Sunday, June 28, 2009

Team By Team Draft Breakdown

Team – Overall Pick #, Player Name, (Position – School/Country)

Atlanta – #19 Jeff Teague (PG – Wake Forest) & #49 Sergiy Gladyr (SG – Ukraine)

Good pick with Teague, they needed a point guard, and were probably hoping Lawson would fall to them (missed him by 1 spot). Teague is a great player, but his production fell off towards the end of the year. The Hawks have a lot of talent on the roster, which will take the burden off of his shoulders.

Gladyr bears a striking resemblance to the word Gladiator, and that’s all I know about him.

Boston – #58 Lester Hudson (G – University of Tennessee Martin)

The Bad - He’s 24 and played in a conference that included Austin Peay, South East Missouri State, and Tennessee Tech.

The Good - He’s 6-2, averaged 28 pts, 8 rebs, 4 ast, 2 stls, 46% fg, 39% 3pt, and 83% ft.

Those are some video game statistics. He did pretty much all he could, where he could, so give him credit for that. Destined to put up similar numbers in the D-League. Have fun playing for the Reno Bighorns, Lester.

Charlotte – #12 Gerald Henderson (SG – Duke) & #40 Derrick Brown (PF – Xavier)

The Bobcats needed help at the 2, and Henderson should fill in admirably. Bobcats took the hometown kid, and will appease all of the Duke fans after taking three (!) UNC players since 2005.

Henderson will provide reliable defense and will also gladly punch the opposing teams best player in the face if Charlotte is losing in a must win game.

Look out Kobe, Henderson is coming to deviate your septum.

I also loved the Derrick Brown pick. Xavier has been my NCAA Tournament sleeper team the past two seasons (it didn’t work out) and he was a big reason why. He can shoot the 3, is very athletic and can play two positions. He could turn into a very serviceable NBA backup and spot starter, aimed to make the lives of the Rashard Lewis’s of the world a little more difficult.

Chicago – #16 James Johnson (PF – Wake Forest) & #26 Taj Gibson (PF – Southern Cal)

The Bulls have a pretty deep front court with energy guys in Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas. So why did they draft two more forwards? No clue.

The word is James Johnson could play small forward, which would definitely fill a need for the Bulls, considering John Salmons is not getting any younger. Johnson has the talent to be a legitimate starter in the league, but there are questions about his work ethic. Could be good, but he seems pretty similar to Tim Thomas, Antoine Walker, Al Thornton, etc. Big guys, great talents, one minute he’s the best player on the planet, the next it’s hard to imagine he made an NBA roster.

For example here are his stats from 6 consecutive games this past season (points – rebounds): |8-2||24-11||26-11||28-18||8-8||9-8|Talk about contrast.

Gibson has some good upside, but his size (6’10” 220lbs) does not translate to the physical force in the paint Chicago envisions him to be. With questions at both shooting guard and small forward, I think the Bulls may regret passing guys like Sam Young, Wayne Ellington and DaJuan Summers in a few seasons.

Cleveland – #30 Christian Eyenga & #46 Danny Green & #57 Emir Preldzic

After Cleveland drafted this Eyenda, the announcers did not say anything for a solid 120 seconds. Yikes. Any time a team absolutely has to make a solid pick to prevent the best player on the planet from leaving after this season, they shouldn’t go with a guy no one has ever heard of and won’t play for at least 2 seasons. They clearly wanted an athlete, but there were much more proven (and better) players on the board. If LeBron bolts in 2010, expect this to be one of the reasons on his list.

The Danny Green pick was phenomenal. He gives them 3 point shooting, athletic ability, and is a great chemistry and glue guy coming off the bench (see: 2009 UNC Championship Team). Excellent pick-up in the middle of the second round.

Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry may have passed him up if the two did not share the same first name.

As for Emir? Your guess is as good as mine.

Dallas – #25 Rodrigue Beaubois (PG – France) & #45 Nick Calathes (PG – Florida) & #56 Ahmad Nivins (PF – St. Joseph’s)

Beaubois is 6’2” has a 6’10” wingspan and 39” vertical jump. That’s unreal. There are questions about his skills apparently, but if he is that athletic, he’ll probably be a very good on-ball defender (something 36 year old incumbent starter Jason Kidd is not).

