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Posted on: June 25, 2009 3:57 am
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PG Curtis Jerrels, Baylor


Curtis Jerrels: 6-1, 200, PG, Sr. (Baylor University)

Draft rank:  #46

PG rank: #16

Strengths:

Very creative and crafty point guard.  Likes to penetrate and find his teammates.  A leader on the floor that will talk to his teammates and let them know what they should be doing.  Can hit the outside shot.  Can take his man down into the post and use his strength if necessary.  Really knows how to use the pump fake and the jab step to get by his man and get into the lane.  Also uses his body to shield defenders and get the ball to his teammates. Likes to pass with both hands.  Does a very good job of using picks at the top of the key to head left or right and go right into his jump shot.  Will bull his way into the paint and has the ability to finish with either hand once he gets there.  Does a great job of misdirection to gain space so that he can rise into his jumper.  Does a good job of using his dribbles to head north to south rather than east to west.  Has very good hesitation moves.  Has been consistently productive in all four years at Baylor.  Gets his hands on a lot balls defensively.  Has good scoring ability off the dribble.   

Weaknesses:

Sometimes pounds the ball for too long.  Doesn’t use his arms to be an active defender.  Presses the ball on offense and sometimes tries to do too much for his team.  Doesn’t have the explosiveness or quickness that NBA starting point guards have.  Often forces shots and doesn’t shoot for a good percentage for a point guard.  Turns the ball over too much, especially when trying to get into the lane.  Doesn’t have great leaping ability.  Lacks lateral movement when he is guarding quicker point guards and sometimes becomes flat footed on defense.  Isn’t particularly good in the transition.      

Mental:

There is no doubt that Jerrels likes to have the ball in his hands and direct traffic, which is important for a point guard.  He has a confidence about him that allows him to take big shots at the end of the game.  Jerrels has a no quit attitude on the court and continues to play hard even when his team is down. 


Comparison:  Derek Fisher, 6-1, 200 PG

Conclusion:

The biggest issue for Jerrels is that he is just average at just about everything.  He doesn’t have great quickness, passing or shooting ability that teams look for in a point guard.  He is a solid but I am just not sold on the idea that he can be a player at the next level.  Jerrels certainly knows how to play and at the very least will have a career abroad but he will really have to work on his shot and become a reliable shooter if he wants to stick.

He has a similar game to another lefty in Derek Fisher, but Fish has always been a consistent shooter and has always taken great pride on defense.  Jerrels should try to model his game after Fisher’s, but I am afraid that he may have to go abroad to work on his game and hopefully he can work his way back over.  Fisher’s college numbers actually are very similar to Jerrels and they have almost the exact same build.  Surely, I don’t see him as having as long or productive career as Fisher, but I do think he reminds me of him. 

Look for Jerrels to either go in the 2nd round or possibly go undrafted.  I think due to the depth at point guard in this year’s draft and the need for teams to cut back on payroll and possibly go to 13 roster spots, I am not sure how attractive of a 2nd round pick he is.  His upside is limited but he surely has the skills to become a decent backup if he continues to improve on his solid college career. 

Posted on: June 25, 2009 3:03 am
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Paul Harris, Cuse

Paul Harris: 6-4, 220, SF, Jr. (Syracuse University)

Draft rank: #45

SF rank: #11

Strengths:

Plays the game with a football mentality.  Plays way bigger than his height.  Amazing quickness and athleticism.  Has a ridiculous 6-11 wing span.  Is extremely strong.  Could probably play three positions due to his strength and athleticism.  Has improved his jump shot year after year.  Does a good job of getting to the foul line.  Is very good out in transition.  While it was hard to see in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, he has the skills to be a lock down perimeter defender.  Has great foot speed.  Doesn’t back down against bigger players.  Has great athleticism.  Solid free throw shooter.  Very good re-bounder on both ends of the floor for a player his size.  Gets his hands on a lot of balls on defense.  Has a great cross-over dribble.  Really gets after loose balls and will keep the ball alive on the offensive glass. Has a nose for the ball.  Is a very good at slashing to the basket and knows how to draw contact to get to the free throw line.  

Weaknesses:

While his jump shot has improved he is still a very inconsistent shooter.  Doesn’t have 3 point range or shoot a good percentage from there.  Doesn’t have the ideal handles to play the guard position in the NBA.  He would be best at the 3 or the 4, but he doesn’t have the size to play that position at the next level.  Turns the ball over way too much for a wing player.  Often takes bad shots along the perimeter when he really should be focused on doing the little things to help get his teammates open. 

Mental:

Harris brought a toughness to the floor that rubbed off on his teammates all year.  He battled and clawed despite the fact that he was undersized and often going up against much bigger players.  He did have some off court issues in high school and apparently they weren’t exactly ushering him back in the door at Syracuse but on the court I like his effort and toughness.  Ultimately if he can show a good work ethic and improve his jumper then he could have a major role off the bench for a team. 

Comparison:  Mario West, 6-5, 210, SG

Conclusion:

Look, the guy is a freak athlete.  He came into Syracuse as a highly touted recruit and never really lived up to those expectations, but he still showed signs of what made him such an intriguing prospect in High School.  Harris is the type of guy that you could see transition over to football as a starting tight end with little to no football experience.  He is a physical freak who possesses a chiseled frame with freakishly long arms.  Usually a player is long or stout and compact, but somehow Harris has both.  His physical gifts are going to be hard to ignore and somebody is going to jump on his raw talents in the 2nd round. 

