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Archive for the ‘NBA Mock Draft’ Category

NBA Draft 2010: Lottery Breakdown

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

By Ron Jumper

Here is my breakdown of what I feel each lottery team should do with their draft choice (meaning this isn’t predicting what will happen). I have just accepted NBA general managers are crazy and get so wrapped in the draft process itself that they lose touch with actually making their basketball team better on the court where it matters. All the fuss about wingspan and upside, what about basketball IQ or production? I know not to get carried away with that, at the same time, because there are those typical “great college players” that don’t translate to the NBA and so on. However, sometimes it just feels like scouts and GMs just want to do it the hard way by having a project “develop” over three years so they can say “I told you so” or “look what I did” instead of just drafting a guy that could have been just as good much earlier in his career. At the top of the “maybe he isn’t a project and actually just sucks” list is Florida State C Solomon Alabi. For the life of me, I can’t understand why you’d rather have him than some of the other big men in the draft. I am very happy to see scouts coming to their senses and projecting Greg Monroe as a top 5 pick.

I still don’t understand the inconsistencies from year to year on how prospects are ranked. For example, why was Tyrus Thomas a top 5 pick and Epke Udoh is a projected borderline lottery pick? Udoh is taller, more experienced, and more skilled than Thomas was at this same stage. On the other side, while I love Gordon Hayward, can you really justify taking him in the top 10? How many guys like him have really panned out? We have seen plenty of guys like Gerald Henderson, Danillo Gallinari, or Joe Alexander get taken in the lottery only to be no more than role players. I see him struggling to find a position and he really isn’t a great shooter, especially not from NBA distance.

Anyways, on to my thoughts on the lottery:

1. Washington Wizards
PG John Wall, Kentucky

Take him and figure everything else out later. There is no telling what this roster will look like by opening day next season but rebuilding around Wall is a great way to start. If it were me, I’d trade Gilbert Arenas for anything I could get back in return. I’m talking a happy meal or even one of those Shake Weights, take it and run.

2. Philadelphia 76ers
PF Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

Think about the 76ers roster, they need athletic big men than can play in an up-tempo style. If they can move Elton Brand, they should do it and just go with a young athletic big man like Favors. Many have Turner going here but I just don’t see why. You already have Andre Iguodala and have much more pressing needs elsewhere. In fact, my first choice would be to trade back and take a guy like James Anderson because they could use better outside shooting.

3. New Jersey Nets
PF/C Greg Monroe, Georgetown

The Nets are feeling the pressure to turn this around and win quickly, well adding Monroe is a great way to do that. He complements Lopez very well and is more than willing to be the second or third option offensively. While New Jersey was so bad last year, I do think they have enough talent to be decent sooner rather than later. Monroe would be a HUGE step in that direction.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves
SF Evan Turner, Ohio State

While I don’t see Turner being here on draft night, this is closer to where I would slot him. I look at his game and just don’t see it transitioning to the NBA the same way everyone else does. I see him more as a great college player who will be a good role player in the NBA instead of the All-Star everyone else seems to be projecting him to be. Either way, the Timberwolves clearly have enough point guards and are set inside with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love so small forward is the obvious way to go (which probably means they’ll draft DeMarcus Cousins instead).

5. Sacramento Kings
PG/SG Avery Bradley, Texas

This reminds me so much of when the Oklahoma City Thunder took Russell Westbrook instead of OJ Mayo or Jerryd Bayless, which worked out perfectly. Bradley is more content to be a defender and distributor, which is a necessity playing next to Tyreke Evans in the backcourt. This seems like a reach to most (then just trade back if possible) but team chemistry is so underrated in the draft process. Bradley would be an ideal fit, not to mention an instant upgrade over Beno Udrih.

6. Golden State Warriors
PF Epke Udoh, Baylor

This is highly unlikely to happen but it should. The Warriors could really use an athletic big man like Udoh, who could also play away from the basket in addition to being a shot blocking presence. This way, they can still play a wide open offense but might occasionally stop someone on defense. It makes sense to me, why am I the only that thinks this? I give up…

7. Detroit Pistons
PF/C DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

Think about the old days of the “Bad Boys” and I really think a guy like Cousins would have fit in just fine. If the Pistons want to get their swagger back, adding pieces that fit what Joe Dumars is trying to do in terms of both personality and style is very important.

