Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Draft Summary

With an NBA lockout looming the NBA draft may be the last good memory of the NBA for quite a while.  Because of this I will probably be writing multiple posts about this draft and looking ahead to the future of each team.  In the mean time I'm going to give you who my winners and losers are from the 2011 draft.

Winners

Cleveland Cavaliers: There is a lot of debate as to what the ceiling for Kyrie Irving is.  I'm on the side that he has a lot of Chris Paul in him.  Yes we didn't see a whole lot of him this past college season, but even watching him in high school he seemed like the type of player that could be someone very special.  Irving isn't just a very talented and lighting quick guard, he also possesses great intangibles and plays better in the big moments.  Even if you believe Derrick Williams to be the better player, Point Guards run this league now.  You cannot pass up on a future Point Guard if he has super star potential.  Regardless of what else Cleveland was going to do in their draft, getting Kyrie was going to make them a winner in my book.  They didn't stop there though.  I know a lot of people don't like the fact that the Cavs took Tristan Thompson with the 4th overall pick but I love it.  They may not have drafted the most talented or NBA ready player that was available but they drafted the right guy.  Even if PF wasn't a huge need at the time they do need to get younger and more athletic and Thompson is an extremely athletic big man.  I really don't think he is that undersized either, as many experts believe.  He is 6'8 3/4" and weighs 227lbs. He could benefit from bulking up a bit and he may be an inch or so shorter then most other PF's but he also has a 9'1" reach and and a 7'2.5" wingspan which he gives him a huge edge in rebounding and shot blocking.  The reason I like this pick so much is because they got a guy who appears to be a great team player.  Thompson has a high motor, great intangibles and a willingness to do whatever it takes to win.  Thompson is also in very good company coming out of Texas.  The last two forwards who came out of Texas as top 5 picks and were considered too skinny for the NBA go by the names of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant.  University of Texas breeds NBA ready forwards and even though that doesn't make or break a player it is important to realize that Thompson comes from a system that knows how to prepare their players for the next level.  I was whatever on the second round picks by Cleveland but they came out of this draft with a lot more promise for the future.  

Sacramento Kings: I hate that I am putting the Kings in here.  I love to hate them and I love how badly they have screwed up recently but I really think that they may have had the best draft.  When the idea of having Jimmer Fredette and Tyreke Evans as a starting back court was first presented to me I scoffed at it.  But now that it is a reality and I actually have time to think about it I actually love the combo together.  I really do think that Fredette can be a good Point Guard and can be a very good scorer in this league.  He has natural Point Guard instincts and abilities, but he can also play well off the ball which is good because Tyreke needs the ball in his hands.  Really I am just proud that the Kings have figured out that Tyreke Evans is NOT a Point Guard.  Jimmer may not live up to expectations but I think he is going to be a very good player and again I'm just happy that Sacramento is realizing that Tyreke is a Shooting Guard.  Their second pick was another great selection.  Tyler Honeycutt is a freak athlete and was once considered to be worth a lottery pick.  There are some concerns about how he will handle stronger forwards and he is inconsistent with his outside game but he is well worth picking in the second round.  He could be a bust but he's a second round pick, who cares if he is.  He also could be one of a few incredible steals from this draft class.  At the very least, Honeycutt can come in for 10 minutes a game and just sprint around and bring much needed energy and tenacity to a lack luster Kings team.  Finally we get to my favorite pick of the draft, little Isaiah Thomas.  I love this pick because this guy is just a straight baller.  He loves the moment, he loves taking the big shot and he simply just loves the game.  He is a relentless work horse and the fact that he was the last pick in the draft is only going to motivate him.  I very much think that he will make this team and at the very least he is going to push everyone else on the practice court, something that I think this young Kings team desperately needs.  Great draft for the Kings, something that I can't ever remember saying.