Calathes was great in college, and it was very surprising to see him fall so far. He’s one of the few players from this draft I’ve seen in person, and I liked what I saw. He apparently signed a deal with a team in Greece before the draft, which was very perplexing, so there are questions about whether or not he will even play in America this year.

Nivins went to St. Joe’s and averaged 19 pts and 12 rebs his senior year. Love the guys that learn how to play in the big city.

On a side note, the Mavericks have only had four first round picks since 2000. They include, Maurice Ager (2 ppg career) Josh Howard (loves reefer, plays good ball), Etan Thomas (6ppg 4 reb career), and now this guy from France. It’s amazing that they’ve actually been any good.

Denver – Traded 2010 first round pick for #18 Ty Lawson (PG – UNC)

Great pick for Denver. Absolutely wonderful. Will be mentored by Chauncey Billups and will thrive in the Nuggets up tempo system. He will be asked to contribute from day one, and will certainly be able to do so.

Detroit – #15 Austin Daye (SF/PF – Gonzaga) & #35 DaJuan Summers (SF – Georgetown) & #39 Jonas Jerkbo (SF – Sweden)

Austin Daye 6’10” and can’t bench press 185 pounds and graded out as the worst athlete in this year’s draft class. Not only could he not bench press 185, he was the slowest in the ¾ court sprint, 2nd slowest in the lane agility test, and tied for the worst vertical jump at 28”. In the 4 major athletic categories, he graded Last, 2nd to Last, Last, and (you guessed it) Last.

Detroit was looking to rebuild, but this guy has bust written all over him. It will be surprising if he plays more than 200 games (2 ½ Full Seasons) as a pro.

Summers on the other hand? Good athlete, produced at a big time school, and had first round talent. Excellent second round steal.

Jerkbo is apparently very athletic and has a high basketball IQ. The Pistons might stash him overseas for a season or two, but will probably make an impact when he decides to come stateside.

Golden State – #7 Stephen Curry (PG – Davidson)

Apparently there have been rumors that the Suns will be trading Amare Stoudemire to the Warriors for Stephen, Brandan Wright and Andris Biedrins. That would be a terrible trade for Golden State. Those are three legitimate starters and all three have all-star caliber potential.

So for the time being, let’s go with the notion that Golden State keeps this pick.

Stephen Curry to the Warriors might have been a better destination than the Knicks. The Warriors play an even more up-tempo style than the Knicks, which will certainly suit Curry’s skill set. Also it’ll relieve some of the pressure from the crazy New York fan base off of his shoulders.

Curry has all the ability to be a terrific NBA player. He has a great feel for the game, a terrific jump shot, and is a grounded team-first player. There are questions about whether or not he can play the point full time, but I think he answered them this past season.

Much has been made of his so called “physical limitations,” but he’s taller than Chris Paul and the same size as Deron Williams. He also put up huge numbers against players with NBA caliber talent (44 point performances against NC State and Oklahoma this past season), and go take a look at his numbers from Davidson’s 2008 Elite Eight run.

Curry (terrific shooter) and Monta Ellis (terrific slasher) will complement each other very well, presuming that Stephen does not get dealt.

Houston – #32 Jermaine Taylor (SG – University of Central Florida) & #34 Sergio Llull (PG – Spain) & #44 Chase Budinger (SF/SG – Arizona)

Houston GM Darryl Morey always has a terrific second round, and this is no exception.

Taylor averaged 26 points a game as a senior, and Budinger was once projected to be a lottery pick. If either of these two plays to their potential, the Rockets have again managed to pick up very solid contributors in the second round.

And Sergio Llull has 4 (yes, FOUR!) L’s in his five letter last name. How awesome! Is there any other letter in the alphabet that works with? Zzizz. Aapaa. Ppopp. Qquqq. Nope, didn’t think so.

Indiana – #13 Tyler Hansbrough (PF – University of North Carolina) & #52 AJ Price (PG –University of Connecticut)

Hansbrough excelled in college, excelled in workouts, measured well, and was able to land in the lottery. He will probably never make an All-Star squad (along with the other 90% of the players drafted), but will be a very valuable contributor on his team for a long NBA career. Also Larry Bird simply could not pass up drafting another white guy for his roster. The people of Indiana will love him.

