Dime Exclusive: The Ultimate Bloggers’ Guide To The NBA Draft

06.24.10 8 years ago 3 Comments

One of the most exciting days for basketball fans has finally arrived. After 364 days of waiting, we will finally find out where the cream of the crop of college and international talent will be buying their parents new homes. Who will wait the longest in the Green Room? Who will Jay Bilas incorrectly deem the next bust? Who will make the worst fashion faux pas on the biggest night of their life? (Our vote’s for DeMarcus Cousins).

While the answers to those questions remain unclear, we surveyed every Lottery team’s top bloggers and asked them to answer two questions about tonight’s NBA Draft:

1. What are your Top 3 choices at your pick (in order) that you’d want your team to take based on who may be available.

2. Of the three guys, pick one and make an argument for why you think your team should take him (after seeing all the workouts, combines, college games).

We all know that John Wall is going No. 1, so here is the Lottery, 2-14:

No. 2 – Philadelphia 76ers – Jordan Sams of Liberty Ballers

1. Evan Turner
2. Derrick Favors
3. Wesley Johnson

Evan Turner has to be the pick. He’s the most NBA-ready prospect, he’s the best player available, and he has the all-star potential the Sixers desperately need. He also fills the need for a true number one option on offense. Will he fit perfectly with Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala? Who knows and who cares? The last thing the Sixers should be worrying about right now is fit. This isn’t a case of “one or two pieces away.” This team is years away from contending. The smart thing to do is stockpile the best young talent available – which would be ‘The Villain.’

No. 3 – New Jersey Nets – Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching

1. Derrick Favors
2. Wesley Johnson
3. DeMarcus Cousins

The Nets need a power forward because they can’t have another year of Yi starting at the position. With that being said, Derrick Favors is the best fit. He does a lot of stuff that the Nets need right now. He can defend pretty well, he can play in transition, and he is a very good passer out of the high post. Sure, he is a little raw in terms of his post game, but that will come. And until it does, the Nets have a very good defensive PF.

No. 4 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Dave Kelsey of TWolvesBlog

1. DeMarcus Cousins
2. Derrick Favors
3. Wesley Johnson

On the bright side, 10 years from now everyone could potentially be looking back and saying DeMarcus Cousins was the best player from this Draft. Do I really believe that? No… not really. But he does have tons of ridiculous upside potential. On the other hand, he is also potentially Starbury-esque crazy. Everything about him is “questionable,” but he might be the most talented player in the Draft. He fills a need on our team (center), and the Wolves can’t afford to “play it safe” this Draft. We need to hit a home run, so to speak. You have to take him in this spot.

No. 5 – Sacramento Kings – Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom

1. DeMarcus Cousins
2. Derrick Favors
3. Xavier Henry

Henry has the potential to form a big, long, dynamic backcourt with Tyreke Evans, and Derrick Favors could turn out to be a fantastic power forward in this League. But DeMarcus Cousins has to be the guy for the Kings if he’s there. Cousins probably has head issues and may end up being a cancer, but if Westphal, Petrie and the entire Kings’ brain trust can get him to harness his energy and malice onto his opponents, I find it hard to believe that many players can handle him in this league. The Kings have to take a chance with him in order to build themselves back up into a prominent franchise in the NBA.

No. 6 – Golden State Warriors – Rasheed Malek of Warriors World

1. DeMarcus Cousins
2. Wesley Johnson
3. Xavier Henry

Wesley Johnson would be the player most likely to come in and contribute right away in Golden State. Johnson would give the Warriors an athletic small forward who can defend, run the floor and shoot the ball, something they are currently lacking on their roster. Johnson fits in perfectly next to Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis which would lessen the defensive shortcomings of the small backcourt as they would finally be playing alongside a traditional frontcourt with Johnson/Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins.

