Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mock Draft 5.0

The NBA Lottery results were just announced and it's time for an update to the Mock Draft. Bulls leapfrogged 7 teams to steal the top pick, while Seattle dropped from #2 to #4. Here's an updated mock with a little commentary and a list of each team's key players they could build around or players with good trade value.

01. Bulls - Michael Beasley
6-9 235 SF Kansas St. Fr.
Bulls main weakness is inside scoring - draft Beasley and problem solved. They have the PG position covered with Hinrich so they reluctantly pass on hometown hero, Rose. This could change if they could deal Hinrich + one of their bigs for a low post scoring threat. If that happens, Rose is their guy.

Hinrich / Gordon / Sefolosha / Deng / Beasley / Noah / Thomas / Nochioni

02. Heat - Derrick Rose
6-3 195 PG Memphis Fr.
Rose is the default pick here and he happens to fill a Heat need. He and Wade instantly become one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Rose is a once in a decade type PG with rare athleticism and true PG skill - a combination that is hard too find. Think UCLA Baron Davis meets Deron Williams.

Rose / Wade / Wright / Marion

03. Timberwolves - Brook Lopez
7-0 260 C Stanford So.
Center is their biggest area of need and Lopez looks like he could be one of the better ones down the road. He is a tremendous shot blocker, has a consistent midrange jumper, and hustles every minute he is on the floor. He and Jefferson will make a great combination.

Foye / Brewer / Jefferson / Lopez

04. Super Sonics - O.J. Mayo
6-4 210 SG USC Fr.
They select best available player here. Mayo and Durant make for a potent scoring duo that will sell plenty of tickets for the Sonics at home and on the road.

Ridnour / Mayo / Durant / Green / Wilcox / Swift / Sene / Petro

05. Grizzlies - Kevin Love
6-9 260 PF UCLA Fr.
Call me crazy, but I think the new look Love will blow GM's away. There were doubts he could lose the weight, but he is showing that it can be done with changes in his diet and the typical rigors of the new NBA lifestyle. Love's one of the best skilled bigmen coming out of college in a long time. Although undersized, he can do many things well and is a phenominal passer with an excellent perimeter game. He'll make everyone around him better and his ultra competitive drive will help him overcome most of his shortcomings. For any other team, I would select Bayless, but the Grizzlies have way too many PG's already. It would be a good idea if they try to capitalize on the #5 pick and trade down a few spots to land Love or another big in the draft.

Conley / Crittenton / Lowry / Miller / Gay / Love / Milicic

06. Knicks - Jerryd Bayless
6-3 182 SG Arizona Fr.
They could use a little bit of everything so I see them taking the best available player in Bayless. He's compatible with D'Antoni's style of play and will give them another offensive weapon on a team that struggles to put up points consistantly.

Bayless / Crawford / Chandler / Lee / Randolph / Curry

07. Clippers - Danilo Galinari
6-10 220 SF Italy 1988
At 19 years old, he's already considered one of the best players playing outside of the NBA. Galinari is versitle, big, can score from anywhere, has Point Forward skills, and a very high basketball IQ. If the Clippers could get healthy and stay healthy, they could quickly become a force in the West, passing up the Warriors along the way.

Livingston / Galinari / Thornton / Brand / Kaman

08. Bucks - Eric Gordon
6-4 220 SG Indiana Fr.
If Gordon is still available, this would be a great pick. He fills a need and is perhaps the best player left on the board.

Williams / Gordon / Yi / Villanueva / Bogut

09. Bobcats - Anthony Randolph
6-10 200 SF LSU Fr.
They need more athleticism in the frontline so I see them taking this shotblocking freak full of potential. Richardson, Wallace, and Randolph would be a hell of an exciting team to watch.

Felton / Richardson / Wallace / Randolph / Okafor / Morrison

10. Nets - Darrell Arthur
6-9 230 PF Kansas So.
They have some impressive bigs in Williams, Boone, and Krstic, but they need a power guy that can score in the post. Arthur is a proven winner with lots of upside and athleticism.

Harris / M. Williams / Carter / Richardson / Arthur / S. Williams / Krstic

11. Pacers - D.J. Augustin
6-4 180 PG Texas So.
They've had enough of Tinsley and need a PG in the worst way. Augustin is a true, pass first PG that could give them a more consistent and reliable option in what is the most important position in basketball.

