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2010 NBA Mock Draft: Brian Levenson

For the rest of Brian's picks, check out his site at www.briansbigboard.com
NBA Mock Draft - 05/13/2011
Round 1
1. Washington Wizards
John Wall, PG, Kentucky: John Wall to D.C. is all but signed, sealed and delivered. He will instantly be the face of the franchise. This is a no-brainer and nobody will be surprised to hear his name first on June 24th.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State: Not much has changed with Philadelphia and Turner. The only way the Sixers don't end up with Turner is if they trade out of this pick. With the abundance of heavy contracts that they have on their roster it is possible that they look to package one of those contracts and the pick to clear cap space, but I just don't see why they would do that. Turner is the consensus second best player in the draft, he is NBA ready and I believe he would instantly make Andre Igoudala a significantly better player. To take a risky player like Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins or a solid player like Wes Johnson just doesn't make sense for the Sixers with Turner on the board.
3. New Jersey Nets
Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech: I still think Favors fits the Nets perfectly. Unlike the Sixers, they have plenty of cap space and two young bookends in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez to build around. Favors has huge upside and the Nets need to find a potential All-Star to put next to the steady Lopez. Favors gives them the athleticism and overall ability that they need and finding a shooting guard and small forward via free agency, trade or by building through the draft should be a fairly easy process. Favors provides them with another building block as they begin to head in the right direction.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse: I am finally jumping off the idea that the Timberwolves will take DeMarcus Cousins. With Cousins not even going to Minnesota for a workout, it appears Johnson is the guy at the fourth pick. I am as big of a fan of Johnson's as anyone, but I still think Cousins would be the type of player that would immediately help both Jefferson and Love. While I think Johnson will have a good NBA career, I think they are making a mistake by going Johnson here. Having said that, it does appear Johnson is their guy.
5. Sacramento Kings (from Washington)
DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Kentucky: The Kings take the last of the big five prospects and end up with an ideal player to play alongside Tyreke Evans. With Spencer Hawes moving to Philly and Samuel Dalembert coming to Sacramento, the Kings will roll out four big men that have length, athleticism, brute strength, and interior scoring. The real key here is that the Kings will now have a very talented guard and a very talented big man to build around.
6. Golden State Warriors
Greg Monroe, C, Georgetown: Leave it to the Warriors to get the sixth pick in a top-5 heavy draft. People may encourage them to take Al-Farouq Aminu here, but I can't think of a worse fit for both player and franchise. If the Warriors were smart, they would focus all their building efforts around Stephen Curry. While Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins are certainly solid/good NBA players, both have their flaws and might not be in the team's long-term plans. If I were the Warriors, I would take Monroe because he gives you a legit center to play pick-and-roll with Curry and gives you book-end, low maintenance, unselfish, young players to build around for years to come.
7. Detroit Pistons
Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas: The gritty big man would bring Detroit back to its roots as a blue-collar team. Last year, they made sure to add length and athleticism to their frontcourt, but throughout the season they lacked the toughness and the intangibles needed to consistently win. Aldrich can be the type of anchor that they need behind guys like Stuckey, Gordon, Hamilton and Prince and he would provide some much needed bulk to a fragile frontcourt.
8. Los Angeles Clippers
Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas: Everyone is talking about how Al-Farouq Aminu is a top 10 pick and Xavier Henry should fall anywhere from 12-20, but I don't see how Aminu is a better prospect than Henry. Henry is a better ball-handler, shooter, stronger defender and a more comfortable wing player than Aminu. While Aminu has great length, he is very unpolished in many other aspects of his game, including the mental side, in which Henry excelled at in his one year at KU. I think you could plug in Henry and put him next to ball-heavy Baron Davis and Eric Gordon and he would have no problem blending in. His upside may not be as high as some other guys, but I think he is going to be a very solid player for a long time and would fit perfectly in the Clips lineup.
9. Utah Jazz
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State: Wesley Matthews was a huge find for the Jazz, but they still need help at the two-guard. Anderson would compete right away with Matthews for the starting position and I think he would be a very good fit in the backcourt next to Deron Williams. I think Williams and Anderson would be able to play off each other and become one of the top backcourts in the game.
10. Indiana Pacers
Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor: Roy Hibbert has proven to be a solid center, but I think he is better off as a backup than a starter. Udoh has the agility and athleticism to offset some of Hibbert's limitations and I think he would provide defense to a team that desperately needs it. All the sudden a frontcourt of Udoh, Hibbert, Murphy, and Hansbrough gives the Pacers a little bit of everything and gives them some hope for the future.
