NBA mock draft 2010

Everyone was watching the NBA’s draft lottery to see if the New Jersey Nets would get to add a No. 1 draft pick to the gift basket they are assembling for free agent LeBron James(notes). No such luck. The Washington Wizards landed the top pick and have some salary-cap room, but figure to have a tough time convincing a top free agent to sign on after such a tumultuous season.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, who had the second-most lottery chances, might have to pass on adding another point guard. The Philadelphia 76ers jumped up to land the second pick, followed by the Nets and Timberwolves. Here’s an early look at how the June 24 draft could play out:

1. Washington Wizards – John Wall, PG, Kentucky: Move over, Gilbert Arenas(notes). Will the NBA produce its third straight Rookie of the Year who spent one year in college playing point guard for John Calipari? Wall could easily follow in line with Derrick Rose(notes) and Tyreke Evans(notes). He resembles both former Memphis guards in terms of skill, size and athleticism. Wall was a blur on the Kentucky court last season and is nearly a lock to go No. 1. He introduced himself to the college basketball world by scoring 12 of his team’s last 15 points in a win over Connecticut at Madison Square Garden early last season. Wall finished his freshman year averaging 16.6 points and 6.5 assists, but with four turnovers per game.

2. Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State: This 6-foot-7 junior looks like the second coming of Brandon Roy(notes). Even after missing six games early in the season with a back injury, Turner averaged 20.4 points, 6.0 assists and an amazing 9.2 rebounds. He was even more turnover-prone than Wall, however, averaging 4.4 per game. Turner had a nice run in the Big Ten tournament. Over the course of three days, he knocked down a game-winning 40-footer against Michigan, then piled up 31 points and 10 rebounds against Illinois, followed by 31 and 11 in the title game against Minnesota.

3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech: As a freshman, Favors was more steady than spectacular. The 6-9 forward brings an impressive mix of size and talent that could have some people thinking about former Georgia Tech star Chris Bosh(notes). Favors shot 61.1 percent from the field and averaged just over two blocks per game.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse: An athletic scorer who played just one season for the Orange after transferring from Iowa State, but Johnson made it count. He averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and shot an impressive 41.5 percent from 3-point range. At age 23, he is slightly older than most top-five NBA picks of this era.

5. Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Kentucky: Some might see this as a high-risk, high-reward pick. At 6-11 and 280 pounds, Cousins is a physical specimen with plenty of offensive skills. Consistency was an issue during his freshman season, and Cousins’ numbers faded as the year went on.

6. Golden State Warriors – Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina: His body of work is limited, since Davis was a role player during the Tar Heels’ title run in 2009 and broke his left wrist last season. He tried to make a go of it, but essentially missed the final 13 games. Davis got off to a quick start as a sophomore with double-doubles in nine of his first 16 games. His father is former NBA forward Terry Davis.

7. Detroit Pistons – Greg Monroe, C, Georgetown: Monroe made a nice step forward during his sophomore season. The 6-10 center isn’t the most athletic big man you’ll find, but he averaged 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and a surprising 3.8 assists. One of his best games came on Dec. 8 with 24 points and 18 boards against eventual NCAA runner-up Butler.

8. Los Angeles Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest: According to Wake’s media guide, Aminu’s first name means “the chief has arrived.” Aminu was one of the nation’s best rebounders (10.7 per game), but his assist-to-turnover ratio was terrible and the Deacons faded late in the season for the second straight year.

9. Utah Jazz – Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas: A solid low-post center who has made nice strides since averaging eight minutes as a freshman on the Jayhawks’ title team. Oddly enough, his numbers last season (11.3 points, 9.8 rebounds) were down from his sophomore year.

10. Indiana Pacers – Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky: The only non-freshman among Kentucky’s slew of first-round draft candidates, Patterson adjusted his game to fit the new recruits. After averaging 17.9 points as a sophomore, Patterson produced 14.9 points last season. His 57.5 percent shooting demonstrated his offensive skills.

11. New Orleans Hornets – Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall: This freshman 7-footer flew under the radar, but the number that gets people’s attention is 5.4 blocks per game. While the strength of competition in Conference USA wasn’t the best available, Whiteside did score 18 points against West Virginia.