AJ Price was solid at UConn and had a few transgressions (stole a few laptops his freshman year, no big deal), but overall is a pretty good player. He should make the roster, but will not provide much else other than a few minutes here and there.

Los Angeles Clippers – #1 Blake Griffin (PF – Oklahoma)

Blake Griffin was clearly the best and the most NBA-ready of all the players in the draft and even the Clippers were able to see that. He should come in and contribute immediately, but with so many players in the front court commanding so much money, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be able to get enough minutes to showcase his skills.

The Clippers made the right choice and now just have to manage their roster correctly in order to get the best value for their pick.

Los Angeles Lakers – #59 Chinemelu Elonu (PF – Texas A&M)

Here’s a guy that needed to stay in school. But after getting drafted by the world champions, he’s probably pretty happy. Elonu was somewhat productive in college based on his limited minutes. But considering he was only able to get 24 minutes a night for the Aggies, I find it hard to believe he’ll be getting a lot of playing time on the Lakers.

The Lakers sold their first round pick to the Knicks for $3 million. They need money for Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom, but they could have kept the pick and drafted Sam Young or DaJuan Summers as an insurance policy in case one or both leave during free agency. Plus they are the Lakers and they just won the NBA Finals, I find it hard to believe that they are hurting for cash.

Memphis – #2 Hasheem Thabeet (C- University of Connecticut) & #27 DeMarre Carroll (PF – Missouri) & #36 Sam Young (SF – Pittsburgh)

Memphis GM Chris Wallace may be smarter than we all thought. After absolutely giving away Pau Gasol, he has put together his third solid draft in a row. The Grizzlies are absolutely loaded with young talent, and will more than likely push the Blazers and Thunder as the teams with the most potential to be title contenders in 3 years.

Hasheem will be a defensive force in the paint when he adds more muscle, DeMarre Carroll is athletic and has a moderate perimeter game and Sam Young was an absolute steal at #36, even after you factor in that he’s 24.

They will have an unbelievable eight players in their top ten who have NBA experience of three years or less. They’ll probably lose more games than they win, but could be very good in a few seasons.

Miami – #42 Patrick Beverly (PG – Ukraine) & #60 Robert Dozier (SF – Memphis)

Beverly left school at Arkansas after his sophomore season to play professionally in the Ukraine. He is a very good athlete, is a shoot-first point guard, and an excellent defender.

Dozier is another very good athlete, but lacks a true position. At least he has the unique title of being Mr. Irrelevant.

Milwaukee – #10 Brandon Jennings (PG – Spain) & #41 Jodie Meeks (SG – Kentucky)

Brandon Jennings is not half the baller that Compton brethren DeMar DeRozan is. He was not expecting to go as high in the draft as he did, so he turned down the NBA’s invite to the draft’s green room. Once he was drafted in the lottery, he showed up about 30 minutes after he was picked to walk on stage for 10 seconds. Surely that cannot be a good sign.

But he did rock a sweet high top fade during the McDonalds All-American game last year before he ventured to Italy because he could not post the necessary academic qualifications to get into Arizona. Success or failure, Brandon Jennings will at least have an interesting NBA career.

Jodie Meeks dropped 54 points on Tennessee earlier this season, so he can definitely score. Milwaukee has had some luck finding talent in later rounds (Michael Redd, Ramon Sessions, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) and he could be another name to add to that list.

Minnesota - #5 Ricky Rubio (PG – Spain) & #6 Jonny Flynn (PG – Syracuse) & #28 Wayne Ellington (SG – University of North Carolina) & #47 Henrk Norel (PF – Netherlands)

Ricky Rubio could be an excellent player, but he may have to spend a season or two in Spain before he crosses the pond. Rubio has been compared to the greats, so time will only tell whether or not he surpasses those expectations.

Much has been made of Jonny Flynn’s performance in the 6 overtime game against Connecticut in the Big East tournament. Much less has been made of Ty Lawson’s spectacular NCAA tournament performance while nursing a very injured toe. Flynn could be good and has been compared to Chris Paul, however those comparisons are entirely too lofty. Not sure how well he fits in with Rubio on the roster.

Wayne Ellington was a terrific shooter and an underrated athlete and slasher so he will fill a need at the two guard for ‘Sota after Mike Miller and Randy Foye got traded to the Wizards.

