In my first mock draft, and in nearly every early mock draft, Evan Turner was the number two pick, headed to Philadelphia.
But over the last few weeks, I have begun to read more and more reports that the 76ers may be thinking (over-thinking) of going in a different direction. In my opinion, Turner, is the no-brainer pick at #2, but as of now, it doesn't look like that will definitely happen.
My first mock draft was based mostly on what teams should do, under my theory teams should draft for talent first and need second. Now, with draft workouts and interviews under way, this second mock draft is more a reflection of what teams might be thinking.
In addition to Turner possibly falling out of the number two position, here are some other changes since my first mock draft:
Stock on the rise: Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada; Avery Bradley, PG, Texas; Paul George, SF, Fresno State; Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler.
Stock falling: Damion James, SF, Texas; Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania; Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall.
Additions to the first round: Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State; Keith Gallon, PF, Texas.
Dropouts from the first round: Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis (was 28 to Memphis); Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia (was 30 to Washington).
PG, 6'4, 19, Kentucky
Pick in my original mock draft: John Wall
Wall's position in my original mock draft: #1, Washington
There will be no suspense at the top of the draft. Ignore any article saying otherwise or manufacturing a reason for the Wizards not to take Wall—such as Wall won't be able to play with Arenas. I don't see that being a problem, but even if it was, you do not pass on a player like Wall because you already have another player at the position who will be coming off a major suspension and happens to be rather injury prone.
PF, 6'10, 18, Georgia Tech
Pick in my original mock draft: Evan Turner
Favor's position in my original mock draft: #3, New Jersey
While there is no suspense with the top pick, and there shouldn't be with the second pick, it is starting to look otherwise.
The reasons: The Sixers already have Andre Iguodala and his large contract. I don't agree at all with that reasoning. Turner could play the small forward spot and Iguodala can remain as the shooting guard. Also, Iguodala is a good player, but he is no better now than he was four years ago. He is never going to be a star. Turner could very easily be the type of player you build around.
Also, don't the Sixers already have Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembrt, Thaddeus Young, and Marreese Speights?
Favors may turn into a great player. But he will need some time to adjust to the NBA, whereas Turner can step in immediately. The pressure has to be on the Sixers to win soon. With Philly being a football crazed town, and the success of the Phillies and Flyers, the Sixers could be in danger of falling completely off the map in Philadelphia with another poor season.
Lastly, if the Sixers are not taking Turner - they need to make a trade. Trade down and also try to move some of that log jam (an overpaid log jam) they already have at the power forward/center position.
SF, 6'8, 22, Syracuse
Pick in my original mock draft: Derrick Favors
Johnson's position in my original mock draft: #6, Golden State
This is where Turner's slide continues. For the Nets, assuming they are not going to get LeBron, they are a team that will be in no rush. Their new owner has said he does not want a quick fix. Because of that, Johnson may make a little more sense for New Jersey here.
Johnson, a very athletic wing player who can play defense, rebound, knock down the three, and finish at the rim, needs a little more polishing. He is 22 and is not far off, though. He showed great improvement in 2010, after sitting out 2009 after transferring from Iowa State. If that improvement can continue, New Jersey will be very happy with this selection.
SG, 6'7, 21, Ohio State
Pick in my original mock draft: Al-Farouq Aminu
Turner's position in my original mock draft: #2, Philadelphia
I am becoming convinced that Turner ends up in Minnesota. While the Sixers are wavering, the Timberwolves are reportedly infatuated with the Buckeye. If they can get Turner at number four, it will be the happiest day in Minnesota basketball in a long time.
But the Timberwolves have three first round picks and a number of other possible pieces to put together to try to move up if need be. Because of that, I see Minnesota finding some way to make sure they get their man.
As for Turner, I believe any team that gets him will be very happy. He may be the player most ready to contribute right away and can play either the shooting guard or small forward position. He can do it all on the basketball court: shoot, pass, rebound, and play defense.
SF, 6'9, 19, Wake Forest
Pick in my original mock draft: DeMarcus Cousins
Aminu's position in my original mock draft: #4, Minnesota
If Aminu winds up in Sacramento, he will be a great fit along side Tyreke Evans and Carl Landry. Aminu can play either forward spot and is possibly the best athlete in the draft. The Kings could also look at the center position and DeMarcus Cousins. But I believe due to the mounting off-the-court concerns with Cousins, the Kings will take Aminu, and try to address the center spot via a trade or free agency.
C, 6'11, 19, Kentucky
Pick in my original mock draft: Wesley Johnson
Cousin's position in my original mock draft: #5, Sacramento
I could see Cousins going anywhere from second to sixth, but he will not get past Golden State. It varies on what report you are reading, but either Cousins is making teams realize that the concerns about him are really not all that true, or they are just the tip of the iceberg. Par for the course during draft time.
