Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Annual Mock draft
(Note: This is not what I think will happen, it's what I think should happen)
The Bulls are making a mistake if they don't select...
No. 1 Chicago Bulls - Michael Beasley F, 6-7 240 Kansas State
Everyone has jumped on Derrick Rose's bandwagon after the season even though Beasley appeared to be the consensus No. 1 during. Why? Because somewhere in the rumor mill, Rose's character is winning out over Beasley's immense talent.
Forget that Beasley put up ridiculous numbers against a tough Big 12 Conference despite seeing triple teams on a nightly basis and having arguably the worst guards in the league, guys who for some reason refused to give him the ball on every possession and instead jacked up wild threes. Forget that he had the best PER of any college player in the last six years according to John Hollinger.
Forget that he has huge hands, catches everything around the rim, and has a sweet stroke from three.
Forget that he was a model citizen at Kansas State even though he had Bill Walker on his team.
That all doesn't matter because he played a few pranks in high school.
So now, the Bulls who already have a point guard, and one that played for the USA team not too long ago, and who desperately need a scorer inside, the biggest reason they haven't gone anywhere in the last decade, are going to take another point guard.
This reminds me a lot of the Hawks draft three years ago. They took Marvin Williams, the best player on their board and passed up a need position in pg Chris Paul. Williams is going to be a very good player but Paul is great. The same scenario will happen here. Rose will be a very good player, maybe an all star, but Beasley will lead the league in scoring and possibly in rebounding at some point in his career, become a perennial All-Star, and be a great player.
No. 2 Miami Heat Derrick Rose PG 6-2 Memphis
This a two player draft. You can't go wrong with either Beasley or Rose, unless you have an obvious need for scoring inside and you take a point guard (see Bulls, above). Combine Rose with Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion, and you have a top 4 team in the East. The only concern would be control over the ball. Wade has it in his hands a lot and you'd want Rose with the ball a lot too, but neither of those guys can shoot so they really can't kick it to each other. The Heat need someone like James Posey or Jason Kapono. O wait, they let both of those guys go.
No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves O.J. Mayo G 6-4 USC
With all the character concerns surrounding Beasley, O.J. Mayo is getting a relative free pass. To me, Mayo is the biggest boom or bust example. He can be one of the next great players in the league or his off court issues could derail his career. The notion that he's capable of playing point guard is mind boggling. When was he ever effective running the point at any point in his college or high school career? He's a natural scorer with a lot of NBA moves, by all accounts a hard worker, has a chip on his shoulder, and is a very good defender (see his defense on Rose in the Memphis/USC game). Team him with Al Jefferson and the Wolves have a nice 1-2 nucleus to build around. Just don't rule out Mayo getting three DUI's in one month during the Minnesota winter, having a Reggie Bush type hoopla surrounding him, or getting in a Ron Artest type melee.
No. 4 Seattle Supersonics Jerryd Bayless G 6-4 Arizona
The Bayless/Kevin Durant pick and roll will be hard to stop. So long as Bayless isn't going left. The ultra competitive Bayless, I would hope has been dribbling the ball with his right hand tied behind his back, because he has all the tools but doesn't go both ways equally, a weakness that will be exploited to the fullest extent in the NBA. I'm still not sold on his ability to run a team yet either. He's a scorer just like Mayo. He plays like Ben Gordon. He struggled juggling scoring and distributing duties at Arizona. He was most effective when teamed with point guard Nic Wise. But out of the remaining combo guards, Bayless is head and shoulders above guys like Eric Gordon and Russell Westbrook.
No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies Kevin Love PF 6-8 UCLA
If you're scoring at home, that's three Pac-10 guys in the first five picks. If Memphis takes Love, they can just have Rudy Gay leak out every time, and have Love throw him a full court alley-oop. That can be their offense. With 94 point guards already on the roster, they have to go big, and Love is a sure thing, unlike Anthony Randolph, DeAndre Jordan, Javale McGee, or any of the other tremendous upside potential guys. He needs to shed a few pounds and get in better shape, but he's the most skilled player in the draft, and he'll be a contributor for a long time. He's the Shane Battier of power forwards. He will make your team better.
No. 6 New York Knicks Danillo Gallinari SF 6-8 Italy
How can one Italian Mike D'Antoni pass up another Italian? That'd be like reverse racism. Foreigners haven't really worked out for the Knicks. Remember Frederic Weis, aka the guy that Vince Carter jumped over. Yeah, he was Knicks property. Also, Milos Vujanic, who started over Marko Jaric on Serbia's national team had his rights held by the Knicks but never came over. I've never seen Gallinari play aside from youtube, but I wouldn't draft a combo guard here when you already have Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, and Stephon Marbury. What the Knicks really should do is make a trade.
