NBA Draft Update

This is the quickie, post-lottery mock. I was actually hoping the T’wolves would win the lottery. They were the only potential winner that might have brought some drama to the top pick. But it went to the Clippers who actually might take advantage of this opportunity to end the futility that’s been the trademark of the franchise since leaving Buffalo. I want to say again that the weakness of this draft is pretty much limited to the big men. The perimeter players are actually a pretty deep group. Because of this any drama in this draft will come when teams decide whether to reach for a Thabeet or Hill at picks 3-7, or just draft a solid perimeter prospect.

These picks are based on what I feel is the best pick for each team at this still-early date in the process. I didn’t put too much analysis into this and I seriously doubt it will resemble the actual draft much in any way other than perhaps the top 2 picks, the 30 total picks and that it doesn’t include Tyler Hansbrough.   

  1. LA Clippers: Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma State: Great fit here, just like he would be on any team. He’ll move into the void created by Brand’s departure. Best player, fills a need. Great lottery for the Clippers. The way the West is right now, Griffin makes the Clippers instant playoff contenders.
  2. Memphis: Ricky Rubio, PG DKG Joventut: This is the only move Memphis can make at this point. This will make 3 consecutive seasons they’ve gone backcourt, but 2 things dictate this move. The first and foremost is Rubio has star potential. He’s big and very good. The 2nd is the quality big men begin and end with Griffin. No need to force a bad pick here. The best move is to draft the best player and let things sort themselves out.
  3. Oklahoma City: Tyreke Evans, G Memphis: Like the Grizz, I’m sure they would love to land a good big man. But there aren’t any worth taking over a player as talented as Evans. Adding Evans to their young stable will make them that much better in a few years when they’re vying to become the team of the teens. They can add a quality big man to the mix with the top 5 pick they get next year from Phoenix.
  4. Sacramento: Ty Lawson, PG North Carolina: Get used to me hyping this guy. I believe he’s going to be very good. Thabeet is tempting here, but the Kings already have a center project in Hawes. Lawson is the best player left and is a good fit here as Udrih hasn’t gotten the job done.
  5. Washington: James Harden, SG Arizona State: As a SG who can pass, he’ll be a good fit with Arenas. Like the 3 teams drafting before them the Wizards would probably love a big guy and may force the issue by taking Thabeet or Hill. That would be a mistake. Best to take a better player who will help and look for inside help somewhere else.
  6. Minnesota: Hasheem Thabeet, C Connecticut: None of the Wolves big guys are that great defensively, but are good enough offensively that Thabeet would seem like a good fit here. PG is a need, but if Lawson and Rubio are off the board they should be content to wait until picks #18 and/or #28 which they also hold to address that.
  7. Golden State, Stephen Curry, G Davidson: Why not add another mad bomber to the mix here? He can play some point and could become a good backcourt mate for Ellis. They already have some untapped youthful talent at PF in Randolph and Wright and a solid center in Biedrins, so there’s no need to waste a pick by reaching for a big guy.
  8. New York: Jrue Holiday, PG UCLA: OK, it’s a crazy reach at this point. But thinking outside the box here, this might be a great pick for both the player and the team. I know it would be a great thing for Holiday to start his career under the tutelage of Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks would get a potential star. The only player left at this point in the draft with a better than 50% shot at becoming an impact player is Blair and he doesn’t really fit in NY’s offense. If Holiday is a bust, what’s been lost? Nothing other than the opportunity to watch James Johnson or Terrence Williams develop into decent journeymen.
  9. Toronto: Terrence Williams, SF Louisville: This offense is good for a player like Williams who could probably fill the Raja Bell role of ace defender/3-point shooter. The fact that he’s a smart player who passes like a PG and rebounds extremely well for his position will help matters as well.
  10. Milwaukee: Dejuan Blair, PF Pitt: He’ll be the perfect complement to the Bucks soft inside players. The report from Chad Ford that he’s lost weight and is moving better is very encouraging. Because of the dearth of quality big men, I could see Blair going as early as #5.
  11. New Jersey: Demar DeRozan, SF USC: The comps of him to Kobe remind me of the 2006 draft lead-up when Randy Foye was called the next Dwayne Wade. Seriously, if consensus around the league was that DeRozan had even a 25% shot at becoming another Kobe GMs would be moving heaven and earth to acquire him. Right now an impressive surge in production to close the season combined with some serious athleticism has made him an intriguing prospect. This is about as high as his numbers suggest he should be drafted.
  12. Charlotte Bobcats: Jordan Hill, PF Arizona: It’s probably time for him to come off the board. Charlotte has perpetual inside problems and Hill might be of some help there. I believe he will fall at least this far on draft day as I remain convinced no team will burn a top 10 pick on a player so clearly overvalued, regardless of how few big men are available.
