SLAMonline Mock Draft: Cole Aldrich, No. 9
Prosaic or pragmatic?
by Aaron Kaplowitz
With the ninth pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft the Utah Jazz select…
Cole Aldrich from Kansas University
I know, I know: You all saw this pick coming. From the moment Aldrich first dribbled a basketball, you knew that if he would reach the NBA he’d play for Utah. I know you’ve heard the “insiders” swoon about Hassan Whiteside’s potential, and I know Aldrich isn’t the sexiest pick, but it’s this prosaic approach that makes the Utah Jazz, well…the Utah Jazz.
With Carlos Boozer half way to South Beach, and Andrei Kirilenko set to walk next summer, the need to bolster our front line is priority number one. We could have easily snagged Gordon Hayward with this pick, let Kyle Korver walk and dared you to notice any change in the roster. But when you have a lottery pick even in a weak draft, the goal probably shouldn’t be to pick the next Kyle Korver (Indiana, you’ve been warned.).
Which brings us back to Aldrich. After posting 15 points, 11 rebounds and nearly 3 blocks per game during his sophomore year in 2009, the top draft boards had him pegged as the first overall pick for the this year’s draft. His numbers tapered off slightly during his junior season – and that will happen when future lottery-mate Xavier Henry gets added to the mix — but Alrdich, at 6-11, 245 pounds and a prodigious 7-5 wingspan is a solid investment.
Cast in the same mold as Kevin Love, Aldrich runs the floor well, plays above the rim and doesn’t try to play outside of his game. Although Aldrich doesn’t have the rebounding tenacity of Love, and not many do, he makes up for it in shot blocking. Last season he averaged 3.5 blocks per game, a tremendous number especially for a player under seven feet. He’ll fit nicely within coach Jerry Sloan’s half-court offensive sets and offer Deron Williams an easy target on pick-and-rolls toward the basket.
While Whiteside deserves a long look, his college numbers resemble Hasheem Thabeet’s, which probably isn’t a good thing, especially considering that Whitehead gives up 30 pounds to Thabeet.
Aldrich will help crystallize a solid core that could stay together for years to come. With Williams leading the charge, and a deep frontcourt led by Paul Millsap, CJ Miles, Mehmet Okur, Kirilenko and Aldrich, we’ll handle Boozer’s inevitable departure better than most teams would and finally flex the muscle to bang, bruise and batter the Lakers, the crème of the West and the team that has knocked us from the Playoffs the past three years.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|