No. 7 Los Angeles Clippers Joe Alexander SF 6-8 West Virginia
If Alexander is available here, the Clippers won't draft him. They have Elgin Baylor as the GM and Donald Sterling as their owner. Draft decisions aren't exactly their strengths, despite having a lot of lottery experience. I can see the Clips taking overrated Russell Westbrook here, who averaged 12 points a game in college and can't make a jump shot. Plus with Corey Maggette likely opting out, the Clips will lack depth at the three with Al Thornton and no one else.
No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks Eric Gordon SG 6-4 Indiana
I'm not high on Gordon or Westbrook but at this point with Alexander gone, the Bucks need an insurance policy for Michael Redd. I don't see Gordon as a point guard because he's not a very good passer, not a particularly good decision maker, and really regressed as the season went along. Maybe it was the tough coaching situation in Bloomington, or maybe Gordon just isn't as good as he was hyped. The Bucks already have young player along the front line with Andrew Bogut and Yi so I wouldn't take Brook Lopez, the best remaining player available.
No. 9 Charlotte Bobcats Brook Lopez C 7-0 Stanford
Brook Lopez will quickly find out that playing for Larry Brown is no fun. Especially when you're a rookie. But Brown will make Lopez even better, if he gives him a chance that is. Lopez is a good low post scorer, has more toughness than he's credited for, and will be a good shot blocker and defender. He's no 7-foot stiff like Roy Hibbert. Lopez can at least be as good as Kendrick Perkins, but more likely he'll be a 15 and 10 guy by year three. In the NCAA Tournament, Stanford went to Lopez every time down
No. 10 New Jersey Nets Russell Westbrook SG 6-4 UCLA
Westbrook reminds me a lot of Leandro Barbosa. He can kind of run the point guard like the rest of the combo guards but doesn't really look comfortable there. As a sixth man, he'll be able to contribute to a Nets team that will most likely lose Vince Carter to injury at some point in the season.
No. 11 Indian Pacers D.J. Augustin PG 6-0 Texas
Aside from Derrick Rose, Augustin is the second best point guard in this draft, and even he sometimes plays like a 2 guard. Augustin is a terrific shooter, but hasn't showed that he can finish around the rim. He has career backup written all over him, but should be a good backup and a solid shooter for years to come. He'll have a long NBA career, just don't expect him to be the big tease's (Jamaal Tinsley) long term replacement. Expect Tinsley to go down in game 32 and then come back and get hurt four more times, so Augustin will get a chance to play.
No. 12 Sacramento Kings Darrell Arthur PF 6-9 Kansas
Arthur is the sleeper in this draft. He's got a lot of the same skills David West had coming out of college. Good mid range shooter, athletic, understands how to score and rebound. Mario Chalmers, who's overrated got a lot of credit for Kansas' title, but Arthur was the most dominant player on that team and has the athleticism to contribute right away in the NBA.
No. 13 Portland Trailblazers Nicolas Batum SF 6-8 France
If David Stern doesn't come up to the podium and say "There has been a trade, the Portland Trailblazers trade..." I will be shocked. There's enough young players on this team to build around and it's time to add a few veteran pieces. The Blazers still lack a point guard but there's no one at this point who can help them right away or for that matter ever. No point guard remaining will be better than Jarret Jack or Steve Blake, or Sergio Rodriguez even. If the Blazers keep the pick, they might as well draft a Euro and keep him over there until he develops. Batum is athletic enough to play in the NBA and slid because of a poor season in Europe. But he has a lot of potential to be a very good player down the road. The French players have actually turned out very well in the NBA. Look at Tony Parker, Mikael Pietrus, Boris Diaw, and Ronny Turiaf.
No. 14 Golden State Warriors Donte Greene 6-9 SF Syracuse
The Warriors only play games at home, or so it seems, and they only take one kind of player. Athletic wing guys. Greene is that guy. A self-proclaimed great shooter despite taking a ton of bad shots and shooting 40 percent, Golden State is the one place that will allow him to jack it up and not think twice. He's one of the most athletic players in the draft and should fit right in with Cap Jack and Monta Ellis.
No. 58 Los Angeles Lakers Nikola Pekovic C 6-11 Serbia
Chad Ford has the Lakers taking Davon Jefferson of USC, who I think could have been a lottery pick next year without O.J. Mayo stealing the limelight. But Jefferson, who's a 21 year old freshman for a reason, proved that he was stupid again and decided to enter the draft. He could one day turn into a good defender and scorer at the NBA level or have a long NBDL career. At No. 58, you could gamble on him, but I'd rather not waste the 300 grand or so to take him and instead leave Pekovic in Europe for a few years until Vlade Divac convinces him to bring his strength to the NBA so he can be the Lakers version of Luis Scola.
The No. 1 quote of the NBA draft: "It's been a dream since I was a little kid."