NBA mock draft 2010: Take 3

Drafts are often described as being deep. Last year’s version actually delivered, with Darren Collison(notes) (No. 21), Taj Gibson(notes) (No. 26), DeJuan Blair(notes) (No. 37), Jonas Jerebko(notes) (No. 39) and Marcus Thornton(notes) (No. 43) earning half of the 10 spots on the NBA’s all-rookie first and second teams.

What about this year’s draft? Well, it will be tough to find players as productive in college as Collison or Blair beyond the 20th selection. There might not be any guards who can match Ty Lawson(notes), Jeff Teague(notes) and Eric Maynor(notes) at pick No. 18.

Then again, no one really knows how the next crop of rookies will fare. One NBA general manager agreed that this class might not match the depth of last year but felt confident it will be a good draft overall, whatever that means.

1. Washington Wizards – John Wall, PG, Kentucky:There doesn’t appear to be much chance of this pick changing. If the Wizards can’t move Gilbert Arenas(notes) to a new team, they’ll simply move him to two guard while Wall takes over the point. The Raleigh, N.C., native talked about some of the hardships he faced growing up during his interview session at the pre-draft camp. “My dad passed when I was 9,” Wall said. “So, basically, I was the father figure around the house. My mom, I didn’t see her as much, working three or four jobs just to take care of me and my sister. This is all I want to do for my mom, seeing her work so much and doing everything she could. I just want to do it all for her.”

2. Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State: A recent report suggested the Sixers are trying to schedule a workout with both Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins about a week before the draft. Does this mean Philadelphia is having second thoughts about taking Turner with the second pick? Maybe, but the team simply might be covering its bases. Consider this quote from new coach Doug Collins: “I thought when Andre [Iguodala] was a two and Thaddeus [Young] was a three, they were both out of position. When Andre is a three and Thaddeus a four, that team won 40 games.” Among Turner, Favors and Cousins, only Turner is a candidate to play two guard.

3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech: Favors played in the same Atlanta Celtics AAU program as Dwight Howard(notes) and comes close to matching up athletically with the first-team All-NBA center. Favors and Howard both measured 6-feet-10¼ in shoes and recorded identical vertical leaps at their respective pre-draft camps. Favors had the best maximum vertical reach this year, which means he can get his hand higher above the rim than anyone else in this draft class.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse: Age could be an issue for Johnson. He turns 23 in July, and sometimes NBA scouts think a guy that age has already reached his ceiling. Johnson endured plenty of twists and turns in recent years. He had a late growth spurt in high school, attended two prep schools to help spur college recruiting, then transferred from Iowa State to Syracuse following his sophomore season.

5. Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Kentucky: The biggest worries with Cousins probably center more on his weight than his attitude. He weighed in at 292 pounds at the pre-draft camp, 20 pounds heavier than his listed weight at Kentucky. Cousins told reporters he’s on a salad-and-seafood diet. Regarding his surly demeanor, he said, “Which one would you take, a nasty big man or a friendly one?”

6. Golden State Warriors Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina: Davis’ body of work is limited, since he was a reserve on the Tar Heels’ 2009 title team and missed 13 games with a broken wrist last season. He is tall and athletic, so he might fit better with the Warriors’ up-tempo style of play than some of the other lottery-caliber big men.

7. Detroit Pistons – Greg Monroe, C, Georgetown: Monroe grew up near New Orleans, and when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, his family relocated to Houston for a month. Their house sustained minimal damage, so he quickly returned to his old high school. He’s a solid citizen and was productive at Georgetown. The only real knock on Monroe is his relative lack of athleticism.

8. Los Angeles Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest: Here’s how Aminu described himself during an interview at the Chicago pre-draft camp: “Because I’m a real laid-back kind of guy, they think I’m real lazy. Certain things come to me easy, and that makes people think I’m not going as hard as I can.” Not many lazy people could average 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds in the ACC.

9. Utah Jazz – Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas: His stats slid from his sophomore to junior year, but Utah might need to reinforce its front line because of the uncertain status of free agent Carlos Boozer(notes). At the pre-draft camp, Aldrich mentioned he still calls himself 6-11 even though the league measured him at 6-9 without shoes.

10. Indiana Pacers – Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall: His father, Hassan Arbubakrr, played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Whiteside might help improve the Pacers’ interior defense. Standing nearly 7 feet tall with a 7-7 wingspan, he averaged 5.4 blocks as a freshman at Marshall.

11. New Orleans Hornets – Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor: Udoh is full of colorful factoids. His given name, Ekpedeme, translates to “lion.” His nickname is “The Nightmare,” and he wore No. 13 at Baylor because his actual middle name is Friday. Udoh is of Nigerian descent but grew up in Oklahoma before starting his college career at Michigan. His 3.7 blocks per game could help any team, especially the Hornets.

