2010 NBA Mock Draft: Who is the First International Player Selected?
As the NBA Draft Lottery has passed and the draft order is set, it's time to get a better look and feel off what each team can do in the draft.
Millions of people from all over the world will be trying to predict who goes where, as the draft quickly approaches.
Speaking of all over the world, what about those international guys? Some of them can play; at least that's what the NBA shows with players like Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, and former top pick, Andrea Bargnani.
It may take some time to adjust to the NBA game, but international players have the talent to do so, as has history shown.
So, who will be the first international youngster taken? Where will he be playing?
It's all here in my NBA Mock Draft!
1.) Washington Wizards: John Wall, Kentucky
This shouldn't be a big surprise or anything; John Wall is a special player, and a player of his caliber is a rarity.
Heck, he's the most anticipated NBA prospect since the high school days of LeBron.
The Wizards have Gilbert Arenas waiting to come back, and many question their ability to co-exist with one another, but either way, you have to go with Wall here.
I'm one of the few that actually think that Wall and Arenas would go great together, but that's just my opinion.
2.) Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, Ohio State
Like Wall, Evan Turner isn't a surprise at pick two. In fact, Wall and Turner are basically set in stone at the two top picks; it just depends on who woos the scouts and teams more.
While I have Wall as the first pick, I believe Turner is the best player in this draft, and who can argue with that?
Turner can play three different positions, and he's a threat to put up a triple-double each night.
Questions arise as to whether he and Andre Iguodala can play alongside each other, but why would you question that? The two could grow into one of the best duos in the game, bringing hope to Philadelphia basketball again.
Just don't pass on Turner here, and you should be fine.
3.) New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
All New Jersey Nets fans are upset that they failed to get the top pick in the lottery and the chance to get John Wall. However, the third pick isn't so bad, especially if you're in need of athleticism.
Derrick Favors may emerge from this draft as the most athletic big man, if not player, in the entire draft. If you saw any of him at Georgia Tech this season, you'll know what I mean.
Favors is used to being at the top of basketball rankings, as he was one of the top players in the 2009 recruiting class. That's why I like him for the long term: he can live up to expectations.
Put him in the lineup with Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, and, possibly LeBron James or another big free agent, and the Nets are a very nice looking team with a bright future.
4.) Minnesota Timberwolves: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
There are plenty of directions that the Timberwolves could go here, but I think they go with a center in DeMarcus Cousins. This is primarily because they can get a shooting guard and/or small forward later in the first round.
With Kevin Love and Al Jefferson both being more of power forwards, it is just logical to take Cousins here. Now, Minnesota has a very big and talented post game.
If you are Kurt Rambis and the Wolves, you have to hope that this kid keeps his emotions intact, and also behaves himself, in a big city like Minneapolis.
However, it could be worse I guess.
Minnesota could do a lot here, but with the rest of the centers in the draft being rather raw and having more potential than anything, I see them making sure they get a more developed guy like DeMarcus Cousins.
I'm not saying Cousins is fully developed, because he still has a long way to go if he wants to be a star in the NBA.
5.) Sacramento Kings: Greg Monroe, Georgetown
In recent drafts, the Sacramento Kings have landed players like Tyreke Evans, who was recently crowned as the NBA's Rookie of the Year.
On the other hand, they've also landed guys like Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson who haven't really fulfilled their expectations. Nevertheless, both guys have gotten better over the years, especially Thompson, but the Kings need a guy that they can rely on down low.
At pick five, that guy should be the versatile Greg Monroe.
Monroe has played in the Princeton offense during his tenure at Georgetown and put up close to triple-double numbers. And for that offense, he scored a decent amount.
Once he hits the NBA, I think his scoring ability will improve, and if he's playing alongside a point guard like Evans, he'll have a good career.
Land Greg Monroe here and the Sacramento Kings have two very nice pieces for the future, for they could ultimately become automatic stars together.
6.) Golden State Warriors: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
Ah, the up-beat, non-resistant Golden State Warrior offense. Nothing like it out there today. But could they go with a defensive guy here at six?
Wesley Johnson seems to fit right in with the Warriors with his speed, athleticism, ability to run the floor, and a pretty nice (but simple) offensive arsenal.
However, Johnson is a great defensive player, and we all know the Warriors are hesitant to play defense.
