O.J. Mayo 32

O.J. Mayo should stay in LA and play for the Clippers.

This past week, the order for the NBA Draft was set during the draft lottery, where the Chicago Bulls received the number one overall pick. Although the playoffs are still going on, I thought it would be fun to write the first mock draft. I based this primarily on a team’s need and where the players are projected to go as of right now.

As for the local teams, I have the Clippers taking O.J. Mayo, who will surely help the team’s weak backcourt. Look for them to also target, Indiana’s Eric Gordon, Arizona’s Jerryd Bayless, and UCLA’s Kevin Love. As a result of the Pau Gasol trade, the Lakers do not have a first round pick, but they do have a late second round pick. Yes, I’d still take Pau.

1. Chicago: PF Michael Beasley, Kansas State Many people are projecting that the Bulls are going to select the Chicago native Derrick Rose, but Beasley is by far the most talented player in the draft. The Bulls need a franchise player with supreme talent, and Beasley has the greater upside and potential than does the point guard Rose.

2. Miami: PG Derrick Rose, Memphis It seems pretty clear that Pat Riley is going to take either Beasley or Rose. With the Bulls selecting Beasley, Rose becomes the obvious pick at number two. While Beasley may be the better fit, Rose is still a supreme talent in addition to his strong character and leadership qualities. With a lineup of Rose, Dwyane Wade, and Shawn Marion, the Heat may be back in contention sooner than expected.

3. Minnesota: C Brook Lopez, Stanford Selecting with a true center in Lopez will enable the Timberwolves to shift Al Jefferson to his natural position of power forward and allow him to face smaller defenders. Look for the Wolves to try and trade down to get Lopez a few picks later, but they will risk losing him to Memphis, which is also looking to add some size to its frontcourt as well.

4. Seattle: PG Jerryd Bayless, Arizona Bayless is an explosive Gilbert Arenas-type who is more of a scorer than a traditional point guard like John Stockton. Some may view him as a tweener, but his height, 6′3″ makes him more suited to the point guard spot. Putting Bayless with last year’s top pic should make for a formidable tandem for the Seattle Oklahoma City Sonics.  

5. Memphis: SG Eric Gordon, Indiana He is one of the most complete player in the draft and is an explosive scorer that could compliment small forward Rudy Gay. His three point shooting ability should open up the floor for Gay and second year point guard Mike Conley Jr.

6. New York: SF Danilo Gallinari, Armani Jeans Milan (Italy) With Mike D’Antoni at the helm, look for the Knicks to try and trade this pick and try to end the rebuilding project sooner. However, Gallinari is a solid player in his own right and is a better prospect than 2006 number one overall pick Andrea Bargnani of Italy. Gallinari has been a 19-year-old leader of a Euroleague team, and he has the athleticism, versatility and personality to succeed in New York.

7. LA Clippers: SG O.J. Mayo, USC Never mind the amateur-rule controversies involving Mayo because he will be able to get paid as much as he wants once he’s in the pros. His outside shooting skills and combo-guard abilities should help open up space for big men Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. If Shaun Livingston returns in good shape from knee surgery, the Clippers will be a formidable backcourt tandem for years to come.

8. Milwaukee: F/C Kevin Love, UCLA The Bucks have a pretty soft frontline with Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva, and Yi Jianlian. Love will give Milwaukee some needed strength and toughness and help facilitate the offense with his playmaking and high basketball IQ. There is no sure All-Star pick here, so picking Love will give the tough minded Scott Skiles

9. Charlotte: C DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M Jordan is certainly a project big man but has some huge athletic upside. If his skills develop, he could complement power forward and franchise player Emeka Okafor for years to come. 

10. New Jersey: PF Darrell Arthur, Kansas Arthur enters the league with a feel for scoring in the paint as well as an emerging face-up game, and he can run the floor. He’s raw but worth the investment as the Nets enter their transition from the Jason Kidd era.

11. Indiana: PG D.J. Augustin, Texas The Pacers need to replace point guard Jamaal Tinsley, and Augustin is one of the best point guards in the draft. He’s stock dropped a bit after a poor tournament performance against Derrick Rose. Despite that, he’ll be able to help the Pacers next season.

12. Sacramento: PF Anthony Randolph, LSU The Kings have some pretty good wing players in Kevin Martin and Ron Artest so a bigman would certainly help out the perimeter players and second year center Spencer Haves.

13. Portland: SG Russell Westbrook, UCLA With talent at all five positions, look for the Blazers to simply add the best available player and Westbrook certainly fits that bill.

14. Golden State: SF Chase Budinger, Arizona Don Nelson likes guys who can run the floor and make shots and Budinger proved that he can do both while play at Arizona.

The Rest

15. Phoenix: SG Nicolas Batum, France
16. Philadelphia: PF Marreese Speights, Florida
17. Toronto: SF Joe Alexander, West Virginia
18. Washington: C Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
19. Cleveland : C JaVale McGee, Nevada
20. Denver: PF Donte Greene, Syracuse
21. New Jersey: PG Mario Chalmers, Kansas
22. Orlando: SG Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
23. Utah: SF Brandon Rush, Kansas
24. Seattle: SG Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky
25. Houston: PG Ty Lawson, North Carolina
26. San Antonio : C Robin Lopez, Stanford
27. New Orleans: C Kosta Koufos, Ohio State
28. Memphis: SF Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
29. Detroit: SF Davon Jefferson, USC
30. Boston: PF Joey Dorsey, Memphis

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