Augustin / Granger / Dunleavy / O'Neal

12. Kings - Marreese Speights
6-10 232 PF Florida So.
They need a big man so they select Speights who can develop into an Al Jefferson type player with extended shooting range. It will take time, but he could be special down the road. From the games I've seen him play, he has the ability to evolve into a dominate inside player, but he seems to be more comfortable taking the outside shot. The tools and talent are their, it's just going to take a little patience and commitment to development to bring them out.

Martin / Artest / Speights / Miller / Hawes

13. Trailblazers - Donta Greene
6-10 226 SF Syracuse Fr.
Webster may be on his way out so they could use a versitile SF like Greene. He can knock it down from outside, has great size, and is athletic enough to eventually give teams trouble in the paint. He also rebounds well and blocks shots. Ideally, the Trailblazers would like to pickup a PG, but available PG's are a reach at this spot in the draft.

Roy / Fernandez / Webster / Outlaw / Greene / Aldridge / Frye / Oden

14. Warriors - DeAndre Jordan
7-0 250 C Texas A&M Fr.
This guy was considered a top 5 prospect coming into the season, but has been slow to develop and underutilzed at Texas A&M. Jordan has shown flashes of sky-high potential and with his tremendous size, athleticism, and explosiveness making him too good to pass up here. If drafted, he probably will see about the same amount of minutes O'Bryant saw, but once Nelson retires from head coaching duties next year, he'll get a chance and could end up the equivalant to a top 5 pick when it's all said and done. Nelson and the win now contingency won't like the pick, but a core of Ellis, Beidrins, Wright, Belinelli, and Jordan would be incredible. This is a clear 'swing for the fences' pick at #14.

Davis / Monta / Azubuike / Belinelli / Jackson / Wright / Harrington / Beidrins / Jordan

15. Suns - Kosta Koufos
7-0 252 C Ohio St. Fr.
The Post D'Antoni Era Suns need another option at C to play other than Shaq. Koufos has the range to keep the lane open for Amare but can also score off nifty moves in the paint. He's a decent rebounder, evolving scorer with tremendous skills and hands, and shot blocker with good quickness and excellent size.

Nash / Barbosa / Diaw / Stoudemire / O'Neil / Koufos

16. 76ers - Russell Westbrook
6-4 187 PG UCLA So.
Westbrook dropping this far is a huge steal for the 76ers. Although he's still developing as a PG, he will be ready from the start to play the combo guard role because of his insane athleticism, creativity at the rim, and shut-down perimeter defense. He's tough as nails and a prospect with a load of physical tools and athletic gifts to work with.

Miller / Westbrook / L. Williams / Igudola / Young / Dalembert / Smith

17. Raptors - JaVale McGee
7-0 237 C Nevada So.
The key word with McGee is upside. He has incredible physical dimensions, excellent basketball genes, and unreal explosiveness for a 7-footer. He's a bigtime project in every sense of the word but if developed properly, can be the steal of the draft. He's shown flashes of greatness with big rebounding and shot blocking games, so the potential to be a Bynum type of pick is there. McGee could be a nice fit with Bosh who needs help to battle down low.

Ford / Calderon / Parker / Moon / Bosh / Bargnani / McGee

18. Wizards - Roy Hibbert
7-2 278 C Georgetown Sr.
If they can keep Arenas and Jamison, their biggest need is at C. Hibbert is a huge defensive presence in the paint with still a lot of upside to go. Good hands and basketball IQ, but needs to be able to utilize his enormous size for improved rebounding numbers.

Arenas / Young / Butler / Jamison / Blatche / Pecherov / Hibbert

19. Cavaliers - Joe Alexander
6-8 230 SF West Virginia Jr.
LeBron wants to win now and the Cavs will pick an NBA Ready player like Alexander who can help LeBron in multiple areas. His versatility allows him to play SF or PF. He has good basketball instincts that would make LeBron's job a lot easier.

Gibson / James / Alexander / Varajo / Ilgauskas

20. Nuggets - Ty Lawson
5-11 193 PG UNC So.
Nuggets clear need is at PG. Lawson is the best available PG and has fantastic true PG skills and quickness to push the ball like the Nuggets love to do.

Lawson / Iverson / Smith / Anthony / Kleiza / Nene / Martin / Camby

21. Nets - Nicolas Batum
6-8 210 SG France 1988
I'm tempted to put him higher, but he is a very risky pick that won't be ready to come to the NBA for another couple of years. He would be a great pick for a veteran team but at #21, his upside is just too hard to resist. Batum has true SF skills, athleticism, playmaking instincts, and incredible size for his position. What will probably cause him to drop this far is his lack of intensity, inconsistancy, and the underachieving play he exhibited in Euroleague play with the terrible LeMans team. He's a classic 'high-risk, high-reward' pick that you'll have to wait on - very similar to an early version of Rudy Gay.