So would they go with Johnson here?
They need to get some young players at the small forward position, and you can argue that Al-Farouq Aminu is still on the board, but I don't think Don Nelson can pass on Wesley Johnson here.
Johnson has great leadership qualities, and with the way Golden State is going right now, they may need some reliable, good-character guys like Johnson.
It looks like the Warriors will just take what falls right here: not much they can do in my opinion.
Not a bad pick though.
7.) Detroit Pistons: Cole Aldrich, Kansas
With Jason Maxiell as the Pistons' starting center, it looks like they could use a taller guy to help out down low. Cole Aldrich could be the guy that steps in to help.
Aldrich may not be the flashiest or most popular guy, but night after night he goes out and gets the job done. And with the players the Pistons already have on their roster, that's all they need.
Detroit isn't as bad as their record shows, as they have plenty of good players on the team, like Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, and Charlie Villanueva. It's just all about bringing it together as a team.
Cole Aldrich could end up being a very good NBA center, especially in the rebounding and shot blocking departments.
He still has work to do, but he is one of the most experienced big men the draft has to offer.
8.) Los Angeles Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Yes fans, here's the next victim of the Clippers' Curse!
Al-Farouq Aminu seems to fit right in with the Los Angeles Clippers, especially since they are in need of a small forward, with Travis Outlaw and Rasual Butler being the head guys right now.
If they can get everyone healthy, the Clippers could be contending in the future, if not next season. With Baron Davis running the team, and young guys like Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, Aminu just seems to fit right in.
I don't really see another position for the Clippers to look at here, and Aminu probably is the best available, so they need to take advantage of it...
Even if it does mean endangering the talented Al-Farouq Aminu.
9.) Utah Jazz: Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
With Carlos Boozer and his free agent status, the Utah Jazz could use a defensive big man to help pick up the slack of Mehmet Okur and Paul Millsap. Former Kentucky power forward Patrick Patterson would be a great choice at this pick.
Patterson has lived in the shadow of the talented Kentucky freshman for the past year, but once he hits the NBA, I think all will realize the great player he has truly become.
In just one year with John Calipari, Patterson was able to improve his skills and intangibles, and that is why I like him in the NBA.
Patterson has been a riser as of late, so don't be surprised if he goes earlier, but I like him right here with the Jazz. They seem like a pretty nice fit.
10.) Indiana Pacers: Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania
Over the past couple of years, critics have become concerned with the number of whites that Larry Bird has drafted/acquired, and because of that, it leads me to this pick: Donatas Motiejunas.
Motiejunas is the first international prospect to come off the board in my mock, and I think most experts will agree with me on it.
Like every other International player, I'm not really fond of Motiejunas, but I'm always reminded of the guys like Dirk Nowitzki, who have proven scouts and experts wrong about their ability to play the game.
The Pacers could use another big man to go down low, playing either center or power forward, because you never know if Troy Murphy will be in Indianapolis for much longer.
With Motiejunas, the Pacers will have a big problem for other coaches to solve because of his ability to move, as well as dribble and play on the outside.
However, the Pacers might possibly have to wait for him to come over to the States, just like the Timberwolves had to do last year with Ricky Rubio.
Motiejunas could turn out to be a great player with his impressive intangibles, but he'll have to get stronger and adapt to the NBA game.
11.) New Orleans Hornets: Ed Davis, North Carolina
Like the Pistons, the Hornets aren't really the type of team their record shows. It just happens to be a little deceiving because of the injury to Chris Paul.
David West isn't guaranteed to stick around in New Orleans, so I think Ed Davis is a must-pick here.
Due to his injured wrist late in the season, I'm hesitant to put Davis any higher, and I'm sure other team scouts, coaches, and officials will feel the same way.
However, from what we have seen, Davis looks to have great potential.
Honestly, I don't like the guy, and he definitely didn't do himself a favor by coming out early after missing the last six weeks of the season. Many people don't know what he has to bring now, so if he wants to go any higher, he'll have to impress in workouts.
Don't be surprised if you see him drop due to injury concerns on draft day.
12.) Memphis Grizzlies: Paul George, Fresno State
Paul George is one of the relatively unknown guys in this draft, but he continues to rise up the big boards of NBA experts. As for me, I have him falling to Memphis at 12.
