NBA Mock Draft 5/25 Part I: The Lottery
1. Washington Wizards: PG John Wall- Wall while only a freshman, has the talent to be the next elite point guard in the NBA. His upside reminds me of either a Rajon Rondo or a Derrick Rose, and Washington will be happy if he turns into either one. As tempting as Cousins or Turner could be, Wall will be the pick here. He will allow Arenas to play off the ball more and fill two needs, and give Washington an impressive backcourt.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: G/F Evan Turner– You can make a strong case for DeMarcus Cousins here since the 76ers need some help with their front court, but I doubt they let Turner get by them. He is the safest player in this draft and they need to add some impact. While his game is similar to Andre Iguodala, Turner can handle the 3 fine and will give Philly another scorer.
3. New Jersey Nets: F/C DeMarcus Cousins- The Nets may have lost out on Wall and the Lottery, but could still end up with the best player in this draft. Cousins has immense talent, he just needs to learn how to harness it. He would form a dominate frontcourt with Brook Lopez, whose presence would allow him to mainly play the 4. Cousins could handle either position, but there aren’t many power forwards in the league that play with that combination of size, strength, and range. Cousins has some risk involved, but is well worth the pick for New Jersey.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: SF Wesley Johnson- The T-wolves could add another big man, but they really need someone who can play center and I don’t see them reaching for Aldrich or Greg Monroe. Johnson gives Minnesota a very consistent wing player who should compliment their talent at 1 and 4 nicely.
5. Sacramento Kings: C/F Greg Monroe- I think you will hear a lot of talk of Favors here, but he is so raw of a player I don’t think it makes sense. Also the Kings need someone who can play some center and Favors I think would be overmatched. Monroe is a good fit here because he can rotate with Landry, Thompson and Hawes and would allow Cassipi to play full time at SF. This seems high for Monroe, but given his high basketball I.Q. and passing ability I think he is well worth a top 5 pick.
6. Golden State Warriors: PF Derrick Favors- I personally am not high on Favors, and think he is redundant on the Warriors since I question his ability to play inside, but he screams of a Golden State player. He is extremely athletic and has been hyped up all season. While he could one day be an elite NBA player, I think he is a few years off, and will really need to refine his game.
7. Detroit Pistons: C Cole Aldrich- Aldrich is a bit of a reach here since I think he is more of a late lottery talent, but fills a big need for the Pistons. Detroit has their share of shooting guards, small and power forwards, what they don’t have is a quality center. Aldrich should develop into a solid starter, and does have some offensive upside, but he is far from a top level 5.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: SF Al-Farouq Aminu- Aminu could easily go higher, but if he falls to the Clippers he will definitely be their pick. The Clippers biggest weakness is lack of a true SF, and while they could resign Travis Outlaw and will kick the tires on LeBron James and Rudy Gay, Aminu would be a great pick for them here. He is still a bit raw, but should still offer productive minutes as a rookie.
9. Utah Jazz: PF/C Ekpe Udoh- Udoh would be the perfect choice for the Jazz with this pick. He offers insurance in case Boozer leaves town, and also can give Utah some minutes at center allowing Milsap a breather. He is a defensive first big man, but has the offensive potential to become an all-star caliber of player.
10. Indiana Pacers: PG/SG Avery Bradley- Bradley doesn’t get as much hype as many of the other freshman, but in reality could end up being one of the top 3 players from this class. He isn’t a true point guard and lacks the range of a shooting guard, but he is a fantastic defender and still has a very good offensive game. The Pacers desperately need help in their back court, particularly at point guard, making Bradley a nice fit.
11. New Orleans Hornets: PF Ed Davis- Scouts have been salivating over Davis for two years now, and I don’t see the Hornets letting him slip any further. He is an athletic big man, who at times looks dominate. His major problems are his lack of consistency, especially on the offensive end and that he is coming off a major injury. That being said he fills a need for New Orleans, and can learn by coming off the bench, making this a good fit for both sides.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: PF/C Donatas Motiejunas- With 3 first round picks, and a young talents squad to begin with the Grizzlies can risk pulling the trigger on an international talent like Motiejunas. Even if he does stay in Europe another year, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for Memphis. Motiejunas has incredible upside and while his primary position is PF he can play some center as well, if he can add some bulk. If he does come over this year, he won’t be forced into a starting role allowing him to get a solid 15+ minutes to learn the NBA game.
13. Toronto Raptors: C/F Hassan Whiteside- Whiteside is a boom or bust player. He has incredible athleticism and talent, but doesn’t show it every game. He is still raw in a number of areas, but would be a nice fit in Toronto. He can fill in for Bosh who is almost guaranteed to leave, and by playing next to Bargnani he would have some help in the middle.
14. Houston Rockets: SG Xavier Henry- Henry is another of the one and done players, but is one that I really like. He doesn’t possess elite athleticism or defensive ability which will likely keep him out of the top 10 picks, but has plenty of upside. He is an excellent shooter and should be a sniper off the bench for the deep Rockets team. Houston needs a center, but there really isn’t one worth taking at this spot, making Henry their top choice.
Check back later for the rest of the 1st round!