Basketball fans are being inundated with Mock Drafts this week but I’m posting yet another Mock Draft for you to try to digest. Why would I do this? Because I was able to take part in “The Great Blogger Mock Draft 2007” and I feel that this rabid collection of hoop fans know what they are talking about. Jeff from Celtics Blog rounded up a motley crew of basketball bloggers and when things were finished I read through what I found to be one of the better mock drafts circulating around the ‘net this week. I also wanted to thank Jason over at Ball Hype for providing the platform that we conducted this Mock Draft in. Thanks Jason!
Take some time to read the Mock Draft below, check out the blogs of the writers who contributed and leave your comments on this post to let me know if you agree or disagree with the selections that were made.
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for Eric’s final mock draft that’s being posted here early next week.
1. Portland – Henry from True Hoop selects Greg Oden, by a whisker: Kevin Durant will punish the Blazers for a decade at least for this pick. He’s a beautiful thing to watch, and if Portland ends up taking Durant, I’m THRILLED. But I just got this GM job and I want to keep it, and I have a feeling that with Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden we’re going to be just fine.
2. Seattle – Chris from Sonics Central selects Kevin Durant: The top two prizes in the Draft are Oden and Durant so whoever Portland passes on the Sonics will gladly settle for sloppy seconds.
3. Atlanta – Ryan from Hoops Addict selects Al Horford: The Hawks are tempted to go with the PG they desperately need but GM McNeill decided to wait until the 11th pick in the hopes that Mike Conley Jr. is still on the board. If he’s not there, the Hawks will “settle” for the 2007 Bob Cousy Award recipient. Zaza Pachulia is a temporarily solution at best for the Hawks and they are looking for some beef up front to pair alongside Sheldon Williams. Williams is a bit undersized as a starting centre at 6’9″ but with a wingspan of 8’8″ he could be paired with Harford who is 6’10” to provide a dynamic rebounding duo.
4. Memphis – Daily Basketball selects Brandan Wright: Making his final draft selection as GM of the Memphis Grizzlies, Jerry West decided to add another athletic big man to their roster. “The lottery this year is full of athletic big men, but we feel that Wright can step in right away (no pun intended) and contribute to our team. Wright has the potential to be a major star in this league.”
5. Boston – Jeff from Celtics Blog selects Yi Jianlian: Danny Ainge will be trading for immediate help so he can afford to take the best talent available. Danny thinks Yi is the best talent available.
6. Milwaukee – Jeff from Celtics Blog selects Mike Conley Jr.: If Conley lasts this long, he won’t last longer. He’ll either stay with the Bucks (who are losing Mo Williams) or he’ll be traded to someone that needs a point.
7. Minnesota – Sonia from I Heart KG selects Corey Brewer: While looking to build for the future, the team is also in the market for immediate help and Brewer fits the bill. A great defender with a demonstrated knack to be clutch, his work ethic and winning attitude will make him a welcome addition to the team.
8. Charlotte – Serena from Bobcats Bonfire selects Joakim Noah: The Bobcats will take Joakim Noah. Reason: This big man could be the next best thing for the Bobcats. He’s talented, athletic, and he knows the game. He will add a lot to what the Bobcats already have.
9. Chicago – Fanatical Pupil from Give Me The Rock selects Spencer Hawes: The Bulls really wanted Joakim Noah, but what can you do? Julian Wright was definitely a consideration, but without any trade proposals on the table (yeah, I know we didn’t do that), Hawes fills the need for the Bulls and is talented enough to warrant the number nine position. Wright probably is the more talented player overall, but with Deng and Tyrus Thomas already on the roster, he would have created a logjam at the 6-9 SF-wannabe-PF position. If Hawes can do what PJ Brown currently does, he was worth the pick.
10. Sacramento – Tom Ziller from Sactown Royalty selects Jeff Green: Green provides immediate help not only at small forward (should Ron Artest retire), but also for Sacramento’s underpowered frontcourt. Green can fill in immediately at power forward, and his passing ability should help take pressure off of Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby. With some youngish defensive specialists at SF already (John Salmons, Francisco Garcia) we went with Green over Julian Wright with a nod to offense and size.
