Monday, April 25, 2011

NBA Draft 6.0, Underclassmen Deadline

Derrick Williams has solidified
his position in the top 3.
The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft has passed, but underclassmen who have not hired an agent have retained their NCAA eligibility and can return to school.  Many of the top prospects have already decided to stay in school  and that has weakened an already weak draft class.  Because a lot of top prospects from college are out of the draft I expect scouts to turn their attention to Europe and bring over a lot more prospects than in recent years.

For more mock drafts here is a link to my Mock Draft Database.

Round 1
1. Minnesota-Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke-Drafting Irving gives them a trade asset in either Irving himself if Rubio comes over, or in the rights to Rubio.  The won't have 2 rookie point guards next year, that is for sure.  If they get a certain decision from Rubio it will greatly impact their choice.  If he does come this pick is Derrick Williams all the way, if not then I think Irving is a good pick.

2.  Cleveland-Derrick Williams, SF, Arizona- With a lot of the top tier players in this draft dropping out Derrick Williams' status as a top three pick is all but set in stone.  He most likely would have been a top pick anyway, but now there is no chance of him slipping past the 2nd spot in the draft.  

Kanter is still in the running for
the number one overall pick.
3. Toronto- Enes Kanter, C, Turkey-Enes Kanter has been projected as a top pick all season, but being ruled ineligible could have hurt his stock.  He will benefit the same way that Williams will and is pretty much assured a top 3 pick.  He would add a lot of toughness to Toronto's front line and would add more skill around the basket then Reggie Evans or Ed Davis.  

4. Washington- Bismack Biombo, PF, Congo- Biombo has soared up the draft charts after a few good showings at Nike camps.  Bimombo is being compared to an Ibaka like player who has freaky long arms and amazing athleticism.  There are a lot of questions about his age, I've read that he could be anywhere from 17 to 26.  Even if he is around 22 or 23 he still has the potential and natural ability to make a difference.  He wouldn't be a perfect fit for Washington, but his upside is tremendous and he could develop nicely next to McGee.

5. Sacramento- Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky- Brandon Knight had a good tournament which has improved his draft stock.  He is a gifted athlete and would form a large back court with Evans.  The problem may be that he likes the ball in his hand, which Evans also does not to mention Thornton. If he develops he could be a nice piece in the young, but immature, Kings franchise.

6. Utah- From New Jersey-Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky- Terrence Jones would give the Jazz a huge front 3 with Favors, Jefferson and Jones.  The multi talented forward would also give the team a lot of versatility with their line ups.

Valanciunas is one of the top Euro players
because of his size and skill around the basket.
7. Detroit- Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania- Valanciunas is a skilled scorer around the hoop and would complement Monroe very well.  They could be a good high low option because both are good passers. If he clears up contract issues with his current Euro league team he will be drafted much higher.

8. Cleveland- From LA Clippers-Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut- Kemba showed that he can carry a team on his back all year.  Despite his size he is a dynamite scorer who can finish at the hoop and has a lethal long range shot.  He may never be an all star but he will be a very good player and has a knack to show up in crunch time.

9. Charlotte- Tristian Thompson, PF, Texas- Thompson added his name close to the deadline and could retract it if he isn't assured a lottery pick.  He is a bit undersized for the power forward position, but he makes up for it with long arms, a great motor, and good overall IQ.  He needs to work on his raw offensive game, but he is definitely a talented basketball player.  

10. Milwaukee- Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic- Vesely is a physical defender and an active rebounder.  He needs to improve his offensive game but his hustle and gritty play would be a good combination with Bogut on the front line of a young Bucks team. 

11. Golden State- Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego St- Leonard would give the Warriors a player that does all the dirty work.  Leonard is a great defender and rebounds very well for his position. He often gets compared to a Shawn Marion type player, but he reminds me a lot of Gerald Wallace.  He may struggle his first year or two, but he could develop into a great player.  I think he could be one guy that surprises people and turns into a player who makes an all star team at least once.

Alec Burks repeatedly showed the ability
to get to the hoop and finish against
any competition.
12. Utah-Alec Burks, SG, Colorado- Utah needs a shooting guard that can create his own shot and Burks is the best available.  He is fearless driving to the basket and is great at taking his man off the dribble, but Burks really needs to improve his jumper to make a difference on this current Jazz squad.