12. Memphis Grizzlies – James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State: The Big 12 player of the year isn’t a spectacular athlete, but he was an efficient scorer last year. The 6-6 guard averaged 22.3 points, including 30 at Kansas State and 31 against Baylor, both wins.

13. Toronto Raptors – Donatas Motiejunas, C, Benetton Treviso: A typical European big man with a nice outside shot. Playing against older competition in the Italian league, the native of Lithuania averaged only 9.3 points but did shoot 56 percent from the field.

14. Houston Rockets – Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas: The burly shooting guard didn’t lead Kansas to NCAA tournament glory. He did prove to be a reliable outside shooter, though, going 41.8 percent from 3-point range. A typical up-and-down freshman, Henry averaged 20.8 points during one four-game stretch of the Big 12 season and 5.5 points in another.

15. Milwaukee Bucks – Paul George, SF, Fresno State: This athletic, skilled wing could give the Bucks a little extra scoring punch with Michael Redd(notes) coming off an injury and John Salmons(notes) possibly becoming a free agent.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves – Larry Sanders, PF/C, VCU: A 6-10 late bloomer, Sanders might help the Timberwolves’ interior defense. He didn’t play organized basketball until 10th grade, but averaged 14.4 points and 2.6 blocks as a college junior.

17. Chicago Bulls – Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati: If only the Bulls could wait and see which player they might sign in free agency, then make this pick later. Outside shooting is a need and Stephenson is a tall, strong, athletic wing who could probably use another year of seasoning in college.

18. Miami Heat – Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor: Jermaine O’Neal(notes) probably won’t be back, so the 6-10 Udoh is the start of a new frontline. The Heat hope to eventually add Chris Bosh or Amar’e Stoudemire(notes).

19. Boston Celtics – Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis: Ray Allen(notes) is a free agent, so this could be a position of need for the Celtics. Williams is a good athlete who could stand to improve his outside shot.

20. San Antonio Spurs – Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State: After three years in college, the 7-1 Alabi may no longer be considered a project. The native of Nigeria has a nice shooting touch and produced double-doubles against both Ohio State and Duke last season.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler: The leader of Butler’s surprising NCAA tournament run does most everything well and should find a way to fit into the Thunder’s talented young lineup.

22. Portland Trail Blazers – Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada: Practically unknown on the national stage, Babbitt is a remarkable shooter. The left-hander averaged 21.9 points while shooting 50 percent overall, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent at the foul line.

23. Minnesota Timberwolves – Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington: Pondexter took a giant step forward during his senior season, averaging 19.3 points and shooting better than 50 percent from the field. He turned in three 30-point games last year.

24. Atlanta Hawks – Dominique Jones, SG, South Florida: A talented scorer who might help the Hawks if Joe Johnson(notes) leaves as a free agent. The 6-4 Jones averaged 21.4 points, dropping 46 on Providence and 37 on Pittsburgh. Needs to improve his 3-point shooting, though.

25. Memphis Grizzlies – Damion James, SF, Texas: He lasted four years in college, and it’s tough to argue with James’ production. He averaged 18 points and 10.7 rebounds his senior season.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech: His numbers dropped in his sophomore season, probably because of the arrival of Favors. But Lawal could add some strength to Oklahoma City’s frontline.

27. New Jersey Nets – Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada: Two Nevada players in the first round, both from Reno? This pick could make sense for the Nets. The 6-3 Johnson is a long-armed lefty with good court vision.

28. Memphis Grizzlies – Kevin Seraphin, PF, Cholet (France): This burly power forward from French Guyana is an interesting prospect, and France has sent some impressive athletes to the NBA in recent years.

29. Orlando Magic – Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky: His stats weren’t impressive last season, but Bledsoe probably played out of position next to fellow freshman John Wall. Bledsoe is an impressive athlete with a decent shooting touch.

30. Washington Wizards – Willie Warren, SG, Oklahoma: After playing his freshman season with last year’s top draft pick, Blake Griffin(notes), Warren stepped up his scoring, but an injury cut his season short.