11. New Orleans Hornets
Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall: Unfortunately for the Hornets, their biggest need remains a shooting guard to play alongside Chris Paul. Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison both proved to be steals, but neither one can start with Paul in the backcourt. At the three, they still have Stojakovic, Peterson, Posey and Wright so I would look to the frontcourt to try to provide some depth and length to complement Okafor and West. Whiteside has the most upside of anyone left on the board and he has offensive abilities that Okafor lacks. He would give the undersized frontcourt of Okafor and West length and is put in an ideal situation for a big man as he can run pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll all day long with CP3. It's a risky pick, but the Hornets need to take the risk due to their salary cap issues.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
Avery Bradley, SG, Texas: The Grizzlies are a tough team to crack because so much rides on whether or not Rudy Gay ends up back in Memphis. I am not sure they will know his fate come draft day, so I think they take a bit of a reach and roll the dice with Avery Bradley. Mike Conley is still questionable at point guard and Bradley could be a nice fit next to the ball-heavy O.J. Mayo. His ability to defend and play off the ball makes him a good fit and he instantly provides Memphis with some depth at both guard positions.
13. Toronto Raptors
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest: With Bosh looking like he is heading out of town and Hedo Turkoglu sounding like he wants out of town, it is extremely hard to figure out what direction this team needs or wants to go in. Andrea Bargnani appears to be the one known piece that they may have to build around and DeRozan still has potential to grow into a solid two-guard. With Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon locked up for years to come, I think they will look to add either the best player available, look for a low-post player to play alongside Bargnani (and Turkoglu), or add an athletic wing that can help make up for Bargnani and Turkoglu's lack of athleticism. Al-Farouq Aminu is an athletic 3/4 who many people believe will be a top-10 pick. I think if he is available here then he will fit two out of the three criteria mentioned above and therefore makes for a solid pick at 13.
14. Houston Rockets
Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky: The Rockets will be in a position to take the best player available here and I think Patterson may be that guy. With Luis Scola being a restricted free agent and Yao's shaky health, Patterson would give them an NBA-ready power forward who can also make mid-range jumpers when playing with Yao. They could roll the dice on guys with higher ceilings like Ed Davis or Paul George, but I think Patterson would be a solid pick here.
15. Milwaukee Bucks (from Chicago)
Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina: With the hope of the return of a healthy Andrew Bogut and the emergence of Brandon Jennings, the Bucks now have some interesting pieces to build around. John Salmons is a restricted free agent and Michael Redd hasn't been healthy in forever, but there isn't a shooting guard that jumps out at this point. Davis needs to have a creative point guard that can find him close to the rim and I believe Jennings would really help him transition to the next level. Also, playing alongside Bogut will ease pressure that may be on him. While some project Davis as a top 10 pick, I think he will end up falling a bit and I think Milwaukee would be a very good fit for him at 15.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Charlotte through Denver)
Damion James, SF, Texas: Having already taken Wesley Johnson, the Timberwolves have a major need at shooting guard and center. However, I just don't think they should stretch for a second-round talent this high. Damion James is an all-around basketball player that can play both forward positions and who would add toughness to a team that lacks it. While they would now be deep at the three, I wouldn't be surprised if James also played minutes at the four as a backup for both Love and Jefferson. At this point, they should just take a good ball player and that is exactly what James is.
17. Chicago Bulls (from Milwaukee)
Paul George, SF, Fresno State: George is a legit NBA talent who will shine this time of the year due to his physical ability. He is a legit-sized wing player who can finish above the rim and stroke it with ease from the NBA three-point line. But, I still question his focus and his intangibles, which will become a major impact for him as he tries to break into an NBA rotation. The Bulls are going to be major players in free agency, but they also need to find another scorer to play with Derrick Rose, regardless of who they sign. I think Rose is the type of point guard that could make George better and at 17 this pick is much more of a low risk, high reward.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder
Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler: The Thunder traded for this pick with the Miami Heat, and I am sure they are targeting a big man that they have their eye on. However, I think they can wait to get the next best big man, Daniel Orton, so I would take Gordon Hayward with this pick. Hayward is the ideal wing to backup Kevin Durant and he becomes another valuable piece to their puzzle. Hayward is the type of versatile, skilled player that the Thunder could use off their bench.
19. Boston Celtics
Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati: I still think this is a perfect fit. The Celtics can provide Stephenson with the guidance and leadership that he needs and can put him in a situation where he can develop. Rondo can teach him how to break into the NBA and gain respect through his play and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce can teach him the mental and physical preparation needed to be successful in the NBA.
20. San Antonio Spurs
Willie Warren, PG, Oklahoma: Like Boston, San Antonio is aging and needs to continue to add young pieces if it wants to compete without having to completely rebuild. With guys like George Hill and DeJuan Blair they do have some young guys who will be in the league for a while. Basically, I think they should look for the best player on the board here and it may very well be Warren. I am not a huge Warren fan -- I think he has a ways to go before being an NBA starter -- but he certainly can put the ball in the hoop. He will go to a Spurs team that has a history of winning and has veteran leadership on the court and in the front office to help Warren reach his potential.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Daniel Orton, PF, Kentucky: I am not buying into the hype of Orton being a lottery pick, but from 20 on, I don't have as big of a problem with it. The Thunder still need some legit sized big men that they can play alongside Durant and Green and I think Orton is solid enough to do what is needed next to those guys. At 21, it's going to be tough to get a center with starting ability, but Orton certainly looks capable of being a decent center at the next level.
