Chad Ford's Mock Draft 7.1 (Updated 1:42 PM)

Now it gets crazy.  [Update: crazier.]

Ford plans on updating the Mock Draft throughout the day as he tries to nail down teams' intentions, and I'll do the same here ([Updates are bolded and bracketed.]).  Since almost every team is looking at about four guys for each pick, it's all up in the air.  I'd say it's even more up in the air given the uncertainty; the incentive for giving out disinformation to try to game the system seems more likely to work this year than ever.

A survey of the significant changes since Ford's last Mock:

1.  Ford now has Curry and Evans going in the Top 5, which leaves Harden to fall all the way to the Knicks at 8.  It doesn't really influence the Bulls unless they move up in the draft, but I thought it interesting.  Apparently, if Minnesota can't move up to #2, they're hoping to get two of Thabeet, Rubio, and Evans with their two picks (i.e., they're hoping one of the first two fall).  In this Mock, Ford has Thabeet and Rubio off the board, so the picks are Evans and Flynn.

[1a.  Ford now has the Bucks taking Jennings at 10.  Not super important, but he was one of the prospects nobody could place.  The only potential importance to the Bulls is that this might influence the Pacers' pick at 13.  Ford gives it a 70% chance.]

2.  Ford has now flipped Henderson and Williams, the former going at 11 to the Nets and the latter going to the Bobcats at 12.  The Nets have been one of the teams considering Hansbrough strongly, and one of the teams mentioned as a target for the Bulls' efforts to move up.  It might be disinformation, but it looks like they'll take one of the swingmen now and let Hansbrough fall.  As for the Bobcats, Ford mentions that Larry Brown fell in love with Wiliams, but that His Airness has taken a fancy to James Johnson.  Since the Bulls have apparently been looking hard at Johnson, this could be very significant.

3.  Ford has had Indiana taking Blair in the last couple of Mocks, but now he says they'll take Ty Lawson (60% confidence).  [In version 7.1, Ford has them taking Jrue Holliday instead, at 60% confidence.  Previously Ford had Holliday going to the Bucks, but now he has them taking Jennings.  The implication is that Holliday is certainly higher than Blair or Hansbrough on Indiana's board.  Lawson now goes to the Hawks at 19, which makes tons of sense after their trade.]    Ford and Jack are FAs and Tinsley has completely moved in to the dog house, so Indiana could certainly use a PG.  Ford's placement of Blair here was mostly as a "best available" pick, and now he seems to think they'll draft to need.  Again, very significant.

4.  In the last iteration of the Mock Draft, Ford had the Bulls picking James Johnson at 16 and Toney Douglas at 26.  James Johnson seemed like the default pick, however, as Ford had Blair, Hansbrough, Williams, and Henderson off the board already.  Now, he still has Johnson as the pick (with a 55% certainty), even though both Hansbrough and Blair are available.  Here's what he has to say:

Confidence level: 55 percent

Analysis: The Bulls have been working the phones this week trying to move up in the draft.

They've talked to the Nets, Bobcats and Pacers about swapping the 16th and 26th picks to move up a few spots.

Who are they after? I've heard everything from Johnson to Blair to Hansbrough to Williams to Mullens here. Last night a new name, Omri Casspi, surfaced as a possibility. To be honest, I can't get a terrific handle on which way they are leaning.

Blair is the most physical. Casspi isn't far behind. Hansbrough is the most NBA-ready. Mullens has the most upside. Johnson is somewhere in between. I'm not sure exactly how Johnson fits in Chicago with Luol Deng on one side and Tyrus Thomas on the other, but there's no question about his upside.

Omri Casspi?  Everything I've read about the dude seems great, but at #16?  When Blair is available?  When Hansbrough is available?  If the Bulls pass on either one of those guys (but especially Blair) to pick Casspi or Johnson . . . I don't even know how to hyperbolize my disappointment.  It's all uncertain now and nobody really knows who's going to pan out and how, but that would just seem like a huge blunder.  I continue to hope that Gar Paxdorf is an evil genius and Johnson has been a complete smokescreen.  In which case, bump that certainty up, Chad, to keep selling it.  [None of this changed in 7.1.]

5.  BJ Mullens to the Wolves at 18.  We'll see.  I have a feeling this pick will get traded.

6.  Sam Young to the Hornets at 21 (70% confidence). 

7.  Blair to Portland at 22.  Ford acknowledges that the Blazers moved up two spots to increase the likelihood of drafting Casspi (since everyone in the 20s is looking at him, apparently), but since Blair is available in this Mock, they can't pass him up.  Basically, the last few Mocks demonstrate that Chad has no idea where Blair is going to go.  Everyone is interested, and nobody is committing.  Whether that means tons of teams are playing coy and hoping he falls, or whether that means everybody is leery and he really will fall, remains to be seen.  If he's there at 16 and the Bulls don't take him . . . again, I can't even hyperbolize.  The mere thought of it has me flummoxed.

8.  Casspi to the Kings at 23.

9.  Nick Calathes!  Calathes is the projection at 26 now, not Toney Douglas, and at 70% confidence this looks like a solid rumor.  I actually like the pick a lot.  It helps the cap situation to stash him, and he seems like a talent who would be going higher if he were immediately available.  It sets up a future European Invasion when both he and Asik come over.  Imagine the marketing possibilities.  (For smash:  Toney is now going to the Lakers at 29.)

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