One of the great things about the way the NBA sets its calendar is that the annual draft falls so soon after The Finals. Last week, we were debating the sanity of spending $2 million, in such a bad economy, on a parade to honor the Lakers. This week, we're debating whether the Lakers should keep Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza. There is no dead period, really. After the draft, we have the free-agent season, then the summer leagues, then it's almost time for camp. Wonderful.
As everyone who follows the NBA knows, this is the year of the point guard. Upwards of 10 or 11 one-guards could go in the opening round. If you believe the scuttlebutt, this could also turn out to be the year of the trade, as some have speculated that the deals will be flying on draft night.
Should be an interesting draft week. Let's kick things off with some team overviews and a forecast of the first round. Yes, it's a mock draft, but let's not call it that, OK?
- Los Angeles Clippers
Needs: Where do you start? The Clippers had the league's worst offensive efficiency and were 26th in defensive efficiency. They couldn't shoot, rebound, take care of the ball or draw fouls. Yet, when you look at the names that could make up next year's rotation, it seems promising: Marcus Camby, Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph. Griffin is the no-brainer as the top pick, so someone--or two--among the Davis/Randolph/Gordon/Thornton group of gunners is going to have to accept a subservient role on offense. Not sure that will happen. It's just a bad mix of players--a classic Clippers quagmire.
Roster: Blech. The Clippers are on the hook for about $48 million to Camby, Davis, Randolph and Kaman, which leaves little room to remake the roster around Blake Griffin. Griffin will command about $4.1 million as the top pick, plus L.A. must also pay Gordon, Thornton and DeAndre Jordan, all of whom are still working off of rookie deals. With the cap expected to drop from last season's $58.7 million, Donald Sterling's accountants are likely screaming bloody murder. Of the aforementioned huge veteran contracts, only Camby's could realistically be moved as he enters the last year of his current deal. That may have to happen, if only so L.A. can field a full roster without approaching the luxury tax threshold.
What should they do? Take Griffin and hope Mike Dunleavy Sr. can figure it out from there.
What will they do? PF Blake Griffin, Oklahoma (6'10", So.)
- Memphis Grizzlies
Needs: The Grizzlies were 28th in offensive efficiency last season, so that's where attempts at improvement need to be focused. There was little offensive continuity, as Memphis ranked 27th in turnover percentage and dead last in percentage of assisted field goals. That seems to point the finger at point guard Michael Conley, but he's just 21 and shows signs of getting better. Defensively, the Grizzlies were 27th in opponent eFG% and 28th in shot-block percentage.
Roster: With so many young players and lots of cap clutter coming off the books, Memphis is in position to add salary. That makes the Grizzlies a candidate for a trade with the second pick. Last year's lineup was one of the youngest in NBA history and an anchor veteran could be more of a boon to Memphis than another youthful piece like 18-year-old Ricky Rubio or Hasheem Thabeet will. On the horizon: It is about time for Memphis to work on an extension with Gay.
What should they do? With money to spend, Memphis should package this pick with the never-ending terrible contract of Marko Jaric and bring back a veteran big man. Yes, I am referring to Memphis native Amar'e Stoudemire. If the Grizzlies keep the pick, I'd opt for Hasheem Thabeet over Ricky Rubio. That would help the defense, and perhaps the offense will improve with the maturation of O.J. Mayo, Conley and Gay as well as a free-agent shooting specialist. Draft day is huge for Memphis--this is a team in position to get better quickly. Unfortunately, word is that no one wants to play for the frugal franchise. Rubio, Thabeet, James Harden and Stephen Curry have all refused to work out for Memphis.
What will they do? C Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut (7'3", Jr.)
- Oklahoma City Thunder
Needs: The Thunder was the second-worst offensive team in the league last season primarily because of abysmal shooting. Oklahoma City needs efficient outside shooters, or for their current shooters to improve.
Roster: OKC projects to be a little under the cap for the upcoming season. They do have extensions for Kevin Durant and Jeff Green coming down the pike. Overall, the salary structure is solid. The Thunder has two first-round picks this season to add talent, and also retain the rights to Serge Ibaka, whom they drafted at No. 24 last season. With four unrestricted free agents (Desmond Mason, Damien Wilkins, Malik Rose and Robert Swift), the Thunder could be even younger next season. Like the Blazers of the last couple of years, a potentially dynamic young core is in place; Sam Presti needs only to fit the pieces around Durant, Green and Russell Westbrook.
