We threw around a couple of ideas on how to attack this, and here's the way we approached it. For each pick, we both provide our prediction, followed by a brief explanation. We assumed a couple of things:
-No trades. Obviously this won't be the case, but until a trade is formally announced there's no way to know exactly how things will go down. This won't prevent us from speculating about trades, but we aren't assuming any.
-Lottery only. As much as we feel like covering all 30 first round picks, we felt it would be better to cover only the lottery picks as well as Portland's #30 and #31 picks. So that's all you'll see.
Let the games begin!
#1. Toronto Raptors
Moderator: Andrea Bargnani. I expect Toronto to end up with Bargnani, one way or the other. Whether they select him at #1 or trade down with Charlotte or Portland, Bargnani is their man.
Lochi: Bargnani. In honor of the Azzurri moving on to the quarterfinals, the Raptors take the Italian, thinking it's soccer and not basketball. Plus it means he's not a Trailblazer.
#2. Chicago Bulls
Lochi: Tyrus Thomas. Seems like the guy they want, even though they're not sure. This to me seems like the most likely traded pick.
Moderator: LaMarcus Aldridge. Thomas is too much of a question mark, and with his well-rounded offensive game Aldridge is the perfect interior complement to Tyson Chandler.
#3. Charlotte Bobcats
Moderator: Brandon Roy. With MJ now running the show, I believe this changes the pick completely. Bernie Bickerstaff was in love with Rudy Gay, but MJ will go more for a guy who can contribute a little sooner and who is a bit more of a "gamer". Roy or Morrison would be the pick here, and since I hope Portland ends up with Morrison, I'll go with Roy for now.
Lochi: Brother of former Avalanche goalie Patrick, he's the pick here. For no other reason than this is the way it has to go down for my sanity...
#4. Portland TrailBlazers
Lochi: Adam Morrison. I think Morrison's a Blazer one way or another. He has to be, it's too perfect for it not to work out this way. Rest assured, if he's not a Blazer wednesday night you're going to hear a profanity laced tirade in this space.
Moderator: Adam Morrison. This is partially because I hope they'll make this pick. Morrison is clearly the best fit. Whether Portland gets him here, or moves up to #2 or #1 to get him, I believe (hope) that he'll end up in a Blazer uni one way or the other.
#5. Atlanta Hawks
Moderator: Shelden Williams. Rumor has it that Atlanta is going to end up with Shelden Williams, one way or another. They may select him here, or they may trade down to #8 and grab him there -- but either way, Williams is a Hawk.
Lochi: Sheldon Williams. Why? Because they're the Hawks, and there is no known cure.
#6. Minnesota Timberwolves
Lochi: LaMarcus Aldridge. This is a steal for them. A division rival adding a shot blocking center with a great offensive post game to put around Garnett worries me. A lot.
Moderator: Tyrus Thomas is the pick here. Minnesota is lucky that he slipped this far, and they won't hesitate to snag him. One of Thomas or Gay will slip, and whichever it is will be Minnesota's man.
#7. Boston Celtics
Moderator: Rajon Rondo. Clearly one of the most difficult teams to project. Rumors have them trading down into the teens to get Rondo or Randy Foye. Rondo has been a beast in his workouts, and I believe Boston wants him bad but isn't telling anyone. I think someone will trade up into this spot so they can grab Rudy Gay, and Boston will move back further where they can still get Rondo.
Lochi: Marcus Williams. For some reason, people think Williams is falling and everyone's in love with Foye. Simply put, Williams is a better player. C's need a point. He'll help them be a fringe playoff team next year.
#8. Houston Rockets
Lochi: Rudy Gay. They want Roy, everyone knows this, but if they can't figure out a deal then Gay's a nice consolation prize. Basically a young Bonzi in training, will drop 40 on you one night, 4 the next.
Moderator: Cedric Simmons. Gay seems like a good choice (and this could be another spot where a team moves up to get him), but Houston already has its small forward for the next five years in T-Mac and I think they'll jump at a chance to get a guy with Simmons' athleticism and defensive skills.
