Here’s Part III of our 2009 NBA Mock Draft (Part I and Part II), where we fill out the rest of the first-round with our explanations. As usual, feel free to disagree with us in the comments, since half the fun of the draft is arguing with other people about who you think will go where. As before, I took care of the even numbered picks while SJ handled the odd.
15. Detroit Pistons — James Johnson (Austin Daye)
This is a pick where we went back and forth for a while before settling on a guy. Detroit seemingly could go in a few different directions due to their various needs. On one hand they are going to need a big man. Sheed, McDyess and Kwame Brown seem to be on their way out. Then you have to speculate or remember that the Pistons might throw the bank at Boozer or Millsap to fill that void. The Pistons also need a young wing who can score. It goes Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and then Arron Afflalo. Don’t get me wrong Afflalo can contribute but I’m not sure he’s ready for that big of a role quite yet. That’s where a guy like Austin Daye could step in. But Daye seemingly is the opposite of the Piston blueprint as far as toughness and defense are concerned. So James Johnson it is. He addresses their need for a big man and he helps them out. He’s a guy who can operate in the low-post to give them some scoring down there, but can also slash and shoot a bit. He reminds me of a more-skilled Maxiell.
16. Chicago Bulls — Terrence Williams
The consensus around the net is that Chicago is going to draft big, but we think that’s jumping the gun a little bit. Before Derrick Rose, the Bulls drafted forwards in back-to-back drafts, but before that were years of everyone predicting big and Chicago going small — similar to when the Lions couldn’t stop drafting wideouts. But bear with us for a moment: the Bulls are likely to lose a dynamic scoring option in Ben Gordon, and Kirk Hinrich might be for sale as well, leaving the Bulls with a lack of playmakers off the bench. Yes, Terrence Williams might seem redundant with John Salmons around, even as a point-forward, but by all accounts he’s got lottery talent and maybe, just using logic here, pairing a talented swingman with an elite point guard will aid his growth a touch more. The 16-spot is a perfect time to go boom-or-bust, because if Williams goes boom while Gordon goes bye-bye, Chicago could continue it’s upward trend into the East’s top-four teams.
17. Philadelphia 76ers — Eric Maynor
Whether or not Andre Miller re-signs, if Maynor is available, Philly should steal him and run. I think this is a match made in heaven. This is a team that needs to upgrade their PG position, especially if Miller decides to bolt. Enter Eric Maynor who has sleeper written all over him. His game is NBA ready and is a major upgrade at the PG over Louis Williams and Royal Ivey. He can run an offense and give them perimeter shooting that we all know they desperately, desperately need (even with Kopono).
18. *Minnesota Timberwolves — BJ Mullens
We already gave the Wolves a true point in Jonny Flynn, now it’s time to go big. And with still another pick in the first-round coming, it makes sense to take Mullens, the biggest risk-reward pick in this draft. We don’t think Mullens is going to pan out to be much, but even on the small chance he could become a Chris Kaman type, he’s worth a shot over Tyler “You only sorta kinda know what you’re going to get” Hansbrough — especially when you still have a ways to travel in the West.
19. Atlanta Hawks — Ty Lawson
Atlanta needs some help at PG. Backing up free agent Bibby is Acie Law (hmmm) and Speedy ‘I’m Stealing Money’ Claxton. Drafting Lawson becomes twice as lovely if Bibby leaves. For once in their draft lives the Hawks need to make a safe pick (Editor’s note: wasn’t Law a safe pick?). Jeff Teague may have more upside and talent but on the flip side he’s iffy and a project. The Hawks don’t need to gamble on another iffy project. Acie Law is still iffy so why would you draft iffy on top of iffy? Exactly, you shouldn’t. Lawson may not drop this far but if he does Atlanta should make this move easy. With Ty Lawson, you at least know what you’re going to get. He’s a winner and he’s proven and I just feel like for once the Hawks need to do the safety dance in the draft.
20. Utah Jazz — Tyler Hansbrough (Darren Collison)
Chad Ford said it best a week or two ago when he said this is probably destiny. Psycho T seems like an ideal Jerry Sloan player, and not just because he’s white and could end up on one side of an in-practice double homicide with Matt Harpring. Sloan wants guys who will play hard and get dirty, and with Boozer or Millsap probably on their way out, Tyler is the answer unless they want to get into the Pendergraph/Lawal/Carrol tier of bigs.
21. New Orleans Hornets — Austin Daye
Huge question mark surrounding the next couple days is whether or not Austin Daye stays in the draft. As far as we know he is in and we think he would fit in very nicely with the Hornets. The one thing that Daye can do is score the ball. He has a good offensive game and a smooth jumper. He may not be able to contribute immediately but his upside is higher than anything the Hornets have on the wing. CP needs offensively help and Daye can provide that. And he’s also young which is a plus when you consider they are trotting out aging MoPete, Peja, James Posey and Rasual Butler whose combined age may be 185. Despite him being the popular pick here we disagree with taking Chase Budinger. Daye > Budinger if you ask the RCP.