What should they do? Unlike Memphis, I don't see the upside of a trade here. There aren't any roster barnacles that need to be scraped off, and whereas the Grizzlies could use a veteran to help crystallize the talents of their young core, Oklahoma City is coming together around the burgeoning talents of Durant. I love Thabeet for this team; if he goes to Memphis, I'd opt for James Harden over Ricky Rubio. Harden would allow Westbrook to become more of a playmaker and, thus, more efficient. He's also a higher-percentage shooter than Westbrook is. The two would make a terrific backcourt.
What will they do? SG James Harden, Arizona State (6'5", So.)
- Sacramento Kings
Needs: The Kings were the league's worst defensive team last season, which isn't to say that Sacramento was good on offense, either. Position-wise, Sacramento needs a point guard to run this show. The young frontline of Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson and Francisco Garcia has possibilities, and two-guard Kevin Martin is the Kings' best player. Beyond the young core, the Kings have a serious lack of quality depth.
Roster: Assuming Geoff Petrie doesn't flip out and make qualifying offers to Ike Diogu and Rashad McCants, the Kings' five unrestricted free agents out of the 13 players left on the roster at the end of last season. The cap situation is solid, especially with Kenny Thomas finally entering the last year of his amazingly bad contract. The Kings will add a pair of players in this year's first round and then fill out the roster with a mix of low-cost rookie and veteran free agents.
What should they do? There has been talk about the Kings trying to move up to No. 2, where they could nab Ricky Rubio, sending Jason Thompson to Memphis to do so. Hopefully, there are no teeth to those rumblings because Thompson can become a nice player for the Kings and there are point guards galore available in this draft. Besides, in my scenario, Rubio is available anyway.
What will they do? PG Ricky Rubio, Spain (6'4", 18 years old)
- Washington Wizards
Needs: First, the Wizards need their veteran players to stay healthy. Gilbert Arenas, Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood all lost nearly the entire 2008-09 season. Washington was bad across the board, but especially on defense where it posted the second-worst defensive efficiency and the worst defensive eFG%. Defense was not this group's forte even when healthy. If a veteran big man can't be landed via trade, an upgrade over DeShawn Stevenson at two-guard might be in order.
Roster: Grim. The Wizards are in luxury tax territory. Etan Thomas (Early Termination Option) and Mike James (Player Option) are still on the books after opting to stay put, though both are tradeable with their expiring deals. However, Ernie Grunfeld is thought to be willing to add to the veteran mix on his roster by dealing the fifth pick. If he does that without moving Thomas and/or James, Washington will have to get very creative to get under the luxury-tax threshold, which has been projected at around $69 million next season.
What should they do? Since it's not my money, I like the idea of dealing the pick for a frontline veteran. Who that might be, I have no idea. However, they're hooked into the Arenas/Butler/Jamison core for at least this season and next. It would be better to gamble on the health of a veteran core that has been fortified by additional help than to try and develop a player who can't produce right away, which is probably what they're going to get at No. 5. If they do keep the pick, James Harden is a good fit. If he's gone, then I guess Jordan Hill, even though he's just the kind of player I think Grunfeld wants to avoid at this juncture.
What will they do? PF Jordan Hill, Arizona (6'10", Jr.)
- Minnesota Timberwolves
Needs: Minnesota has a passable young core in Randy Foye, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Before his injury last season, Corey Brewer was showing signs of becoming a good supporting player, especially on the defensive end. At point guard, the Wolves are still short, with only Sebastian Telfair and Bobby Brown on board. Minnesota could really use some shot-blocking, as well.
Roster: The Wolves are in great shape, cap-wise. Even after signing their three first-round picks, Minnesota will be under the cap. They have Randy Foye's extension to work out at some point, and large expiring contracts on the books in Mike Miller and Brian Cardinal. With the extra picks and fungible contracts, new GM David Kahn has a lot to work with on draft night. I'd be shocked if they don't make a trade or two.
