1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, G, Kentucky
Really no surprise here. Wall was likely to be the number one pick no matter who won the lottery, but this could not have been a better situation for Washington. Last season, the team’s best player, Gilbert Arenas, was suspended for the season after bringing guns into the locker room. From there, the team traded away its remaining stars Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. So what does it all mean? The team desperately needed a player to come in who could change the culture of the team. The brass in Washington is crossing their fingers hoping it’s Wall. Nothing in his makeup or play at Kentucky would make me think otherwise.
2. Philadelphia 76’ers: Evan Turner, G/F, Ohio State
Turner is the possibly the most polished player in the draft. He is ready to come in and contribute right away. He should serve as a nice accomplice for Andre Iguodala. Philly has a number of good complimentary parts, but needs a star to lead them. I’m not convinced it’s Turner, but he’s certainly the right pick at this point.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
The 76’ers are sending out smokescreens that they might pick Favors over Turner. If it were to happen, it’d be because of Favors upside. But if he’s still here, the Nets would be thrilled to have him. Favors possesses the athleticism the Nets are looking for in their frontcourt. He would be a good partner for Brook Lopez. Favors will need a season or two to develop, but some patience could be rewarded for Nets fans.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse
The Timberwolves are still exploring ways to move up to the number two spot to pick Turner. The T’Wolves own three picks in the first round, so a trade isn’t out of the question, if the price is right. But barring a move, the team will be happy to select Johnson. He’s an athletic wing who can make plays at the rim and behind the arc. Johnson was at the team’s facility last Monday and all reports are he wowed the right people.
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky
The Kings are a tough team to predict. Last year, it looked like they were ready to pick Spaniard Ricky Rubio with the number four pick. They’re just tough to get a read on. With Spencer Hawes being traded, Cousins could be the pick here. Like I wrote in the Top 10 Prospects post, Cousins is the ultimate risk/reward player. Questions about his work ethic clearly raise red flags, but he certainly has the physical tools to be a big-time player. If the pick is not Cousins, expect it to be Greg Monroe.
6. Golden State Warriors: Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
The Warriors are a team that could go in a variety of directions. A glance at their roster shows needs at both forward positions and in the middle. Don Nelson is a coach who appreciates cerebral players. That certainly is Monroe. He is unselfish with the ball, and should fit in nicely to the team’s up-tempo style. Keep an eye on Al-Farouq Aminu in this spot as well.
7. Detroit Pistons: Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
What the Pistons really need is a force in the middle. But the best bigs are off the board. The team has put a premium on athleticism in the past few drafts, so that most likely means Cole Aldrich is out as well. With that in mind, the Pistons might turn to a guy who is athletic and has the length to shift to the 4 spot in a small lineup. Aminu is a work in progress, but GM Joe Dumars could see him as ultimately a replacement for Tayshaun Prince, who could be traded.
8. L.A. Clippers: Paul George, SF, Fresno State
The team’s biggest hole is at the small forward position. The team will likely extend an offer to Rudy Gay in the offseason, but it would make sense to hedge their bets in the draft. George is an interesting prospect. He played against inferior talent at Fresno State, but never really dominated. That being said, he has the measurables that make scouts drool.
9. Utah Jazz: Epke Udoh, PF, Baylor
Like a number of teams this offseason, the Jazz must hedge their bets in case they are unable to resign their free agent star, Carlos Boozer. There is clearly a drop off after the likes of Cousins and Monroe. Udoh is an amazing athlete, and could really blossom working with a guy like Jerry Sloan. Keep an eye out for Aldrich and Ed Davis in this spot.
10. Indiana Pacers: Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
The Pacers continue to look for a compliment to Danny Granger. The team hasn’t had an interior presence since Jermaine O’Neal. Davis is very raw, but he’s got the size, athleticism and shot-blocking ability the team has been sorely missing. Like much of this year’s group, Davis will take a couple seasons to reach his full potential.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
Aldrich is a smart player with good length and a motor that doesn’t stop. The team has no one behind Emeka Okafor and David West. Aldrich is ready to defend in the league right away, and should make some players think twice before coming down the lane.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada
I’ll be honest, I don’t completely get scout’s obsession with Babbitt. He’s a nice player, but during the season, he was a fringe first-rounder. Despite what the Memphis GM Chris Wallace has said this offseason, the team will likely lose Rudy Gay. A replacement might not be on the team’s current roster. Babbitt has a smooth stroke that should translate well to the NBA.
13. Toronto Raptors: Avery Bradley, SG, Texas
Scouts love Bradley’s ability to play both guard spots and defend athletic guards. The Raptors are in flux, with a lot of things up in the air. The team is talking about moving Jose Calderon, might lose Chris Bosh in free agency, and Hedo Turkoglu wants out. If any of those dominoes fall, it will likely affect what the team does here.