13. Phoenix-Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas- Hamilton would be a nice fit in Phoenix's run and gun system.  He can be a great scorer and his game resembles Rashard Lewis'.  His main problem is shot selection as he sometimes gets a little shot happy and jacks them up from anywhere.  

14. Houston- From New York- Lucas Nogueira- In a draft void of many big men Nogueira could go around here.  He is a young, raw, 7 footer who is a defensive presence.  Houston needs a defensive presence and might be tempted by his potential, although their roster already contains a few project big men in Thabeet and Jordan Hill.

15. Indiana- Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania- Motiejunas could have been a high pick last year but decided to withdraw his name.  He is compared to Nowitzki because he has a sweet stroke for a 7 footer.   He would be a nice fit for an Indiana team that is rapidly improving.

16. Philadelphia- Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas- Marcus Morris could be a nice stretch 4 for the 76ers.  He showed that he can nail an outside jumper consistently, but will still need to improve.  He is a tough, versatile player who could take the place of Thaddeus Young if he leaves via free agency.

17. New York- From Houston- Jimmer Freddette, PG, BYU- Freddette could be great in New York.  He is a natural scorer from the point guard position who has incredibly deep range on his jumper.  He is tough as nails, which anyone playing in New York needs to be.  He will have to learn to play off the ball if he wants to play with Melo and Stoudamire.

Jackson's athletic ability and size
 for a point guard could make him the steal of the draft.
18. Washington- From Atlanta-Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College- Jackson has been compared to Russell Westbrook and he could be a steal.  He would have to come off the bench as a combo guard, but he could be a difference maker with his athleticism.  Jackson could play with Wall or back him up.

19. Charlotte-From Portland, Via New Orleans-Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee- Harris is a 3/4 tweener, but he is a very cerebral player for someone his age and because of that I think he will make it.  He has to define his position either playing down low and improving his strength or playing on the wing and improve his shooting and quickness.

20. Minnesota- From Memphis-  Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA- Honeycutt is a long lanky player in the mold of Matt Barnes.  He is a scrappy player who has the skill set to positively effect a game in many ways.  He needs to improve his shooting if he wants to stick around.  If he goes to Minnesota I expect him to spend time in the D-league because they are stacked with wing players.

21. Portland-  Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State- Faried showed how good of a rebounder he is in the first 2 rounds of the tournament.  He seemed to get the ball anytime he was near it.  His hustle and great defense would be a great addition to a Blazers team who has continued to grow during adversity.

22. Denver- Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas- Markieff is the better rebounder and shot blocker of the Morris twins, and he would help out Denver's front line. He would add more youth to the team and would bring the toughness that you might not get if you played Gallinari at the 4 position.

23.  Houston- From Phoenix- Josh Selby, PG, Kansas-Selby had a tough year but at one point was considered a lottery pick.  I think if he decides to enter the draft his stock will rise when the work outs start.  Teams will remember what they liked before and he will go in the mid first round.  He could turn into the answer at point guard, but he will have to compete with Lowry and Dragic for playing time.

Singler had a great college career and will
turn that success into being a
 great role player in the NBA.
24. Oklahoma City- Kyle Singler, SF, Duke- Oklahoma has an incredibly deep team with quality back ups at every position except for sf.  Singler would come in, much like Collison does, and be the fundamentally sound player that the Thunder need.  I think of him as a Mike Dunleavy clone, a solid player with a nice shooting touch.  He would be player who is smart enough to identify his roll, and fill it immediately.

25. Boston- Augusto Lima, PF, Brazil- Is a long and lanky forward who can run the floor.  He has crazy athleticism, but like a lot of young foreign players is very raw on the offensive end.  He is a project pick that could turn into a steal for the Celtics.

26. Dallas- Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia- Dallas needs help at the small forward position.  Davis Bertans is a big small forward who has a great shot and a lightning fast release.  He needs to add weight to compete against the more physical NBA style of play, but he is a project that could pay off in a few years.

27. New Jersey- From LA Lakers- Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State-  Damion James played well when he was on the court for the Nets last  year, but he was often injured and it is still yet to be seen if he is the small forward of the future for the team or just a very good reserve.  Chris Singleton could help solidify that position and even play spot minutes at the 4.  Singleton has the ability to be a lock down defender at the next level.

28. Chicago- From Toronto, Via Miami-Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State- Chicago fills the hole at shooting guard with the sharp shooting Thompson.  Thompson had some off the court troubles last season, but you can't deny his talent as a shooter.  