12. Memphis Grizzlies – Donatas Motiejunas, 7-0, Benetton Treviso: The left-handed Lithuanian faced a typical story last season in Italy. As a 20-year-old playing with older teammates, he averaged a relatively meager 7.6 points and 3.3 rebounds during Euroleague play. A smooth outside jumper could carry him to the NBA lottery, though.

13. Toronto Raptors – Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas: Even though Henry’s father, Carl, was a two-year starter at Kansas in the 1980s, Xavier was ticketed for Memphis until John Calipari left for Kentucky. Henry’s older brother, C.J., a former first-round pick of the New York Yankees, ended up joining him at Kansas as a walk-on.

14. Houston Rockets – Paul George, SF, Fresno State: If none of the big men are worth the pick here, the Rockets could take a chance on one of the draft’s intriguing prospects. George measured just below 6-9 at the pre-draft camp and thinks he has the skills to play guard.

15. Milwaukee Bucks – James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State: John Salmons(notes) might opt out of his contract and Michael Redd(notes) is coming off another knee injury, so Anderson could bring some insurance at shooting guard. The Big 12 player of the year averaged 22.3 points last season as a junior.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves – Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky: Patterson was planning to earn his degree in three years, so leaving school as a junior made sense. The Huntington, W.V., native played one year in high school with Grizzlies star O.J. Mayo(notes) and filled his role among Kentucky’s talented group of freshmen last season.

17. Chicago Bulls – Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada: He earned a reputation as a superb shooter at Nevada, going 50 percent overall, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent at the foul line last season. Babbitt also tested well athletically, and the Bulls might see him as a power forward who can stretch opposing defenses.

18. Miami Heat – Larry Sanders, PF, VCU: The Heat are obviously hoping to re-sign Dwyane Wade(notes) this summer, but otherwise the roster is wide open. Big guys are tougher to find, so Miami might as well go for the late-blooming Sanders at this spot.

19. Boston Celtics – Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler: The versatile star of Butler’s tournament run should do more than fill Brian Scalabrine’s(notes) bench role. Hayward hit 2-of-11 shots in the title game loss to Duke but had 19 points and nine rebounds in the semis against Michigan State.

20. San Antonio Spurs – Stanley Robinson, PF, Connecticut: In the middle of his UConn career, Robinson became academically ineligible and spent several months working in a scrap-metal factory at the urging of coach Jim Calhoun. “This made me a man,” Robinson said at the time. He found the iron to average 14.5 points last season.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Daniel Orton, C, Kentucky: An Oklahoma City native, Orton averaged just 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds during his freshman year at Kentucky. But maybe he’s better than that. He did miss all but three games during his senior season at Bishop McGuinness High School because of a knee injury.

22. Portland Trail Blazers – Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington: If college basketball had a most improved player award like the NBA, Pondexter might have won it. He averaged 12.1 points as a junior, then 19.3 as a senior while shooting better than 50 percent from the field both years.

23. Minnesota Timberwolves – Terrico White, SG, Mississippi: The 6-5 White believes he can be a full-time point guard. That’s something the Timberwolves don’t need, but they should find a spot for this sophomore who turned in the best vertical leap at the pre-draft camp. He averaged 15.1 points last season.

24. Atlanta Hawks – Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati: This would be a bold pick that might pay off if the Hawks lose Joe Johnson(notes) in free agency. A playground legend from Coney Island’s Lincoln High School, Stephenson averaged a relatively quiet 12.3 points in his lone season with the Bearcats. Clearly, there is more to his game.

25. Memphis Grizzlies – Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada: Johnson finished his high school career as Nevada’s all-time leading scorer, only to see college teammate Luke Babbitt break the record a year later. A long-armed, athletic point guard, Johnson should help the Grizzlies.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder – Damion James, SF, Texas: James was planning to attend Oklahoma when he left high school but changed his mind when coach Kelvin Sampson left. Maybe this will be his second chance to play in the Sooner state.

27. New Jersey Nets – Devin Ebanks, SF, West Virginia: Outside shooting wasn’t his specialty; he hit eight of 70 shots from 3-point range in two seasons. But Ebanks was the defensive catalyst on a team that reached the Final Four, so he’s got plenty to offer.

28. Memphis Grizzlies – Dominique Jones, SG, South Florida: Jones nearly carried South Florida to the NCAA Tournament last season. He tossed in 46 points against Providence and 37 against Pittsburgh, both wins, while averaging 21.4 points overall.

29. Orlando Magic – Elliot Williams, SG, Memphis: After one season at Duke and one at Memphis, Williams is taking his game to the NBA. He averaged 17.9 points last year but didn’t finish strong.

30. Washington Wizards – Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State: The Nigerian-born Alabi didn’t test well athletically. He did deliver strong performances against good competition, recording double-doubles at Ohio State and Duke.