Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

June 24, 2008
Mock draft: June 24 morning edition
Trade talks are going from preliminary discussion to serious negotiations with the draft about 54 hours away and private workouts continue, so this is all very fluid. Some teams may bring potential picks in the day of the draft, either for a second audition or because the player's stock is dropping or rising and he wants to earn a particular spot.

For now:

1. Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose
Chicago still has an obvious need for a post presence like Michael Beasley, but questions about Beasley's attitude tip the Bulls back to the dynamic point guard and allow them to try and land a big man by putting Kirk Hinrich on the trade block. The suggested lure of Rose as a hometown pick is far down on the list of factors. They took Eddy Curry from the 'burbs in 2001, then got hammered about it for years.
2. Miami Heat
Michael Beasley
Kansas State
The Heat, with an urgency for a point guard, would love the Bulls to take Beasley in a surprise. If it doesn't happen, the consolation prize for Miami is a 19-year-old package of strength and athleticism who has an offensive game to score from inside or out.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
O.J. Mayo
Brook Lopez, a center, is the obvious position fit. Mayo, though, has far greater star potential. On upside, it's not even close.
4. Seattle SuperSonics
Jerryd Bayless
Bayless is more scoring point than distributor, which could be problematic for a team that wants to get the ball to Kevin Durant, not away from Kevin Durant. But Seattle needs a complementary offensive threat -- Durant was the only Sonic to average better than 14 points a game in 2007-08 -- and Bayless has the speed and athleticism to separate from defenses.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
Kevin Love
He has a physical presence and an advanced skill set on offense with passing (very advanced) and shooting, along with the court sense of a veteran. The risk is whether Love will never overcome the lack of athleticism that could cause him to get shots blocked inside and lose out on rebounds. Some executives see All-Star, some see role player.
6. New York Knicks
Eric Gordon
What do you get the team that has nothing? Gordon has all the signs of a future scoring star, with the strength and speed to get to the rim and a perimeter game that for now should at least be able to keep defenses honest. He played a lot of point guard in one college season and could handle the ball some in the pros.
7. Los Angeles Clippers
Russell Westbrook
From never being rated a major recruit out of high school to barely playing his first season in college to the lottery after the second season. Westbrook has great potential as a super-athletic slasher who will get to the rim against anyone and a defensive star in the making. The concern is whether he'll ever be more than a combo guard being squeezed into a role that doesn't naturally fit.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
Joe Alexander
West Virginia
New GM John Hammond can't do anything about the mangled salary cap here. In the meantime, small forward is the position with the greatest need of an upgrade.
9. Charlotte Bobcats
Brook Lopez
Lopez will probably never be a star and deliver the kind of return teams like to see on a top-10 pick, but he will be solid on offense and the Bobcats need scoring from a big man. Their biggest threats now are all wings: Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton.
10. New Jersey Nets
Danilo Gallinari
The Nets may trade Richard Jefferson anyway. Landing Gallinari -- high basketball IQ, advanced offensive skills for a 19 year old -- is the ideal outcome for the line of succession.
11. Indiana Pacers
D.J. Augustin
Everything changes if the Pacers-Raptors trade talks, reported by papers in Indy and Toronto, goes through and Larry Bird acquired T.J. Ford to fill the obvious hole at the point. If the deal does happen, and Jermaine O'Neal becomes a Raptor, Indiana almost certainly goes big here.
12. Sacramento Kings
Anthony Randolph
Randolph does not address the need for a physical inside presence at power forward and, at 18 years old and 200 pounds, is probably at least a season away from a meaningful contribution. But he has great upside as a complete offensive package who can score from different spots, handle the ball very well for someone 6 foot 10, and run the court. He gives them a better chance for a great player than anyone left on the board, and it's probably not even close.
13. Portland Trail Blazers
Marreese Speights
The Blazers, ready to end the youth movement, are prime trade candidates if they can land an impact veteran. If they stay at 13, a physical, mobile backup for LaMarcus Aldridge is a sound direction. Any selection will be a backup somewhere.
