By David J. Cohen
The NBA draft is extremely crucial toward building success and ultimately championships. Every team is one great pick away from possible glory. However, this year the draft shook out in an order that hurts many of the teams. If trades don’t happen early and often a lot of square pegs could find themselves in round holes. Here is a mock draft rundown of what the teams should do, and then what I think they will end up doing if they are picking at their respective spots.
1. Chicago Bulls – This one isn’t too difficult. With Drew Gooden and draft picks from the last 2 years in Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas the Bulls don’t need Beasley. Derrick Rose is the best player in this draft and will immediately replace Kirk Hinrich. Rose can provide immediate stability and a sense of calm that Hinrich cannot. If you want a preview of how Rose will help the Bulls, look at what Brandon Roy has done for Portland.
What they should do: Draft Derrick Rose, PG Memphis
What they will do: Draft Derrick Rose
2. Miami Heat – The Heat are in a tricky spot here. You wouldn’t think so since Rose and Beasley are the clear 1-2 in this draft but if the Heat end up keeping Shawn Marion, and all indications point to him opting out to work out a long term deal with Miami to help their immediate cap, then Beasley doesn’t quite fit a position of need. He isn’t good enough defensively to play the 3 consistently in the NBA and I don’t think the Heat want Marion sliding to that spot even though it might work out quite well. On top of that Riley doesn’t like Beasley’s attitude and worries he might turn into more trouble then good. I don’t see him as another Zack Randolph but Riley sees some of that in Beasley and it scares him. Wade has fallen in love with O.J. Mayo and while it would be insane to pass up Beasley for Mayo it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
What they should do: Draft Michael Beasley, PF Kansas State and slide Marion to SF. In their own division the starting 3’s are Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace, Rashard Lewis, and Caron Butler.
What they will do: Trade down in the lottery or take Beasley with the intention of trading him to a team like Memphis.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves – The Wolves can take anyone here since they need help all over the place. Anyone they take could conceivably start right away. If the Heat draft Mayo then the T-Wolves have the no-brainer decision of the NBA draft. It’s more likely the Heat could move out of that pick and if the T-Wolves aren’t the trading partner then they have a dilemma. They need a sure-fire pick and it doesn’t exist at their spot. They should trade the pick and accumulate some future picks but its unlikely anyone else wants the 3rd pick.
What they should do: Draft Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG Arizona. PG is the one position where the Wolves don’t have a young player that can turn into a bonified starter.
What they will do: Trade out or draft O.J Mayo, PG USC.
4. Seattle Sonics – The Sonics are probably the toughest team to figure out in the draft. There is a ton of uncertainty as to who the Sonics plan to keep from last year’s roster and that makes it hard to figure out who they will take. You would think either Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson will be on a different team by the end of the draft. The Sonics are in complete rebuilding mode and could also entertain trading the pick down if they can get a player that can help Durant immediately. It would be interesting if the Sonics offered their 4 th and 24 th picks to Miami to try and grab Beasley, especially with the status of Chris Wilcox up in the air. But that likely won’t happen, and if the Sonics are stuck at 4 they need someone to play point next year.
What they should do: Draft Bayless if he’s there. If not and they must draft a player, take Brook Lopez, C Stanford. They need a center prospect and he’s the only one available at the top that isn’t a major reach. They cannot take Mayo under any circumstances because he and Durant cannot coexist.
What they will do: Draft Jerryd Bayless, PG Arizona.
5. Memphis Grizzlies – They are going to trade Mike Miller and its possible depending on the suitor that this pick might be involved. The Heat have targeted Miller for almost 5 months now. If they have to keep the pick they need to address the frontcourt. Based on what they gave up for Pau Gasol they should draft a new GM but that’s not possible. Right now the Grizzlies starting frontcourt is Hakim Warrick and Darko Milicic. That’s not good. With 3 young point guards and an emerging SG in Juan Carlos Navarro it limits who they should look at with this pick if they’re stuck.
