This draft lacks a clear hierarchy at the top, but it’s incredibly deep. There are going to be some excellent players that come out of the late 1st round and the 2nd round of this draft.
My mock is a combination of who I like personally and who I think teams will actually take. Sometimes I go for who I would take. Other times, I just don’t think the drafting team would agree with me, so I try to read their mind. The blurb for each pick should make my rationale more clear.
It’s probably a bad idea to permanently post something like this on the internet, so that people can see what an idiot I am for years to come. Oh well, here goes nothing:
> 1 – Toronto: Andrea Bargnani – Combo Forward, Benetton Treviso (Italy)
Obviously I’ve never seen Bargnani play, but Brian Colangelo seems like someone who would jump at the opportunity to draft the next Dirk. And unlike Darko Milicic when he went #2 to the Pistons, Bargnani is actually a solid contributor for one of the top club teams in Europe. So in terms of immediate impact, don’t think Darko, think Pau Gasol. Comparison: Dirk
> 2 – Chicago: LaMarcus Aldridge – PF, Texas
LaMarcus Aldridge fits an immediate need at the 4 for the Bulls. Tyson Chandler is a defender and rebounder at the 5, so the Bulls are in desperate need of a scoring big-man to fill the hole left by Eddy Curry’s departure. Aldridge has a nice mid-range post-game that reminds me in a lot of ways of Jermaine O’Neal. That said, the Bulls might want to trade this pick for a veteran, given the overall youth of the squad. Comparison: Jermaine O’Neal
> 3 – Charlotte: Tyrus Thomas – PF, LSU
I’m not as high on Tyrus Thomas as everyone else seems to be. Some people compare him to Shawn Marion, but I don’t see Marion’s ball-handling skills or jump-shot. And until I see an indication that Thomas can develop his non-athleticism skills, it seems like a huge risk to spend a pick this high on him. Ideally, he’d go back for another year, and we would see what kind of skill progression he is capable of. At the moment, the player he most reminds me of is another undersized, low-skill, high-athleticism PF, Kenyon Martin. Comparison: Kenyon Martin
> 4 – Portland: Adam Morrison – SF, Gonzaga
I think Adam Morrison is going to be a bust, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Portland took him here and turned around and dealt Darius Miles to try to win back some fan support. It’s tough to be an All-Star swingman at the NBA level when you have a 12-inch vertical and a complete lack of lateral quickness. Morrison’s not going to overpower anyone either, so I’m not exactly sure how he’s going to score at the pro level. And he can’t guard anyone either. So yea, good luck with that. Comparison: Ed O’Bannon
> 5 – Atlanta: Randy Foye – Combo Guard, Villanova
Foye could be very successful at the NBA level if he lands with a team that doesn’t try to force him into a specific PG or SG role. He just needs to be a Guard. Atlanta could pair him with Joe Johnson in the back court, run a fast-paced offense, and really have an exciting young team along with Josh Smith and Marvin Williams. It’s tough to come up with a good NBA comparison for Foye, because I really think he’s a unique player. Comparison: Gilbert Arenas
> 6 – Minnesota: Rudy Gay – SF, UConn
Nobody’s gotten a more unjustified bad rap this season than Rudy Gay. As the youngest core player on a stacked team with a strict coach, how can you expect him to take all the shots and demand the ball in clutch situations? Cocky, veteran leaders like Marcus Williams and Rashad Anderson aren’t about to just turn the reins over to a 19-year-old, not matter how talented. Even so, playing within the UConn system and letting the game come to him, Gay led the Huskies in scoring and steals, and finished just behind Armstrong and Boone in rebounds and blocked shots. His game is perfectly suited to the 3 position in the NBA, and the Wolves should pounce all over him if he’s available at #6. Comparison: Rashard Lewis
> 7 – Boston: Rajon Rondo – PG, Kentucky
Rondo is a tremendous athlete and energetic floor leader who was trapped in the wrong offensive system at Kentucky. In an open-court game, his defensive tenacity and speed would be devastating. His upside reminds me of TJ Ford or Tony Parker, however he is a far better rebounder than either. Like Ford and Parker, his shot is pretty awful, but on a team like Boston he could get to the rim or feed shooters like Pierce, Szczerbiak, and West. Comparison: TJ Ford, Tony Parker
> 8 – Houston: Brandon Roy – SG, Washington
