The ground rules: this mock is less a prediction about what I think teams will do and more about what I would do as GM for each team. Although I anticipate that trades will change the draft order, perhaps radically, my interest is in matching players and teams. Therefore I keep the teams in their given draft order but highlight spots where I expect trades. (In other words, I’m notoriously bad at this so I’m trying to hedge as best I can.)
Note: ESPN.com is reporting a deal involving New Orleans trading its 27th overall selection to Portland for cash considerations. So I will insert Portland into the 27th spot.
1. Chicago Michael Beasley, Kansas State, PF (Version 1.0: Derrick Rose)
The statheads have convinced me that Beasley is the better prospect. No matter who Chicago selects it’ll be interesting to see what Paxson does with the roster this off-season.
2. Miami Derrick Rose, Memphis, PG (Version 1.0: Michael Beasley)
I think the Mayo talk is mostly smoke screen, but I think Miami would much rather be in a position to choose between Rose, Mayo, and an offer that sweeps them off their feet than simply choosing between Rose and Mayo.
3. Minnesota O.J. Mayo, USC, G (Version 1.0: O.J. Mayo)
Mayo seems to be the consensus #3 talent in the draft and easily its most polarizing. A basketball mercenary since middle school, his much anticipated but mediocre “one-and-done” at SoCal has pit statheads against the traditional scouting types who love him. An oversimplification? Yes, but not an entirely inaccurate one.
4. Seattle Jerryd Bayless, Arizona, G (Version 1.0: Jerryd Bayless)
Keep moving people; nothing to see here.
5. Memphis Kevin Love, UCLA, PF (Version 1.0: Brook Lopez)
Love may be the next most polarizing player in the draft after Mayo. Statheads and scouting types both agree that he’s super skilled and hyper-productive, but is he athletic enough? The Grizz are likely to move if things don’t fall just right for them. One rumored deal involves the Knicks trading David Lee for this pick.
6. New York Russell Westbrook, UCLA, G (Version 1.0: Russell Westbrook)
I am going to stick with Westbrook should NY stay at six. To me, he’s the right kind of gamble on upside. He uses his athleticism on defense and doesn’t try to play outside his limitations. All he really lacks is experience. Although I wouldn’t be incensed about Westbrook, I’d rather see a trade down in search of some low-cost gems in the late teens (e.g., Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers) or 20s (e.g., Ryan Anderson, DeVon Hardin, Richard Hendrix), especially if we can dump a bad contract in the process.
7. LA Clippers Danilo Gallinari, Armani Jeans Milan, SF (Version 1.0: Kevin Love)
The Clips are another team that may be looking to deal. One rumor has Maggette going to Phoenix for Barbosa. Either way LA needs shooting in the worst way.
8. Milwaukee Joe Alexander, W. Virginia, SF (Version 1.0: Danilo Gallinari)
Alexander is a late bloomer with athleticism and a nice stroke, but lacks some skills and experience. He’s a solid gamble for Milwaukee, but too big a risk for the Knicks at six I think, though this is Hollinger’s pick.
9. Charlotte Brook Lopez, Stanford, C (Version 1.0: Anthony Randolph)
10. New Jersey Eric Gordon, Indiana, SG (Version 1.0: Donte Green)
It’s hard to anticipate what NJ is going to do with its roster overall. I doubt they’ll really know until the off-season starts to heat up. So if I were Rod Thorn I’d go best available. (I feel like I’m penciling Gordon in here because that’s what I’m supposed to do but I really don’t understand what I’m missing that other people are seeing in him.)
11. Indiana Marreese Speights, Florida, PF (Version 1.0: Eric Gordon)
For my money Speights, not Anthony Randolph, is the high upside forward out of the SEC mid-lottery teams should be gambling on in this draft.
12. Sacramento Alexis Ajinca, Heyeres-Toulon (France), C (Version 1.0: Darrell Arthur)
Ajinca likely won’t play immediately, but may be ready just as Kenny Thomas and Shareef Abdur-Rahim are coming off the books after 2009-10.
13. Portland Anthony Randolph, LSU, SF/PF (Version 1.0: Chase Budinger)
The Blazers are one of the few teams with the patience to wait on youngsters to develop. However, after acquiring the #27 pick from New Orleans I won’t be surprised to see Portland go international and look to stash yet another youngster overseas.
14. Golden St. DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M, C (Version 1.0: Joe Alexander)
Mine may be the only mock where Jordan actually improves to #14 from the previous version. Although I maintain serious doubts about his work ethic, he may be best suited to play on a running team where he’s only asked to block shots and rebound.
15. Phoenix Brandon Rush, Kansas, SG/SF (Version 1.0: Brandon Rush)
16. Philadelphia Donte Green, Syracuse, SF (Version 1.0: Marreese Speights)
17. Indiana (f/ Toronto) Robin Lopez, Stanford, C (Version 1.0: D.J. Augustin)
The rumored deal sends this pick to Indiana as part of the Jermaine O’Neal for T.J. Ford swap.
18. Washington Darrell Arthur, Kansas, PF (Version 1.0: Nicolas Batum)
19. Cleveland Roy Hibbert, Georgetown, C (Version 1.0: Chris Douglas-Roberts)
Cleveland could use a center with more offensive skill than Varajao, who could be moved this off-season, to eventually take over for Big Z.
20. Charlotte (f/ Denver) Kosta Koufos, Ohio State, C (Version 1.0: Courtney Lee)
Denver dealt this pick to Charlotte for a future first (protected through 2014). DraftExpress is saying that Larry Brown made this deal for Roy Hibbert. So if he’s still on the board that may be where he goes.
21. New Jersey Mario Chalmers, Kansas, PG (Version 1.0: DeAndre Jordan)
I understand that NJ is not happy with Marcus Williams’ development. Chalmers would provide some flexibility. His shooting makes him a better backup to Devin Harris than Williams. (Yeah. I do think Chalmers is better than D.J. Augustin.)
22. Orlando D.J. Augustin, Texas, PG (Version 1.0: JaVale McGee)
23. Utah Courtney Lee, W. Kentucky, SG (Version 1.0: Roy Hibbert)
24. Seattle J.J. Hickson, N.C. State, PF (Version 1.0: Davon Jefferson)
25. Houston Richard Hendrix, Alabama, PF (Version 1.0: Kosta Koufos)
26. San Antonio Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis, SG (Version 1.0: Alexis Ajinca)
His body of work and workouts say mid-first, but virtually no one is projecting him there. I think his game fits San Antonio really well.
27. Portland (f/ NO) Ryan Anderson, California, PF (Version 1.0: Ty Lawson)
I am curious about why Portland acquired this pick. I wonder if they’ll keep it.
28. Memphis JaVale McGee, Nevada, PF/C (Version 1.0: Ryan Anderson)
29. Detroit DeVon Hardin, California, C (Version 1.0: DeVon Hardin)
30. Boston Jason Thompson, Rider, PF/C (Version 1.0: Robin Lopez)
Almost whomever Boston drafts will have a shot to get some burn as a rookie, especially if PJ Brown retires.
Final thoughts: I’ll repeat from Version 1.0 that I expect to see a fair amount of wheeling and dealing in this draft. If you are in the market for a rebounding big man this is the draft for you, even into the second round. If you’re in the market for a G, as are the Knicks, the pickings are much slimmer. If Donnie Basketball thinks he needs another guard—and he does, if not to contribute this year then down the road—he may be forced to look to the trade or free agency market.