Harris reminds me of Mario West and Tony Allen as well.  It’s interesting that West was a walk on at Georgia Tech who went undrafted in the NBA, but has somehow managed to make the Hawks roster the last two years.  The guy just doesn’t get intimidated and doesn’t back down from anybody that he’s playing.  That mindset is where my comparison to Harris comes in.  Harris is going to have to take on a similar role and really take pride in playing defense, re-bounding and providing athleticism to a team off the bench.  Harris is blessed with a better frame and actually more skills then West, but he should watch some tape on West so that he can see what it takes to make an NBA roster and provide value to a team. 

Ultimately, I think that Harris’ will be a better pro than he was a college player.  I have trouble ever seeing him as a starter but he can do so many different things and has the potential to become a much more complete player that it’s hard for me to imagine that there isn’t a roster spot waiting for him.  He certainly needs to work on his game and he probably could’ve used another year in college to do so, but somebody will fall in love with his athleticism and hope that he can take on a role as a bench player.  I don’t see why he can't.

Posted on: June 24, 2009 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 9:28 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: C Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga

Josh Heytfelt: 6-10, 260, C, Sr. (Gonzaga University)

Draft rank: #44

C rank: #3

Strengths:

Great fundamentals for a big man.  Uses the backboard to his advantage when shooting the ball from both sides of the basket.  Has great pick and pop ability at the next level.  Can shoot the ball with ease and has great range on his J.  Has very soft hands and good feet for a big man.  Doesn’t look uncomfortable playing.  Has good instincts in the paint.  Sets solid picks.  Has three point range capabilities.  Shoots for a good percentage.  Solid free throw shooter for a big man.  Has good size to play Center in the NBA.  Can knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency.  Has a nice fade away jumper that he uses effectively once he has his man beat in the post.  Has alley-oop capabilities on the fast break.  Does a good job of slipping to the hoop after picks. 

Weaknesses:

Plays below the rim in the half court.  Has character issues (got arrested for illegal mushrooms).  Doesn’t have back to the basket scoring ability.  Doesn’t have great quickness.  Disappears during games.  While he has good instincts, he needs to be more of a presence on defense, as he often becomes passive and doesn’t block enough shots, or grab enough re-bounds.  Likes to stay on the perimeter too much when he should be posting up inside.  Doesn’t fight for position or look to seal his man in the post.  Doesn’t like to play with his back to the basket.  Doesn’t go up strong to the hoop.  Struggles on defense when his opponent puts the ball on floor with good quickness.  Really struggles when he is double teamed or trapped.  Doesn’t do a good job of punishing smaller players when they are switched to him.  Doesn’t sprint up the floor.  Is slow in his moves in the post.  Doesn’t good elevation from the post. 

Mental:

Heytfelt has solid skills to be a solid big in the NBA.  But, I really worry about his mentality and if he has the work ethic to be a successful pro.  He doesn’t bring it every night and often becomes passive and soft in games.  He can’t have that mentality if he wants to succeed in the NBA.  I also worry about his drive and if he realizes what it will take for him on and off the court to be a successful pro.  There are serious character issues with Josh that could end up leaving him on the outside looking in on the association.  I also don’t like his body language when he’s on the court. 

Extra info:

--Got arrested for psychedelic mushrooms

Comparison:  Brian Cook, 6-10, 234, C

Conclusion:

Heytfelt’s shooting ability could allow him to find a home in the NBA.  He has good pick and pop capabilities and teams look for bigs that can extend a defense.  But there are also so many weaknesses in his game that he is really going to have to continue to work and be a team player if he wants to stick in the NBA.  I have major questions about if he is willing to make that happen. 

Heytfelt’s off the court issues have to be discussed when you are talking about a borderline NBA player.  Do teams really want to deal with a guy who may be at the end of their bench and has off court issues?  Yes, he is 6-11 with a solid build and a good shot, but I would take my chances on a guy with no off court issues that is going to work to improve his game. Guys like Carroll, Cunningham and Pendergraph would love to have that extra size but how much is that extra inch or two really worth?  I say go with the guys who you know will bring energy to your practices and to the game when they enter. 

I compared him to Brian Cook, because I see some similar shooting ability and face up skills in both guys games.  They measured out pretty similarly with Heytvelt being a little stronger and athletic and Cook being a little bit of a better shooter.  I hope that Heytfelt can turn into a more aggressive player on the floor, but I just don’t see it happening.  He had the ability to dominate in college and he just never did.  To have that size with his touch should’ve been a recipe for a dominant big man.  Instead he was often aloof and looked uncomfortable on the floor.  He will surely get drafted due to his god given ability but Heytfelt will have to understand that there are plenty of guys his size at the next level and he will have to really carve out a niche for himself as a consistent and reliable big-body shooter. 

