The first in the Editorial version of the 2010 STR Draft Board, in which we will be featuring one each week. This draft board is based off of my own opinions and goes 15 high. Comparisons are NOT meant to be taken too seriously. Thoughts/Arguments are welcomed and appreciated. Also, take what you will from the Highlights, they're there more for fun than anything.
#1 Evan Turner, G, 6'7, 205 lbs, 21 years, Junior, Ohio State
Comparisons: Scottie Pippen/Brandon Roy/Paul Pierce (Turner doesn't have superior NBA athleticism, just like Roy and Pierce don't, but he does have veteran savvy and skills that will allow him to play at a high level for a long time, also like Roy and Pierce. His do-it-all type game and defense reminds me a bit of Pippen as well)
I know that John Wall is the popular pick here, because of his freak athleticism and great talent. But Turner is also very skilled, and in my opinion, better suited to play second fiddle to a certain Tyreke Evans. Turner is also a lockdown perimeter defender, potentially giving the Kings two guys in the backcourt who are able to shut their guy down. I'm not saying that Wall couldn't do this as well, but Wall's defense has been inconsistent so far. Wall might end up being the better player of the two, but I think that Turner, paired next to Evans, would work better than Wall paired with Evans. Turner is also a fantastic rebounder, an improving shooter (better than either Evans or Wall, although still not great past mid-range), and a great distributor.
#2 John Wall, G, 6'4, 195 lbs, 19 years, Freshman, Kentucky
John Wall will be selected #1 by the Washington Wizards. That's pretty much a given at this point. His unreal athleticism, great court vision, and superb ball handling skills all point to a very bright future. I look forward to future Wizards-Kings games to watch Evans v. Wall.
#3 Derrick Favors, F/C, 6'10, 245 lbs, 18 years, Freshman, Georgia Tech
Comparisons: Antonio McDyess/Dwight Howard/Amir Johnson (Very athletic, needs to bulk up a bit more, as well as work on his offense. Going to be a solid rebounder, defender in the league no matter what. If he doesn't improve, he'll stay like Amir Johnson, but I think that's unlikely. I doubt he becomes as good as Howard, but Antonio McDyess pre-injury doesn't seem like a reach)
A great prospect at #3, Favors has the good attitude, defensive and offensive potential, and athleticism that the Kings need. Unfortunately, he likely won't drop past the Nets (where he'll be absolutely awesome paired with Brook Lopez). His offensive game still needs a bit of work, but I don't think its as raw as people say. His guards were atrocious at Georgia Tech, but he still managed to score very efficiently, as well as grab a decent amount of rebounds paired with Gani Lawal.
#4 DeMarcus Cousins, C, 6'11, 290 lbs, 19 years, Freshman, Kentucky
Comparisons: Al Jefferson/Derrick Coleman/Ron Artest (Cousins has all the talent and physical gifts in the world, but it remains to be seen how his attitude will affect his growth as an NBA player. Artest is crazy, but he loves the game and works hard. Coleman was just lazy and didn't respect the game. Skill-wise, Cousins is very similar to Al Jefferson, although he has more potential on both ends.)
Cousins is a prospect that I think will fall to the Kings, but Geoff might feel some trepidation in picking him. He has so many physical skills, could step in to help the team immediately, and plays a position of need, but questions of his attitude and work ethic still abound. I honestly think that Sacramento would be possibly the best place for him to start his career though, of the teams in the lottery. We've got a good, young group of guys, a town where you can't get into too much trouble, and a fanbase that would be behind him from day one. Cousins is the highest risk, highest reward player in the draft.
#5 Wesley Johnson, G/F, 6'7, 205 lbs, 22 years, Junior, Syracuse
Comparisons: Shawn Marion/Michael Finley/Corey Brewer (Johnson is athletic, a good shooter, rebounder, and defender. I think he'll be able to make more of an impact than Brewer did this year because of his experience, but won't have the same immediate impact that guys like Marion or Finley did)
Johnson is one of the older prospects in the draft, as he will be 23 years old when the season starts. The reason I have him over a guy like Al-Farouq Aminu is because I believe he can play SG in the NBA, paired next to Tyreke, as his shooting complements Reke's slashing. His weaknesses are his ball-handling and shot creating, but paired next to 'Reke, these problems would be alleviated a bit. If you've ever watched him play, he makes a concerted effort to attack the glass, and he managed to average a combined 3.5 steals/blocks while playing in Syracuse's zone. Johnson is one of the more NBA ready players in this draft, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go as high as 4th.
#6 Al-Farouq Aminu, F, 6'8, 215 lbs, 19 years, Sophomore, Wake Forest
Comparisons: Josh Smith/Anthony Randolph/Thaddeus Young (Aminu is possibly the best athlete in this draft, but it depends on whether his attitude and work ethic will allow him to become the player he's meant to be)
Aminu's offense is pretty bad at this point, and he doesn't really have the strength needed to defend most of the NBA fours at the moment. But his upside is huge, and he could definitely end up as one of the better players in the draft when all is said and done. For the Kings, he would likely back up Landry at the 4 as well as play minutes at the 3. I don't think he'll be ready to make a big impact for a couple of years though. He's definitely a project.
