1. Portland Trail Blazers – Greg Oden, The Ohio State University
2. Seattle SuperSonics – Kevin Durant, University of Texas
Durant would have been the #1 pick in any other draft, except maybe 2003.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Mike Conley, Jr., The Ohio State University
Finally the Hawks listen and draft the top point guard in the draft.
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Al Horford, University of Florida
Memphis needs a lot more intensity (not to mention skill) down low and Horford is the most NBA-ready for that role.
5. Boston Celtics – Yi Jianlian, China
Drafting Yi will allow the Celtics to put Al Jefferson at the 4, which should allow them to dominate the paint moving forward. Also look for Corey Brewer at this spot if Danny Ainge has any intelligence.
6. Milwaukee Bucks – Brandan Wright, University of North Carolina
Many consider Wright to be the third best prospect in the draft, so this is a very nice pickup for the Bucks at #6. Wright will be able to play both the 3 and the 4, depending on where they play Charlie Villanueva. The front line of Bogut, Wright and Villanueva give the Bucks a very complimentary front court to their backcourt of Michael Redd and Mo Williams.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Joakim Noah, University of Florida
Kevin Garnett is desperate for some help and though Noah won’t be able to take over too much of the scoring load, he is an extremely good defender and rebounder, which should allow KG to rest a little bit on the defensive end. Additionally, Noah might be the only one in the draft who can match KG’s intensity and desire to win.
8. Charlotte Bobcats – Corey Brewer, University of Florida
This is an absolute steal for the Bobcats. The Celtics will take a nice hard look at Brewer, but Yi Jianlian’s potential is too much to pass up for Danny Ainge. Brewer instantly makes this team better, which is saying a lot considering last year’s pick, Adam Morrison, didn’t exactly change the team overnight. A starting lineup of Emeka Okafor, Sean May, Gerald Wallace, Corey Brewer and Raymond Felton is scary for the Eastern Conference.
9. Chicago Bulls (via New York Knicks) – Spencer Hawes, University of Washington
Chicago is looking for a low post threat and Hawes is the best available player with that type of game.
10. Sacramento Kings – Julian Wright, Kansas University
The Kings may also look at Jeff Green at this spot, but Wright wins with his versatility on the defensive end. Look for Wright to take over for Ron Artest if he is dealt, as expected.
11. Atlanta Hawks – Acie Law IV, Texas A&M University
The Hawks are desperate for a point guard, so why not draft the two best ones? They would like to draft a true center, but taking Conley with their first pick kept them from taking Yi Jianlian or Spencer Hawes. After years of passing on point guards, the Hawks take this year to over do it.
12. Philadelphia 76ers – Jeff Green, Georgetown University
Green is an extremely versatile player and should fit in well playing here. He has that point-forward mentality, which should open up Andre Iguodala for more scoring.
13. New Orleans Hornets – Nick Young, University of Southern California
Young is a heck of a scorer out of the shooting guard position, which should allow Chris Paul to penetrate and dish all day.
14. Los Angeles Clippers – Al Thornton, Florida State University
The Clippers are a little light at small forward, which should allow Thornton to get some run almost immediately. He is an extremely talented ball player and will be a solid contributor on the offensive end for the Clippers.
15. Detroit Pistons (via Orlando Magic) – Rodney Stuckey, Eastern Washington University
The Pistons need a little insurance in the backcourt, as Flip Murray and Lindsay Hunter aren’t exactly vying for the NBA’s Sixth Man Award. Stuckey is a classic combo guard, which is good for the Pistons, as he should be able to spell Chuncey Billups or Richard Hamilton.
16. Washington Wizards – Jason Smith, Colorado State University
The Wizards have been struggling mightily at the center position for years (can we call it the Kwame Curse?), and although Smith isn’t a tradition center, his game seems to fit in well here. He has excellent range for a big man, which should open up the middle for penetration from Gilbert Arenas or post play from Caron Butler.
17. New Jersey Nets – Sean Williams, Boston College
Looking for a little toughness in the middle, the Nets go after one of the best defensive players in the draft. Some off-court issues (including getting thrown off the team at BC) have lowered Williams’ draft position, who could have been a lottery pick had he stayed clean.
18. Golden State Warriors – Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech
The Warriors go for the best available athlete in Young, who should have no problem keeping up with the run and gun style of the Warriors.
19. Los Angeles Lakers – Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech
Some believe Crittenton might be the #2 point guard behind Mike Conley, Jr. and at 6’5″ he surely seems to match up well with anyone. It won’t be easy trying to play alongside Kobe Bryant (if the Lakers keep him), but don’t be surprised if he beats out Jordan Farmar for the starting nod.
20. Miami Heat – Gabe Pruitt, University of Southern California
I could see the Heat going after someone like Tiago Splitter here, but Pruitt is a solid combo-guard who should compliment D. Wade nicely. They have had Gary Payton and Jason Williams for a little too long and it’s time to get some more youth in the backcourt down in Miami.
21. Philadelphia 76ers – Josh McRoberts, Duke University
McRoberts is an athletic big man, who moves well on the floor and is an excellent passer. This team seems to get younger by the day, but McRoberts’ time at Duke seems to have matured him faster than most players coming out after two years.
22. Charlotte Bobcats (via Toronto Raptors) – Derrick Byers, Vanderbilt University
After stealing Corey Brewer with the 8th pick, the Bobcats continue to built on the perimeter by taking Byers, who really only came on during his senior season last year. With Okafor, Brezec and May to play the center and power forward positions, the Bobcats do a good job working on the perimeter where Gerald Wallace has often been missing due to injuries.
23. New York Knicks – Daequan Cook, The Ohio State University
Cook seems a lot like Trevor Ariza when he came out, a player who clearly could use another year in school, but is hoping someone will use a first round pick on him (it didn’t work for Ariza). Isiah Thomas likes Cook’s game and given last year’s initial first round selection (Renaldo Balkman), it’s clear Isiah likes to stretch a tad during the draft.
24. Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland Cavaliers) – Tiago Splitter, Brazil
Splitter could go much higher than this, but if he falls to the Suns, they will take him. A classic European center (i.e. good outside shooting touch, absolutely no defensive toughness), Splitter could fit in well with this team’s love of quick shots and constant movement.
25. Utah Jazz – Alando Tucker, University of Wisconsin
The only player in the nation to get Player of the Year votes other than Kevin Durant, Tucker is definitely undersized for an NBA power forward, but he may be able to find a niche playing behind Carlos Boozer and AK47.
26. Houston Rockets: Rudy Fernandez, Spain
Desperate for point guard help, the Rockets are unable to move up and have to take Fernandez, who is the best available point guard. The Rockets could also look at Oregon’s Aaron Brooks, but decide he is more of a second round talent.
27. Detroit Pistons – Marco Belinelli, Italy
Continuing the work on securing their backcourt, the Pistons draft Belinelli, who surprised many scouts with his play as of late. He may stay in Europe for another year, but he should be a solid contributor off the bench at some point. If he doesn’t work out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Dumars never drafted another player from overseas again.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Ante Tomic, Croatia
This team just has too much success with foreigners to even consider an American college player in this spot. Tomic is 7’2″, which should be enough to get him drafted. He will probably stay in Europe a little longer, but will have Tim Duncan to learn from when he does join the Spurs.
29. Phoenix Suns – Aaron Afflalo, University of California – Los Angeles
An athletic and strong swing player, Afflalo should be able to add some toughness this backcourt, which already sports the tenacious defender Raja Bell.
30. Philadelphia 76ers (via Dallas Mavericks) – Glen Davis, Louisiana State University
The Sixers are looking for size in the middle and Davis will certainly give them that.