Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2008 NBA Mock Draft 2.0

Not much has changed since last week's Mock Draft 1.0.

The only new story this week will be the NBA's only official pre-draft camp which takes place in Orlando. Look for this to shape the draft field as some potential late 1st rounders are working out. Ty Lawson, Davon Jefferson, and DeVon Hardin are among 79 players who will be there. Most of the top 30 players have chosen to skip the camp.

Since nothing is concrete at this point, the following is my best educated guess as to what each team may do in the first round:

1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose - Memphis
From every interview that GM John Paxson gives, it sounds like he is favoring Rose over Michael Beasley. And the Bulls need a player with some leadership skills to insert into their lineup of underachievers so Rose should be the choice. Beasley may fill an immediate need for the Bulls but Paxson cannot pass on a long term point guard who will put the Bulls in contention in the East immediately.

NBA Player Comparison: Dwayne Wade / Jason Kidd
Last week's Pick: Derrick Rose

2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley - Kansas State
Pat Riley has some difficult decisions to make. Do you trade this pick because he isn't in love with Beasley? Will he start to rebuild and will Dwayne Wade opt out of his contract as a result? Will he use Shawn Marion as trade bait to bring in some vets to compete for a playoff spot immediately? Beasley would be a huge addition over Udonis Haslem because of his offensive ability. The Heat also have shown interest in OJ Mayo and may opt to bring his star potential to South Beach.

NBA Player Comparison: Carmelo Anthony
Last week's Pick: Michael Beasley

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - OJ Mayo - Southern California
The Timber wolves are going to decide which way this draft goes. Last week I had them taking Brook Lopez because he could be the team's starting center for the next decade. Scouts say he is more of an Emeka Okafor than a Dwight Howard. That means this would not be a value pick but it would fill an immediate need. That's why this week I have the Wolves going in a different direction. Kevin McHale's team has a lot of needs but they are lacking a star player to go alongside Al Jefferson. Enter Mayo, who some believe might entice the Heat to take him at #2.

NBA Player Comparison: Ben Gordon
Last week's Pick: Brook Lopez

4. Seattle Sonics - Anthony Randolph - Louisiana State
This is one of the relative unknowns in the lottery as there wasn’t a lot of buzz surrounding Randolph this season. However, much like former LSU forward Tyrus Thomas, scouts are in love with his athletic ability and it looks like an NBA team will bite on him in the lottery because of his hops and height. This is also the kind of player that could drop on draft night due to teams getting cold feet. That, or he could go as high as this and form a dynamic duo with Kevin Durant that will terrorize teams for the next decade.

NBA Player Comparison: Lamar Odom / Tayshaun Prince
Last Week's Pick: Jerryd Bayless

5. Memphis Grizzlies - DeAndre Jordan - Texas A&M
Jordan jumps up this week from #16 to #5 mainly because it has been floating around that a top 9 team has all but promised to take him. It's likely it could be the Bobcats at 9 or he may go at 5 or 6 but he won't fall past the Nets at 10. Jordan's individual workouts may be the most meaningful to how the draft falls.

NBA Player Comparison: Dwight Howard
Last Week's Pick: OJ Mayo

6. New York Knicks - Jerryd Bayless - Arizona
It's been rumored that while watching film on Danillo Gallinari last season, then Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni was not at all impressed. However, the final decision on this matter will be new GM Donnie Walsh's. The Knicks would love nothing more than to get a PG who can push the ball and score. Bayless is an excellent athlete an can shoot. The Knicks would take who ever is available between Mayo, Rose, or Bayless.

NBA Player Comparison - Gilbert Arenas / Jay Williams
Last Week's Pick: Danilo Gallinari

7. Los Angeles Clippers - Danilo Gallinari - Italy
The Clip need a PG because Shaun Livingston has not worked out. They could opt for Russell Westbrook here but that may be too high. Another option would be to take Eric Gordon and let Corey Maggette walk in free agency. The Clippers have been known to covet Gallinari so with him available they would take him.

NBA Player Comparison: Detlef Schrempf
Last Week's Pick: Russell Westbrook

8. Milwaukee Bucks - Eric Gordon - Indiana
Eric Gordon's late season slump will cause him to fall a bit to 8. The Bucks are loaded up front with Yi Jianlian, Andrew Bogut, and Charlie Villanueva. If the Bucks take Gordon it will mean they may explore trades for Michael Redd who is not getting any younger. The Bucks can change their losing atmosphere by taking Gordon who can be an instant impact guy.

