2010 NBA Lottery Predictions
By Fanspeak Contributing Writer Geoff Nelowet
1. Washington Wizards–John Wall
This looks like an obvious pick for the Wizards, but there lies a major issue with Gilbert Arenas on board. Arenas will have to be told upfront that he is no longer the center of the franchise, and he is obligated to play the position his coaches want him to play – and that position may be shooting guard. If Flip Saunders can somehow manage to get Wall and Arenas playing together harmoniously, the Wizards could have a bright future ahead.
2. Philadelphia 76ers–Evan Turner
Turner looks like the second best prospect in the draft. What remains to be seen is if Philadelphia feels the same way. Turner would bring size and versatility to the backcourt, but is he a franchise-changing player? He looks like a sure-fire prospect, but he does not have as high a ceiling as Wall or others.
3. New Jersey Nets–Derrick Favors
Again, Favors is the best player available and he does not play center or point guard, which are positions occupied by Brook Lopez and Devin Harris. Wesley Johnson could also be a strong possibility in this slot.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves–Wesley Johnson
There is little chance the Timberwolves will select DeMarcus Cousins here considering that Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are already jockeying over the starting Center and Power Forward spots. Cousins would only complicate things as he would be yet another tweener-center/power forward added to the mix.
Johnson is a long and athletic small forward, and he also has a fairly polished game with a nice looking jumper. The Timberwolves are putting together a nice young nucleus with Jefferson, Love, Flynn, Johnson and Ricky Rubio’s rights.
5. Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins
This is a no-brainer. Cousins and Tyreke Evans will officially become the core of the Kings’ franchise for the next five-plus years. Cousins is an athletic and powerful center/power forward and he has great size and length. His stock is greatly hurt because of his off-court issues, which makes Cousins a bit of a steal at number five.
6. Golden State Warriors Greg Monroe
I think it would be typical of Golden State to take Monroe, as he is an excellent offensive player. Monroe has demonstrating a natural passing ability that is a rarity amongst big men. He also has great range on his jump shot for a center, and he is a good rebounder. He may also pan out to be a solid defender. It looks like a win-win for Golden State as they will be able to take a player that entices them with his versatility on offense while also potentially shoring up some of the defensive issues they have had.
7. Detroit Pistons– Al-Farouq Aminu
This is the perfect pick for a franchise that is headed in no particular direction. Aminu is a great overall athlete with an unpolished game. He has an improved inside game and he is great in transition. He is also a good rebounder and defender. He does not have a great offensive skill set, but as a small forward, he is very versatile. His versatility would be a great addition to the Pistons because there is no telling what kind of player they will require him to be a few years down the line.
8. LA Clippers Patrick Patterson
Patterson is a fairly polished forward, and he could be a good fit along side a healthy Blake Griffin. Patterson has a nice inside-outside game, and he has a solid NBA frame to work with at 6-9, 240.
9. Utah Jazz Hassan Whiteside
Utah needs to get bigger and more physical. Utah simply cannot hang with the stronger teams in the West, so it may be wise to find a future solution to potentially losing Carlos Boozer and having a softer center in Mehmet Okur.
10. Indiana Pacers–Xavier Henry
Henry would fill a need for the Pacers, which is backcourt scoring, but I don’t see Henry as an elite athlete. Henry has a great jump shot though, so he will at least have a chance to stay in the NBA for a while.
11. New Orleans Hornets–Cole Aldrich
New Orleans has a lot of finesse on their team outside of Emeka Okefor. Aldrich could be a nice change of pace off the bench.
12. Memphis Grizzlies–Ed Davis
Davis has fallen down the draft ladder a bit. Weeks ago he was slated as a top-five pick. Davis is a good athlete, but he isn’t strong enough to play with NBA big men. He can improve on this, but it is still a question mark.
13. Toronto Raptors–Donatas Motiejunas
Toronto loves foreign players. It looks like a fit.
14. Houston Rockets–Avery Bradley
Houston could use more scoring to go along with Aaron Brooks. Bradley is a great shooter and scorer and could be the answer.