11. Atlanta – Ryan from Hoops Addict selects Acie Law IV: Are you kidding me? Law’s still on the board? Atlanta would be all over him like a fat kid on a smartie. I thought for sure that not filling a need (point) would doom the Hawks but they lucked out by getting the Bob Cousy Award winner from last season. I remember last year the Raptors targeted Bargnani and there was talk they could trade down and still nab him – however BC was set on Bargnani as his man so he stuck with him for the #1 pick. I still believe the Hawks will pull something similar and nab Conley at #3 but if they are able to wait for a PG with the #11 pick and nab Law the Hawks may have a chance to be one of the East’s elite teams in a couple years. However, this is Atlanta we are talking about. Between adding a double-double candidate in Horford to pair with Sheldon Williams and Josh Smith in the frontcourt, the Hawks now have their backcourt tandem in Law and Joe Johnson and things are looking bright in A Town.
12. Philadelphia – Jon from Passion and Pride selects Julian Wright: His athleticism is off the charts and his game is still developing, but he can play both forward spots and will make an impact at the next level. The only question is his jumpshot, which can be worked out with practice. He will create all kinds of matchup problems with his quickness and length. He is best suited to the small forward position where he can overpower people, but his ability to outmaneuver power forwards is just as noteworthy.
13. New Orleans – Keith Dardis from SEConds to Victory selects Al Thornton: Chris Paul needs a mature, athletic running mate to dish the ball to. Chances are that the Hornets will lose Desmond Mason to free agency. Thornton can come in and contribute right away. He will most likely be put in the small forward slot, immediately making the Hornets a big team with David West and Tyson Chandler down low. Thornton creates matchup problems by being a 6’8″ forward with three-point range.
14. L.A. Clippers – Steve Perrin from Clips Nation selects Nick Young: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select Nick Young of the University of Southern California. Young is a terrific athlete who can get his own shot, and has good range on his jumper. His workouts have been impressive, displaying an ability to finish and shoot the NBA three as well. With Cuttino Mobley in his 30’s and Corey Maggette’s future uncertain, the Clippers need to add athleticism and shooting range on the wings, and Young does both. Plus, he’s an LA product who actually wants to play for the Clippers – seems like a perfect fit. The Clippers still need a point guard given the uncertain situation with Shaun Livingston’s knee and Sam Cassell’s age, but with the best two point guards already off the board and Javaris Crittendon a couple of years from helping, Nick Young on the wing is the best choice for the Clippers.
15. Detroit – Matt from Detroit Bad Boys selects Rodney Stuckey: Stuckey provides instant offense off the bench, something the Pistons have lacked in recent years. He can play both positions in the backcourt, filling Carlos Delfino’s void at the two and giving the team a semi-respectable backup at the point for the first time in years. (Sorry, Flip Murray.) Had he gone to a bigger school, he probably would have been gone already, so the proverbial chip on his shoulder is also a welcome addition to a frequently complacent team.
16. Washington – Pradamaster from Bullets Forever selects Derrick Byars: While the Wizards’ biggest need is probably an intimidating presence in the middle, that’s not going to be found with the 16th pick. Rather that draft another second-rate big to add to the cirque du soleil of second-rate bigs on the roster, the lack of depth on the wing should be addressed. Byars is the perfect fit for this Wizards team, having played in the Princeton offense while at Vanderbilt. He’s a solid all-around performer that, in addition to his scoring, plays excellent defense, which this team really needs. He’s also an excellent shooter, a strong ball-handler, and a fantastic passer for his position. I’m personally shocked that he isn’t getting more attention. The main criticism with Byars seem to be that he does a lot of things well, but nothing spectacularly. Hmm…sounds a lot like the 2006 Rookie of the Year, doesn’t it?
17. New Jersey – Sirnanzy from Hooplah Nation selects Tiago Splitter: Splitter is one of the few centers left in the draft who can score with his back towards the basket. He’s also a very proficient offensive rebounder, something the Nets needed to improve on immediately. And he’s very proficient in the open court, which is an important trait when you’re on the same team as Jason Kidd. He will definitely be a huge upgrade over Jason Collins – in fact, almost any center would be better than Collins.
18. Golden State – Golden State of Mind selects Thaddeus Young: Yes, Young is another project and the Warriors are littered with enough youth, but what’s a GM supposed to do this late in the draft? None of the trades the Warriors were mock-offered made any sense. Therefore you take the best player available even if he’s a project. The Dubs will need to swing some trades and make some key signings to take the next step to perennial playoff team in the loaded Western Conference and Young makes it easier to part with some of that youth. It’s a chess move that sets up an even bigger and more spectacular move this offseason. Young has the biggest upside of anyone left on the board and just a year ago if Stern didn’t institute that silly age limit he would have been a top 10 pick straight out of high school. That 2006 draft will go down as one of the worst in NBA history. Young is a better fit for the NBA than the college ball scene. He has all the tools and physical gifts to be an All Star small forward several years down the line. If he can contribute a few minutes off the bench playing Nellie’s brand of hoops this season it’s just icing on the cake.
