Man, does this hurt now.
Welcome back to NetsAreScorching for the third edition of the mock draft. The first two were relatively stable, with a couple of changes. Now that all of the combine numbers are out there, however, things are starting to shake up a bit. As a result, you’ll still see a lot of similarities at the top (for now), but a lot of rumbling in later picks as the mock goes forward.
We’ll be doing the top 20 this week, and move up to the top 27 (where the Nets’ 2nd pick is) next week.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, PG, Kentucky. Sigh.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, SG/SF, Ohio State. This may be the last time you see Turner here. Despite the fact that I just spent over 5,500 words debating with myself with the assumption that we’d have to choose between DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors, it’s entirely possible that we won’t even have to make the decision. Philadelphia is reportedly enamored with Favors’s athletic makeup and may choose to take him, which would all but destroy the misguided Elton Brand Era. Still, Turner is easily the 2nd best player in this draft, and if the draft was tomorrow I don’t think they’d skip on him.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech. While it’s obvious that I’m personally split on the decision, reports from Nets sources indicate that they’re leaning more strongly towards Favors as the days wear on and Cousins’s potential issues continue to crop up. Rod Thorn will give each of them a good, long, fair look, of course, but in the end it seems that they’ll choose the guy who’s less of a potential headcase.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Kentucky. I’m predicting a trade here – either the Timberwolves move up to take Turner and give Sixers fans a perfect nemesis with Cousins, or the Timberwolves trade down for lower picks and a top-flight SF. If they can’t, a Love/Jefferson/Cousins backcourt would probably be more trouble than it’s worth, and they’d probably take Wesley Johnson (even though, as I said last week, he’s the wrong pick).
5. Sacramento Kings: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse. If there is a trade from Minnesota, Sacramento would comfortably take Wes. He’s the best available prospect here and a good player at a position they need (“position they need” meaning “everywhere that Tyreke Evans doesn’t play.”)
6. Golden State Warriors: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, Wake Forest. Pass. As a matter of fact, I’m just going to pass the next five picks, since they’re all the same from last week.
7. Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas.
10. Indiana: Ed Davis, PF, UNC.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C, Benetton Treviso.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Xavier Henry, SG/SF, Kansas. Side note: I’m liking this pick more and more. Henry would look awesome in a Grizzlies uniform. He’d help ease the pain of losing Gay but take fewer shots, giving more touches to the Mayo/Randolph/Gasol triumvirate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mayo take a big leap next year.
13. Toronto Raptors: Avery Bradley, PG, Texas. I’ve heard rumors that the Raptors really like Bradley, and he was considered a potential top-5 prospect at the beginning of the season. He’s short, not very strong, and didn’t fulfill expectations but he’s got a lot of talent and could certainly contribute in a backup role.
14. Houston Rockets: Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky. If Daryl Morey does the unthinkable and doesn’t trade this pick, Orton makes a lot of sense. He’s a perfect example of the kind of guy he would take: extremely impressive statistically in limited touches, NBA-ready body, and an intelligent player. The Rockets don’t have any true bangers down low except Scola, who may be headed out due to free agency and isn’t really a center. If Yao still needs time to heal, Orton could potentially fill the role for a bit with Andersen & soon become one of the best backup centers in the league.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky. I love this guy. I think he could potentially be a bigger Robert Horry: A guy who’s never a star, never sees his true value in the box score, but a professional and a hard worker who gets big shots when the moment calls for it. He doesn’t have much upside – what you see is what you get – but he could definitely become one of those “x-factor” guys who can subtly swing a playoff series.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Paul George, SF, Fresno State. If they don’t trade this pick in some deal to move up, George is a logical pick. 6’9″ in shoes with an excellent frame, he would probably be an upgrade over Corey Brewer right out of the gate. I don’t know too much about George’s game – I only saw him once or twice this year and wasn’t paying close attention to him – but DraftExpress says he’s “good for a highlight reel dunk or strong finish at least once a game” and “has an effortless stroke and unlimited range.” Sounds good to me.
17. Chicago Bulls: Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler. Fun personal story: A few friends of mine and I were watching Butler in the Regional Championship round this year, and one of my friends was trying to crack some jokes. He saw the first guy with the ball and said “What’s that guy’s name? Hayward? Gordon Hayward? You suck, Gordon! You’ll never make it!” Two minutes later, Hayward had scored about eight more points (all in impressive fashion), and we all started to watch Butler’s games a little more closely to see if he’d crack. If he’d made that last shot… Oh, man. How sweet it would have been. Nonetheless, Hayward is a good prospect and would give the Bulls a great shot-creator and scorer.
18. Miami Heat: Hassan Whiteside, PF/C, Marshall. At this point, Whiteside’s potential greatness is far too good to overlook. Miami needs help just about everywhere and Whiteside would be an instant upgrade over Jermaine O’Neal in durability alone.
19. Boston Celtics: Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada. I’m a big fan of Babbitt’s and I think he’ll outperform this draft position. His combine results are excellent – almost 6’9″ in shoes, 6’11” wingspan, 37.5″ max vertical, 5.6% body fat, 15 bench reps and had a great interview at the combine. It’s a fair bet that Celtics fans will fall for him almost immediately.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Stanley Robinson, PF, Connecticut. A physical freak, Robinson measured less than 6’8″ in shoes but had the 2nd-highest max vertical reach behind Derrick Favors in the entire combine. He’ll probably compete in some dunk contests down the road, as his explosive leaping and finishing ability is rare. A top-5 athlete in this draft, Robinson falls here because of his age, lack of polish, and inconsistent play. Under the right tutelage, however – such as, oh, I don’t know, Gregg Popovich – Robinson could potentially drive opposing offenses and defenses mad.
Comments are always appreciated, and watch out for next week’s mock, which will have the top 27 picks – up to the Nets’ 2nd pick!