Jim Sez NBA Mock Draft


By Jim Hurley:

Suffice to say, this year's NBA Draft may well be the trickiest one ever for a number of teams.

Just consider that a batch of clubs that don't yet know whether or not their high-profile free agent players will be staying put -we're talking to you in Cleveland, Miami, Toronto, Phoenix and even Dallas -and so that puts a whole new spin on their specific draft needs plus you've got a pair of NBA sides that own three first-round draft picks and so both Memphis and Minnesota could have a huge say in how Round I shakes out when all the dust finally settles.

It's all gonna take place on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City (7 p.m. ET on ESPN) and -for many of the league's 30 teams -it might well be the single most-important night on the whole 2010 calendar.

One footnote here: There are three teams that head into NBA Draft Night without a pick -that's the Charlotte Bobcats, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Denver Nuggets -but that could well change before the night's over.

Yes, indeed, it's the annual Jim Sez NBA Mock Draft -a first-round forecast from top-to-bottom -and we'll get you to it in just a moment but first this important reminder: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the MLB winners every day when you either call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or when you go right here online. The check-in times are as follows: Anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball games; After 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight games; And then anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays, Sundays and all Holidays. Go ahead and pile up your summertime Baseball profits with America's #1 Handicapper... Jim Hurley!



Here's how we see Round I of Thursday's NBA Draft:

1. WASHINGTON WIZARDS -JOHN WALL, PG, KENTUCKY:  Here's a hoops gem who is already talking about having President Obama attend his home games... now that would be a whole lot of star power in one building! The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Wall is a cat-quick player who figures to be a 10-assist guy right out of the NBA starting gate providing his Wizards can hit some open shots but anyone in/around the nation's capital shouldn't expect the playoffs in Year One. Well, that's unless free-agent LeBron James plans on joining Wall in Washington.

2. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS -EVAN TURNER, SG, OHIO STATE: It's a slam-dunk that the Sixers will snap up the Big 10 Player of the Year who just so happens to be a great shot-creator along with a superb defensive player. Hey, Wall isn't the only upper-crust player who is gonna make his teammates better right from the proverbial get-go. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Turner also could be a post-up nightmare for those smaller guards in the league

3. NEW JERSEY NETS -DERRICK FAVORS, PF, GEORGIA TECH: No doubt the Nets were emotionally crushed when they didn't get the top pick in this draft but this 6-foot-9, 245-poundish board-crasher will be an instant impact player even though he was a one-and-dong guy in college. Favors figures to score 14 or 15 points a night with many of them the result of offensive rebound put-backs but count on his overall scoring skills to improve with age. Could combine with Brook Lopez to give Jersey a solid one-two low-box punch for years.

4. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES -DEMARCUS COUSINS, C, KENTUCKY: As previously mentioned, the T-Wolves own three first-round picks (also #16 and #23) and so long-suffering franchise could opt to deal one-or-more of these selections but gut feeling is they stay put here and take this 6-foot-10, 295-pound Cousins who needs a dose of maturity but already has a pro body and a pro game

5. SACRAMENTO KINGS -WESLEY JOHNSON, SF, SYRACUSE: Last year the Kings picked fourth overall and landed Rookie of the Year point guard Tyreke Evans and so now West Coast club is hoping to hit the jackpot again and here land a real run-the-floor guy who could be 20 ppg scorer if he happens to jive with Evans right away. Only problem we have is 'Cuse star often went AWOL for minutes at a time in big games last year and so that ought to be a concern.

6. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS -COLE ALDRICH, C, KANSAS: Maybe this doesn't appear to be a "Warriors-like"selection as the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder might be slowing down G-State's fast-break game at times but no denying the fact this Bay Area bunch needs to get tougher and become a better rebounding team. Toss in the fact that Aldrich will be an effective shot-blocker against other like-sized centers/power forwards and he could have more impact that you might think

7. DETROIT PISTONS -GREG MONROE, F/C, GEORGETOWN: The Pistons have become irrelevant in the modern-day NBA and so they need someone to flip the switch on offense and become a force on a team that got old in a hurry and then got bad in a hurry. Monroe -a stylish 6-foot-10 player -dispelled the "soft"notion last year with lots of step-it-up games in Big East Conference play.

