The NBA draft is set for June 24, and while it’s clear whom Washington will select with the top overall pick, the rest of the first round is tough to figure.
We’ll take our first stab at a mock draft:
1. Washington Wizards: John Wall, 6-4, 195, PG, Fr., Kentucky
This is a complete no-brainer, as Wall is the one guy in this draft with superstar potential written all over him. He’s fast, athletic and proved to have quality leadership skills in his lone season in college.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner, 6-7, 215, SG/SF, Jr., Ohio State
New coach Doug Collins and the Sixers’ brass will have a difficult call here. While a big man like Derrick Favors may be needed more, the guess is that Philly goes with the safer pick in the versatile Turner.
3. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors, 6-10, 245, PF/C, Fr., Georgia Tech
The athletic and mild-mannered post player would fit perfectly alongside Brook Lopez on the Nets’ front line. Favors is oozing with potential and is a coaches’ dream in terms of his attitude.
The Kings have a bunch of big bodies and one of the top young guards in the league, but they could use an athletic wing. Aminu thrives in transition and would fit in well in Sacramento.
6. Golden State Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins, 6-11, 290, C, Fr., Kentucky
This one just makes sense. Maybe Don Nelson can handle the enigmatic big man, who could either become a star or flop at the next level.
7. Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe, 6-11, 245, PF, Soph., Georgetown
He won’t blow you away with his athleticism, but the skilled big man knows how to play. He’ll become one of the top passing big men in the NBA, and as long as he’s not expected to carry a team, Monroe will be an above-average NBA player.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Luke Babbitt, 6-9, 220, F, Soph., Nevada
The Clippers will get Blake Griffin, last year’s top overall pick, back healthy and will have a solid combo up front with Griffin and Chris Kaman. The backcourt is Baron Davis and Eric Gordon, so the need is for a wing. Babbitt can do it all, and his stock is rising.
9. Utah Jazz (from New York Knicks): Cole Aldrich, 6-11, 235, C, Jr., Kansas
Carlos Boozer will be a free agent come July, and with this being such a big-man-heavy draft, look for the Jazz to go with a front-line guy. The question becomes which one. We’re giving the nod to Aldrich, who is the most ready after three years in college.
10. Indiana Pacers: Ed Davis, 6-10, 225, PF, Soph., North Carolina
The long and athletic big man isn’t ready to come in and do much in the NBA right now, but he’s worth the risk. He runs the court well and is a shot-blocker but needs to work on being able to score in the post.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Patrick Patterson, 6-9, 240, PF, Jr., Kentucky
He has expanded his game and also worked on his athleticism. Patterson is one of the few guys who should be able to step right in and play against NBA guys from the get-go. He’ll rebound and give effort each and every night.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Gordon Hayward, 6-8, 210, F, Soph., Butler
Hayward is a versatile wing who does a variety of things to make his team better. He won’t step in and make a huge impact immediately, but he can become a quality NBA player.
13. Toronto Raptors: Ekpe Udoh, 6-10, 235, PF/C, Jr., Baylor
With the likelihood that Chris Bosh is history, the Raptors will need to add a big man — and Udoh has some of the same attributes of Bosh. He’s long and athletic and can affect the game on the defensive end.
He’s not Michael Redd, but he can certainly help soften the blow because it looks like even if Redd returns, he won’t be the same player. Henry can score, but he needs to become more than just a one-dimensional player.
The best scenario for Bradley is to be taken by a team where he can be brought along slowly and learn how to play the point. He’s a big-time defender, though, so that should get him playing time right away.
24. Atlanta Hawks: Paul George, 6-9, 215, F, Soph., Fresno State
He’s an under-the-radar guy who has a ton of potential. He’s versatile, a big-time athlete and is more skilled than many give him credit for.