Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The G(m) Spot: NBA Mock Draft 1.0


Ah, the rite of passage that is the mock draft. I'm sure you have seen a million of them, and will see a million more before the draft happens this summer. So, instead of acting as if I am THE authrority on sports knowledge, I am going to offer a look at the needs of each team categorically, list a few possible prospects that would help in those areas, and then give you my best opinion on which prospect is actually going to be picked. Think of it as being able to look at the thought process behind my mock draft, instead of just seeing the end result. Enjoy.

#1. Portland Trailblazers:
Team Needs: Small Forward and Center
Possibilities: Greg Oden or Kevin Durant
Analysis: I think the Blazers are going to end up going with Oden, even though from a completely objective standpoint putting Durant at the 3 with Randolph at 4 and Aldridge at 5 might be better in the long run. Don't forget, Randolph is a 20-10 machine, and If the Blazers take Oden it is probably the end of the road for Randolph in Portland. Nonetheless, a franchise center > a franchise swing man nine times out of ten, and Oden is indeed a franchise center.
The Pick: Greg Oden

#1a. Seattle Supersonics:
Team Needs: Small Forward and Point Guard
Possibilities: Greg Oden or Kevin Durant
Analysis: Of course if Oden is still on the board the Sonics will snatch him up, but otherwise Durant is the obvious pick here. Durant on the team would allow the Sonics to push up tempo with Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and Durant all on the floor at once. The Sonics will be a dynamic offensive force next season
The Pick: Kevin Durant

#3. Atlanta Hawks:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Center
Possibilities: Mike Conley, Al Horford, Yi Jianlian, Brandan Wright
Analysis: Lets take a quick look at the Hawk's roster. Joe Johnson at 2. Josh Smith and Josh Childress at the 3. Shelden Williams and Marvin Williams at the 4. Pretty much nothing at the 1 or 5 spots. Why on earth anyone thinks the Hawks are looking to take Wright then, is beyond me. This team does not need a 5th lottery pick forward. So forget Horford too. The Hawks need a PG, and until they get a dynamic playmaker all of their already assembled lottery talent is going to wither on the vine. Conley is the only pick that makes sense. Period.
The Pick: Mike Conley

#4. Memphis Grizzlies:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Corey Brewer, Brandan Wright, Yi Jianlian
Analysis: Now, this is where things get a bit tricky. With Conley off the board, there are no PG prospects left of high lottery caliber, and the only SG prospect would be a reach for Corey Brewer. What this pick comes down to is whether or not the Grizzlies are going to unload Pau Gasol. If they ditch Gasol, Jianlian would be the pick. If not, they will go with the best value with Brandan Wright. My bet is they keep Gasol for at least one more year. Don't be suprised if West trades down from here for prospects that will better fit the Grizzlies needs.
The Pick: Brandan Wright

#5. Boston Celtics:
Team Needs: Small Forward, Point Guard, and Center
Possibilities: Yi Jianlian, Corey Brewer, Jeff Green
Analysis: You might be seeing a pattern. A lot of the teams near the top of the draft are in need of a point guard, and this season there is not much supply in that department. So the Celtics are going to have to look to their other needs, and other than Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson they have a lot of them. So do the Celtics take Jianlian to pair with Jefferson? Or do they give Pierce a helper on the wing in Brewer or Green? I think the Celtics are still hoping Gerald Green is going to pan out, so Jianlian looks like the choice here.
The Pick: Yi Jianlian

#6. Milwaukee Bucks:
Team Needs: Small Forward
Possibilities: Corey Brewer, Jeff Green, Julian Wright
Analysis: Looking at the Bucks roster they have young talent all over the board, and a lot of their problems last season were a result of injury. When healthy, the quartet of Mo Williams, Michael Redd, Charlie Villanueva, and Andrew Bogut are one of the more talented young groups in the NBA. So what is missing? The signing of Bobby Simmons at SF has not panned out, and the Bucks now have the chance the rectify that mistake in this draft. Unlike some of the teams ahead of them, the available talent matches up perfectly with their need, and the Bucks will have a choice of three very good SF prospects. In the end I think they will go with the all around game of Jeff Green over Corey Brewer.
The Pick: Jeff Green

#7. Minnesota Timberwolves:
Team Needs: Small Forward and Center
Possibilities: Corey Brewer and Julian Wright
Analysis: Now that Hibbert has pulled out of the draft, the Timberwolves will look to get Kevin Garnett some more socring help. To be honest, Corey Brewer seems like a perfect fit here, and if he is available the Wolves will snatch him up.
The Pick: Corey Brewer

