Had time to digest what went on Thursday night? Good. I took my time in getting this piece up because of fear that A) Trades may have gone down in the days after the draft or B) Fear that ESPN would have gone overboard in their analysis of the draft. Neither happened, making this a whole lot easier to do. I had a piece done up previewing the draft that was posted Wednesday, but due to a server error the piece got wiped from the site, which was a shame, but nonetheless let’s dive right into the draft and discuss what moves got the big ol’ thumbs up and what moves didn’t.
In the lottery – can’t really argue with the top two picks can we?Those two guys were 1-2 no matter what way you looked at it, and both make their respective teams better already. For Washington, it got the one true franchise player in the draft and has (if a team were willing) made Gilbert Arenas expendable, if a team fancied paying him $15 million over the next twelve years on his mammoth contract signed a few summers back. They could also keep Arenas and produce a very productive backcourt, we know Arenas can shoot the ball and we know that Wall can score in the lane whenever he wants, so maybe it could work? Flip Saunders would have to coach the hell out of it though, because it could turn out that the other three guys would become nothing more than moving screens in an Arenas/Wall offense.
As for Phily, Evan Turner gives them the backcourt stability needed for the next decade alongside the potentially brilliant Jrue Holiday. Turner gives them versatility due to the fact that he can play – and defend – three positions on the court at any time. He’s not quite there yet in terms of IQ I think, but he is very polished and knows how to run an offense. He doesn’t strike me as a selfish player, so I fully expect Iguodala to still be the main offensive option in Phily, but if needed Turner will take over and has taken and made plenty of big shots at Ohio State, like this one. Two great picks that I can’t wait to see play this season.
I have no real problems with picks three and four except for the fact they overlooked DeMarcus Cousins, who could possibly be the best bigman in the league not named Howard in three years time. I understand people had their doubts over Cousins' mental stability and Homer Simpson-esque physique, but he’s a talent like no other bigman that has come into this league since Howard. Teams are going to hate playing Sacramento now, because with Evans and Cousins, they have a one-two punch that is going to be pretty scary straight away.
Gordon Haywardwill soon be postered on bedroom walls of teenage girls all across Salt Lake – he’s like the Justin Bieber of the Utah Jazz.
For me, Memphis, Toronto and Houston got a big fat A+ for their picks at the end of the lottery.Zav-ee-ay Henry will start in Memphis when Rudy Gay gets overpaid this summer; Ed Davis has huge ability and is a nice fit for Toronto (which has practically admitted defeat in trying to keep Bosh) and what isn’t there to like about Patrick Patterson playing with the Houston Rockets?
Picks 18 and 19 - may be the best value picks in the draft this year. Eric Bledsoe was a guy I was hoping we bought into the draft to nab because he’s going to be a real good point guard in this league – by the way, how well did the Clippers do in this draft? Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe and Willie Warren? In three years time their nine man rotation will be Davis-Gordon-Aminu-Griffin-Kaman-Bledsoe-Warren-Jordan and Veteran X. Pity it’s the Clippers though…
Boston nabbed the number one rated prospect for the previous college season in Avery Bradley. Yep, he was ranked ahead of Wall, Cousins, Favors, Henry etc. he had a bad year in Texas – but Texas had a bad year in Texas also. He has some major skills, he’ll be learning from Rondo who was in the exact same position as him – taken late in the first round, question marks surrounding him due to a so-so college season – and has plenty time to develop. Plenty. Rondo will be around for a long time, Bradley will get minutes as his back up, its entirely up to him how he uses it.
Anybody else feel the Magic got a steal in Daniel Orton? Likewise the Spurs with James Anderson– who was being pegged as a lottery pick not so long ago. They are in the perfect situations to blossom – on two elite teams, plenty of mentors to rub off of, an when they get on the court all they need to do is do what they did in college. For Anderson that means score the basketball – something he’ll do easily in San Antonio. For Orton it means give me four to five hustle minutes, play defense and grab every rebound available while Dwight sits. Great pick-ups from the Magic and Spurs.
Indiana got a real talent in Lance Stephenson, but will have to be patient. He has the tools, but needs to develop more offensive moves other than a quick first step and a drive to the basket. You can have a quick first step in college, but it’s not that quick when it’s Kobe guarding you. Gani Lawal is a nice pick for the Suns, as is Devin Ebanks for the Fakers. I think both guys have the ability to make the cut for a roster spot, Lawal especially given the Suns frontcourt and the imminent departure of Stoudemire. Yahoo! Sports compared Ebanks to Trevor Ariza – I like that comparison.
Oklahoma City Thunder should do everything in their power to ensure Sam Presti is happy 24/7, 365 a year. Stealing Cole Aldrichfrom the Hornets was a nice touch, as was his future first round pick he got off the Clippers in exchange for Bledsoe. Knowing the Clippers, that pick could end up being in the top three! I thought Bledsoe would have been a nice pick for the Thunder, but then remembered they have Eric Maynor backing up Westbrook. The same Eric Maynor who knocked down three’s for fun against the Lakers in the playoffs and was let go by the Jazz and picked up by the Thunder. Sam Presti is the man to get us out of the global recession, I’m convinced…
Did anybody else find the Draft painfully boring to watch?I may have come up with a plan to solve it: In future on Draft night every GM should be in their respective teams home court with the arena full of supporters. Not just any supporters though, proper, die-hard fans who have been fans for over ten years and attended over 80% of the teams home games the previous season. The other seats would then be filled with drunk guys taken from a local bar, celebrities and whoever snaps up the remaining tickets. The GM would then have to announce whom they are picking in front of a full house of die-hard fans, and face the wrath of them afterwards. Could you imagine that? Imagine Joe Dumars announcing Darko Milicic, then seeing the crowd slowly march toward him with pitchforks. It would make for great TV, you have to admit.