The 2010 NBA Draft class is one of the deepest in recent memory. With a consensus No. 1 overall pick, both NBA-ready and raw big men, and a bunch of outside shooters, teams will be able to address both needs and value. But how will the NBA Draft affect what happens to these players in the fantasy world? Here’s your answer:
1. John Wall: Need at the position or not, Wall is the best player in the draft class and the Wizards will select him. This will be the perfect fit for Wall, who has no real competition at the position but excellent offensive pieces around him. He will see plenty of minutes right away, making him a nice fantasy play this season.
Back in late June, I created the first version of my 2010 NBA Mock Draft. It has been almost six months since my last mock and I felt that, fresh off a John Wall monster performance at Madison Square Garden, now would be the perfect time to put out another draft. Draft order is based on current records.
1. New Jersey Nets (2-20): John Wall, PG, Kentucky
While it’s true the Nets’ best player is also a point guard in Devin Harris, Wall is way too good of a prospect to pass on here. Kentucky head coach John Calipari dubbed John Wall the real deal, saying he was farther along in his progression than Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans were when he coached them at Memphis. Simply put, Wall is the total package. His jump shot is above average and his speed and athleticism combination remind me a lot of Ty Lawson. Throw on the five inches that Wall has over Lawson and you have a perfect pro prospect. Wall is a future All Star.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-19): Wesley Johnson, SG/SF, Syracuse
Just as Wall performed outstanding at MSG, Johnson had a coming out party of his own in New York, scoring 25 points against North Carolina in the 2K Sports Coaches Classic. A transfer from Iowa State, Johnson has the Orange out to an 8-0 start and a top ten ranking. If you look above the rim, there’s a good chance you will find Johnson there. He already has an NBA body and his athleticism screams top five pick. His all-around game is still a work in progress but you wouldn’t know it based on his numbers this season as he is shooting 59 percent from the field and 53 percent from downtown. The Timberwolves are set in the front court and drafted Johnny Flynn to manage the point guard duties for the future. The versatile, lockdown defender in Johnson seems like a good fit here.
3. Philadelphia 76ers (5-17): Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
Elton Brand’s time in Philadelphia is all but over and the Sixers could use a new post man on the inside. Marreese Speights has proved that he will be a solid frontline player, but they need a presence in the lane that they thought Brand would be. Favors has the most raw talent of any big man in the draft and, while the Sixers could use a shooting guard, Favors is too good of talent to pass on here.
4. Utah Jazz (from New York): Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
Carlos Boozer is more than likely out of Utah next season and the power forward position will need to be addressed. Paul Millsap should be a fine replacement in the mean time, but Monroe can add another dimension to the Jazz’s offense. Much like Mehmet Okur, Monroe has range that extends out to the three point line and should work well with Deron Williams in Jerry Sloan’s offense. The dubbed “project” from last season, Monroe has started to show some of that potential, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds thus far with the Hoyas.
5. Golden State Warriors (7-14): Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
Anthony Randolph is proving to be a solid contributor for the Warriors but they still need a post player outside of center Andris Biedrins. At 6’10″, Davis runs the floor exceptionally well and is building an NBA frame that should make him a top five pick next season. His impressive wingspan also makes him a solid defender, something the Warriors could use. He is just tapping into his potential and could be a very impressive player for the Warriors.
6. Indiana Pacers (6-13): Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State
The Pacers are in dire need of a shooting guard/small forward outside of Danny Granger and Dahntay Jones, and Turner certainly fits the bill. A broken back will keep him out for the next two months but that should not affect his draft status. Much like Granger, he fills the box score on a nightly basis (two triple-doubles this season) and can play multiple positions. The status of Mike Dunleavy is in question and Granger plays more of a forward role than anything, so Turner should be able to start at shooting guard right away.
7. Washington Wizards (7-13): Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma
The Wizards are closing in on a state of rebuilding with injuries and age plaguing them, so taking the best player available would be in their best interest. Warren burst on to the scene last season as a freshman but was overshadowed by some guy named Blake Griffin. Now in the spotlight, Warren has not disappointed for the Sooners, averaging over 18 points and five assists per game. The best part of Warren’s game is his ability to shoot the ball and has the potential to play both guard positions. His size could be an issue but he does an excellent job creating his own shot, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
8. Chicago Bulls (7-13): Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
The season from hell can only get better for the Bulls in the Draft (assuming they fire Vinny Del Negro), and Henry should help ease the pain. It should be a very interesting off-season for the Bulls, but assuming they can not land Dwyane Wade, Henry would be a great fit in Chicago. The lefty freshman has played outstanding for Kansas thus far and would add a pure shooter to the Bulls lineup. He needs to work on creating his own shot but all the talent is there for Henry to succeed at the next level.
