o9 NBA Draft Review

First Round Wrap Up

If there’s one team who could have screwed up the #1 overall pick in this years’ (or any, for that matter) draft, it’s the Clippers. However, they went both the obvious and safe route selecting Blake Griffin, who will certainly be the front runner for Rookie Of The Year.

For a team that was last in the league in rebounding last year, the Grizzlies taking Hasheem Thabeet at #2 no doubt made the most sense out of any other option because they will improve more in the short term than they would if they chose to take any other player on the board, like Rubio or Evans.

With the third pick the Thunder decided to take James Harden from Arizona State, which is a great fit for both parties. A lot of scouts see Harden as a left-handed version of Paul Pierce, and while he clearly won’t be getting near as many shots as Pierce did in his first few years in Boston, he fills their need as a starting two guard, who can split point duties with Russell Westbrook if need be.

The Kings got the player who is, in my opinion, the best player in this draft here at #4. Tyreke Evans is just sick. A true point guard, no, but a pure baller without a doubt. He has extremely long arms, big hands, and filthy handles. He’s an above average defender and perimeter shooter who can create shots for himself and others. While it’s obviously not the ideal situation for him from a winning standpoint, he’ll have the ball in his hands a lot and will have a plenty of room to grow over the next few seasons.

The Wolves did something with their #5 and 6 picks here I don’t think anyone really expected: taking two point guards. Ricky Rubio probably got more hype before the Draft than any other player, with everyone raving about his passing ability and creativity. No one really had him ‘slipping’ this far down the board, and while it was the obvious pick for most teams, I think Minnesota made a huge mistake, and it has nothing to do with his ability as a player.

First of all, he doesn’t want to play in a small market. Secondly, he has a $6m buyout clause in his contract with DKV that can enable him to stay their until 2011. Now while this could play to the Wolves advantage in a trade scenario, if they drafted him with the intention of playing him, it was just a horrible pick, because make no mistake about it, they will have to trade him if he chooses to go back to Spain this season.

Now remember the fact that the Wolves have ZERO exterior scoring now that they traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye to the Wizards for the rights to the 6th pick {funny side note: if you go to their team website, they are both still on the roster, with Kevin McHale still listed as head coach} and it’s blatantly obvious they needed to address the glaring hole they have at the two-guard spot.

Terrance Williams would have been a perfect fit here. I know no one had him going this high on the board, but what does that matter really? They are young anyway and will be lucky to win 20-25 games, so you might as well develop a solid nucleus now. It doesn’t matter what order they take him and Flynn so long as they share the same backcourt. If they made this move they’d be looking at a starting lineup of Flynn{sorry Bassy}, Williams, Brewer/Carney/Gomes, with Love and Jefferson rounding out the front court. Is that a championship contending starting 5? Of course not, but it’s better than inserting Kevin Ollie or Bobby Brown{no, not that Bobby Brown}.

This opened up the chance for the Warriors to snatch up Steph Curry at #7, who is a great fit in their run and gun offense, and will add depth to their bench without question. He won’t start, but will be a great spark plug coming in for Monta Ellis and will still be able to play off the ball a good deal and get plenty of open looks.

The Knicks wanted Curry bad, but got what they needed even more I think in Jordan Hill. They desperately needed another athletic forward who can run the floor, defend, rebound, and finish around the basket. Think of him as a (much) more skilled version of Renaldo Balkman.

With the 9th overall pick, the Raptors picked up Demar Derozan, who draws comparisons to a young Vince Carter, albeit a little less mature, skills wise. While he’s still a bit raw, the mechanics are there. He’s a good shooter and slasher, and has a potential to become a lock down defender at the NBA level.

Brandon Jennings got selected next at #10 by the Milwaukee Bucks, and do I ever feel bad for him. First of all, no one, I repeat, no one wants to play in/for Milwaukee. Secondly, it’s easy to see he’s the type of player coach Scott Skiles will clash with. Skiles wants to play a walk it up, grinding style of basketball, and that just isn’t how Jennings plays. He has blazing quickness and footspeed with the ability to blow by anyone with his first step or off the dribble. He’s court savvy and an exceptional passer, but they don’t have much proven talent outside of Michael Redd, and are far from a playoff contender.

The Nets taking Terrance Williams at #11 is a solid pick. He’s big enough to be effective at the two and can handle the ball well enough to play some point if need be. After trading Vince Carter to the Magic, New Jersey have a scoring vacuum to be filled and Williams can provide that. He’s also a more motivated defender than Carter(who isn’t) and a good rebounder for his size.

Charlotte taking Gerald Henderson at #12 was the worst pick in the draft at this point depending how the Rubio situation turns out. He’s an undersized two guard who lacks NBA three point range or the ball handling skills to share minutes at the point. He’s shorter than Gerald Wallace and far from the dead eye shooter Raja Bell is. The Bobcats should have taken Earl Clark here, easily the most talented player on the board and arguably the player with the most upside in the whole draft. Not to mention it was a shock since Michael Jordan is clearly stockpiling UNC alumni; he might as well have taken Tyler Hansbrough, at least he would have filled their need as a backup PF.

Next up were the Pacers at 13th, who did select Psycho-T, which I think was the best pick for them in all honesty. Bird loves his toughness and work ethic, and Danny Granger needs more of these types of players around him. Hansbrough has a never-ending motor, and is no fun to play against because he is relentless. He’s a good enough shooter from 18 feet and in, and will get a lot of offensive rebounds and second chance points. People have the perception he won’t be successful because he’s not a “great” athlete, but Kevin Love had a great rookie year and essentially fits the same mold.

