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Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Chad Ford's Mock Draft, Version 2.0: Picks 1-30

By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider

It's been just a few days since the Chicago Bulls won the lottery and we had our first mock draft. In the past few days I've been gathering more information about what various teams plan to do with their picks.

At this point, nothing is set in stone. This mock draft will continue to fluctuate greatly in the next 30 days. This week, the Orlando NBA pre-draft camp will help define the field. After that, hundreds of team workouts will dramatically alter the face of the draft.

Here's our latest, best-educated guess, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, about how the first round of the draft might play out in June.

Remember, this mock draft isn't a report of what I think teams should do, but what they are likely to do. To see our ranking of the prospects, check out our Top 100.

CHAD FORD'S MOCK DRAFT
PICK
TEAM
PLAYER
VITALS

Chicago

Derrick Rose
Position: PG
Height: 6-3
Weight: 205
Age: 19
School: Memphis

The skinny: Our first mock draft put Michael Beasley atop the list. But the more I hear GM John Paxson speak about the pick, the more it sounds like Rose will be the choice.

I believe Paxson when he says the team hasn't decided. But if he is going to prioritize character, leadership and chemistry in his criteria, Rose will win the battle.

Beasley is a slightly better fit since the Bulls need a low-post scorer and rebounder, but they can't go wrong with Rose. He's ranked as the No. 1 player on our big board.

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Miami

Michael Beasley
Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 235
Age: 19
School: Kansas State

The skinny: The Heat want Rose. If they can't find a way to get him, they'll have three choices.

The first is to take Beasley. He would a big upgrade over Udonis Haslem in the long term and a potent offensive weapon and rebounder.

If the Heat are worried about Beasley's fit or character, they could trade a few steps down in the draft and make a run at O.J. Mayo. He has star potential and would be an excellent fit in the backcourt with Dwyane Wade.

Or … the Heat could trade the pick for a veteran to help the team make a playoff run next season. There will be plenty of offers for the pick -- the question is, what direction are the Heat heading? Are they rebuilding around Wade or are they still trying to compete in the East?

I'm leaving Beasley in this spot because the strong odds are that he won't fall out of the top two.

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Minnesota

O.J. Mayo
Position: SG
Height: 6-4
Weight: 195
Age: 20
School: USC

The skinny: The Wolves have a need at center and Brook Lopez would be a good fit. Size sells in the draft, and Lopez is the only big man who looks like a sure thing. But he doesn't have the upside of many of the other players in the draft -- in other words, he's closer to a Chris Kaman than a Dwight Howard.

That could lead the Wolves to roll the dice on a more talented player, such as O.J. Mayo or Danilo Gallinari.

Mayo would duplicate what they already have in the backcourt with Randy Foye and Rashad McCants. But he's better than both of those guys and would give the Wolves some star power alongside Al Jefferson.

Gallinari is a better fit. The Wolves could use a good small forward. They tried Corey Brewer there last year but he struggled. Gallinari and Brewer would complement each other well. Brewer is an excellent defender and Gallinari is an offensive genius.

The Wolves appear to be high on all three, but I'm putting Mayo here because he's the best of the group.

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Seattle

Jerryd Bayless
Position: PG
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190
Age: 19
School: Arizona

The skinny: The Sonics need backcourt help, and Mayo and Bayless might be the two best options available at the position. Sources say that the Sonics are leaning heavily toward Bayless, even if Mayo is on the board.

Bayless is an excellent athlete who can really shoot. Of all the combo guards in the draft, he also has shown the most ability, so far, to run the point. Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson have not taken excelled at the position in Seattle. So, of the first four picks in the draft, this one looks like the closest to a lock.

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Memphis

Anthony Randolph
Position: PF
Height: 6-11
Weight: 220
Age: 18
School: LSU

The skinny: The Grizzlies need a power forward and could take a leap of faith and grab a player like Anthony Randolph.

Randolph has a great combination of size and athleticism. He's a proven rebounder at the college level and has a little bit of Chris Bosh in him. He needs to improve his perimeter game and his strength, and he's not completely NBA-ready, but his upside and fit both look good for Memphis.

Their other choice is to try to add size with Brook Lopez, if he's available.

Darko Milicic was a disappointment this past season, and the Grizzlies likely will see what they can get for him this summer. If they draft Lopez, they don't have to worry as much about getting a big guy back in return.

If I were drafting for Memphis, I'd take Randolph.

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New York

Danilo Gallinari
Position: SF
Height: 6-9
Weight: 212
Age: 19
Country: Italy

The skinny: The Knicks want a lead guard who can push the ball and hit an open jumper. But with Rose, Mayo and Bayless off the board, they have to get the best player available.

