As the Knicks hold steady, anxiously waiting this summer’s free agency, I have decided to keep myself busy by becoming a NBA Draft correspondent for Bleacher Report. Ironically enough, the Knicks do not have a first round pick, but do, however, hold the 38th and 39th picks overall.
You can bet that Knicks coverage will trickle back soon with a look at some potential free agent candidates, but for now, here’s my first edition of the 2010 NBA Mock Draft.
1- New Jersey Nets- John Wall from Kentucky
The draft is about shoring up the holes in your team. Point guard certainly isn’t a hole for the Nets with Devin Harris, but they would be crazy to pass up on John Wall.
Wall is an aggressive player on both ends of the court, making it easy for him to drive to the basket as well as create opportunities for his teammates. He also knows how to win, something the Nets proved they did not know how to do this season.
Drafting Wall would also make Harris, a two-time all-star, expendable to trade for perhaps a much better wing player.
2- Minnesota Timberwolves- Evan Turner from Ohio State
Turner is another player that any team in this position would be crazy to pass up. Lucky for the Timberwolves, Turner is exactly what they need.
Turner is not only a go to guy on offense, but a stat-sheet stuffer. This guy can do it all — points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
He would fill a tremendous void in Minnesota at shooting guard and be a nice addition to the already strong young core of Flynn, Jefferson, and Love.
3- Sacramento Kings- DeMarcus Cousins from Kentucky
Although the Kings already have Carl Landry and Jason Thompson up front, Cousins is a much more aggressive big man. His physical presence on offense is something this team lacks. The Kings could potentially put all three big men together, which would certainly result in mismatches on the court.
Having Cousins on the court would take the pressure off Landry and allow him to position himself around the perimeter. Drafting Cousins would also be an example of simply selecting the best player available at this spot.
4-Golden State Warriors-Derrick Favors from Georgia Tech
The only knock on this kid seems to be his less than stellar defense, which the Warriors won’t mind at all. Favors is already better than Andris Biedrins. Favors is a better offensive player and more importantly, a bigger body.
He can rebound and score on the inside, which is something the perimeter shooting Warriors would benefit from.
Although he is only a freshman, he is known around the circuit for his great attitude, which should pay off when polishing the other facets of his game.
5-Washington Wizards-Wesley Johnson from Syracuse
Early scouting reports recognized Al-Farouq Aminu as the “top” small forward going in, but Johnson’s popularity in this draft is gaining steam. He is a much better offensive option than Aminu.
Offensive production is something the Wizards need after trading away Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison. Johnson could really flourish in the right system, namely a system that simply allows him to do his thing and score the basketball. Washington seems to be a very nice fit.
Not to mention, Syracuse has a pretty good reputation for producing forwards in recent years (Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick).
6- Philadelphia 76ers- Al-Farouq Aminu from Wake Forest
The 76ers won’t be jumping for joy with this pick, but with Elton Brand and Samuel Dalembert still guaranteed large contracts and only good big men available in the rest of the draft, Aminu will be selected.
He definitely has an upside though, having been compared to Josh Smith in months past.
If the 76ers don’t want him, another team certainly will. Aminu could easily become instant trade bait.
7- Detroit Pistons- Ed Davis from North Carolina
If there is anyone who can realize Davis’ potential, it would be Joe Dumars. Davis is similar to Ben Wallace with more of an offensive presence. Davis may not be a star, but he is the type of player every winning team needs (ala Al Horford on this year’s Hawks or Wallace on the championship winning Pistons a couple years back).
Wallace and Horford have both proven that if one makes a positive enough impact, all-star selections could follow. The future could be bright for Davis.
In addition to his skills, Davis also has a high basketball IQ coming from North Carolina.
8- Los Angeles Clippers- Xaxier Henry from Kansas
Henry could see his stock rise a bit as the Clippers simply fill a void. A couple inches taller than Eric Gordon, Henry could provide some nice energy off the bench for the Clippers.
Coming from Kansas, he obviously knows how to win and would fit in well in Los Angeles as a perimeter shooter.
9- Utah Jazz- Greg Monroe from Georgetown
If Monroe is available at 9 (as he should be), the Jazz will be very happy with this pick.
Although he may not be an all-star type player, Monroe will fit in almost seamlessly into Jerry Sloan’s system.