What they should do: Trade out or draft Brook Lopez, C Stanford. He’ll start immediately. If he’s gone then the Grizzlies are really in a bind unless they are finally working out the Heat deal that would net them Michael Beasley. If not then the only option left is Kevin Love. He’s overrated at this pick but he’s the only other frontcourt player they can take who can immediately contribute.
What they will do: Draft Kevin Love, PF UCLA
6. New York Knicks – The Knicks need to trade down more than any other team in this draft. They really are left short of any options no matter how the top 5 shakes up. The Knicks, who have often found busts, are now looking into a minefield full of them. D’Antoni doesn’t like Gallinari, so there goes the shoe-in pick. The best case scenario for the Knicks isn’t that Mayo slides to them. They need to trade the pick down for a first and a future first. The next Steve Nash is in next year’s draft. Ricky Rubio currently plays in Spain. Anyone who looks him up on Youtube will see he’s identical to Nash in his mannerisms, court vision, and the type of passes he does. That’s D’Antoni’s point of the future. The Knicks could reach for a PG right now but there is no one worth the pick at this spot.
What they should do: Trade down. The talks with the 76ers are dead but there is still very strong discussion that D’Antoni is importing either/or Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa and that this deal involves the swapping of 1st round picks. If they can’t do that then they should draft Joe Alexander, SF West Virginia. His workouts indicate he is indeed more athletic then he appears, which seemed to be the case in college. He is the type of player D’Antoni can work wonders with in his system. And Alexander brings the lunch-pail toughness the Knicks desperately need.
What they will do: Draft Mayo or D.J. Augustin, PG Texas. Mayo would be the next Marbury in the Big Apple as he is easily distracted. Augustin is a talented player and while I like him I don’t want him at this point in the draft. The Knicks never get it right so there’s no reason to think that will change now.
7. L.A. Clippers – The Clippers underachieved again and now will likely lose its 2 best players. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette can both leave if they wish for one reason or another and anytime a player can leave the Clippers it should be a foregone conclusion they jump ship. The remaining Clippers need a point guard and a power forward. This is another team where their draft position doesn’t quite match their need. If they can create a deal involving Brand that allows them to move up then they can salvage the draft. The likely 4 best players on the board don’t fit a direct position of need for the Clippers.
What they should do: Trade down. If a pick must be made they should select Augustin if the Knicks don’t pick him. If he’s also gone then Brook Lopez is the best player available for them as far as an immediate impact and a need.
What they will do: Draft Russell Westbrook, PG UCLA. One of the reach’s of the draft, but with the Clippers only PG secured on the roster being Shaun Livingston they will pick out of desperation. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Bobcats may have guaranteed Westbrook the pick at number 9.
8. Milwaukee Bucks – They are rumored to be moving Michael Redd and their pick could be involved in some capacity in a trade up. However, the Bucks are the first team in a while in this draft that has the board fall in line for them. Depending on who they get in a Redd deal the Bucks might still need a solid SG. The weakest position on the roster is at SF, and at this point they can easily fill that position as well.
What they should do: If they don’t get a direct replacement for Redd they should pick Eric Gordon, SG Indiana. Unfortunately they have Kelvin Sampson on their coaching staff now so that’s out. This leaves them addressing SF with Joe Alexander.
What they will do: Draft Joe Alexander.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – This team will never be taken seriously as long as they have a middle school name for a mascot, but that’s something they can’t fix. It’s clear the Bobcats have to address the frontcourt. Okafor is the only steady player on the team at PF or C and he could be traded. This could be a very easy pick or they might end up taking a huge gamble, depending on how the board shakes out.
What they should do: If Lopez is still hanging around then he has to go here. If not they need someone to step in immediately at one of the two spots and can’t wait on another project. It’s a slight reach, but if they can’t move down a few spots they should draft Darrell Arthur, PF Kansas. With good coaching he could evolve into a very good player for a lot of years and can come in right away and contribute.
