It’s time for another set of mocks. The first one is a first-round mock if I were the GM of every team (no trades) and the second is a simple standard mock. The draft order is what I expect the final results to be as of this writing.
1. Miami Heat- Brook Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. There is a very good case for Derrick Rose in this spot, as he and D-Wade would make an amazing back-court. That said, having a talent like Lopez allows the Heat to play uptempo with Marion at the SF spot or slower paced with Haslem in the mix. Brook is the the best player in the draft and should be more than capable of playing Center offensively and defensively, which is extremely valuable in the NBA.
2. Memphis Grizzlies- Kyle Singler, SF, Duke. Now, I know most people would have Beasley here, but I like Singler’s combination of tools and attitude much more from what I’ve seen. He is not the # 2 guy on my board to be sure, but the Grizz absolutely do not need a PG or undersized SG (since Conley is a small guy). As such, the next best available player that fills a niche is Singler, who would be a natural fit for the 3 spot on an uptempo Grizzlies squad.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves- Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. Why? Because a legit PG is hard to find. The Timberwolves’ biggest problem going into the draft besides their incompetent GM is that they are overloaded at some spots and empty at others. I like Randy Foye fine and Telfair could be a very solid # 2 PG in the league, but they could move Foye for another piece (ideally a SF). Also, Brewer is a natural SG because it gives him the size advantage that he needs for his defensive prowess, which makes McCants/Brewer at SG an issue as well, but they can split minutes and play together at times, at least for now.
4. Oklahoma City Sonics (sorry Seattle, you deserve better)- DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. The two most important positions to fill on any NBA team are the PG and #1 big spot (ideally C, but can’t be too picky). While the Sonics do have Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour, neither is the long-term answer. Either would work as an overpaid #2, with the other one being moved. Naturally, getting a banger of a PF/C or a SG that compliments Durant would be better, but Augustin is a great talent who would fit well with the pieces in place, and would be best in a faster enviornment, which the Sonics can provide. Plus, he already knows Mr. Durant well.
5. New York Knicks- Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. The Knicks need a ton of work (see my Framwork on them if you’d like analysis), and getting a legit scorer is the best way to start with the better big off the board. Gordon is a compelling talent who could end up being a #1 scorer at the NBA level. I worry about his shot selection, but I think better talent around him would help that.
6. LA Clippers- OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C. Some of you may know that I am not nearly as high on No-J Mayo as most, but with Gordon off the board this pick makes far too much sense. Mayo’s biggest problem is that he needs to play off the ball to succeed but has more defensive potential when guarding PG’s because it gives him a size advantage. That’s where the Clippers come in. He’d be a clear # 3 option at least for the time being, and could spend most of his time guarding PG’s since Livingston is 6’7″. Bayless or Russell Westbrook would be good fits here too, but Mayo would make for one amazing defensive backcourt and give them even more firepower.
7. New Jersey Nets- Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy. Danilo brings a basketball IQ that would be wonderful for the inevitable next generation Nets,, play with the current squad as a 6th man (or replacing Jefferson/Carter), and most importantly meshes pretty damn well with a certain Jay-Z loving superstar from Akron who is interesting in playing in Brooklyn.
8. Milwaukee Bucks- Nicolas Batum, SF, France. The French Rudy Gay (all-world talent, enigmatic personality) would mesh very well with Redd and work much better as a lower option than as a featured one, which makes sense on a team with Bogut, Chairman Yi, and the aforementioned Redd.
9. Charlotte Bobcats- Kevin Love, PF/C, UCLA. Let’s deal with the grievances first. Yes, Love is undersized for the PF spot and would make for a small frontcourt with Okafor. Yes, Love is slow. However, he is one of the savviest players the college game has seen in my lifetime, and his ability to spread the floor because of his appalling outlet passing and surprising mid-range game would work wonders for Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton. Plus, his tenacious rebounding would give the Robert Johnsoncats a front line that teams would fear, especially in a division with very little total depth up front.
10. Indiana Pacers- Michael Beasley, SF/PF, Kansas State. He is a fantastic talent, but his attitude and stats in a conference almost completely devoid of draft-worthy bigs make me queasy. That said, playing on a team with as much flexibility as the Pacers would do wonders for him, even if living in Indianapolis slowly drives him insane. The teams in the East without good PF’s would get slaughtered by a Beasley/Granger SF/PF monster, especially if they can produce a C that takes attention as well.
11. Sacramento Kings- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown. What they really need is a stud PG or a banger PF to compliment Hawes and Miller, but Hibbert makes the Twin Towers approach a practical possibility. The best way to beat a running team is to shoot a high percentage because it takes away fast break opportunities, and a Hawes/Hibbert combo would do just that, even if they are the slowest big combo in the league.
12. Phoenix Suns (via Atl)- Chase Buddinger, SG/SF, Arizona. I hate his game because he’s soft and doesn’t play defense, but he would thrive in the Suns system and give them the spark that they will need off the bench (or as a starter next to Bell in the long-term).
13. Portland Trailblazers- Russell Westbrook, SG, UCLA. The hardest team to peg, partially because I love who they have on the team already so much. What Westy brings is an athleticism that hard to match and a contribution to the defensive identity as the recently-christened Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. He also is a stone-cold killer in transition (see the multitudes of dunks on Youtube) and he and Roy would combine to make one hell of a defensive backcourt. What’s more, he could play minutes with Rudy Fernandez when necessary and even possibly open up the ability for Roy to play a little SF and cause some matchup problems. I’d love to see a SF who is a legit #2 option, but there isn’t one here so getting a piece that can work with whatever pieces come next is a natural way to go.