NBA Player Comparison: Mitch Richmond
Last Week's Pick: Eric Gordon

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Brook Lopez - Stanford
Lopez was at #3 last week but slid this week because he has scouts convinced that he will be a solid center but nothing sensational. The Timberwolves, Grizzlies and Knicks all could take him if he has excellent workouts. The Bobcats will try to take the best center left so they could slide Emeka Okafor to the 4.

NBA Player Comparison: Brad Daugherty
Last Week's Pick: Darrell Arthur

10. New Jersey Nets - Darrell Arthur - Kansas
The Nets are set in the back court but they desperately need a big because Josh Boone and Sean Williams have limited upside. That's why they are in excellent position to take on a high risk high reward type player like Jordan or Randolph. If they are both gone, they will be left to choose between Arthur, Lopez, and Kevin Love.

NBA Player Comparison: Antonio McDyess
Last Week's Pick: Anthony Randolph

11. Indiana Pacers - DJ Augustin - Texas
Augustin can shoot it and he can handle it. He’s only 6-feet tall, which got him in trouble against taller PG in college but he has NBA skills. He has great character, which attracts him to the Pacers, who have had continuing off-court problems. This pick will be the replacement for Jaamal Tinsley and may be Westbrook if he is available.

NBA Player Comparison: Travis Best
Last Week's Pick: DJ Augustin

12. Sacramento Kings - Russell Westbrook - UCLA
The Kings will be pleased with either Westbrook or Augustin falling to them here. With Augustin going to the Pacers because he fits Jim O'Brien's system, that leaves Westbrook, may many think is a better prospect, to the Kings. If both PGs are gone, the Kings would opt for one of the remaining power forwards in Arthur or Love.

NBA Player Comparison: Rajon Rondo / Monta Ellis
Last Week's Pick: Nicolas Batum

13. Portland Trail Blazers - Joe Alexander - West Virginia
Joe Alexander still hasn't announced if he is indeed staying in the draft but with each passing day it is looking more and more likely that he will be a late lottery pick. Alexander would compliment LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy immediately. His size and athleticism has some scouts in awe.

NBA Player Comparison: Tom Gugliotta / Shawn Marion
Last Week's Pick: Kevin Love

14. Golden State Warriors - Kevin Love - UCLA
Kevin Love slips one spot this week even though its been reported that he has lost 15lbs and is in pretty good shape. His lack of athleticism and size do have scouts concerned but he would compliment Andris Biedrins. Also, Love is said to be one the most NBA ready players in the draft and with the Warriors finishing 1 spot out of the playoffs last season, they need a draft pick that is ready to contribute.

NBA Player Comparison: Wes Unseld
Last Week's Pick: Joe Alexander

15. Phoenix Suns (via Atlanta) - Brandon Rush - Kansas
I still think Donte Green will be the selection here but there have been rumors swirling that Rush is a lock to go here to the Suns. Steve Kerr acknowledged that the Suns like Rush but he said they are bringing in 20 other players to workout.

NBA Player Comparison: Reggie Lewis
Last Week's Pick: Donte Green

16. Philadelphia 76ers - JaVale McGee - Nevada
At this point in his career, McGee is a crap shoot. On one side he has freakishly long arms: around a 7-6 wingspan which makes him a great rebounder and shot blocker. On the other hand he is incredibly thin, only shoots 50% from the stripe and must develop maturity and some low post moves. McGee may pay off big dividends in a couple of years.

The 76ers may look to acquire Elton Brand this summer. If they do not get him, look for them to take the best big available with this pick.

NBA Player Comparison: Andrew Bynum
Last Week's pick: DeAndre Jordan

17. Toronto Raptors - Donte Greene - Syracuse
Last week I had Robin Lopez going here to the Raptors because the Raptors could use his size and hustle. However, if a talent like Greene is still available at this point in the draft you take him no matter what. Greene has the potential to be the steal of the draft this late as some think he may go as high as the late lottery.

NBA Player Comparison: Rashard Lewis / Marvin Williams
Last Week's Pick: Robin Lopez

18. Washington Wizards - Marreese Speights - Florida
The Wizards need bodies inside. Speights brings length and an excellent shooting touch down low. He will be a good shot blocker at 6'10 he can play either the 4 or 5. His biggest knock would be a lack of post up moves.