  13. Indiana Pacers: James Johnson, F Wake Forest: A decent addition to a team of decent players.
  14. Phoenix Suns: Brandon Jennings, PG Lottomatica Roma: His numbers are pretty weak, which is why I don’t have him ranked as highly as others do. I understand he’s dealing with some tough stuff going to a foreign country as a teenager and all, but he should be able to at least knock down 40% overall and 30% on treys if he’s the player he’s hyped to be. This is a good place for him. Learning the position from one of the best is a good place to be.
  15. Detroit: BJ Mullens, C Ohio State: Once the pace adjustments were done, Mullens wasn’t as terrible as I originally thought. He’s not good, but he’s young and does well in workouts, so he should get the call here or earlier. I’m thinking Detroit will eventually deal this pick. They’re one of a few teams with significant cap space this summer and may try to pull off a quickie rebuilding while the rest of the league pinches pennies and waits for the vaunted class of 2010.
  16. Chicago: Austin Daye, F Gonzaga: This is the time in the draft when teams should start looking for projects. Daye has had some very impressive moments, but struggled this past year when his minutes and responsibilities increased. There are some players who might offer some immediate help, but Daye’s potential is too good to pass on.  
  17. Philadelphia: Nick Calathes, PG Florida: I know he’s supposed to be too slow, but he can’t be as slow as Andre Miller. Sixers need a replacement at PG and they should find Calathes or another decent enough prospect available here.
  18. Minnesota: Jonny Flynn, PG Syracuse: I actually like Aaron Jackson better, but he’ll be there when the Wolves draft at # 28. Flynn has some potential, but has some flaws. I can’t help but thinking he’ll do no more than add another Sebastian Telfair to the Wolves roster, but he’s worth a shot here.
  19. Atlanta: Gani Lawal, F Georgia Tech: The Hawks have proven themselves to be a solid team that will be at least a semi-force in the East for the next few years. Teams like that are best served drafting a project like Lawal and hope something good comes of it as unlikely as that might be.
  20. Utah: Jeff Teague, G Wake Forest: Jazz could use a little more offense in the backcourt. Teague is a player with microwave potential who could give them a big boost.
  21. New Orleans: Darren Collison, PG UCLA: He’s a ready for action backup PG. Playing next to Farmar and Westbrook at UCLA he’s used to playing with a superior PG. He can also drill the trey as well as anybody, which helps any team.
  22. Dallas: Eric Maynor, PG VaComm: I suppose PG is the biggest need in Dallas. Maynor is one of several who may or may not be the answer, but is worth taking a chance on late in round 1.
  23. Sacramento: Marcus Thornton, SG LSU: The Kings are fairly thick on the perimeter, but they need good, useful players more than anything and Thornton is certainly one of those.
  24. Portland: Earl Clark, F Louisville: For the team that seems to have everything covered, another do-everything forward. It really doesn’t matter who they draft here, because whoever it is will promptly be dealt for a few 2nd round picks in future drafts that will later be used as bargaining chips for acquiring more 2nd round picks in subsequent drafts.
  25. Oklahoma City: Taj Gibson, PF USC: With the Thunder being fairly desperate for some inside help and being already pretty well-stocked on the perimeter they make a reach here. Gibson is one of the better inside defenders available, so I suspect they’ll look for such a player here.
  26. Chicago: Gerald Henderson, SG Duke: They need some insurance should Ben Gordon leave. Henderson is another guy I’m a little cool on and he’ll probably go higher than this. No matter, as they’ll just take someone like Ellington instead.
  27. Memphis: John Bryant, C Santa Clara: Bryant is a pretty decent prospect. He’s too heavy, but no player other than Blair rebounds as well and his defensive numbers are solid.
  28. Minnesota: Aaron Jackson, PG Duquense: I told you he’d be available. With a draft deep in PGs and the T’wolves holding 5 total picks, best to draft as many PGs as possible and hope one works out. Despite the overall weakness of this draft, the T’wolves are in as good a spot to improve as any team.
  29. LA Lakers: Chase Budinger, SF Arizona: I get the feeling that Budinger is going to have a pretty decent run as a pro. Not great, but decent. I have little in the way of statistical data to back this feeling up, it’s just a gut feeling. The Lakers seem like a good place for him, as he’s an athletic wing with a solid outside shot.
  30. Cleveland: Luke Nevill, C Utah: They need some inside help. Nevill looks like he can become a decent NBA reserve. But if I were the Cavs I’d draft whoever LeBron wanted here. The only thing that matters is keeping him happy enough in Cleveland to get his name on a new contract. If there’s a draft pick out there who can make that happen, that’s what should be done.

1 comment for “NBA Draft Update

  1. Foreman
    January 23, 2010 at 3:42 am

    A mid-season look at the players playing well enough to be considered for the leagues most valuable player.

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