29. San Antonio-JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue- JaJuan is a multi talented forward who has improved each year at Purdue.  He is also a great shot blocker and has a huge wing span.  The problem with Johnson is he is rail thin and doesn't have the strength to play in the post yet.  

Jereme Richmond will need to grow as a player,
but his supreme athletic ability puts him
in the position to be great.
30. Chicago-Jereme Richmond, SF, Illinois- Jereme Richmond is extremely raw but he could go much higher in the middle of the first round.  Richmond has elite athletic ability and has shown signs of becoming a great player.  He could turn into an amazing addition for the Bulls.

Round 2

31. Miami- From Minnesota- Nolan Smith, PG, Duke

32. Cleveland- Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence

33. Detroit- From Toronto-Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia

34. Washington- Bojan Bogdanovic, SF, Serbia

Kieth Benson has shown the ability
to compete on defense against anyone
 on the college level.
35. New Jersey- Justin Harper, PF, Richmond

36. Sacramento- Nikola Mirotic, SF, Serbia

37. LA Clippers- From Detroit-Keith Benson, C, Oakland

38. Houston- From LA Clippers-Darius Morris, PG, Michigan

39. Charlotte- Travis Leslie, SG, Georgia

40. Milwaukee- E'twaun Moore, SG, Purdue

41. LA Lakers- From Golden State- Shelvin Mack, PG, Butler

42. Indiana- Charles Jenkins, SG, Hofstra

43. Chicago- From Utah-  John Leur, PF, Wisconsin

44. Golden State- From Chicago, Via Phoenix- Orlando Johnson, F, UC Santa Barbra

Orlando Johnson is a do it
all guard who could be a steal
in the second round.
45. New Orleans- From Philadelphia- Robin Benzing, PF, Germany 

46. LA Lakers- From New York-  Jordan Williams, C, Maryland

47. LA Clippers- From Houston- Justin Holiday, SF, Washington

48. Atlanta- Norris Cole, PG, Cleveland St.

49. Philadelphia- From New Orleans- Mamadou Diarra, C, Chaminade

50. Memphis- Jamine Peterson, SF, D-league

51. Portland- Demetri McCamey, PG, Illinois

52. Detroit- From Denver-  Scotty Hopson, SG, Tennessee

While at Oregon Dunigan didn't always
 play to his size, he will have to
 show that he can compete against
bigger players to have a chance
in the NBA.
53. Orlando-Michael Dunigan, C, Oregon

54. Cleveland- From Oklahoma City- Furkan Aldemir, PF, Turkey

55. Boston- Ben Hansbrough, PG, Notre Dame

56.LA Lakers-Lacedarius Dunn, SG, Baylor

57. Dallas- Giorgi Shermadini, C, Greece

58. LA Lakers- From Miami- Jeremy Tyler, PF, Japan

59. San Antonio-Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida

60. Sacramento- From Milwaukee, Via Chicago- DeAndre Liggins, SF, Kentucky

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NFL Mock Draft: One Week Left