Gallinari should be an excellent fit in Mike D'Antoni's offense. He has great basketball IQ, can play multiple positions, is a point forward-type facilitator and has star potential.

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L.A. Clippers

Eric Gordon
Position: SG
Height: 6-4
Weight: 215
Age: 19
School: Indiana

The skinny: The Clippers need a point guard, but it may be a little high to take D.J. Augustin or Russell Westbrook here.

With Corey Maggette likely hitting free agency, the Clippers will need a big-time scorer who can shoot and get to the rim. Gordon looked like a top-three talent before a late-season slump. He looks like a bigger, better version of Ben Gordon.

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Milwaukee

Russell Westbrook
Position: PG
Height: 6-3
Weight: 189
Age: 19
School: UCLA

The skinny: It's tough to project the Bucks right now. New GM John Hammond is ready to make changes, but where does he start? Their biggest need is at small forward, but this is probably too high for Donte Greene or Joe Alexander.

One thing Hammond wants to emphasize is defense, and Westbrook could be an excellent addition. He can play both guard positions and be a Leandro Barbosa-type scoring threat.

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Charlotte

Brook Lopez
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 260
Age: 20
School: Stanford

The skinny: Lopez could go as high as No. 3 to the Timberwolves. He'll also get a look from the Grizzlies at No. 5 and the Knicks at No. 6. However, he could slip.

Teams love size but they don't see Lopez as an NBA star. The Bobcats have been looking for a big man so that they can slide Emeka Okafor over to the 4 full-time. Lopez would be a great complement to Okafor up front.

The other options are DeAndre Jordan, if Larry Brown is willing to gamble, or Kevin Love, if he wants a proven college player who will "play the right way."

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New Jersey

DeAndre Jordan
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 255
Age: 20
School: Texas A&M

The skinny: The Nets are set in the backcourt with Devin Harris and Vince Carter. And they're set at small forward with Richard Jefferson. What they need is a dominant low-post player. They've had some success with Sean Williams and Josh Boone, but neither has the upside or size of Jordan.

At this spot in the draft, his reward really starts to outweigh his risk. Jordan could go as high as No. 5 in this draft, and he'll get a strong look at No. 9. But I doubt he slips past here.

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Indiana

D.J. Augustin
Position: PG
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180
Age: 20
School: Texas

The skinny: The Pacers need a long-term replacement for Jamaal Tinsley, and they are crossing their fingers that either Augustin or Westbrook is still on the board when they pick. Of the two, Augustin is probably the better fit in Jim O'Brien's system.

Augustin is an excellent floor leader and can really shoot the basketball. Another bonus for Pacers fans is that he is an excellent character guy.

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Sacramento

Darrell Arthur
Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 225
Age: 20
School: Kansas

The skinny: The Kings are hoping that either Augustin or Westbrook falls into their laps. However, if they're not available, Sacramento will likely have to make a tough choice between a number of power forwards.

Of the group, Arthur has the greatest upside as an athlete and a scorer. But he's going to have to improve his rebounding to really make it in the league.

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Portland

Joe Alexander
Position: SF
Height: 6-8
Weight: 220
Age: 21
School: West Virginia

The skinny: Alexander could be the sleeper of the draft. His combination of size, athleticism and shooting ability has GMs drooling.

He's still learning the game, but on a team like the Blazers, his versatility could become an immediate asset. Donte Greene is also a possibility here.

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Golden State


Kevin Love
Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 275
Age: 19
School: UCLA

The skinny: The team is still trying to make the playoffs and Love is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. The Warriors will love his toughness and passing ability. He should be a great asset alongside Andris Biedrins.

While he lacks great athleticism, he could be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Warriors (if he stays in shape).

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Phoenix
(via Atlanta)

Brandon Rush
Position: SG
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Age: 22
School: Kansas

The skinny: Donte Greene may have more upside, but the Suns are in it to win it and Rush should be able to step in and immediately play for the Suns.

His combination of shooting, athleticism, defense and basketball IQ, along with a newly minted championship pedigree, will make him tough to pass up.

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Philadelphia

Marreese Speights
Position: C
Height: 6-10
Weight: 245
Age: 19
School: Florida

The skinny: The Sixers are still looking for a low-post banger. If they can't get Elton Brand this summer, they'll have to seriously consider Speights. Speights does a lot of the same things that Brand does; he just doesn't have the conditioning or motivation.

