The 2010 NBA Playoffs are heating up, which means the NCAA tournament is forgotten, young college players will begin to make decisions on their future, and we’re getting one step closer to the 2010 NBA Draft.
Obviously the draft rankings (or where we think players will go) can and will change each month, and especially when the lottery draft shapes the two rounds out, but there’s no harm in looking to the future a little early.
We’ll keep you updated all the way through June on player news, injuries, and declarations. Until more news breaks, read on for the projected first-round of the NBA Draft:
1. New Jersey Nets – John Wall, PG, Kentucky
Devin Harris is a solid point guard, but Wall is arguably the top talent, and he would also arguably be an upgrade. This would put Harris on the trading block, and give the Nets an immediate impact player that can run the floor effortlessly.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Evan Turner, G/F, Ohio State
Minnesota is way too dependent on it’s post players, and really needs a go-to scorer who can do more than merely shoot jumpers. Turner is a versatile talent that can do it all, and would help give the Timberwolves a legit star opposing defenses need to focus on, other than just Al Jefferson.
3. Golden State Warriors – DeMarcus Cousins, F/C, Kentucky
It’s arguable that Cousins wouldn’t be an ideal fit for Golden State’s run’n gun offense, but he’s an elite talent, ad the Warriors could definitely use the inside presence on both sides of the floor.
4. Washington Wizards – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood are playing for other teams, so obtaining more bodies to mash it out in the paint is priority number one for Washington. Favors could easily go number two in this draft, so the Wizards are getting an elite prospect to mix it up with Andray Blatche.
5. Sacramento Kings – Al Farouq-Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
If Spencer Hawes can have everything click together, the Kings will finally have the complete arsenal of post players they’ve been looking for. Farouq-Aminu is possibly the best talent available and gives them the best fit, as they don’t currently have an elite small forward.
6. Philadelphia 76ers – Greg Monroe, F/C, Georgetown
Elton Brand plays like he doesn’t have knees anymore, and sooner or later the 76ers need to move on from Samuel Dalembert. Monroe may need a little work, but his size and frame suggests he can grow into a dominant player with the right coaching and developed skills.
7. Detroit Pistons – Cole Aldrich, F/C, Kansas
Detroit is leaning on Ben Wallace, Jason Maxiell, Kwame Brown, and Chris Wilcox far too much. It’s time to bring in a smart, athletic post-player who knows how to score the ball and consistently make an impact on defense.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse
As long as Blake Griffin returns to full health, L.A. appears to be set in the paint with Chris Kaman and DaAndre Jordan helping out. That leaves small forward as the top position they could address, while Wesley Johnson is easily the best forward available, and would be an instant hep in carrying the scoring load.
9. Utah Jazz – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic
Utah loves versatile players, and could probably use some height and length with Mehmet Okur’s uncertain future. They could also think about adding Hassan Whiteside’s defense and potential, but for now, Vesely is the pick.
10. Indiana Pacers – Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
Indiana has Roy Hibbert, but Whiteside is a guy that could sit for a year or two and grow into an elite player that can do more than just rebound and block shots. At the very least, he’d give the Pacers strong minutes off the bench as a blocking-machine in his first year.
11. New Orleans Hornets – Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
Macus Thornton is a great scorer, but he’s under-sized and works just as well coming off the bench. Morris Peterson is aging and is fairly ineffective. That puts our vote in for grabbing an elite shooting guard. Henry fits the bill.
12. Toronto Raptors – Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania
Toronto loves foriegn players, especially guys with great versatility and an outstanding knowledge of the game. Chris Bosh could very well be on his way out, so grabbing a guy to stick in the paint a bit is priority number one. Ed Davis could be a more traditional option, as well.
13. Memphis Grizzlies – Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
Memphis could really use another inside presence, as all they have right now is Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and are still waiting for Hasheem Thabeet to show them something other than the ability to block shots. Davis wouldn’t be starting anytime soon, but he could give the Grizzlies good minutes and energy off the bench as he waits for an opportunity.