22. Portland Trail Blazers
Luke Babbitt, SF, Nevada: The Blazers now have a bevy of big men, even if half of them may not play next season. With Marcus Camby, Greg Oden, Joel Pryzbilla at the five and LaMarcus Aldridge, Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph at the four, there isn't much space in the land of the bigs. In the backcourt, they still have a logjam of Andre Miller, Jerryd Bayless, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and Martell Webster. So that leaves the three as a position that could potentially be addressed with this pick. Nicolas Batum had a solid year, but he may be better served as a bench player due to his offensive limitations. Honestly, I think they may try to package some of the players mentioned above with this pick to try to upgrade one of their positions. They also could easily take Seraphin here and try to leave him overseas to develop his game. However, I think Luke Babbitt could provide them with a nice piece to go next to Roy and Miller. Babbitt has solid handles, but more importantly he can shoot the ball as well as anyone in this draft and he has ideal size to play the 3. Additionally, a future frontcourt of him, Aldridge and Oden (if he can ever get healthy) would give them a little bit of everything and would provide Babbitt with help if he gets beat by quicker defenders.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah through Philadelphia)
Quincy Pondexter, SF, Washington: Just like last year Minnesota steps up to the clock having already selected twice. With that in mind they may look to package this pick with their earlier pick so that they can better address a need. But if they do keep the pick and since I had them take James and Cousins earlier, I think they should take Pondexter here. He would provide them with another very good athlete that can come off the bench and provide energy for their team. He and Damion James are quality NBA athletes who will complement Jonny Flynn's heavy dribbling style of play.
24. Atlanta Hawks
Lazar Hayward, SF, Marquette: This pick may be impacted by what happens with Joe Johnson in the offseason, but ultimately I think they need to add a rugged 3/4 to bring off the bench if Marvin Williams or Josh Smith struggle. Hayward has proven throughout his time at Marquette that he is willing to do whatever is necessary to help his team win. He doesn't mind what position he plays, he sets solid picks, he works hard on the defensive end and he can spread the floor with his outside shooting. I think he would be a perfect fit alongside the athletic wings and big men that the Hawks have. He is undersized, but he gives them versatility due to his willingness to play with the big boys or come outside and play on the perimeter. I think he is a perfect fit and he would push Williams and Smith to continue to improve. He may never be a superstar, but he is the type of role player that will carve a niche for himself at the next level.
25. Memphis Grizzlies (from Denver)
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State: Earlier I had the Grizzlies taking Avery Bradley. Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer are both restricted free agents, but the Grizzlies would step back up knowing they have another pick in the first round at 28. With that in mind, I would go ahead and take the best player on the board in Brackins. Brackins could backup Zach Randolph where he would provide similar scoring ability and a little more athleticism. Memphis may look to package their picks to try to get some cash so that they can pay Gay and Brewer, but if they stay here I think Brackins would be a solid pick.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)
Kevin Seraphin, PF, Cholet: OKC steps back up to the clock in a position where they can continue to add depth. Having taken Orton earlier, the Thunder would now have four bigs to complement and an undersized Green. Additionally Hayward would provide them with additional flexibility along the perimeter. With that in mind, I would roll the dice on raw, but athletic big man, Kevin Seraphin. Like Ibaka, Seraphin has some physical skills that certainly translate to the NBA, but he needs time to continue to develop a low post game. With the Thunder's already crowded and inexperienced roster, this is a pick that they can store away and develop for their future.
27. New Jersey Nets (from Dallas)
Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky: The Nets get a gift as the only first-round point guard prospect since Avery Bradley slips to them. Bledsoe will provide defense and outside shooting, which Devin Harris often struggles with. Additionally, with both players having solid size the Nets could play small ball and shift either Bledsoe or Harris to the off guard. Bledsoe still has work to do to become a reliable point guard, but with the Nets young roster and Harris starting, this would be a very good fit for both he and the Nets.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (from L.A. Lakers)
Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier: The Griz will probably try to sell or trade this pick, but if they do keep it, I think Crawford would be a steal here. Crawford is the type of combo guard that could excel in the NBA, due to his ability.
29. Orlando Magic
Stanley Robinson, SF, Connecticut: The Magic were one of the deepest teams in the NBA this past season. With legit rotational players like Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson losing minutes late in the season, the Magic have solid depth in their frontcourt. With Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson both way past their prime and both being free agents, the biggest need for the Magic may be a backup point guard for Jameer Nelson. Unfortunately, at 29 they would be reaching for a point guard here. With that in mind, I think they should take the best wing player available. Stanley Robinson has the body and the athleticism to play the 3 in the NBA, but he is still a work in progress when shooting and handling the ball. In Orlando he will probably be allowed to grow and could benefit from the double teams that Dwight Howard faces by getting easy dunks around the rim. At this point in the draft teams can either try to find a rotation player or gamble a little bit for a high ceiling player -- Robinson fits the high-ceiling mold.
30. Washington Wizards (from Cleveland)
Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech:
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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