It’s time for an update!
This time, the “If I Were the GM” Mock Draft gets the substantive comments and for the first time, I’ll consider trades that as I see fit (though it’s still too early to project them in the prediction mock). Just to clarify, the first list is what I would do in a perfect world, the second is what I expect to happen.
1. Chicago Bulls– Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. This blog (specifically me) will discuss this excessively over the next two months, but Rose is the best pick because he is a far better prospect and a perfect fit for the fast-paced system they damn well better be implementing even without D’Antoni. In an up and down game, the core of Rose/Deng/Tyrus/Noah gains nastiness, and Hinrich and Gordon can either be used as assets in trades or kept and used in different roles. Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT HIRE AVERY IF YOU DRAFT ROSE. Athletic PG + Avery’s system = Bust-o-rama
2. Oklahoma City Fightin’ TBA’s (via Miami Heat)– Brook Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. Lots of zany options here. One of the weirdest possible scenarios my brain has cooked up in the past few hours is the Heat trading down from this pick a few times (picking up assets), then moving that pick to Chicago for Hinrich. Would be bizarre to see the teams with the top two picks make a swap not involving either selection. That said, I really don’t see the Heat’s use for Beasley, as both Marion and Haslem are better fits as 4’s depending on what system they run, and neither is a 5. Where they run into a problem is that the best non-Rose fit is Brook Lopez, but it’s hard to trade down from here and get him since he’s probably the #3 player on most team’s boards. As such, the Sonics give up some pieces (Chris Wilcox, Earl Watson, whatever- I’ll work out the trade in the next week or so) and the Heat get a good fit soon enough.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves– Michael Beasley, PF/SF, Kansas State. He would make sense next to Al Jefferson up in Minnesota, though I worry about the “content to be a good player on a bad team” issue, which could loom large on what will likely be a bad team for most if not all of Beasley’s rookie contract. Still the BPA here.
4. Miami Heat (via OKC)– OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C. As much as I dislike Mayo, he’d be an amazing fit in Miami as a scorer and defender of PG’s next to Mr. Wade. The Juice Deuce could be a very nice off- the-ball scorer and also alleviate the need to overpay a true PG, which is somewhat unnecessary next to Wade anyway (not that any are available besides Calderon who isn’t really available).
5. Memphis Grizzlies– Kevin Love, PF/C, UCLA. He would be a nasty, nasty player in their up-tempo system, often acting as a second distributor on the floor who could hit their speedy guys (like Conley, who is an underrated finisher) and rebound until they get a good C like the Pau they donated to the Lakers or Blake Griffin.
6. New York Knickerbockers– Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy. Such a hard spot for them if this is how the draft shook out. If it doesn’t, I would love to see them move this pick to Portland (who would draft Love to complete the best big man combo in the league long-term) for J. Jack, Frye, and their pick. However, with him off the board it is hard to see where the value comes in to play. So why Gallinari? Because he’s savvy, skilled, and should be able to contribute in Pringle’s system ASAP.
7. Golden State Warriors (via LAC)– JaVale McGee, C, Nevada. The trade is Baron Davis and the Warriors pick for Shaun Livingston (S+T’d), a small piece, and this pick, same as in my GSW Framework of a Franchise. Like the Knicks’ spot, I want to see the Dubs get K-Love, but him not being here leaves a bit of a hole. With all of the BPA’s being fairly close together (CDR, Westbrook, R. Lopez, C. Lee, and McGee), I went with the most unique player. “The Big Secret” may just have my favorite combination of abilities that’s not a pudgy kid from Oregon because he’s long, has a pretty shot, and brings some compelling defensive potential. Keep an eye on JaVale.
8. Milwaukee Bucks– Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG/SF, Memphis. A fantastic player for the Bucks because he can play in Skiles’ system as either a SF alongside Redd or as the SG if they move Michael. Good kid on the court, and the type of player every successful team has.