What they will do: Draft Brook Lopez. If he’s gone then they will take DeAndre Jordan, C Texas A&M. M.J. will take another center project and it might hurt him again, even though if this one doesn’t work out he’ll still be better than Kwame Brown.
10. New Jersey Nets - In the Nets case it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks. They’ve guaranteed Gallinari the pick. He would drop out if he didn’t get a guarantee he’d be in the top 10. The Nets have a history of guaranteeing their picks, so this isn’t a surprise. With 9 other teams that haven’t guaranteed Gallinari anything that kind of narrows the field.
What they should do : Since they are going to trade Jefferson in a Marcus Camby deal they will need a SF so I agree with the guarantee.
What they will do: Draft Danilo Gallinari, SF Italy.
11. Indiana Pacers – Rumors are all over the place about them being one of the teams most likely to move up. As it stands now the Pacers will need a PG, PF, and C as Jermaine O’Neal appears to finally be headed elsewhere. If Augustin or Westbrook are still available it’s going to be really hard to pass them up. If they aren’t available then the Pacers have some thinking to do if they can’t get out of the pick.
What they should do: If either Augustin or Westbrook are available they should be taken here. If they aren’t there then the Pacers logically have to choose between Jordan and Anthony Randolph, PF LSU (Love Shaq University). However, the best fit and need for the Pacers is Kosta Koufos, C Ohio State. In their free-flowing system Koufos can hit the outside shot and help stretch the floor. Having him keeps Troy Murphy at the 4 at all times and helps this team much more in the short run and down the line.
What they will do: If Jordan is still available and the PGs are gone, which is very likely, he’s their pick. If he’s gone then they will select Anthony Randolph.
12. Sacramento Kings – The Kings decision will come down to who they feel is coming back next season. If they are moving Ron Artest then they could look for a replacement. They have a good duo at center but if they trade Brad Miller they need someone to go alongside Spencer Hawes. Mikki Moore and Shelden Williams aren’t reliable PFs so the Kings are probably looking at that position the hardest. If the draft shakes out so Eric Gordon is still available the Kings should have a healthy market of trade partners and trading down is their best option in this scenario.
What they should do: If Gordon is still around trade down. They could package this pick with one of their 2nd round picks to get a 1st and a future 1st. If he’s gone then they can’t ignore Randolph if he’s still around. If both are gone then they need another center, and they had Roy Hibbert rated ahead of Hawes last year, so why not get them both?
What they will do: Trade down if Gordon is still there. If he’s not then they will draft Randolph or Hibbert.
13. Portland Trailblazers – Portland has a ton of young talent and in reality needs some good veterans to take the next step. With Greg Oden coming in it’s as if they have their monster 1st round pick already. They get a great player in the draft every year, and if the draft plays out like this they will continue the trend. Eric Gordon is a perfect pick here as Brandon Roy can play straight from the point and control the offense. Gordon and Roy are great compliments to each other.
What they should do: Draft Eric Gordon. If he’s gone then they need to trade or even sell the pick.
What they will do: Draft Eric Gordon or trade out.
14. Golden State Warriors – The Warriors will have a lot to deal with in new contracts and free agents. They have to decide whether to offer lucrative contracts to Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins and figure out the future of Baron Davis. I don’t see Davis being moved so that leaves Ellis or Biedrins as possibly being gone. The Knicks love Ellis and he doesn’t mind going there so a trade between the 2, which would certainly involve the Knicks 6th pick, could emerge. If they have to pick here they need another center whether Biedrins is a Warrior or not. In Nellie’s offense they can find the closest thing to the Dirk figure still on the board.
What they should do: If they still have the pick they must pick Kosta Koufos. This would make them the only team in NBA history to have 2 players named Kosta on their roster.
What they will do: Draft Kosta Koufos. In the very unlikely event he is gone they will take Darrell Arthur.