Henrk Norel played with Rubio in Spain, so maybe he was drafted him to help ease Ricky’s transition stateside. Or the Minnesota brass just wanted to really stick it to DKV Joventut in Spain.

It is expected Rubio or Flynn will be dealt, with New York being a likely destination, but it remains to be seen if that will come to fruition.

New Jersey – #11 Terrence Williams (SG – Louisville)

Williams is apparently an awesome guy to be around. Chad Ford described him as an “eccentric dude” and was well known for wearing SpongeBob (my spell check recognized that as a real word) clothing on the Louisville campus.

He’s an elite athlete who can do a little of everything. He average 12.5 pts, 8.6 reb, 5 ast, 2.3 stl, and 0.8 blk during his senior season at Louisville. He doesn’t shoot particularly well (43.1% fg, 38.5% 3pt, 58.1% ft), but that is something he can certainly improve on.

He reminds me of a not as tall, slightly less athletic Gerald Wallace.

New Orleans – #21 Darren Collison (PG – University of California Los Angeles) & #43 Marcus Thornton (SG – Louisiana State University)

The Hornets desperately needed help in the front court. Tyson Chandler has battled injuries, David West is playing 40 minutes a night, and James Posey and Peja Stojakovic are both 32. After a solid rookie campaign, Julian Wright’s production fell off the planet last season.

So the Collison pick (who will be nothing more than a backup, considering Chris Paul is the best point guard in the land) was pretty bad value. Especially considering how many good forwards were still on the board.

Marcus Thornton scored at an efficient rate at LSU and will be a benefactor of the attention that Chris Paul and David West commands.

New York – #8 Jordan Hill (PF – Arizona) & #29 Toney Douglas (PG/SG – Florida State)

Jordan Hill is super athletic and will thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo high octane offense. He will probably put up slightly better or similar numbers to David Lee, who could leave this summer in free agency.

Toney Douglas was a terrific scorer in the ACC this past season and if he was 3 inches taller he would have gone in the lottery. He is also a great defender, who will be able to pester some of the league’s better point guards.

If the Knicks lose David Lee or 6th Man Nate Robinson, these two should be able to fill their roles well. If Lee and Robinson both stay, the Knicks will be elated and will have some very good young pieces in place.

Oklahoma City – #3 James Harden (SG – Arizona State) & #24 BJ Mullens (C – Ohio State) & #54 Robert Varden (SG – University of Alabama Birmingham)

James Harden will be phenomenal for the Thunder. Kevin Durant is the clear star on the team and Harden will have no problem deferring the attention to KD. He’ll provide another valuable perimeter threat, and will be very effective driving to the basket. Drafting Curry or Rubio would have had more appeal to the fan base, but each would have upset Russell Westbrook and neither would really fit into their scheme.

After BJ Mullens got drafted, ESPN put up this graphic – Must Improve: Post Game. Any time a team can draft a 7’1” center who needs to improve his post game, they do it right? He’ll be a project, and will take a lot of time to develop, and will probably end up being not very good.

Varden will provide depth off the bench, and should be productive in limited minutes.

Orlando – None

The Magic traded their first round pick for Rafer Alston after losing Jameer Nelson to a shoulder injury. Alston then helped lead them to the NBA Finals. On Wednesday they traded him, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie to the Nets for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson.

Courtney Lee is a good player, but he’s no Vince Carter. And with Nelson coming back healthy next season, Alston was expandable.

Ryan Anderson will also provide more front court depth, and fits right into their system considering he’s a power forward who is more perimeter oriented.

Excellent maneuvering from GM Otis Smith.

Philadelphia – #17 Jrue Holiday (PG – University of California Los Angeles)

Holiday was the top point guard recruit in the country last season. He averaged 8 points a game in 30 minutes, and was not a very good distributor (3.7 assists, 2.1 turnovers).

However, he’s big and athletic and was playing out of position all season, so that probably led to his poor numbers. It’s possible he could turn out to be a huge steal in the middle of the first round, or he could be pretty terrible, as his numbers indicated.

More than likely, he will fall somewhere in between.

