The NBA Draft combine at Chicago’s A.T.T.A.C.K. Center was uneventful in the sense that nobody greatly improved or drastically torpedoed their stock. Measurements were taken, interviews were done, and that was about it. No incredible shrinking Mike Beasley or Kevin Durant power lifting exhibitions this year.
So three weeks before the draft, individual workouts and, you know, game footage will take precedence as teams close in on their picks. This updated mock draft is a combination of what we think teams should do, and what we think they will do:
1. Washington — John Wall, PG, Kentucky
They’ll go through all the motions of working out different guys and listening to trade offers, but don’t fall for it: The Wizards are preparing to introduce John Wall as The Franchise. Gilbert Arenas is either moving to two-guard, or moving out of town.
2. Philadelphia — Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
Again, don’t over-think it. New coach Doug Collins reportedly loves Derrick Favors, and there have been rumors Philly could trade this pick if it means dumping Elton Brand’s contract in the process, but Turner is the safe pick and a future All-Star that fits a basketball need for this team. Plus the Philly faithful already love him. Take Turner and call it a day.
3. New Jersey — Derrick Favors, PF/C, Georgia Tech
If Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau takes the Jersey job, he’ll want Favors to play the role of KG on defense. The kid has a lot to learn, but has enough bounce and good enough instincts to make an impact right away.
4. Minnesota — Wes Johnson, SF, Syracuse
Measured a little over 6-7 with shoes, 206 pounds, with a 7-1 wingspan, 4.6 percent body fat, and a 37-inch vertical. Minnesota hasn’t had an athlete that impressive since Adrian Peterson.
5. Sacramento — DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Kentucky
Character issues? Check. Weight concerns? Check. But Cousins is still too talented for too many teams to pass up. This is why the NBA needed to save its own GM’s from drafting unproven high school players, because potential is too alluring.
6. Golden State — Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
The Warriors have tried and failed before with skinny bigs (Brandan Wright), but Monroe is solid. At the Chicago combine he weighed in at 247 pounds, more than Derrick Favors (245), Patrick Patterson (240), Cole Aldrich (236) and Ed Davis (227). And Monroe can run.
7. Detroit — Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
This should be the easiest part of Detroit’s offseason. The hard part? Finding somebody to take Rip Hamilton’s contract.
8. L.A. Clippers — Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
You know, just in case LeBron passes on the Clips.
9. Utah — Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor
Paul Millsap is the Carlos Boozer replacement, but somebody needs to replace Millsap for frontcourt depth. Udoh is skilled offensively and has the defensive tenacity Jerry Sloan will love.
10. Indiana — Avery Bradley, PG, Texas
They desperately need a point guard. So unless Indy can pull off a Tony Parker trade or convince South Carolina native Ray Felton to sign with a worse team in a cold-weather city, the draft is their best option.
11. New Orleans — Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
Kentucky junior Patrick Patterson is ready to contribute right away and seems like the perfect David West understudy, but the freshman Davis brings a more athletic element to the table.
12. Memphis — Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler
Insurance for Rudy Gay’s potential departure.
13. Toronto — Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
Insurance for Chris Bosh’s inevitable departure.
14. Houston — Donatas Montiejunas, C, Lithuania
Intriguing project to develop behind Yao Ming.
15. Milwaukee — Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
College basketball’s leading shot-blocker as a freshman can be a beast in a few years. The Bucks might want to re-sign Kurt Thomas just so he can teach the kid the ropes.
16. Minnesota — Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
The last talented yet somewhat mercurial two-guard to wear the Wolves draft cap was Rashad McCants. That may throw up a red flag when it comes to Henry, but he fills a need.
17. Chicago — James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State
A pure scorer who can replace some of what Chicago lost with Ben Gordon (and to an extent, John Salmons). That is, unless the Bulls are confident they’ll address that need with Dwyane Wade.
18. Miami — Luke Babbitt, SF/PF, Nevada
Best player available. With 11 free agents on the roster this season, nobody knows what Miami’s roster will look like in a couple of months. Babbitt is rising up the draft boards.
19. Boston — Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky
For an NBA Finals team, the Celtics actually have some major needs. Rajon Rondo needs a legit backup, Ray Allen could leave in free agency, and KG doesn’t have much time left.
20. San Antonio — Larry Sanders, PF, Virginia Commonwealth
Raw talent can learn a lot from Duncan and McDyess, and get the crap beaten out of him in practice by DeJuan Blair.
21. Oklahoma City — Daniel Orton, C/PF, Kentucky
His stock dipped in the eyes of many when he only measured 6-9 and a half in shoes, but Orton just seems like the natural fit here. The Thunder still need a post defender, and the hometown kid can give them that.
22. Portland — Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis
A year ago it seemed like depth was far from an issue with the Blazers, but now their backcourt needs a little shoring up. Williams would make an explosive second-unit guard tandem with Jerryd Bayless.
23. Minnesota — Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State
The NBA’s second-worst defensive team behind Golden State can use another shot-blocker.
24. Atlanta — Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati
If Joe Johnson is gone, the Hawks will need a big guard to train.
25. Memphis — Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada
Will push Marcus Williams and Jamaal Tinsley for minutes backing up Mike Conley.
26. Oklahoma City – Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State
Good perimeter shooter measured just under 6-10 at the combine. Serge Ibaka brings the defense to OKC’s second-unit front line; Brackins can bring scoring.
27. New Jersey — Paul George, SF, Fresno State
One notable player who did improve his stock in Chicago, George is an athletic wing who will make highlights in transition.
28. Memphis — Damion James, SF/PF, Texas
The best senior on the board can help the playoff-ready Grizzlies immediately.
29. Orlando — Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia
Magic GM Otis Smith said he’s not planning a major roster overhaul after his team’s disappointing Eastern Conference Finals. Ebanks is a good project for a deep, contending team. He doesn’t have to be an impact player right away and has room to grow, but has star potential.
30. Washington — Stanley Robinson, SF, UConn
Best player available for a team that needs improvements everywhere. Robinson has four years’ college experience and won’t need as much of a learning curve.