Round 1

1. Carolina-Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

2. Denver-Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

3. Buffalo-Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M

4. Cincinnati-A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

5. Arizona- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

6. Cleveland-Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

7. San Francisco-Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

8. Tennessee-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

9. Dallas-Tyron Smith, OT, USC

10. Washington-Jake Locker, QB, Washington

11. Houston-J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

12. Minnesota-Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

13. Detroit-Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

14. St. Louis- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

15. Miami-Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

16. Jacksonville-Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

17. New England- Cameron Jordan, DE, California

18. San Diego-Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

19. New York Giants-Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

20. Tampa Bay-Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

21. Kansas City-Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

22. Indianapolis-Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

23. Philadelphia- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

24. New Orleans-Muhammed Wilkerson, DT, Temple

25. Seattle- Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

26. Baltimore-Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

27. Atlanta-Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

28. New England-Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

29. Chicago- Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

30. New York Jets-Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor

31. Pittsburgh- Danny Watkins, G, Baylor

32. Green Bay-Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Round 2

33. New England- Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

34. Buffalo-Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas

35. Cincinnati-Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

36. Denver-Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois

37. Cleveland-Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

38. Arizona-Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

39. Tennessee- Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

40. Dallas- Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

41. Washington-Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

42. Houston-Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

43. Minnesota-Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona

44. Detroit-Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

45. San Francisco- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

46. Denver- Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois

47. St Louis- Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

48. Oakland- Curtis Brown, CB, Texas

49. Jacksonville-Benjamin Ijalana, OT, Villanova

50. San Diego-Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

51. Tampa Bay-Clint Boling, OT, Georgia

52. New York Giants- Ryan Williams, RB, Virgina Tech

53. Indianapolis- Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

54. Philadelphia-Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

55. Kansas City- Orlando Franklin, OT, Miami

56. New Orleans-Sam Acho, DE, Texas

57. Seattle-Stefen Wisniewski, G, Penn State

58. Baltimore-Titus Young, WR, Boise State

59. Atlanta- Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh

60. New England- Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State

61. San Diego-Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina

62. Chicago-Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa

63. Pittsburgh- Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU

64. Green Bay-Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada

Round 3

65. Carolina- Jah Reid, OT, Central Florida

66. Cincinnati- Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State

67. Denver- Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

68. Buffalo-Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

69. Arizona- James Carpenter, OT, Alabama

70. Cleveland-Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State

71. Dallas-DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

72. New Orleans-Will Rackley, OT, Lehigh

73. Houston- DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

74. New England- Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia

75. Detroit-Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State

76. San Francisco- Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

77. Tennessee- Jurell Jernigan, WR, Troy

78. St. Louis-D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas

79. Miami-Stephen Schilling, G, Michigan

80. Jacksonville-Ahmad Black, S, Florida

81. Oakland-Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State

82. San Diego- James Brewer, OT, Indiana

83. New York Giants-Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon

84. Tampa Bay- Jordan Toddman, RB, Connecticuit

85. Philadelphia-Davon House, CB, New Mexico State

86. Kansas City- Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State

87. Indianapolis- DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma

88. New Orleans-Shane Vereen, RB, California

89. San Diego-Drake Nevis, DT, LSU

90. Baltimore-Kristofer O'Dwod, C, USC

91. Atlanta-Mason Foster, OLB, Washington

92. New England- Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State

93. Chicago- Akeem Dent, LB, Georgia

94. New York Jets- Greg Little, WR, North Carolina

95. Pittsburgh-Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss

96. Green Bay- Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Potential 2011 NFL 1st round draft busts

Every year some of the highest rated prospects turn out to be busts.  Here is my list of the top ten first round prospects that I think have the largest chance for becoming a bust. 

Wilkerson must put off the field issues aside to succeed.
10. Muhammad Wilkerson- Wilkerson lacks the intangibles that most NFL teams covet in a first round draft pick.  He has not shown the work ethic that takes prospects to the next level on the field or in the weight room.  He had some academic issues that I think are worrying scouts.  Skill wise he is very talented and consistently produces.  There is no denying that he has the talent and ability to play in this league, the questions are centered around how hard will he work to be the best player possible.  If he does not mature quickly he will struggle.

9. Jimmy Smith- Smith is another player that has a lot of talent but has had issues off the field.  His stock has began to rise lately.  He is a physically gifted corner who has the height at 6'2 and speed to be a lock down corner in the NFL.  Most of his off the field issues are related to substance abuse, if he falls back into old trends once he gets his first NFL pay check his performance is sure to drop.  So far he has done all the right things to ease any worries that scouts have, but these kinds of issues will always linger.

8. Mark Ingram- I think Ingram has a chance to be a great runner in the NFL, the problem is that there is just about as big of chance he is a bust.  He has had a history of injuries the last season or two, so durability is an issue.  He does not shy away from contact and can punish a defender, but that could lead to injuries down the road.  Other concerns center around his slow 40 time at the combine.  I think he makes up for it with his short bursts and quick feet.  I think his potential will be largely determined by who selects him and how they decide to use him.

Smith needs to continue to
improve to become the
 player he is capable of being
7. Tyron Smith- USC linemen have not always transfered the production to the next level.  Smith is a little small to play the tackle position, but he makes up for it with quick feet, long arms, and freaky athletic ability.  It will remain to be seen how those attributes translate to the next level.  If he can gain a little weight and continue to improve his skill set he will be just fine and become a good player, but if not I think he will struggle.

6. Stephen Paea- Paea is the strongest player in the draft.  He, however, has a bad history with injuries which may carry over to his NFL career.  His size is just average and he is still very raw.  He has a great motor and he is obviously a hard worker in the weight room. Injuries could prevent him from being a force down the road.