8. TORONTO RAPTORS (trade with LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS) -AL-FAROUQ AMINU, F, WAKE FOREST: Here's our one-and-only projected deal in Round One as the North-of-the-Border crew will trade away future draft picks plus a player or two for the right to get inside the top 10 in this year's draft. No doubt the fact free agent Chris Bosh appears headed out of Toronto means the Raptors must re-stock their shelves and so this versatile front-court guy fits the bill and allows Canadian club to not skip a beat

9. UTAH JAZZ -GORDON HAYWARD, F, BUTLER: The Jazz are not accustomed to picking inside the top 10 but have this selection (from New York via Phoenix) and opt for one of college basketball's real superstars from last season's "March Madness"time. Hayward is listed at 6-foot-7, 210 pounds and so he must fill out that frame in order to be effective on this next level. Might be considered a slight "reach"here but we have no problem whatsoever with this selection.

10. INDIANA PACERS -ERIC BLEDSOE, PG, KENTUCKY: Most draft boards have this one-and-done UK Wildcats' star going much later in Round One but Indy desperately needs a point guard and this 6-foot-1, 195-pounder boasts a big-time wing span and should improve with time his ball-handling skills. Yes, the Pacers really wanted local kid Hayward but that dream goes up in smoke and they can make a solid deal to fill this one-guard need

11. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS -EKPE UDOH, F, BAYLOR: The Bees need to upgrade their team defense this 6-foot-10, 235-pounder is a solid stopper who shows better-than-average offensive skills and could thrive as long as PG Chris Paul stays healthy. Udoh was a key component as Baylor made it to the Elite 8 and his ever-developing leadership skills is a bonus.

12. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES -LUKE BABBITT, F, NEVADA: The Grizz own three of the draft's top 28 picks and may be tempted to package those lower two selections but will stay put here and make this splendid three-point shooter their guy. Babbitt shot 42 percent from beyond the arc in college and is a premier passer and all we know is Memphis won't be tempted to take a center here as club will show patience with last year's #2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet (remember him?)

13. TORONTO RAPTORS -HASSAN WHITESIDE, C, MARSHALL: This 6-foot-11, 225-pounder led the NCAA in shots blocked in 2009-10 season and could be a real force in the NBA providing he can steer clear of off-the-court issues and fill out that gangly frame too. Some folks claim Whiteside will remind some in Canada of a younger Marcus Camby.

14. HOUSTON ROCKETS -XAVIER HENRY, SG, KANSAS: Conventional wisdom says the Rockets need help along the front court (especially if Yao Ming doesn't come back close to 100 percent) but opportunity to nab drop-dead shooter too good to pass up here. P.S., we think Henry could be a 20 ppg scorer right from Year One in the pros

15. MILWAUKEE BUCKS -JAMES ANDERSON, SG, OKLAHOMA STATE: The Bucks had acquired this pick from Chicago a while back and now wisely utilize it to get proficient scorer who is truly adept at getting off his shot behind screens. If the 6-foot-5 Anderson does anything right off the bat here it's taking pressure off offensive leader Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd.

And don't forget baseball on Thursday, starting in the afternoon and going into the night. Network won its TV Game of the Week last night with the Mets and has three strong games set today! Click here to learn more and get on board!


16. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES -PATRICK PATTERSON, PF, KENTUCKY: The second of Minny's three opening-round picks (and this one came from Denver via Charlotte) makes it the fourth UK Wildcat to get gobbled up but this guy has more than just a single year of college experience and his 6-foot-8, 240-plus pound body will team with former mate Cousins in giving T-Wolves neat one-two tandem along the baseline

17. CHICAGO BULLS -PAUL GEORGE, F, FRESNO STATE: This pick previously was obtained from Milwaukee and this top-notch perimeter shooter will ease some of the burden on PG Derrick Rose (no, we're not counting on the Bulls inking Mr. James this summer) and make Chitowners a better shooting team percentage-wise

18. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (trade with MIAMI) -ED DAVIS, F, NORTH CAROLINA: The Heat traded out of this spot and aggressive Okie City now has two of the next four picks and will grab this 6-foot-9 UNC Tar Heel who sports a smooth stroke and good interior instincts.