8. Los Angeles Clippers
SF Paul George, Fresno State

This guy is the real deal, with a silky smooth game and the ideal size for a wing player. George has the chance to be develop into the star of a young team like the Clippers. While a guy like Al-Farouq Aminu would probably help more in year one, George is the type of talent that could develop into a Joe Johnson or Caron Butler.

9. Utah Jazz
SF Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

This is why every player has a different value to every team. Aminu could add much needed toughness and athleticism to the Jazz, as well as an insurance policy for the often injured Andrei Kirilenko. Utah really needs a shot blocking center but there isn’t one worth taking at this point in the draft.

10. Indiana Pacers
PG Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky

Not sure why teams are falling out of love with Bledsoe, as he would be a much more obvious lottery pick had he not shared the backcourt with John Wall. The Pacers need to upgrade this position, as it seems T.J. Ford has seen better days. They could also upgrade the power forward position but, in this scenario, Epke Udoh is off the board. Ed Davis is a strong possibility here, but would the Pacers draft back-to-back Tar Heel bigs?

11. New Orleans Hornets
SG James Anderson, Oklahoma State

The Hornets need some fire power around Chris Paul but they have to be careful who they nominate to fill the void. Not just any star or scorer can play next to Paul, as I thought they were INSANE when they were courting Ben Gordon a few off-seasons back. Paul dominates the ball (meaning it is in his hands 90% of the time), so it is a very delicate balance adding talent around him because they have to be able to not only co-exist but make each other better. Anderson is such a natural scorer and he could be that extra punch that brings back the Hornets to respectability. In fact, I project Anderson to be the STEAL of the draft.

12. Memphis Grizzlies
SF Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

With the possibility of losing Rudy Gay in free agency looming, I would take precautionary measures. Fortunately for the Grizzlies, Johnson slides in this scenario (though I don’t think he will on draft night). The Grizzlies are actually in pretty good shape from top to bottom, as they don’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses. Who ever thought we’d be saying that?

13. Toronto Raptors
PF Ed Davis, UNC

With the likely departure of Chris Bosh, I expect the Raptors to take care of themselves here and take Davis. While there is always the possibility of his return, better to be safe than sorry and this is also a great value pick.

14. Houston Rockets
C Hassan Whiteside, Marshall

While Whiteside is very raw, he is skilled and has great size. For the Rockets, they hope Yao Ming comes back but he more than likely will never be healthy for long enough to matter ever again. If it were me, I’d start accepting this as fact and moving on. At this point in the draft, this is solid value.

NBA Draft 2010: Overrated, Underrated

Monday, February 15th, 2010

By Ron Jumper

Nothing gets me more fired up than ranting and raving about how crazy NBA scouts and GMs are. I’m always amazed at the evaluation process that determines the rankings of the players. I just can’t, for the life of me, figure out the reasoning behind it. To get started with my NBA Draft coverage, I thought I would examine a few players who I strongly disagree with the scouts about.

Overrated
Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
I know he was anointed as the top player in this class coming out of high school but, other than scouts just being stubborn to admit they were wrong, why is he still considered a top 5 pick? Can someone explain to me how a guy who has not scored in double-figures in 8 of his last 13 games is supposed to be the answer to some team’s prayers on draft night. At this point, I hope he stays in school for another year because if he comes out and the team that drafts him is expecting to build around him then they just might be disappointed.

Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Again, what am I missing? How is he not Eric Montross 2.0? I just look at Aldrich as a guy who will really struggle against athletic big men in the NBA, as his lateral quickness leaves something to be desired. I don’t see his game developing on the offensive end either, as his quirky shooting form will make adding things like a turnaround jumper that much harder to develop. At the college level, he is great. No complaints, but expecting him to ever average more than 7-5-1 in the NBA is another discussion.

 

Underrated
Greg Monroe, Georgetown

After discussing the other two big men, how is Greg Monroe not the OBVIOUSLY SUPERIOR PROSPECT?!?! He shoots better, scores more points per game, and is just as good a rebounder and shot blocker. Oh, and he is the best passing big man in the country. Think about that, the guy just had a 12 assist game! How many college big men get 12 assists a week even? Some don’t get that in a month. The guy has off the chart basketball abilities. How can scouts compare someone like Florida State’s Soloman Alabi to Monroe? Alabi is a raw, uncoordinated 7-footer with “upside” due to only playing basketball a few years but Monroe is already there. Basically, whoever drafts Alabi is hoping he can develop the abilities Monroe has now. Think about it. This is why I would sell my soul to get a shot at being an NBA GM…

