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2010 NBA Mock Draft 2.0

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.

While some might think Wesley Johnson going number two overall is a little high, make no mistake: he's the real deal. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

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.

Xavier Henry has one of the sweetest strokes in the NCAA. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

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.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, Chicago Bulls, College Basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, New York Knicks | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Bulls-Knicks Talks: Thomas for Harrington Makes Sense on Both Sides

Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported tonight that there are “serious” talks happening between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks that would send Tyrus Thomas and Jerome James to the Knicks in exchange for Al Harrington.  As trade talks begin to heat up around the NBA, the first real proposal of the season seems to make sense for both parties.

Thomas is currently recovering from a broken forearm that has kept him out of action for the last month and a half.  Since he was drafted by the Bulls in 2006, Thomas has been somewhat of a project that has improved every year, increasing his statistical performances in just about every category.  At just 23 years old he still has plenty of gas left in the tank but his high energy, athletic game could surely improve if he was put into a higher tempo offense.  His 6’10”, 225-pound body slots him at the power forward position, but in the Bulls half court offense he is undersized and can not be a full-time post player.

Al Harrington would provide offense this season and cap space next season for the Bulls. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

On the other hand, Harrington has done well for the Knicks, averaging over 20 points per game since he arrived in New York.  The 12-year veteran has exploded for two 40-point games this season and would surely add instant offense to a Bulls team that ranks 28th in the NBA, scoring just 91.4 points per game.  The bigger Harrington would take over the Bulls power forward spot and give Derrick Rose another offensive weapon to go along with Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.

From a money perspective, the Bulls would be wise to make this move as Harrington’s contract expires after this season.  General Manager John Paxson is clearly looking to the 2010 “Free Agent Sweepstakes”, where he and the Bulls are expected to make plays for free agents Chris Bosh and hometown hero Dwyane Wade.  With Harrington’s contract going off the books after the season, more cap space will be available for the Bulls to go after those free agents.  Letting go of Thomas would save the Bulls approximately $13 million.

The Knicks currently have the most cap space allotted for 2010 of any NBA team with players like Larry Hughes ($13.65 million), Darko Milicic ($7.5 million), Cuttino Mobley ($9.5 million), David Lee ($7 million), Chris Duhon ($6 million), and Nate Robinson ($4 million) all coming off the books after this season.  The Knicks have made it all but public that they will pursue LeBron James next summer, the clear prized possession of the free agent class.

However, one issue that has been talked about is that the Knicks will have to show James that they still have a foundation and that they will not sacrifice the rest of the team just so they have the money to offer him a maximum contract.  Adding Thomas to the Knicks, who is under contract until 2011, along with up-and-coming second year forward Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and rookies Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas would be a start in showing James that a young core of players are ready to succeed under the leadership of James if he comes to New York.

As it goes for the 2009 season, Harrington would improve the Bulls’ front court immediately alongside the fully improved Joakim Noah.  Last June, the Bulls drafted Wake Forest’s James Johnson and Taj Gibson from USC.  While Johnson is more of a project, just as Thomas was coming out of college, Gibson has established himself as a contributor and has the potential to start for the Bulls in 2010.  Despite being a fan favorite, the early emergence of Gibson makes Thomas expendable and also frees up the power forward position for Chris Bosh in 2010, presuming he decides on Chicago next summer.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, Chicago Bulls, LeBron James, NBA, New York Knicks | , , , , , | 1 Comment