19. BOSTON CELTICS -ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, SG, MEMPHIS: The Eastern Conference champs likely will be waving bye-bye to free agent Ray Allen and so this 6-foot-4 gets plugged in though he's no sure thing beyond the arc (just a 34 percent shooter from treyland in college). The Celtics really wanted Okie State's Anderson to fall to 'em here but that didn't happen.

20. SAN ANTONIO SPURS -JEROME JORDAN, C, TULSA: Note that the Spurs are adept at making the most of picking low in Round One (or anytime in Round Two) and here four-time champs pull a minor stunner by opting for this seven-footer who originally hails from Jamaica. Solid shot-blocker with a good mid-range jumper, he is the heir to Tim Duncan in the Alamo City

21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER -SOLOMON ALABI, C, FLORIDA STATE: It's time the Thunder started to rattle some bones in the paint and this physical/defensive-minded pivot man gets the nod here... and gets a "thumbs-up"from Kevin Durant.

22. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS -ARMON JOHNSON, PG, NEVADA: The T-Blazers could turn in a few different directions here but decide to get an instant backup to Andre Miller and note here's a guy who can light it up with lefty jumper. Expect Johnson to be a 20-minute-a-game guy in 2010-11 and then be a starter the following season in Rip City

23. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES -DAMION JAMES, F, TEXAS: Another season in college really helped to round out this 6-foot-6, 225-pounder who can really hit the boards and play either the "3"or the "4". Hey, give Minny another year or two and it will be one of the brightest young franchises in the association.

24. ATLANTA HAWKS -DANIEL ORTON, PF, KENTUCKY: If you are keeping count, this would mark the fifth Kentucky player to get drafted in Round One and this could be veritable steal here as Orton's pre-draft workouts in Chicago had some folks thinking he could be top 15 pick. A 6-foot-9, 270-pound bruiser, he'll give Atlanta some much-needed toughness in the paint

25. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES -AVERY BRADLEY, SG, TEXAS: The Grizz have two of the next four picks and will go "best available athlete"in both spots as they nab this 6-foot-2 marksman after acquiring the selection from Denver. P.S., would have preferred local kid Williams but he gets plucked six picks earlier.

26. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER -KEVIN SERAPHIN, PF, FRANCE: The Okie City gang obtained this selection from Phoenix and will go overseas for 6-foot-10, 255-pounder who needs his offensive exploits to catch up with his standout defense

27. NEW JERSEY NETS -DOMINIQUE JONES, SG, SOUTH FLORIDA: The Nets picked up this late first-round selection from Dallas and turn it into this super-aggressive guard who can defend and go strong to the hole. P.S., Jones could easily have gone in the top 15-to-20 picks so he's premium talent at this late stage of Round One.

28. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES -LANCE STEPHENSON, G/F, CINCINNATI: The third and final opening-round pick for Memphis here (acquired from the two-time champion LA Lakers) is bit of a surprise but one-and-done collegian has solid hoops IQ and strong Chicago camp elevates 'em to first-round status

29. ORLANDO MAGIC -GANI LAWAL, PF, GEORGIA TECH: If the Magic wants to get back to the NBA Finals, then it better concentrate on getting tougher and so this bullish 6-foot-9, 235-pounder will give C Dwight Howard a strong wing man for years to come

30. WASHINGTON WIZARDS -LARRY SANDERS, PF, Virginia-Commonwealth: The Wiz got this pick from Cleveland and use it to take a local favorite who must bulk up his 6-foot-9, 222-pound frame while maintaining his baseline-to-baseline quickness/speed. There's a possibility the Wizards deal away this Round I final pick if they can obtain a nice veteran two-guard in the package.

NOTE: Catch our NBA Draft re-cap plus MLB News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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