22. Dallas Mavericks — Jeff Teague
If Teague falls and the Mavs don’t take him, Mark Cuban is going to have a lot of blog explaining to do. Teague is a borderline lottery talent and Dallas will be lucky if he slips by Atlanta and any other team that doesn’t need a PG but wants to pull a power play on Cuban.
23. Sacramento Kings — Wayne Ellington (Patrick Mills)
Probably the funniest moment of our mock draft discussion came at this pick when we both slobbered all over the thought of Patty Mills in Sacramento. Seriously we messaged back and forth for about a minute just talking about how well he would fit until we realized ‘Oh crap we already gave them Ricky Rubio at #4.’ Ultimate sad faces from us then. If the Kings get Rubio, the #23 pick becomes a head scratcher. They don’t need a big man and even if they did there isn’t anyone worth picking here. They don’t need a SF with Garcia/Nocioni/Donte Greene in tow. As Coup said, “Chase Budinger is like the white Donte Greene” so that was a no for him. So we decided to go with Wayne Ellington. With Rashad McCants being a free agent the Kings get a backup 2 and a nice compliment to their team.
24. Portland Trail Blazers — Jeff Pendergraph, (Gani Lawal) or (Trade Out)
I couldn’t disagree more with anyone who’s projecting the Blazers to take a SF. It’s got to be either a 1 or a 4 unless someone has a big draft-day fall. DaJuan Summers, Mr. Ford? That’ll be a no. Frankly, it doesn’t take Shane Battier’s supercomputer brain to figure out that the chances of Portland actually using this pick are smaller than usual, what with the cap situation and all, but if they do somehow use it, there’s value to be had for filling in the backup four “banger” everyone is looking for.
Of course, everyone and Blaze the Trailcat is looking at Lawal here, and he’s a nice upside pick, but we want solid and we want now. Pendergraph has good size, good energy and has very good rebounding instincts with some ability on offense that might translate into the pick-and-roll.
As for the 1 spot, we considered Mills and Collison and even Douglas (my personal mini-sleeper), but none of them have enough upside for what we need to draft yet another point. If the Blazers try and acquire a point guard this offseason, either through the draft, trade or free-agency, they need to find someone who could take the starting spot, and at this point, none of the prospects fit the bill. Bayless should be the backup this season.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder — Toney Douglas
Me: “NO. Presti is not a re-tard.” (Side note: See The Hangover, if you haven’t already, it’s good)
I can see how to many this pick would be out of left field, but if the Thunder can get Douglas here they fill a need and get a potential steal. Why would they draft Harden? To improve their perimeter scoring. Same reason why they would get Douglas. Say what you want but he can shoot the heck out of the ball and is a natural scorer. Oklahoma City absolutely needs some perimeter shooting and perimeter scoring. Sefolosha and Weaver are talented players but they aren’t scorers in the NBA. Durant needs some help offensively and Douglas can definitely provide that. We think Presti is much too smart to go after Budinger here and Douglas seems like the sneaky sort of pick he would do.
26. *Chicago Bulls — DaJuan Summers
SJ: “Summers? He can stroke it.”
That’s about how much thought we put into this one, honestly. Reason is, nobody can be certain who they’re trading/bringing back, so nobody can be sure what their roster looks like to that front office. Summers makes sense as a young 3/4 that can shoot since Noah and Tyrus can’t, but we could see Lawal here as well.
Mills has fallen far enough. He’s a bit of a sleeper coming from a smaller school in St. Mary’s but he’s got talent and is one of the fastest guards in the draft. Repetitive with Mike Conley? Possibly, but so might be Rubio if they took him at No. 2. Again, Lawal is another possibility, but we’re not so sure Memphis feels like their backcourt is set.
28. *Minnesota Timberwolves — Chase Budinger
This is where we almost put Omri Cassipi, but in a lot of ways the Euro Drafting fad is over and teams seem less willing to spend first-round money to stash a player overseas for a year or two. This isn’t a knock on Cassipi, just a hunch based on the economy and the Wolves’ lack of a track record when it comes to drafting international players. Neither of us really thinks Budinger is going to amount to much in the league, but his skillset does make Mike Miller, who’s in the last year of a deal and should be trade bait once again at the deadline, somewhat expendable.
29. Los Angeles Lakers — Darren Collison
Let the record show that we had Collison going here days before Chad Ford ever did. Sure there are the local ties, but the Lakeshow did take Jordan Farmar, so it’s not unthinkable that they would go with another UCLA product, especially one who’s stock might be overslipping and who compliments Farmar nicely as Derek Fisher slowly goes up and over the proverbial hill.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers — DeMarre Carroll
A reach? Maybe. But Carroll has everything you look for at the end of the first round when you need production, especially in the paint. He’s tough, scrappy and is going to put out whatever you ask of him on the floor. He’s a little undersized to play the 4 at 6’8″, and could be Ronaldo Balkman 2.0 (not just because of the hair) in his transition to the 3 spot, but if the Cavs are going to lose the energy of Varejao in the next year, Carroll is a fine candidate to replace some of what they lose. Lawal is yet again a serious option here, and we’ll probably be wrong enough on one of the last eight picks that he won’t slip out of the first round.