As past picks have proven, a player’s success could very well be based on the type of system he enters.
Having been compared to Brad Miller, this perimeter shooting big man should spell Mehmet Okur well off the Utah bench.
10- Indiana Pacers- Cole Aldrich from Kansas
Even though the Pacers already have Roy Hibbert, they really cannot afford to pass on Aldrich if he falls this late.
Although he and Hibbert are somewhat similar players, there are plenty of teams lacking a big man and the Pacers could test the waters and see who bites the bait.
Aldrich is a bruiser and could provide a team with a physical presence down low if the Pacers choose to trade him and upgrade a different position.
11- New Orleans Hornets- Donatas Motiejunas from Lithuania
The Hornets have hit jackpot in recent years at the draft as first as first-rate guards are concerned. Maybe it’s time to take a chance at a big man.
The Hornets could draft Motiejunas as a good complement to Emeka Okafor.
With comparisons to Andrea Bargnani (hopefully the Bargnari of last year and not years prior), Motiejunas could provide some nice shooting around the perimeter.
Okafor has a good midrange jumper, but if Motiejunas can prove to hit the long ball, that would really open things open for the Hornets.
12-Memphis Grizzlies- Patrick Patterson from Kentucky
In this big man laden draft, yet another gets chosen. Another Kentucky product, Patterson would be the best option for the Grizzlies in this spot.
The team went for broke and drafted for upside last year, and Patterson is the complete opposite. A very safe pick, he may be even more ready than Thabeet to play at this level.
A very mature and intelligent player, Patterson can play with his back to the basket.
13- Toronto Raptors- Ekpe Udoh from Baylor
With the chance of Chris Bosh leaving next season, the Raptors will select the best offensive big man available at this point.
Udoh is similar to Bosh, with good hands, a good jumper and the ability to rebound. Like Bosh earlier in his career, however, Udoh needs to become stronger.
He definitely needs to polish his game, but given his similarities to Bosh, Toronto should be comfortable pulling the trigger on him anyway.
14-Houston Rockets- Daniel Orton from Kentucky
As noted before, this is a very heavy big man draft, which could lead to Orton falling a couple of spots down to the Rockets. A back up big man last year in Kentucky (surprise, surprise), Orton is a bruiser and has a very impressive defensive ability that should help Houston.
One thing is for sure, he would definitely be a more appropriate sized player to spell Yao Ming off the bench, rather than the 6’6 Chuck Hayes.
15- Milwaukee Bucks- Hassan Whiteside from Marshall
With Andrew Bogut’s injury troubles and Ersan Illaysova’s plain lack of skill and toughness, it would be tough for the Bucks to pass up on Whiteside.
Although it’s unclear just how ready he is for the NBA level given his lack of grip on basic fundamentals, he’s a physical presence down low that can block shots and rebound.
Because the Bucks do have the above stated big men, they have the time for Whiteside to develop. However, if an injury occurs to one of their other big men, Whiteside’s development may very well come through experience.
16- Minnesota Timberwolves- James Anderson from Oklahoma State
With another pick here, the Timberwolves will continue to shore up its wings, drafting Anderson, whom many regard as one of the best shooters in college basketball.
Although he is a below average defender, he should be able to work on that with the team’s defensive minded coaching staff. His offensive skills and high basketball IQ make up for what he lacks on the other end of the court.
17- Chicago Bulls- Damion Jones from Texas
Should Jones drop this low, the Bulls will feel very lucky. Although he is a tough and physical minded player who sees a lot of time at power forward (like quite a few of the Bulls’ current players), Jones has shown potential of developing into an above average perimeter player as well.
The Bulls would be silly to pass up on such a player.
If he can combine his current skills with that of a perimeter player, Jones would provide the Bulls with a combination of talent that none of the team’s other big men have.
18-Miami Heat-Larry Sanders from Virginia Commonwealth
A big man with freakish athleticism is exactly what Miami needs with Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal currently in the post.
Regarded as a late bloomer with some tremendous eventual upside, Sanders plays with a lot of energy, similar to that of the rest of the Heat players.
19 Boston Celtics- Gordon Haywood from Butler
With the Celtics potentially losing a couple of its outside shooters in free agency, and having traded Eddie House and Bill Walker to New York, it would be smart to draft this outside shooting stud at this point in the draft.
