Didn’t the NBA season just end? Lakers vs. Celtics, epic game 7, Kobe’s 5th ring. That was just a week ago. How sweet is that? Less than 1 week after the 2010 NBA champion was crowned, the new season is already about to take shape. This is one reason why the NBA draft is quickly becoming more of an event than the NFL draft. Nobody is in football mode in mid April. The NBA playoffs are just getting under way, the College Basketball tournament just ended, and for the hockey fans you have the NHL playoffs starting as well. The NBA Draft takes place immediately after the previous regular season, and therefore NBA fans still have a little bit of full NBA mode left in them. Meanwhile there are meaningless baseball games or the opening rounds of Wimbledon to compete with rather than 2 playoffs. What else makes the NBA Draft so darn exciting? We know every player with the exception of a few foreigners here and there (just wait until I post my Running the Sports World blog, that issue will be taken care of) and almost every player has a chance to be a household name. In the NFL draft, I don’t know enough about the lineman getting picked 21st to be excited about it. We aren’t going to see him turn into a household name player. This years NBA draft, I have Hassan Whiteside going 21st. He is a 7’0 freshman with a 7’6 wingspan who with the development of an offensive post game could be a dominant force like we’ve never seen (Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m hyping Whiteside up pretty big to get my point across. It’s called Propaganda and all writers use it). The truth is, I agree with many NBA analysts when they say that this years draft class is relatively weak. Last year the same thing was said, but I went on record to say that I thought it was stronger than the experts thought (channeling my inner Lee Corso). But this year I have to agree. Without further a do, here are my predictions of the 1st round of this years NBA draft.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall- PG Kentucky
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner- SG Ohio St.
3. New Jersey Nets: Wesley Johnson- SF Syracuse
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Favors- PF Georgia Tech
5. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins- C Kentucky
6. Golden State Warriors: Ed Davis- PF North Carolina
7. Detroit Pistons: Al-Farlouq Aminu- SF Wake Forest
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Ekpe Udoh- PF Baylor
9. Utah Jazz: Paul George- SF Fresno St.
10. Indiana Pacers: Greg Monroe- PF Georgetown
11. New Orleans Hornets: Luke Babbitt- SF Nevada
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Patrick Patterson- PF Kentucky
13. Toronto Raptors: Gordon Hayward- SF Butler
14. Houston Rockets: Cole Aldrich- C Kansas
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Xavier Henry- SG Kansas
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Avery Bradley- SG Texas
17. Chicago Bulls: Daniel Orton- PF Kentucky
18. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Anderson- SG Oklahoma St.
19. Boston Celtics: Larry Sanders- PF VCU
20. San Antonio Spurs: Eric Bledsoe- PG Kentucky
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hassan Whiteside- C Marshall
22. Portland Trailblazers: Kevin Seraphin- PF France
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Elliot Williams- SG Memphis
24. Atlanta Hawks: Lance Stephenson- SG Cincinnati
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Devin Ebanks- SF West Virginia
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Craig Brackins- PF Iowa St.
27. New Jersey Nets: Gani Lawal- PF Georgia Tech
28. Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Crawford- SG Memphis
29. Orlando Magic: Damion James- SF Texas
30. Washington Wizards: Dominique Jones- SG South Florida
Potential All Stars
John Wall- I feel like Wall has a chance to be a very good pro, similar to Derrick Rose who he is often compared to. He’s going to be playing for an exceedingly crappy Wizards team, and he is going to have to learn to mesh with Gilbert Arenas. However, he is a tremendous leader and has a ton of confidence, something needed in a point guard dominated league, and something that will be useful while playing for a dismantled team.
Evan Turner- Turner was the college player who I followed closely this year, (similar to Adam Morrison/Kevin Durant/Stephen Curry). I Loved the way he could dominate a game by scoring, assisting or rebounding. He is such a crafty, smart and complete player, I see him having a lot of success in the NBA.
DeMarcus Cousins- Cousins has a chance to be the best player in this draft class. He is so strong, large and talented. He has the making to be a consistent 20-10 guy on any team. He has that much upside. The question mark on Cousins is his attitude. A lot of coaches seem to be afraid to take Cousins just based on the thought that he is crazy. If he can keep his head, I see a number of All Star appearances for Cousins.
Under the Radar Stars
Gordon Hayward- Say what you want about him. Yes he’s white, yes he’s from a small school, yes he isn’t overly athletic. But god damn can Gordon Hayward play. Same things were said about Adam Morrison, and look at him now, he already has 2 championship rings.
Hassan Whiteside- Yupp, I’m buying into all of the hype and propaganda. His draft stock has slipped a little bit in the last month, but I feel like he has more potential and upside than any player in the draft. He is a physical freak and with a little polishing he can dominate. Mark that down. And the fact that I have him going to Oklahoma City at 21 makes me extremely excited. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Hassan Whiteside being as good as I expect… Yikes!
Jordan Crawford- Younger brother of Jamal Crawford, I see Jordan having a similar career path as his brother. Off the bench instant offense. I think he can have a role on any team. I’m ignoring the fact that he dunked over LeBron last summer, and I’m giving him praise. That is some unbiased journalism right there.
Greg Monroe- Let’s take a trip back to the 1st round of the NCAA tournament this past year when the 14 seed Ohio Bobcats put a shellacking on the 3 seed Georgetown Hoyas, led by none other than Greg Monroe. That showed me that Monroe doesn’t have what it takes to be a good NBA player like a number 10 pick should be.
Cole Aldrich- Time for some biased journalism. I don’t like Aldrich, I’ve never liked Aldrich, and I never will like Aldrich. He looks mean and unfriendly. And I don’t think he is that good. Everyone talked about how great of a defender he is (and that is all he has going for him). But frankly, I doubt his ability to guard big men like Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol or even Dwight Howard who still has no post moves. Hell, he couldn’t even guard Jordan Eglesedor in the 2nd round of the tournament.
Daniel Orton- He might as well be from France. Don’t understand? Let me explain. The common knock on foreign players are “He average 3 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes per game playing for a French team… Why in the blue hell is he a potential lottery pick?” Well thats Daniel Orton. Those were his exact averages this past season at Kentucky. He barely scratched the surface as a college player, what makes people think he is ready to play in the NBA?
So at 7 p.m. the NBA offseason and pre season begins. From the sounds of it, there is potential for a barrage of trades that may occur between now and then. So most likely, my hours of working on this mock draft will end up being worthless. Shit!