What should they do? Move up. With all of these pieces, Minnesota needs to jump up and grab Ricky Rubio, who not only projects to be a top-notch playmaker but is the charismatic kind of player that Wolves fans will love. If Kahn can't swing a deal, then they'll take the top point guard available at No. 6. To me, that's Tyreke Evans. No, Evans is not a pure point guard, but he's not a pure two-guard, either. That description also applies to Foye, which is why I think the two would work nicely together. I also love the idea of the long arms of Evans and Brewer shutting down opposing perimeter shooters.
What will they do? PG Tyreke Evans, Memphis (6'5", Fr.)
- Golden State Warriors
Needs: With the six-year commitment Golden State made to Monta Ellis last season, the top priority is finding a backcourt partner who works as well with Ellis as Baron Davis did. Looking at the statistical rankings, the Warriors need to get better on defense and on the boards. However, it's hard telling how much those apparent deficiencies were wrapped up in Don Nelson's wacky schemes and player combinations. Nellie would like to move Stephen Jackson to the two-guard, but I could see him losing patience with that plan pretty quickly.
Roster: Any flexibility the Warriors may or may not have is wrapped up in Crawford's decision to opt out or not. Despite Nelson's pointed words, any player-agent worthy of his title would advise Crawford to stick around to collect the $19 million he'd get for hanging around the Bay Area for a couple more seasons. Assuming Crawford stays, the Warriors could possibly add a midlevel exception and avoid the luxury tax, but that's about it for additions.
What should they do? I love the idea of taking Stephen Curry here and pairing him up with Ellis. That's what I'd do, but as far as who the Warriors will actually take...as always this is a hard team to read.
What will they do? PF Earl Clark, Louisville, (6'10", Jr.)
- New York Knicks
Needs: Mike D'Antoni still needs to get his point guard in order to get his offense humming the way it did in Phoenix. Ricky Rubio would be so perfect for D'Antoni's system that it must make Knicks fans cry. Luckily, there are plenty of contingencies for the position in this draft.
Roster: So much better than it was before Donnie Walsh took over the organization. It's amazing. After this season, the Knicks' cap situation is wide open. That, of course, is the plan. New York does have a trio of players mulling over player options (Eddy Curry, Al Harrington and Quentin Richardson). No one in that trio is going to decline, but the latter pair will turn into expiring contracts. David Lee is a restricted free agent and there are rumblings of the Knicks going the sign-and-trade route with him, which would too bad for New York fans.
What should they do? Walsh is surely trying to move up for a shot at Rubio, but it's difficult to see how he's going to get that done. Just sit tight and draft Stephen Curry and Garden fans will be happy.
What will they do? PG Stephen Curry, Davidson (6'3", Jr.)
- Toronto Raptors
Needs: Tell me the plan in Toronto and I'll tell you what they need.
Roster: Whether or not the Raptors move Chris Bosh, Toronto has flexibility in both the short and long terms. Bryan Colangelo could make a free-agent splash without hitting the luxury tax threshold, but Bosh's situation makes forecasting the scenario murky. After this season, the Raptors have little salary spoken for.
What should they do? With Shawn Marion and Jermaine O'Neal both gone, the Raptors should go big, though this isn't the draft to do so at this spot. While he's not big, DeJuan Blair still offers what Toronto needs: toughness on the boards. I have a nagging feeling, though, that the Raptors are going to spit the bit with this pick.
What will they do? SF DeMar DeRozan, USC (6'7", Fr.)
- Milwaukee Bucks
Needs: Milwaukee finished 28th in two-point FG% last season, a reflection of a team that was too perimeter-oriented on offense. A four-man more familiar with the lane would be ideal to pair with Andrew Bogut.
Roster: With $43 million tied up in Andrew Bogut, Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson, the Bucks are more or less hamstrung for another couple of seasons. Facing the luxury tax may prevent Milwaukee from retaining restricted free agents Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villanueva. Keeping both is a virtual impossibility. If Bucks GM John Hammond wants to keep Sessions--as he should--then he may be able to deal Luke Ridnour, whose contract expires after the coming season.
