The 2010 NBA draft is only three and a half months away! Never too early to look at what the lottery might look like. We’ll do this a few more times: After the NCAA tournament, after everyone’s declareda and after the draft order is set. The order below is based on what things might look like if the season ended today.
1. New Jersey Nets – John Wall, G, Kentucky. Some will argue that DeMarcus Cousins makes sense, especially if you put him alongside promising Brook Lopez. Cousins is putting up great stats (16-10) in only 22 minutes a night, but we’re of the mindset that you go guard over big. Wall should be an instant force in the league, probably as good of a scorer as Tyreke Evans.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Evan Turner, SF/PG, Ohio State. Why not Cousins? Because they already have Kevin Love and Al Jefferson … who already play his position. None of the three is a center. Turner does what Corey Brewer could not – play the Scottie Pippen role on the wing. What is the flaw in Turner’s game? Flynn, Turner and Jefferson is a strong, young, trio.
3. Golden State Warriors – DeMarcus Cousins, F, Kentucky. With the right coach, the Warriors could be real fun next year. Cousins gives Biedrins help inside and adds toughness. Problem is, Don Nelson is past his prime, his ego is out of control, and he’s shattered the confidence of their last lottery picks (also big men – Brendan Wright and Anthony Randolph).
4. Sacramento Kings – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse. This draft is devoid of the position the Kings covet: a shooting guard. Casspi’s a great fit at SF, and Evans is the future at PG. Johnson’s dinged up and his numbers have taken a hit, but he’s proven to be a lethal shooter and the Kings would have a strong, young backcourt.
5. Indiana Pacers – Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas. They desperately need a point guard; there isn’t one available here. Best on board – we go with Henry, who might have the most upside in the draft outside of Wall. If he stayed a year at Kansas as “the man” he might be talked about in the Tyreke Evans mold.
6. Utah Jazz (via New York Knicks) – Greg Monroe, F, Georgetown. The guy might be able to play all three frontcourt positions. Okur turns 31 in May. Boozer is gone. Cerebral player will work great in Sloan’s system. Backup plan: James Anderson of Oklahoma State, who is a real nice scorer.
7. Washington Wizards – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech. Using this assumption: Arenas stays, Foye goes to SG, Miller goes, Thornton SF, Young 6th man, then your needs are frontcourt stud to help Blatche/McGee, or best-on-board.
8. Detroit Pistons – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest. Offensively-challenged Pistons (2nd-to-last in scoring, last in the league in shooting the three) would love it if an offensive talent of this caliber fell to them.
9. Philadelphia 76ers – James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State. He’ll be coveted in this draft. Is he the best pure shooting guard? Henry’s still young, and Turner and Johnson might play SF. With Sam Dalembert a free agent in 2011, the backup plan could be Hassan Whiteside, a project at Marshall. He did nothing against UNC this year, but looked good vs. WVU (18 points).
10. LA Clippers – Damion James, SF, Texas. Both Outlaw and Butler are free agents. James is a great athlete and can be their lockdown defender while the scoring falls on Griffin, Kaman, and Gordon.
11. Milwaukee Bucks – Willie Warren, SG, Oklahoma. Yup, we’re aware of Warren’s problems in his sophomore campaign. The guess here is he wows in the workouts and executives will pin the blame on differences with Jeff Capel. This team needs scoring (2nd worst shooting team in the league).
12. Memphis Grizzlies – Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia. Great fit with Rudy Gay leaving. Very good defender and capable scorer, but there may be some concern pairing him with a chronic malcontent like Zach Randolph (who has, apparently, been a model citizen in Memphis). But with three 1st round picks, do they gamble on a project here (pick a foreign guy Chad Ford raves about)?
13. Houston Rockets – Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas. Yao might miss some time next season, and who knows how healthy he’ll be when he returns. Yao also turns 30 in September and his contract is up in the summer of 2011. No way anyone gives him a max deal, not with that recent injury history. Backup plan: Hassan Whiteside, Marshall.
14. New Orleans Hornets – DaSean Buter, F, West Virginia. Peja will be an expiring next season and get traded. Posey never quite panned out. Mo Pete’s more of a reserve. Butler fits.