NBA Player Comparison: Juwan Howard
Last Week's Pick: JaVale McGee

19. Cleveland Cavaliers - Kosta Koufos - Ohio State
The Cavaliers would love to keep Koufos in the state of Ohio. With Zydrunas Ilgauskas breaking down any day now, they could use another 7 footer. The benefit will Koufos over Big Z is that Koufas can really get up and down the floor which will benefit King James.

NBA Player Comparison: Mehmet Okur
Last Week's Pick: Brandon Rush

20. Denver Nuggets - Bill Walker - Kansas State
The Nuggets may opt to get a big to replace Marcus Camby here. But with Bill Walker still on the board, how can you pass up his potential talent at this point in the draft. Prior to his injuries, he was considered by many as a top 5 draft pick. Reports are his explosiveness is back and his weight is down.

NBA Player Comparison: Ruben Patterson
Last Week's Pick: Marreese Speights

21. New Jersey Nets (Via Dallas) - Robin Lopez -Stanford
No one knows what direction the Nets will go with their second pick but taking a hustle guy with excellent size is a great option for the Nets. Lopez has been compared to Anderson Varejao. That kind of player is exactly what a Vince Carter led team needs.

NBA Player Comparison: Andris Biedrins / Anderson Varejao
Last Week's Pick: Kousta Koufos

22. Orlando Magic - Nicolas Batum - France
The Magic need a small forawrd who can shoot. Batum brings just about everything to the table. He is competitive, has perhaps the most potential of anyone in this draft, clutch player, incredible wingspan, and 3 point range for a 6'8 SG/SF. If Batum is gone, the Magic may take Bill Walker here.

NBA Player Comparison: Rudy Gay
Last Week's Pick: Chase Budinger

23. Utah Jazz (Via Phoenix) - Roy Hibbert - C - Georgetown
Hibbert was a sure fire late lottery pick but he had a rather so so Senior season at Georgetown after 2006-07 Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green left. Many felt he did not take over games and became to mechanical and predictable at times. The Jazz would love for him to be available as it will add size inside and there methodical half court pace will suit Hibbert perfectly.

NBA Player Comparison: Joel Przybilla
Last Week's Pick: Roy Hibbert

24. Seattle Sonics (Via Phoenix) - Serge Ibaka - PF - Congo
Ibaka is said to have insane athletism. He is only 220 lbs on a 6'10 frame, but he will have time to develop and bulk up as this pick is for the future. Ibaka not only is relentless on the glass but possesses a jumper with solid touch. If this pans out and the Sonics grab Bayless at 3 to go along with ROY Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the Oklahoma Sonics could be a perennial contender for the Western Conference title in a few years.

NBA Player Comparison: Shawn Kemp
Last Week's Pick: Serge Ibaka

25. Houston Rockets - Chase Budinger - Arizona
If Budinger stays in the draft he most likely will be selected somewhere in the late first round. He does not have great defensive skills and lacks aggressiveness but he more than makes that up with his scoring ability. The Rockets can take the chance that he will take some of the offensive pressure off Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.

NBA Player Comparison: Grant Hill
Last Week's Pick: Bill Walker

26. San Antonio Spurs - Ante Tomic - Croatia
Tomic makes sense for the Spurs since they don't need him to step in and play immediately because he is stuck in a contract overseas. He has size at 7'1 but lacks strength and wieght at 230lbs. He can handle the ball for a big man since he was a PG before he grew an additional 7 inches. This will be another foreigner picked by the Spurs but they could once again be reaping the benefits in a couple of years.

NBA Player Comparison: Gregor Fucka
Last Week's Pick: Wayne Ellington

27. New Orleans Hornets - Chris Douglas-Roberts - SG - Memphis
CDR will fit in the rotation in NO and will benefit from CP3 continually getting him clean looks. CDR can play the 2 or 3 and he is a good mid range jump shooter. However, he does not have a deep outside shot and is not explosive, but he has a feel for the game and can bury you at the rim on the break. His shots go in the basket.

NBA Player Comparison:
Last Week's Pick: Chris Douglas-Roberts

28. Memphis Grizzlies (Via Los Angeles) - Nathan Jawai - C - Australia
The Grizzle have an obundance of guards so take a second big man in the first round is not a bad move. They will likely have to go with the best big man available. Jawai has size (6'10, 275) and some real power. He could bring respectability back down low for the Grizzlies. At this late in the draft, he is worth the risk.