It seems like injuries are the only
thing that can hold Jones back.
5. Julio Jones- Consistent injury problems have plagued Jones during his college career.  When healthy he is an explosive wide out who has the athletic tools to be a dominant player in the NFL.  There is nothing he can do to become less injury prone, but he can improve his hands.  At Alabama he had difficulties with drop balls.  This past season he improved but it was still an issue.  I think if Jones becomes a bust it will be no fault of his, it will be because of nagging injuries.

4. Da'Quan Bowers- Bowers came on when it counted and led the NCAA in sacks.  His stock has fallen as the draft process began because of concerns about his surgically repaired knee.  The concerns are about the longevity of his career, and how it will handle a 16 game season.  There are also concerns that he is a one year wonder.

Fairley can crush the competition when his mind is right.
3. Nick Fairley- Constant questions about his work ethic and commitment to the game have hurt Fairley's draft stock.  Scouts are worried because Fairley only had one dominant season at Auburn even though he always had the incredible skill set he showed last season.  If his heart is not really in it he will likely be very unproductive.  If he lands on a team with a tough minded defensive coach I think they could get a lot out of him, but if not the who knows what kind of effort he will show.

2. Jake Locker- Locker was the number one prospect when this past season started, and after the first game the slide had begun.  Locker has the athletic ability to play in the NFL, but he is nowhere near to ready with his accuracy.  He showed these problems throughout his entire college career.  I don't think he will ever be able to be a good player in the NFL.

These three QBs could all have a tough time at the next level
1. Cam Newton/ Blaine Gabbert- One of these two prospects will not live up to the hype, if not both.  I would guess that Newton is the player that will have a tough career.  He has good mechanics and elite athletic ability, the problem is adding accuracy and then putting it all together.  Gabbert is more NFL ready at this point of their respective careers.  He looks like more of a sure thing, he is very accurate, has a good arm, has good pocket awareness. He however lacks the athleticism that Newton has, which will be key for both of these quarterbacks, because wherever they play their offensive line will not be a strong point.

Oklahoma City has title aspirations and a bright future

This year the Thunder had big expectations after showing they were a team on the rise.  They palyed well during the beginning of the season and positioned themselves in the middle of the pack in the playoff race.  It was clear they had caried over their success from last year and improved as a team but they were still considered to be a year or two away from being a true contender.  A mid season trade to acquire Kendrick Perkins has changed all of that, and now if Bynum's ability is affected by his injured knee Oklahoma City could be a scary contender.

The Thunder have been playing great down the stretch and have won some big games.  The addition of Kendrick Perkins and Nazir Muahmmed gives Oklahoma two big seven footers to content with the Lakers' front and it allows Serge Ibaka to play his natural position at the 4.  Kendrick Perkins is known as a big time defender and he is one of the toughest post defenders in the league, something that the Thunder realized they lacked after their loss in the playoffs last season.  He has also been able to shift the mindset of the Thunder and make them a tougher team, his presenece has allowed Ibaka to be a beast on the weakside and he has been swatting balls out of the gym.

Another reason that the thunder are so dangerous is that they have two emerging super stars now that Westbrook has become one of the best guards in the west.  He has an evolving game to go along with his elite athleticism and size for his position.  He has improved on his passing vision and has incorporated a growing scoring attack along with the ability to follow his shots and hit the boards.  He is athletic enough to be a great defender and has very long arms which makes it easier for him to challenge jumpers. The main knock on Westrbook is his shot selection, if he makes some changes he will dominate this post season.

Durant is the piece that makes the thunder a true contedner.  He is a budding superstar and has won the scoring championship two years in a row.  His length and athletic ability make his jumper impossible to block but he neesd to remember not to settle for the long jumper. He sometimes tries to do a little too much for his team but he is one of the top 3 players in the league and is gettin better each year still has a lot to improve.

Another key player is Thabo Sefolosha who is overlooked as one of the best wing defenders because of all the talented more flashy players on the team.  Thabo is a defensive stopper who can match up against the top twos and some threes and give them a tough night.  he doesnt do too much on offense but thats not his job.  He is a perfect role player and glue guy for this team.

The bench has been huge down the stretch led by James Harden. Harden has played great since the all star break and looks to be getting more and more comfortable in the NBA.  He has been much more successful on the offensive end because he has been  driving the ball more lately using his athleticism more and getting to the line instead of settling for long jumpers.