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Toronto

Donte Greene
Position: SF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 225
Age: 20
School: Syracuse

The skinny: Greene has great upside as a combo forward who can do a little of everything. He's just a little raw. However, his ability to shoot and run the floor make this a home run of a pick this low in the draft. Robin Lopez is another real possibility here.

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Washington

JaVale McGee
Position: PF
Height: 7-0
Weight: 237
Age: 20
School: Nevada

The skinny: McGee is another wild card. Long, athletic and skilled, he has huge upside and can fly up and down the court. But his thin frame and lack of position mean he might be a few years away from contributing a lot.

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Cleveland

Kosta Koufos
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 265
Age: 19
School: Ohio State

The skinny: If Koufos slips this far, it will be tough for the Cavs to pass on him. He's a very skilled big man who gets up and down the floor really well.

Some scouts compare him to a young Zydrunas Ilgauskas. He needs to get stronger, but he's got great upside for a pick this low in the draft.

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Denver

Robin Lopez
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 245
Age: 20
School: Stanford

The skinny: Marcus Camby is getting up there in age and he may be on the trading block this summer. Lopez's combination of hustle, toughness, shot-blocking, rebounding and size have drawn comparisons to Anderson Varejao. He should be a good fit in the Nuggets' up-tempo offense.

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New Jersey
(via Dallas)

Chase Budinger
Position: SG
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Age: 20
School: Arizona

The skinny: Budinger could easily be a late-lottery pick, but he could also slip. Teams love his size and shooting ability but worry a bit about his lack of aggressiveness and defense. At this point in the draft, the Nets will be glad to take the risk.

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Orlando

Bill Walker
Position: SF
Height: 6-6
Weight: 235
Age: 20
School: Kansas State

The skinny: The Magic need another swingman, preferably one who can shoot the ball. Shooting isn't Walker's forte, but his athleticism and scoring instincts would give the Magic another big weapon.

A year and a half ago, teams were talking about him as a top-5 pick, but an ACL injury stopped that talk. However, I saw him in Chicago recently and his weight is finally down and his explosiveness is back.

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Utah

Roy Hibbert
Position: C
Height: 7-2
Weight: 275
Age: 21
School: Georgetown

The skinny: Is there a better fit for Hibbert than Utah? He needs a team that excels in half-court sets. His size and scoring ability make him an asset as long as you don't ask him to run the floor or play 40 minutes a game.

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Seattle
(via Phoenix)

Serge Ibaka
Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 220
Age: 18
Country: Congo

The skinny: Expect Sonics GM Sam Presti to use a trick or two from his days in San Antonio and look internationally with his second pick. Ibaka has the talent to be a potential lottery pick someday, but he's still very raw. The Sonics can leave him over in Spain and reap the benefits down the road.

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Houston

Nicolas Batum
Position: SF
Height: 6-8
Weight: 210
Age: 19
Country: France

The skinny: The Rockets will have a hard time passing on Batum, an athletic swingman who can do just about everything. He still lacks experience, but at this point in the draft, you take the best talent available.

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San Antonio

Ante Tomic
Position: C
Height: 7-2
Weight: 237
Age: 21
Country: Croatia

The skinny: The Spurs don't need rookies right now and Tomic is stuck in a contract overseas for the next few years. They can afford to let him develop and hope in a few years he can be a building block.

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New Orleans

Chris Douglas-Roberts
Position: SG
Height: 6-6
Weight: 195
Age: 21
School: Memphis

The skinny: Douglas-Roberts would be a great fit for the Hornets if he's still on the board here. He is a big-time scorer who excels at slashing to the basket. He also is an excellent midrange shooter and should be able to step in and contribute right away.

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Memphis

J. J. Hickson
Position: PF
Height: 6-9
Weight: 240
Age: 19
School: NC State

The skinny: The Grizzlies need a power forward with some power, and the freshman from North Carolina State has great toughness and scoring ability inside the paint. If Hickson had stayed in school for another year, he would've been a potential lottery pick. He's a steal here.

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Detroit

Nathan Jawai
Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 270
Age: 21
Country: Australia

The skinny: The Pistons could use more size and power in the paint and the Australian native has that in abundance. He's coming off a big year in Australia and his game resembles Elton Brand's a little. At this point in the draft, he's worth the risk.

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Boston

Trent Plaisted
Position: C
Height: 6-11
Weight: 245
Age: 21
School: Brigham Young

The skinny: Celtics GM Danny Ainge taps his alma mater to get an athletic big man who can run the floor and score around the basket. Plaisted won't be a star, but he can be a rotation player for the Celtics down the road.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.