Will Willie Warren be New Jersey’s second pick? At least one NetsAreScorching writer thinks so.
It’s June 9th, which means we are fifteen days away from the draft and therefore fifteen days away from (barring a trade) three new Nets players. The Nets currently own the rights to the 3rd overall pick (as we all know), the 27th overall pick, and the 31st overall pick (the first of the second round). This week, we’ll be looking at how the draft could play out up until that second Nets pick. A few changes occurred this week – a few trade rumors, a few workouts planned, but most notably Euro prospect Donatas Motiejunas decided to withdraw his name from the NBA draft, saying he wanted to work more on his game. I like the move & think he’s a really skilled player who could potentially go top-5 next year if he shows marked improvement.
Also, a fun fact: DC Pro Sports Report has added the NetsAreScorching Mock into its illustrious mock database. The site is great for looking at different mock trends as we come closer to the draft. Take a look if you get a chance.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, PG, Kentucky. I’m not gonna talk about it.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, SG/SF, Ohio State. Last week I said it might be the last time you see Turner at the #2 spot. This week I’m saying he’s probably entrenched here. We’ve gotten past the point where people ogle over combine measurements and start to take the measurements in context with production, and Turner’s production is off the charts. As a Nets fan, I’d love to see them jump on Favors or Cousins and make this pick easy for us, but the chances of that happening are slim now.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech. This may actually be the last week you see Favors here, though. Favors, Cousins, and Wesley Johnson will be working out with the Nets soon and if Cousins can prove he doesn’t have a maniacal head on his shoulders his ability & production may simply be too great to ignore.
4. Golden State Warriors: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse. Remember when I said there was going to be a trade here? This is the first rumor that’s seriously cropped up. The Warriors are in talks with the Timberwolves to trade up to 4th for the sixth pick and Anthony Randolph. As a Nets fan, pay attention to these talks. Think about it: if the Sixers decide Turner isn’t worth it but can’t make a deal with Minnesota (the primary suitor for the #2 pick), they might scramble and trade the pick for poor value (which the Nets can offer) or be forced to show their bluff and take Favors or Cousins. That would leave “The Franchise” Turner to fall right into the Nets’ lap.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Kentucky. Again, another guy who’s a perfect fit. I don’t see how Sacramento can go wrong here – they’ve got the fifth pick in a five-player draft, and the two guys they should be targeting (Cousins/Johnson) fill huge needs. Cousins, of course, was the most productive big man in all of college basketball in 2010 and without his headcase issues could be a legitimate #1 selection (although one could also argue that he wouldn’t be the same player if he wasn’t crazy). The only way they screw up is if they fall in love with Aminu or something.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor. The issue with the proposed Golden State-Minnesota deal, of course, is that it doesn’t really help the Timberwolves get what they need out of the draft. With Randolph, Love, and Jefferson, they’ve got three NBA big man prototypes – the athletic freak, the passer-rebounder, and the offensive post scorer. Since they’d have to be crazy to choose another offensive big men in this draft, I think they either reach for Udoh here or trade down yet again. With David Kahn, you just never know.
7. Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown. Sources say that the Pistons aren’t impressed with Cole Aldrich, which is a little surprising but not earth-shattering – he’s stayed mostly stagnant in terms of production in three years and didn’t measure out as an outstanding athlete for a big man. Monroe has been getting good marks for toughness lately (which I don’t really agree with), and if Joe Dumars (who has said he wants to bring back some of the Bad Boy Pistons era) thinks Monroe can handle that challenge, expect him in a Detroit cap on the 24th.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, Wake Forest. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of Aminu, but he makes a lot of sense for the Clippers if he falls this far. He can play two positions and fill a lot of holes for a team that’s starting to finally take shape.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas. Pass.
10. Indiana: Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler. Big mover from last week’s mock, I’ve heard Indiana is giving him, Davis, and Avery Bradley serious consideration here if Udoh or Aldrich doesn’t fall this far. Hayward’s got a great, smooth jumper and obviously impressed a lot of people on the Road to the Final Four this year.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina. Since Motiejunas has withdrawn his name, Davis makes the most sense here: he’s a skilled PF with an excellent body, if not a bit raw and with a frame that could stand to fill out a little more. (Hint: when you see a guy in college wearing a t-shirt under his jersey, it’s because he’s either too skinny or too overweight. Davis wasn’t overweight.)
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Xavier Henry, SG/SF, Kansas. Still a match made in Memphis.
13. Toronto Raptors: Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky. I’m a fan of this again. If Bosh leaves, Bargnani can swing to his natural position and Orton can bring a little toughness to Toronto, which they’ve desperately lacked. Since Bosh is most likely gone, they’re going to be going through a rebuilding season anyway, and giving Orton serious minutes could be very beneficial in the long term.