What should they do? No. 10 may be too high to take the various talented-but-undersized power forwards available--DeJuan Blair, James Johnson and Tyler Hansbrough. With Sessions a possible goner and Luke Ridnour likely following him out of town, the Bucks have to take advantage of the deep point guard group. The best available on my board is Jeff Teague. Everyone seems hot over Jonny Flynn, though.
What will they do? PG Jonny Flynn, Syracuse (5'11", So.)
- New Jersey Nets
Needs: The Nets need to get more scoring from the inside, and they have a number of developing interior players who could help the problem without adding anyone else. New Jersey also needs to upgrade its defense, particularly on the perimeter. As currently constituted, the Nets lack anything remotely close to a quality three-man.
Roster: Bobby Simmons is getting $11.2 million next season. Really? That anchor of a contract expires after the season; until then, the Nets don't have a lot of flexibility. That is, unless Vince Carter is traded. If that doesn't happen, the Nets do have space to add a middling free agent without hitting the luxury tax. If Simmons' deal could entice some unsuspecting GM, then the Nets could really make a splash.
What should they do? There has been a lot of trade talk about the Nets' pick. Jersey has also been linked to Louisville's Terrence Williams. That works for me. Williams is the best pure three among a weak crop of such specimens and has the makings of a fine defender. No. 11 may be too high for him, so perhaps the Nets could trade down and still get their guy.
What will they do? SF Terrence Williams, Louisville (6'7", Sr.)
- Charlotte Bobcats
Needs: Charlotte made tremendous strides on defense last season under Larry Brown, but ranked 27th in offensive efficiency. On a per-possession basis, the Bobcats committed the most turnovers in the league. With the current roster more or less locked in, Charlotte will be drafting either depth, or could gamble on a high-upside project.
Roster: With the Bobcats pledging to retain restricted free agent Ray Felton, this will be a quiet offseason in Charlotte, which already projects to rub up against the luxury-tax line. The only expiring contract belongs to Raja Bell.
What should they do? Michael Jordan has assembled a competent roster with a very limited ceiling. They've got to roll the dice and hope to hit a home run with this pick. They reportedly covet Gerald Henderson and I like the choice. He's got enough athleticism that he could be more than he was at Duke.
What will they do? SG Gerald Henderson, Duke (6'5", Jr.)
- Indiana Pacers
Needs: This is such a strange roster that you can say Indiana needs everything and nothing at the same time. There's a mix of veterans and young talent at pretty much every position. It just doesn't fit together very well. With improvement by last year's rookies and a healthier campaign from Mike Dunleavy Jr., perhaps things will coalesce under Jim O'Brien in 2009-10.
Roster: With $21 million going to Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Jamaal Tinsley's contract still sitting like a stuffed mastodon in the middle of the Pacers' payroll, there's not a lot Larry Bird can do but decline Marquis Daniels' option and draft another mid-first round talent. Bird also faces a difficult decision about whether to retain restricted free agent Jarrett Jack, who played well for Indiana last season.
What should they do? The Pacers need to grab one of the high-upside point guards. Jack had a good season, but he's not a core player and T.J. Ford becomes more of a mystery with each passing season. I like Jeff Teague here, too.
What will they do? PG Jrue Holiday, UCLA (6'3", Fr.)
- Phoenix Suns
Needs: The Suns were again the NBA's most efficient offensive team, but the defense was 25th and with the number of old players on the roster, that's not getting any better.
Roster: The Suns are well into luxury-tax territory, but have a $21 million expiring contract belonging to Shaquille O'Neal that could be dealt. Steve Nash also has an expiring deal, with only a partially-guaranteed year remaining, and Amar'e Stoudemire continues to be included in every other trade rumor that you come across. That's $50 million dollars in cap fluidity for a franchise that really needs to tear down and start over. But do you want Steve Kerr doing that with your franchise?
What should they do? Some day soon, this is all going to come crashing down. The Suns just need to grab the highest-upside talent available as they brace for the post-Nash apocalypse. This would be a good landing spot for Brandon Jennings.
What will they do? PG Brandon Jennings, Italy/USA (6'1", 19 years old)
- Detroit Pistons
Needs: The backcourt puzzle is solved by Allen Iverson's departure via free agency. However, Rasheed Wallace is leaving as well, which opens a big hole in the frontcourt. Overall, the Pistons need to become a better-shooting team.