Phoenix – #14 Earl Clark (SF – Louisville) & #48 Taylor Griffin (PF – Oklahoma)

Earl Clark is immensely talented, but the common consensus is that he could be a major headache in the league. I think that with Steve Nash and Grant Hill leading the Suns, they should be able to keep him grounded and his talent could shine through. Moving Stoudamire would also aide in his development, considering STAT is a major head case in his own right.

Clark could be a dark horse candidate for rookie of the year.

Drafting Taylor Griffin was a pretty perplexing. However, after drafting another not-as-good brother last year (Robin Lopez), I have a theory as to why they’re doing it.

In an effort to lure Brook Lopez and Blake Griffin after their rookie deals expire, Phoenix GM Steve Kerr decided the best thing to do was draft their brothers. Talk about great strategy to rebuild a team.

Portland – #22 Victor Claver (SF – Spain) & #31 Jeff Pendergraph (PF – Arizona State) & #33 Dante Cunningham (PF – Villanova) & #55 Patrick Mills (PG – Saint Mary’s)

Nothing very exciting from the Blazers for this draft. With a ton of young talent and picks 22, 31, and 33, they could have made a pretty big trade to push them over the top. None of these guys will be able to help them immediately.

It’s very possible that they may have been able to package some of these picks together to move into the lottery and grab the small forward that they clearly need in Earl Clark or someone along those lines.

Since they did not, it’s debatable as to whether or not that they simply have room on the roster for 4 more young guys.

Sacramento – #4 Tyreke Evans (PG/SG – Memphis) & #23 Omri Casspi (SF – Israel) & #38 Jon Brockman (PF – Washington)

All solid, albeit unspectacular picks from the Kings. Evans was somewhat of a reach at 4th overall, but will be a solid pro. Casspi was the first Israeli to have ever been drafted, and is apparently a very fierce and scrappy player. Jon Brockman is an absolute monster in the post, and will gobble up rebounds like Joey Chestnut gobbles up hot dogs on the 4th of July.

Overall a good draft from the Kings.

San Antonio – #37 DeJuan Blair (PF – Pittsburgh) & #51 Jack McClinton (SG – Miami) & #53 Nando De Colo (PG – France)

The Spurs do it again, three terrific second round picks.

Blair has lottery worthy talent and ability, but he does not have any ACL’s (not sure how that happened, I think it had to do with tearing them in high school), which scared off every other team in the league. If he doesn’t have any though, that means he can’t tear them, and that’s a good thing!

McClinton can catch fire at any point, which will make him a valuable contributor off the bench.

De Colo is European, and got drafted by the Spurs, which probably means that he is terrific and we will all hate him in three seasons. He also gives Tony Parker another guy to speak French with on the roster.

And they also managed to steal Richard Jefferson away from Milwaukee earlier in the week.

Excellent stuff again from the Spurs.

Toronto – #9 DeMar DeRozen (SF – Southern Cal)

The Raptors got my favorite player of the draft. Why? Well other than the fact his name is DeMar DeRozan, he played on Master P’s AAU team, and he’s from COMPTON, I really could not tell you why. I just think he’s cool.

He’s got phenomenal swag and pure baller status.

Utah – #20 Eric Maynor (PG – Virginia Commonwealth)

When a team has clear needs at the 4 and has one of the top three point guards in the league, it’s always a good choice to draft another point guard.

Wait, no it’s not.

Since when did teams use first round picks to draft back up point guards? Especially when the incumbent starter played on the Olympic team. At most, this guy will play 15 minutes a game.

Maynor could be a pro; however this was an awful pick for the Jazz. It simply does not make sense considering Boozer could leave via free agency, giving them a grand total of 1 power forward on the roster.

Terrible value at 20th overall.

Washington – None

The Wizards traded 5th pick (ended up being Ricky Rubio), Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov, Darius Songaila to Minnesota for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. Then they sold their 2nd rounder, #32 overall to the Rockets.

With DaJuan Blair (knee problems and all), Dante Cunningham, and even Derrick Brown still on the board, selling the pick was questionable. Blair would have given them much needed toughness on the front line, something they currently lack and will be desperately searching for if they want to take this team to the next level.

I think Rubio and Blair would have been great additions to the team; however Miller and Foye are two very good players. If they are able to get some solid depth in free agency, I think the Wizards will be serious contenders for the Eastern Conference title.

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