Brandon Roy keeps getting mentioned as a higher and higher pick, and I’m not exactly sure why. He’s a nice player, but he doesn’t do anything particularly well. He’s not overly quick, he’s not particularly athletic, he doesn’t handle the ball or see the floor like a PG, he’s a little short to play SF, and he’s not a lights out 3-point shooter. So where’s his niche in the NBA? I don’t see him being anything better than a nice complimentary player on a good team. Is that worth a top-10 pick? Comparison: Mo Peterson
> 9 – Golden State: Marcus Williams – PG, UConn
Marcus Williams is old school. He plays at a steady place, looks for his teammates first, and will make you pay if you leave him open. And when its crunch time, he has no fear of taking the shots. Throw in his high dribble, and there are two obvious old school comparisons for Marcus... Comparison: Mark Jackson, Rod Strickland
> 10 – Seattle: Shelden Williams – PF, Duke
I expect a tremendous instant impact from Shelden Williams. Much like happened with Carlos Boozer, I think we get so overexposed to Duke big men that we forget what they are capable of and start looking elsewhere for guys with more upside. In reality, how is Shelden Williams any different from Emeka Okafor two years ago? Similar height, same shot-blocking defensive impact, and both have efficient post games that feature a jump-hook. Comparison: Emeka Okafor
> 11 – Orlando: Rodney Carney – SF, Memphis
In my mind, Carney is the most overlooked player in the draft. I would have no qualms taking him in the top-5. He’s an absolute FREAK of an athlete, and he improved his 3-point shooting ever year, to the point where he now hits at a 40% clip. With his size, speed, jumping ability, and jump-shot, how can you stop him from scoring? Comparison: Jason Richardson, Shawn Marion, Richard Jefferson
> 12 – New Orleans: Patrick O’Bryant – C, Bradley
I wouldn’t be shocked if O’Bryant ends up going higher, due to the dearth of legit Center prospects in this draft. Especially if he impresses in workouts. From what I saw of O’Bryant in the NCAA tournament, he could be an impact pivot player in the league. He looks to be a legit 7-feet, and was very nimble and athletic. Comparison: Robert Swift (I’m high on Robert Swift’s potential, so that was a compliment)
> 13 – Philly: Kyle Lowry – PG, Villanova
I’m not sold on Lowry’s NBA potential yet, as I think he benefited from all the attention that Randy Foye and Allan Ray drew, and I’d like to see how he could step up on his own. However, if the Sixers decide to move Iverson, a local product with an NBA body, quickness, and strength like Lowry could be a tempting replacement. Comparison: Jameer Nelson
> 14 – Utah: Ronnie Brewer – SG, Arkansas
For some reason, I’ve just never seen this guy play. I guess they just don’t show a lot of Arkansas games in the northeast? Utah needs a SG badly, and I feel like saying JJ Redick to Utah is just a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that Utah is a Mormon state and once featured a white-wash backcourt of Stockton and Hornacek. Comparison: N/A
> 15 – New Orleans: Shawne Williams – SF, Memphis
A ton of talent, but seems undisciplined and raw. Definitely a boom or bust pick, and 15 seems like a good time to try it. Comparison: Eddie Robinson
> 16 – Chicago: Hilton Armstrong – C, UConn
He’s big. He’s athletic. He can rebound. He can block shots. He has no offensive game to speak of. Comparison: Joel Przybilla
> 17 – Indiana: JJ Redick – SG, Duke
JJ should stick around the league for a long time due to his 3-point shooting, but I don’t know if he’ll be a starter since his lack of quickness could spell doom on the defensive end. Comparison: Voshon Lenard, Jeff Hornacek
> 18 – Washington: Alexander Johnson – PF, Florida State
This may seem a bit high to some who don’t know his name, but I think he could really be a nice fit for the Zards. He’s 6’9, he can run the floor, he’s extremely athletic, he has range out to the college 3-point line, and he showed his dedication last off-season by hiring a dietician and slimming down to 225. I harped all season on the need for the Zards to ditch B-Wood for more athletic big-men who can run the floor with Gil/Caron and hit a jumper from the high-post to open up our half-court Princeton sets. Johnson is exactly that kind of player. Comparison: David West
> 19 – Sacramento: Tiago Splitter – PF/C, Tau Ceramica (Spain)
I haven’t caught any Tau games lately, but I’ve read that Splitter is a tough, strong PF. It seems like he’s been a draft prospect for the past 5 years. Apparently he still has a huge buyout, so he’d have to go to a team like Sacramento that can afford to wait on him. Comparison: N/A
> 20 – New York: Mardy Collins – Combo Guard, Temple
Whenever I’ve watched Temple games, I’ve been underwhelmed by Collins. He’s not particularly great in any aspect, but he’s 6’6” and can play the point, and you know how NBA scouts inexplicably get their knickers in a bunch when it comes to tall PGs. Comparison: Reece Gaines, Jeryl Sasser
> 21 – Phoenix: Jordan Farmar – PG, UCLA
