In 2010-11, Jim Larranaga may have his best team since the Final Four run. (Icon SMI)
By Steven Jung
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
It's difficult to predict what each team will do in the NBA Draft. Many times, teams don't even know themselves until they are on the clock. Some teams send out mixed messages to confuse other teams. Some teams are very private. It's often like a game of chess.
But based on information gathered throughout the draft process, I can attempt to assess what each team will be thinking on draft night and which players they will consider. Let's play out the draft process and discuss what each team in the first round will be thinking and what they will do when it's their turn.
1. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
The Wizards have known since they won the draft lottery that they are taking John Wall. They have told him he will be the pick, but he and the Wizards are acting like it's not a sure thing, even though we all know it is.
2. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
The Sixers have known for a few weeks now that Evan Turner will be their guy. They are still entertaining trade offers, but it would take a blockbuster to trade this pick, and that won't happen. There is no doubt they will take Turner. The Sixers know that and Turner knows that.
3. NEW JERSEY NETS
The Nets are hoping the Sixers make a huge mistake and pass on Evan Turner. The Nets would love to have Turner, but instead they will be happy to take Derrick Favors. There is no chance Favors gets past the Nets.
4. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
The Timberwolves would also love it if Evan Turner fell to them, but that's not happening. They are in love with Wesley Johnson and he will definitely be their guy.
5. SACRAMENTO KINGS
Here's where the draft begins to get interesting. The Kings are actively trying to trade down a few spots. They really like Greg Monroe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Gordon Hayward, and would be happy with any of them. They are unsure what they want to do, so they'd rather trade down and take whichever of those guys is left. If they can't find a good trade, they will consider taking one of those three guys anyway, but DeMarcus Cousins is the frontrunner if they stay at No. 5.
6. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The Warriors are hoping that DeMarcus Cousins falls to them. If he doesn't, they'll be looking at Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis and Greg Monroe. Aminu is the frontrunner, but any of those three are very possible.
7. DETROIT PISTONS
The Pistons are looking for a big man and will be choosing between Greg Monroe and Ed Davis. If one of the two is gone, it will be an easy choice. If both are available, Monroe is the likely choice.
8. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The Clippers don't need any more big men. They would like to get a wing. Al-Farouq Aminu is the only guy worth taking at No. 7, so they're hoping he's there. If he's not, they either will try to trade down or they'll have to reach for someone. If they reach, it would be between Gordon Hayward, Luke Babbitt, Xavier Henry and Paul George, with Hayward being the frontrunner.
9. UTAH JAZZ
The Jazz are going to try and trade up to get Greg Monroe if it doesn't seem that he will be available at No. 9. If they can't trade up and he is gone, they'll hope that Ed Davis is there. If both are gone, the pick will really be up in the air between Cole Aldrich, Luke Babbitt, Xavier Henry, and maybe even some other guys.
10. INDIANA PACERS
The Pacers are also hoping that Ed Davis is still on the board. If he isn't, Avery Bradley, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton are all possibilities. Bradley would be the frontrunner, but the Pacers could also trade down and take one of those three players later in the first round.
11. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
The Hornets are hoping that Gordon Hayward falls to them. If he doesn't, they'll be looking at Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich and Daniel Orton. They also may look to trade down because they aren't incredibly high on anyone. If they stay put, expect Henry to be their guy.
12. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
The Grizzlies have been high on Luke Babbitt for a while. They may even trade up to make sure they get him. If he's gone and they can't make a trade, they'll take whoever the best player available is. They don't need to draft for need because they have three first round picks.
13. TORONTO RAPTORS
The Raptors are targeting Ed Davis, Avery Bradley, Ekpe Udoh and Cole Aldrich. They are content at No. 13 because they know they will have their choice of at least two or three of them. The order of the four of them looks like Davis, Bradley, Udoh, and then Aldrich.
14. HOUSTON ROCKETS
The Rockets are also content in their spot because they know a quality big man will fall to them, whether it's Ekpe Udoh, Cole Aldrich or Daniel Orton.
15. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
The Bucks like a few guys - Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Patrick Patterson and Larry Sanders. Hayward will likely be gone. They really need a small forward and George would be the best remaining one left. If both are gone, they will choose between two mobile power forwards in Patterson and Sanders with Patterson being the slight front-runner.
16. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
After drafting Wesley Johnson, the Timberwolves will be looking at another wing or a big man. They'd take any player of those positions who slips to them. The choices at this point would be Daniel Orton, Patrick Patterson, Hassan Whiteside and James Anderson, with Patterson being the slight favorite.
17. CHICAGO BULLS
The Bulls have been in love with James Anderson for a while now, and they've told him that he won't go any lower than No. 17. That's why he hasn't had many workouts and hasn't made much noise recently. The Bulls will most definitely take him, but they will at least have to think about it if Xavier Henry or Paul George is available.
18. MIAMI HEAT
The Heat could really use a true center and they are hard to get these days. Solomon Alabi is a 7-footer who will be available when the Heat are on the clock. They will also think about Daniel Orton, Hassan Whiteside and Eric Bledsoe.
19. BOSTON CELTICS
The Celtics need some depth in their backcourt. Eric Bledsoe and Jordan Crawford would be possibilities, but the Celtics worked out Dominique Jones and really liked him. There's a chance they could trade down, but if not they will likely take Jones.
20. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
The Spurs may take the best player available but they really like Elliot Williams. Daniel Orton, Hassan Whiteside, Damion James and Lance Stephenson will also be possibilities.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The Thunder will love it if they have a choice between Daniel Orton and Hassan Whiteside. If both are gone, they will look at Larry Sanders, Craig Brackins, a wing or an international player.
22. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Like the Thunder, the Blazers would also be thrilled if a young big man like Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside was available. If not, Larry Sanders or Craig Brackins would be considered.
23. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
The Timberwolves can't afford to pay three first round picks, so this pick will be for an international player if they can't trade one of their picks away. The international player would most definitely be Kevin Seraphin.
24. ATLANTA HAWKS
The Hawks drafted a point guard in Jeff Teague last year, but they wouldn't be able to pass on Eric Bledsoe if he is on the board. If he isn't available, they'd look at Jordan Crawford, Darington Hobson and Lance Stephenson.