May 19

Mike Rice's Snap Draft Judgments

By caseyholdahl Posted in: 2010draft
With the draft lottery out of the way, the real gamesmanship of the NBA Draft begins. Between now and June 24, front office types from all 30 teams will watch players work out, interview the players they really like, decide what players they're going to target. They'll be less than honest about who those players actually are. They'll float trades that have no chance of being agreed upon. Lies are the currency of the NBA Draft.

But Mike Rice would never lie to you. He's not one to shy away from telling it like it is, or at least telling it as he thinks it is. So who better to give a snap assessment of the way the draft is going to shake out than "The Wild One." Below are Rice's predictions on how the first 10 teams will pick, along with some thoughts on what the Trail Blazers might do come pick No. 22.

1. Washington Wizards

Rice's Take: "The Wiz, they have a guy that handles the ball, but I think it makes it real easy to bring John Wall in there. They'll have the most explosive back court. They'll switch off playing the point and the two. That's probably a real break for the Wiz getting the first pick with the new owner Ted Leonidas. They'll be able to sell tickets once again because of Wall and Gilbert Arenas. Those two, they'll say they'll be the most explosive backcourt in the NBA now. It's good for the Wiz. They've had such a miserable season when they were supposed to have a good season."

2. Philadelphia 76ers

Rice's Take: "The Sixers, they want to run, they want to pressure and that's the kind of coach they're going to take when they do finally name a coach and at No. 2 they'll take Turner from Ohio State. That's a no-brainer."

3. New Jersey Nets

Rice's Take: "The Nets, of course, would have taken Wall and they would have had to put Devin Harris -- and he's only 27 years old -- he could have been had by teams like Portland if they wanted to look for a point guard. But now the Nets will keep him because they'll get the third pick. It makes it easier for them because DeMarcus Cousins is a center and they, of course, already have their center in Lopez. So they'll end up taking Derrick Favors, the power forward from Georgia Tech, and that's probably what they need most of all. Where they fell is probably is a position where they can't make a mistake. Favors is quite an athlete at power forward at a position they need."

4. Minnesota Timberwolves

Rice's Take:
"I think the Wolves, picking No. 4 saves them from being embarrassed. If they would have had to take Wall, and of course he has the same agent as Ricky Rubio. He doesn't want to come to the Wolves; Wall wouldn't want to come to the Wolves. Now they have to come to a decision because the guy they'll want to take is DeMarcus Cousins, the center. He's probably a better prospect than Al Jefferson, so now they have to decide what kind of trades they're going to make because DeMarcus Cousins will move in ahead of Al Jefferson.

"There's a lot of things the Wolves can do because they have so many draft picks as it is, guys that didn't play for them and everything. The Wolves have been snakebitten. In 13 tries they've never improved their position in the lottery and they didn't again this year. When you only win 15 games and you pick No. 4, you're snakebitten. I think they can't pass on DeMarcus Cousins. They took two point guards last year in Flynn and Rubio. This year I think they'll take DeMarcus Cousins and a lot of people will find that very interesting because they already have Love and Jefferson, who play a lot alike. I don't think they'll pass on Cousins. I think he's a lot like Barkley. He's got great hands, he can bang in the middle. I think it will almost force them to do something trade-wise with Love or Al Jefferson."

5. Sacramento Kings

Rice's Take: "Sacramento, I have a feeling Cole Aldrich of Kansas or Wesley Johnson of Syracuse is perfect for Petrie. One is a center. They got lucky last year but they got Tyreke Evans. Wesley Johnson, small forward from Syracuse, would be perfect for them. Or they could go with Cole Aldrich, the kid from Kansas, the big center. They need some muscle in that lineup. I think one or the other will go at that position. "

6. Golden State Warriors

Rice's Take: "The kid from Wake Forest, Al-Farouq Aminu, I think Golden State will decide between Wesley Johnson and Aminu."

7. Detroit Pistons

(Ed. note: I think Rice meant to put Syracuse's Wesley Johnson here, but I neglected to follow up with him on that. Stay tuned for an update on that)

8. L.A. Clippers

Rice's Take: "It will be interesting because if Greg Monroe from Georgetown falls there they've got to make a decision. They already have Kaman. To battle everyone in the West Greg Monroe would be perfect for the Clips."

9. Utah Jazz

Rice's Take: "I got a feeling Boozer is going to leave them so I think they'll go with the Baylor kid (Ekpe Udoh). Him and Milsap would work perfect together. I got a feeling they're going to figure that Boozer is going to leave them, which I think he is, so I think they would go with the kid from Baylor."

10. Indiana Pacers

Rice's Take: "I think Indiana is perfect for Hayward from Butler. He's perfect for them."

As for what the Trail Blazers should look for in the draft ...

Rice's Take: "They need somebody who can get their own shot and the shoot it, like a Paul Pierce type player, somebody that can really put the ball on the floor and get his own shot. Who that might be? I haven't done enough research yet on that."

On whether the Blazers will stand pat, move up or move down from the 22nd pick ...

Rice's Take: "I see the Blazers sticking at No. 22 or trading out of the first round all together. As much as they would love to draft someone, that's another guaranteed contract in the first round. It just depends on what they're thinking about in free agency, if they use their mid-level exception. They'll have to decide if there's someone who can really shoot the basketball at No. 22 that can help them or should we wait and see if a Mike Miller or someone like that fits what they need."


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