The rest of the bench is just as important, Eric Maynor is a perfect back up for Westbrook, because he can manage a team.  He has a steady jumper and he is great at finding the open man. Nick Collison is one of those role players who are tough competitors and will do the dirty work. Daquean Cook has come on as of late, finally showing signs of regaining his 3 point stroke. Nazir Muhammed has also provided another big 7 foot body to roam the paint.  They still haven't worked Nate Robinson into the rotation yet.

The Thunder also have a lot of talent in the D-league.  They have built a very good farm system to develop players. Latavious Williams has a lot of potential and reminds me of a Thaddeus Young type player. Cole Aldrich is their first rounder from the draft last year.  He averaged over 2 blocks per game in the D-league and played off and on during the season. Byron Mullens is another 7 footer who is improving, averaging 15 points per game and also getting 1 block per game. Robert Vaden is yet another player to show potential as he was brought up for the last few games of the season. All of these players have showed potential to develop into productive players and they are all extremely young. Any player they acquire in this years draft is just a luxury.

Because of the combination of all these factors the Thunder look poised to make a deep run in the 2011 playoffs and should be a mainstay at the top of the western conference for the next 5 years at least.  There is no doubt that their GM Sam Presti has built a power house.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

2009-10 NBA Mock Redraft

With two years under their belt some of the NBA's sophomore players are becoming game changers.  There have been some surprises both good and bad.  I will go through and redraft the first round of the 2009'10 draft and give ratings of the top 30 players in the class.

Blake Griffin dunked over his
opponents all season.
1. Clippers- Actual pick Blake Griffin, Redraft Blake Griffin- Griffin missed his rookie season with a severe knee injury.  When this season began noone knew what to expect, critics said that he would not be effective because all he knew how to do was dunk, he was injury prone, his arms were too short.  They were all wrong, Griffin came out from day one and proved people wrong.  He was dominant on the glass averaging 12 rebounds per game, and he was just as impressive on the offensive end averaging 23 points.  The most impressive thing is that he showed that he still hasn't even began to get to his potential.  Blake could easily be one of the top 3 players in the league in a few years.

2. Grizzlies-Actual pick Hasheem Thabeet, Redraft Stephen Curry- Thabeet has turned out to be a bust so far and was traded away mid season.  Curry on the other hand has turned into a great player.  Its true that Conley had a very good season this year, but the combination of the two could have been awesome.  Curry can play the point and two guard against smaller 2 guards.  He is a crafty passer and can create his own shot.  He has been called the closest thing to steve nash out there, and we all know how great of a shooter Curry is.

3. Thunder- Actual pick James Harden, Redraft James Harden- I considered Wesley Matthews here because James Harden hasn't turned out the way most people though he would.  He spent his rookie year averaging only 10 points off the bench for a young talented Oklahoma squad.  This year began in the same way, but a midseason trade of Jeff Green opened a role as a scorer for Harden and he has not dissapointed.  Since the trade he has averaged over 16 points per game and he has really started to find his stride.  There may be a few players who have produced more, but for this team he is a perfect fit because he does not need the ball to be productive.  He plays like a veteran letting the ball come to him in the flow of the offense.

Jrue Holiday looks like he is the real deal.
4. Kings- Actual pick Tyreke Evans, Redraft Jrue Holiday- Jrue Holiday struggled his rookie year but this year he showed marked improvement.  He is a shut down defender and he has extremely improved his offensive game.  He brings leadership and toughness to the court every night.  He is also the youngest player in this class and his ceiling is sky high.  The Kings would have been better off taking Holiday over Evans because of the character issues Evans has had and Holiday is a more pure point guard who can still score the ball.

5 Timberwolves- Actual pick Ricky Rubio, Redraft Tyreke Evans- Rubio is still over in Europe and we don't know if he will ever come over, not to mention he played terrible in his Euro league this year.  Evans was the rookie of the year last year, but this year he has been plagued by numerous injuries.  His jumper hasn't improved much, but he can still score the ball in bunches.  During his rookie season he averaged 5 assists per game, but this year he did not match that production.  He is still a very good player,  but he needs to work on distributing the ball if he wants to stay at the point guard position.

6.Timberwolves- Actual pick Jonny Flynn, Redraft DeMar DeRozan- DeRozan has turned into a very good scoring guard.  He has amazing athleticism and has improved his jump shot this season, although it still has a way to go.  He looks to be a player that could improve even more in his 3rd season and could become a big time player.  Minnesota would of had a physically huge and athletic starting 1 and 2 if this scenario had worked out.

