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THN Mock: With the 21st pick Oklahoma City selects…

THN Mock: With the 21st pick Oklahoma City selects…

The 2010 ESPN TrueHoop Network NBA Mock Draft is here and I’m happy to represent the Thunder with the 21st and 26th overall picks. Each selection will be made available on network sites (picks and links at the bottom of this post), will cover just the first round, and will be made according to prediction, not some blogger preference. Enjoy.

Most every mock drafter has Daniel Orton going to Oklahoma City at 21. Some rumors have even come out that the Thunder has made a promise to Orton. And you know what that means? It probably, most likely, almost definitely will not turn out that way.

But I have OKC taking him anyway at 21. It was between him and Alabi here and for whatever reason, I tilted toward Orton. And I almost immediately regretted it. Alabi is probably more of a sure thing, or at least as much of a sure thing as a late first rounder can be. But there’s just something about Orton.

The story on him is so hard to understand. He was an excellent high school player but missed a lot of his senior season due to injury. He went to UK but got stuck behind two talented power forwards. He decided to declare for the draft against common sense. He’s had subpar workouts, there are still questions about his injured knee and there may be some issues with a meddling family life. Yet the guy has lottery talent. And with my instinct saying pick 21 is do or die time for Orton because I’m guessing he won’t last to 26, here’s where I have OKC going with its first pick.

Orton won’t make an immediate impact. He’d likely spend almost an entire season in Tulsa before trying to mature at the pro level. And the Thunder luckily appear to have this luxury, at least for now. But is Orton really any better than D.J. White, an All-American and former Big 10 player of the year? I don’t know. So who would you rather have in the rotation – White or Orton?

The reality is, in the late first rounder, nobody knows who will work out. It’s pretty much just guessing and hoping for the best. And here’s to hoping for the best on Orton.

How fellow TrueHoopers have it shaking out:

1. Washington: John Wall

2. Philadelphia: Evan Turner

3. New Jersey: Derrick Favors

4. Minnesota: Wesley Johnson

5. Sacramento: DeMarcus Cousins

6. Golden State: Greg Monroe

7. Detroit: Epke Udoh

8. Los Angeles: Al-Farouq Aminu

9. Utah: Xavier Henry

10. Indiana: Paul George

11. New Orleans: Cole Aldrich

12. Memphis: Ed Davis

13. Toronto: Avery Bradley

14. Houston: Patrick Patterson

15. Milwaukee: Gordon Hayward

16. Minnesota: Hassan Whiteside

17. Chicago: Luke Babbitt

18. Miami: Eric Bledsoe

19. Boston: James Anderson

20. San Antonio: Damion James