Here are 15 players I’ve selected from Draft Express’s 2 round mock draft. The teams listed are teams within 5 picks of their projected draft position. This article would point out a realistic best case scenario for each of these players, as in the team they’d likely be most useful on, not where they’d make the most money or get the most minutes:
1. Michael Beasley- Sonics: I’d like to see him on the Sonics, as a power forward who would first allow Chris Wilcox to play more freely and also allow the team to play its backup defensive bigs more often without risking losing offensive firepower. Plus, Beasley, Durant and Green would be a very versatile and athletic middle three, the Sonics would then only need to focus on getting a point guard and more depth.
2. Derrick Rose- Heat, Knicks: Rose would instantly provide the Heat with a solid first three players, between himself, Wade, and Shawn Marion, the Heat could focus entirely on locating a quality center. But Rose would be even better for the Knicks, stabilizing they key position on a team that desperately needs a stable leader. Rose could become the face of the franchise, and possibly initiate the rebuilding process that we would all be happy to see.
3. OJ Mayo- Bobcats, Clippers, Heat: The Bobcats were a team that often struggled to score. Sam Vincent has run Raymond Felton into the ground by under-utilizing his strengths, and Mayo might be the kind of player that could provide needed support at this position. He’d be a great scorer off the bench and could help Charlotte get points when its offense stalls out. Same goes for the Clippers, where he could flourish alongside Shaun Livingston. This is another spot where Mayo could be a great bench scorer. Lastly, he could start on the Heat, providing enough ball-handling skills to co-exist with D-Wade and take some pressure off of this now fragile superstar.
4. Brook Lopez- Timberwolves, Sonics, Bucks:Lopez would be a great fit alongside Al Jefferson, and would make it harder for teams to constantly double team this budding All-Star. Lopez has good all around game, making him a good Fit on the Sonics, where he could push Chris Wilcox either to the PF spot or to a super-sub role coming off the bench. Or vice-versa, with Lopez giving opposing PFs headaches for 25 minutes a game. Lastly, the Bucks need big men as desperately as any team in the league, so he could be a great fit there too.
5. Kevin Love- Pacers, Nets: Love would be a great fit on the Pacers, I think he’d fit well with a center like Jeff Foster, and he could possibly help push Jermaine O’Neal out the door. His slow gait wouldn’t detract from a team not known for running much, and his outside shot would fit Jim O’Brien’s system very well. Plus, he isn’t likely to make waves in a town still smarting from past controversy. Alongside Sean Williams, the Nets would find themselves with enough inside scoring and defense to focus on other needs. He would also fit with DeSagana Diop!
6. Tyler Hansbrough- Warriors, Suns, Grizzlies, Hornets: Though I secretly want him to go to the Celtics to learn psychotic basketball tendencies from the league master Kevin Garnett, he would realistically be a great fit on the Warriors, who need inside scoring, rebounding and on many nights simply an energetic spark. Don Nelson will likely coach his last season in 08-09, so he would clearly want to bring in immediate contributors, and Hansbrough would be an ideal prospect for this role. Plus, he’d reunite with Brandan Wright. T-Hands would also be a great fit on the Suns, he can run and score inside, and I’d love to see him go wild on a team like this. The Grizzlies would benefit from a player who could light a fire under them. He’d be like a 20% Kevin Garnett, because players would legitimately fear for their lives if they ever disappointed him. Oh, those crazy eyes. Lastly, he’d be a spectacular bench player for the Hornets. This fit works so well that I’m not even going to talk about it much. I just really want to see it happen.
7. Chase Budinger- Suns, Blazers, Nets: Since Budinger doesn’t play defense, there’s no point putting him on the Nuggets. He’d fit in well with the Suns though, where his talents would be highlighted. Also, the Blazers could give him a shot, since SF is their position of greatest need. The Nets could also benefit from a backup SF who would allow the team to trade away one of their overpriced swingmen. Though the last person I’d like to see him learn defense and effort from is Vince Carter.
8. Chris Douglas-Roberts- Clippers, Sixers, Pacers, Suns: Athleticism fits on a lot of teams. He’d be a great fit next to Al Thornton on the Clippers, providing the team with a great size advantage at many positions. The Sixers would benefit from adding a competent SG, since Willie Green clearly belongs on the bench. The Pacers have no legitimate SG either, and the Suns style of play would also be most likely to maximize his talents.
9. Ryan Anderson- Magic, Warriors, Sixers, Hornets, Raptors: Anderson might have been sent to this planet for the express purpose of meshing perfectly with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. The problem is that the team signed Rashard Lewis to a monster contract that is already being proved a waste. Anderson would provide a shooting stroke that could extent the exposing team’s defense and open up the interior for Dwight Howard’s favorite shot, the dunk. The Warriors, Sixers and Hornets could also thrive with Anderson’s shooting, rebounding, and energy. Lastly, the Raptors would be another good fit, opening up the lane for Chris Bosh or helping spell Bosh if another center is already on the floor.
10. Darren Collison- Trailblazers, Hornets: On the Blazers, Collision and Roy could be an effective and defensively strong duo, and Collision’s speed and shooting stroke could help the team when he comes off the bench. But Collison would really contribute on a team like the Hornets: his ten minuted of backup duty per game would help keep Chris Paul fresh while switching paces on the opposing team and maintaining a high level of steals and defensive pressure. His quickness would be very effective in a bench role.
11. Russell Westbrook: Nuggets: Westbrook would fit well on a great number of teams, more than I’d care to list, actually. But his best fit, in my opinion, wouldbe the Denver Nuggets. he’s be an excellent defender, would pair well with Allen Iverson, and would thrive in a quick, athletic, and open offensive scheme that, more than any other team I can think of, would fully utilize his many skills.
12. Robin Lopez- Warriors, Raptors, Pistons, Suns: On the Warriors and Suns, this Lopez would provide a needed defensive presence against the West’s better PFs and Cs. On the Raptors, Lopez could complement Chris Bosh very well and replace Rasho Nesterovic. On the Pistons, Lopez could learn for a year on the bench and then slide into Antonio McDyess’s spot next to Rasheed Wallace.
13. Hasheem Thabeet- Suns, Rockets: On the Suns, Thabeet would literally run back and forth and attempt to block as many shots as possible. He’d protect Amare well, especially when Shaq is gone (at which time he’d just be getting ready to start). On the Rockets, he’d have his most natural teacher in Dikembe Mutombo, and he could provide needed defensive backup to Yao Ming.
14. Maarty Leunen- Warriors, Suns: Leunen has a set of teams that he could survive on, but on most others he would likely struggle. On the Warriors and Suns, his shooting stroke would make him an interesting bench player. The Warriors are a team that loves to stick its center in the paint and them surround him with shooters beyond the three-point line. Leunen’s stroke would make him the kind of shooter who would also rebound the ball and keep those possessions alive. On the Suns, he’d be a fascinating fit alongside Amare, in perhaps a style polar opposite to Shaq’s.
15. David Padgett- Bucks, Bobcats: Another player who would fail on most teams. On the Bucks, he’d add more passing and energy to a boring set of big men, and he could provide a new coach with more options for an intricate offense. And on the Bobcats, he could be a valuable practice player with the potential to fit well alongside Emeka Okafor, who seems to need competent passers surrounding him in order to produce consistently. Padgett’s passing skills might help Okafor become more involved int he offense, forcing teams to focus their energy away from Jason Richardson.
So there you have it, 15 players and the team’s I realistically think they could thrive on.