9. Memphis Grizzles (9-12): Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
The status of Rudy Gay going forward is in question and if he decides to leave town, the Grizzlies have very little depth at small forward. Ebanks has literally been a mystery this season, playing in just three games this season, but has boatloads of potential. He has a long ways to go, but many compare him to Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith. He’ll need to gain some weight and become more of a basketball player than an athlete, but his skill set sets him up nicely for the future.
10. Sacramento Kings (9-12): Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
The Kings seem to have a nice core in Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, and Jason Thompson, but outside of those three the depth of the team is really lacking. Aldrich is the second Jayhawk to come off the board, and rightfully so. An outstanding sophomore season put him into the national spotlight and he has all the tools to succeed in the NBA. He is a great passing big man and shows soft touch in the paint. Spencer Hawes and Thompson give the Kings a different, more finesse look and Aldrich would compliment them well.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (9-12): Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
Based solely on scouting reports, Motiejunas’s game is much like Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani. He needs to add some weight and strength, but his speed and aggressiveness make him a very intriguing prospect that the Clippers could take a chance on. Marcus Camby is a free agent next season and the Clips will have to replace him somehow.
12. Toronto Raptors (10-14): Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
Chris Bosh’s performance over the last two seasons has all but written his ticket out of Toronto next year when he becomes a free agent. Taking his place will be Patrick Patterson, who is sure to garner some major looks as he takes Kentucky deep into the NCAA Tournament this season. Alongside John Wall, the 6’8″ power forward has showed great potential and has been on NBA scout’s radar since he joined Wildcats. He is undersized but his long wingspan and tough play will allow him to have success on the defensive end.
13. New Orleans Hornets (10-11): Solomon Alibi, C, Florida State
Don’t be surprised to see the Hornets in the playoffs by year’s end, but as it stands they are on the outside looking in. They have plenty of money invested for the next couple of years so they might trade this pick, but for now Alibi looks like a fine fit. Past Emeka Okafor, the Hornets have little at center as Hilton Armstrong has failed to live up to expectations. Alibi is a polished post man with excellent size that can make contributions right away.
14. San Antonio Spurs (10-9): Avery Bradley, SG, Texas
As weird as it may seem to see the Spurs picking in the lottery, they currently sit a half a game out of the playoffs. If they do end up picking here, Bradley could be the answer to free agent Manu Ginobili. While there’s still a chance Ginobili re-signs, Aminu would be the best pick in this spot to replace him and great value as well. With budding star George Hill ready to take over the shooting guard role, Aminu could learn behind the best as he becomes more of an all-around player. He plays outstanding defense and could shoot up the draft board as the season goes along.
Who says it’s too early to start looking at next year’s NBA draft?
With the top prospects from last year selected on Thursday, draft experts have begun to put together their rankings for 2010.
Here is a mock draft for next year based on 1) who the lottery teams will be, 2) which teams will make the playoffs, and 3) who will declare for the draft.
**Note** Derrick Favors does not declare for the 2010 Draft in this mock…
Western Conference Playoff Teams (in order of record)
Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and New Orleans Hornets
Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (in order of record)
Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Indiana Pacers
NBA Lottery Mock Draft
1. Memphis Grizzlies: John Wall, PG, Kentucky
The Grizzlies are putting together a nice group of young players, but, with so much youth and an inconsistent coaching staff, they could struggle next year. If they select first overall, it will be very hard for them to pass on a talent like Wall.
I am a believer that Mike Conley can be the future point guard, but Wall is the best prospect in the draft.
With the No. 2, 3, and 5 positions taken care of for the Grizzlies, Wall is a logical choice. The 6′4″ guard will be playing on an excellent Kentucky team this year that has national title hopes that can only show off Wall’s talent even more.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ed Davis, C, North Carolina
Look for the T-Wolves to be a solid team a few years down the road, but, after trading two of their most proven players in Randy Foye and Mike Miller, the growing pains will be large this year.
With Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn entering the starting lineup, this will be a very young team that will need to gain chemistry over time. If they select in the two spot, Ed Davis is the sure pick.
Listed as a power forward, the 6′10″ sophomore plays much bigger than that and is an excellent shot blocker. He will gang up with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love in the frontcourt to form one of the best young trios in the game.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
Much like the Grizzlies, the Thunder are putting all the pieces together the right way but still need more experience. In what looks to be the last piece of the puzzle, Greg Monroe joins a Thunder team with a ton of potential.
With Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and B.J. Mullens as a core, Monroe will be the finishing piece to one of the best young starting lineups in basketball.
Monroe is still very raw, but will add another year of college basketball seasoning before coming out next year.
4. Sacramento Kings: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
Aminu is another player who decided to pull his name from the draft this year and will gain some more experience because of it, just like Monroe.
His stock will either rise considerably, once he shows he can be the go-to guy without the likes of Jeff Teague and James Johnson, or it will drop if he fails to become the leader for the Demon Deacons.