Roster: The Pistons have just a little over $40 million in committed payroll for next season and Joe Dumars is ready to spend.
What should they do? Unless Dumars falls in love with the raw B.J. Mullens, the big that Detroit needs isn't available here. A trade is possible. If Jeff Teague is still available, he'd make a nice third guard to go with Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.
What will they do? PG Jeff Teague, Wake Forest (6'2", So.)
- Chicago Bulls
Needs: Assuming Ben Gordon signs elsewhere, the Bulls need a guard to pair with Derrick Rose. Kirk Hinrich is still on board, of course, but he's probably a better fit coming off the bench than as Rose's running mate.
Roster: The Bulls are pretty much where they need to be. They don't have money to spend as of now, but they do have the expiring contracts of Brad Miller, Jerome James and Tim Thomas with which to work. Chicago is also nearing decision time on whether to offer Tyrus Thomas an extension. You can also bet on another dance with Gordon, whose free agency is unrestricted this time. Without moving some of those expiring deals, I don't see how Chicago keeps Gordon.
What should they do? The off-guards available here aren't appropriate for the middle of the first round. Chicago has a pick later in the round and will surely try to package the two selections with an expiring contract or two to move up. If they don't, then the Bulls may have to opt for frontcourt depth. I like DeJuan Blair with this pick and I think the neo-Charles Barkley could be the steal of the draft.
What will they do? PF DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh (6'6", So.)
- Philadelphia 76ers
Needs: The Sixers addressed their outside-shooting deficiency by trading for Jason Kapono. Now they need to figure out their long-term solution at point guard. This is the right draft for that, but at No. 17, the top prospects will already be gone.
Roster: The Sixers have room under the luxury tax limit to make one sizable acquisition. That player will likely be Andre Miller's replacement. Or it may be Andre Miller.
What should they do? The pick has got to be a point guard, right? It's just a question of which one. Ty Lawson and Eric Maynor will likely still be on the board. I like Lawson.
What will they do? PG Ty Lawson, North Carolina (6'0", Jr.)
- Minnesota Timberwolves
What should they do? We've already addressed the Wolves' point guard need. Now it's time for a shot blocker. Guess what? B.J. Mullens should still be available.
What will they do? C B.J. Mullens, Ohio State (7'0", Fr.)
- Atlanta Hawks
Needs: With a core that reached the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Hawks have a golden opportunity to remake their roster this offseason. Mike Bibby is an unrestricted free agent and replacing him--or re-signing him--is the top priority. Atlanta also could be in the market for a starting wing player in lieu of Marvin Williams.
Roster: The Hawks have plenty of money to spend, with under $50 million in committed dollars for next season. They also have to decide whether to make a qualifying offer to Williams. Declining that could free another $7 million. That would leave Atlanta with just eight players under contact for next season.
What should they do? If my board is correct, then James Johnson has dropped a lot further than he should and he'd be a no-brainer. If he's gone, then whoever is left among the point guards would be appropriate. In my scenario, that would be Eric Maynor.
What will they do? SF James Johnson, Wake Forest (6'8", So.)
- Utah Jazz
Needs: Really, it's hard to say. Last season's roster needed a shot blocker. However, with so many contractual question marks, it's impossible to know what next year's roster will look like.
Roster: A lot of question marks. Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver could all opt out. Boozer's decision likely dictates whether the Jazz keep Paul Millsap. If everyone decides to stay put, Utah is in luxury-tax land with several roster spots yet to fill. It's a challenging offseason for Jazz GM Kevin O'Conner. Luckily for Utah fans, he's one of the best in the business.
What should they do? At No. 20, the Jazz are drafting for depth, so the roster questions don't really affect whom they select here. I like Tyler Hansbrough for Utah as a nice complement to whoever remains between Boozer and Millsap. I suspect, though, that won't be the direction in which the Jazz go.
What will they do? PG Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth (6'3", Sr.)
- New Orleans Hornets
Needs: The Hornets could use help on the offensive glass.
Roster: The Hornets are well into the luxury tax and, as a result, are in a major salary-shedding mode. New Orleans simply cannot afford to pay a luxury tax.
