Wednesday, June 28, 2006

D.B. on the NBA Draft

Well, turns out that mine and Drew's schedules coordinated a little sooner rather than later, so in anticipation of tonights draft, I'm going ahead and running the expert projections and barbs of Atlanta's favorite 6'4" skinny bald headed white dude. So, I guess I'm going to have to come up with something new for tomorrow. Awesome...thanks Drew. And, by the way, the red writing is mine:

1) Toronto - Andrea Bargnani - 7'0", 225 lbs. from Italy.

Here's the good: He is young (20 years old), he's long (7 feet with an enormous wingspan), he's supposedly versatile, and can take his game inside and out ( shot over 40% from 3 pt. range in the Euroleague). Also, unlike most young Europeans, he's got solid experience. He logged significant and solid minutes for one of Italy's top teams, Benetton in Treviso. A couple of years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the thought of using the top pick in the draft on a European. Now, however, after we've seen the impact of guys like Krilenko and Nowitzki, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea, especially in this year's less than stellar draft.

And, now the bad: In addition to the fact that he's European, the Raptors already have two young guys, Villanueva & Bosh, that are pretty similar players to what Bargnani purports to be. Plus, there is a lot of P.R. downside to choosing a European this high if he turns out to be more Darko than Dirk. For these reasons, I wouldn't be shocked to see Toronto do everything they can to trade out of this spot, but the problem is going to be that there may not be many takers. In the end, they may just have to take Bargnani and hope for good things.

Drew: You are starting off on the right foot. The Raptors do not need this big but if the offer is not good enough they have to take him. He is long and Dirk-like and you never can have enough size. I could see them trade down and then take a point guard like Foye or Williams.

2) Chicago (from the Knicks) - Tyrus Thomas - 6'9", 225 lbs from L.S.U.

The good: I've seen this guy in person, and I can tell you he is an athletic freak of nature. He can run, he can jump, and he looks like he plays at a faster speed than everybody else on the floor.

The bad: In a nutshell, if Thomas goes this high (or even higher) it will be a perfect example of why the NBA Draft can drive me certifiably insane. Yes, he's an amazing athlete, but he's not a great basketball player. He has limited offensive skills (that's being kind), and while he has the athleticism to play great man to man defense, he doesn't seem to understand the concept of team defense. Then again, playing for John Brady at L.S.U., he didn't really have to understand many concepts at all. In the end, there is a reason you had never heard of Tyrus Thomas before L.S.U. beat Duke. But luckily for him, NBA scouts drool all over potential, and he's got an enormous amount of that. Best case scenario, he could eventually become a Shawn Marion type player, which isn’t bad at all. Worst case scenario, he could be logging minutes in Senegal in three years!

Drew: Agree again. I am not sold on drafting on athleticism. He can jump three times before you can jump once but does that mean he can play basketball. He has a tremendous upside and could be like Marion but I have my questions. He did shoot the ball decent from 15 feet so he isn’t that much of a risk. You will be happy with him on your team.

3) Charlotte - Adam Morrison- 6'8", 205 lbs. from Gonzaga

The good: Everybody is born with a gift. Morrison's gift is that he can put the ball in the basket from just about anywhere on the floor at just about any time. I don't think that is going to change at the next level. He's creative offensively, he has a quick release, and he moves beautifully without the ball. I think he's going to be a big time scorer in the League.

The bad: He might give up as many points defensively as he scores offensively. I just don't know if he can guard anybody at the next level. Then again, people asked the same questions about Larry Bird 27 years ago, and he ended up becoming one of the greatest team defenders of all time. Now, I'm not by any means predicting that Adam Morrison is the second coming of Bird, but I am saying that this pick could work out pretty nicely for the Bobcats. That is, unless Morrison breaks down into a bizarre and demented crying fit on the floor every time the 'Cats lose a game. I guess I forgot to mention that Morrison appears to be NUTS!

Drew: You were on a roll, like your stomach. (Just kidding.. I need to keep the readers laughing) Morrison is a can’t miss but I don’t like him here for Charlotte. I like Roy with his athleticism. He is one of the few who will step in and contribute from the start. He is the ideal 2 guard for the pros. I would love to draft him and he will be a front runner for Rookie of the Year. (Yes, it's true, Mr. Barry officially has a man crush on Mr. Roy)

4) Portland - LaMarcus Aldridge - 6'10", 240 lbs. from Texas

The good: Again, sometimes it's all about potential. Aldridge, however, unlike Thomas, was consistently solid for Texas over two years. He's got all the physical attributes.

The bad: In the Final Eight against L.S.U. I wasn't sure if I spent the entire game trying to figure out how Malcom Mackey had lost 100 lbs. and slipped into a Texas uniform. For those of you that didn't suffer through the Mackey experience at Tech, that simply means this guy is SOFT. Granted, LSU was hacking the hell out of everything that moved on the floor that day, but still....big players must step up in big games. And Aldridge, simply didn't step up. Plus, I don't know if he's a good fit for the Blazers. Last time I checked he hadn't been so much as accused of a felony much less convicted.

Drew: Wrong. They do the PR move and go with the home grown boy out of Gonzaga. He is what they need. How many long lean athletes does Portland already have. They need to get some help from the perimeter and Adam is the man. Anyone who could star on Boogie Nights and have that stash and still score almost 30 a night is a can’t miss. ( I think Morrison was just overheard saying, "I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big bright shining star. Yeah, that's right.")

5) Atlanta - Sheldon Williams - 6'9", 250 lbs. from Duke

The good:, I almost forgot, he looks like a hammer head shark.

