C’mon, you know I had to go with a Fab Fiver.
Ahhh, the NBA draft…
It’s Christmas time in MSG…trades, LBJ and CP3...
Speaking of trades…
Miami traded Daquan Cook and the 18th pick to Oklahoma City for the 2nd pick in round 2 (32nd) and in the process frees up nearly 3 million in cap space. The Thunder are loading up and now have 4 second round picks. The New Jersey Nets have traded Chris Douglas-Roberts to the Milwaukee Bucks for a second round pick in 2012.
All this Chris Paul talk is interesting. If he is in fact traded to the Nets…Cleveland fans should start buying their Tito tissues.
Paul George out of Fresno State seems to be the sleeper pick.
Let’s get it! Just going lottery here. I’ll have a report from New York after the draft.
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, Point Guard, Kentucky
The Wizards, like the rest of DC’s sports teams, suddenly have a bright future after landing the number one pick in the draft. Despite a dramatic season where the face of the franchise was suspended, Wall definitely gives fans a jolt of optimism. He’s flashy, he’s athletic, supremely talented and driven. Obviously there is room to develop what some consider an average jump shot but one thing I’ve noticed is Wall’s desire to be the best from the gate. The mix tape below shows Wall throwing lobs and banging it in traffic. Of course he can do more but if he develops outside of his ridiculous athleticism, he could be great.
2. Philadelphia 76′ers: Evan Turner, Shooting Guard, Ohio State
The Sixers haven’t been lucky at 2 historically. I don’t like this pick and if it does go down there probably will be a Sixers trade at the February deadline. Is Andre Iguodala a 2 guard or a small forward? I like Cousins here. Forget what you hear about his attitude because some cats just aren’t media cool. Demarcus was very short with the media at pre-draft camps and maybe this is why he’s slipped on some mocks. Evan Turner is skilled. He’s versatile and offers stability but I’m going with the monster who will shake up the Sixers locker room because he wants to dunk on everybody. Dwight Howard needs an Eastern Conference competitor and in my opinion, Cousins could be that guy. Don’t just select a player because of conventional thought. This is a franchise in shambles that has disrespected its lofty tradition recently. Ed Stefansky has to make the right pick here. There is no more room left on his rope.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, Power Forward Georgia Tech
Favors is also a tremendous athlete. He can do a lot of things and the Nets seemingly want to pair him with the talented Brook Lopez. If Favors is allowed to develop, the sky is the limit.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wes Johnson, Small Forward, Syracuse
No one has any idea what the Wolves will do here. If last year was any indication (when they took like 25 point guards), question marks apply. There is so much Minnesota needs and everything seems to be up in the air of what they will actually do. Johnson is a baller. Not sure he’ll be a superstar or even a star but he seems to have the ticker needed to want to get the job done.
5. Sacramento Kings: Demarcus Cousins, Forward, Kentucky
As I said earlier, there seems to be this thought that Cousins is a head case despite his serious physical ability. Sacramento recently traded Spencer Hawes for Sammy Dalembert and coupled with Tyreke Evans, Cousins is just gonna be ridiculous. I see Cousins becoming a superstar in this league and all the crazy talk highlighting his “liabilities” might be just want it takes for Cousins to fall into the Kings lap.
6. Golden State Warriors: Al – Farouq Aminu, Forward, Wake Forest
I was also impressed with this kid. He was some work to do in the shooting department, but landing in the Warriors uptempo style, he will be able to show the world what an elite athlete he is. Very impressive. The trade of Corey Maggette opens up the possibility of Aminu landing here.
7. Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe, Power Forward, Georgetown
The Pistons want Cousins. TSF fam Vinnie Goodwill speaks of it in his linked piece. What happens here will determine a lot of what will happen further down the draft. If Monroe is the pick, the Pistons will land a player capable of becoming a star in this league because of his versatility. I watched him up close here and came away impressed with how he turns it on when his team needs him to step it up. He’s Georgetown raised, so you know he’ll be ready to handle the pressures of the NBA and if the Pistons get Monroe, they’ll get a fine young man.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Gordon Hayward, Small Forward, Butler
The Clippers are set at point guard, power forward and center, in Hayward the Clips are getting one of the best pure shooters in the draft. Hayward will not impress you with his speed or athleticism but he is a court savvy girnder and very unselfish for a player with his scoring ability. This is a good fit for a team that needs some mid-range scoring punch.
9. Utah Jazz: Cole Aldrich, Center, Kansas
Age and injuries at the center position are a concern for the Jazz. Veteran Mehmet Ohkur has seen his best days and Kosta Koufos is the only center under contract next season. Enter Cole Aldrich – I know what you’re saying, ” The last time the Jazz drafted a center from Kansas…” Nah, he isn’t that guy. Aldrich isn’t as stationary as Greg Ostertag . He can get up and down the floor, isn’t afraid to go up and over people and actually plays well on the blocks – perfect for Jerry Sloan’s pick and roll system. Ed Davis is also an option here.
10. Indiana Pacers: Xavier Henry, Shooting Guard, Kansas
The Pacers have made it clear that they are in the hunt for a young point guard, since it’s too much of a reach to take one at #10, they decide on Kansas sniper Xavier Henry. Henry left Kansas after his freshman season but looks ready to make the next step. Is a natural slasher that will get to the stripe, is an above-average defender who plays the passing lanes well.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Ekpe Udoh, Power Forward, Baylor
The possible trade of Chris Paul will not deter the Hornets from taking Udoh, who opened many eyes during the NCAA Tournament. Udoh does it all, blocks shots, defends, runs the floor and is also effective from 15 ft. in. Udoh has a wingspan of 7’4.5″ and looks like a nice complement to David West on the opposite block.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Ed Davis, Power Forward, North Carolina
The Grizzlies are a young team on the rise and have more than enough scoring power, what they need now is an versitile defender that can guard both forward positions and even center. Davis doesn’t command the ball, which is good, because right now he can help this team by just defending as he hones his offensive skills.
13. Toronto Raptors: Hassan Whiteside, Power Forward/Center, Marshall
If Whiteside lasts this long I’ll be surprised, of all the players in this year’s draft he may have the best upside. Whiteside led the nation in blocks at 5.4 per game and while his he has not rounded into a complete offensive player yet - like Ed Davis, his ability to defend makes him an immediate asset to any team.
14. Houston Rockets: Paul George, Guard/Forward, Fresno St.
The Rockets are one of a few teams that have no glaring needs in this draft, so they are able to take the best available player on the board at the time. Fresno State’s Paul George at 19 years old has an advanced skill set for a player of his age. He is a dynamic finisher and with the depth and veteran leadership on this Houston squad George should be allowed to smooth out the rough edges of his game.