In mock draft, Beasley is real deal
In a salute to the NCAA tournament, here’s our annual mock draft.
OK, it’s just mine, but thanks to the six NBA people who helped me, along with local gurus Don MacLean and Frank Burlison.
As usual, heights are the listed ones so take an inch to an inch and a half off everyone.
1. Michael Beasley, 6-10, 235, Fr., Kansas State -- Kevin Durant, thought to be a once-a-generation prospect, may or may not have more upside, but Beasley has more game.
2. Derrick Rose, 6-3, 205, Fr., Memphis -- Pass-first point guard with a 40-inch vertical leap.
3. Brook Lopez, 7-0, 260, So., Stanford -- Good low-post game and skill level to expand it.
4. O.J. Mayo, 6-5, 200, Fr., USC -- Dropped into teens when he didn’t turn out to be LeBron James II, but if shooting (41% from three-point range) improves, can still be a star. He is personable, defended, found open teammates and played within the offense. Best part is dedication, compared by one scout to Kobe Bryant’s.
5. Eric Gordon, 6-4, 215, Fr., Indiana -- Has big upside even if he looked wild in the Hoosiers’ turbulent season. Made only 32% of three-point attempts in Big Ten.
6. Danilo Gallinari, 6-9, 210, Armani Milan, Italy -- Guard who grew into a skilled power forward.
7. Jerryd Bayless, 6-3, 199, Fr., Arizona -- Great scorer but not a great point guard. Wildcats’ late-season rally came after moving him to shooting guard.
8. Anthony Randolph, 6-10, 220, Fr., Louisiana State -- Fast riser with size and athleticism.
9. D.J. Augustin, 6-0, 180, So., Texas -- A smurf, but a dominating one.
10. Kevin Love, 6-10, 271, Fr., UCLA -- Larry Bird as a sumo wrestler. In teens on most lists, pros think he’s 6-8 and may not even start but say, “He’ll find a way.” Call me crazy but with all due respect to the great Wes Unseld, Love is already the best outlet passer ever. Learning curve is more like an arrow pointing up. Will have to face basket but developing three-point range fast (17 for 51 in his first 31 games, 10 for 23 in last five).
11. DeAndre Jordan, 7-0, 260, Fr., Texas A&M; -- Dropped from top five and if he’s even this high, it’s just on size and athleticism. One scout says he may be “Kwame-esque.”
12. Chase Budinger, 6-7, 203, So., Arizona -- Projected as a lottery pick before his freshman season, recently voted Pac-10’s most overrated player. Minus expectations, he’s an athletic complementary player who makes 38% of threes and can be Mike Miller if he becomes a knock-down shooter.
13. Darrell Arthur, 6-9, 225, So., Kansas -- Long and athletic but still has underachiever rap.
14. Joe Alexander, 6-8, 230, Jr., West Virginia -- Exploded in Big East tournament. Great leaper, good midrange shooter.
15. Serge Ibaka, 6-10, 220, L’Hospitalet, Spain -- Pros flocking to see this native of the Congo. A leaper who’s not a complete project skill-wise.
16. JaVale McGee, 7-0, 237, So., Nevada -- Son of former USC star Pam McGee. Raw, talented but best of all, plays hard.
17. Nicolas Batum, 6-8, 210, Le Mans, France -- Last spring’s surprise but toughness and shot are questioned.
18. Darren Collison, 6-0, 160, Jr., UCLA -- Dropped out of sight early as pros fixated on waif body but keeps raising game. Even with his funny shot, over 50% on threes.
19. Ty Lawson, 5-11, 195, So., North Carolina -- Stronger and better playmaker than Collison but not as good a shooter.
20. Austin Daye, 6-10, 190, Fr., Gonzaga -- Son of former UCLA star Darren Daye. Frail as he is, he’s considered a big-time prospect after making 44% of threes.
21. Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 189, So., UCLA -- Still in most lotteries, could go there with a big tournament (see: Corey Brewer), but two GMs at Pac-10 tournament said, “I don’t see it.” Scouts loved him at point guard early. He accepted a lesser role when Collison returned but dropped from a 37% three-point shooter to 28% in Pac-10.
22. Robin Lopez, 7-0, 255, So., Stanford -- Can’t score like his twin but big and mobile too.
23. Donte Greene, 6-11, 226, Fr., Syracuse -- Major talent but sits outside and launches.
24. Blake Griffin, 6-10, 243, Fr., Oklahoma -- Young bull but knees are a question.
25. Damion James, 6-7, 225, So., Texas -- Isn’t on many lists yet. Al Thornton-type who averaged 10.5 rebounds and made 44% of threes.
26. Kosta Koufos, 7-0, 252, Fr., Ohio State -- Big man who can shoot.
27. Hasheem Thabeet, 7-3, 263, So., Connecticut -- Now that we’re in the project, or big stiff, phase, he’s way better but still way behind the play.
28. Roy Hibbert, 7-2, 278, Sr., Georgetown -- More skilled than Thabeet but less athletic.
29. Tyler Hansbrough, 6-9, 250, Jr., North Carolina -- Heart as big as all outdoors but he isn’t. If he’s just a more skilled Mark Madsen, that’s still something.
30. Jordan Hill, 6-10, 230, So., Arizona -- Great athlete with a skill or two.
Right there: James Harden, Arizona State; Tyler Smith, Tennessee; J.J. Hickson, North Carolina State; Sherron Collins, Kansas; Wayne Ellington, North Carolina; Marreese Speights, Florida; Nathan Jawai, Cairns, Australia; Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky.