Updated May 23
A lottery cruel to supposed tankers Boston and Memphis likely delivered two great young prospects to the Pacific Northwest.
Let me emphasize likely, because there's no doubt the Blazers and Sonics are going to hear from teams inquiring about the possibility of moving up to draft this year's top prizes. Whether they listen is pure speculation, particularly since Seattle doesn't even have a coach or general manager in place.
It would not surprise me to see activity on draft night. In fact, it would surprise me if there weren't any trades. Memphis could package Pau Gasol and its No. 4 pick for a shot at Oden or Durant. Atlanta now has an extra lottery pick with which to play.
Expect the phones to be ringing off the hook from here until draft night, giving this offseason the feel of an extended trade deadline.
As a result, take this insanely early mock draft with a grain of salt, but since I know you all just have to have one, here's the initial version:
1. Portland - Greg Oden, C, Ohio State: If the 7-footer joins my two favorite players from the 2006 draft, LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, it would give the Blazers one unbelievable young nucleus. It will be interesting to see how this affects Zach Randolph, who is coming off his best season. Will anyone be willing to take on the four years remaining on his massive contract?
2. Seattle - Kevin Durant, F, Texas: He's great insurance in case Rashard Lewis opts out of his current deal and becomes a free agent. If he sticks around, it's up to the new coach to make sure the two Texan wings can co-exist, which makes a run-and-gun, up-tempo system likely. Maybe fans in Seattle should try and keep this team from leaving for Oklahoma City after all.
3. Atlanta - Al Horford, F, Florida: The Hawks still need a point guard, but would get the traditional power forward they've long coveted. Shelden Williams isn't it, and Marvin Williams is still a 'tweener.
4. Memphis - Brandan Wright, F, North Carolina: He's not Oden or Durant, but he's going to be good. He has the athleticism to be a major factor once he gets stronger. It looks like the Grizz are going to be stuck in rebuilding mode for a while.
5. Boston - Yi Jianlian, F/C, Guangdong Southern Tigers, China: Danny Ainge might not be as tight with Yi's folks as he is with Durant's mom, but he has been overseas to visit and came away impressed. Yi isn't the centerpiece Celtics fans were envisioning, but if he falls here, he'll have to do.
6. Milwaukee - Julian Wright, F, Kansas: He'd look good next to Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Bogut on an athletic, versatile front line. He's still working on getting stronger and improving his shooting stroke, but physically he has the goods.
7. Minnesota - Corey Brewer, G/F, Florida: A stopper who might actually one day be able to score consistently, unlike Trenton Hassell.
8. Charlotte - Spencer Hawes, C, Washington: Emeka Okafor might never become a dependable go-to scorer in the post, but many believe this guy might. Scouts say he's currently well ahead of Oden on the offensive end.
9. Chicago (from New York) - Jeff Green, F, Georgetown: He can do a little bit of everything, and would add to the stockpile of incredible talent that might ultimately land the superstar the Bulls covet.
10. Sacramento - Joakim Noah, F, Florida: The Kings were awful defensively and on the boards, so Noah would immediately fill two major areas of need.
11. Atlanta (from Indiana) - Mike Conley, G, Ohio State: He'll probably end up going a lot higher than this, because it wouldn't surprise me if a team trades up to get him. Atlanta, having passed up on Chris Paul and Deron Williams two years ago, would be thrilled if he fell in its lap.
12. Philadelphia - Al Thornton, F, Florida State: The reigning ACC leading scorer will likely be the first college senior taken.
13. New Orleans - Nick Young, G, Southern California: Desmond Mason could be headed elsewhere, and the Hornets could definitely use another athlete who can put the ball in the hole.
14. L.A. Clippers - Javaris Crittenton, G, Georgia Tech: Shaun Livingston has a long road back and Sam Cassell's days are numbered. Expect the Clips to look hard at Crittenton and Acie Law.
15. Detroit (from Orlando) - Acie Law, G, Texas A&M: Joe Dumars loves winners, and this kid has great intangibles.
16. Washington - Tiago Splitter, F/C, Tau Vitoria, Spain: A big man who is ready to play immediately is what the Wizards covet most. Scouts have been saying he'll be able to defend and board at a high level for years.
17. New Jersey - Josh McRoberts, F, Duke: He cost himself some money by not coming out a year earlier, but he'll land on his feet.
18. Golden State - Thaddeus Young, F, Georgia Tech: A great athlete who would fit Don Nelson's system perfectly once he develops. Of course, by the time that happens, Nellie might be gone. Still, Young is potentially a good value pick.
19. L.A. Lakers - Jason Smith, F, Colorado State: The 7-footer is generating a positive buzz, making it unlikely that he'll return for his senior season in Fort Collins.
20. Miami - Brandon Rush, G, Kansas: The latest Rush brother to try and make the league is a strong shooter who would benefit from playing with Shaq and D-Wade.
21. Philadelphia (from Denver) - Marc Gasol, C, Akasvayu Girona, Spain: Pau's little brother isn't as big anymore, and has become a standout in the Spanish League.
22. Charlotte (from Toronto) - Wilson Chandler, F, DePaul: One of my favorite prospects, I think he'll develop into a very nice player down the road. Whoever agrees with me will be getting a steal.
23. New York (from Chicago) - Derrick Byars, F/G, Vanderbilt: Does a little bit of everything and works hard, which fits the profile of recent Isiah Thomas draftees.
24. Phoenix (from Cleveland) - Marco Belinelli, G, Climamio Bologna, Italy: He can play, and he'd definitely fit the Suns' system. Mike D'Antoni certainly knows who Belinelli is.
25. Utah - Morris Almond, G/F, Rice: Nice scorer who could move up if he packs on more weight and shows he can be dependable from the NBA's 3-point distance.
26. Houston - Rudy Fernandez, G, DKV Joventut, Spain: Flashy Spanish guard is no mystery, since he has flirted with making the jump for years.
27. Detroit - Rodney Stuckey, G, Eastern Washington: Small-school scoring sensation has hired an agent, so he must be comfortable that he's going to land in the first round.
28. San Antonio - Ante Tomic, C, KK Zagreb, Croatia: The Spurs love foreign talent, and Tomic is a 7-foot-2 project they can leave in Europe and let develop, cashing him in down the road.
29. Phoenix - Sean Williams, F, Boston College: His off-court issues in college are a major concern, but he has nice size, can run all day and will excel as a shot-blocker, a skill the Suns can use.
30. Philadelphia (from Dallas) - Arron Afflalo, G, UCLA: Teams are still trying to decide whether Afflalo and fellow big name Alando Tucker of Wisconsin will be able to play at this level.