Posted on: June 24, 2009 9:04 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PG Rodrigue Beaubois, Cholet

Rodrigue Beaubois: 6-2, 182, PG, 21 Years old, Cholet (France)

Draft rank: #43

PG rank: #15

Strengths:

Has good size and a tremendous wing span to play the point.  Has very good leaping ability.  Extremely quick laterally.  Is very shifty.  Has a tremendous first step that he uses to get by his man and get to the hoop.  Has great anticipation and quickness to get his hands on a lot of balls on the defensive end.  Has very good balance and follow thru on his shot.  Does a tremendous job of faking one way and going the other.  Really attacks the defense and does a tremendous job of drawing contact to get to the foul line.  Has very good ball handling skills.  Has very good pull up capabilities off the dribble.  Does a very good job of holding his follow thru.  Uses his long arms to finish in transition with ease.  Is very hard to stop once he gets a full head of steam with his right.  Has a very nice cross over step back jumper that he uses and then he makes sure to get enough arc on his shot to ensure that it gets above the defender’s reach.  Does a good job of throwing slip passes to the roller on picks. 

Weaknesses:

Forces the issue and turns the ball over a lot.  Often leaves his feet and gets caught in the air which leads to bad decisions.  Fades back on his spot up shots rather than leaning into them which will limit his range and consistency in the NBA.  Often forces shots from the perimeter instead of working the ball to his teammates.  Struggles when he is forced to go to his left.  Doesn’t always look for his teammates once he breaks a defense down.  Sometimes dribbles with his head down.  Needs to prove that he can be a better passer.  Doesn’t have a good feel for where his teammates are going on the floor.  Needs to show more patience.

Mental:

Beaubois often raises his hand when he fouls somebody and doesn’t seemed very concerned when fouls are called on him, which is a good thing.  He also makes sure to point or slap five with his teammates when they set a good pick or set him up with a good pass.  One of the concerns I have with him is his ability to get his teammates involved and whether or not he can run a team.  He often looks for his shot which could become an issue if he is running the point in the NBA and he needs to show selflessness in getting his teammates involved.  Often forces passes when being trapped which leads to turnovers. 

Comparison:  Leandro Barbosa, 6-3, 176, PG/SG

Would be a good fit for:  New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs or Atlanta Hawks

Conclusion:

Beaubois is a very interesting point guard prospect.  He is jet quick and has the length and shooting ability to really give teams fits on both ends of the floor.  Beaubois should really flourish in the NBA’s transitional open court and I could see him developing into a starting point guard one day.  The problem is that he is still raw and you can see that he struggles when he is forced to make quick decisions.  He will have to learn to take care of the ball while still attacking with the scorers mentality that makes him stick out while on the court. 

Beaubois really reminds me of Barbosa.  Like Barbosa he gets his hands on a lot of balls and is a terrific finisher in transition.  His scoring and shooting ability make him a threat on offense and he can almost always beat his man one on one when he wants to.  Like Barbosa he has a ways to go before he can run a team as a starting point guard.  Look for Beaubois to get serious consideration in the first round, but unfortunately for him this draft is loaded with point guards and teams will have a number of guys who they have had the chance to see for a couple years in college to fall in love with.  But I really like Beaubois’ upside and he would make for a very good 2nd round pick. 

Posted on: June 24, 2009 8:13 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 9:05 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SF Dajuan Summers, G-town

DaJuan Summers: 6-8, 243, SF, Jr. (Georgetown University)

Draft rank: #42

SF rank: #10

Strengths:

Very solid stand still three point shooter.  Has the size to play the three in the NBA.  Very strong.  When he gets going to the rim he can finish at the rim extremely well.  Has good mechanics on his shooting stroke that will allow him to extend his range to the three point line.  Has a great wing span.  Has the ability to rise up and shoot over smaller defenders.   When he does decide to take the ball to the hoop he does have good touch and uses the glass to his advantage.  Has the strength and size to be able to take a blow and still get his shot off for and 1 opportunities.  Has very good body control that allows him to maneuver through traffic and finish in the paint.  In the mid-range game he has a nice jab step that he can use to create space and rise into his jumper. 

Weaknesses:

Settles for jump shots rather than attacking the rim.  Often plays lazy on both ends of the floor.  It is pretty hard to explain how he wasn’t a more efficient and dominant player in college.  Doesn’t make his teammates better.  Is not a good passer.  Turns the ball over way too much for a wing.  Hasn’t progressed or improved different elements of his game in his three years at Georgetown.  Should be  a better re-bounder.  Doesn’t seem to care about winning.  Is very stagnant on offense and doesn’t move without the basketball or make himself a target for his teammates.  Doesn’t do a good job of slashing to the hoop when off the ball and often is content with standing in place and waiting for the ball to come to him.  Doesn’t have good explosiveness around the hoop.  Doesn’t post up against smaller players or when he has a mismatch.  Doesn’t have a good feel for the game. 
 
Mental:

He has yet to live up to his potential.  He plays a style of basketball that is selfish and I worry that this will continue at the next level.  He didn’t show leadership when his team was struggling this year and I don’t think he has the work ethic to become an NBA player.  Does he really have the desire to do what the team needs to win?  I really think that he is more concerned with his stat line.  He has all of the skills that you look for in a 3, but I think mentally he isn’t there and that will make or break him to make it to the NBA.  Often gets frustrated with teammates and sulks rather than helping them and bringing positive energy to the game. 

Comparison: Ira Newble, 6-7, 220, SF

Would be a good fit for:  Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves or Chicago Bulls

Conclusion:

It’s rare that I write more weaknesses than strengths in regards to an NBA draft prospect, but I just can’t bring myself to falling for Dajuan Summers.  Sure he has the tools to be a productive small forward with his combination of size, touch and athleticism but there are so many negatives that come with Summers as well.  The guy was a problem for an underwhelming Georgetown squad and he just doesn’t understand how to use his God given talents to become the best player he can be. 