15. Phoenix Suns – The Suns are changing their identity to more of a traditional half-court defensive team. The glaring position of need is at center, as the Big Cactus is all they really have, and Amare Stoudemire has been injury prone at the 4 next to him. Based on what the Suns are trying to do there are 2 players on the board that make perfect sense if they’re still at this pick. If the Knicks hold this pick, then they are still out of position as far as need. They could take Arthur but at this point as a fan I would be praying for the Knicks to “reach” and take Chris Douglas Roberts, SG/SF Memphis. He is the perfect fit for D’Antoni and is the most underrated player in this draft. He would easily be a 20, 5, 5 guy in New York by his 2nd season.
What they should do: Draft Roy Hibbert or Darrell Arthur.
What they will do: Draft Roy Hibbert. If he’s gone then Darrell Arthur.
16. Philadelphia 76ers – They are the Portland Trailblazers with less talent across the board. They had a terrific run after the all star break last year and hope to parlay that into a good run this year. Right now they have no PF and must fill that void.
What they should do: If Arthur is still around he should be a shoe-in selection. If he’s gone then they should select Robin Lopez. His skill set is a good match to backup Dalembert.
What they will do: If they are at this pick all signs point to them taking Marreese Speights, PF Florida. He’s the next Eddy Curry and is easily going to be one of the busts of this draft.
17. Toronto Raptors – The Raptors are a team without a whole lot of needs for youth. If they trade T.J. Ford then they need a backup PG but they can’t get that here. They could use a backup center or power forward incase Bosh leaves. They are a team prime to trade out of this pick. If not they could take an international player and stash him away for a couple years.
What they should do: If Arthur is still hanging around it will be very difficult for the Raptors to pass him up. If he’s gone then they should consider international talent like Nicolas Batum, SG France, who they can keep overseas for a couple years.
What they will do: They will probably package this pick in some kind of deal. If they have to use it for themselves they will finally get Arthur off the board. If he’s gone then they will draft Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka, PF Congo, or Alexis Ajinca, PF France and keep their pick overseas.
18. Washington Wizards – This pick will be directly tied to whether Agent 0 and Antawn Jamison are returning. If they both return the Wizards could very well trade out of this draft or build some frontcourt depth. If Arenas is gone they may reach for Mario Chalmers. If Jamison is gone then they will take someone at that spot. In any case another center wouldn’t hurt.
What they should do: The Wizards should take the best player available not at SG.
What they will do: Draft Mario Chalmers. The Wizards may realize that under Coach Eddie Jordan they are better off without Arenas because the ball moves and they play team defense. In that case they need a PG replacement and the draft really plummets at the position after Chalmers.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs will likely need some frontcourt depth as Anderson Varejao will probably end up on a different team before next season. They also desperately need some players around LeBron that can hit perimeter shots. There is a player on the board that makes too much sense.
What they should do: Draft Brandon Rush, SG/SF Kansas.
What they will do: Draft Brandon Rush.
20. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets, if they are trading Camby to the Nets or anywhere else, will have a huge void to fill at center.
What they should do: Draft Robin Lopez, C Stanford. If he happens to be gone then they should draft JaVale McGee, C Nevada.
What they will do: Draft Robin Lopez
21. New Jersey Nets – If they have Camby they are set in the frontcourt. They could use a SG but with Gallinari being an international player and with no other true options the Nets could take another SF who gives them a different element. They could also take the eventual replacement to Vince Carter.
What they should do: Take the best player available: Chris Douglas Roberts.
What they will do: Draft CDR. They need a replacement for Vince sooner rather than later and reports are they will take either CDR or Brandon Rush at this spot.
22. Orlando Magic – For a team that made the playoffs last year they don’t have a ton of depth. With the players leaving the team the Magic could use depth at every position except center. A great pick at SG could give them a new starter, and with Turkoglu and Lewis to spread the floor open the Magic are missing an effective slasher. He’s on the board.
What they should do: They have a lot of options at this pick. They should try to move up a couple spots to get Rush or CDR. If they are stuck here they should take the best player available: Donte Green.
