This year's Draft is in the books, and another round of young athletes have been enlisted for duty in the NBA.
The impending free agency overshadowed anything happening on the draft board, as several teams seemed more focused with culling salaries than anything else. You know it was a slow news day when Kirk Hinrich-to-the-Wizards-for-nothing
was the night's "blockbuster" move. Anyway, let's take a look...
Wall didn't exactly dominate in college, but he is a big point guard (6'4"), he had a high assist rate, and is the best athlete in the draft. If Gilbert Arenas can adapt to playing off the ball, the Wizards could have a formidable backcourt this fall...they hope. Gil is still under contract for four years at nearly $20 million a year. Not to mention he is untradeable due to knee problems and a tendency to almost shoot teammates in the face. The Wizards expect:
Derrick Rose. Statbuster expects
: An improvement over that Kwame Brown guy they drafted #1 back in 2001.
Turner suffered a spinal fracture back in December, which was only the third or fourth worst injury
he's ever suffered. But that didn't discourage Philly. Turner is a SF with ball handling and playmaking skills like a PG. Besides health issues, another issue is that he doesn't have NBA three-point range. The Sixers were 21st in in the league in 3PT field goals last year, which means he will fit right in. The Sixers expect
: Brandon Roy. Statbuster expects:
plenty of rebounds for Elton Brand and Marrese Speights. Not so much job security for Andre Iguodala.
This officially marks the end of the Chinese Fred Roberts (also known as Yi Jianlian) project in New Jersey. Favors was another player that underwhelmed in college (12 ppg, 8 boards) but was picked based entirely on potential and athleticism. Fortunately for everyone, scouting reports stopped short of calling him a project
, which we all know is the kiss-of-death. The Nets expect:
Dwight Howard. Statbuster expects:
We are now three picks in and not a single outlandish outfit in sight. Wait..is that what I think it is? Problem solved!
The T'Wolves resisted their instinctive urge to draft another point guard, power forward and/or someone who has no intention to move to Minnesota. For a change, Johnson fills a need in their lineup. Johnson fills up a box score (16.5 ppg, 8 reb, 1.7 steals, 1.8 blocks, 41% 3pt). But he is an old rookie (22) that didn't produce until his senior year. But those are the things you don't care about when Corey Brewer and Ryan Gomes are playing 30 minutes a night. The T'Wolves expect:
Shawn Marion. Statbuster expects
: Sean Elliott 2.0.
Cousins posted some outrageous stats on one of the best teams in college, but intangibles caused him to slip to #5. Well, maybe an elbow to the head
isn't "intangible", but still. Since high school, Cousins had a reputation for being combative
, and out of shape
. But, with all this baggage, and he still posted 24 ppg and 16 boards per 40 minutes in college?!? The Kings will take that chance. The Kings expect:
Al Jefferson. Statbuster expects
: Benoit Benjamin.
Udoh's abillity to pass, block shots, and score facing the basket seems like a good fit for the Warrior's offense. One red flag is that, before transferring to Baylor, Udoh had two completely forgettable years playing for Michigan, where he shot 45%, which is an unforgivable number for a PF hoping to be a lottery pick. And he is reaching a Sam Mitchell-level of old rookieness at 23 years old. But knowing Don Nelson's penchant for small ball, not to mention they already have similar players in Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph, this may the last we'll hear about Udoh for the time being. The Warriors expect:
A poor man's Lamar Odom. Statbuster expects:
Derrick McKey, if they're lucky.
Monroe is a big man that can score inside and out. He nearly averaged 4 assists per night as a center, and he has excellent basketball instincts. The knock on him is that he's slow, soft and lacks killer instinct. Which begs the question..if Brad Miller had went to Georgetown, would he have been a lottery pick? The Pistons expect:
Brad Daugherty. Statbuster expects
: Vlade Divac.
Aminu has been repeatedly compared to Josh Smith. Since Aminu is an insanely athletic SF that can't shoot worth a lick, the comparison is somewhat valid. But it ends there. Josh Smith can play guard in a pinch; passing and put the ball on the floor. Aminu mustered an anemic 41 assists in 31 games. But this may be due to some severe astigmatism he seems to be suffering from. The Clippers expect
: Josh Smith. Statbuster expects
: a nice backup for Rasual Butler.
Another jump-shooter from a relatively unknown college in Indiana, that had his draft stock inflated by an improbable NCAA tournament run? No, I'm not talking about Bryce Drew.
Scouts will tout his shooting as his strong point, but I don't think 29% 3pt shooting qualifies as "accurate". The Jazz expect:
Mike Dunleavy. Statbuster expects:
You can never accuse the Pacers of not taking chances. Remember, they traded for
Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy, and signed Dahntay Jones to a long term deal. The Pacers again rolled the dice on this pick, since scouts expected George to slip into the second round back in January. George is a big SG/SF that already has NBA three-point range. One red flag is his ability to create his own shot, which he will need if he hopes to supplant Brandon Rush at SG. Also, he didn't play with much intensity in college, and he tends to disappear, which raised questions about his basketball IQ. The Pacers expect:
A poor-man's Danny Granger. Statbuster expects
: Martell Webster.
Soul-crushing fail of the night:
Hassan Whiteside, who was projected to go as high at 10th in mock drafts earlier in the year, slipped into the second round due to teams finding out he was diagnosed with ADD.
I'm sure Whiteside didn't show up in New York hoping to walk on stage and shake Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver's hand after 9PM.
Speaking of Adam Silver:
From Henry Abbott via Twitter
: "Fans at MSG greet Adam Silver with a raucous "Sexy Silver" chant. This is a very serious night for some, but not those guys in section 201."
Stay classy, my friends: There was a rousing "USA! USA!" chant when the Toronto Raptors announced their Ed Davis pick. How can you be anti-Canada? That's like saying you hate North Dakota, even though you've never been there. They later booed Kevin Seraphin, who is a native of French Guiana. Last time I checked, we are not at war with Canada or Guiana. Really, guys?
Sleeper pick of the night:
Being undersized will normally scare teams away like a disease, and this is what happened to PF Trevor Booker
. Despite having the 2nd best overall numbers (behind John Wall) in the pre-draft camp athletic testing, he measured in at 6'7.5" in the combine. The same thing happened to Paul Millsap and Carl Landry, and you can argue that they are two of the top 15 PF's in the league right now. Not to mention Leon Powe was a valuable rotation player when the Celtics won the title in 2008. The point is, you can't teach talent. The Wizards realized this and traded him from the T'Wolves on draft night. Cue the slow, congratulatory applause.
Are mock drafts a CWOT?:
Again this year, once you are past the top five picks, the accuracy of mock drafts goes in the toilet. Mostly they are completed by NBA outsiders who weren't there for the Combine or the workouts, and have no direct insight on the thought process in each team's head office. I should now...we can smell our own. Here is how the top 12 mock drafts
(according to NBA.com) fared this year:
#1: John Wall. Mock drafts that got it right: 12/12
#2: Evan Turner. Got it right: 12/12
#3: Derrick Favors. Got it right: 7/12
#4: Wesley Johnson. Got it right: 7/12
#5: Demarcus Cousins. Got it right: 9/12
#6: Ekpe Udoh. Got it right: 5/12
#7: Greg Monroe. Got it right: 4/12
#8: Al-Farouq Aminu. Got it right: 8/12
#9: Gordon Hayward. Got it right: 1/12
#10: Paul George. Got it right: 0/12
#11: Cole Aldrich. Got it right: 1/12
#12: Xavier Henry. Got it right: 1/12