Summers lives on the perimeter despite the fact that he could have often taken advantage of his size and length in the paint.  The NBA combine proved what we already knew.  Summers has all of the physical tools to compete in the NBA.  But, there have been plenty of physically gifted players who haven’t been able to find a home in the NBA.  Guys like James White, Rodney White, Reece Gaines, Luke Jackson, and Kirk Snyder come to mind as players who had the talent to play in the NBA but could never really find a home for many reasons. 

What I am trying to say is that Summers may be an NBA talent, but there is more that goes into being in the NBA then just talent.  He will really have to prove that he is more mature then what he showed at Georgetown and will have to work on his game to really develop a nice niche for himself.  I’ll believe it when I see it. 

Posted on: June 24, 2009 5:30 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: PF DeMarre Carroll, Mizzou

DeMarre Carroll:  6-8, 225, SF/PF, Sr. (University of Missouri)

Draft rank: #41

PF rank: #8

Strengths:

Has a great motor.  Can handle the ball at the top of the key and get the offense set if need be.  Does most of his work down low on hustle plays.  A very good athlete.  Has a good wing span.  Can really get out and defend on the perimeter but also doesn’t mind banging down low with bigs.  Gets his hands on a lot of balls and creates turnovers.  Takes high percentage shots.  Has no problem with playing a role.  High energy rubs off on teammates.  Has improved his shooting and extended it to beyond just the paint.  Can put the ball on the floor when facing up and attack the rim.  Does a great job of pressing and getting after his man the entire court on defense.  Very good speed.  Doesn’t fear playing against or attacking bigger players. Does a good job of protecting the ball when driving to the rim.  Does a good job of putting his body into the defender so that he can score inside.  Has the ability to grab the re-bound and push the ball up the floor himself.   

Weaknesses:

Doesn’t have post up moves and really struggles with his back to the basket.  Is extremely limited offensively.  Is a power forward but is undersized to play the position.  Likes to handle the ball outside of the paint too much which leads to turnovers.  Stays out on the perimeter too much on offense.  While he likes to go to a jump hook in the paint, he doesn’t have good arc or elevation for it to be consistently productive at the next level.  Often loses the ball or forces up tough shots when he is slashing to the hoop.  

Mental:

Carroll’s energy really comes sticks out.  Whether it is on offense setting screens or on defense setting up Missouri’s press he always seems to be around the ball.  He has clearly worked on his game over the past 4 years and has actually become a decent shooter.  His motor is what makes him effective and he has a toughness about him that will get him into the league.  He was a winner in college and he was the leader of a very good Missouri team. 

Extra info:

--Transferred from Vanderbilt after his Sophomore year. 

Comparison: Louis Amundson, 6-8, 221, PF

Would be a good fit for:  Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, or Golden State Warriors

Conclusion:

Carroll is a high energy guy who isn’t afraid to battle despite his shortcomings.  He is everything that you look for in a 2nd round pick, but I think he would be a stretch as a 1st round pick.  He will fight for his contract and you can tell that the guy loves to play ball.  Few players bring the type of energy and hard work that Carroll does to the basketball court.  He is a junk yard dog type of basketball player that has also shown improved perimeter skills in his four years at college. 

He reminds me of Louis Admundson with the difference being that Carroll can float out on the perimeter more as a 3/4 and Admundson is better inside as a 4/5 player.  But, I see him providing a team with similar hustle minutes and tough defensive play.  Carroll would be best suited in an up tempo system like a Phoenix or Golden State where he won’t be confined to a slower, more drawn out half court style of play.  He was a perfect fit at Missouri because of their desire to play the entire court and he would benefit from a similar system in the NBA.  While Carroll’s upside may be limited, he is the type of guy who will continue to improve and I could see him improving to the point where he can be relied upon at the small forward position as well.  All in all a team should give him a serious look in the 2nd round if they are looking for a high energy guy that could change the pace of the game.   
 

Posted on: June 24, 2009 4:41 pm
 

NBA Draft Prospect: SG Jermaine Taylor, UCF

Jermaine Taylor: 6-4, 207, SG, Sr. (University of Central Florida)

Draft rank: #40

SG rank: #8

Strengths:

Was one of the top scorers in college basketball this past year.  Has a great wing span.  Likes to get into the teeth of the defense where he can rise up and make mid-range jumpers.  Does a great job of helping on the boards.  Is very strong for a shooting guard.  Has great explosiveness and hang time in the air.  Does a good job of curling to the hoop so that he can attack the basket.  Is not afraid to go into the post and exploit a mismatch.  Has a 1 handed floater that he uses very well to get his shot over bigger players.  Has a very nice shooting stroke.  Is constantly moving on offense.   Has very soft hands which enable him to catch passes that may be low or high.  Doesn’t just settle for the outside shot and knows how to attack a defense.  Is very good in transition where he can get his speed and strength to really attack the basket.  Doesn’t give up and goes after loose balls.

Weaknesses:

Not a very good passer.  Really struggles when he is trapped or contested outside of catch and shoot opportunities.  Often decides to score before he is in a position to do so which leads to some bad decisions. Is not a great ball handler.  Doesn’t do a great job of crossing over or hesitating to beat his man.  Struggles on defense as he often doesn’t do a good job of keeping guards in front of him.  Defensively he has some work to do on his footwork and ability to slide.   