But all it takes is one team to love a player, and that appears to be Golden State. Cousins is a big man with potential to be the best player from this draft and a dominant center. Those players don't come around often, and when they do, they don't stick around too long in the draft.
PF, 6'11, 19, Georgetown
Pick in my original mock draft: Cole Aldrich
Monroe's position in my original mock draft: #9, Utah
Joe Dumars is trying to rebuild the Pistons but after back-to-back disappointing seasons, Detroit could want help quickly. That is why Monroe may make the most sense. Of all the big men in the draft, Monroe may be the one most ready to play in the NBA.
He can play power forward or center and has great overall basketball skills for a big man. The knock on Monroe is that he had the tendency at Georgetown to disappear. If Detroit can be convinced that those concerns won't surface in the NBA, then Monroe will be their pick.
PF, 6'10, 18, Georgia Tech
Pick in my original mock draft: Ed Davis
Davis' position in my original mock draft: #8, Clippers
I had Davis going to the Clippers in my original mock draft and I do not see that changing. The Clippers traded Marcus Camby during the season and need to fill that hole.
Davis is a very athletic big man who still needs some polish. That is why I think he fits well with the Clippers. L.A. has Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin, which will allow Davis some time to develop.
They will likely narrow their choice down to Davis, Greg Monroe, or Baylor's Ekpe Udoh. But ultimately, I see them taking Davis.
PF, 6'10, 22, Baylor
Pick in my original mock draft: Greg Monroe
Udoh's position in my original mock draft: #10, Indiana
The Jazz very likely will lose Carlos Boozer this offseason and they should have a number of options with the ninth pick of players to try to fill that void. Udoh is a work in progress at the offensive end, but he also showed he is on the right path.
From his freshman to his sophomore seasons at Baylor, he improved his scoring by nearly eight points per game and his rebounding by nearly five points per game.
C, 6'10, 21, Kansas
Pick in my original mock draft: Ekpe Udoh
Aldrich's position in my original mock draft: #7, Detroit
The Pacers have many needs, and most glaring may be at the point guard position. But to take a point guard with the tenth pick would require a major stretch, so this could be a pick that gets traded to allow Indiana move down and also address some of their other needs.
However, as I just stated, Indiana does have many needs and if they keep the pick they will take center Cole Aldrich from Kansas.
The Pacers will like that with Aldrich, they know what they will be getting. It is unlikely Aldrich will ever be a star, but he will be a solid contributor. He averaged a double double as a sophomore and junior and has shown good touch for a seven footer.
PF, 6'8, 21, Kentucky
Pick in my original mock draft: Donatas Motiejunas
Patterson's position in my original mock draft: #13, Toronto
The Hornets will be hoping that Cole Aldrich falls to them, and if he is available, they will grab him. But I don't see that happening. Their next option very well could be Kentucky's Patrick Patterson.
Patterson was an old man on the Kentucky team, a junior last season. He could help New Orleans get back on track after missing the playoffs last year as he could be a nice ready-to-contribute addition for the Hornets. Reports are that Patterson impressed many teams at the pre-draft workouts in Chicago and also measured very well, which is why I see him moving up in the draft from where I had him originally.
SF, 6'8, 20, Butler
Pick in my original mock draft: Hassan Whiteside
Hayward's position in my original mock draft: #16, Minnesota
Hayward's stock sky-rocketed during the NCAA Tournament and it has not slowed down. Hayward's shooting ability should do one of two things for Memphis—open things up around the rim for post players and guards slashing to the hoop, or if his man tries to help, Hayward should get plenty of open looks. Either way, he is a good fit for Memphis.
C, 6'10, 19, Kentucky
Pick in my original mock draft: Patrick Patterson
Orton's position in my original mock draft: #14, Houston
One prediction of mine that I am sure will come true —Chris Bosh will not be a Toronto Raptor next season. I know, I am really going out on a limb. The Raptors will need to replace Bosh. While Orton is a long way from Bosh, he has the potential to be an impact player in the middle within a few seasons.
SG, 6'7, 19, Kansas
Pick in my original mock draft: Daniel Orton
Henry's position in my original mock draft: #15, Milwaukee
Eight of the top 13 picks in the draft very well could be power forwards or centers. Houston needs such a player, but it is unlikely any of those top big men will fall to fourteen. If one does, I expect the Rockets to snatch him up. If not, this pick very well could be traded, allowing Houston to move down to get a big man instead of reaching for one at 14.
Whoever picks here, the best player available is Xavier Henry. He wowed the scouts at the draft camp with his shooting skills and has been labeled by some draft experts as having top-ten talent. With Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier, Houston does not need another wing player. But other teams do and they will be eager to pick him at 14.