The bad: Well, he's not a point guard and he's too small to play center, so he makes no sense for the Hawks. Besides that, here's a list of some of the first round picks to come out of Duke in the past fifteen years: Christian Laetner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Cherokee Parks, Rashown McLeod, Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, William Avery, Shane Battier, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Dahntay Jones, and Luol Deng. So, Brand and Hill were/are legit impact players. Maggette has had his moments, and Deng has potential. So, that leaves 10 other guys that have either made no impact and/or been huge flops. You want those odds Billy Knight? Go right ahead, and please kick me in the nuts when you are done making this pick.

Drew: I can’t believe the Hawks would take him but that is all I hear. He is solid garbage man that won’t be an Elton Brand or even Carlos Boozer. He does not have any offensive skill from my perspective. Another bad pick for the Hawks. I think they should draft Williams or Foye. Point guard is a necessity. (With the fifth pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, The Atlanta Hawks select...The worst possible player on the board!...Seriously, have the Hawks ever had a good draft?)

6) Minnesota - Randy Foye - 6'4", 205 lbs. from Villanova

The good: Randy Foye was absolutely my favorite college player for the past two years, so I'm incredibly biased here. By all accounts, he is a tremendous kid, and he is undoubtedly a gritty competitor. This kid is a classic scorer. At his best, he reminds me a little of a smaller version of Bernard King. In other words, when he decides he is going to get to the rack, there isn't much you can do to stop him. Not to mention, he is a great on the ball and team defender.

The bad: He's not a great shooter. Actually, he's not even a really good shooter. Also, given the size of NBA power forwards and centers, I'm not sure he is going to be able to finish around the basket like he did at Nova. At the end of the day, part of the reason I love this kid's game so much is that he reminds me of Brian Oliver of Lethal Weapon III fame. An all around really good basketball player, with an intense competive streak. He's probably quicker than Brian was, however, so he has a chance to make an impact as a defensive stopper and a nice offensive compliment, and he will likely have a longer run in the League than Brian did. I, however, don't think he will be a star. But know this, wherever he ends up, I'm buying a jersey.

Drew: He is on the rise. Everybody is loving this kid. A scorer/defender who can possible play the one. I agree with you that Minnesota needs a point. Is it Williams or Foye. I think Foye has a question mark because can he run a team. We know score and his shot isn’t something to worry about. A guy named Wade couldn’t shoot and no one stops him. (Yea but, Wade has been knocked down 7 times and gotten up all seven. I think Randy has only been knocked down twice so far.)

7) Boston - Cedric Simmons - 6'9", 235 lbs. from N.C. State

The good: See LaMarcus Aldridge above.

The bad: I saw this kid play about 12 games this past year, and I never once said to myself, "hey, that kid is going to be a first round pick." I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this still can't be a good thing.

Drew: I didn’t know who this kid was. I have Alrdridge on the board still so I will plug him in here. I am not too familiar with teams needs. I just know what I think of the player. Aldrigde here works for me I guess. (Didn't you do color commentary for the Tech vs. N.C. State Game this year? You seriously don't know who this kid is? Wow!)

8) Houston- Brandon Roy - 6'5", 195lbs. from Washington

The good: I have no idea. I don't watch Pac-10 basketball, and I'm not going to pretend like I do.

The bad: He played in the Pac -10.

Drew: JJ Redick. I am not a huge fan for his game in the pros but he could be like Steve Kerr for Tracy and Yao. His agent is my old agent and there has been serious talks. (Drew has clearly diregarded Chad Ford's picks, and he is now flying off on his own. But really, how else could he remind us that he used to have an agent? You are sooooo cool. Actually, that is pretty cool. I really wish I had an agent.)

9) Golden State - Rudy Gay, 6'9", 222lbs. from UConn

The good: There are times that you watched Rudy Gay at UConn and he looked like a man among boys. He was silky smooth, and he dominated games for moments at a time. In fact, just a few months ago, some pundits were referring to this year's draft lottery as The Rudy Gay Sweepstakes.

The bad: Those times when Rudy Gay looked like a man among boys were usually followed by about ten minutes of wondering where in the hell Rudy Gay went. He took the Mike Maddox disappearing act to a whole new level. (Sorry for all the G. Tech references). Oh, and just a few months ago, some pundits were referring to this year's draft lottery as The Rudy Gay Sweepstakes. Now, he is projected to go #9. Yea, that's not good.

Drew: I hear you on the Maddox act. Gay is so talented it is scary. But he doesn’t show up all the time. It may have been all the players that Uconn had or this guy defers to others. I don’t know how you pass him up with his upside. GS had Pietrus already so I don’t know if he makes sense but there isn’t much left after the top 10. (How many people just looked up "Pietrus" on I know I did!)

10) Seattle - Hilton Armstrong, 6'11", 235 lbs. from UConn

The good: He's really big, and he got great experience at UConn.

The bad: He's really raw, and not much more than a shot blocker. It's hard to imagine that he will evolve into much more at the next level.

Drew: Very raw and I am surprised he is this highly ranked. He is a big body and those are hard to come by. I like Boone better than this kid but I am an old, bald "has been." The Sonics need a 2 guard to help Ray out because he is getting old. You could go with Bradley here for size since the high schooler didn’t pan out or you could guy with an athlete like Carney or Brewer. It is a crap shoot. (Drew, you are not an old, bald "has been." I mean, being in your early 30's hardly makes you old. And also, I was going to make some joke about "he is a big body and those are hard to come by", but I couldn't come up with anything remotely socially acceptable.)

Drew Closing Statement: This is simply my opinion. I am not an expert just a analyst of what I see. WAD, I have taught you well my young apprentice. Back to work.

A million thanks to Drew. Nothing but good times when he joins us here on the WAD. As for the rest of you, enjoy the draft, and take Drew's advise: Get back to work!