He’d be a nice back-up and potential long-term replacement to the injury prone and aging Steve Nash. Especially since it’s becoming more and more clear that Leandro Barbosa isn’t really a PG. Comparison: Mike Bibby
> 22 – New Jersey: Olexsiy Pecherov – PF, Paris Basket Racing (France)
The Nets need a skilled PF, and scouts say this guy should fall in this range. Comparison: N/A
> 23 – New Jersey: Leon Powe – PF, Cal
I love Leon Powe. He’s tremendously skilled and a rugged rebounder. If it wasn’t for his knee injury after his freshman year, he could have been a potential top-5 pick. I expect the Nets to use both their picks on big guys, and Powe could be a steal in this spot. NBA Comparison: Ike Diogu
> 24 – Memphis: Mohamed Saer Sene – C, Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium)
There’s a lot of hype surrounding Sene at the moment. Supposedly he’s tremendously raw offensively, but an outstanding defensive force and an extremely active player. Comparison: Theo Ratliff
> 25 – Cleveland: Shannon Brown – Combo Guard, Michigan State
Lacks the size to play the 2 and I don’t think he handles well enough to play the 1, but he’s a great athlete and an excellent scorer. He could fit well with a player like LeBron who dominates the ball in most cases anyway. Comparison: Bobby Jackson
> 26 – LA Lakers: Quincy Douby – Combo Guard, Rutgers
If he played somewhere other than Rutgers, Douby would be getting more hype. He can shoot the lights out from three, and he’s also very versatile in his ability to defend and play some point guard. He’d be a nice pseudo-point guard in the triangle offense. Comparison: Ron Harper, Derek Anderson
> 27 – Phoenix: Maurice Ager – SG, Michigan State
Ager was the best player on a team that featured two other potential first rounders, Shannon Brown and Paul Davis. He has the size, athleticism, and jumper to succeed at the 2 in the NBA, so why is nobody talking about him? Is this another Michael Redd situation where people inexplicably ignored him in the period leading up to the draft? Comparison: Latrell Sprewell
> 28 – Dallas: Guillermo Diaz – SG, Miami
Diaz is an undersized, athletic, gunning SG with a questionable attitude. Somebody will take a chance on him. Comparison: Dejuan Wagner
> 29 – New York: Cedric Simmons – PF, NC State
Has been rated a lot higher than this in most mock drafts, but I don’t see it. He had one good game against Duke, but I don’t think it was indicative of his level of play all-season. He seems to be a bit slow-footed to me, and I’ve never seen the “excellent athleticism” that he’s reported to have. Comparison: Melvin Ely
> 30 – Portland: James White – SF, Cincinnati
Coming out of high school, James White was overrated. He was a tremendous athlete with very little skill or basketball acumen. Everyone wrote him off after he was an early bust, but he quietly improved his game from year to year, and he finally put it all together last year for Cincinnati. Comparison: Stacey AugmonMy favorite sleepers:
> PJ Tucker – SF, Texas
He can flat out play, and he was the unquestioned leader of a stacked Texas squad. In my mind, he’s this year’s Josh Howard, in similarity of both game and circumstance. Teams will overlook his success at the college level, and they’ll all be surprised when he continues to do the same things in the pros that he did at Texas. I don’t see why he can’t find success as a rugged 3 in the NBA. Comparison: Josh Howard, George Lynch
> Mike Gansey – SG, West Virginia
I personally would draft Mike Gansey before I took JJ Redick. He can shoot just as well, but he’s much more athletic and far more versatile. And he’s a scrappy leader. Comparison: Luther Head
> Kevin Pittsnogle – PF/C – West Virginia
Pittsnogle would be a great fit at back-up Center for the Zards. He could stretch opposing Centers all the way out to the NBA three-point line. Comparison: Sam Perkins
> Denham Brown – SG, UConn
He’s a tough defender and he has NBA three-point range. That’s a recipe for a long career. Comparison: Aaron McKie
> Ryan Hollins – C, UCLA
He’s a legit 7-feet and he’s freakishly athletic. So what’s the problem here??? Comparison: Sam Dalembert, Dan Gadzuric
> Gerry McNamara – PG, Syracuse
He’s quick, he’s a leader, he can shoot the lights out, he gets a ton of assists, he comes up big in big games... so why doesn’t anyone talk about him? I don’t see why he can’t at least be a solid back-up PG. Comparison: Speedy ClaxtonSome other guys that I think have a chance to stick around the league:
> Dee Brown – PG, Illinois
His jumpshot is inconsistent, and he’s never seemed like a great playmaker at the Point, but his speed and energy alone should make him a pesky defender and fit well with a high-pace team. I would jump all over him if I was drafting early in the 2nd round.
