Mock drafts are ridiculous, it’s impossible to read the minds of 30 NBA GMs and what they value going into the draft. So I’m just going to breakdown the top players in the draft and why, instead of a bullshit mock draft.
1. John Wall– More than likely will be selected the number one pick by Washington, and for good reason. Led his Kentucky team to a 35-3 season, and an SEC Conference Tournament Championship, but lost in the regional final game of the NCAA Tournament to West Virginia.
Wall becomes the third highly toted point guard to come from a John Calipari coached program in the last three years. Derrick Rose who was the number one selection by Chicago in ’08, and Tyreke Evans the fourth selection by the Sacramento Kings last year. Both were selected ‘Rookie of the Year’ in their respected draft class. Wall is a better athlete than both of them, and possibly the better pure point guard. He has the speed and ball control to turn the most stagnant offense into a fast-break threat. His ability to penetrate in the half-court offense and willingness to kick to the open man when another defender converges on him will make the players around him better. And he fills up the stat sheet that resembles a night’s work from Rajon Rondo.
Last year Wall was careless with the ball averaging 4 turnovers per game. A lot of it had to do with his fast-break ambitions, and the fact they were up so often Kentucky could take more risks to put the game to bed early. In the NBA he will need to minimize those mistakes. Shooting was a concern for Wall, and it was the death of the Kentucky Wildcats in the season ending lose to West Virginia.
But if there is a position an NBA player can get away with poor shooting it’s point guard. That’s because a good point guard can find shots for others and establish a good offense. Wall can do that and there isn’t a doubt in my mind this kid will flourish in the league.
Forecast: Provides instant impact right away while getting adjusted to turnover troubles. Elite point guard for years to come. Establishes a Hall of Fame career, but will need another elite player to be on a championship contender.
2. Evan Turner– What’s crazy about Evan Turner is he was in the same Ohio St. recruiting class as Greg Oden, Mike Conley, and Daequan Cook, and was considered pretty much an afterthought when he came in with those guys. Not only did those guys lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship, but they all departed after their freshman year and were all high first round draft choices. After three years in the league of showing no promise for Oden, Conley, and Cook, Evan Turner is the favorite to be the best NBA player from that Ohio St. draft class.
Turner is a big body from the shooting guard position that does everything well. After coming back from a broken back, Turner had a good enough season to win ‘Naismith Player of the Year,’ and lead Ohio St. to the ‘Elite Eight.’ So toughness is not a question at all for this kid.
Turner does everything well, but his biggest weakness is ball handling which wasn’t really exposed in college because of his size. The NBA has the tendency to make those things very clear. Turner however, is a very crafty player in all facets of the game. He has worked very hard from being the black sheep of the ’07 freshman class to turn himself into a coveted pro prospect.
Forecast: Struggles at first getting adjusted from his ‘carry-the-load’ role he held in college. Smart enough player to eventually discover his role, and gradually moves into a role similar to what he did in college. Better off in a secondary role to an elite player (sort of in between a Caron Butler and Brandon Roy), but will appear in multiple all-star games.
3. DeMarcus Cousins– A lot of people like Derrick Favors over Cousins. But with such need at the center position in the NBA, Cousins provides more value than Favors. Favors may even be a 20-10 guy in this league, but Cousins’s size and athleticism can be the anchor for a team on the defensive end with contributions that do not show up on the stat sheet.
Although Cousins was not a huge offensive threat at Kentucky, he is primed to be a player that immediately becomes a better than he was in college. The fact is, Kentucky was loaded with talent and it’s easy to not standout with a team like that. Once Cousins gets the right coaching and proves the willingness to be great, (because some have questioned his heart and maturity) then this kid is going to be a force at the center position.
Forecast: Not a ‘superstar’ or go to guy by any means. But if the pieces are around him he will provide much needed service on the boards, and on the defensive end, similar to what Kendrick Perkins does but with a lot more talent offensively, and more athleticism defensively.
4. Derrick Favors– Is in the group of ‘one (year) and done’ college players who most likely would of declared for the NBA Draft out of high school. Favors is a guy who has yet to show us even a glimpse of what he is capable of. We do know he has tremendous talent on the block and has shown to be a promising low-post scorer with his skill and athleticism.
Inconsistency has been his biggest flaw at Georgia Tech, averaging only 11 points and 6.5 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament, but went off for 22 and 11 against Duke in the ACC Tournament.
Forecast: Comes into his own as a prolific NBA scorer that regularly puts up 20 points, and 10 rebound nights. Will not have the mean streak to take over games and be a primary threat when it matters. Al Jefferson type of player that needs a quality point guard, and another elite scorer from the wing to be on a quality team.