SF, 6'9, 20, Fresno State
Pick in my original mock draft: Xavier Henry
George's position in my original mock draft: #19, Boston
The Bucks will likely look to add a wing player in the draft, especially if John Salmons opts out and moves on to a new team. That could make the Bucks a team that may try to move up to grab Xavier Henry. If that can't happen, George would be a very good second option.
At small forward, he is bigger than Henry, but can shoot nearly as well. Milwaukee could move Carlos Delfino to shooting guard and slide George into the starter's role at small forward. George should fit in perfectly in Milwaukee, as the Bucks look to surround Andrew Bogut with shooters.
SF, 6'9, 20, Nevada
Pick in my original mock draft: Gordon Hayward
Babbitt's position in my original mock draft: #22, Portland
This is a difficult pick to predict because if Minnesota needs to move up to get Evan Turner, this pick would very likely be part of any deal. But for now, let's assume it is Minnesota making the selection.
I could see Babbitt being the pick, as Minnesota tries to find a shooter that can be a kick-out option for Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. He is going to have to find a way to improve his defense in order not to be a complete liability, but his scoring ability by itself will be too much for Minnesota to pass up if he is available at 16.
SG, 6'6, 21, Oklahoma State
Pick in my original mock draft: James Anderson
Anderson's position in my original mock draft: #17, Chicago
I have to guess that this pick would be easier for Chicago to make if they knew what LeBron or D-Wade was going to do. But either way, I think Anderson would be a smart selection. He is a great scorer and will benefit from playing in Chicago alongside Derrick Rose, and would still play a major role if one of those stars does decide to go to Chicago.
Anderson is a great scorer, but needs to work on his defense. If the reports are true that Tom Thibodeau will be the next coach in Chicago, then that should only help Anderson improve as a defender.
PG, 6'3, 19, Texas
Pick in my original mock draft: Damion James
Bradley's position in my original mock draft: #23, Minnesota
Bradley's stock is rising about as fast as anyone in this year's draft. I have seen Bradley going as high as pick ten to Indiana. I don't know if he goes that high, but it is definitely possible.
The Heat need to upgrade over Carlos Arroyo, and they were clearly unhappy with Mario Chalmbers in his second year, as his minutes were cut from 32 per game as a rookie to just 24 in 2010.
He is a great defender on the ball, has a solid mid-range game, and can be explosive around the rim. The biggest area he will need to improve on will be his 3-point shot, but if that develops, he will have nearly all the tools necessary to succeed in the NBA.
C, 7'0, 20, Marshall
Pick in my original mock draft: Paul George
Whiteside's position in my original mock draft: #12, Memphis
Whiteside's draft stock is falling after reportedly not impressing many teams in various interviews. But he is also 7'0'' with a seven-foot-seven wing span. That will be too much for Boston to pass up if Whiteside is available.
Regardless of how the Finals turn out, Boston's front court is aging rapidly between Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace. And while Kendrick Perkins is young, the Celtics could use an athletic big man who can easily finish around the rim when Rajon Rondo drives and dishes. Also, Whiteside's shot blocking (led NCAA in 2010) should help him fit in with Boston's defense-first mindset.
C, 7'1, 22, Florida State
Pick in my original mock draft: Solomon Alabi
Alabi's position in my original mock draft: #20, San Antonio
In my original mock draft, I had Alabi going to San Antonio, and the only way I don't see that happening is if Boston decides to take him instead of Hassan Whiteside.
Either way, I expect Whiteside and Alabi, in some order, to go back-to-back to the Celtics and then Spurs. Alabi is also a defensive center, who showed tremendous improvement at Florida State. Alabi always plays hard and is ready to continue to get better. I can't think of any better teachers for him than Tim Duncan and Greg Popovich.
PF, 7'0, 19, Lithuania
Pick in my original mock draft: Larry Sanders
Motiejunas' position in my original mock draft: #11, New Orleans
Motiejunas' stock is also falling, possibly out of concerns of when he will actually come to the NBA. There are also reports that depending on how far his stock falls, he may back out of the draft. But a chance to go to Oklahoma City at pick 21 should keep him in the draft.
He has been compared to Pau Gasol, and at only 19, has time to work on his strength, which right now is his biggest question mark.
SF, 6'8, 22, Texas
Pick in my original mock draft: Luke Babbitt
James' position in my original mock draft: #18, Miami
James appears to be falling also in the draft, possibly over questions of where he fits—is he a small forward or power forward? Regardless, his great effort in every game would make him a quality addition to Portland. He can defend either forward spot, and that should be enough to earn him minutes in Portland while his offensive game catches up.
SF, 6'11, 21, Virginia Commonwealth
Pick in my original mock draft: Avery Bradley
Sanders' position in my original mock draft: #21, Oklahoma City
This will be Minnesota's third pick in the first round. With their second pick, I had them taking Luke Babbitt, an offensive player who may struggle on defense. With Sanders, Minnesota goes the opposite direction—a tremendous defender who has to work on his offensive game.