No. 7 – Detroit Pistons – Kevin Sawyer of Detroit Bad Boys

1. Greg Monroe
2. Al-Farouq Aminu
3. Cole Aldrich

The Pistons desperately need help in the frontcourt, especially at the center position. Given their point guard situation, it would be great to have someone in the frontcourt through whom they can run their offense. Greg Monroe fits that bill. Scouts seem to think Cole Aldrich is more NBA ready, but ready for what? His ceiling is awfully low. He’ll block shots, but I don’t think he addresses the offensive black hole in the Piston frontcourt. Al-Farouq Aminu is an exciting player, but cancelled his workouts with the Pistons, and would give the team yet another tweener. If Monroe is on the board, I think he’s the guy.

I don’t find the term “basketball I.Q.” to be terribly useful, but Monroe has demonstrated the ability to do a lot of things for a big man. Unlike most centers his age, he can put the ball on the floor, pass, and cut to the basket. In addition to making him a great pick for fantasy, these attributes greatly increase the possibility that he’ll find ways to make an impact right away, and perhaps become a star down the road.

There are concerns about Monroe’s weight and propensity to turn the ball over. The latter is a product of creating shots for himself and others, but coaches tend to overreact to turnovers from their bigs. There is a very real chance that he will spend a substantial portion of his rookie season riding the pine if his coach isn’t patient. On a positive note, there is a possibility that he can become more effective simply by shedding pounds, which adds to his upside. Still, the fact is that he can do some things better than any other big man of the last two years. That’s what I want from a Lottery pick.

No. 8 – Los Angeles Clippers – Camron Ghorbi of Dime Magazine

1. Al-Farouq Aminu
2. Paul George
3. Gordon Hayward

With a talented big man tandem (Chris Kaman/Blake Griffin) and a strong backcourt (Baron Davis/Eric Gordon), the Clippers’ biggest need appears to be at small forward. Aminu, an unquestionable talent who posted dominant numbers in his sophomore year at Wake Forest, would be a good selection for the Clippers at No. 8. With a stellar rebounding and defensive game to his credit, Aminu needs to develop a better jumpshot and more diverse offensive game to become a potential force in the League. Even so, his incredible athleticism and length undoubtedly has teams drooling over his potential.

No. 9 – Utah Jazz – Basketball John of SLC Dunk

1. Greg Monroe
2. Xavier Henry
3. Ed Davis

First, I hope that the Jazz can move up in the Draft and possibly grab someone higher up. They simply don’t select this high very often and this could be one of those once in a decade chances to land a big name.

However, if they stay at No. 9, I would want them to select Greg Monroe if he’s still available. It’s no secret that the Jazz need to not only get bigger to compete with the rest of the West, they need to get better quickly and Monroe gives him that.

His biggest assets are his size, basketball I.Q., and passing; all of those tie in well in the Jazz offense. Where the Jazz have been hurting is for someone that can be a defensive game-changer inside; Monroe would be that man.

No. 10 – Indiana Pacers – Jared Wade of Eight Points, Nine Seconds

Best-case scenario for Indiana is probably trading the pick. That said, top three would be:

1. Xavier Henry
2. Epke Udoh
3. Paul George

Since he’s from Fresno State, I can’t say I’ve seen Paul George play too much, but from everything I hear, he will be a good pro. Unfortunately, Danny Granger is the one certainty this Indy team has and they play similarly in some respects. But again, this Draft is not about finalizing a roster that can play together; it’s about getting a good player that can be used later in a trade, or be a good Pacer player three years from now. That said, he can certainly play next to Danny, and he is also a fantastic athlete. And that will stand out and only raise his value on a team whose most exciting athlete currently is probably Dahntay Jones.

No. 11 – New Orleans Hornets – Rohan of At The Hive

1. Cole Aldrich
2. Xavier Henry
3. Patrick Patterson

As always, balancing potential with current production is critical. The guy with the most upside amongst the three? It’s gotta be Xavier Henry. In high school, he drew comparisons to Kobe Bryant (everyone does these days, but still). He’s got a smooth stroke, and he projects to be a plus defender at the next level. The last time New Orleans had a good wing player was the J.R. Smith era, which ended pretty quickly. Before that? We might have to go back to Glen Rice if we’re talking pure, creative scorer.