Serge has become a premier shot blocker.
7.Warriors- Actual pick Stephen Curry. Redraft Serge Ibaka- Ibaka has been a huge surprise for the Thunder.  He is a rising star in this league, and you can catch him in the highlight reels throwing down an incredible dunk almost every night.  He has a good jump shot and is a good free throw shooter for a big man his size, and more importantly his age.  He is quickly becoming a dominant big man in this league, and is just what the Warriors need.

8.Knicks- Actual pick Jordan Hill Redraft Ricky Rubio- If this Ricky had actually fell this far he might already be in the NBA playing in NY.  Some say that Ricky will be an amazing player becase of his floor vision and size, but so far he has struggled in Euro league.  He needs to improve his shot but we all know he is a great passer and would be great in D'Antoni's system.  I am skeptical of his potential, but he could fit in NY.

9. Raptors- Actual pick DeMar DeRozan, Redraft Wesley Mathews Jr- Wesley has turned out to be a very good player and the steal of this draft.  Matthews went undrafted, but caught a lucky break on the Jazz last season.  He is a player that does everything very well.  He has proven he can be a starting guard in the league and he has improved along the way.  The most impressive improvement he has made is his 3 point range, shooting over 40%. He still has room to grow now that he is a mainstay in the starting lineup, and there is no reason to think he won't do it.

10. Bucks- Actual pick Brandon Jennings, Redraft Brandon jennings- Jennings had a great first half of his rookie year and then kind of dropped off, not saying he didn't play well he just couldn't maintain his extremely high level of play. This year he has been consistently productive for the Bucks.  He has battled some injuries, but he has improved his shot selection and knows how to get everyone into the game. He seems to be a good fit in Milwaukee.

Blair is a beast down low
despite being undersized.
11. Nets- Actual pick Terrence Williams, Redraft DeJuan Blair- Williams has already been traded away after producing nothing but headaches for the Nets.  Blair would have been a solid player to put next to Lopez. Despite knee concerns and being undersized Blair has continued to be a beast in the paint.  Lopez is a little light on the glass and Blair has the perfect attitude to make up for it.

12. Bobcats- Actual pick Gerald Henderson, Redraft Marcus Thornton- Thornton has turned out to be one of the most deadly, and streaky, scorers in the draft. He would give the Bobcats a dangerous outside threat, which they currently lack.  Thornton averaged 20 points per game after a midseason trade landed him in Sacramento.  Not only is he a scorer but he can play some decent defense as well.  The only knock on him is that he is undersized, but that hasn't held him up one bit.

13. Pacers- Actual pick Tyler Hansbrough, Redraft Darren Collison- Darren Collison has already landed with Indiana via trade, but I really like the fit with Granger and Hibbert.  Collison is incredibly fast with the ball in transition and knows how to get the ball to the open man in the half court.  He has a knack for getting deep into the lane against other teams defenses and he knows how to either finish with a patented floated or kick it out to the 3 point shooters.

Lawson's speed is often
 unmatched on the court.
14.Suns- Actual pick Earl Clark, Redraft Ty Lawson- Lawson would be awesome in Phoenix's fast break offense.  He would be the new point guard after Nash retires. Lawson has proven he can get the job done at this level.  He is one of the fastest players in the league and he has learned how to finish in traffic, he has also worked on his 3 point shot.

15. Pistons- Actual pick Austin Daye, Redraft Tyler Hansbrough- Hansbrough is a Detroit kind of player. He is a tough, hard working, big man with a relentless motor. He has proven doubters wrong and showed that he can make a jumper, rebound against more athletic players, and finish around the rim.  He will never be a star but he is the kind of tough minded scrappy players coaches love.

16. Bulls- Actual pick James Johnson, redraft Taj Gibson- The Bulls get Taj earlier this time around. Taj is a NBA caliber player for sure. Gibson showed he is a reliable defender and rebounder and can consistently make open jumpers.  He has been a nice surprise for the Bulls and is a key part to their front line rotation.

Gibson is a key contributor on the Bulls.
17. 76ers- Actual pick Jrue Holiday, Redraft Jonny Flynn-Jonny Flynn is a quick point guard who could have been effective on the fast break with all of that athletic ability they have.  He had a nice rookie campaign, but sat out the first half of this season recovering from a hip injury and has never fully recovered.  His status on the Wolves is up in the air and he might be used for trade bait.