And defense is an area Minnesota needs all the help it can get—the Timberwolves finished 29th in the NBA in 2010 in points allowed, at 107.8 per game.
PG, 6'2, 20, Kentucky
Pick in my original mock draft: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe's position in my original mock draft: #24, Atlanta
Atlanta fired its coach, is likely going to lose Joe Johnson, and Mike Bibby is 32 and coming off career lows in virtually every statistical category. That should all add up to Atlanta taking a step back next season and also needing to upgrade its point guard.
Bledsoe could be a steal at pick 24. Overshadowed by John Wall at Kentucky, Bledsoe is likely being underrated at this point. He has an NBA-ready build and is a very physical point guard.
PF, 6'10, 20, France
Pick in my original mock draft: Stanley Robinson
Seraphin's position in my original mock draft: #27, New Jersey
The Grizzlies have two first round picks. While they are obviously not a complete team, the two picks could give Memphis the luxury to take a foreign player who likely is at least a year away from coming to the NBA.
But the gamble could pay off. Seraphin played at a high level in France and impressed with his defense.
SF, 6'9, 21, Connecticut
Pick in my original mock draft: Willie Warren
Robinson's position in my original mock draft: #25, Memphis
Robinson was a four-year player at Connecticut. He is a very good defender who needs to work on his scoring. But with Kevin Durant, the Thunder have the scoring part covered and could use a defender like Robinson.
PF, 6'10, 22, Iowa State
Pick in my original mock draft: Kevin Seraphin
Brackin's position in my original mock draft: not picked in first round
If the Nets use the third pick on a wing player, either Evan Turner or Wesley Johnson, I see New Jersey then trying to address its front court needs with pick 27 by taking Brackins.
Brackins saw his stock plummet after a junior year on a bad Iowa State team where his statistics fell off from an outstanding sophomore year (went from 20 ppg to under 16 and his field-goal percentage fell from 47 percent to 42). Regardless, Brackins should help the Nets and could be a steal at pick 27.
SF, 6'7, 22, Washington
Pick in my original mock draft: Kevin Seraphin
Pondexter's position in my original mock draft: #29, Orlando
Memphis will be very happy if Pondexter is available at pick 28. He was a four-year player at Washington and as a senior averaged 19 points per game. He does everything well on the court with one exception—he is not a great shooter, although he has shown improvement. If he can find consistency as a shooter, Pondexter could be an All-Star.
PG, 6'4, 20, Oklahoma
Pick in my original mock draft: Quincy Pondexter
Warren's position in my original mock draft: #26, Oklahoma City
The Orlando Magic will be drafting after a disappointing end to their season in the playoffs. Orlando did get quality point guard play out of Jameer Nelson, but the series also showed that Orlando could use better depth at the position.
Warren could play point or shooting guard, and that versatility should be a great asset to Orlando coming off the bench to spot both guard positions. Talent-wise, Warren would be a bargain at pick 29. He does have questions about his attitude. That is why he is not going higher in the draft, but it won't cause Warren to fall out of the first round.
PF, 6'10, 19, Oklahoma
Pick in my original mock draft: Devin Ebanks
Gallon's position in my original mock draft: not picked in first round
After spending the top pick on point guard John Wall, the Wizards will then add depth to their front court at the end of the round, with Oklahoma's Gallon. He is a big, strong, physical big man who can also shoot from the perimeter.
But Keith "Tiny" Gallon does have two questions surrounding his game: he tends to fall in love with his jump shot and he has shown an inability to control his weight. He is trying to show prior to the draft that he will be in shape and stay that way. It is a risk, but it should be worth the gamble for the Nets.
1. Washington: John Wall, PG, Kentucky
2. Philadelphia: Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
3. New Jersey: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse
4. Minnesota: Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
5. Sacramento: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
6. Golden State: DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky
7. Detroit: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
8. L.A. Clippers: Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
9. Utah: Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor
10. Indiana: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
11. New Orleans: Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
12. Memphis: Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler
13. Toronto: Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky
14. Houston: Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
15. Milwaukee: Paul George, SF, Fresno State
16. Minnesota: Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada
17. Chicago: James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State
18. Miami: Avery Bradley, SG, Texas
19. Boston: Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
20. San Antonio: Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State
21. Oklahoma City: Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania
22. Portland: Damion James, SF, Texas
23. Minnesota: Larry Sanders, SF, Virgnia Commonwealth
24. Atlanta: Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky
25. Memphis: Kevin Seraphin, PF, France
26. Oklahoma City: Stanley Robinson, SF, Connecticut
27. New Jersey: Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State
28. Memphis: Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington
29. Orlando: Willie Warren, PG, Oklahoma
30. Washington: Keith Gallon, PF, Oklahoma