14. Golden State Warriors
Robin Lopez
The Warriors can't go through another offseason without addressing the need for a big man who defends. They just can't. Lopez does a lot of the gritty things they need. The reason the Warriors can't, just can't, take Lopez: he doesn't have much of an offensive game and Don Nelson will have trouble pairing him with Andris Biedrins or Brandan Wright and playing two guys who don't shoot.
15. Phoenix Suns
Brandon Rush
Grant Hill got to 70 games for the first time since 1999-2000, but he'll be 36 on opening night. Time to set a transition in motion. With little help behind Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal and the run on big men about to start, a center is also a realistic option.
16. Philadelphia 76ers
Darrell Arthur
Arthur is a smallish power forward who may not rebound much, but the Sixers need offense alongside center Samuel Dalembert, who is big and does rebound.
17. Toronto Raptors
Kosta Koufos
Ohio State
If the Raptors-Pacers trade goes down and Jermaine O'Neal lands in Toronto, the Raptos can easily switch and go for a wing. On the other hand, they finished 20th in rebounding, so there may be no such thing as adding too much size.
18. Washington Wizards
DeAndre Jordan
Texas A&M
Jordan is raw and more like 6-10 than the listed 7-0 in a typical moment of college hype exposed, but full of possibility and getting looks from teams in the lottery. It's a major gamble that high -- Texas A&M didn't even rely on him much in the tournament -- but a reasonable investment in the late-teens. Besides, the Wizards start Brendan Haywood and his 10.6 points and 7.2 rebounds at center. How much worse can it get?
19. Cleveland Cavaliers
Chris Douglas-Roberts
The perfect addition to a team desperate for offense. CDR, a first-team All-America last season as a junior, has a nice perimeter game and finds ways to get to the basket. A dependable, tough wingman will only make LeBron James look better.
20. Denver Nuggets
Mario Chalmers
The obvious position need. The Nuggets would be very small with 6-1 Chalmers and 6-0 (maybe) Allen Iverson in the backcourt, but there are few options to get a big point guard by any means. It's an Iverson thing.
21. New Jersey Nets
Alexis Ajinca
Mobile 7-footer with a soft touch in the finest tradition of the European big men. Any big man that comes to the Nets will have an opening to possibly win a starting job right away.
22. Orlando Magic
Jason Thompson
Enough of wiry Rashard Lewis at power forward in Orlando. The Magic could be counting on the return of Tony Battie from the shoulder injury that cost him 2007-08, or they could go for the muscle here and take the under-publicized Thompson, a hard worker inside.
23. Utah Jazz
Roy Hibbert
A mountainous 7-2 and 275 pounds of relief for Mehmet Okur. Hibbert's stock dropped from potential lottery pick in 2007 to likely backup in '08, but he's still got the offensive skills to keep up with the Jazz.
24. Seattle SuperSonics
Serge Ibaka
To be 6-10, 18 years old and have his springs and agility: wow. The Sonics, the epitome of building for the future, so much that they're planning ahead to the next city to play in, can afford to wait for the potential big payoff on a long-term investment.
25. Houston Rockets
JaVale McGee
Yao Ming has a concerning injury streak in the works and backup Dikembe Mutombo may only stave off retirement until he's 74. McGee is a raw work in progress, but a threat to go as high as the teens on athleticism and potential alone.
26. San Antonio Spurs
J.J. Hickson
North Carolina State
If the Spurs get a smooth, athletic with decent offensive skills as a backup for Tim Duncan, the draft will be a success.
27. New Orleans Hornets
Donte Greene
It's tough finding a spot for Greene based on team needs in the teens, where he should probably go based on size and range. He's all over the board.
28. Memphis Grizzlies
Nicolas Batum
It's a duplicate pick in more ways than Batum looking physically like a younger Rudy Gay, the starting small forward in Memphis. The Grizzlies don't have a position need. But Batum, with a sleek transition game made for the NBA and the makings of an impact player on defense, is worth developing.
29. Detroit Pistons
Nathan Jawai
The Pistons want an infusion on the aging front line. Jawai is definitely that, 6 foot 10 and 280 pounds of physical Aussie with good mobility. Plus he can hang out at the Detroit assembly lines disguised as an SUV.
30. Boston Celtics
Courtney Lee
Western Kentucky
The new backup, and potential replacement, for Ray Allen. Lee has good range and played four years of college and was the leading scorer as a senior on the team that reached the Sweet Sixteen.

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