9. Charlotte Bobcats– Robin Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. Another tough, tough pick. I was tempted to go with Westbrook here, but they need a C like Jessica Alba needs to pick better scripts. Robin provides intensity, a surprising amount of ability on the offensive end, and good rebounding to be both a starter now and a contributor throughout his career.
10. New Jersey Nets– DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A+M. Basically, this pick comes down to whether you see Sean Williams as a PF or a C long-term. I see him as a PF, so the Center (Jordan) is the pick over a PF like Anthony Randolph or Speights.
11. Indiana Pacers– Russell Westbrook, SG/PG, UCLA. Mr. White Hot Grease Fire of Pure Entertainment holds a great deal of value for a team with uncertainty at both the PG and the SG positions in the short term and the long term. He is explosive and fundamentally sound, though he does need to develop a game at one position or the other in all likelihood at the next level.
12. Sacramento Kings– Marresse Speights, PF, Florida. I simply love this guy next to Hawes long-term. Batum would be a worthwhile pick as well, but Speights gives Sacto a formidable frontcourt in a conference that is simply stacked with them.
13. Portland Trailblazers– Joe Alexander, SF/PF, West Virginia. If there was ever a team to take a boom/bust offensive player (who tries hard on D), it’s the Blazers. At the worst, he’s a great energy guy off the bench who plays a position of need for them. At the best, he’s an All-Star and a hero in Portland. What people forget about Alexander is that he has alot of growing to do since he hasn’t played the sport for long, and the Blazers wouldn’t have to rely on Martell Webster for juice off the bench and could move him (along with their excess PG’s) for a piece from somewhere else.
14. LA Clippers (via GSW)– Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky. This would be the dream off-season for the Clippers. Getting a local son in Baron and their starting SG in Lee would give them the best starting 5 in the division (Baron/Lee/Thornton/Brand/Kaman) and also move Cuttino to a bench role which could end up suiting him very well. Naturally, a big could work well too, but there’s isn’t a particularly good fit.
15. Phoenix Suns (via Atl)– Nicolas Batum, SF, France. The French Rudy Gay would mesh well with what the Suns have, even though he probably won’t bring too much to the table in the near future. Lots of other interesting picks here (Randolph, Gordon, Anderson, Koufos).
16. Philadelphia 76ers– Anthony Randolph, PF/SF, LSU. I tooled around with a few different guys here, but the Sixers really need a PF who fits with what they do, and Randolph would be an animal with Andre Miller running the show.
17. Toronto Raptors-Alexis Ajinca, C, France. Much like the last pick, Ajinca is the selection because he fills a key need and is a very good player in his own right.
18. Washington Wizards– Donte Greene, PF/SF, Syracuse. There’s no better system for Greene than the one where Antawn Jamison has become the player we all hoped he be as a Warrior. Greene’s stock could be one of the most fascinating test cases in this draft, based on the potential tweener issue and his skillset.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers– Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. He has his limitations, but playing next to the King would nullify most of them.
20. Denver Nuggets– DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. Assuming the Nuggs keep their core, PG is a huge need- taking the ball out of Melo and AI’s hands would create a better flow on offense and that more unselfish offense could potentially change the defensive attitude as well.
21. New Jersey Nets (via Dal)– Jerryd Bayless, SG/PG, Arizona. Even though he couldn’t guard Steven Hawking if his wheelchair was out of batteries, Bayless could be great for the Nets as a spark plug and eventual heir to the VC throne.
22. Orlando Magic– Ryan Anderson, PF, Cal. Still perfect for the Magic. Can rebound, score from mid-range, and play in Van Gundy’s system.
23. Utah Jazz– Trent Plastied, C, BYU. No, this isn’t because he played at BYU. The Jazz really need a C who can play with both the Booze Cruise and Okur, and Trent is the best they can do at this spot. He is a very good player and a good value here.
24. Miami Heat (via Sea)– Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State. A nice guy to have around, especially with their pit of eternal dispair at the Center position if Zo is done (Mark Blount Fever- Catch it!)