If he is drafted to the Kings, he will join fellow small forwards Andres Nocioni and recent draft pick Omri Casspi. Aminu gives the Kings more of a finesse player than a bruiser and would be a great compliment.
5. Los Angeles Clippers: Willie Warren, PG, Oklahoma
Warren would have been a lottery pick last year but opted to go back to school for one more year. Without the Griffin brothers, on paper it would seem Warren will be in for a rough year.
However, a very solid recruiting class will give Warren a good supporting cast that should warrant him a top five selection. He will also meet up with his old teammate Blake Griffin as the heir apparent to Baron Davis.
6. New Jersey Nets: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
For some reason, I think the loss of Vince Carter is going to hurt the Nets more than most people believe. He was the glue that held the team together and was by far the most experienced veteran that played.
Now, Devin Harris is left to run the team and get them back to the playoffs. Power forward is now the biggest hole for the Nets, and a guy like Aldrich could fill the void.
While he is listed as a center, his game is set more for a power forward in the NBA. He tears down rebounds and has a solid mid-range game on offense. It would not be surprising to see him go earlier than this in next year’s draft.
7. Utah Jazz: Donatas Montiejunas, C, Lithuania
Montiejunas is projected to be a power forward in the NBA but will be able to play both positions. Utah received this pick from the New York Knicks and will take the best player available at this point. Like most foreign players in the draft, Montiejunas has a ton of upside but may slip on draft day. Still, the Jazz will soon need a replacement for Mehmet Okur and Montiejunas gives them a lot of versatility, much like Andrei Kirilenko.
8. Charlotte Bobcats: John Henson, PF, North Carolina
After selecting a Dukie (Gerald Henderson) in this year’s draft, Larry Brown and Michael Jordan go back to their roots and select the next great Tar Heel. The Bobcats are pretty much set all around at the starting positions, so going with the best player left on the board seems right for them.
Henson is the top rated freshman in this year’s high school class and has all the tools to be great. If he can put on muscle and become more polished, he could make an argument for the top spot in the draft next year.
9. Detroit Pistons: Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
This is the year in which the Pistons go from constant playoff team to lottery.
With Rasheed Wallace likely to be moved via free agency, Detroit will take a hit and begin to rebuild. They have the core to do it with Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, and the veterans Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince.
However, Henry will be the best player on the board at this spot and become the replacement for Hamilton in the future. While he will play third fiddle to Sherron Collins and Aldrich, Henry’s potential is sky high which will make him a lottery pick.
10. Golden State Warriors: Solomon Alibi, C, Florida State
After drafting Stephen Curry with the seventh pick overall this year, the Warriors backcourt is pretty much set. Monta Ellis and Curry will join Stephen Jackson to form a high scoring, fast-paced break.
In the frontcourt, however, there is much more of a problem.
Andris Biedrins is the only sure thing and, unless a trade for Amar’e Stoudemire occurs, more talent will be needed there. Enter Alibi who is one of the lesser known prospects in this year’s crop thus far.
At 7′1″, he runs the floor extremely well and will give Golden State more options down low.
11. Washington Wizards: Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
Obtaining Randy Foye and hopefully a healthy Gilbert Arenas will help the Wizards next year, but I believe their window of opportunity has already closed and that they are not deep enough as a team to sniff the playoffs.
To help the rebuilding mode, the Wizards go with Evan Turner out of Ohio State.
The handful of times that I watched him play, I couldn’t help but think he will be a very solid NBA player. He is very long for his size and goes to the hole with power and balance.
Because of his versatility (much like Caron Butler), he can play multiple positions, and if he can work on his jump shot, he will be just fine in the Association.
12. Toronto Raptors: Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State
With Chris Bosh almost certain to leave after this season, the frontcourt will have a huge hole that needs filling. Varnado is the best defensive player in the college game right now and is poised to make run in the NCAA Tournament this year.
He could be the annual player whose stock rises after an outstanding tournament (Tyreke Evans, anyone?), and he is worth the pick.
If he can develop a more consistent post game, he will be a lottery pick. If he does not, he will be a mid-first rounder.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder: Stanley Robinson, SF, Connecticut
The Oklahoma City Thunder have obtained this pick from the Phoenix Suns and go with Robinson here. With Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, and A.J. Price all gone from the Final Four-bound Huskies, Robinson becomes the leader of the team and will enter the spotlight next season.
Much like Aminu, Robinson will be a make-or-break prospect this upcoming year. His defense and athleticism is outstanding but his lack of an offensive game might keep him out of the lottery.
14. Milwaukee Bucks: Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
There may be a little bit of bias with this selection, having the Bucks as the ninth place team in the East, but if they stay healthy they will be in the playoff race all year.
However, falling just short means another lottery selection. For the second time in three years, they go with an athletic small forward Mountaineer.
Ebanks has all the potential in the world but is extremely raw in just about every aspect. It would surprise me to see him come out to the draft next year, but on potential alone he could be a lottery pick.