#8. Charlotte Bobcats:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard and Center
Possibilities: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Julian Wright
Analysis: The Bobcats face an interesting offseason, as both Gerald Wallace and Primoz Brezec are likely to opt out of their contracts. That frees up more playing time for Sean May and Adam Morrison, but it also leaves the Bobcats with some substantial depth problems. The Bobcats have shown that they try to draft for value, and at this spot they would be foolish to pass on Al Horford.
The Pick: Al Horford

#9. Chicago:
Team Needs: Power Forward
Possibilities: Joakim Noah, Al Thornton
Analysis: The Bulls weakness was exposed on national televison recently: they need a scoring option in the post. Period. Luckily for them, that is exactly what will be available to them in Joakim Noah, who will make last year's selection of Tyrus "Stromile" Thomas look even worse.
The Pick: Joakim Noah

#10. Sacramento Kings:
Team Needs: Small Forward and Power Forward
Possibilities: Julian Wright, Al Thornton, Javaris Crittenton, Acie Law
Analysis: The Kings will see their two main targets in Joakim Noah and Al Horford off the board at this point, and their pick will eventually depend on what their plans are with Mike Bibby and Ron Artest. If they ditch Bibby, look for Law or Crittenton. If they ditch Artest, look for Wright. They also have aging PFs, so Thorton would not be a suprise. The smart money is on the Kings taking the best talent left in Wright.
The Pick: Julian Wright

#11. Atlanta Hawks:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Center
Possibilities: Spencer Hawes, Acie Law, Javaris Crittenton
Analysis: If the Hawks don't take Conley at the top of the draft they will look to fill their PG need at this spot. Otherwise the Hawks will fill their other glaring hole by taking the best pure center left behind Oden, Spencer Hawes. Getting Hawes and Conley would be a fantastic result for the Hawks.
The Pick: Spencer Hawes

#12. Philadelphia 76ers:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard, Power Forward, Point Guard
Possibilities: Javaris Crittenton, Al Thornton, Acie Law, Nick Young
Analysis:The Sixers have a lot of holes, and thankfully they also have three first rounders to try and fill those holes. They could go with a PG in this spot, but Thorton could do them the most good next season replacing Chris Webber, and there will also likely be a decent PG still around at #21 when they pick again.
The Pick: Al Thornton

#13. New Orleans Hornets:
Team Needs: Small Forward and Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Nick Young, Brandon Rush
Analysis: The Hornets are set for the foreseeable future with Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler manning the 1, 4, and 5 respectively. Their draft needs therefore, are looking to get a swingman to come in to take some of the scoring load off of Chris Paul. Nick Young or Brandon Rush would be a good pick at this spot, but I think that most NBA teams have Young rated a bit higher.
The Pick: Nick Young

#14. LA Clippers:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Brandon Rush, Acie Law, Javaris Crittenton
Analysis: The Clippers have an interesting choice to make at this spot, and the player they select will tell the public a great deal about the future of this team. If the Clippers take Rush, the assumption would be that the Clippers still believe that Shaun Livingston is going to come back and be a starting PG for years to come. If they pick Law or Crittenton however, the Clippers would be signaling that Livingston's career might be forever damaged by his knee injury.
The Pick: Brandon Rush

#15. Detroit Pistons:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Acie Law, Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young, Rudy Fernandez, Marc Gasol
Analysis: What this pick comes down to is whether or not the Pistons think they are going to be able to resign Chauncey Billups. If they lose him, they certainly need to find a replacement fast, and Acie Law seems much more ready to play right away than Crittenton. If Billups signs with the team, then they will look to bolster their depth at either SG or C
The Pick: Acie Law

#16. Washington Wizards:
Team Needs: Center and Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Tiago Splitter, Rudy Fernandez, Marc Gasol
Analysis: The Wizards have their big three at the 1, 3, and 5 in Arenas, Butler, and Jamison, so this pick will look to pick up some of the slack at one of the other two spots. The value at this spot is in the Center department, and Tiago Splitter just feels like the perfect pick for the Wizards at this point.
The Pick: Tiago Splitter

#17. New Jersey Nets:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard and Center
Possibilities: Marco Belinelli, Arron Afflalo, Rudy Fernandez, Alando Tucker
Analysis: The Nets will be set with Kidd, Jefferson, and Kristic next season, and drafted Kidd's replacement last year with Marcus Williams. The assumption here is that the Nets will refuse to put up the huge money to resign Carter, so they will look to pursue either a SG or C at this spot. There are a number of interesting SG prospects at this position, and the Nets have shown a propensity to take chances on foreign players in the draft.
Analysis: Rudy Fernandez