18. Timberwolves- Actual pick Ty Lawson, Redraft Hasheem Thabeet- With so many picks the Wolves would take a chance on Thabeet. So far Thabeet has done nothing with his chance in the NBA, but who knows Anthony Randolph and Beasley have both played better in Minnesota. If Thabeet could find himself there he still has a ton of potential to empact the game.  His main problem is that he is an offensive liability and he is a fouling machine.  If he could score or block shots at the same rate he fouls he might be up for all star consideration.

19. Hawks- Actual pick Jeff Teague, Redraft Eric Maynor- I think maynor is underrated because he comes off the bench for a good team, he doesn't get the attention or stats that others do. Maynor is a very steady and reliable player who already played like a veteran when he joined the league.  He can lead a team and is a great back up because of his IQ, steady mid range jumper, and leadership.

20. Jazz- Actual pick Eric Maynor, Redraft Jodie Meeks- The Jazz need a shooting guard and Jodie Meeks would have filled that hole.  Meeks has had some good games this season, although he is a streaky score. He has a nice outside game, but he has trouble scoring at the rim because he does not have elite athleticism and does not have ideal height for a 2 guard.

Henderson has often showed
off his athleticism.
21. Hornets- Actual pick Darren Collison, Redraft Gerald Henderson- Genderson has come on for some big games late this season. He is an athletic player and could have been a nice complement to Ariza and Paul.  Henderson can get to the rim and finish and he is improving his mid range shot.  He could still become a good player in the league.

22. Trailblazers- Actual pick Victor Claver, Redraft Jordan Hill- The Blazers seem to be good at developing young raw talents such as Lamarcus Aldridge. Jordan Hill has showed some signs of being a good payer, but cant seem to put it together consistently.  He could have been an athletic front court big man off the bench for the Blazers who need all the help they can get in that area.

23. Kings- Actual pick Omri Casspi, Redraft Earl Clark- Clark has shown some signs since he's been in Orlando.  He barely played at all in Phoenix and they gave up on him. He struggles with his jump shot, but he has some moves in the post. He is very versatile and can take larger players off the dribble and post up smaller players.  He still has a lot of work to do, but he still has a ton of potential.

24. Mavericks- Actual pick B.J. Mullens, Redraft Rodrigue Beaubois- The Mavs acquired Beaubois from the Thunder on draft day, so in this draft we will forgo the trade and have the Mavs pick him at 24.  Beaubois has a lot of potential but injuries have preventing him from making a full impact.

Daye has displayed an improving
 all around game.
25. Thunder- Actual pick Rodrigue Beaubois, Redraft Austin Daye- The Thunder actually ended up with Mullens in this draft and he is still in the D league.  Austin Daye could back up Durant and fill in for Jeff Green's departure. He is a player that is progressing, he is shooting better and is hitting the glass more consistently this year.  He still needs to add a lot of weight and strength.

26. Bulls- Actual pick Taj Gibson, Redraft Wayne Ellington- Ellington has had some big games for the Wolves this season, but he has not been able to keep the effort up consistently.  He has an accurate jumper with 3 point range, but he is a bit one dimensional.  He could still develop into a consistently productive player in the right system and environment.

27. Grizzlies Actual pick Demarre Carroll, Redraft Omri Casspi-Omri had is playing decently for the Kings off the bench, but he is not having the same impact as he did last year.  He is still a tough player who has some range on his jumper. He will stick in the league for a long time because of how hard he competes.

28. Timberwolves Actual pick Wayne Ellington, Redraft Jeff Teague-  Jeff teague is starting in Atlanta, but his has struggled with shot selection and turnovers this season.  He could improve into a decent starter but he will never be an all star.  I think he would be better off the bench, where he could make an impact with his athleticism.

Budinger can finish at the hoop
when he gets in the lane.
29. Lakers- Actual pick Toney Douglas, Redraft Chase Budinger- Budinger would have been a nice back up for the champs.  He can come off the bench and drain threes and he is athletic enough to get to the hoop.

30 Cavaliers- Actial pick Christian Eyenga, Redraft Toney Douglas- Douglas has proved he can play at the point guard position after critics said he was a tweener.  He is a very athletic defender at the point guard position and he has worked on the ability to nail the three.