While the Shaq and Vince trades had us wondering exactly what lengths teams will go just to save a buck, a new round of youngsters were selected to have their hopes for NBA stardom crushed in the next three to five years. Let's take a look...

Blake Griffin: There's no question that Blake Griffin is a great athlete and a big-time scorer in college. The big question would be is he capable of rising above the faces of failure, i.e. the Clippers frontcourt. Which actually isn't a sure thing. Kaman has size, Camby is a better defensive presence, and Zach Randolph is (gasp!) a more polished scorer. Also, with Oklahoma, playing D was optional for Griffin. How will he fare on that end in the pros? Can he one-up Zach's "non-existent" D with a "not a liability" of his own? If so, he's primed to be the Clip's most successful draft pick since, um... The Clippers Expect: A savior. Statbuster Expects: Carlos Boozer 2.0.

Hasheem Thabeet: If the NBA season is a war, Thabeet is a player you want by your side in a foxhole. Unless the only way out of said foxhole is making a 15-foot jumper. It's easy to forgive his non-existent offensive skills due to the fact he's 7'3", 265 lbs, and averaged over 4 blocks a night for UConn. And, as a bonus, Darko Milicic becomes immediately expendable. And by "immediately" I mean they traded him an hour later. The Grizzlies Expect: Dikembe Mutombo. Statbuster Expects: Tree Rollins.

James Harden: Late last season, Thabo Sefolosha was the Thunder's only best defender. Although OKC needs scoring and James Harden is unquestionably the more talented of the two, if Harden can't defend in the pros, he'll create as many problems as he solves. That's OK though...they'll have another shot at this whole lottery thing next year. The Thunder Expect: Brandon Roy. Statbuster Expects: A poor-man's Jeff Hornacek.

Tyreke Evans: I was really hoping we wouldn't see a boner tonight, especially this early. The King's already have a 20 ppg scorer at SG in Kevin Martin, and needed help at the point, AND Ricky Rubio was still available. Evans actually is a solid ball handler and passer, and could run the point in spot minutes. But a 220 lb guy with an assist/turnover ratio under 2 isn't someone you want defending opposing PGs or running the show for 40 minutes a night. Somewhere, Beno Udrih is giggling maniacally while de-listing his house on Realtor.com. The Kings Expect: To piss off a lot of fans. Statbuster Expects: Larry Hughes.

Ricky Rubio: Rubio brings a court vision that can't be taught. It's everything else that's suspect. With no fewer than 3 PGs on the books for next year, expect 15 minutes a night, a sub-.400 FG% and no fewer than 50 brilliant no-look passes to go ricocheting off the likes of Ryan Gomes and Brian Cardinal. The Wolves Expect: A poor-man's Pete Maravich. Statbuster Expects: Kenny Anderson.

Jonny Flynn: Apparently the Wolves hired the guy from Memento as their GM, as five minutes later, they draft a 2nd PG with their 6th pick. Flynn is more mature than Rubio, and less terrible than Sebastian Telfair, and should get the nod in the short term. However, neither Flynn or Rubio (or Telfair for that matter) are great shooters, so the Wolves' PGBC (point guard by committee) experiment will resemble some sort of masonry convention. The Wolves Expect: Mookie Blaylock. Statbuster Expects: 50 losses.

Stephen Curry: In drafting Curry and dealing Jamal Crawford, the Warriors' opening night backcourt will be comprised of a 6'3" shooting guard (Monta Ellis) and a point guard that doesn't pass (Curry). Which wouldn't work on any other team, but remember, this is Golden State. The laws of basketball fundamentals don't apply to them. The Warriors' Expect: Mike Bibby. Statbuster Expects: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (minus the Tourette's and the national anthem protest).

Jordan Hill: The fact that the Knicks drafted a PF sums up what the team thinks of Al Harrington and Eddy Curry (and the fact that David Lee will bolt via free agency). Hill will hopefully win over NY fans with hard work and defense, but, when Chris Duhon and Larry Hughes are logging 40 minutes a night, you'll wonder if another PF was the real need. The Knicks Expect: Chris Bosh. Statbuster Expects: Antonio Davis.

DeMar DeRozan: The word "project" popped up when the Raptors drafted DeRozan. Which means a player is big and/or athletic enough to use a lottery pick on despite the fact they have no discernible skills outside of being big and/or athletic. It's hard to ignore the fact that DeRozan basically had no stats (51 assists, 31 steals, six 3's in 1168 minutes) while there were still players on the board that could contribute immediately. The Raptors Expect: Another Vince Carter. Statbuster Expects: Harold Miner went to USC. I'm just sayin'.

Brandon Jennings: Jennings skipped college to enjoy one fairly horrendous year in Europe (38% FG, 6 PPG), but that wasn't enough to scare off Milwaukee from bringing him on as a project (Also see: DeRozan, DeMar). Jennings does have blinding quickness in his favor, but to run the point in the NBA he might need to shoot better and improve on a near 1:1 assist-turnover ratio. The Bucks Expect: Tony Parker, of course. Statbuster Expects: Keyon Dooling.

Terrence Williams: Williams is rare in that he does everything well except score. He was 1st among SGs in rebounds (8.6), 3rd in steals (2.3), 5th in assists (5.0), and 6th in blocks (0.8). Unfortunately, his jumper is somewhere in between streaky and non-existent (43% FG, 58% FT), although he did muster a 38% on 3s his senior year. Although, after watching Vince Carter the last few seasons, I doubt the fans will notice. The Nets Expect: Andre Iguodala. Statbuster Expects: Darrell Walker.

Gerald Henderson: The Bobcats are hoping Henderson will replace Raja Bell as their SG of the future, although I'm not convinced his offensive game will translate to the pros. While he has a great first step, he's a shade undersized (6'5"), and is only an OK ball handler. That along with meh 3-point range (34%) could work together to neuter his offensive game. While at Duke, he showed some solid defensive skills. So, in a worst-case scenario, he'll be a defensive role player, just like that Raja Bell guy he's replacing. That should be awesome. The Bobcats Expect: Latrell Sprewell. Statbuster Expects: Fred Jones.

Tyler Hansbrough: The Pacers came into the draft needing shot-blocking and a point guard to replace Jarrett Jack and/or T.J. Ford, and got neither. But Hansbrough should be a better defender than Troy Murphy, and is already better offensively than Jeff Foster. If Indiana signs one more white guy, they'll have to hire Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper to coach them to an improbable championship run via a series of inspirational montages. The Pacers Expect: Dave Cowens. Statbuster Expects: J.R. Reid.

The Steal of the Draft: DeJuan Blair, who was pegged to be a lottery pick in most mock drafts, fell to the Spurs at 37th. Some people pointed fingers at ACL injuries he had in high school. I'm pointing the finger at Mike Sweetney and Sean May. By whipping themselves into shape for the Draft, then immediately eating their way into irrelevance, they may have ruined the NBA for fat post players everywhere. Although that's probably what Blair will do too.


Also need to know: at the Phoenix Suns draft party (exclusive to season ticket holders - not me, a friend), Steve Kerr came on the loudspeaker via telephone after he drafted Earl Clark, and when they announced his name a small but vocal contingent began booing him.

Of course, that "small but vocal contingent" consisted of me and some drunk guy at the bar, but hey, booing is booing.

I just need to mention that my friend's season tickets are last row, top balcony, but they got us free food and a chance to laugh at a lot of Phoenix Suns season ticket holders who are, predictably, old and funny-looking. But this is Arizona...

Finally, I wore a Lakers hat (obvs) and when David Stern congratulated them for the Finals win and the entire universe began howling in rage, I made sure those around me knew I was the single Lakers fan in attendance at an exclusive Phoenix Suns draft party. Just have to keep up appearances, you know, that Lakers fans are all dicks and jerks.

Blogger Cortez said...

(Well at least as far back as I can remember!)

I hope those "highlights" they kept showing of Rubio were some sort of psy-ops operation to psyche out his potential opposing point guards.

If my knowledge of NBA history serves me correctly Maravich was sort of a bust in the NBA himself.

"If the Swede was any slower bird's would have nested in his hat."
~Gene Hackman from The Quick and the Dead

Blogger Cortez said...
"...Maravich was sort of a bust in the NBA himself."

...unless not producing wins and "Antoine Walker"-like stat production is your thing, that is.

Blogger Unknown said...
Maravich was no bust


Blogger chris said...
Cortez: Yeah, but at least Maravich's All-Star HORSE appearance trumped this year's GEICO rather easily.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Maravich was no bust"

See comment #3.

"Yeah, but at least Maravich's All-Star HORSE appearance trumped this year's GEICO rather easily."

This morning's bowel movement did also.

I'll take the liberty to say that the Lakers had the best draft night overall.