25. Houston Rockets– Chase Buddinger, SG/SF, Arizona. Could be the worst defender ever taken in the first round of an NBA Draft. I’ve seen chairs with more heart than Chase. He is filthy offensively though, and there’s an outside shot that Adelman could hide him with Battier and help D on the floor.
26. San Antonio Spurs– Serge Ibaka, PF, Congo. I like him much more than this, but there just wasn’t a good and sensible slot from 20 on down, so he goes to the team that wants to ruin my soul so he can play alongside Tiago Splitter and crush everyone’s dreams in 2012.
27. New Orleans Hornets– Darrell Arthur, PF/SF, Kansas. They already have the best player to come out of Kansas since Hinrich (Julian Wright), so why not get the second-best?
28. Memphis Grizzlies (via LAL)– DeVon Hardin, C, Cal. They would go from having a black hole in terms of players over 6’7″ to having a good little group of bigs in Love, Darko, Warrick, and Hardin, though they leave something to be desired (but add Blake Griffin in 2009…).
29. Detroit Pistons– Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown. Has more value for the Pistons than almost any other team, even if he did get dominated by the Davidson midgets.
30. Boston Celtics– Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt. Scoring off the bench would be a great help for this team, especially as Big Baby and Powe have shown to be as good as touted by some…*cough*
Predictions Mock Draft:
1. Chicago Bulls- Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
2. Miami Heat- Michael Beasley, PF/SF, Kansas State
3. Minnesota Timberwolves- Brook Lopez, C/PF, Stanford
4. “Seattle Sonics”- OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C
5. Memphis Grizzlies- Jerryd Bayless, SG/PG, Arizona
6. New York Knicks- Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy
7. LA Clippers- Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana
8. Milwaukee Bucks- Russell Westbrook, SG/PG, UCLA
9. Charlotte Bobcats- Kevin Love, PF/C, UCLA
10. New Jersey Nets- Anthony Randolph, PF/SF, LSU
11. Indiana Pacers- DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A+M
12. Sacramento Kings- DJ Augustin, PG, Texas
13. Portland Trailblazers- Joe Alexander, SF/PF, West Virginia
14. Golden State Warriors- JaVale McGee, C, Nevada
15. Phoenix Suns (via ATL)- Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG/SF, Memphis
16. Philadelphia 76ers- Marresse Speights, PF, Florida
17. Toronto Raptors- Robin Lopez, C/PF, Stanford
18. Washington Wizards- Donte Greene, SF/PF, Syracuse
19. Cleveland Cavaliers- Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State
20. Denver Nuggets- Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
21. New Jersey Nets- Nicolas Batum, SF, France
22. Orlando Magic- JJ Hickson, PF, NC State
23. Utah Jazz- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
24. Seattle Sonics- Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky
25. Houston Rockets- Alexis Ajinca, C, France
26. San Antonio Spurs- Darrell Arthur, PF/SF, Kansas
27. New Orleans Hornets- Jason Thompson, C, Rider
28. Memphis Grizzlies- Nathan Jawai, PF, Australia
29. Detroit Pistons- DeVon Hardin, C, Cal
30. Boston Celtics- Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt
My Draft Board (unchanged from last time- will be much improved in the next iteration):
1. Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. What’s funny about going to the Final Four this year is that I lost some faith in Rose as a pure PG, but that was more than made up for by his absolute nastiness in the open court. While it is worrisome that his court vision is not at the same level as top tier PG’s like Nash and Paul, he doesn’t have to be at that level to be the #1 draft eligible player right now. He oozes potential, but needs to be in the right system to maximize it, at least for now.
2. Brook Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. Has natural talent in terms of shot blocking and rebounding that is exceedingly valuable for potential Centers. If you have the chance, watch the tape of him last season (2006-2007) and check out his shotmaking. It’s actually pretty impressive when he has the chance and the space to pull it off, and he has zero fear of taking big shots, which is unusual for Centers. That said, his obsession with cartoons (and his brother) is more than a little unnerving, but he’s far better than that.