19. L.A. Lakers – Don from With Malice selects Josh McRoberts: Surprising that McRoberts was still on the board, so this was a fairly easy choice for us to make. McRoberts has the tools to become a good NBA starter, and impact the team immediately. McRoberts is a fantastic addition for us.
20. Miami – Darren Heitner from I Want to be a Sports Agent selects Javaris Crittenton: The Heat were looking to upgrade the PF/C position with either Hawes (who went early) or Splitter. With Splitter being taken by the Nets at the 17th slot, the Heat decided to fill another hole by selecting a young, talented point guard out of Georgia Tech, Javaris Crittenton. The PF/C need should be addressed with the Heat’s newly acquired 2nd round pick.
21. Philadelphia – Jon from Passion and Pride selects Jason Smith: Smith is a great addition to the big man tandem of Sam Dalembert and Steven Hunter. He’s a relentless rebounder and highly skilled offensive player. His shot blocking ability in college might not translate as well in the pros, but he’s a solid defender as well. With this pick, the Sixers satisfy the need for some help in the middle and on the glass while providing another scoring option up front.
22. Charlotte – Serena from Bobcats Bonfire selects Marc Gasol: Gasol is young, talented, and he’s a true Center. The Bobcats desperately need to fill this position, and Gasol would be a great addition to the team. He may need some help on the defensive end, but I have faith that Sam Vincent can get that under control. And if not, well, we always have Gerald Wallace to lean on!
23. New York – Seth from Posting and Toasting selects Morris Almond: We’re desperate for another shooter on the roster, and Almond’s a guy who, at the very least, can fill it up from outside. He’s got the potential to grow into something more. Also, I took Sean Williams in the SB Nation Mock Draft, so I’ll mix things up. Almond it is.
24. Phoenix – Dan Hilton from Bright Side Of the Sun selects Rudy Fernandez: Mostly because he won’t come play yet and the Suns can keep him off the books regarding payment as well. I suspect the Suns will package the picks with some players to try and move up in the real draft.
25. Utah – UtesFan89 from Win Or Go Home selects Aaron Gray: He provides the Jazz with a back-up center (no, I don’t think highly enough of Jarron Collins to call him that) that is ready to contribute now. He’s a bit better defender than Visser, which is why I took Gray despite having Visser, and not Gray, in my top-10 prospects for the Jazz. If he can play some D, gather a couple of boards and score when the opportunity comes (a la Millsap), the Jazz will be fine. The wing-spot can be addressed in the 2nd round, as a wing drafted in the 1st probably won’t play much behind Brewer, Fish, Giricek, AK and Harp. Of course, a trade (of AK) changes all of this, but we’ll assume that that’s not happening.
26. Houston – Nick Fazekas: Uummm, just because that’s what a couple of mocks said. Apparently new GM Daryl Morey (a stat head) likes him.
27. Detroit – Matt from Detroit Bad Boys selects Sean Williams: The explanation for this pick is lost in cyberspace.
28. San Antonio – Matthew Powell from Pounding The Rock selects Gabe Pruitt: The Spurs most glaring weakness is backup PG. Jacque Vaughn, despite his tenacity, grit and hustle, is a crude stopgap at best. Pruitt brings youth, size and the ability to hit the long range j.
29. Phoenix – Dan Hilton from Bright Side Of the Sun selects Marco Belinelli: I really think the Suns will trade both of these picks but if they do keep them, the team will be looking for guys that can keep within the system Mike D’Antoni has set up. I don’t know much about Belinelli except that he is supposed to be a pure shooter so on that front he would fit into the Suns’ system nicely.
30. Philadelphia – Jon from Passion and Pride selects Arron Afflalo: The Sixers can go with best available here, draft a need, or select a foreign project for the future. Petteri Koponen, Kyrylo Fesenko, Glen Davis, and Dominic McGuire were all considered, but Afflalo is the best available and would give the Sixers a better option than Rodney Carney or Willie Green alongside Andre Iguodala on the wing.