14. Houston Rockets: Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
The Rockets don’t have a ton of holes and they expect to compete next season. Patterson is ready to play right away and will provide frontcourt depth. The team could take a flyer on a player like Hassan Whiteside, but if they decide to get an NBA ready player, Patterson is the pick.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Xavier Henry, SF, Kansas
The team would be thrilled if Henry fell to them. The Bucks need a wing with John Salmons probably opting out of his contract and Michael Redd coming back from injury. Henry can shoot the lights out of the gym and play the 2 or the 3. If he takes advantage of his size and strength, he could be a very good pro.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler
The T’Wolves are suffering from a severe lack of talent. While they picked a small forward with their first pick, the team is in a position to take the best player available. That very well could be Hayward. He showed in the NCAA Tournament that he can play step his game up in big games. If he can show he’s athletic enough to defend in the NBA, he could be a good value pick here.
17. Chicago Bulls: James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State
The Bulls have the cap space to land an elite player this offseason. But the talk as of late is they could package this deal with Kirk Hinrich or Luol Deng to gain enough cap space to sign two max level free agents. If they do keep the pick, James Anderson would be a nice insurance pick. The team has lacked a scoring threat from the shooting guard position, and should be a nice complement to Derrick Rose.
18. Miami Heat: Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky
Miami still hasn’t found the answer at the PG position. Mario Chalmers has proven to be adequate, but Bledsoe could be the long term answer. He’s a tough player, which fits well with what Pat Riley looks for. He’s still needs to develop, but could be an upgrade right away.
19. Boston Celtics: Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
Boston is coming off a stellar post-season run. But the front office is well aware that the big 3’s days are close to over. Possibly the biggest need this offseason will be at shooting guard, because of the possible loss of Tony Allen and/or Ray Allen. I don’t know if there is a guard the team loves at this pick, and Whiteside has a lot of upside. Kevin Garnett looks like a shell of himself, and a high upside guy like Whiteside could be the right pick.
20. San Antonio Spurs: Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State
San Antonio is historically one of the best drafting teams in the league. Last year they hit a homerun selecting DeJuan Butler. With Tim Duncan on the wrong side of the hill, and some depth in the frontcourt is necessary. Alabi has length and has drawn comparisons with Dikembe Mutombo.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky
The Thunder is a young team on the rise. They have players with potential at every position but the frontcourt. Orton only averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds as a frosh at Kentucky, but scouts love his combination of size and skill.
22. Portland Trailblazers: Kevin Seraphin, PF, France
Portland suffered a rash of injuries last year that really tested their depth. It seemed like they had a revolving door at the power forward and center position. The Trailblazers could either bring Seraphin over to provide depth, or stash him overseas for a few seasons.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa St.
Minnesota has two very talented big men in Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, but neither player is what you’d call a pure athlete. Beyond depth, Brackins brings something some energy off the bench. It’s likely the Timberwolves won’t keep all of their picks, but if they do, Brackins is a good option.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati
Joe Johnson might bolt this offseason for a max contract. If that happens, the team will need a player to step in. Stephenson was blessed with a lot of talent, but has a reputation for being selfish and having poor shot selection.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Damion Jones, SF, Texas
Memphis is just a few players away from competing for a playoff spot. Every team needs a guy like Jones, who is willing to do the dirty work and has the ability to hit the open jumper. Jones can defend multiple positions and can provide consistent play off the bench.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier
The team could very well trade this pick in an attempt to add a veteran and save some cash. But if they do keep it, a guy like Crawford would make sense. He can score in bunches and provide a real pop off the bench.
27. New Jersey Nets: Dominique Jones, SG, South Florida
Much like the Thunder, the Nets could use a scoring boost off the bench. Jones averaged more than 20 points a game, and even had a 46 point effort against Providence. Some scouts believe that he could also make the transition to point guard.
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Larry Sanders, PF, VCU
Memphis added possible replacements for Rudy Gay with their first two picks, but with their third the team adds depth. Sanders brings some big time athleticism to a frontcourt that is currently lacking it.
29. Orlando Magic: Terrico White, SG, Mississippi
White can provide the Magic depth at both guard positions and is very fundamentally sound. He needs to develop a more consistent jumper, but this late in the first round, he’s worth a flyer.
30. Washington Wizards: Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
It starts and ends with the Wizards. With so many needs, the Wizards can just take the top player on their board. Ebanks brings versatility to the team and is a solid guy in the locker room.
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This post was written by Stephen on June 21, 2010