3. Blake Griffin, PF/C, Oklahoma. Luckily, sports fans around the country are apparently going to get another shot at seeing Blake before he goes pro. I admit to not having seen as much of him as I’d like (it’s what happens sometimes, especially in conferences I don’t entirely respect), but I can say that I’ve watched three full games of his and have ended up impressed in each. A unique talent who appears to have a good attitude to match his capabilities.
4. Kyle Singler, SF, Duke. An underrated pro prospect for now. He has very good touch and is a surprisingly good passer for his size and position. He may not be the next Larry Bird, but he’s probably the closest to it of anyone not in the NBA. We’ll see how his game changes in 2008-2009.
5. Michael Beasley, PF/SF, Kansas State. Let me say this first: Saw him in San Antonio and he’s a legit 6′9″- all of my fears about him not having a PF body (at least to handle most of them) have been assuaged. That said, there’s a ton to be worried about. It begins like my criticism of Durant as a prospect, which is that his rebounding stats have been horribly inflated because of his status as the best rebounder on a bad rebounding team in a conference with terrible bigs (hey, it’s the same conference!). He has the tools to be great, but I also am concerned that he could become complacent and be satisfied with being the best player on an unsuccessful team. These players have a purpose, but I find this especially dangerous for a guy who is inevitably going to be a top-tier draft pick. Here’s hoping he proves me wrong- it’d be great to see.
6. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy. Haven’t seen a ton of him, but I like what he brings to the table in terms of scoring and mental toughness. Will of course have more on him later.
7. Kevin Love, PF/C, UCLA. I’ve written on him at length before, and I’ll do it some more later. He has his limitations, but his profound strengths are the type of thing that a good coach and system can utilize to make something special and transcendent. There are things to hate, but I sincerely hope that people can see that the positives severely outweigh the negatives.
8. James Harden, SG, Arizona State. Expecting another Pac-10 guard ahead of Mr. Harden? He’s coming soon. What James brings to the table is an uncommon understanding of what he does well and a desire to make his team better. It was somewhat hard to see given the Pac-10’s TV deal and ASU’s lack of a Tourney invite, but the kid is something special. You’ll see it this fall.
9. OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C. In some ways, the ultimate boom/bust player. While most it feels like a flip of the coin, it’s much more clear in my eyes for the Juice Deuce. He has great court vision and could be a defensive ace against PG’s, but he really needs to have the right mentor to channel his intensity and talent in an optimal direction. At least at first, it would be far better for his development to play off the ball and learn to play within the flow of an offense, and luckily there are some teams with alpha dogs near the top to make this happen (Miami and the Clippers are two).
10. Chris Douglas-Roberts, SF/SG, Memphis. Walked away more impressed with him than any other player in San Antonio. Not saying he was the best, but he improved his stock in my eyes by the largest degree. He is surprisingly fast with the ball and creative in terms of getting himself and his teammates improved looks. Also, he’s the type of guy who could work in a variety of different systems, which makes him all the more valuable.
11. Stephen Curry, SG/PG, Davidson. The entertainment industry talks alot about “it”. Whatever “it” is, I see that personified in Stephen Curry. He’s a kid who isn’t intimidated by the big stage or the big shot but is a team-first player who genuinely wants to become a great player on a great team. Undoubtedly there are players on this list with worlds more talent, but no one on this board has a better chance to maximize themselves. I’d love to see him play alongside Lebron or another unselfish talent (Shaun Livingston, D-Wade, Brandon Roy, etc) and let them roll. There are justifiable opinions that go in a multitude of directions on the Curry Man, but my take is that he’ll deliver.