James Anderson, Oklahoma State
This guy is going to end up being a star in the NBA, mark it down. He is better than Evan Turner, whom some scouts are now projecting in the Top 5. Anderson has such a silky smooth offensive game that you just can’t teach. Guys that can score like him just don’t come around very often. Averaging 22.6 ppg, Anderson is one of the most explosive scorers in the country. Blessed with NBA size at 6’6” and a nice shooting stroke, I just don’t understand how someone like UConn’s Stanley Robinson or Texas’ Damion James can really be ranked ahead of him. Robinson has great athleticism, but there is just no way he will ever have the skill level of Anderson. Damion James is a good shooter and has solid size, but he lacks the quickness to break down defenders at the NBA level.

NBA Draft 2009: Making Sense Of It All

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

By Ron Jumper

The NBA draft came and went, with the usual mix of trades, reaches, and general head scratching. However, I have to focus on the Minnesota Timberwolves. They had a golden opportunity to stockpile some serious young talent to build around Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Instead, they take two point guards in Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn with the 5th and 6th picks. I’ll also take an early look at the 2010 NBA Draft. So much NBA to discuss, I better get started.

So back to the Timberwolves, it isn’t just what they added in the draft but what they gave up to get those draft picks. Consider they gave up Randy Foye and Mike Miller to draft Ricky Rubio and take on some bad contracts. When you draft Johnny Flynn with the very next pick, is Rubio really worth it? I think not. Then they trade away the 18th pick when B.J. Mullens was sitting right there. Imagine this scenario instead, they take Johnny Flynn at 5, draft DeMar DeRozan at 6, B.J. Mullens at 18, and Sam Young at 28. If that had happened, then you have your backcourt of the future in Flynn and DeRozan and your frontline is set with Jefferson, Love, Mullens, and Young. Throw Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes, and Craig Smith into the mix, and that isn’t too bad of a young nucleus to build around.

However, something more critical to look at, is why they traded Randy Foye and Mike Miller in the first place. It seemed so out of the blue. Foye was blossoming into a solid young playmaker. Also, prior to Al Jefferson’s season ending injury, the Timberwolves had been playing over .500 basketball for the last month. They were starting to play decent basketball, actually going 9-2 over one 11 game stretch. Then Jefferson went down and they were miserable the rest of the season as expected. However, the Timberwolves front office should have noticed the improvement and not virtually blown up the roster to start again.

So basically, they did everything wrong. They were making progress and now they have blown up the team to start over. Then, they gave up way too much to get the 5th pick in the draft. After all that, they got very little out of a draft they basically mortgaged their future on. The strange part of all this is that we can’t blame Kevin McHale for any of it. He had nothing to do with it. Here is my theory, upon being hired into the front office, they beat you in the head with a baseball bat until you can no longer either spell your name or recite the alphabet. Once that occurs, the initiation is complete and you become a part of the front office. No, but seriously, what are they doing? I have no idea…

A team unlike the Timberwolves is the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they have a clear, concise plan to building a winning team. Over the last 3 drafts, they have now accumulated the foundation they need at every position. At point guard, there is Russell Westbrook. They just drafted James Harden at shooting guard. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green are the forwards. B.J. Mullens is the center of the future. With time, those five pieces will become the starting five that takes the Thunder to the playoffs. I have to give credit to general manager Sam Presti for building this team the right way.

*****

So it is never too early to take a glance at the 2010 NBA Draft. Here is my early Top 10:

1. PF Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Monroe is a very skilled big man, as he has great instincts and passing ability.

2. PF Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
The best player in the class of 2009 hopes to make an impact.

3. SF Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Freakish length and athleticism, needs to work on his jumpshot.

4. SG James Anderson, Oklahoma State
My sleeper to break out onto the national scene in 09/10.

5. PF Ed Davis, North Carolina
Wisely, Davis didn’t make the same mistake that Marvin Williams did last time around.

6. C Solomon Alabi, Florida State
Upside, upside, upside.

7. PG John Wall, Kentucky
Elite point guard prospect in the mold of Derek Rose.

8. SG Willie Warren, Oklahoma
Big time scorer that will get plenty of shots now without Griffin around.

9. SF Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
Should emerge as an elite player in the Big East.

10. PF Craig Brackins, Iowa State
Great size with impressive skills to match.



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