#9. Golden State Warroirs
Moderator: Rudy Gay. As much as they want a big, if he falls this far the Warriors will consider themselves very lucky and will jump right on it. Despite their glut of wing players already. This selection is the final piece in place that leads to a Mike Dunleavy trade.
Lochi: Rodney Carney. Since I know nothing about him, it seems like a good time to point out that the co-author of this blog still owes yours truly a shot and a beer for his statement "The Warriors are a playoff team this year" back in November.
#10. Seattle SuperSonics
Lochi: Cedric Simmons. People seem to love his athletic ability, which means he has no real skills except he's tall and can dunk. Seems like a good fit for the Sonics in that it will help them finish below Portland next year.
Moderator: Ronnie Brewer. Another tough call. People assume they want a big man, but with Robert Swift, Chris Wilcox and Nick Collison all appearing to have bright futures, I'm not quite sure why. They need some wing depth behind Rashard Lewis, so I'll go with The Brewmeister.
#11. Orlando Magic
Moderator: Randy Foye. Orlando needs another guard to pair with Jameer Nelson, and Foye has the skills. Brewer would also be a great fit here if he slips to them.
Lochi: I'll go Foye as well here. This could be a great pick for them, exciting combo guard to play with that team.
#12. New Orleans / Oklahoma City Hornets
Lochi: Patrick O'Bryant. Anytime you can get a young Jerome James you have to jump on that.
Moderator: Patrick O'Bryant as well. Some foolish team is going to select this big Irish stiff (in fact, I hereby nominate that as his new nickname: "BIS") WAY too high, and Byron Scott and the Hornets are the prime suspect to fall right into that trap.
#13. Philadelphia 76ers
Moderator: Marcus Williams. They need a point guard in the worst way, and he'll be a great fit alongside AI. He's quick and he can shoot. Dark horse candidate for ROY if he can win that starting spot (which shouldn't be too hard considering that Kevin Ollie and someone named "Louis Williams" will be his main competition).
Lochi: Jordan Farmar. Same idea, need a point and he's a perfect compliment to Iverson, doesn't need a lot of shots and a pretty steady player. They got to the finals with Eric Snow at the point, Farmar reminds me a lot of him.
#14. Utah Jazz
Lochi: JJ Reddick. Unlikeable, flopper, annoying to watch, and will knock down nail in the coffin 3's for the next 10-12 years in the league. Seems like a perfect fit for the Utah Jazz as a franchise.
Moderator: Rodney Carney. The Jazz need a scoring wing-man first and foremost, and Reddick's drinking problem (hey, we aren't all perfect) and bad back will scare them away. Carney can play right away, he can shoot, and is athletic. He'll be considered a steal at this spot in a couple of years.
Portland's Two Late Picks
Lochi: Portland is not going to be using these 2 picks, but in the interest of the current draft set up, I'll play along. There are 3 players I like here, any 1 of them would be good. First, I like Kevin Pittsnogle here. Big guy, can shoot the lights out, and down in this range you're looking for guys that can help out. He's going to be a serviceable player in the league, not an all star, probably not a starter, but a guy you can use. Second: Denham Brown. This guy is nails. If they somehow end up not getting Morrison, they need this guy. Not afraid to take, and bury, the big shot. Third: Leon Powe. Injury problems aside, he's going to be a quality rebounder scorer off the bench.
Moderator: I agree that they won't be using both picks. However, in the event they do, I'd like to see one of them used on a guy like Pittsnoggle, Leon Powe, or even Josh Boone. Frontcourt depth and a bit of a project. The second pick in this scenario would likely be used on a foreign player that they can stash in Europe for a couple of seasons. Possible candidates: Olexey Pechirov, Joel Freeland, Yotam Halperin.
There you have it! We'll be updating this mock draft with updated lists (and less detail) on Wednesday, no later than 1pm. Don't forget to tune in to the draft on Wednesday at 4.