Harris / M. Williams / Carter / Jefferson / Batum / S. Williams / Boone / Krstic

22. Magic - Brandon Rush
6-6 210 SF Kansas Jr.
They need at SG like Rush to solidfy their starting 5. He fearless attacking the basket and has a solid shooting touch. He has great size for a SG and could become a very good defender at the NBA level if he can continue his steady recovery from the ACL injury he suffered last summer. There are some concerns over his longterm health, but he has shown in the NCAA tournament, that he can bounce back and carry a team when necessary.

Nelson / Rush / Turkoglu / Lewis / Howard

23. Jazz - Chase Budinger
6-7 215 SG Arizona So.
Budinger is all over the board and would have easily been a lottery pick last year. He couldn't build off his stellar Freshman season (due in part to the absence of Lute Olson). He's probably best available and at #23, this pick illustrates just how deep this draft is talent-wise. Budinger has all-world athleticism, picture perfect jumpshot, and does a lot of things well, but not great. He disappears at times, but has the ability to take over games as he showed periodically throughout his years at Arizona and International play. Jazz could use another C, but Budinger is just too good to pass up this late in the draft.

Williams / Brewer / Budinger / Korver / Kirlenko / Boozer / Milsap / Okur

24. Super Sonics - J.J. Hickson
6-9 235 PF NC State Fr.
Wilcox has one more year left, so PF will be an area of need for this team in rebuilding mode. Hickson is a young, unusally strong PF. He's a little undersized, but his good timing, explosiveness, and long arms make up for his lack of height. He's an excellent rebounder and good shotblocker with a lot of upside.

Ridnour / Mayo / Durant / Green / Wilcox / Hickson / Swift / Petro

25. Rockets - Jason Thompson
6-10 245 PF Rider Sr.
TMac and company are eager to win now and advance out of the 1st round so they should go for a big man that's ready to play right away. Thompson has the NBA body, is tough and can rebound and block shots. He's a good compliment to Yao.

Alston / McGrady / Battier / Hickson / Landry / Scola / Yao

26. Spurs - Chris Douglas-Roberts
6-7 200 SG Memphis Jr.
With the swingmen getting older, Spurs should look to address that area by selecting CDR. He can do many things well, including defend, shoot from midrange, and slash to the hoop. He's a fudamentally sound player that could fit right in with the Spurs veteran team.

Parker / Ginobli / Douglas-Roberts / Bowen / Duncan / Mahinmi

27. Hornets - Bill Walker
6-6 230 SG/SF Kansas St. Fr.
Here's another player that was considered a potential high lottery pick entering college. His injuries derailed his progress, but he seems to have recovered and has shown that he is back on track to developing into a solid swingman - just what the Hornets need.

Paul / Walker / Stojakovic / Wright / West / Chandler

28. Grizzlies - Robin Lopez
7-0 255 C Stanford So.
I had them taking Love in the lottery so they need to upgrade their center with a guy like Lopez that can play well with Love and make up for his lack of size.

Conley / Crittenton / Lowry / Miller / Gay / Love / Milicic

29. Pistons - Serge Ibaka
6-10 220 PF Congo 1989
They have a great veteran team, so they can afford to gamble on a player that projects to be a great PF/C in a few years. Ibaka is super athletic with great size and athleticism. He's a great rebounder and shot blocker with nice range. Ibaka could play overseas for a while before coming to the USA. If not Ibaka, than they could take best available C like Hardin, Pekovic, Tomic, or Ajinca.

Billups / Stuckey / Prince / Wallace / Johnson / Maxiell / McDyess

30. Celtics - DeVon Hardin
6-11 250 C Cal Sr.
Celtics need to get physical and athletic at the C position. Powe and Davis are undersized while Perkins is not athletic enough. Hardin is project, but has all the tools to succeed given the right coaching and time to develop.

Rondo / Allen / Pierce / Garnett / Powe / Hardin / Perkins

First Round Bubble:

Richard Hendrix, Alexis Ajinca, DJ White, Wayne Ellington, Omri Casspi, Courtney Lee, Mario Chalmers, Ryan Anderson, Davon Jefferson, Nathan Jawai, Ante Tomic, J.R. Giddens, Trent Plaisted, Jamont Gordon, Nikola Pekovic

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