Mental:

Nobody had the green light in college basketball more than Taylor did.  While his teammates weren’t very good and as a result his team wasn’t very good, he often kept his team in games with his ability to score.  Despite Taylor’s star status at UCF he still fought for re-bounds and loose balls which speaks to his ability to find a role in the NBA. 

Extra info:

--Scored over 30 points 10 times last year
--Only scored in single digits once last year
--Third in the nation in scoring

Comparison:  Kirk Snyder, 6-6, 228, SG/SF

Would be a good fit for:  Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, or LA Clippers

Conclusion:

Other than Curry, Taylor was probably the second best pure scorer in college basketball this year.  He only played 32 minutes per game and averaged an astonishing 26 PPG.  The amazing part is that he shot for a solid percentage and didn’t just rely on his perimeter game to fill the stat sheet.  A knock against him is that he really doesn’t break down the defense for his teammates.  But, in his defense he was almost always their best option to score and if he did pass it to teammates they often couldn’t score like he could. 

The guy knows how to put the ball in the hoop and that can go along way when you are trying to make an NBA roster.  I can see him battling for a roster spot and becoming a better player due to his surroundings.  He has very good athleticism that he was rarely able to show at UCF because of the players around him.  In the NBA he should be able to help a team with transition scoring and provide a spark off the bench.  Look for someone to give him a serious look at the end of the 1st round, but he is most likely to be snatched up in the 2nd round.

Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:35 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 12:45 am
 

Mock Draft 3.0: Wolves get their guards on

NBA Draft analyst Brian Levenson's final mock draft.

1. LA Clippers—PF Blake Griffin, Oklahoma University

I wish the rest of the draft was this easy to predict. From day one, Griffin has been the clear-cut favorite to be the top pick in this year's draft. While Griffin isn't as complete as many previous first-round picks have been, his combination of size and athleticism make him a very good pick for the Clippers. Clips fans have a lot to look forward to in a nice young core of Griffin, Al Thornton and Eric Gordon to go along with productive (while fragile) vets in Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Baron Davis. Full Profile

2. Memphis Grizzlies—PG Ricky Rubio, Spain

I know reports are leaning toward Hasheem Thabeet, but I still say Memphis can't pass on the Spanish product. Ideally it may want to move back to five or six and grab Jordan Hill, who would be a good fit next to Marc Gasol, O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.

If they do stay here I still say they take Rubio with the hopes either he or Mike Conley will become the distributor Mayo and Gay so desperately need. I think Gasol is a solid big and I think there is much more upside in Rubio's game than Thabeet's. With that in mind I think the Griz should roll the dice and take Rubio. Full Profile

3. Oklahoma City Thunder—C Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut

Thabeet instantly provides security for an undersized Jeff Green at the 4 and any defensive liabilities that they have in the front court.  It's very rare to have a stopper at the top of the key, and they have that in Russell Westbrook. Add that to a shot blocker in the paint like Thabeet and OKC will be A-OK defensively. The Thunder could look at James Harden here as he would give them another do-it-all scorer, but the move should be to protect the hoop and take the 7-footer.

While Harden would fit nicely here, it is much easier to find a shooting guard than it is to find a 7-footer who will help the entire team defensively. With this pick the Thunder become a very dangerous, up-and-coming team. Add a solid shooting guard and you have one of the most balanced, young starting fives in the league. Full Profile

4. Sacramento Kings—PG Jonny Flynn, Syracuse

I previously had Jennings here as I believed the Kings had to gamble and roll the dice. But, I decided to do a 180 and go with the guy I think is as ready as anybody to compete next year. I have Flynn ranked as a higher prospect than most, but in previous mock drafts I had him slipping to the teens. If he doesn't go to Sacramento I think he won't crack the top 10, so if I was Sacramento I would try to move back in the draft.

Flynn proved time and again he has the goods to compete at the next level. It sounds like GM Geoff Petrie has to make this pick count and I think Flynn will look good in his rookie year while players like Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings may struggle adjusting. Full Profile

5. Minnesota Timberwolves (acquired from Washington)—SG James Harden, Arizona State

I still think the Wolves are going to move up to nab Rubio. But if they don’t they are going to have to take Harden here. They now have a gaping hole at shooting guard and Harden is the best one in the draft. He will instantly make Kevin Love and Al Jefferson better down low and will give them a legit perimeter threat. They could look to Curry or even Jordan Hill here, but I don’t see how Jordan Hill fits and they have their next pick to address their point guard needs. Full Profile

6. Minnesota Timberwolves—PG/SG Tyreke Evans, Memphis

A lot of people believe the Wolves would/should look to Curry here, but I think Evans has to be the play. As I noted earlier I would love to see them move up to snatch Rubio, but if they are unable to do so Evans is certainly a nice consolation prize. I know Wolves fans are really interested in getting a true point guard, but Evans is the best player available here and combined with Harden shouldn’t struggle with getting the ball into their teammates hands.