> Richard Roby – SG, Colorado
I’ve never seen him play, but my boy Mike says he’s legit. Apparently he’s got an NBA body and can really stroke it.
> Allan Ray – SG, Villanova
Everyone focuses on Foye and Lowry at Villanova, and it seems like Ray has slipped through the cracks. He’s smaller and not as strong as Foye, but he could be a decent bench scorer.
> Pops Mensah-Bonsu – SF, George Washington
He’s got an NBA body and athleticism. If he can play lock-down defense and continue to improve his skills, he might carve out a nice career for himself.
> Daniel Gibson – Combo Guard, Texas
He can shoot, but he’s tiny as a SG and hasn’t yet learned to run the point. Where do you play him?
> Josh Boone – PF/C, UConn
Big and strong but kind of a stiff. Reminds me of someone like Chris Taft.
> Steve Novak – Combo Forward, Marquette
He’s tall and can launch 3’s, but he’s skinny and slow. Could be useful off the bench.
> Hassan Adams – SG, Arizona
Tremendous athlete, but shaky ball skills. Reminds me of former USC Guard Jeff Trepagnier.
> David Noel – SF, UNC
He won’t blow you away, but he’s strong, smart, tough, and athletic. He’s kind of a poor man’s PJ Tucker, if that makes any sense. He could do some nice things off the bench for an NBA team.
> Daniel Horton – PG, Michigan
I always liked Horton, but he never could win at Michigan and was always overshadowed by other Big Ten PGs. When he gets away from the mediocre coach and mediocre talent at Michigan, I’m hoping Horton will show what he’s capable of.
> Eric Williams – PF, Wake Forest
He’s undersized at the 4, but he uses his body well to get off his go-to hook in the post. In the end though, his lack of size and lack of athleticism are probably the kiss of death. Think Lonnie Baxter.
> James Augustine – PF/C, Illinois
If he can hit 10 to 15 footers with consistency, run the floor, defend opposing 5’s, and rebound his position, Augustine will stick around.Bum City:
> Aaron Gray – C, Pitt
Too slow-footed and lacks touch. He missed WAY too many easy shots at the college level.
> Paul Davis – PF, Michigan State
He was outrageously hyped out of high school, but his mediocre athleticism doomed him. I don’t see how any part of his game translates to the NBA, other than the ability to occasionally hit a 15-footer.
> Nick Fazekas – Combo Forward, Nevada
Similar to Steve Novak, but taller, skinnier, and more awkward.
> Darius Washington – PG, Memphis
I wouldn’t touch this guy with a 10-foot pole. He thinks he’s Allen Iverson, but he’s not nearly as talented, and he plays out of control.
> Carl Krauser – PG, Pitt
He’s had an eye on the NBA for a long time, but he never developed his jump shot, and he lacks top-end quickness.
> Taquan Dean – SG, Lousville
I just don’t think he can compete athletically at the 2, and he never showed any PG skills.
> Marco Killingsworth – PF, Indiana
Undersized, a bit stiff, and can only use one hand.
> Mustafa Shakur – PG, Arizona
Shakur is another extremely hyped high school player who never developed his game at the college level. His jump shot is iffy and he lacks NBA quickness.
> Craig Smith – SF?/PF?, Boston College
Has an outside shot if he can slim WAY down and convince someone he can play the 3.
> Aaron Afflalo – SG, UCLA
He’s a nice complimentary college player.