What they will do: Draft Courtney Lee, SG Western Kentucky. The Magic GM likes him over CDR. He’s a pure scorer who should prove to be at least as comparable as the players in the 2 slot last year. The reason this is the wrong pick is that the Magic have enough shooters.
23. Utah Jazz – The Jazz are pretty much set. They could use a backup center. I assume they won’t move Kirilenko, so that means the Jazz will either pick the last remaining NBA now center prospect in the first round, sell the pick, or get a developmental international player. They have a ton of options.
What they should do: If they are confident in AK-47 then they can take any big prospect they wish. If not then they could take Green if he’s still around, but I don’t think he’s a player that fits Jerry Sloan.
What they will do: Draft JaVale McGee.
24. Seattle Sonics – If they have this pick and have taken Bayless at number 4 then they need to continue to build the frontcourt. With Wilcox likely on the way out they need to find someone to anchor the frontline for the future.
What they should do: They are going to be severely tempted by Donte Green at this point. However, they should get someone who can help them at a position of need down the line. They need frontcourt help as fast as possible but the truth of the matter is there is no player that should go in this range that can come in immediately. JJ Hickson, PF North Carolina State is a reach but his game strongly resembles Wilcox and could be a direct replacement for him.
What they will do: All signs point to Serge Ibaka. He is an athletic freak who has started to develop some advanced offensive skills for an African basketball player. He’s being compared to Shawn Kemp so it’s understandable why the Sonics like him so much.
25. Houston Rockets – If there’s ever been any team that needs players now, it’s the Rockets. They need offense. They need players that can create scoring opportunities for themselves. At this point there’s a player they can’t pass up on.
What they should do: Draft Donte Green. He has a few issues that made him slip, particularly his work ethic and defense but is way too talented to pass up for a team lacking in overall athleticism.
What they will do: Jump on Donte Green.
26. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are still a great team but they are old and need to build depth. At the heart of the matter are the SG and SF positions, where behind Ginobili the Spurs have two players that may retire and an aging Bruce Bowen at SF with not a ton behind him. The Spurs always find great value and they will do it again this year with the steal of the draft falling into their lap.
What they should do: Take an international prospect and stash him since they don’t have any value here with any of the U.S. players.
What they will do: Select Nicolas Batum. They can let him develop for a couple years and then bring him over when they need a starting SF.
27. New Orleans Hornets – The Hornets are a young team that is just about set at every position. They could easily sell the pick or trade out for a future pick. If they keep the pick expect them to take a project player to keep overseas. SG is the only place where they could bring someone in right away but they will have to reach.
What they should do: They need to bring in some talent at SG and clean out the position a little bit. They will have to reach with CDR just missing them but this is the point in the draft where you draft on pure potential. Bill Walker, SG/SF Kansas State would be a worthy selection. The fact that the Hornets have just one pick this year plays a big role in their decision.
What they will do: Draft Bill Walker or Gary Forbes, SG Massachusetts. Forbes is the type of player Byron Scott loves and he is tough enough to make a contribution, but he is definitely a reach at this point.
28. Memphis Grizzlies – If the Grizzlies pass on Brook Lopez then they absolutely must draft a future center here. There are a lot of PF prospects at this point but not too many centers. Even if they make the Heat trade they need a center.
What they should do: Draft the “Shaq from down under”.
What they will do: Draft Nathan Jawal, PF/C Australia. He is still raw in many offensive skills but he stalks the boards like a rebound hunter. With Milicic and Kwame Brown as your current plan in Memphis this is a nice pick.
29. Detroit Pistons – This pick will absolutely be related to who gets traded. The Pistons will likely be looking at PF after they move Sheed. Maxiell is a monster on the glass and McDyess can do a little bit of everything. Sheed’s ability to stretch the defense from the perimeter needs to be replaced. There’s only one PF prospect in this area that has the potential to do that.
What they should do: Draft Ryan Anderson, PF California.