NBA Player Comparison: Charles Oakley
Last Week's Pick: Nathan Jawai

29. Detroit Pistons - DJ White - Indiana
The Pistons need size and strength down low. Although White is only 6'8 he has very broad shoulders and plays with great energy. He is different than Jason Maxiell in that he has outstanding footwork and an array of back to the basket moves.

NBA Player Comparison: Wayne Simien
Last Week's Pick: JJ Hickson

30. Boston Celtics - JJ Hickson - North Carolina State
Hickson could step in and replace the retiring PJ Brown as a back up center. The Celtics do have Glen Davis and Leon Powe but Hickson brings a mean nasty style of lowpost play that reminds some of the Bad Boys.

NBA Player Comparison: Chris Wilcox
Last Week's Pick: Jason Thompson

Dropping Out of the First Round this Week: Wayne Ellington, Jason Thompson

Entering the First Round this Week: Ante Tomic, DJ White

First Round Bubble: Ty Lawson, Courtney Lee, Mario Chalmers, Richard Hendrix, DeVon Hardin, Davon Jefferson, Trent Plaisted, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Lester Hudson

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Superstitions in Sports

Whether you believe in superstitions or not, it is near impossible to not see them in the sporting world. Maybe it is how someone wraps the tape on their bat, or the shirt they wear under their shoulder pads, but every sport – and seemingly every player – seems to have some sort of superstition.

While fishing last week with my Dad and Grandfather, I learned that they each have their ways of trying to coax “the bite”. My Grandfather believes in the power of a cigar. My Father washed his hands before getting on board.

This is where I started feeling the “thought juice” flow. I thought about my own; including taking the first pitch, drinking from the same coffee cup on game day and other things like these.

Then I hear about Jason Giambi's way of getting out of a hitting slump (if you haven’t heard about it…think of gold lame and a very small amount of material) and the deal was sealed.

Of course there are “curses” but these are a small compilation of individual superstitions.

Here are some others I have found.

By Player:
- Michael Jordan always wore his blue North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform.
- Nomar Garciaparra gets dressed the same way every day.
- Wade Boggs would eat only chicken the day of a game.
- Roger Clemens always touched the head of the Babe Ruth statue before pitching in Yankee Stadium.
- Turk Wendell use to brush his teeth and chew licorice between every inning.
- Tiger Woods wears a red shirt on Sundays.
- Patrick Roy (Hockey) would talk to his goalposts during the game: "They're my friends." He never stepped on the red or blue lines. Before a game, he would skate out to the blue line and stare at the net, visualizing it shrinking.
- Goran Invanisevic (Tennis) always rises from his chair after his opponent and never steps on the lines of the court.
- If Red Sox pitcher Brendan Donnelly has a bad outing, he tosses his undershirt in the trash. "It's never my fault," he told The Boston Globe. "It's the stupid shirt."
- Mark McGwire wore the same protective cup from high school.
- Mike "The Human Rain Delay" Hargrove would walk up the first-base line and take three practice swings before stepping into the batter's box. He would then adjust his batting gloves, pants, sleeves, wipe perspiration off his lips and push down on the top of his batting helmet before he was ready to step in. He would do this again after every pitch.

A few by Sport:


Baseball
- It is not okay to talk to a pitcher when he is in the midst of a “no-hitter”.
- No stepping on the foul line when taking the field.
- "Statting" a player by mentioning his excellent statistics in this situation is seen to jinx that player.
- Not shaving after the first postseason win

Basketball
- Wipe the soles of your sneakers for good luck.

Football
- It's bad luck for a professional football player to take a new number when he is traded to another team.
- It's good luck for a player to have a double number


What sort of other Sports Superstitions do you know of?

Credit to: Sports Superstitions, Wikipedia, Psychology of Sports, Sidebits, ESPN Page 2

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008 NBA Mock Draft 1.0

The NBA Lottery took place last night with the Chicago Bulls capturing the number 1 pick despite only having a 1.7% of getting it. Now the Bulls top question becomes do they take Kansas State forward Michael Beasley or Memphis point guard Derrick Rose? Who will the rest of the teams pick and will there be trades?

So now that the ping pong balls have bounced Chicago's way, it's time to answer these questions. With the Draft still over 1 month away expect tons teams to flip flop on decisions. After all, the NBA pre draft workout in Orlando has not yet taken place. Also, the June 16th deadline for players that have not hired an agent to withdraw has not passed so the players available on draft day may be different than they are today.