12. Russell Westbrook, SG/PG, UCLA. I sincerely hope he comes back, because he can show the league how much substance there is to his game. He does not have the court vision and passing for a true PG, but he is a true gamer and would work as an off-guard or a lead guard who defers to a capable SG (Joe Johnson, D-Wade, B-Roy). His athleticism is off the charts and genuinely wants to improve as a player and wants his team to succeed.
13. Robin Lopez, C/PF, Stanford. Michelle Wie’s leading man (amazing, I know) is underrated by most because it’s easier to lower someone who is less of a prospect than their own flesh and blood. Regardless, he has the body and attitude to become a legitimate player in the league in both the short and the long term. Incidentally, the Lopezes are like the Gasols before them in that their games actually compliment each other, and it would be phenominal for their development for them to end up in the same place. Paging Mr. Presti…
14. Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky. Love this kid- can create his own shot, defend competently, and handle the big situations with the best at his position. Still want to see him next to Chris Paul in New Orleans.
15. JaVale McGee, C, Nevada. Call it a gut shot, but I really like him. It might just be the residue of my Nick Fazekas mancrush, still JaVale provides a compelling package of size (7′6″ wingspan!), athleticism, and bizarrely enough, shooting ability.
16. DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A+M. Raw like sushi, but can mold himself into a force to be reckoned with, and it appears like he wants to improve, which is pivotal for a player with his gifts. He’s honestly a guy who could benefit from coming out early and getting to the right team that is willing to develop him the right way (see: Bynum, Andrew).
17. Nicolas Batum, SF, France. Another guy who has the physical attributes to be a stud in the league, but the French Rudy Gay needs to show the desire to take his game (and his team) to another level. Getting drafted by the right team could expedite that process.
18. Anthony Randolph, PF/SF, LSU. Might just be because I’ve seen less of him than Chad Fraud, but he’s not at that Top-10 level yet. However, he has the size and raw materials to make the leap, so someone might pay a premium for that opportunity, and that’s 100% fair.
19. Ron Steele, PG, Alabama. Everyone has their favorites, and Ron Steele is one of mine. He’s not really an Eric Weddle Corrolary type of guy, but he has the savvy and ability to be a starting PG in the NBA, which puts him at this lofty spot on the list.
20. Marresse Speights, PF, Florida. Lots of people have him much higher than this and their reasons are justifiable. He has a great body for an NBA PF coupled with stats that are eye-popping when extrapolated for extended periods of playing time. He still needs to grow as a player and a talent, and some winning as a starter would do him a world of good, though he may just choose to take his chances at the next level.
21. Andrew Ogilvy, C, Vanderbilt. Gotta love this kid- plays well and has definitely impressed so far. Refining his technique and adapting to more attention could really help prepare him for life in the bigs.
22. Joe Alexander, SF/PF, West Virginia. Wait, a white player who gets drafted on raw ability? Some forget that Joe hasn’t been playing basketball for long (he started playing as a Junior in High School), he could become a jaw-dropping player, and unlike some of his other offensively gifted brethren, he actually seems to want to be a good defensive player even if he’s not there yet, and that counts for something.
23. Donte Greene, PF/SF, Syracuse. Pretty much along the lines of Anthony Randolph, but I want to see a skillset that better fits a position, because he needs alot more lateral quickness or effort to guard SF’s or some power to handle PF’s at the next level. Nice shot, though.
24. Alexis Ajinca, C, France. A raw, but very compelling player who could end up making a difference on both sides of the ball. Could end up much higher on this before the draft.
25. Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana. Let’s get this out of the way: I like Eric Gordon. He is a talented scorer who brings something valuable to the table that will get him drafted high and make him money. However, like Ben Gordon before him, the market for a SG who can’t properly defend the position should not be where it is today, and while it was warranted to have some reaction to the Kelvin Sampson shenanigans, his appalling performance down the stretch makes me think about the possibility of the “Mentally Weak” tag down the road.