I have had him penciled in at the No. 6 spot since Mock Draft 1.0 and I have no reason to believe he won’t still be heading to the Wolves. While he may not be the true point guard many Wolves fans covet, he instantly gives them another playmaker to go along with the scoring and ability of Haden. Once again the best thing is for them to move up, but if they stay here then take the two best players on the board. Full Profile

7. Golden State Warriors—PF Jordan Hill, Arizona

While the Warriors have Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph as young and raw "power forwards" they still need to find someone who can help get easy points in the paint next to Andris Biedrins. I know some would like them to look Holiday, Jennings, Curry or Flynn's way, but I just don't see them passing on Hill if he is available.

I know that Monta Ellis isn't a typical point guard, but the bottom line is he can give you minutes there and the Warriors have such a glut of guards that they can get by with what they have. But do you really want to hand the keys over at power forward to Randolph and Wright? Some will probably say yes, but I think Hill would automatically be an upgrade over both players. He is much different than Randolph as he is truly a power forward who doesn't handle the ball on the perimeter. He also would get them some easy buckets inside based on his size and athleticism. While I am not extremely high on Hill, I do think he would be a valuable piece to an up-tempo team like Golden State, one that needs to find some interior or mid-range scoring. Hill has to be the guy at No. 7. Full Profile

8. New York Knicks—PG Stephen Curry, Davidson

The love affair with Curry and New York finally concludes and Knick fans can hope that Curry texts LeBron James daily about how amazing "the city" is. With all of the LeBron stuff aside, Curry couldn't ask for a better coach to play for than Mike D'Antoni. A player like Curry needs confidence and D'Antoni will give him the green light to find his shooter's stroke. The Knicks could look to Jennings or Holiday as well, but I think Curry is their guy and if he is available they will snatch him up. Full Profile

9. Toronto Raptors—SG/SF Demar DeRozan, USC

This seems like the biggest lock after the Blake Griffin pick. Most of the teams before Toronto have plenty of wing players and that is clearly the Raptors' biggest need. While DeRozan remains raw, he has the athleticism and the skill set teams look for in a perimeter player. The Raptors have been lacking athleticism since Vince Carter left and DeRozan would benefit playing next to the crafty Jose Calderon. The only way I see Toronto going away from DeRozan is if they like Gerald Henderson more or if they believe that Chris Bosh is already gone. But even if that is the case I still believe all signs point to DeRozan. Full Profile

10. Milwaukee Bucks—PG Jrue Holiday, UCLA

With Ramon Sessions likely leaving for free agency, the Bucks look for their point guard of the future in Jrue Holiday. There have been talks they like Jeff Teague, but I think Holiday fits coach Scott Skiles' defensive mentality. While I would look at Jennings here, I don't think he fits what Skiles looks for in a point guard. I also think that DeJuan Blair would give them much more toughness next to Andrew Bogut, but I understand their reasoning for trying to solidify the lead guard position.

Holiday has a lot of upside and has a team-first mentality that goes with what Skiles is trying to build. He looks like the right fit for them at No. 10. Full Profile

11. New Jersey Nets—PF DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh

Brook Lopez proved to be a tremendous pick for the Nets last year. Blair would sure up their frontcourt and does a lot of the stuff Lopez doesn't. With Blair, Lopez, Ryan Anderson and Yi Jianlian all bringing something different to the table the Nets would be in position to have a very good four-man rotation of bigs for many years to come. Add a wing or two in free agency next year and the Nets would have a very solid core.

Blair gives them some "meat" and muscle that would compliment Lopez up front. Teams would really be in for a long night when having to go against the length of Lopez and the girth of Blair. Full Profile

12. Charlotte Bobcats—SG Gerald Henderson, Duke    

Toronto and Charlotte are the two teams locked in for a wing player. If for some reason Henderson goes to Toronto, then expect  DeRozan here and vice versa. Henderson would look very good in the backcourt with D.J. Augustin. The Bobcats could be an interesting team next year with the two youngsters in the backcourt, interchangeable forwards Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw in the frontcourt combined with anchor Emeka Okafor holding down the paint.

Henderson fits what the team is looking for and would be a nice addition to their core. Full Profile

13. Indiana Pacers—PG Brandon Jennings, Lottomatica Roma

Teams will be hesitant to roll the dice on Jennings and ultimately he drops here. The Pacers can basically go anywhere with this pick and they will go the high-risk, high-reward pick of Jennings. The Pacers have a lot of long-term contracts locked into their core of Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger whether they like it or not. With Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert each showing flashes, I think they need to look for a young playmaker if they really want to turn everything around.

While T.J. Ford is still a solid point guard, Jennings' potential is extremely high. A 1-2 punch of Jennings and Ford from the point really could help the Pacers get the most out of their shooters. Go ahead, Mr. Bird and take the guy with the most potential on the board. Full Profile

14. Phoenix Suns—SF Earl Clark, Louisville

Phoenix could look for a point guard here, but I think it will go for a wing. Clark has tremendous upside and the ability to play both forward positions should they trade or lose Amar'e Stoudemire next year. His shooting ability makes him an interesting player alongside Steve Nash. The Suns also may have to completely rebuild in 2010 with Amare, Shaq and Nash all possibly leaving via free agency.

They could look at James Johnson or Ty Lawson as Nash's replacement here, but I think Clark fits their system and would be a good guy to contribute next year and be a focal point in future years. Full Profile

15. Detroit Pistons—PF Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

I had them previously taking Gani Lawal, who has since pulled out of the draft. With Hansbrough's good Combine in Chicago and with his workman-like mentality I have him jumping all the way into the teens and landing with the Pistons. The Pistons core is Tayshaun Prince, Ric hard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey and those three guys really need a big who can do the dirty work down low.