The need at wing is obvious, even with the emergence of Marcus Thornton. But it’s questionable if Henry can actually become that player – he was the third banana on his college team, had many of his shots created for him, and isn’t nearly as explosive as high school scouts once envisioned. His Kansas teammate, Cole Aldrich, brings two skills the Hornets sorely lacked last year: rebounding and post defense. Rebounding is a skill that translates incredibly well from the college to NBA level – it’s far more a sure thing than Henry’s threes, or Patrick Patterson’s terrific offensive efficiency. With a brand new coach, all the CP3 rumors, and the ownership transfer, the Hornets might be wise to go with the steady pick here.

No. 12 – Memphis Grizzlies – Allen Law of Straight Outta Vancouver

1. Luke Babbitt
2. Paul George
3. Xavier Henry

Stretch fours have become all the rage in the NBA – call it the Magic effect – and Luke Babbitt’s going to get plenty of attention with his combination of height and shooting. I’m not sure he’s getting enough attention, though, because Babbitt does more than shoot. The Nevada stud puts the ball on the deck too, isolates like a shooting guard, and might just be the most complete scorer in the Draft. Add in the stellar work ethic and solid rebounding and Babbitt looks like he could add more to the right team then Rashard Lewis.

Defense is a question mark, but Babbitt’s combine numbers suggest he could be a better stopper than we thought. And does it even matter at this position? I could count the number of NBA power forwards who consistently defend well on one hand. No matter how bad the Rain Man is, backing up Zach Randolph is sure to make him look like a regular Ben Wallace.

No. 13 – Toronto Raptors – Steve Gennaro of Raptors Republic

1. Ekpe Udoh
2. Avery Bradley
3. Gordon Hayward

Assuming that Ekpe Udoh is gone and the Raptors keep their pick at No. 13, here is what I foresee happening: Look for the Raptors to draft 19-year-old Avery Bradley, the 6-3 Texas guard. Here’s why:

A) He was the best perimeter defender in the NCAA last year.
B) He was rated higher than John Wall coming out of high school, and he was the top rated player in the country before going to Texas.
C) He has a 6-7 wingspan.
D) He is an excellent scorer and a good mid-range shooter.

The knock against him is that he is more of a “combo” guard and not a true point, but with the Raptors locked into five years of Hedo Turkoglu at the small forward, a back court of DeMar DeRozan and Bradley – two young, athletic, long, defensive minded guards (in a rotation that includes Jarrett Jack and Sonny Weems) allows the Raptors to run their offense through Turkoglu as the point-forward.

At the same time they make up for some of the defensive deficiencies of Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani. In fact, if they can draft Bradley at No. 13, keep Amir Johnson, and find a way to get a legitimate big man back in any deal that sends out Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, this team would could realistically focus on the five-seed in the East and 45 wins. Lastly, with the increased emphasis on guard play in the league and the number of lightning fast guards out there, a guy like Bradley who can guard both the one and the two would be invaluable.

No. 14 – Houston Rockets – Tom Martin of The Dream Shake

Assuming we stick with the 14th pick…

1. Patrick Patterson
2. Paul George
3. Eric Bledsoe

If Patterson dips to No. 14, the Rockets have got to take him. For a player with his talent, he’s too polished and too level-headed a prospect to pass up. The Rockets have committed to taking the best player available – this would be a perfect example of following through on that strategy. Having developed Carl Landry for the past three years, the Rockets should be plenty able to work with Patterson and fine-tune his jump shot, his post game and his rebounding ability.

Though the Rockets absolutely intend to re-sign Luis Scola and have Jordan Hill on the roster, stockpiling three talented power forwards would present a very good problem for Daryl Morey. It gives him options to package one of the three for an established player. As Yao‘s timeline of productivity increasingly shrinks, the Rockets are going to be in win-now mode, leading me to believe that there’s a good chance the Rockets don’t enter the 2010-2011 season with any rookies on their roster. If Morey can find an established talent on the market, he’d be better off packaging a young player and picks in order to make an acquisition.

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