1. CHICAGO BULLS: Derrick Rose: 6’3, 190, PG, Fr., Memphis
I maintain my opinion that the Bulls should select Michael Beasley with their pick, but I don’t believe they will. The Bulls will get a very good point guard with a local background to please their fans. He is strong and mature for his age and he’ll be given a chance to lead them immediately.
2. MIAMI HEAT: Michael Beasley: 6’9, 235, SF/PF, Fr., Kansas St.
Beasley has actual “star” potential. He led the NCAA in rebounding and was third in scoring last season. He was absolutely dominant against excellent competition and he enjoyed one of the most impressive freshman seasons in NCAA history. His addition gives the Heat a dangerous trio of Beasley, Dwyane Wade, and Shawn Marion.
3. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: O.J. Mayo: 6’5, 200, SG/PG, Fr., USC
Brook Lopez would be a safe pick here, but the Timberwolves desperately need a savoir, and although Mayo probably isn’t a savior, he has an incredibly high ceiling and the potential to be great.
4. SEATTLE SONICS: Jerryd Bayless: 6’3, 200, PG, Fr., Arizona
He’s not a pure point guard yet, but Bayless is extremely talented and he would be another important piece to the Sonics rebuilding process. Bayless and Durant could become the highest scoring guard duo in the NBA.
5. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: Brook Lopez: 7’0, 260, C, So., Stanford
All Memphis really got from the Pau Gasol trade was a gaping hole at the center position. Lopez is clearly the best center in this draft. He's smart, mature, plays hard and would significantly improve their woeful defense.
6. NEW YORK: Danilo Gallinari: 6’9, 210, SF, 19 y/o, Italy
Gallinari is an acclaimed international prospect and his father was a teammate of Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni in Italy, so this pick could make sense. If D'Antoni is comfortable with this prospect they should draft him without hesitation.
7. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Eric Gordon: 6’3, 215, SG, Fr., Indiana
As an undersized shooting guard Gordon is very good, but if he’s asked to play point guard he could struggle because he doesn’t have the instincts for the position. The Clippers will welcome his uncanny ability to score in a variety of ways.
8. MILWAUKEE BUCKS: Kevin Love: 6’9, 260, PF, Fr. UCLA
It’s difficult to predict Love’s NBA potential, but at the least he should be a tough, bruising, defensive-minded role player that will provide rebounds and the best outlet passing seen in years. He dominated many other prospects in this draft while at UCLA last year. This would be the Bucks taking the best player available (despite already having bodies at the power forward position), which seems like a good idea.
9. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS: Anthony Randolph: 6’10, 200, SF/PF, Fr., LSU
Perhaps the Bobcats will seek help at point guard with this pick, but it’s more likely that they will select the player with the most long-range potential. That would be Randolph, a skilled and versatile forward that needs to work hard on his thin body.
10. NEW JERSEY NETS: Darrell Arthur: 6’9, 220, PF, So., Kansas
A bunch of big men will be considered with this pick, but none of the centers are worthy of such a high selection. Of the remaining low-post players, Arthur is possibly the most prepared to play immediately.
11. INDIANA PACERS: DJ Augustin: 5’11, 175, PG, So., Texas
The Pacers need help at the point guard spot and Augustin is an excellent floor leader. He's a smart player and has great chararacter. His small size (5’11, 175) is the only reason he won’t be picked sooner.
12. SACRAMENTO KINGS: Russell Westbrook: 6’3, 185, So., UCLA
He’s still learning the position, but Westbrook looks like he can become a solid point guard in the future. He’s already a stellar defensive player and he has improving scoring abilities.
13. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS: Donte Green: 6’10, 220, SF, Fr., Syracuse
He should have stayed in school and worked on his fundamentals, but Green is a gifted athlete with great size and impressive shooting range. If the team that drafts him is patient, they could end up with a very good small forward in a few years.
14. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Robin Lopez: 7’0, 255, C, So., Stanford
This is a bit of a reach, but consider that the Warriors desperately need help in the low post and although Robin Lopez doesn't have as much long-range potential as some other available big men, he's ready to contribute immediately. I actually trust him to perform more than most of the other centers in this draft.
15. PHOENIX SUNS: Joe Alexander: 6’8, 220, SF, Jr., West Virginia
He's a dynamic scorer, but he's not a great long-range shooter or a capable defender, and he may be a bit of a tweener. Alexander has a very high ceiling and a very low floor, so he’s risky if taken in too soon. He's a good choice here, however.
16. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: Kosta Koufos: 7’0, 250, C, Fr., Ohio St.
He's big and has a nice skill set. There doesn't seem to be star quality with him, but if the Sixers can get a contributing center at #16 they'll be happy.
17. TORONTO RAPTORS: JaVale McGee: 7’0, 235, C, So., Nevada
McGee is another huge, athletic prospect that isn't expected to contribute immediately, but it's hard to fault a team for taking a seven-footer this low with hopes of developing him. The Raptors would like to find a true center to relieve Chris Bosh and allow him to play the 4 spot more often.
18. WASHINGTON WIZARDS: DeAndre Jordan: 7’0, 260, C, Fr. Texas A&M
Jordan isn’t nearly ready to play in the NBA. He didn’t even crack the starting line-up in his lone season at Texas A&M. He is huge, however, and NBA teams will always draft athletic 7-footers and hope that they develop. There just aren’t enough quality centers available, so Jordan will be somebody’s project.
19. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Brandon Rush; 6’6, 210, SG, Jr., Kansas
The Cavaliers will probably select the best player available without consideration of position because they need better depth on their roster, but Rush would fill their need for a shooter. He is very talented, but was inconsistent in college.
20. DENVER NUGGETS: Mario Chalmers: 6’1, 190, PG, Jr., Kansas
The knock on Chalmers is that he’s more of shooter than a pure point guard and that would make him a poor fit for most teams, but Allen Iverson acts as the primary ball-handler for the Nuggets, so Chalmers could use his quickness and excellent shooting stroke to provide more scoring for this team.
21. NEW JERSEY NETS: Roy Hibbert: 7’2, 280, C, Sr., Georgetown
Teams are seeking quicker, more athletic centers today, and that hurts the stock of gigantic and lumbering men like Hibbert, but the Nets desperately need a true center and Hibbert has the size and skill set to really help this team.
22. ORLANDO MAGIC: Nicolas Batum: 6’8, 215, SF, 19 y/o, France
Batum is a fantastic athlete and he is very good at finishing on the fast break. He still needs to prove himself against American competition, but his stock is rising fast and he may not be here for the Magic to draft.
23. UTAH JAZZ: Nathan Jawai, 6’10, 280, C, 21 y/o, Australia
If he was a few inches taller Jawai might be a lottery pick, but at 6’10 he is just a little short for the center position. He survives, however, on brute strength and surprising athleticism for such a burly man. The Utah Jazz live off of tough defense and constant screens, which Jawai would help with immediately.
24. SEATTLE SUPERSONICS: Marreese Speights: 6’10, 245, PF, So., Florida
Speights doesn’t have star potential and he wouldn’t need to on this team. The Sonics need tough low-post warriors and Speights really competes on the low blocks. He is a good rebounder, blocks shots, and he has a soft shooting touch near the basket.
25. HOUSTON ROCKETS: Chris Douglas-Roberts: 6’7, 210, SG/SF, Jr., Memphis
CDR is a versatile wing player with the potential to be a special defensive stopper, which the Rockets pride themselves on. He has a quirky style, but that doesn’t matter because he’s effective and plays hard.
26. SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Alexis Ajinca: 7’1, 225, C, 20 y/o, France
The Spurs appreciate international players more than any other team in the NBA except the Toronto Raptors and they like to draft players for the future, not expecting an instant contributor at #26. Ajinca is an absurdly athletic seven-footer with tons of potential, but he’s a few years away from being NBA-ready.
27. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS: Bill Walker, 6’6, 225, SF, So., Kansas St.
Walker would provide support on the wing for the deep and talented Hornets. He has a strong body and plays bigger than he is. Walker is mature and has the tools to enjoy a career as a reliable role player in the NBA.
28. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: Serge Ibaka: 6’10, 220, PF, 18 y/o, Congo
For the Gizzlies to rebuild through the draft, they will need to take a chance on a raw, but very talented, prospect like Ibaka. He's still learning the game and growing into his body, but he's
29. DETROIT PISTONS: Jason Thompson: 6’11, 250, PF/C, Sr., Rider
With Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace aging, and Jason Maxiell undersized, the Pistons could look at Thompson, who often destroyed lesser competition while at Rider. It's unclear whether he can compete with NBA-caliber talent, however.
30. BOSTON CELTICS: Courtney Lee: 6’5, 200, SG, Sr., Western Kentucky
It’s very difficult to find a player that can actually make your roster with the 30th pick, but Lee is an experienced (a rare senior) and smart perimeter player who would have a chance to stick here.
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