What they will do: Draft Ryan Anderson, PF California.
30. Boston Celtics – The new NBA champs will lose their depth in the backcourt. They could still have enough talent at both guard spots if they trust their young talent. James Posey is likely opting out so they need a SF.
What they should do: Trade down or select Davon Jefferson, SF USC. He is a perfect type of player for the Celtics.
What they will do: Probably try to trade out or sell the pick. If they are taking then they need either a SF or C prospect, so they will likely take Omer Asik, PF/C Turkey or Ante Tomic, C Croatia and hope they get a good big man in the future.
All 2nd Round Team
PG: Kyle Weaver (Washington State)
SG: Gary Forbes, Jamont Gordon (Mississippi State)
SF: Davon Jefferson, James Gist (Maryland), Josh Duncan (Xavier)
PF: JJ Hickson (NC State), DeVon Hardin (California), Richard Hendrix (Alabama)
C: Joey Dorsey (Memphis), Trent Plaisted (BYU)
1st Round NBA Mock Draft Of What Teams Will Do If No Trades Happen
1. Bulls – Derrick Rose, Memphis
2. Heat – Michael Beasley, Kansas State
3. T-Wolves – O.J. Mayo, USC
4. Sonics – Jerryd Bayless, Arizona
5. Memphis – Kevin Love, UCLA
6. Knicks – D.J. Augustin, Texas
7. Clippers – Russell Westbrook, UCLA
8. Bucks – Joe Alexander, West Virginia
9. Bobcats – Brook Lopez, Stanford
10. Nets – Danilo Gallinari, Italy
11. Pacers – DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M
12. Kings – Anthony Randolph, LSU
13. Blazers – Eric Gordon, Indiana
14. Warriors – Kosta Koufos, Ohio State
15. Suns – Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
16. 76ers – Marreese Speights, Florida
17. Raptors – Darrell Arthur, Kansas
18. Wizards – Mario Chalmers, Kansas
19. Cavs – Brandon Rush, Kansas
20. Nuggets – Robin Lopez, Stanford
21. Nets – Chris Douglas Roberts, Memphis
22. Magic – Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky
23. Jazz – JaVale McGee, Nevada
24. Sonics – Serge Ibaka, Congo
25. Rockets – Donte Green, Syracuse
26. Spurs – Nicolas Batum, France
27. Hornets – Bill Walker, Kansas State
28. Grizzlies – Nathan Jawal, Australia
29. Pistons – Ryan Anderson, California
30. Celtics – Omer Asik, Turkey
1st Round NBA Mock Draft Of What Teams Should Do If No Trades Happen
1. Bulls – Derrick Rose
2. Heat – Michael Beasley
3. T-Wolves – Jerryd Bayless
4. Sonics – Brook Lopez
5. Grizzlies – Kevin Love
6. Knicks – Joe Alexander
7. Clippers – D.J. Augustin
8. Bucks – O.J. Mayo
9. Bobcats – Darrell Arthur
10. Nets – Danilo Gallinari
11. Pacers – Russell Westbrook
12. Kings – Anthony Randolph
13. Blazers – Eric Gordon
14. Warriors – Kosta Koufos
15. Suns – Roy Hibbert
16. 76ers – Robin Lopez
17. Raptors – DeAndre Jordan
18. Wizards – Chris Douglas Roberts (as SF)
19. Cavs – Brandon Rush
20. Nuggets – Marreese Speights
21. Nets – Donte Green
22. Magic – Mario Chalmers
23. Jazz – JaVale McGee
24. Sonics – Serge Ibaka
25. Rockets – Courtney Lee
26. Spurs – Nicolas Batum
27. Hornets – Bill Walker
28. Grizzlies – Joey Dorsey
29. Pistons – Ryan Anderson
30. Celtics – Davon Jefferson
That’s a wrap. This year is more unpredictable then most because of all the players in limbo and how many teams have positions of need that won’t match the value on the board when they are on the clock.