#18. Golden State Warriors:
Team Needs: Small Forward
Possibilities: Thaddeus Young, Arron Afflalo, Rudy Fernandez, Alando Tucker
Analysis: Matt Barnes is going to leave this summer, and Monta Ellis may not be far behind next offseason. The Warriors, as odd as it may sound, will need to address the need here and get a swingman to step in for Barnes. Thaddeus Young is a huge value at this spot.
The Pick: Thaddeus Young

#19. LA Lakers:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Center
Possibilities: Javaris Crittenton, Jason Smith, Marc Gasol
Analysis: The Lakers are in need of a point guard, but a young kid like Crittenton does not seem to fit Phil Jackson's style. The Lakers need to get touch up front, and a Forward the likes of Smith or Gasol would fit the bill here.
The Pick: Jason Smith

#20. Miami Heat:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Small Forward
Possibilities: Javaris Crittenton, Alando Tucker, Rudy Fernandez
Analysis: The Heat are in sore need of more scoring help for D-Wade, but their PG situation is also not getting any better with the aging Jason Williams. Again, Crittenton just does not feel like the right fit here. Alando Tucker would be an interesting option here as a scorer.
The Pick: Alando Tucker

#21. Philadelphia 76ers:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard, Power Forward, Point Guard
Possibilities: Javaris Crittenton, Alando Tucker, Derrick Byars, Marco Belinelli
Analysis: The Sixers know that Andre Miller is only the short term answer at the PG spot. They will snap up Crittenton at this position at great value.
The Pick: Javaris Crittenton

#22. Charlotte Bobcats:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard and Center
Possibilities: Marc Gasol, Josh McRoberts, Alando Tucker, Derrick Byars
Analysis: The Bobcats will have already adressed the front court earlier in the round, and now will have their choice of a few good SG prospects. They need a scorer.
The Pick: Arron Afflalo

#23. New York Knicks:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard and Point Guard
Possibilities: Derrick Byars, Morris Almond
Analysis: The problem in predicting this pick is the fact that the Knicks have been very erratic in their recent draft past. That being said, Byars seems like a good fit for them here, as he could develop into a good complementary piece at SG, and is a bit more well rounded than Afflalo.
The Pick: Derrick Byars

#24. Phoenix Suns:
Team Needs: Small Forward, Power Forward, Center, Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Marc Gasol, Marco Belinelli
Analysis: It has already been well established that the Suns have two problems. 1. They have little depth, and 2. They may need to jettison either Amare or Marion for money reasons. Belinelli seems like a perfect fit here, as the Suns like international players and Belinelli's style will fit in well with the Sun's up tempo game.
The Pick: Marco Belinelli

#25. Utah Jazz:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard and Center
Possibilities: Marc Gasol, Morris Almond, Rodney Stuckey
Analysis: As the Jazz are finding out against the Spurs, they are in need of a perimeter scoring threat. The logical move here would be for the Jazz to take the player they see as being the best scoring prospect, and Almond's shooting touch would seem to give him the edge here.
The Pick: Morris Almond

#26. Houston Rockets:
Team Needs: Power Forward and Point Guard
Possibilities: Marc Gasol, Josh McRoberts
Analysis: The Rockets are in need of a long term solution at the PG spot, but the value in the frontcourt here is too big to pass up. Houston will have its pick of two good partners for Yao in Gasol and McRoberts.
The Pick: Josh McRoberts

#27. Detroit Pistons:
Team Needs: Point Guard and Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Morris Almond, Rodney Stuckey
Analysis: Stuckey, who went to college in Michigan, looks like a great fit for the Pistons in this spot. He is the kind of dynamic scorer that they have missed for some time now.
The Pick: Rodney Stuckey

#28. San Antonio Spurs:
Team Needs: Center
Possibilities: Marc Gasol
Analysis: Marc Gasol is their pick. Period. If he is there, he will be gone. No team that was giving Francisco Elson big minutes can afford to pass him up.
The Pick: Marc Gasol

#29. Phoenix Suns:
Team Needs: Small Forward, Power Forward, Center, Shooting Guard
Possibilities: Ante Tomic, Morris Almond, Gabe Pruit, Daequan Cook
Analysis: The Suns need more reliable players for their rotation. Tomic looks to have the most promise of what is left.
The Pick: Ante Tomic

#30. Philadelphia 76ers:
Team Needs: Shooting Guard, Power Forward, Point Guard
Possibilities: Daequan Cook, Sean Williams, Nick Fazekas
Analysis: Having already taken Horford and Crittenton, the 76ers will look to fill their final remaining need by taking Cook. He'll have more than enough time to develop on the Sixers bench.
The Pick: Daequan Cook

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