence is exactly what the Kings need.
What concerns me about Cousins is his lack of maturity and composure. His body language and focus were terrible at times last season. He is only 19, so perhaps he just needs to grow up some, but it could also be a sign of something much bigger.
I really like this kid. He is impossibly athletic and has a fantastic motor. He is long and lean and oozes potential.
The Warriors were horrendous on the defensive side of the ball last season, and they lacked the size necessary to be competitive on the boards. Aminu projects as a shutdown defender and uses his size and athleticism to pull down rebounds in bunches. Aminu is the perfect fit for the Warriors.
The Pistons' most glaring need is for a presence down low, and Monroe fits the bill—sort of. Simply stated, Monroe is a guard stuck in a big man’s body. At 6’11” he has the skill set of a much smaller man.
However, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a good fit in Detroit. He may not be a banger like Cousins, but he does possess the post moves and rebounding ability the Pistons need.
The Clippers really need someone to fill a glaring hole at small forward, but any three they take here would be a huge reach unless they think Xavier Henry can play the three position. They will be hoping Aminu slides to them, but it won’t happen.
Instead the Clips will go with Aldrich. Chris Kaman has two more years left on the big contract the Clips gave him, and he seems unlikely to re-sign following the 2011-2012 season. The Clips will be happy to have a capable replacement in Aldrich already on the roster.
The Jazz have a gaping hole at shooting guard, so Henry seems like the obvious pick. While Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver did a respectable job filling the hole last season, Henry would provide Deron Williams with the running mate he truly desires.
Henry uses his size and strength to get to and finish at the hoop. However, his ability to knock down jumpers from just about anywhere on the court is what makes him a truly dynamic scorer.
The Pacers need an athletic big man (no Troy Murphy, you don’t qualify), and Ed Davis is a great option. In addition to his athleticism, Davis is long and highly skilled, but he needs to get stronger.
Davis put together a nice sophomore season, but he didn’t show the scoring touch around the bucket that he’ll need to be effective in the NBA. He may not be ready to contribute right away, but he does have huge upside.
At 7’0” Motiejunas is a European style big man in the mold of Andrea Bargnani. He has great range but also shows the potential to be a force down low. Down the road, he could be a tremendous inside/outside threat.
The Hornets need a wing player to spell aging Peja Stojakovic, and while Motiejunas may be more of a four than a three, he has the athleticism to slide over to the three if necessary.
Why would the Grizzlies use their first round pick on a player who plays the same position as their best player? Because it looks like Rudy Gay’s days in Memphis are numbered.
George is an athletic three with a quick release and fantastic range. He projects as a better NBA player than college player, and when Gay departs via restricted free agency this offseason or via unrestricted following next season, George will step in to replace him.
With Chris Bosh on his way out of Toronto, and Andrea Bargnani better suited to play the four, the need for size in the Great White North is undeniable. At 7’0”and 230 pounds, Whiteside is exactly what the Raptors need.
Whiteside is still very raw and won’t be ready to contribute right away, but he does show the promise of a legit NBA center, a commodity that is far too rare in the league today.
The Rockets need a power forward to spell Luis Scola after the departure of Carl Landry, so Udoh will be on their radar come draft day.
If Udoh is still on the board, the Rockets won’t be able to pass up his rebounding and shot blocking ability. Udoh is very athletic, but he will need to work on his offensive game to be an effective scorer at the next level.
I’ve seen him as high as sixth in some mock drafts, but I think we’ll see Patterson’s stock slip as the draft approaches. He is not a strong rebounder, and recent reports clarify that he is only 6’8” and not the listed 6’9”.
In addition to being a liability on the glass, Patterson will likely struggle to defend fellow power forwards on the perimeter and he lacks defensive awareness in general. For all these reasons, I think we’ll see Patterson slide out of the lottery.
Projected Pick: He’ll make a nice pick for someone between the 15th and 20th spots. I am thinking Milwaukee at 15 or Miami at 18.
How can you not like Jimmy Chitwood—I mean Gordon Hayward? The run he made with Butler to the championship game will not soon be forgotten. However, that doesn’t mean he is going to be a good NBA player.
Unfortunately for Hayward, we’ve seen guys with his game come through the ranks before, and the majority of them have not developed into NBA stars. Heyward has great size and unlimited range, but so does Adam Morrison. Ouch.
Projected Pick: He looks like a Celtic to me! I like him to go 19th to Boston.
Anderson is a prolific scorer who finished third in the nation with 22.6 points per game. At 6’6” he has tremendous size for a two, and perhaps the best jump shot in the draft. There is a lot to suggest that he could develop into a big time scorer in the NBA.
However, Anderson completely lacks the ability to create offense for himself. His handle is poor, and he generally doesn’t like to have the ball in his hands. His lack of ball handling skills will prevent him from being successful at the NBA level and will prevent him from becoming a lottery pick.
Projected Pick: The Bulls could use some scoring on the perimeter. I think he could be their selection at 17.