Haywood is an excellent three point shooter who could provide the Celtics with timely hoops off the bench if given a chance to be in the mix with its veteran and ever so quickly aging squad.
20- San Antonio Spurs- Solomon Alabi from Florida State
The Spurs will gamble here and hope that Alabi is the answer to its center woes. The team has been getting by without a true center for years, and as Coach Poppovich shuffles his starting lineup, Alabi would be bound to even get a few trial starts next season.
With nothing to lose (and all to gain) at the center position, Alabi would be a worthwhile pick for the Spurs.
21- Oklahoma City Thunder- Stanley Robinson from Connecticut
With multiple comparisons to Gerald Wallace to his credit, there is a chance Robinson goes higher.
If he falls to the Thunder, however, it could very well be a great fit for both sides.
Robinson’s high octane style of play fits the Thunder’s young talent nicely, as he could provide the team’s young budding starting lineup with a boost off the bench.
22- Portland Trailblazers- Paul George from Fresno State
As the first round begins to finally fill out nicely, the Blazers would be smart to select George.
Not only is George a very physical wingman, but a good perimeter shooter. He could play with the Blazers well if they can help him flourish into a catch and shoot type player, as his ball handling skills are said to be quite lackluster.
23- Utah Jazz- Luke Babbitt from Nevada
Don’t look now, but this has suddenly become a wingman draft. There may be a couple of better talented players left in this draft, but Babbitt’s basketball IQ will give him credibility and put him in favor with the Jazz brass.
He is also a very smart passer and a good shooter from behind the arc, which means he can play the Jazz’s style of basketball for certain.
24- Atlanta Hawks- Eric Bledsoe from Kentucky
It seems like a team cannot go wrong with a Kentucky product in this draft.
The Hawks could fill their point guard void here, with Mike Bibby getting older and slower, and Jeff Teague not shaping up to be what the Hawks had hoped.
Of course, drafting Bledsoe would be a move for the future for this playoff contender, but it’s always nice to have a strong point guard waiting in the wings.
25- Memphis Grizzlies- Quincy Pondexter from Washington
With O.J. Mayo moving over to the point next season and Rudy Gay a possibility to depart, Pondexter’s stock may go up if the Grizzlies select him here.
Pondexter would clearly be the best wingman available if all else goes to plan, and given the Grizzlies’ quick turnaround (for the most part) with young talent, Pondexter’s skills could be maximized in a system like Coach Hollins’.
26- Oklahoma City Thunder- Willie Warren from Oklahoma
If for no other reason at all, it would be nice to see the Thunder draft a hometown kid.
Lucky for them, though, Warren is a good match. He is an athletic guard who struggled with his instincts and decision making skills this season. Perhaps he could learn from Russell Westbrook’s early mistakes as he develops into a smarter player.
If he develops a bit stronger basketball IQ to go with his skills, Warren could be a good player.
27-New Jersey Nets- Devin Ebanks from West Virginia
As the Nets draft John Wall and (perhaps) trade Devin Harris, look for them to draft another Devin. Ebanks is a very strong minded defensive player but lacks offensive ability.
Although he is not much of a shooter, he is the right guy for the New Jersey to help them make fans forget about the Sean Williams failure.
28- Memphis Grizzlies- Avery Bradley from Texas
Even if Kevin Seraphin falls this late, don’t expect the Grizzlies or the Magic to bite after already having international big men of their own.
Bradley then becomes the best option available, and could end up playing some decent minutes at point guard after Mike Conley, should the O.J. Mayo-point guard situation not work out as planned.
29- Orlando Magic-Elliot Williams from Memphis
The Magic brass love guards, so expect them to pick yet another in this position.
Williams has a very athletic upside and has an NBA ready body. Already a championship-contending team, the Magic is just looking for talent to give them a boost off the bench and Williams would do just that.
30- Washington Wizards- Kevin Seraphin from France
If Seraphin falls here (it is a big “if”) the Wizards will get a steal at this point in the draft.
Particularly an off the ball type player, Seraphin has offensive talent but is a raw prospect.
However, with a top five pick already in the draft, the Wizards can definitely afford to wait on Seraphin or even trade him to a playoff contender looking for young talent in return for an immediate upgrade.