NBA Mock Draft (Part Deux...Picks 11-20)

11. Atlanta Hawks- Javaris Crittenton, G, Georgia Tech

Originally the Pacers’ pick, this pick was given to them in the Al Harrington trade (Hawks fans, Billy Knight did something right for once), the Hawks have a second chance to pick a PG and calm the worries of fans who may want to commit dat after passing up a PG with the #3 pick. Crittenton could very well be the best PG in the draft and playing alongside Joe Johnson would do wonders for his career. Now they can go after the PG of the future. However, the Hawks can’t leave this draft alive without drafting a PG and what do ya know? The potentially best one (and local kid) will still be there. For once, the Hawks will have a solid backcourt.

12. Philadelphia 76ers- Al Thornton, F, Florida State

Thornton at 12 is a steal for a Sixer team building around Andre Iguodala. With Samuel Dalembert finally starting to come around as a center, they can afford to go after another pure scorer. The downside to this pick is that Thornton is already 24 years old, so you’re already limited to how far he can develop. We’ve never seen him play in huge games because Florida State wasn’t good enough to get there, but with that team in that horrible Atlantic Division, they can rebuild faster than Allen Iverson can help lead Denver to the semi-finals.

13. New Orleans Hornets, Julian Wright, F, Kansas

New Orleans would be shocked and elated if they got Julian Wright here. He’s lanky and has raw talent. It may take him more time than originally believed to get better, but the upside is there. He is a “long” player like Jay Bilas loves to say 50,000 times on draft night. A jack-of-all-trades type of player Wright’s wingspan makes the SF position in New Orleans very promising for the future. He and Chris Paul will be a great combo alongside the young big men the Hornets have. Now if Peja Stojakovic was healthy, this would create matchup problems for everyone.

14. Los Angeles Clippers- Acie Law IV, G, Texas A&M

With Shaun Livingston’s career possibly over after that stomach-turning injury he suffered this season and Sam Cassell nearing the end of his career, the Clippers will need a savvy PG who can carry a team into the future. Law provides that and is not gun shy about taking the big shot. They’d be better off getting a SF, but Yaroslav Korolev will get a shot to prove himself and PG is the emergency need for them.

15. Detroit Pistons- Rodney Stuckey, G, Eastern Washington

A rumored promised pick, Stuckey provides the Pistons with backcourt help that was nonexistent during their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Cavaliers. Don’t rebuild, retool. The Pistons will have to regroup well via the draft if they want to keep Chauncey Billups around and keep Flip Saunders from losing his job next season.

16. Washington Wizards- Jason Smith, F, Colorado State

Jason Smith would be another big body the Wizards could use. He’s a good low post player and can make that pass out to Gilbert Arenas for the game-winning three. With last year’s first round pick Oleksiy Pecherov on the way, Smith will fight to get minutes. However, with Brendan Haywood falling out with head coach Eddie Jordan, Smith will have good odds to play a role with the Wizards. They’d be one decent center away from dominating the East. Smith is too frail for it, but he does add depth to their power forward spot.

17. New Jersey Nets- Thaddeus Young, F, Georgia Tech

Thaddeus should have gone back to school. However, he’d be a good replacement for Vince Carter if he leaves via free agency. If they part ways with Kidd, Young would be a good player to build around, but it will take some time. Thaddeus possesses the skill set that can make him a perennial all-star. Jason Kidd could help him get to that point.

18. Golden State Warriors- Nick Young, G, USC

Too bad he declared, because it would have been fun to watch him and incoming freshman OJ Mayo wreck the Pac-10 Conference. With Jason Richardson possibly being traded and Matt Barnes testing the free agent market, this could be another good guard to place alongside Mickael Pietrus, Monta Ellis, and Baron Davis. He’d blend in with Nellie-ball as it is not conducive to big men. They will try and use this pick as bait to land Yi Jianlian, but they will not regret taking Young if he falls to them.

19. Los Angeles Lakers- Morris Almond, G, Rice

I think this draft pick is a moot point considering Phil Jackson hates rookies and tries not to play them. Almond would be a great shooter for the Lakers, one that Sasha Vujacic has failed to become and a dependable person that Kobe Bryant (if he stays) would be comfortable passing to. He’d be a good person in their second unit now that we know Smush Parker will not be back to LA. I guess we’ll know if he’s good after Phil leaves, whenever that will be.

20. Miami Heat- Rudy Fernandez, G, Spain

The Heat can use another combo guard since Jason Williams is entering the last year of his contract and Gary Payton is finally leaning towards retiring.. Fernandez could very well be Dwyane Wade-lite, a flashy guard who plays with reckless abandon, a very good fit for the Heat.