1st – Washington Wizards:
1st – Washington Wizards:

NBA Draft update: UK's Orton, Bledsoe should be first-rounders, but questions still remain


by Andrew Hardison

1st – Washington Wizards: John Wall

Wall is the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and there are many reasons as to why he’s solidified his positioning with in the draft. He’s most impressive in the open court, with the ability to keep defenders on their heels. Wall makes it difficult for opponents to keep up with him mainly because of his change of pace. Many teams during the 2009-2010 seasons struggled matching up with the ‘Cats due in large part to Wall’s high basketball IQ and killer instinct.

The Wizards were lucky to get the first overall selection in the draft and now have a legitimate franchise superstar that could change the face of the organization. With the recent performance and struggles of point guard Gilbert Arenas, Wall is a god-send for the Wizards as well as the NBA .

4th – Minnesota Timberwolves: DeMarcus Cousins

Many people feel Cousins would potentially slip in the draft due to ‘character issues’ that ‘experts’ feel could hurt his development early on in the youngster’s career. I personally don’t see those ‘issues’ and often make note of the fact that Cousins had a giant turnaround as a player and individual this past season, often getting overlooked by other things.Cousins produce at such a high-clip last season that any team that gets him will be extremely happy with his services. I have Cousins going third to the New Jersey Nets. A duo of Cousins and Brook Lopez is hard to pass up even with guys like Wesley Johnson and Derrick Favors available.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has Cousins going fourth to the Timberwolves, with NBADraft.net dropping him to the fifth selection. Whatever way you look at it, Cousins will be in the 3-5 range barring an incredible downfall during combines and pre-draft camps.

8th – Los Angeles Clippers: Patrick Patterson

As you can see, that out of the five mock drafts, Cousins gets several different rates as to where he might end up at the next level. Patterson’s early years in college proved that he was a force down-low, possessing the ability to take over a game around the rim. Patterson wasn’t quite the shooter he is now, an indication of how hard he’s worked during his one year playing under head coach John Calipari.

The Clippers desperately need someone to come in and bring a new work ethic for the organization. Several GM’s have stated that Patterson could move up in the draft simply based off of how good of a person he is, creating a problem for anyone that has a pick in the 7-12 range during the draft. ESPN’s Chad Ford surprisingly has Patterson going 22nd to the Portland Trailblazers. Let’s just say that if he falls that far—which he won’t—the Blazers will be one happy NBA team.

13th – Toronto Raptors: Daniel Orton

Three of the sites used have Orton going to the Raptors with the 13th overall selection. For what it’s worth, I think this is probably a solid spot for him to go with the way he produced during his one year at Kentucky. The stats are fairly underwhelming, but that’s not what NBA general managers and scouts are evaluating. Will he be able to develop an overall offensive game?

Orton progressed on the defensive side of the ball under Calipari, displaying good instincts despite plenty of overzealous attempts at a block shot that resulted in goaltends. Despite the fact, NBA teams want Orton because of his ability to bang down-low with a developed NBA-ready physique. He could go fairly high; ESPN’s Chad Ford has Orton going 11th to the Hornets, but the potential to slip to Miami with the 18th selection is also plausible.

25th – Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe is the toughest former Wildcat to predict, simply because not everyone thinks he’s ready to take his game to the next level. Some, however, feel that Bledsoe’s game fits the NBA better than it did college and will thrive with the constant up-tempo styles of play. ESPN’s Chad Ford has Bledsoe going 18th to the Miami Heat, potentially playing alongside current off-guard Dwayne Wade.

The former running-mate of John Wall, Bledsoe was fairly inconsistent during his time in Kentucky and never had the duty of running his ‘own-team,’ something Wall excelled at throughout the 2009-2010 seasons. Bledsoe did show spurts of excellence most notably during several NCAA Tournament games and a 25 point outpouring against the Florida Gators during the regular season, but will he be able to ‘lead’ a team next fall? It will be interesting to see where he truly ends up. NBADraft.net has him going 36th to the Pistons, I think he goes somewhere around the 21-25 range.

NBADraft.net, DraftExpress.com, BleacherReport, Andrew Hardison’s Mock Draft, HoopsHype.com, ESPN’s Chad Ford

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