What should they do? Whoever New Orleans takes, he better be good because the draft is the Hornets' only opportunity to improve themselves in the offseason. I could see an upside type like Austin Daye fitting here.
What will they do? SF Austin Daye, Gonzaga (6-11, So.)
- Dallas Mavericks
Needs: The Mavericks need to get better defensively and could use a high-pressure defender who can force turnovers. They could also use a penetrator on offense who can get to the line.
Roster: As usual, the Mavericks will probably be paying a luxury tax. As usual, Mark Cuban doesn't really care. Jason Kidd is an unrestricted free agent who will likely explore re-upping with the Mavs. Josh Howard, who has one year plus a team option left on his deal, also has a tradeable contract.
What should they do? A replacement point guard isn't likely to be available at No. 22, but that's fine. Even if Kidd doesn't return, the Mavs can get by with Jose Barea and Jason Terry. As for the draft, the best available wing player fits at this spot. On my board, that's Chase Budinger.
What will they do? SF Chase Budinger, Arizona (6'7", Jr.)
- Sacramento Kings
What should they do? Take the best available talent, position be damned.
What will they do? PF Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina (6'9", Sr.)
- Portland Trail Blazers
Needs: The Blazers' weakness? Defending the free-throw line. Seriously, Portland was 30th in opponents' free-throw percentage last season. That's how good things are in Portland right now.
Roster: How does Kevin Pritchard do it? The Blazers have a fully-stocked roster, own the rights to two more overseas talents, are under the cap and have five picks in hand for draft day. Pritchard will probably decline to make a qualifying offer to Channing Frye, if only to free up the roster spot.
What should they do? Trade the pick. Trade all their picks. Where do they fit more players? Since the Blazers can afford to take on a project, I like Omri Casspi here. Casspi wants to move Stateside, but perhaps Pritchard could talk him into staying in Israel another year.
What will they do? SF Omri Casspi, Israel (6'9", 20 years old)
- Oklahoma City Thunder
What should they do? Another outside shooter. Sam Young could be available and he'd be an ideal off-the-bench gunner who adds toughness defensively at a wing position.
What will they do? SF Sam Young, Pittsburgh (6'4", Sr.)
- Chicago Bulls
What should they do? Now is the time for the Bulls to add the shooter they need. Wayne Ellington fits the bill, though it's hard to see him starting as a rookie.
What will they do? SG Wayne Ellington, North Carolina (6'5", Jr.)
- Memphis Grizzlies
What should they do? Assuming the Grizzlies have already grabbed Thabeet, it's time to find depth, ideally a solid defender. I like Patrick Mills here, as a backup and complement to Mike Conley.
What will they do? PG Patrick Mills, St. Mary's (6'1", So.)
- Minnesota Timberwolves
What should they do? Pick number three for the Wolves, who on my board have already snagged Tyreke Evans and B.J. Mullens. I like Derrick Brown as an athletic combo forward and a hedge against lingering health issues for Corey Brewer.
What will they do? SF Derrick Brown, Xavier (6'9", Jr.)
- Los Angeles Lakers
Needs: Needs? What needs? These are the champs.
Roster: Kobe Bryant decided not to opt out, so you already have to term the offseason a success for the Lakers. L.A. does have to deal with the free agencies of Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza. The Lakers are headed for the luxury tax one way or another and many feel that Mitch Kupchak has to choose Odom or Ariza, but not both.
What should they do? Assuming the Lakers do find themselves short a forward, then DaJuan Summers comes into play here.
What will they do? SF DaJuan Summers, Georgetown (6'9", Jr.)
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Needs: Danny Ferry has got to find a way to improve the four position and has limited resources to do so. The Cavs could also use another perimeter defender.
Roster: Ben Wallace may retire, which would be a huge break for Cleveland. That would not only save the Cavs from the luxury tax, but it would give them the flexibility to add another piece to a 66-win team. Or, maybe, just to retain Anderson Varejao, who can opt out. For that matter, so can Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but he'd be crazy to do so.
What should they do? Not sure he could help right away, but long term, Taj Gibson could be just what the Cavaliers need. He'd at least form an energetic power forward duo with J.J. Hickson.
What will they do? PF Taj Gibson, Southern California (6'10", Jr.)