14. Denver Nuggets- Deandre Jordan, C, Texas A+M. Most people have him substantially higher than this, but his rawness and amazing boom/bust potential slides him down my board (though he higher than this on there- just some fit issues from 7-13). Who knows what he’ll end up being, but Denver is a place with a system where he could contribute right away and grow into a more substantial role.
15. Chicago Bulls- Jerryd Bayless, SG/PG, Arizona. He is a great offensive talent, but he is simply terrible defensively and it is unclear which guard position he will play at the next level. The combination with Hinrich would be a good one and he meshes fairly well with either a more uptempo squad like he had at Arizona or a slower one.
16. Philadelphia 76ers- Anthony Randolph, SF/PF, LSU. I originally had him much, much higher, but there really isn’t that much need for a Phoenix 4 on the squads above here, so he’d be a gigantic steal for the Sixers in this one. A compelling set of tools and physical gifts who would do amazing things with Miller, Iggy, and Thad.
17. Washington Wizards- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn. Regardless of what Gilbert and Jamison end up doing, the Wizards need a C badly. While Thabeet has his share of limitations at the present time, his tools are simply amazing and his potential as a game-changing defensive talent make him a worthy pick at this juncture.
18. Toronto Raptors- Robin Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. They need a C who can patrol the paint and move well, and the lesser Lopez fits that bill extremely well. Imagine an average 7′ SF/PF/C combo in the Great White North…
19. Golden State Warriors- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina. A phenominal rebounder with underrated scoring talent who loves to run and is 105% insane? Sounds like a Nellieball player to me!
20. New Jersey Nets (via Dallas)- DeVon Hardin, C, Cal. Would fit insanely well in Lawrence Frank’s system and can grow into the role of C on a fast-paced team along with Sean “Puff-Puff-Pass” Williams and Josh Boone.
21. Orlando Magic- Ryan Anderson, PF, Cal. I’ve never been as set on a player/team combination as I am with Anderson and Orlando. He spreads the floor while actually being able to defend the position, making him a perfect fit between Dwight and the Shard/Hedo beasttastic SF combination.
22. Seattle Sonics (via Phx)- Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG/SF, Memphis. Because sometimes the next Corey Brewer just falls in your lap.
23. Cleveland Cavaliers- Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Kansas. Seems like a natural fit to play SG next to King James until he opts out.
24. Houston Rockets- Nathan Jawai, C, Australia. Now that the Rockets have their PF’s in Scola and Landry, it’s time to develop a C to put behind Yao. Jawai is that man.
25. New Orleans Hornets- Courtney Lee, SG/SF, Western Kentucky. I’m semi-obsessed with finding a SG who compliments Chris Paul and Lee is that guy. He is versatile enough and can create offense and maximize opportunities all while defending the position competently. Front court depth is also key, but there isn’t anyone worth this pick that fits what they’re doing.
26. Utah Jazz- Sam Young, SF/PF, Pitt. Is a good fit, especially as he moves to more of a SF role which would allow AK47 to play more minutes at his natural position of PF.
27. San Antonio Spurs- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA. Because I don’t see him coming back to UCLA and they need a backup for Parker like no one’s business.
28. Detroit Pistons- John Riek, C, Sudan. They can take a chance on a guy like him, especially this late.
29. Memphis Grizzlies (via LAL)- Derrick Caracter, PF, Louisville. I really like most of what he brings to the table, and a tabla rasa like the Grizzlies have at the big spots makes him all the more logical.
30. Boston Celtics- Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt. A much better player than this, but I undervalue SG’s because of how easy they are to find. Should be a solid NBA contributor though, which is all the Celtics need.
1. Miami Heat- Michael Beasley, SF/PF, Kansas State
2. Memphis Grizzlies- Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG Arizona
3. Minnesota Timberwolves- DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A+M
4. Oklahoma City Sonics- Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
5. New York Knicks- OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C
6. LA Clippers- Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana
7. New Jersey Nets- Brook Lopez, C/PF, Stanford
8. Milwaukee Bucks- Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy
9. Charlotte Bobcats- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
10. Indiana Pacers- DJ Augustin, PG, Texas
11. Sacramento Kings- Anthony Randolph, PF/SF, LSU
12. Phoenix Suns (via Atl)- Nicolas Batum, SF, France
13. Portland Trailblazers- Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG/SF, Memphis
14. Denver Nuggets- Kevin Love, PF/C, UCLA
15. Chicago Bulls- Chase Buddinger, SG/SF, Arizona
16. Philadelphia 76ers- Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
17. Washington Wizards- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
18. Toronto Raptors- DeVon Hardin, C, Cal
19. Golden State Warriors- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC
20. New Jersey Nets (via Dallas)- Bill Walker, SF/SG, Kansas State
21. Orlando Magic- Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt
22. Seattle Sonics (via Phx)- Ryan Anderson, PF, Cal
23. Cleveland Cavaliers- Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Kansas
24. Houston Rockets- Tyler Smith, SF/PF, Tennessee
25. New Orleans Hornets- Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama
26. Utah Jazz- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
27. San Antonio Spurs- Nikola Pekovic, C, Serbia and/or Montenegro
28. Detroit Pistons- Nathan Jawai, C, Australia
29. Memphis Grizzlies (via LAL)- John Riek, C, Sudan
30. Boston Celtics- Sam Young, SF/PF, Pitt
NOTE: The players in one mock and not the other is my guess of the point where a player would just come back to school if they didn’t have a promise higher.