Back in late June, I created the first version of my 2010 NBA Mock Draft. It has been almost six months since my last mock and I felt that, fresh off a John Wall monster performance at Madison Square Garden, now would be the perfect time to put out another draft. Draft order is based on current records.
1. New Jersey Nets (2-20): John Wall, PG, Kentucky
While it’s true the Nets’ best player is also a point guard in Devin Harris, Wall is way too good of a prospect to pass on here. Kentucky head coach John Calipari dubbed John Wall the real deal, saying he was farther along in his progression than Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans were when he coached them at Memphis. Simply put, Wall is the total package. His jump shot is above average and his speed and athleticism combination remind me a lot of Ty Lawson. Throw on the five inches that Wall has over Lawson and you have a perfect pro prospect. Wall is a future All Star.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-19): Wesley Johnson, SG/SF, Syracuse
Just as Wall performed outstanding at MSG, Johnson had a coming out party of his own in New York, scoring 25 points against North Carolina in the 2K Sports Coaches Classic. A transfer from Iowa State, Johnson has the Orange out to an 8-0 start and a top ten ranking. If you look above the rim, there’s a good chance you will find Johnson there. He already has an NBA body and his athleticism screams top five pick. His all-around game is still a work in progress but you wouldn’t know it based on his numbers this season as he is shooting 59 percent from the field and 53 percent from downtown. The Timberwolves are set in the front court and drafted Johnny Flynn to manage the point guard duties for the future. The versatile, lockdown defender in Johnson seems like a good fit here.
3. Philadelphia 76ers (5-17): Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
Elton Brand’s time in Philadelphia is all but over and the Sixers could use a new post man on the inside. Marreese Speights has proved that he will be a solid front-line player, but they need a presence in the lane that they thought Brand would be. Favors has the most raw talent of any big man in the draft and, while the Sixers could use a shooting guard, Favors is too good of talent to pass on here.
4. Utah Jazz (from New York): Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
Carlos Boozer is more than likely out of Utah next season and the power forward position will need to be addressed. Paul Millsap should be a fine replacement in the mean time, but Monroe can add another dimension to the Jazz’s offense. Much like Mehmet Okur, Monroe has range that extends out to the three point line and should work well with Deron Williams in Jerry Sloan’s offense. The dubbed “project” from last season, Monroe has started to show some of that potential, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds thus far with the Hoyas.
5. Golden State Warriors (7-14): Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
Anthony Randolph is proving to be a solid contributor for the Warriors but they still need a post player outside of center Andris Biedrins. At 6′10″, Davis runs the floor exceptionally well and is building an NBA frame that should make him a top five pick next season. His impressive wingspan also makes him a solid defender, something the Warriors could use. He is just tapping into his potential and could be a very impressive player for the Warriors.
6. Indiana Pacers (6-13): Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State
The Pacers are in dire need of a shooting guard/small forward outside of Danny Granger and Dahntay Jones, and Turner certainly fits the bill. A broken back will keep him out for the next two months but that should not affect his draft status. Much like Granger, he fills the box score on a nightly basis (two triple-doubles this season) and can play multiple positions. The status of Mike Dunleavy is in question and Granger plays more of a forward role than anything, so Turner should be able to start at shooting guard right away.
7. Washington Wizards (7-13): Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma
The Wizards are closing in on a state of rebuilding with injuries and age plaguing them, so taking the best player available would be in their best interest. Warren burst on to the scene last season as a freshman but was overshadowed by some guy named Blake Griffin. Now in the spotlight, Warren has not disappointed for the Sooners, averaging over 18 points and five assists per game. The best part of Warren’s game is his ability to shoot the ball and has the potential to play both guard positions. His size could be an issue but he does an excellent job creating his own shot, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
8. Chicago Bulls (7-13): Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
The season from hell can only get better for the Bulls in the Draft (assuming they fire Vinny Del Negro), and Henry should help ease the pain. It should be a very interesting off-season for the Bulls, but assuming they can not land Dwyane Wade, Henry would be a great fit in Chicago. The lefty freshman has played outstanding for Kansas thus far and would add a pure shooter to the Bulls lineup. He needs to work on creating his own shot but all the talent is there for Henry to succeed at the next level.
9. Memphis Grizzles (9-12): Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
The status of Rudy Gay going forward is in question and if he decides to leave town, the Grizzlies have very little depth at small forward. Ebanks has literally been a mystery this season, playing in just three games this season, but has boatloads of potential. He has a long ways to go, but many compare him to Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith. He’ll need to gain some weight and become more of a basketball player than an athlete, but his skill set sets him up nicely for the future.
10. Sacramento Kings (9-12): Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
The Kings seem to have a nice core in Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, and Jason Thompson, but outside of those three the depth of the team is really lacking. Aldrich is the second Jayhawk to come off the board, and rightfully so. An outstanding sophomore season put him into the national spotlight and he has all the tools to succeed in the NBA. He is a great passing big man and shows soft touch in the paint. Spencer Hawes and Thompson give the Kings a different, more finesse look and Aldrich would compliment them well.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (9-12): Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
Based solely on scouting reports, Motiejunas’s game is much like Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani. He needs to add some weight and strength, but his speed and aggressiveness make him a very intriguing prospect that the Clippers could take a chance on. Marcus Camby is a free agent next season and the Clips will have to replace him somehow.
12. Toronto Raptors (10-14): Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
Chris Bosh’s performance over the last two seasons has all but written his ticket out of Toronto next year when he becomes a free agent. Taking his place will be Patrick Patterson, who is sure to garner some major looks as he takes Kentucky deep into the NCAA Tournament this season. Alongside John Wall, the 6′8″ power forward has showed great potential and has been on NBA scout’s radar since he joined Wildcats. He is undersized but his long wingspan and tough play will allow him to have success on the defensive end.
13. New Orleans Hornets (10-11): Solomon Alibi, C, Florida State
Don’t be surprised to see the Hornets in the playoffs by year’s end, but as it stands they are on the outside looking in. They have plenty of money invested for the next couple of years so they might trade this pick, but for now Alibi looks like a fine fit. Past Emeka Okafor, the Hornets have little at center as Hilton Armstrong has failed to live up to expectations. Alibi is a polished post man with excellent size that can make contributions right away.
14. San Antonio Spurs (10-9): Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
As weird as it may seem to see the Spurs picking in the lottery, they currently sit a half a game out of the playoffs. If they do end up picking here, Bradley could be the answer to free agent Manu Ginobili. While there’s still a chance Ginobili re-signs, Aminu would be the best pick in this spot to replace him and great value as well. With budding star George Hill ready to take over the shooting guard role, Aminu could learn behind the best as he becomes more of an all-around player. He plays outstanding defense and could shoot up the draft board as the season goes along.