14. Houston Rockets – Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky
No one knows for sure what the future holds for Yao Ming, and regardless of what does happen, the Rockets are currently a team loaded at guard and forward, but with just average depth at center. Orton is a fantastic addition if he’s still here.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Gordon Hayward, G/F, Butler
Milwaukee should be saying good-bye to Michael Redd in 2010-11, and will likely be parting ways with John Salmons and Luke Ridnour, as well. That means they need a new go-to guy, as well as someone who can handle the rock and make things happen on the fly. Hayward isn’t a freak athlete, but he has great size and length, along with a terrific handle and great scoring ability.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves – James Anderson, G/F, Oklahoma State
They got Evan Turner with their first pick, so this pick is either about adding depth to their front-line, or giving Turner a running-mate. There is still hope for Corey Brewer, but there’s nothing wrong with adding insurance, especially when it’s a guy with immense talent like Anderson.
17. Miami Heat – Avery Bradley, G, Texas
Miami has been relying on mediocre point guards for years, and has even been giving Carlos Arroyo minutes as of late. This tells you they need help in that area badly, regardless of whether or not they think Mario Chalmers is the future at the position.
18. Chicago Bulls – Patrick Patterson, F/C,Kentucky
Brad Miller will be a free agent, leaving the Bulls with very little depth up front. Patterson could step-in right away and help solidify an already energetic and aggressive post crew.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor
On paper, they have everything a winning team needs for success, except a guy inside teams fear. Udoh may be a ways away from instilling fear in his opponent simply by getting the ball passed into him, but he’d surely be a step-up from what the Thunder currently are working with.
20. San Antonio Spurs – Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky
The Spurs aren’t necessarily dying in one area, but they’re aging just about everywhere. Bledsoe could be a combo-guard and back-up Tony Parker, or come off the bench at shooting guard. The Spurs just really need some more scoring, athleticism, and youth. Bledsoe will do just fine.
21. Portland Trail Blazers – Quincy Pondexter, G/F, Washington
Portland, as usual, has tons of talent in all the right places. However, they unloaded Travis Outlaw in 2010, making tem relatively thin at small forward. Brandon Roy will make his voice be heard when he has the chance to be reunited with former Huskie teammate, Quincy Pondexter.
22. Boston Celtics – DeSean Butler, G/F, West Virginia
He’s coming off of a big injury, but that hasn’t stopped the Celtics going after talent in the past (Bill Walker). It’s time for Boston to really start thinking about life after Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They can take the risk on Butler and let him learn for a year or two, while using his shooting right away.
23. Atlanta Hawks – Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State
Outside of Al Horford and Josh Smith, the Hawks don’t rely on much else for their post help. If they want to continue to compete at an elite level, that needs to change.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech
The Thunder need to continue to add depth and talent to their front-line, and Lawal isn’t a bad place to continue on with. He could have arguably been their first pick in this round, but he’s now a major steal for being able to land him this late. He is very raw and needs a ton of work, but the potential is there to help form a nasty duo in the post.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves – Terrico White, SG, Mississippi
For the time being, Minnesota has the inside forces it needs to get back to being competitive. Now it’s about adding athletic wing players who can either replace current waste, or help contribute. If they plan on trading Kevin Love or Al Jefferson, their draft outlook could change completely, but if not, it’s wing players all the way.
26. Memphis Grizzlies – Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
Are the Grizzlies seriously still running with Mike Conley Jr.and Jamaal Tinsley? Many people disrespect Fredette’s athleticism, scoring ability, and point guard potential, but he’s actually ahead of the curve in all three. Even if he doesn’t step in right away as the team’s new point guard, he can at least give the a much-needed scoring punch off the bench.
27. New Jersey Nets – Stanley Robinson, F, UConn
Did you ever really think the Nets would need more forwards? The idea here is that New Jersey actually ships off one or two of their current forwards, pressing them to add more depth.
28. Orlando Magic – Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier
Orlando likes to shoot a lot of three’s, and so does Crawford. This addition might put a damper on the rising J.J. Redick’s role, but then again, he might be gone due to restricted free agency. In comes Crawford.
29. Memphis Grizzlies – Greivis Vasquez, PG, Maryland
This is more about the unlikeliness of Memphis actually drafting Jimmer Fredette. However, if they do draft Fredette, this pick could still happen, as the Grizzlies could view both players in opposite roles. Vasquez could easily play point guard or shooting guard, and the same with Fredette.
30. Washington Wizards – Damion James, F, Texas
Washington beefed up their interior earlier in this round, so now it’s all about adding some explosiveness and a scoring punch. James can do the dirty work, while also bringing some flashy offense to the table.
Stay tuned for an updated 2010 NBA Mock Draft, including round two!