Electric point guard John Wall will be taken with the No. 1 pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2010 NBA Draft, even though there is question whether he could mesh with guard Gilbert Arenas.
All indications are that versatile guard Evan Turner will be taken with the second pick by the Philadelphia 76ers, even though that would complicate matters, considering they already have shooting guard Andre Iguodala in place and under a hefty contract.
But after that, it is a crapshoot.
Many power forwards are expected to be taken in the lottery. A few small forwards are expected to be picked as well during that time. It is just a matter of who goes where.
With the first two selections set in stone, here now is my mock draft for the remainder of the lottery and brief predictions for the rest of the first round:
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors (Power Forward/Center–Georgia Tech)
The Nets would love Turner to fall to them, but their next biggest need is frontcourt size. Favors is very athletic, with a tremendous work ethic and equally impressive offensive moves.
He would fit nicely with power forward/center Brook Lopez, who is currently the cornerstone of their franchise.
Unless they surprisingly reach for a small forward or guard, taking a big man would hurt their chances of signing Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, or Amar’e Stoudemire this offseason. The good thing is that Favors has the potential to put up their nightly statistics down the road.
They are also high on DeMarcus Cousins , a rival of Favors and whom he has battled for years.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson (Small Forward–Syracuse)
The Timberwolves, under the helm of General Manager David Kahn, will most likely screw up this pick and take Greg Monroe or Cousins.
Why would that be idiotic? They already have two young power forward/centers to build around, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.
A few weeks ago, Minnesota tried to pry Nicolas Batum away from the Portland Trail Blazers, baiting them with this selection. Portland turned them down, but it was clear by their inquiry that the Timberwolves want a small forward.
Johnson would fit the mold. He’s lanky, excels defensively, and has a more polished offensive game than Batum. He doesn’t have the I.Q. of Batum, but few do. He could in time.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins (Power Forward–Kentucky)
The Kings have taken plenty of power forward/centers over the past few years. Jason Thompson seems entrenched in as their power forward of the future, but though they just traded Spencer Hawes to the 76ers for center Samuel Dalembert, Cousins is too good to pass up.
He’s one of the more talented players in the draft. A very powerful offensive player, and though he has had his attitude questioned, his positives outweigh the baggage. If he falls to Sacramento, look for them to snatch him up.
6. Golden State Warriors : Greg Monroe (Center–Georgetown)
They want him, and all indications are he will be available. The team needs a big man who can run the floor and pass out to the wings.
Monroe showed great passing skills with the Hoyas, a deft touch around the basket, and defensive ability the Warriors have only heard about.
7. Detroit Pistons : Ed Davis (Forward–North Carolina)
The Pistons would love to see one of the bigger power forwards fall to them, as they have historically been after very physical, defensive-minded players. Davis is long and talented, but is somewhat of a project.
He has the chance to be good down the road, but like Al-Farouq Aminu and Epke Udoh, he will need a couple of years to bulk up and polish many aspects of his game.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Gordon Hayward (Small Forward–Butler)
Hayward made an excellent name for himself in the NCAA Tournament. He’s intelligent, can create his own shot, and is overall fundamentally sound.
The Clippers have Blake Griffin set as their power forward of the future, and Eric Gordon in place as their shooting guard.
Taking Hayward would give them another piece of their rebuilding puzzle. His attributes offensively would fit nicely with those of Griffin and Gordon.
9. Utah Jazz: Luke Babbitt (Small Forward–Nevada)
This is a perfect match for many reasons. Babbitt have many qualities Jazz coach Jerry Sloan desires. He has superb range, can create for himself, has surprising explosiveness, takes pride in playing defense, and has a high basketball IQ.
He’s current Jazz shooting guard and impending free-agent Kyle Korver and then some.
10. Indiana Pacers: Epke Udoh (Power Forward–Baylor)
I’m not trying to be racist; it is just something I’ve noticed over the years: The Pacers enjoy taking white players.
Udoh should break this pattern if he isn’t taken earlier. He’s very similar to Davis. He’s a bit more built, but other than that they have very similar styles of play.
He has a solid mid-range jumper, explosiveness, good post moves, a knack for rebounding, and shot-blocking ability.
The Pacers need an athletic big who can stretch the floor and make the hustle plays. Pairing him alongside center Roy Hibbert could create a dynamic frontline.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Al Farouq Aminu (Power Forward–Wake Forest)
If New Orleans can find a taker for the ridiculous contract of Emeka Okafor, then going big is definitely in the cards. Even if they can’t (which is likely), I still believe then will go target a power forward.
With the others gone by this pick, Aminu would be the ideal choice. They could go with shooting guard Xavier Henry, as both Peja Stojakovic and James Posey are aging, but adding a low-post threat would give Chris Paul (or Darren Collison if Paul is traded) another player to feed the ball into down low.
Aminu is a mix between a power forward and small forward, and has the ability to create and run the floor as a guard would.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Paul George (Small Forward–Fresno State)
Memphis will most likely lose Rudy Gay to free-agency, so adding George, who is thought of very highly by many experts, would be a savvy replacement.
He’s a deadly shooter but is also an aggressor. He’s lanky, built like the Blazers’ Batum.
The Grizzlies like players with three-point range but also with his type of versatility. He should be around at this selection, and look for them to take him.
Memphis could also target Xavier Henry if he is still on the board.
13. Toronto Raptors: Xavier Henry (Shooting Guard–Kansas)
He has top-10 talent in a prototypical shooting-guard build. I have the Raptors taking him because they are perimeter-oriented. Also, Henry could bring a defensive intensity everyone on their current roster currently lacks.
If Toronto does trade for the Blazers Rudy Fernandez as rumored , they could go big and draft Patrick Patterson to help replace the production of Chris Bosh, an impending free-agent who is expected to go elsewhere.
14. Houston Rockets: Damion James (Power Forward–Texas).
Last year, the Rockets traded immensely valuable power forward Carl Landry and didn’t acquire a replacement. James could be that replacement.
He’s a very talented big, with a physical game and good offensive and defensive skills. It was clear the Rockets missed Landry’s presence. James has the ability to duplicate his production and then some.
(End of Lottery)
15. Chicago Bulls: Cole Aldrich (Center–Kansas)
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Larry Sanders (Power Forward–Virginia Commonwealth). The power forward they don’t need. Expect David Kahn to do this or select another big man.
17. Chicago Bulls: Avery Bradley (Guard–Texas)
18. Miami Heat: Eric Bledsoe (Guard–Kentucky)
20. San Antonio Spurs: Daniel Orton (Center–Kentucky)
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Anderson (Guard–Oklahoma State)
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jordan Crawford (Guard–Xavier)
24. Atlanta Hawks: Dominique Jones (Guard–South Florida)
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Eliot Williams (Guard–Duke)
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Trevor Booker (Power Forward–Clemson)