#7 Ekpe Udoh, F, 6'10, 240 lbs, 23 years, Junior, Baylor
Comparisons: Rasheed Wallace/Keon Clark/Jason Thompson (Udoh isn't that great of a rebounder, at least defensively, but he's got range on his shot and is a good athlete and shot blocker. He'll make an impact this season)
Udoh is the oldest projected lotto pick, already 23, but also one of the more promising. He's not an efficient scorer, or a great defensive rebounder, but he's got range, he blocks shots at a ridiculous rate, hits the offensive glass hard, and runs the floor a lot better than most big men. I don't see him starting right away for Sacramento, but teams would have to think twice about coming into the paint with him around. One of his best attributes is his ability to block shots without picking up fouls. He averaged only 2.4 fouls and 35.1 minutes a game, while racking up 3.7 blocks per game. He'd instantly become the best post defender on the Kings.
Highlights (this is like the one Udoh mix I could find. Guess there aren't any Baylor fans out there):
#8 Greg Monroe, F/C, 6'11, 245 lbs, 19 years, Sophomore, Georgetown
Monroe gets the #8 spot from me because right now he's the BPA. The Kings already have a player sort of like him in Spencer Hawes (Monroe is a better rebounder), and he's not the type of big that Kings fans have been clamoring for, but he has tremendous offensive upside (just like Spencer Hawes still does). I pick him here because of his overall skill set, his ability to play the PF or C position, and his potential, which overcomes need at the moment.
Highlights (this is seriously like watching Spencer Hawes in someone else's body):
#9 Cole Aldrich, C, 6'11, 240 lbs, 21 years, Junior, Kansas
Comparisons: Joel Przybilla/Kendrick Perkins/Greg Ostertag (Physical, strong defensive minded big men, who won't need double teams when guarding the other players star. Don't expect much on offense though)
Aldrich was probably the best center in College Basketball last year, but that doesn't mean he'll end up being the best center out of this draft. Far from it. But this is the type of player that a lot of Kings fans have wanted Spencer to become: a big, tough shotblocking, rebounding machine. That's what you're going to get from him. Aldrich doesn't really have many offensive weapons, although he'll likely be a better offensive player than the comparisons I listed above, as he can play well with his back to the basket. Facing the basket or shooting jumpers on the other hand is a different story. Aldrich is the safe pick here, because you know what you're going to get, and don't expect a whole lot of difference throughout his career.
#10 Xavier Henry, G, 6'6, 210 lbs, 19 years, Freshman, Kansas
Comparisons: James Posey/Doug Christie/Martell Webster (Henry is probably a better offensive player than each of these players, but similarly, he has above-average athleticism, can knock down the 3 well, and can handle the ball)
Henry could work fantastically with Tyreke Evans. Henry is a good shooter, a good defender, and a good passer. He doesn't need the ball in his hands a lot, and he can still move off the ball. On defense, his great wingspan and defensive awareness will allow him to defend NBA SG/SFs (and possibly PGs, although he might not be quick enough).
#11 Patrick Patterson, F, 6'9, 240 lbs, 21 years, Junior, Kentucky
Comparisons: Carl Landry/Leon Powe/Jeff Green (Patterson actually has better size for the PF position than these players, but his game is similar. Go in there, hustle, and provide some instant offense. Not that great at defense)
The Kings have Patrick Patterson at full potential on their team already in Carl Landry. Patterson plays very similarly, with excellent touch around the basket, and great offensive awareness. He's not a very good rebounder or defender, but that's not what he is going to be in games for. He's got future 6th man of the year written all over him.
#12 Hassan Whiteside, C, 7'0, 230 lbs, 20 years, Freshman, Marshall
Whiteside is another high risk, high reward player. He's got a ridiculous penchant for blocking shots (5.4 per game in only 26 minutes), is a decent rebounder, and has good form on his jumpshot. He has a very skinny frame though, and he will definitely need to bulk up to avoid being pushed around by some of the stronger players in the NBA. He also has questions about his work ethic and attitude, as well as Mikki Moore hands. In 851 minutes played this past season, he only dished out 9 total assists. He's a project, but one that could be dominant if he fulfills his potential.
#13 Ed Davis, F/C, 6'10, 230 lbs, 20 years, Freshman, North Carolina
Davis is a decent player and at 13, a good pick. He has a bit of upside, and this mainly is because of his unpolished offensive game. He also suffered a broken wrist that cut his season short by about 8 weeks. On defense, he's good at blocking shots and rebounding, although he's not very good at keeping people out of the paint and gets pushed around a bit. He could play the Center in the NBA although he'll need to bulk up a bit first.
#14 Damion James, F, 6'8, 230 lbs, 22 years, Senior, Texas
James has a bit more well-rounded of an offensive game than a Mbah A Moute or Sefolosha, and is a great defender and rebounder. He could play either the 3 or the 4 for the Kings (yes, another tweener) and he could guard some 2s as well. James will likely be one of the better rookies next year, and will likely have a solid career.
#15 Donatas Motiejunas, C, 7'0, 215 lbs, 19 years, Benetton Treviso (Italy), Lithuania
It is fairly well known that I do not like Motiejunas. If the Kings drafted him at #5 I would probably stop being a fan. But at #15 he'd be an alright pick. He's got a lot of attitude/work ethic problems, but he's a very good offensive player, taking you inside, outside, and he can feed off the double-team. But he's also incredibly weak (he would weigh less than Tyreke Evans), doesn't seem to make an effort on defense, and is an atrocious rebounder. He is only 19 so he can build on his frame (in fact he MUST build on his frame if he wants to be successful). But he needs to work a lot harder if he wants to fulfill his potential. He could be a nightmare for opposing teams to guard.