While Hansbrough may not have the biggest upside, he will fit nicely with the three guys mentioned above and will fit well with the Pistons' hard-at-work culture. They could go for B.J. Mullens here, but I just don't see Joe D. going after another Darko-esque big. Hansbrough's ready to go and would give the Pistons a solid big. Full Profile

16. Chicago Bulls-- SF James Johnson, Wake Forest

Johnson would give them a solid backup forward for Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas. He is kind of a mix of the two as he possesses Thomas' athleticism, but also has some of Deng's perimeter skills. If one of them goes down or is ineffective, then Johnson could come in and contribute. Johnson has great ability and would be a nice addition since he would add much-needed depth to a maturing team. Full Profile

17. Philadelphia 76ers—PG Ty Lawson, UNC

He is terrific in transition, which is important for Andre Igoudala, Marreese Speights, Thaddeus Young and Sam Dalembert. His ability to knock down spot-up threes is helpful as they desperately struggled when Igoudala was doubled last year.

The question will be how he plays with a guy like Elton Brand, who is a halfcourt guy. They could elect to go with a player like Teague, who has the ability to create in the halfcourt. He's a good fit for the 76ers and is mature enough that he could be given a shot to replace Andre Miller from the get go. Full Profile

18. Minnesota Timberwolves—SF Terrence Williams, Louisville

If T-Will is still there at 18 I would be shocked to see the T-Wolves pass up on him. They have some tremendous athletes on the wing that haven’t quite worked out for various reasons (Carney and Brewer). Williams would provide a tougher player on the perimeter and will give them another ball handler that they can use at point forward when needed.

If the Wolves can get Evans, Harden and Williams then they would have added to legit sized NBA players who can do a little bit of everything on the floor. A starting lineup of those three rookies with Love and Jefferson is really interesting and obviously really young. All three of those guys could give you minutes at the point and all three could help Jefferson and Love out on the boards. I also think that the Wolves would be able to play an aggressive, switching defense where they don’t worry about fighting thru screens and use their backcourt size to their advantage. Both Wiliams and Harden are used to playing this style of defense from college. They also would’ve added a toughness to their team that isn’t there now. Full Profile

19. Atlanta Hawks—PG Jeff Teague, Wake

I still say that the Hawks should go for a point guard here. One could argue they should take the best player available, but I really think it's important they continue to try to find their lead guard. I think it's a toss-up between Eric Maynor and Teague and this time I am going to have them going with Teague. Maynor does remind me a little of Acie Law, who they already have in the point guard stable. With that in mind, I think Maynor might be a good fit to go head-to-head with Law for the point guard of the future.

Teague has an awful lot to like about his game, but his leadership skills are certainly shaky. The Hawks could look to take and NBA-ready player like Sam Young, who would be another athlete and add depth to their forward crop. Full Profile

20. Utah Jazz—C B.J. Mullens, Ohio State

Mullens stays here due to the Jazz's need for depth in the front court. With Carlos Boozer or Paul Millsap leaving they will need another big and Mullens certainly has the size to play in the NBA. I am not a big fan of Mullens, but I understand why teams are intrigued. He is really the only guy after Thabeet who might be able to become an NBA center and teams fall in love with 7-footers. Full Profile

21. New Orleans Hornets—PG Eric Maynor, VCU

Since Jannero Pargo left last year the team has desperately needed someone who could backup Chris Paul. Maynor's clutch performances in tournaments should equip him to deal with the pressure that comes with backing up the best point guard in the NBA. Maynor's size could also allow them to play some small ball and shift him to the 2 where he can get some time playing alongside CP3. Full Profile

22. Portland Trailblazers (acquired from Dallas)-SF Austin Daye, Gonzaga

I had them taking Taj Gibson at 24, but I don't think they would have moved up 2 spots for the power forward.  I know that they already have Batum and Outlaw, but I am guessing that the Trailblazers are going to try to move one of those guys with one of their young point guards for a more legit starting point guard.  Daye is in their back yard so my logic is that they saw something that they liked and think he will fit nicely with their other young players.  I can't justify putting Gibson here because I just don't see the need to leap frog the Kings to get him.  Full Profile

23. Sacramento Kings—SF Sam Young, Pittsburgh

The Kings' wings are really lacking strength. Guys like Martin, Garcia and even Dontae Green are all long, but none of them possess the slashing or rebounding that Young could give them on the wing. He would instantly improve their athleticism and would give them an NBA-ready player who can play multiple positions.  Full Profile

24. Dallas Mavericks (acquired from Portland)—SG Marcus Thornton, LSU

Thornton would provide toughness to a team that always seems to lack toughness in the playoffs. They also have need at shooting  guard with Jerry Stackhouse's decline in full effect. Thornton would fit nicely with whomever they decide to go with at point guard and would be a solid spark off the bench if they want to start Antoine Wright in the beginning. I think that Thornton may be their guy and they know hte Kings won't take him at 23.  Full Profile

25. Oklahoma City Thunder —PG Darren Collison, UCLA

Collison finds himself back with his buddy Westbrook in Oklahoma City. This could obviously change if they end up getting Rubio, but I think they could use a steady backup hand to go with the explosive, but turnover prone Westbrook. Collison is the ball-control point guard who can settle a team down and take high-percentage shots. He would be a nice player to have next to the gunners of Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. Full Profile