"Are you serious? I fold. Cash in my chips at the window, I'll take $50's and $10's."
~Mitch Kupchak

Blogger Will said...
Where had Brandon Jennings been when he was announced about 4 picks after he was drafted? Did his plane from Italy arrive late? Or did he want to make Stern look awkward? Either way, don't be surprised when his body ends up in a dumpster.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Naah. That's not Stern's style. But don't ask any questions when he has exactly 3 FTAs all season.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
The thing about Thabeet that gets me is his average/below average rebounding numbers. Mutombo at 47 (or however old he was last season) was still an elite (if immobile) rebounder. I can totally see Thabeet putting um Samuel Dalembert numbers for his career.

The Kenny Anderson statbuster comparison for Rubio is way too harsh. I think at worst Ricky will be a José Calderón.

Tyreke Evans...the last time I remember a team drafting a 6´6 supposed point guard was Orlando with Reece Gaines. Evans reminds me a bit of a taller Tony Allen. A ball hog, only drives in one direction, can't shoot.

I'm pretty disappointed Tyler Hansbrough didn't drop down to Utah. He would have been a perfect fit there as a slower, taller Matt Harpring type. The only other place where I could have seen him doing as well is in Milwakee where he would have been logging 40 minutes for Scott Skiles. I'm not sure what he does for Indiana though.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
At the rather extreme risk of agreeing with Cortez, the reality seems to be that Pistol Pete was a player with exceptional and finely honed basketball abilities who simply did not "get" the game in terms of winning and team success. He scored a lot of points and even dished out some assists (he ranked in the top 10 twice), but he was a terribly inefficient player who never met a shot he didn't like.

I'm not a big proponent of advanced stats proving NBA Truth, but they do provide a sort of general guideline for achievement in the same manner of other stats (as, say, shooting percentage). Even in his best years, Pete never ranked very high in PER or Win Shares. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that everything he knew and thought about basketball came from his father, Press Maravich, who coached Pete in high school and college and was intent on turning the Pistol into the most famous (read that: highest paid) basketball player alive. And during Pete's era, that meant scoring, scoring and even more scoring.

The second reason is that Pete, due to bad luck and mismanagement, never had much talent around him. Believe it or not, back in 1972, Pete almost got to play with Dr. J on the Atlanta Hawks, but the Doc's contract situation doomed that situation, and a judge ruled that the Doc had to return to the ABA. But Pete and the Doc practiced together and played in three semi-legendary exhibition games. If Pete had played most of his career with Julius Erving, who knows how we might regard him now?

The final 32 games of his career were perhaps his most successful. The 1979-80 Boston Celtics picked him up. Pete's averages were modest (11.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.1 APG in 17 MPG), but he shot 50 percent and provided several clutch fourth quarter performances that helped Boston earn the league's best record (one win better than the Lakers).

Sometimes a player is only as good as the talent around him, and sometimes he's only as good as his basketball IQ will allow him to be. Pete was semi-doomed in both cases. But he was a tremendous talent and a great showman.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
On McHale's Maravich post:

That was insightful.

Blogger Cortez said...
"At the rather extreme risk of agreeing with Cortez..."

The only thing you're risking is being right a vast majority of the time.

...and alienating everyone around you in the process!

Despite my personality flaws, we have to link up this summer on a court somewhere.

"If Pete had played most of his career with Julius Erving, who knows how we might regard him now?"

As the man Dr. J murdered or maimed for looking him off one too many times or throwing a totally unnecessary pass to the 8th row.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Well said Bawful

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Cortez said: "Despite my personality flaws, we have to link up this summer on a court somewhere."

Absolutely. Drop me an e-mail (basketbawful@yahoo.com).

"As the man Dr. J murdered or maimed for looking him off one too many times or throwing a totally unnecessary pass to the 8th row."

Perhaps. But anecdotal evidence (I've read every Pete Maravich book on the market) seems to indicate that during their brief time together in practice and exhibition, Pete became a reluctant shooter and a very willing passer because he was feeding Dr. freaking J. Again, this is all second-hand (and corroborated by the Doctor), but without video or box scores, that's all we've got. But given what I know of Julius Erving, if he said that's how Pete was with him and further said that he very much wanted to play with Pete...well, I'm not one to look cross-eyed at him.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dear Bawful, Thank you for updating the main pic. It's refreshing and hilarious. Oh, and congratulations Filthy Logician, you are a douche :)

Blogger chris said...
For some reason, the banner pic is enhanced significantly by McFail's presence there.