26. Jerryd Bayless, SG/PG, Arizona. Say hello to the most overrated player in college right now. Of course, he has the tools to be a great scorer in the league, but he has the innate ability perfected by Tony Parker to make his opponents look ridiculously good on the offensive end. It’s appalling how many times other team’s players rocked the casbah with him guarding them, and that trend will only continue in the NBA, especially if he’s placed out of position should he ever end up actually having one.
27. Ryan Anderson, PF, Cal. If he were in the ACC, he would have been a Second-Team All-American. A scary combination of size, talent, and attitude that makes him a legit threat to be a serious NBA player. His offensive game is compelling to say the least, and he actually does a great job on the boards too, even when keyed on by the opposing team. He would be a great inside/outside complement for a more paint-based Center (Dwight Howard, Yao, etc).
28. Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State. It’s sort of ironic to have him immediately next to Ryan Anderson because Kosta compares to him in a few interesting ways. In a way, I see Ryno at the center of the potential bell curve for Koufos. So why is he lower than Mr. Anderson? I’ll take the safer pick at this spot.
29. Serge Ibaka, PF, Congo. We’ll know alot more about him after the Nike Hoop Summit, but his absolutely freakish athletic talents could reap major rewards in the long-term.
30. DJ Augustin, PG, Texas. DJ is a cool case study, as his years with and without Durant were so different. In the end, what it comes down to is the determination that he isn’t a starting-caliber NBA PG at this time, so while he has a key place in the league, his value isn’t the same. Another big question mark for him in my eyes is that his performance in games against good opponents, which was a mixed bag. Also, his 3PT% and Free Throw % dropped by 6% each, which is a little jarring.
31. Eric Maynor, PG, Virginia Commonwealth. The small school Ron Steele. He’s just a combination of tools and attitude that I just love in a PG. Also, he has the size to potentially make a difference in the NBA, which is part of what separates him from many of the other smaller conference guys.
32. Nick Calathes, SG/PG, Florida. Potentially one of those guys who will cause major debates in draft circles, since he may not have a definite position but sure seems like a talented basketball player at this point. Another year of work under Billy Donovan could work wonders for his game and his profile among scouts, but I really like what he has shown thus far in terms of all-around game.
33. Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky. Like Speights, Patterson has the potential to be much greater than this slot, but he needs to overcome the limitations on his game to move up this board, though he will get every chance to do just that next season.
34. Trent Plastied, C, BYU. He’s a player who could end up doing much better than this, considering how well he played against top-level opponents, especially in the non-conference season. Really like Trent.
35. Earl Clark, SF/PF, Louisville. I have a long history of overrating Louisville players, and while he may be in this group in the end, there is a great deal to like here. He could end up being a very capable defensive player and he does a great job of getting his offense within the flow, which is simply key as the talent levels around him improve both in terms of teammates and opponents.
36. Danny Green, SF, North Carolina. He’s gonna be a good one, but he needs to spend more time as a central focus of the offense to move up. That said, he should be a contributor at the very least, which holds value.
37. Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina. The second-most divisive white post prospect who is draft-eligible. I spent five full minutes of game time watching just him in the Alamodome, and was floored to see that the inklings of what I’d seen during the year were far more pronounced in person. He is a better offensive player than he is perceived to be, but his fundamentals are not nearly as good as advertised and his rebounding leaves alot to be desired. He won’t get the calls in the NBA that he got at the college level, and since so much of his game is predicated on drawing contact (a point that Jay Bilas has nailed spot-on) it will hurt his success beyond UNC. I fully agree with Mike Wilbon that his whiteness has dramatically impacted the media’s treatment of him and it is appalling to say that he is the “hardest worker in the history of college basketball” because that requires an assumption that no one else has ever worked themselves as hard as they can which is simply false.
38. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF/SF, UCLA. People like Ford have compared him to Ron Artest, but he really is the Cameroonian Kirilenko from his athletic ability and stopper potential to his complete and utter lack of acceptance of his limitations as a player. The second Luc realizes that he needs to focus on what he does well is the second he becomes a 10-year starter in the NBA, especially if he can be a “Phoenix Four” in the vein of Shawn Marion.