Now on to the selections. (In my best David Stern voice) With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select......

1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose - PG - Memphis
The Chicago native may get a chance to return home and bring the Bulls their first championship sans Jordan. The Bulls have a PG Kirk Hinriech locked up for 5 more years but they will not pass on the best player in the draft. Rose immediately will step in as a floor general and make the Bulls one of the favorites in the East. One thing is for sure though, Rose won't be able to his #23 that he wore at Memphis.

NBA Player Comparison: Dwayne Wade/Jason Kidd

2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley - PF - Kansas State
The Heat had an admirable tank job last season and now face a win win situation. They may get the number 1 player on their board (Rose) if Chicago takes Beasley. If Chicago takes Rose, look for the Heat to try and trade this pick because Pat Riley is not completely sold on Beasley. That may also signal the beginning of the end for Dwayne Wade in South Florida when his contract expires.

NBA Player Comparison: Carmelo Anthony

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - Brook Lopez - C - Stanford
The 7 foot Lopez will fill the Timberwolves need for a big man to compliment Al Jefferson inside. Lopez is the most polished big man in the draft. However, because Kevin McHale is in charge of the Wolves draft don't count out the possibility of the them taking OJ Mayo or even Danilo Gallinari.

NBA Player Comparison: Brad Daugherty

4. Seattle Sonics - Jerryd Bayless - PG - Arizona
The Sonics were the big loser on NBA Lottery night falling from 2 to 4. However, they can still pick up a "must see to believe" type point guard not named Rose. By taking Bayless, they will be adding a scoring guard who will take offensive pressure off Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

NBA Player Comparison: Gilbert Arenas

5. Memphis Grizzlies - OJ Mayo - SG - Southern California
The Grizzlies are loaded at PG (Kyle Lowery, Mike Conley, and Javaris Crittenton) so they will opt for the best SG in the draft in OJ Mayo. Also, look for them to perhaps part with a loaded back court and move down if they favor Eric Gordon or a PF. Mayo's star potential may be too much to resist. A trio or Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, and OJ Mayo may put the Grizzlies in playoff contention in a few years.

NBA Player Comparison: Ben Gordon

6. New York Knicks - Danilo Gallinari - SF - Italy
This Knick will be widely unpopular in NY and booed on draft night. Knicks fans need to trust new coach Mike D'Antoni as he has deep connections to the Italian League. The Knicks need a small forward that can step back and shoot. He will eventually fit into D'Antoni's run and gun offense when the Knicks find the right point guard. This pick will be made by Donnie Walsh with the thoughts of overhauling the team and rebuilding with pieces around Gallinari and perhaps free agent to be in 2010 Lebron James. Also, look for the Knicks to trade down to gather more picks and take Eric Gordon or either of the two best remaining point guards DJ Augustin and Russell Westbrook.

NBA Player Comparison - Detlef Schrempf

7. Los Angeles Clippers - Russell Westbrook - PG - UCLA
The Clippers would love to have Gallinari fall to to them but with him gone look for them to take a guard who will fill an immediate need. This guy is fearless in a wide-open game. He just goes to the basket, though maybe a little too hard when a big man is waiting. Westbrook has good size and some muscle to go with his decent mid-range jumper. He also gets into a defensive stance and will try and match up and move his feet and guard. The Clippers need a point guard with Shaun Livingston’s injury issues and they land a local guy. Look for the Clippers to try to trade down to (perhaps Indiana at 11 that desperately needs a PG) take one of the next best small forwards in Donte Green or Joe Alexander.

NBA Player Comparison: Monta Ellis

8. Milwaukee Bucks - Eric Gordon - SG - Indiana
Eric Gordon's late season slump will cause him to fall a bit to 8. The Bucks are loaded up front with Yi Jianlian, Andrew Bogut, and Charlie Villanueva. If the Bucks take Gordon it will mean they may explore trades for Michael Redd who is not getting any younger. The Bucks can change their losing atmosphere by taking Gordon who can be an instant impact guy.

NBA Player Comparison: Mitch Richmond

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Darrell Arthur - PF - Kansas
Michael Jordan and new Coach Larry Brown have been known to not sit around let the fruit ripen on the vine. That's why they will take veteran Arthur over longer term project Anthony Randolph. Also look for the Bobcats to give a hard look at Kevin Love but ultimately they will pass on Love because of lack of condition and athleticism. This is also the franchise that took Emeka Okafor over Dwight Howard and Adam Morrison over Rudy Gay.