26. Chicago Bulls—SG Wayne Ellington, UNC

Ellington gives them another shooter to bring off the bench and provides them some insurance in case Ben Gordon leaves. With the way Derrick Rose plays it would be wise for them to surround him with good shooters. Ellington would fit nicely backing up John Salmons and would fit well with Kirk Hinrich or Rose in the backcourt when he enters the game. Full Profile

27. Memphis Grizzlies—SF Omri Casspi, Israel

Casspi is a very tough combo forward who is basically the anti-Rudy Gay. I also think Memphis will look to cut costs and they could decide to leave Casspi overseas. I think they should look to Jeff Pendergraph here, but I could see Memphis either dealing this pick for money or taking a Euro. Full Profile

28. Minnesota Timberwolves—PG Patrick Mills, St. Mary's

The Wolves complete their 1st round with an actual true point guard.  While Williams, Evans and even Harden can all can play the point, there are no questions as to what position Mills plays.  He would give them quickness and an ability to push the ball to get their scorers the ball.  While Mills doesn’t bring the flexibility that the previous picks bring, he would give them a steady hand in the backcourt that might be able to capitalize on the talents of those aforementioned players.  I think he’s a good fit in Minnesota.  Full Profile

29. LA Lakers— SF Derrick Brown, Xavier
 
The Lakers have a lot of players coming back but they do have uncertainty at small forward. Brown would serve as insurance if Trevor Ariza or Lamar Odom bolt. He actually is a similar player to Ariza as he can knock down the three, has a freakish wing span and is a tremendous athlete. Brown is still erratic, but the Lakers can and should take a shot at him as he has a lot of upside. Full Profile

30. Cleveland Cavaliers—PF Jeff Pendergraph, Arizona State

The more tape I watched of Pendergraph the more I thought about how great of a fit he would be for the Cavs. When he was playing with Harden (who is a very good passer), he just understood how to slide up or down to the basket to make himself available. I kept thinking about LeBron and how many easy buckets he would get Pendergraph. He also has legit size to help a team in desperate need of strength and athleticism down low. The guy has the ability to hit the open jumper, which is also important when playing with LeBron and he doesn't mind going down low and doing the dirty work. I can't think of too many players in this draft who would be a better fit for what the Cavs' need than Pendergraph. Full Profile


Other potential 1st round picks to keep an eye on:

1.  SF Dajuan Summers, Georgetown

Look for a team to fall in love with his combination of size, shooting touch and athleticism.  I wouldn't be surprised if he found a home somewhere in the 20's.  I have no doubt that he probably wowed some teams in private work outs, but the body of work in college and the in game film that I have watched just don't do much for me.  Full Profile 

2.  PF Taj Gibson, USC

I think a team will fall in love with Gibson's freakishly long wing span and his ability to block shots.  Also, I would think a playoff team would actually be intrigued by his age and his ability to come in and compete right away.  I had him in the 1st round in previous mock drafts but I just couldn't find him a home in this one.  A trade or two could certainly change that.  Full Profile 

3.  PG Sergio Llull, Real Madrid (Spain)

The speedy point guard has the size and ability to play the point in the NBA.  A team may take him in the hopes that he can really grow into a player overseas.  Real Madrid is a team littered with former draft picks and former NBA players so he will be getting some very good experience should he decide to stay overseas.  Full Profile

4.  SF Chase Budinger, Arizona

Nobody can argue that the guy has serious skills, but his passiveness has taken a toll on his draft stock.  But, once again his leaping ability, size and shooting touch make him an intriguing prospect with legit 1st round talent.  Will the talent translate into a solid role player?  I am not so sure about that.  Full Profile

5.  PG Toney Douglas, Florida State

The combo guard has unbelievable scoring ability.  I think it will be tough for him to crack the 1st round due to the point guard depth in this draft, but he certainly is a talented guard that deserves a look.  Full Profile

6.  PG/SG Nick Calathes, Florida

Calathes is an interesting guard because he provides flexibility in the backcourt due to his size.  He also is intriguing because it sounds like he is willing to go overseas to work on his game.  Those two points combined with the skills that he showed in Florida could land him a spot in the 20's.    Full Profile

7.  SG Dionte Christmas, Temple

I love his ability to fill it up, but I am not sure if teams believe that he will be effective with less touches.  There's no doubting Christmas' ability to get his shot off which should get him some looks in the 1st round.  Full Profile

8.  SG Jermaine Taylor, University Central Florida

Taylor averaged 26 PPG last year as one of the top scorers in all of college basketball.  He has solid size and athleticism that should help him be an effective shooting guard in the NBA.  Taylor's scoring skills and good showing at the Portsmouth Invitational might have bumped him into the 1st round.  Full Profile

9. PF DeMarre Carroll, Missouri

The junk yard dog of the draft class has the work ethic and energy that playoff teams look for in a late 1st round product.  While Carroll has work to do and is a bit of a tweener, you know that you are going to get someone who is going to bring it in practice and in the game.  Full Profile

10.  PG Rodrigue Beaubois, Cholet (France)

A good sized point guard with a freakish 6-10 wing span and solid play making ability might catch the eyes of some team late in the 1st round.  Like many of the Euro's, he is attractive because teams looking to save cash and roster spots can leave him overseas where he can work on his weaknesses.  Full Profile

Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com