14. Houston Rockets: Paul George, SF, Fresno State. George is starting to rocket up draft boards as people begin to recognize that a) he was a pretty good scorer these past two years and b) he measured as a fantastic athlete. He’s 6’9″ and an excellent shooter. Not much more is needed to be a solid lottery pick. There are concerns about his declining three-point shooting and assist-to-turnover ratio but on tools alone the guy would be a top-8 pick.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky. Still love this guy. Professional, excellent jumper for a big man, does a lot of little things well. He can’t be a primary offensive option but he can help your team win no doubt. With the Bucks – a team that’s already looking pretty solid for the future – he’d help out immediately.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada. George being off the board puts the Timberwolves in a bit of a bind, but Babbitt is also an excellent athlete who produced at a higher rate than George this year. Another guy moving up draft boards.
17. Chicago Bulls: Hassan Whiteside, PF/C, Marshall. The Bulls are going to look very different next year, but they’re retaining at least four starters – Rose, Hinrich, Deng, and Noah. Whiteside could fit in well with those four, although he almost assuredly wouldn’t be a starter this year. He could be a great backup PF/C bringing in hustle/defense minutes.
18. Miami Heat: Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, Kentucky. The fifth (!) and final Kentucky first-rounder, Bledsoe might have actually hurt his stock playing next to John Wall all year long. He’s got an outstanding NBA point guard’s body and a great mentality as well. Given that this team has a fair share of problems already, he’d be a pretty decent rock to help start over, with or without Dwyane Wade.
19. Boston Celtics: James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State. One of the more NBA-ready talents in the draft, Anderson could either fill an immediate need for the Celtics (a better backup shooting guard) or fill a potential gaping hole if Ray Allen decides to opt out. A solid player who combines both a sound shooting touch and a decent slashing game.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Stanley Robinson, PF, Connecticut. Chad Ford recently had Stanley Robinson slipping to the second round, and I think that’s absurd. He would likely go anywhere between 15 and 27 on athletic ability alone, and the fact that he has a feel for the game doesn’t hurt either. Definitely would bring a needed flair to San Antonio.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Avery Bradley, PG, Texas. Bradley will probably not fall this far, but he’d be a steal for Oklahoma City. A potential top-8 pick at the beginning of the year, Bradley didn’t fulfill expectations at Texas (a team that completely fell apart after a 17-0 start) but is still lightning quick and a great defender at the point guard position. He’d be a great complement & backup to Russell Westbrook.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Damion James, SF, Texas. James is a good, mature player, but I can’t see Kevin Pritchard sitting idly by here. There’s got to be a move made. No idea what it might be yet though, and if Bradley, Patterson, or Robinson is around I figure Pritchard snatches one of them up. Unless, of course, he’s gone by draft night.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Seraphin, PF, France. I’ve heard from a number of different sources that if the Timberwolves keep their first two picks they’ll use their 3rd pick to stash someone overseas, and Seraphin is the most logical choice since Miroslav Raduljica (spelled that from memory!) pissed off a lot of NBA scouts this past week by blowing off a workout. Plus, Seraphin is better anyway.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Larry Sanders, SF, Virginia Commonwealth. Sanders is an awesome athlete with a great wingspan (6’11.25″) and can run the floor very well. A great defensive player in college, he also has a decent post game and is starting to expand his repertoire offensively. He fits neatly with Atlanta backing up Marvin Williams and Josh Smith.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia. Aside from the fact that he has an awesome first name, Ebanks is athletic, has an excellent basketball IQ, & can play both inside and out (although he can’t shoot threes at all). This might be a little early for him but Memphis doesn’t need a ton of help anywhere else and there aren’t any point guards worth taking here.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech. A relatively safe pick despite how late in the draft this is, Oklahoma City needs more interior scorers and Lawal provides exactly that. A less impressive, older version of Derrick Favors, Lawal is a good finisher around the basket with a decent touch. He doesn’t have a great jumper, but it’s serviceable for a big man, and can certainly be improved on with time.
27. New Jersey Nets: Willie Warren, SG, Oklahoma. Maybe this is just my own wishful thinking as of now, but I’m a huge fan of Warren’s game. Warren is the sleeper of this draft. Two things are obvious: 1) He can’t be the alpha dog of a team, and 2) He needs a good coach. Warren went from being considered a top-10 player in 2009 to completely falling off the face of the earth, mired in controversy and suffering from a lack of productivity. When he had two solid college big men to defer to (the Griffins), he was able to showcase himself much more effectively. His body language is totally different. Put Warren next to a couple of solid pieces like, say, I don’t know, Brook Lopez, Derrick Favors, and a free agent or two, and I think he’ll start to remind people why they loved him in the first place.
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So, as of right now, I have the Nets selecting power forward Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech and shooting guard Willie Warren of Oklahoma. Come back next week to see if that’s changed, and to see who I think the Nets will take with the first pick of the second round!