5. Al-Farouq Aminu– May be the best overall athlete in the draft with the ability to move swiftly with a 6’9 frame. If he channels the athleticism with his 7’4 wingspan on the defensive end, he can provide a necessary component on the perimeter to slow down a lot of elite scorers in the league.
Does not have the make-up as a potential star player because of the inability to create his own shot. Still could be a key addition to any team.
Forecast: Will make a career on the defensive end as a shut down defender that harasses the other teams top perimeter scorer night-in, and night-out. Needs to develop the ability to hit the open jumper to keep defenses honest. Similar to a Tayshaun Prince because of his great length and mobility.
6. Ekpe Udoh- Showcased himself as a defensive force in the NCAA tournament with his ability to block shots, and quickness to gather his self after the block and either grab the rebound or block the shot again. Very raw, sometimes that is not a good thing especially for his age of 23, but he did a lot of things for Baylor last season just off of his guts and instincts with the right coaching I’m sure he can pick things up very quickly.
Needs to be developed under good coaching, and put in the right role to thrive as a contributor in the NBA.
Forecast: Can potentially be a Marcus Camby on the defensive end, but I don’t see him having as much of an effect on the glass as Marcus, so may provide services more similar to Tyrus Thomas. It won’t be for a couple of years until this kid is a starter, if he even ever becomes one. But he will be a nice defensive presence to have even off the bench.
7. Greg Monroe– Stuck around for his sophomore season after he was initially pegged as a guy who could of went to the pros from high school if those players were eligible. Great size at the power forward position, but there are questions about his toughness, and athleticism and in the NBA without that in the post is like going to a whorehouse without a condom.
Forecast: Will have a serviceable career, and because the NBA is ‘big-man’ deprived he probably will end up a starter somewhere. Will show a lot of promise in the first couple stages of his career with great nights, but more often will have mediocre ones until the point people accept him as a middle-of-the-road starter. Reminds me a little of LaMarcus Aldridge with the ability to play with his back to the basket, who can range out a little bit away from the post.
8. Gordon Hayward- Very underrated athlete. I find it funny when I’ll read an ESPN article or hear a commentator talk about Hayward saying, ‘He’s a better athlete than you think.’ Which is code for a ‘white boy that can jump.’
His size and athleticism is what will be his cache in the league because there will be some nights he can shoot over guys because he’s too big, or some guys that will have trouble staying in front of him because he’s too quick.
Forecast: Probably will end up being the most surprisingly good player in this draft. A good player to have on your team that I see averaging about 15 points a game, and does everything else well.
9. Eric Bledsoe- This may be the hidden gem of the draft because Bledsoe was playing a subservient role to the number one point guard in the country. At times we have seen what this kid can do like his lights out shooting performances at Florida going 10-13 (3-4 from 3), and scoring 25 points.
This guy is the biggest uncertainty in the draft, but appears to have all of the essential tools young point guards like Darren Collison, and Ty Lawson are thriving with today, and that includes ball control, speed, and quickness.
Forecast: It is truly tough to say with this kid, but he is a terrific athlete that can play the point guard position. The league is emerging with point guards right now, and if he slips late into the first round he will play a similar role like the aforementioned Collison and Lawson, who played really well on spot duty. Eventually he will be a fringe starter in the league, someone like a Keyon Dooling that can start on some teams but may be coveted by other league executives to provide much needed help as a backup point guard.
10. Wesley Johnson– I just don’t see it with this guy. If I were an NBA GM that performance in the NCAA tournament, where college coaches get a little bit more attentive on a players weakness and focus to exploit that in their game plan, would worry me about drafting this kid in the top 5. The kid disappeared against Butler. His strength is supposed to be his scoring ability, and he barely got any good looks at the hoop.
I question his ability to create a shot in the NBA. Syracuse ran an open fast break offense last season that allowed their guys to find shots in transition. In the NBA a player in Johnson’s mold needs to create shots for himself and I don’t believe he can do it.
Forecast: Could be a player that is constantly involved in trades after coaches figure that they can’t do anything with him. His ideal situation is to play with a team that has either Lebron, Wade, Durant, or Rondo, where they can create shots for this guy and he can be a filler for a team with cap restrictions and settle for him to be a a good third or fourth option for the offense.
Sleeper. Jordan Crawford– Put up an all-time performance against Kansas St. in the ‘Sweet 16’ hitting clutch threes from 30-feet away like it’s easy. Questions about his size are keeping him from being a lottery selection. But with his ability to score in many different ways is why this kid will be a productive NBA player, and I hope the Celtics snatch him up.
Most likely to be a bust. Wesley Johnson- He’s good enough to be in the top 10 because he’s a great athlete and can shoot. However, his flaws leave very few opportunities in the NBA for this guy to fit in and succeed on an NBA roster.