Friday, May 23, 2008

NBA Mock Draft: If Common Sense Came Into Play

The Lottery:
1. Chicago Bulls - Michael Beasley, Kansas State

I guess the only real debate on the number one pick is whether Beasley or Derrick Rose is a better fit for Chicago. I go with Beasley here for several, not surprising, reasons. First, Beasley has size at 6'10", but he can also play small forward and would be a horrible matchup for most other small forwards in the league. He would consistently destroy gimmick guys like James Posey assigned to guard him. The Bulls have enough pure shooters to free up plenty of space for Beasley to operate either posting a smaller guy up or taking a bigger guy to the basket. Second, the Bulls also lack any kind of inside scoring threat. This would only compliment Noah and Thomas who thrived in college with a legitimate low-post scorer working the other block. They would lead the league in putback dunks after Beasley was double teamed and was strong enough to get a shot off. Third, Rose is good and is going to be great, but how can you pass on a guy that was as productive as Kevin Durant in his freshman year, is surely a better rebounder, and has a more NBA ready body? By the way don't the Bulls have a young guard, Jay Williams, who should be returning from injury shortly?

2. Miami Heat - Derrick Rose, John Calipari's School-of-Hard-Knock's

Even though, as most of you know, I've been a White Lightning, White Thunder, White Chocolate, or whatever his name is, fan for a long time. Jason Williams made it cool to sleep with black girls again. But I think Derrick Rose has to be the second pick here. There has been some talk that the Heat are very interested in OJ Mayo and his now limited entourage. Wade and Mayo would be a great backcourt to watch develop, but they would turn the ball over a lot. Derrick Rose might be the most gifted athlete in the draft. He showed his maturation throughout last season and became a much more gifted point guard than when he entered college. He has shown flashes of Monta Ellis on offense, but has a more complete game given his passing skills. I think he could turn into a nightmare defender for any opposing point guard.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - Brooke Lopez, Stanford

Luckily, the Timberwolves are so awful they really can't make bad choice here. To me, the pick is either Lopez or Mayo. They need a dependable scorer in the backcourt to work with Foye and Jaric, but I think they would also like to move Al Jefferson to his natural position at the four. Brooke Lopez doesn't immediately make this at .500 team, but is the right pick for the future. Next year, you go for a prolific scorer, and hope Corey Brewer develops into Tayshaun Prince. Then you are setting yourselves up to look like a next-generation Pistons. No too much would be asked of Lopez his rookie year, just rebound and play good defense against the opposing teams best low post player. This lets Jefferson rest his ugly ass on defense, and focus more on becoming a consistent 25 and 10 guy. If Mayo comes in here he is probably pissed he's in Minnesota, tries to do too much, and eventually leaves for a bigger market.

4. OK City Supersonics - OJ Mayo, BDA

I think this is the most logical pick at number four because the Sonics need another backcourt scorer to take the pressure off of Kevin Durant. Mayo has all the skills to play point guard in this league, and provides some highlight reel excitement for a club desperately needing to put some fans in the seats. Mayo is also a much better shooter than I had given him credit for. He shot 40% from three and 80% from the line. He brings some baggage, but I think he has the Kobe mentality of wanting to be the best player in the league someday.

5. Memphis Grizzlies - Kevin Love, UCLA

What can you say here? The Grizzlies need help all over the place. Is Rudy Gay really their best player? Mike Miller led the team in rebounding last year at 6.7 a game and right now their frontcourt rotation is Darko Milicic, Kwame Brown, Hakim Warrick, and Jason Collins. It makes me sick to include Warrick in that bunch because I liked him in college so much, but that is a horrible frontline, no matter who's in the game at any point. I think Kevin Love gives you instant help, and will be a franchise guy for years to come. During his peak years he will average somewhere between 22 and 11, but he will also do the little things that help teams win. I think you go with Love here, and go for athleticism next year, because players like Love don't come around often. He's smart, plays hard, has a chinstrap, and is one of the strongest players with the ball in his hands.

6. New York Knicks - DJ Augustin, Texas

He looked pretty bad against Memphis in the elite 8 last year, but he's been the best point guard in college basketball over the last two years. With Mike D'Antoni now coaching the Knicks I think his first move is to find his Steve Nash, and this may be the best choice for a pure point guard in the draft. He can shoot the three and set up his teammates, and will be a better defender. I don't see any MVP's in his future, but he will be an all-star in the league. The Knicks just have to keep him as far as they can from Stephon Marbury. I really have no idea what the Knicks will do here. Another option is Jeryd Bayless, but he dosn't have the skill set to run the point for D'Antoni's offense.

7. LA Clippers - Jeryd Bayless, Arizona

The Clippers will be looking at the guards in this draft to provide some instant scoring. Elton Brand will be back to good health and he, along with Kaman and Thornton, will shore up the frontline's productivity. Bayless's athleticism is off the charts and his offensive game is very polished. The Clips do have a franchise point guard in Dan Dickau, but I've heard his athleticism is starting to slip a bit with his age and whiteness.