NBA Player Comparison: Antonio McDyess

10. New Jersey Nets - Anthony Randolph - PF - Louisiana State
The Nets can afford to gamble on a high risk/high reward guy because they are in rebuilding mode. Randolph has tons of buzz around him being a 6-foot-10 raw power forward. He has upside with the speed and length and touch, but still there is work to be done. A major weakness is he can be a turnover machine.

NBA Player Comparison: Lamar Odom

11. Indiana Pacers - DJ Augustin - PG - Texas
Augustin can shoot it and he can handle it. He’s only 6-feet tall, which got him in trouble against taller PG in college but he has NBA skills. He has great character, which attracts him to the Pacers, who have had continuing off-court problems. This pick will be the replacement for Jaamal Tinsley and may be Westbrook if he is available.

NBA Player Comparison: Travis Best

12. Sacramento Kings - Nicholas Batum - SF - France
Agile forward with size, an incredible wingspan, and great all around skills. Batum will need more time to develop and the Kings are a perfect situation where he can learn for a few years before contributing. Like Rudy Gay, his struggles have diminished his draft stock, but he's oozing with potential and could end up going higher.

NBA Player Comparison: Rudy Gay

13. Portland Trail Blazers - Kevin Love - C - UCLA
He could go higher, but if he is around, Portland can grab a local hero and a really good player. He is a glue guy who would thrive with an emerging team. D.J. Augustin’s value as a point guard moves him up the ladder and makes Love available.

NBA Player Comparison: Wes Unseld

14. Golden State Warriors - Joe Alexander - SF - West Virginia
The Warriors could look to go in a number of directions. Alexander would be an excellent upgrade over Al Harrington at the forward position. JaVale McGee would be a nice long-term pick for them if their intention is to unload Baron Davis and build for the future around their young nucleus (Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright).

NBA Player Comparison: Shawn Marion/Tom Chambers

15. Phoenix Suns (via Atlanta) - Donte Greene - SF - Syracuse
Greene would be a tremendous pick if the Suns decide to keep a first rounder for a change. He will make them younger and he will eventually remind Suns fans of a Shawn Marion combo forward with size. He has a lot of different shots in his game, which includes three-pointers, some post-up stuff, and mid-range jumpers. The issue is going to be teaching him some shot selection. It’s not good when a player who is 6-10 shoots 133 free throws and 261 three-pointers. Is he coachable?

NBA Player Comparison: Rashard Lewis

16. Philadelphia 76ers - DeAndre Jordan - C - Texas A&M
The 76ers are looking for size down low. If Jordan slips out of the lottery to them, they will be ecstatic. Jordan drops this far because of his lack of motivation. A good showing at the pre draft workouts will mean a lot to GMs and he will move back up. He is high risk/high reward but he will not fall further than 16.

NBA Player Comparison: Dwight Howard

17. Toronto Raptors - Robin Lopez - C - Stanford
Toronto has a big man in former number one overall pick Andrea Bargnani. However, he has been a bust and Lopez is the exact opposite kind of player who can hits the glass hard and really hustles. The Raptors need a solid role player like Lopez to get them out of the first round of the playoffs.

NBA Player Comparison: Andris Biedrins

18. Washington Wizards - JaVale McGee - PF - Nevada
At this point in his career, McGee is a crapshoot. On one side he has freakishly long arms: around a 7-6 wingspan which makes him a great rebounder and shot blocker. On the other hand he is incredibly thin, only shoots 50% from the stripe and must develop maturity and some low post moves. McGee may pay off big dividends in a couple of years.

NBA Player Comparison: Andrew Bynum

19. Cleveland Cavaliers - Brandon Rush - SG - Kansas
LeBron James needs help. Rush has size and shooting ability to help out offensively. He is an above average defender which fits into the Cavs defense first mentality. Rush played 4 years at Kansas so he is mature player that can step in right away. He can explode over the rim, but he needs to be a better ball handler and can be indecisive on the wing closing out the break; he looks better coming from the left or down the middle.

NBA Player Comparison: Reggie Lewis

20. Denver Nuggets - Marreese Speights - PF - Florida
Speights doesn't have great conditioning so he will fit in well when the Nuggets mail in the game in the third quarter. All kidding aside, once Speights develops he will bring a hard nosed attitude to the low blocks for the Nuggets. He will a safety net in case Camby and Martin go down with injuries. Look for the Nuggets to take the best available big man with this pick.