Anonymous Axel Foley said...
Oh and The Admiral sinks Mjs battleship at the end of the video.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Here's some vaguely interesting information on another possible reason for the Shaq trade, not that it's really needed.


Blogger Wild Yams said...
Buck Nasty - If that's true, does that mean that everyone will now hate on Nash the way they did with Kobe for supposedly forcing the Lakers to get rid of Shaq (even though everyone: Shaq, Kobe and Jerry Buss, have said that wasn't the case)? Or will people now think "maybe Kobe was right to force Shaq out of town" (once again, even though that's not what happened)?

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Yams - I don't really care. At this point, I feel like Steve Nash can do whatever he wants, as long as it gets him to a championship.

Anything just short of anal rape, of course. Kobe.

Too soon?

@bsdrat: We're very much in agreement, here. It's a fundamental law of the universe that all Lakers fans are expected to be rowdy and asshole-ish, and they automatically revert to the latter when someone tries to coax them into the former.

So I'm merely doing my duty.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Why isn't Larry Hughes in the collection of bawful images at the top of the page? I'm glad that TMac and Sasha V are up there, but I would like to see "Big Shot Larry" get his due as well.

Stern looks like a Jon Lovits on dope

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I can't believe you have no mention of Austin Daye in this post. You're losing your touch...

Anonymous Sami said...
I don't understand the Carlos Boozer comparisons to Blake Griffin. Griffin is more athletic, a bit taller, and not as offensively good around the post. He also doesn't have a jumper like Boozer. Griffin didn't play D at Oklahoma because Jeff Capel (OU Coach) didn't want him in foul trouble, so he didn't defend too well. I'm comparing him to the current Boozer; I don't know how Boozer was coming out of college, so I may be wrong. If Griffin is to be compared to a current NBA player, he's probably a much better version of David Lee. That comparison sucks ass, though. Amare Stoudemire without the jumpshot or post moves? A not-as-good-on-defense and not-as-physically-imposing Dwight Howard? Maybe I should stick to the Boozer reference.

Anonymous Ice Potato said...
No mention of the Jazz #50 pick? Goran Suton? The Greg Ostertag 2.0? -_-

Anonymous Anonymous said...
just wanted to clarify...amare doesnt have any post moves either

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
If Blake Griffin turns into Carlos Boozer without the attitude problem then that's a solid #1 pick... alteast in a "weak draft."

As for Pistol Pete... he was basically the original Allen Iverson. Amazing ballhander and scorer and really fun to watch, but not the kind of game that contributes to team success in the NBA... not that Pete ever had the teammates to win anyway.

Blogger Diosnomeama said...
"If that's true, does that mean that everyone will now hate on Nash the way they did with Kobe for supposedly forcing the Lakers to get rid of Shaq (even though everyone:Shaq, Kobe and Jerry Buss, have said that wasn't the case)?"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
in other news, the t-wolves have somehow managed to draft a player named ricky rubino, who the knicks are also pursuing. check it out.


Blogger Diosnomeama said...
"If that's true, does that mean that everyone will now hate on Nash the way they did with Kobe for supposedly forcing the Lakers to get rid of Shaq (even though everyone:Shaq, Kobe and Jerry Buss, have said that wasn't the case)?"

And if everyone said arsenic was healthy and delicious, would you drink it? "Everyone" used to believe the Earth was flat too at one point, doesn't make it true.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Earl Clark: The Phoenix Suns expect: Shawn Marion. AnacondaHL expects: more false hope for another year

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Nice one AHL.

But what's the word on CBSUaJ:G

Blogger lordhenry said...
Cortez missed the best quote from quick and the dead:

"Don't ever cross me, and don't try to stare me down like you are doing right now. I'm not sick or old, and you are not HALF the man I am."

Gene Hackman to Leonardo de Caprio

The best part about it is who Gene is talking to.

Anonymous MK said...
Nice new banner Bawful! Why is David Freidman on it though?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There's no reason to hate on the Knicks for acquiring Darko. Just think, they got the guy that was drafted right after Lebron. Maybe they figure that could fool Lebron into thinking they got one of the, you know, not-busts from 2003.

Just think, if the Knicks get Bosh and Lebron next summer like they wanted, they could field a team with the #1, 2, and 4 pick from 2003.

Anonymous Raptorzzs said...
Dude, how could you forgot to include the video of Brandon Jennings arrival?


Anonymous sea_mole said...
Doesn't Stern's facial expression look similar to this guy?