8. Milwaukee Bucks - Joe Alexander, West Virginia

With the emergence of Ramon Sessions during the last month of the season (He averaged 11 pts, 11 dimes, 11 assists, and 11 passes to players who then score in less than two dribbles), I don't think the Bucks will address their earlier needs at point guard. He has won the starting job, and though their backups aren't great guys, this draft class is short on talent at that position. I think the Bucks will look for a small forward here and the best available is Joe Alexander. He emerged during March Madness this year, but showed a very polished offensive game whether he is facing up or posting up. He absolutely destroyed Duke, which makes me pretty high on him. Plus, he only had one year of coaching under Huggy Bear where he was forced to play with his back to the basket, this kid could really develop in a few years. He isn't short on athleticism either as I was watching some workout tapes of him yesterday and he can dunk a basketball! He would add depth to the bucks frontline, but he can also knock down the three and would extend opponent's defense to open the paint for Bogut and Villanueva to have a who's uglier contest.

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Roy Hibbert, Georgetown

Charlotte has a rising star in Gerald Wallace, a favorite for fantasy drafts this year, but they still need some production from their frontline. Okafur is a solid power forward and hopefully the return of Adam Morrison and Sean May will prove to be beneficial, but I think this team needs a true center. Hibbert won't do a lot of scoring for the Bobcats, but he gives them more length on the defensive end, a second shot blocker, rebounding, and great passing out of the post. If Hibbert can start to find Richardson and Wallace cutting through the lane he could be very productive for Charlotte. If not, we will just have another 7 footer with knee and back problems riding the bench for 10 years because a 7 footer has to work somewhere, right?

10. New Jersey Nets - Danilo Gallinari, Italy

Don't know anything about him, but most sites have him as a lottery pick. I hate the Nets so I decided to stick him here. If you know anything about him please feel free to expand on this pick in the Comments section.

11. Indiana Pacers - Eric Gordon, Indiana

Gordon's stock as dropped considerably after his freshman year took a nosedive with the departure of Kelvin Sampson. However, I don't think we can knock him out of the lottery. He has world-class athleticism, a reliable jump shot, and is a really strong guard. I'd like to see his handling improve at the next level and become more of a consistent scorer. He gets to the foul line and will do so at the next level. I think this pick makes sense for the Pacers here because Gordon could also bring the ball up the court. If Gordon was shooting the ball well I think the Pacers could be a very dangerous team. Dunleavy, Granger, and Gordon would give them some great scoring from their 1,2, and 3. If O'Neal comes back they could be a playoff team again as soon as next year.

12. Sacramento Kings - Anthony Randolph, LSU

Randolph has all the size and athleticism you would need in a big man at the next level. He even knocks down a 12-15 foot jumper with strange consistency. Of course, he needs to add weight on at the next level, but I think he has the athleticism to contribute right away. Sacramento really needs to take the best player available here, and can afford to consider somewhat of a prospect in Randolph. He has tons of upside and seems to make the most sense at this pick.

13. Portland Trailblazers - Chase Budinger, Arizona

You have to love what the Trailblazers are doing right now. Oden will be coming back next year, and Martell Webster should be ready to go. Rarely are guys able to keep these young teams together, but they are accumulating enough pieces to eventually make a move on a big-time player to compliment Roy. I think Budinger gives them great lenth at either the shooting guard or small forward spot. He is likely a role player coming off the bench, but has the potential to be much better than what he showed at Arizona. I think Jarrett Jack will give them a solid point guard for next year, and they may look in that direction again in the second round. I think the Blazers need a guy who can knock down open jumpers, has size, but can play on the perimeter to open things up for Aldridge and Oden next year.

14. Golden State Warriors - Russell Westbrook, UCLA

The Warriors like to play small ball (Nellie Ball) and have already reached on project big man with Patrick O'Bryant and Brandon Wright. I don't think they'll make the same mistake twice. Westbrook gives them added size at the point guard position and a reliable outside shot. He would be the best player available at this point and has the athleticism to play with this team. He is great in the open floor and has the quickness to defend well. It's hard to see him getting minutes right away, but could add depth to the Warriors in terms of ballhandling.

So that's the way I'm seeing this draft. I'm not big at all on DeAndre Jordan or Darrell Arthur, and think any team would be reaching if they took them in the lottery. I like Anthony Randolph more than either one of those guys. This isn't a deep class, but I love the top talent of the first give picks. Hibbert, Budinger, and Westbrook, I see as the biggest risks to not see any action for their teams, but I think all are the smartest choice for that team. Please criticize this entire post.


Blogger Brian Shannon said...

you asked...." By the way don't the Bulls have a young guard, Jay Williams, who should be returning from injury shortly? "

LOL only if you have a new hip and leg to give him. That motorcycle accident did a number on him...hasn't been back since.

Shame too, he was a better good player.

I do agree that with Kirk and Gordon in the back court you have a young enough combo to be effective in the league. Getting Beasley seems to be a better over all choice for what the Bulls need. He would be Ben Wallace on the boards and a tremendous scorer to boot. Seems like a no brainer.

May 27, 2008 at 11:00 PM  

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