The draft is just 2 weeks away, and the BS is starting to blow in every direction. The Jazz are busy conducting workouts... its looking like they have a couple of targets at #9, and if those guys are gone, the Jazz will look to trade down. Pure speculation, but I don't know how else to take the fact that they've worked out (or will be working out) Gani Lawal, Patrick Patterson, Avery Bradley, Craig Brackins, Larry Sanders, Hassan Whiteside, Ekpe Udoh (falling) and Damion James. That, or we're going to see one heck of a reach come draft night.
And so with that, I figure why not start listening to the BS and mock away? With the Jazz picking at #9 (for now), I'm only going to go 9-deep... if you want any more, you can go see Chad Ford's "pay-to-read" mock draft (or go find it online somewhere)... he has the Jazz taking Luke Babbitt for what its worth.1- Washington Wizards: PG John Wall, Kentucky
This is a no-brainer. Even if Gilbert Arenas is returning (which is not a given), you take the best player in the draft and work out something. John Wall is going to bring excitement back to the franchise & fan base, something they really need after the disaster that was last year (trading away Jamison, trading away Butler & Haywood, the Arenas/Crittenton mess).
2- Philadelphia 76ers: SG Evan Turner, Ohio State
The Sixers have it bad. The 3 best players on the board are Turner, Favors & Cousins. Turner has a similar game to Andre Iguodala... not sure you want to duplicate what you have on the floor. Favors & Cousins, meanwhile, play the same positions as the overpaid Elton Brand/Samuel Dalembert duo. The Sixers are looking to trade Brand with the #2 pick; we'll see if someone bites on that. If not, Favors is probably the best option for the team... but Turner is widely considered the #2 player in the draft. Favors probably fits the Sixers the best... but if they admit that, then no one is going to trade with them for the #2 pick (everyone will target #3, because it will come cheaper). So Turner probably goes #2, the question is... what team takes him?
If the Jazz are looking to trade up to #2 (be it for Favors or Turner), they'd probably have to give up AK & #9, and take back Elton Brand. Brand & his contract are worse than anything we would see with Boozer (unless Brand is ready to bounce back)... and would make Favors unnecessary. Is Brand + Turner > AK + Boozer + #9? I'm leaning towards no...
3- New Jersey Nets: PF Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
They'd love it if Turner fell to them... even with the CDR/Lee/Williams trio at the wings right now. Short of that though, Derrick Favors seems like he would fit in really well alongside Brook Lopez and give the Nets a monster front-court. If they do want to go with a wing, Johnson is an option. But Favors is the best player available right now, and does help fill a need.
4- Minnesota Timberwolves: C DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
Like the Sixers, the Wolves are in bit of a mess. They need a wing, so Johnson would be the best fit need-wise of the players left. But then he might impede on Corey Brewer, who played fairly well last season. Cousins fills a need at center... but the team currently has both Al Jefferson & Kevin Love. While the Wolves will look to trade 1 of them, you have to wonder what they want in return. They love Evan Turner... but the Sixers & Timberwolves really don't match up. The Wolves want to give up a big (seemingly Jefferson) and #4 (likely to be Cousins); the Sixers want to give up their own big (Brand) if you want Turner. The Sixers could potentially bite, run out a Jefferson & Dalembert front-court and then draft Wesley Johnson... but what do the Wolves get by trading Jefferson for Brand? That doesn't fix the overcrowded 4-spot at all. Cousins seems to be the consensus 4th best player... but it could be a toss up between him and Johnson if the Wolves keep this pick.
5- Sacramento Kings: C Greg Monroe, Georgetown
What exactly do the Kings need? They have their bigs, in Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson & Carl Landry. They have a couple of youngsters at the SF spot who should get some time. They have Tyreke Evans; maybe a guard that can play next to him? Henry might fit... but he's also a slight reach. Monroe might be the highest player on their board and could be the pick... even with the Hawes/Thompson/Landry trio already present in Sacramento.
If the Jazz really want Monroe, this is the spot to target. Arguably the Kings could just chose to take Monroe for themselves (as Chad Ford has happening), but I don't think they'd mind trading down. I don't know what it would cost. #9 for sure (they could use that on Henry). Koufos? Do you try a sign-and-trade with Fesenko? (That just seems really, really bizarre.) It could come down to how badly the Jazz want Monroe.
6- Golden State Warriors: SF Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
They really need a big, but with Monroe & Cousins both gone, that seems unlikely to happen. That leaves Johnson, who is considered the 5th best player in the draft, or a slight reach for a different big (Patterson, Aldrich, or the likes). Henry would be a good pick too, provided they could trade Monta Ellis (because those 2 probably can't co-exist). Another option is Aminu, who could potentially be moved inside to the 4-spot. But for now, the Warriors go BPA.
7- Detroit Pistons: PF Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
I'm not sure I see it, but Chad Ford did say that the Pistons think they could move him inside to the 4-spot. If so, he could easily be the pick with Monroe/Cousins/Favors gone. The team is really lacking in bigs, but the Pistons are in a bad spot draft-wise... with the good ones gone, and the next tier not being worthy of the #7 pick. This pick could be traded potentially (Indiana? Memphis?). Or maybe the Pistons try to move up for 1 of Cousins/Monroe/Favors? They could offer the pick and one of their wings (would the Wolves bite if they can't land Turner?). If any of the remaining bigs can distinguish himself from the rest of the bunch in the next 2 weeks, he could find himself in Detroit. For now though, they take Aminu and try to shift him inside.
8- Los Angeles Clippers: SF Paul George, Fresno State
George has been shooting up the draft boards, and with Aminu gone, the Clippers are looking for the next best wing (they could also potentially chase a big for a 2nd straight year). Hayward. Babbitt. George. All 3 guys could be in the running for the Clippers... it'll come down to which one has impressed them the most. George is rising up the draft boards, so I'll plug him in here for now.
9- Utah Jazz: SF Luke Babbitt, Nevada
It seems like the Jazz are really high on Babbitt, and supposedly he's right below Monroe on their wish list. Monroe is all but guaranteed to be gone by #9, so if the Jazz don't trade up, they'll miss out. And if the reports are true, the Jazz will probably be able to snag Babbitt... the only real worry is the Clippers at #8. That said, if Monroe is gone, I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Jazz try to move down. The Timberwolves, Grizzlies & Thunder all have multiple picks.
Note: Babbitt is not who I would select; its who I think the Jazz would take in this scenario. The mock would look a bit different if I was playing GM for the teams, I think.