With Rudy Gay's future unknown, the Grizzlies could use a small forward, and George seems to be the best guy available right here for them.
Apparently he impressed many scouts during the NBA Draft Combine, and he has received a good bit of buzz, positive buzz at that.
I don't see him sneaking into the Top 10, but watch for Paul George to be picked anywhere from pick 10 to around 17.
13.) Toronto Raptors: Xavier Henry, Kansas
Finally, Xavier Henry makes the list.
There's always a player that can go anywhere between as many as ten picks, and in this draft, Henry is the guy.
A couple of teams before pick 13 could use a shooting guard, but maybe they have a bigger need elsewhere. Anyway, Henry falls in at 13 to the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto could use another good shooter, and DeMar DeRozan may be better suited to play small forward, so that opens the door for them to get Xavier Henry here.
Xavier Henry has a chance to be one of the best players to come out of this draft, and the later he goes, the better he may be.
14.) Houston Rockets: Hassan Whiteside, Marshall
Hassan Whiteside is a huge project and will take some time to develop, but he hasn't really helped himself thus far.
At the combine, Whiteside chose not to workout and show scouts what he could do, but instead, he only plans to do private workouts. He would have done himself a favor working out with everyone, but oh well.
However, Whiteside is confident he will not fall out of the lottery because the Houston Rockets are crazy about him.
Even Hakeem Olajuwon has jumped in to work out with him, and The Dream gave team officials a huge thumbs up. So, there must be something that he possesses if it gets the attention of an all-time great, like Olajuwon.
It may take some work, but this kid has a chance to be a big NBA player in the future.
15.) Milwaukee Bucks: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
Ekpe Udoh is one of my big risers so far, compared to my last mock draft, and with good reason.
Ekpe Udoh is a great athlete and if he can get his skills refined, he could a mighty fine NBA power forward.
Udoh plays stellar defense, is a tenacious rebounder, and fortunately for some NBA team, his offense is coming along.
The Bucks have a couple of great players on their roster, like Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut. But if they can get Udoh onboard, and he progresses and keeps getting better, the Bucks could have a very nice future ahead of them.
He may be better suited to go to a veteran team and learn the ropes, but Milwaukee may have other plans, and may not be able to pass him up here.
Ekpe Udoh could be a great player, but he'll just need some time to mold into the player he can be.
16.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Avery Bradley, Texas
The young Avery Bradley is another guy that has risen up my board, as he impressed scouts during the combine a couple of weeks ago.
Assuming the Timberwolves get DeMarcus Cousins at pick four, they'll need either a point guard/shooting guard or a small forward, and ultimately, I think they find value with Bradley here and pick him up.
Also, small forwards are at a premium later on as the First Round will come to an end.
Bradley has the ability to play either the one or the two, but I, for one, like him as a point guard.
Bradley is another kid I thought should have stayed in school another year, but somehow he has proved me wrong, and it seems to look like other NBA teams like him as well.
There's no telling where Avery Bradley could go, but with all the Timberwolves' needs, don't be surprised if they go after him early to put alongside Johnny Flynn and (hopefully) Ricky Rubio.
If they don't like Bradley, or either of the other two young point guards they have, they could always use one for trade bait.
17.) Chicago Bulls: James Anderson, Oklahoma State
Despite James Anderson's rising stock as of late, I don't think he'll go as high as some others project. However, I think he fits in perfectly with the Chicago Bulls.
With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah leading the Bulls right now, a shooting guard like Anderson would only make the Bulls better.
Anderson should be able to succeed alongside Rose, as they would make a great drive and kick duo.
If the Bulls can land James Anderson, they will continue their great recent success of drafting, as shown by Noah, Rose, and Taj Gibson, who has fared better off than anyone expected in Chicago.
18.) Miami Heat: Larry Sanders, VCU
Some think the Heat need a new point guard because Mario Chalmers is on his way out. Others are just forgetting about the draft because they want to keep Dwayne Wade around in Miami, and rightfully so.
Here, I don't think they can pass up Larry Sanders and his athleticism.
The Heat already have the young Michael Beasley at he power forward position, but Sanders has the ability to play both the four and the five, and with Jermaine O'Neal probable to be let go, they'll need to add more depth.
Sure, Eric Bledsoe is available, but I don't see them getting him here.
19.) Boston Celtics: Luke Babbitt, Nevada
Despite having aging veterans, the Celtics found some way to get to the NBA Finals. Yet, they also have a top 20 pick. You don't see that every year.
With all the veterans on board in Boston, the Celtics have an array of places to go here. So why not try to kill two birds with one stone?
Luke Babbitt may be the most popular risers over the past few weeks. Some even have him going in the lottery. I can't go with him that high, but with his versatility, he seems like a prime candidate for the Boston Celtics.
While I don't think he can hold his own down low at the four, he looks to have a promising career as a small forward, and who better to learn under than one of the league's best, Paul Pierce.
Can't think of a team I'd rather be born into as far as the players are concerned.
He'll have all the leadership here and he won't have to have so much pressure at first. Seems like a great fit for Babbitt.
20.) San Antonio Spurs: Armon Johnson, Nevada
This may come as a question mark to some, but allow me to elaborate.
I'll be honest, I'm not a big of Armon Johnson, but he has the experience and ability to play at the point and as a shooting guard, so it is likely that many teams in the range of picks 20-30 will be coveting Johnson.
As for the Spurs here, who else to let him learn behind than stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili?
It isn't a given that Roger Mason, Jr. and the up-and-coming George Hill will be around for much longer, so they may need some insurance here, and Johnson is a great backup plan.
Like I said, I'm not a big fan, but if he ends up in the right spot, he could be a nice star.
21.) Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Orton, Kentucky
This youngster may be the most risky prospect to pick from this draft, and rightfully so, as we have seen absolutely nothing from him!
Still, he finds some way to sneak into the First Round, and some even have talked about Daniel Orton as a lottery pick.
While I'm not really fond of a kid that barely played at Kentucky and didn't prove anything, he has a pretty good chance to go high. I like him right here at 21 with the Thunder.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were literally one box-out away from possibly beating the Los Angeles Lakers, and pulling the epic First Round upset. Unfortunately, that box-out was missed, and Pau Gasol shot the Lakers in to the next round.
This is where Orton comes in; if there's one thing we know, it's that the kid is big and he has the potential to be a big-time NBA center.
It would help if we saw more of Orton from college, but unfortunately, we can't.
For all we know, he could be one of the best players to be drafted, or he could be one of the biggest mistakes a team's front office makes.
22.) Portland Trailblazers: Gordon Hayward, Butler
One of our many "Baby-Faced Assassins", Gordon Hayward, really surprised people when he decided to put his name in the draft. Even more surprising, it's possible he could be an early pick.
The Blazers are in need of some talented small forwards, as Nicolas Batum and Martell Webster aren't some of the best options, but they will do for now.
So, why not go after a small forward, and the best one on the board here, in my opinion, is Hayward.
The biggest question with Hayward is how he will translate to the NBA game?
He has the potential to be a great player, but does he have the speed, agility, and the ability to guard some of the best players the NBA has to offer?
Nevertheless, Hayward brings great leadership qualities and he will be an ideal icon on and off the court for a team.
23.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
This pick concludes the Timberwolves draft, which I think could (and did in this mock draft) take another huge step toward rebuilding this franchise. The last piece is none other than West Virginia guard/forward, Devin Ebanks.
You can say that they don't need another shooting guard or small forward, but I think they would do this just to be safe. An even better reason would be that Ebanks has great value at this pick, so I don't see how you can pass him up.
Ebanks would fit in right with the young Corey Brewer, who has a similar games.
If this indeed does happen, we could see a scary lineup in the future: Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, DeMarcus Cousins, Ebanks, Kevin Love, and Al Jefferson. Sounds pretty solid to me.
24.) Atlanta Hawks: Terrico White, Ole Miss
With the Hawks' disappointing meltdown against the Magic in the NBA Playoffs, it looks more and more evident that star Joe Johnson will not be returning to the ATL next year.
Because of that, I say that they go after a combo guard who has really been rising as of late, Terrico White.
Jamal Crawford will need a backup if, indeed, Joe Johnson does decide to go elsewhere, but the best thing is, White can also help Mike Bibby and Jeff Teague hold down the point, especially if one of the two are under-achieving.
