Lottery today, the rest of the first round tomorrow. Here’s the full post-lottery mock. Let’s get to it, and remember, this is all subject to very likely change.
No. 1: Washington Wizards — John Wall, PG, Kentucky
This one doesn’t take much in the way of an explanation. Wall is the best player in the draft, and the best foundation for the new era in Washington. The question now is what the Wizards do with Gilbert Arenas. They’ll probably toot all the usual horns about the two being able to play them together, while behind the scenes hoping anyone will take Arenas’ massive contract off of their hands. This one’s a done deal.
No. 2: Philadelphia 76ers — Evan Turner, SG, Ohio St.
There will probably be some talk about Philly taking close looks at Cousins and Favors, but that would mean them admitting to the failure of the Elton Brand signing, which seems like a stretch. That team needs a true wing player, and they can figure out what to do about perimeter shooting and Andre Iguodala from there.
No. 3: New Jersey Nets — Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech.
The debate here is Cousins or Favors, and it’s tough to know the direction the team is taking with new ownership in place, regardless of whether or not Rod Thorn is running the show. Favors is the better athlete between the two power forwards, thus providing better balance with the more deliberate Brook Lopez. Favors is also the type of player who should impress in workouts, and has more of the “shiny new toy” factor for a team eventually moving to Brooklyn. We could also absolutely see them moving the pick, but Prokhorov seems too wise to make impulse trades for proven commodities.
No. 4: Minnesota Timberwolves — Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse
Sure, they could move Al Jefferson and draft Cousins, but with the roster as currently assembled, with Kevin Love stuck coming off the bench, it doesn’t really make sense drafting another post scorer. The Wolves, like Philly, need a wing, and unlike Philly, will be getting one that could go a long way towards solving the shooting problems.
No. 5: Sacramento Kings — DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Kentucky
Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes you say? I say value, and Cousins is it, if he doesn’t get red-flagged for character issues and start falling, which I don’t see happening. He might not be a perfect combo for Tyreke Evans, but the Kings could do a lot worse.
No. 6: Golden St. Warriors — Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
As with Jersey, this is a direction-less team with ownership in flux, which makes them tough to peg for the draft. For now we’re going with Aminu because of his potential versatility, which could be interesting if Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright ever get healthy and on the court together. Even if they found a way to dump Ellis’ contract, they’d have to reach for Xavier Henry if they wanted to grab another perimeter player. This is another good spot to watch for a trade.
No. 7: Detroit Pistons — Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
What is Detroit doing? You don’t know, I don’t know and it’s unclear if Joe Dumars knows anymore. But without financial flexibility coming in the near future, they seem to be stuck in win-now — also known as mediocrity purgatory — and Aldrich is ready to play and provide post scoring now.
No. 8: Los Angeles Clippers — Greg Monroe, C, Georgetown
Monroe is a strange case this season. Normally I’m the first one to discount college centers (Hibbert), but Monroe actually feels like he’s being undervalued to this point. And even though the Clippers just traded Marcus Camby, they still have Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan around. Thing is, we can see Kaman getting moved at some point in the next few years, as he doesn’t exactly fit the Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin timeline. Monroe does, and could be the defensive side of a frontcourt that needs it.
No. 9: *Utah Jazz — Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
The Jazz have taken on a couple project centers recently, and as they’re likely going to lose Carlos Boozer to free agency, Davis is a good blend of skill-now and upside-later that they can play behind Paul Millsap. If you work hard and rebound, you can play for Jerry Sloan.
No. 10: Indiana Pacers — Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor
It’s easy to forget that Indiana is in the league sometimes. Outside Danny Granger, who we love, the Pacers are an ever-expanding puddle of mediocrity. Of all the pick in the first round, this is the one SJ and I were most unsure about, because the Pacers need a whole lot of everything. For now, we’re handing them the athletic, shotblocking Udoh to join their frontcourt if Troy Murphy ever gets shipped off. But really, any of the next ten picks could move up to ten, and the group is possibly larger than that.
No. 11: New Orleans Hornets — Patrick Patterson, PF, New Orleans
Let’s see, do you draft a player to help now, or to develop for a few years, banking on upside? Chris Paul probably isn’t going to stay in New Orleans based on what Patrick Patterson does, but Patterson is ready to do the dirty work inside, and the Hornets desperately need size insurance for Emeka Okafor.
No. 12: Memphis Grizzlies — Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
This is Rudy Gay replacement territory, and unlike Gay, Henry puts in consistent defensive effort. The Grizzlies have two more picks later in the first round, where there could be good perimeter value, so this pick might just come down to what talent drops out of the top ten.
No. 13: Toronto Raptors — Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
Want to know how badly the Raptors need defense? They were unwatchable bad on defense. It was street-ball defense. It was a joke. Whiteside might not be ready to contribute major minutes for a couple years, but should be able to block shots when called upon. How he develops is up to Toronto.