39. Darren Collison, PG, UCLA. Very interesting guy because his defensive prowess and three point shooting are somewhat masked by his lack of size and weakness in the true PG attributes of court vision and passing. It would be wonderful to see him guard PGs with another ball handler, and he’ll have a role in the league as a complementary guard off the bench at the very least.
40. Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina. Darren Collison’s size, but swap the shooting and the stopperness for court vision and passing in the open floor. The reason he’s lower is because I am not sold on him in a half-court offense, so DC is more versatile as a prospect at the immediate time, though I really do like Lawson.
41. Chase Buddinger, SG/SF, Arizona. He is a fascinating offensive player with underrated passing ability for his position, but he is a Mentally Weak loser who has Zero (think absolute zero, like the Kelvin scale of apathy) desire to play any semblance of defense and chose to go to a college that would accept that instead of challenging himself to be a better player. There may never have been a prospect in any sport that I resent as much as Buddinger because of his appalling lack of character.
42. DeVon Hardin, C, Cal. Is physically the type of player that the NBA loves, but he never seems to have his head fully in the game and Cal bizarrely often played better when he wasn’t in the game, which makes no sense for a NBA player.
43. Austin Daye, SF, Gonzaga. Sleeper alert! Get ready to hear his name a whole hell of a lot in the coming years- I simply love what he could become.
44. Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown. At the Final Four last year, I told anyone who’d listen that Hibbert had to go pro if he didn’t want to kill his draft stock. Well…. when you’re playing against Oompa-Loompas in the last game of your collegiate career and you get decimated, you slide just a little bit in my book.
45. Bill Walker, SG/SF, Kansas State. Showed glimpses of what he can be against U$C in the Tourney, but he needs to learn how to keep his emotions under control and harness them to his advantage to make a difference as a pro player. Still love his potential though.
46. Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama. What can I say, I just like the kid. He may be a little undersized, but he delivers enough to satisfy and should be able to hang around the league if given a proper shot, which is really all you can ask for.
47. Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt. Hard not to like the Shan Man, and he sure seems like the type of guy who deserves to make an NBA roster and could make some team very happy. Was very productive at Vandy (shooting an appalling % for a SG).
48. Darrell Arthur, PF/SF, Kansas. A really interesting player, but I need to see a ton more consistency from him to move him up into the stratospheres where his talent truly should be. Another year under Self could do him worlds of good.
49. JJ Hickson, PF, NC State. Still a guy I like, but he needs to show me more versatility and domination to prove he can be a valuable contributor in the NBA.
50. Pat Calathes, PF/SF, St. Joseph’s. A downright sexy skillset and athletic ability for his size. I’m absolutely in love with his NBA potential, but his performance in games like the Oklahoma one scare him down to this spot on the board.
51. Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State. The list ends with a player who will get dramatically more visibility as ASU moves up the Pac-10 standings next year. Has a ton of NBA potential but needs to flesh it out with top performances against top teams for another year and we’ll see how he plays with his improved teammates.
52. Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas. Consider him Acie Law IV without the hype. Super Nintendo Chalmers™ is a little bit limited as a true PG now, but he has big game guts and is the type of guy that every team should have at least one of.
53. Maarty Leunen, C, Oregon. A guy who may end up turning some heads before the draft and make some team amazingly happy as a UDFA. Savvy player who has the type of skillset that would make a creative coach’s head spin. Don’t be surprised if he ends up wherever D’Antoni lands, especially if it’s Chicago.
54. Davon Jefferson, SF/PF, U$C. A man without a position, but his tools could end up making him a contributor at the NBA level if he can find the right team/coach combination for his development as a player.
55. Kyle Weaver, SG/SF, Washington State. Like Bobby Jones before him, Weaver will be able to make a living in the NBA as a defensive player who scores when necessary. I’m hoping he gets a fair shot to do that.