White has the ability to be a very nice NBA player, it just depends on if he develops correctly, and if he continues to improve.
The Hawks could also pick up Dominique Jones here if needed, as he is a scoring bomb waiting to explode.
Either way, a guard is needed, and I say go for Terrico White here.
25.) Memphis Grizzlies: Dominique Jones, South Florida
Like I said in the previous slide, Dominique Jones has a chance to be a huge scorer in the NBA, just as he was at South Florida.
There are nights that he can just come in and take over a game, and honestly, I'm really surprised he isn't higher on others' boards.
From what I've seen from this kid, I think he will develop into a very successful NBA player. He has the body and play that makes him look so appealing.
On another note, Jones could really help the Grizzlies on the defensive end of the floor.
Don't be surprised if this kid ends up being a steal for an NBA team, and in this case, the Memphis Grizzlies at 25.
26.) Oklahoma City Thunder: Damion James, Texas
Damion James is another guy who I'm really surprised about not being high on people's boards. In my opinion, a lucky team will get another steal.
James could emerge from this draft as the best defensive player it had to offer, and he could easily become a defensive specialist. He really reminds me of a Shane Battier player, but with a better offensive arsenal.
The veteran small forward is one of the few guys that you can get from this draft who is very mature and physically ready to play in the NBA. Now I'm not saying there aren't places to improve, but I really believe Damion James could be thrown into an NBA game and he could do as well as any other rookie.
Like Jones, watch for Damion James to be a steal in this draft.
27.) New Jersey Nets: Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
Just to be honest and blunt about it, Lance Stephenson never should have entered the draft! He could have easily improved his play with another year in college, but I guess we'll see what happens.
But with the first round coming to an end, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Nets take a jump at Stephenson; he is a New York guy and grew up around the Brooklyn area. So why not bring the homecooking with a pick?
Just to clarify, I think Stephenson could be a very good NBA player. However, he would have done himself a big favor holding out in college one more year.
But for this kid to get where he is now, when compared to his days in high school, I think he'll take what he can get.
28.) Memphis Grizzlies: Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Finally, the Memphis Grizzlies' First Round comes to an end here. Quietly, the Grizzlies could have a very nice draft if they make the right picks in the right situations.
In their previous picks, I have them going after a shooting guard and a small forward, so they should stay away from both here.
With the recent rumors about the troublesome Zack Randolph, they could use another power forward, and Gani Lawal seems to have pretty good value here.
I would stay away from guys like Whiteside and Sanders at 13, especially with their recent history with Hasheem Thabeet. So right here, if Lawal doesn't pan out, there isn't that big of a loss. At least not as big as a 13th overall pick or anything.
Lawal has really grown since he first stepped foot on Georgia Tech's campus, and if he can get the right coaching, he could be a very nice pickup for the Grizzlies.
29.) Orlando Magic: Quincy Pondexter, Washington
Orlando has a great team already heading into next season, as they had a very good chance to get to the NBA Finals, but were up-ended by the championship-driven Celtics.
Point is, they don't have a ton of holes to fill. However, there is one need that sticks out.
Small forward wasn't a strong point for the Magic, but it didn't hold them back either. Matt Barnes is rumored to be opting out, and that leaves just Mickael Pietrus to fill the missing void.
So why not go out and get a very strong offensive player from the west coast in Quincy Pondexter?
Pondexter had a great season in the Pac-10, which really disappointed fans, but either way, there were good teams out there, and Pondexter tore them up.
I think a small forward here is a must for the Magic, and Quincy Pondexter could be a nice asset to have once the season gets going.
30.) Washinton Wizards: Craig Brackins, Iowa State
This young star may be as unknown as there is out there, but former Iowa State power forward Craig Brackins is really a great talent.
The Wizards could use a power forward to accompany the developing star Andray Blatche, and I think Brackins would be a great pickup this late in the draft.
Brackins has a great rebounding skill that is hard to teach, so if he does anything in the NBA, it will be rebound.
And I'm not saying he can't score, because he can. After all, he was the primary scorer for Iowa State last season.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Brackins picked later, but if I were the Wizards here with the previous picks, I'd have to go Brackins here.
Craig Brackins could end up being one of those second rounders that develop into stars, like Carlos Boozer and Michael Redd.