Earl Clark is an awesome pick for the Suns at 14. WOW. As I stated before, he has just as much upside as a one in the draft. He can do a little bit of everything. I think he slipped this far because team scouts think he isn’t assertive enough, and often doesn’t show enough fire or intensity. If he finds his mean streak, which is the big question mark, he has All-Star potential.

The Pistons taking Austin Daye from Gonzaga at 15 is a good pick for them. Like Clark, he has a large skill set, and will learn a lot from Rasheed Wallace. He’s an above-average passer with a lot of versatility, though questions still linger about his toughness.

Chicago decided to take James Johnson at #16, which I wasn’t expecting. His game is a lot like Jason Maxiell’s, an undersized PF but a much better shooter from outside. He’s tough and works hard on both ends, a bit like Charles Barkley. He is a champion kickboxer who possesses the right attitude and discipline it takes to be successful at the highest level.

I love Jrue Holiday to 76ers at 17th – finally Andre Iguodala gets someone multitalented to play alongside. He’s an explosive combo guard who will learn a lot from Andre Miller, who never had half the ability or potential Holiday has. He can get to the rack at will and finish in traffic, and has the chance to be an outstanding defender. He isn’t a great shooter, but in time has what it takes to become much more efficient.

The T-Wolves decided to take another PG at #18 with Ty Lawson, but immediately shipped to him to Denver for a future 1st rd pick in 2010. It’s a great fit for Lawson, who will back up Billups in the Nuggets uptempo, high octane offense. He is the most efficient PG in the draft and is lightning fast from end to end.

Can anyone believe the Hawks finally drafted a point guard? He’s not Chris Paul, he’s not Deron Williams, but Jeff Teague will be good. He’s a good passer with a high basketball IQ – not a great defender, but was a great scorer in college that is plenty capable of getting to the basket and the foul line. He’s a strong leader that will get plenty of burn for the Hawks.

Utah took Eric Maynor with the 20th pick, a true point guard who flew under the radar most of his college career playing at Virginia Commonwealth. However, the guy can flat out play, and will be an excellent backup option for DWill. He’s tough and is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands. He knows how to play and Jerry Sloan will only make him better.

The New Orleans Hornets taking Darren Collison at 21st overall is essentially the same thing as the Jazz taking Maynor – a solid backup PG that will fit in nicely and is ready to play now. He’s a solid perimeter defender who makes minimal mistakes. The NBA is all about landing in the right situation and this is a perfect fit for both parties.

Rodrigue Beaubois got selected next by the Thunder and was later traded to the Mavs for B.J. Mullens who would eventually get taken at #24. Mullens fits the bill in OKC, who lack a true center or post presence.

With their second pick in the first round the Chicago Bulls took Taj Gibson from USC at 26th, who isn’t a physical beast on the inside but will provide the frontcourt with some added defense and rebounding. He’s a good post passer and will give the Bulls more depth and energy off the bench.

With the 27th pick the Grizzlies took DeMarre Carrol out of Mizzouri, an energy guy who possesses all the intangibes. He’s your prototypical garbage man – a hard worker that’s tenacious on the glass and a good defender who will make other players better in practice.

At 28, Minnesota took Wayne Ellington, which is actually a smart pick. They get a three point threat to replace Mike Miller who can spread the floor and is probably undervalued in this draft. Above all else, he’s a proven winner.

The 29th pick was held by the Lakers, who sold it to the Knicks for $3m. In return, they get Toney Douglas from Florida Sate who can straight up score. He takes pride in playing good defense, something the Knicks need badly, especially with an offensive minded coach. They get a shoot-first PG who can create his own shot, shoot from perimeter, and is a solid ball handler. He’s not afraid to take it hard in traffic and get to the foul line.

I really thought Cleveland would take a Sam Young or DeJuan Blair here, someone that could contribute to the championship cause now. Both do a lot of little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. They really could have used Blair’s rebounding. Instead, they took Christian Eyenga from Congo, an explosive two who won’t play this year.

2nd Round Steals

The Rockets get Jermaine Taylor from UCF. This dude is a baller. He’s aggressive on both ends of court and can finish in traffic, and has the ability contribute immediately.

Pistons picking up DuJuan Summers. Detroit got great value here, as he certainly had first round potential. He can do a little bit of everything and fits the Pistons’ organization style of play. He can finish at the rim and make contested shots from the perimeter. His game is similar to that of Caron Butler.

Minnesota getting Sam Young. This is another great value pick. The T-Wolves are a youthful squad, and Young will provide toughness. He can play inside and out and will help with the rebounding load.

The Spurs snagging DaJuan Blair and Jack McClinton. Blair fits their style of play perfectly, and can contribute immediately. He has a big wingspan for his size and will take up space. He’s strong as an ox and won’t back down, and should get a decent amount of garbage points. McClinton can flat out shoot the rock and will get a lot of open looks due to the double teaming of Duncan and teams collapsing on Parker and Ginobli in the lane.

Portland landing Patty Mills. Seriously, I have no idea how his stock slipped all the way to 55! The only reason Phoenix passed on him for Taylor Griffin is so they have a chance at scooping up his brother, Blake, when his rookie contract expires…that is of course, if he is still on the team. Mills went toe-to-toe with Chris Paul and Deron Williams when the US played Australia in the Olympics, and is an exceptional backup for Brandon Roy, and an upgrade from Steve Blake.

Boston getting Lestor Hudson. This guy averaged a little over 26 ppg the past two seasons at Tennessee-Martin, and will be a great backup PG for Rondo.

The Bobcats drafting Derrick Brown. This guy is exactly what the team needs. He’s a crafty left-handed 2/3 that is athletic and strong. He absolutely has star potential and could easily see some starts for the ‘Cats as the season progresses.

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~ by therealJWilliam on June 27, 2009.

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