NBA Player Comparison: Juwan Howard

21. New Jersey Nets (Via Dallas) - Kousta Koufos - C - Ohio State
Koufas turned down millions to play professionally in Europe so there is a good chance he gooes in the middle to late first round. He is a skilled big man who can run the floor and step outside to shot. However, he tends to fade away on too many shots and hardly ever gets to the free throw line (2.7 per game). Will he fit in the rough and tumble NBA? With no pure center on the roster, the Nets will chance it.

NBA Player Comparison: Mehmet Okur

22. Orlando Magic - Chase Budinger - SG - Arizona
Orlando needs a SG and will risk this pick on a guy that can shoot and has great size at 6'7 but cannot play defense. Budinger carried his team offensively last season at times but at other times he disappeared. He would would fit in in Orlando who had Lewis to be the primary scorer.

NBA Player Comparison: Grant Hill

23. Utah Jazz (Via Phoenix) - Roy Hibbert - C - Georgetown
Hibbert was a sure fire late lottery pick but he had a rather so so Senior season at Georgetown after 2006-07 Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green left. Many felt he did not take over games and became to mechanical and predictable at times. The Jazz would love for him to be available as it will add size inside and there methodical half court pace will suit Hibbert perfectly.

NBA Player Comparison: Joel Przybilla

24. Seattle Sonics (Via Phoenix) - Serge Ibaka - PF - Congo
Ibaka is said to have insane athletism. He is only 220 lbs on a 6'10 frame, but he will have time to develop and bulk up as this pick is for the future. Ibaka not only is relentless on the glass but possesses a jumper with solid touch. If this pans out and the Sonics grab Bayless at 3 to go along with ROY Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the Oklahoma Sonics could be a perennial contender for the Western Conference title in a few years.

NBA Player Comparison: Shawn Kemp

25. Houston Rockets - Bill Walker - SG - Kansas State
It is time for him to come to the NBA because he shouldn’t have to play another year and wonder if there is another knee injury around the corner. He is the worth the shot in the first round with explosive leaping ability and finishing ability. If not for the knee issues he would be a top 10 pick; even with them he should get a first round look.

NBA Player Comparison: Ruben Patterson

26. San Antonio Spurs - Wayne Ellington - SG - North Carolina
Ellington has improved his defensive play so much in the past two seasons that he is not jsut considered an outside spot up shooter. However, he does shoot the ball beautifully from outside whether its that stop and pop from 3 or mid range, he has nice ark and rotation and decent size at 6'4 to come in off the bench to aid a vetern team.

NBA Player Comparison: Cuttino Mobley

27. New Orleans Hornets - Chris Douglas-Roberts - SG - Memphis
CDR will fit in the rotation in NO and will benefit from CP3 continually getting him clean looks. CDR can play the 2 or 3 and he is a good mid range jump shooter. However, he does not have a deep outside shot and is not explosive, but he has a feel for the game and can bury you at the rim on the break. His shots go in the basket.

NBA Player Comparison: Julius Hodge

28. Memphis Grizzlies (Via Los Angeles) - Nathan Jawai - C - Australia
By not addressing a big man earlier in round 1, the Grizzle will likely have to go with the best big man available. Jawai has size (6'10, 275) and some real power. At this late in the draft, this is worth the risk.
NBA Player Comparison: Charles Oakley

29. Detroit Pistons - JJ Hickson - PF - North Carolina State
The Pistons can groom in a back for Rasheed Wallace by taken the raw Hickson. He is a bruising power forward that fans in Detroit will appreciate. He provides instant defense and size in a more skilled version of Jason Maxiell.

NBA Player Comparison: Chris Wilcox

30. Boston Celtics - Jason Thompson - PF/C - Rider
Thompson needs to improve the streangth in his legs to last a full NBA season but he will come in and split time with Kendrick Perkins as PJ Brown will likely hang it up after this season.Thompson has 1 gear and that is overdrive. He will fit in nicely with KG.

NBA Player Comparison: Jason Smith

FIRST ROUND BUBBLE: Ty Lawson, Courtney Lee, Ante Tomic, Mario Chalmers, Richard Hendrix, DeVon Hardin, Davon Jefferson, DJ White