Washington Bullets: I'm not big on foreign players going in the top 10, it has provided more busts then gems but I really like Washington taking Jan Vesely.  He isn't your typical foreign player.  He is highly skilled and lanky like most international players but he has an aggression and ferocity about him that is rarely seen in international players.  He attacks the basket hard and is a great offensive rebounder.  With Javale McGee, Jan Vesely, Andre Blatche and now Chris Singleton (who was another great value pick) the Bullets (their true name) have an incredible defensive front court that will be very intimidating as they grow together.  Shelvin Mack was another pick that I loved and someone who is well worth taking a chance on in the second round.  Mack is another guy who just loves the game and gives you 110% every single night.  He won't ever wow you or dazzle you with his speed or ability to power home the big finish.  But he will find a way to get it done.  Mack also gives Washington a solid backup for John Wall which was definitely a need for them.  Washington put together a great draft and the future is looking very bright for them at this point. 

Portland Trailblazers: I got a lot of my analysis for the draft from Paul Banks, David Kay and Peter Christianson mainly because they were posted under http://www.walterfootball.com/.  Honestly they gave pretty good player assessments but I thought they did a pretty bad job of rating how players fit in with their respective teams and pretty much everything that matters to winning besides talent.  They gave Portland a pretty bad grade for their draft and I feel like Portland did a great job with their draft.  A lot of people feel like they reached for Nolan Smith but I think he is a great fit.  He may not have a very high ceiling but he is a good solid player and is NBA ready.  Plus he brings a ton of energy to the court and he is one of those players who absolutely refuses to lose.  Portland isn't looking to build towards the future, they are looking to win now and Smith will help them do that.  Also I love the change of Point Guard.  I think that Raymond Felton is a very underrated player and I love the different element he brings to this team.  Portland has had all the pieces in place to be a very prolific offense and great fast break team, except for a PG who could push the ball.  Felton gives them that without sacrificing anything else.  He is also a better shooter then Miller which will help keep double teams off of Lamarcus Aldridge.  I don't really have an opinion about Jon Diebler but he is a shooter and Portland could definitely use a shooter and some depth behind Brandon Roy.

Losers

Dallas Mavericks: I cannot understand why everyone is so in love with Dallas getting Rudy Fernandez.  Everybody in Portland hates him because more times then not he is a liability because of his inconsistency.  He has the ability to go off on any given night but more times then not he resorts to chucking up random three point shots and playing out of his game.  I couldn't believe when Jordan Hamilton fell all the way to 26 to Dallas, I thought they struck gold with drafting him.  Hamilton gave them exactly what they needed, an athletic wing player for some SF depth.  Instead they turn that into a guy who has already reached his potential at 9 points a game while shooting 37%.  Why not roll the dice on Hamilton? If you give him enough minutes he can give those same numbers to you, he is bigger and he won't try to force the issue like Fernandez will.  Since we are on Hamilton I love that he did end up in Denver with Kenneth Faried.  Those guys are perfect for what Denver is doing right now, the only reason they don't get into my winners column is because they could have done much better than Andre Miller for Raymond Felton. 

Golden State Warriors: They had to do a lot for me this draft to save themselves from hiring Mark Jackson.  I really feel like Mark Jackson just doesn't know how to really win.  They seems much more apparent now that he used a lottery pick for a scoring SG when he has one of the best scorers in the league playing that position and completely ignored defense.  Everybody knows that the Warriors can score, but they have never proven that they could defend.  This was supposed to be the year they got a guy who could be a defensive difference maker for them.  Klay Thompson could be a good pick if they trade Monta Ellis but I don't think that is their best option unless they can actually get somebody of equal value but that won't happen because Monta is one of the most underrated players in the game.  Golden State really didn't have bad picks but they just showed us once again that they would rather entertain then win.  Why take Klay Thompson when a guy like Kawhi Leonard was still on the board?  He would have been a perfect fit for the team.  I really just don't understand what Golden State is trying to do with their team.  I really don't think that Mark Jackson is the man for the job and even though the Warriors will probably be better this year they aren't going anywhere fast until they learn the importance of defense. 

Houston Rockets: Ummmmmm what?? I don't understand what Houston was doing.  They only positive thing they did in this draft was dump Brad Miller's contract and get Johnny Flynn but they added Flynn to an already crowded back court.  Unless they are just trying to acquire young talent to make a big trade I don't understand doing that at all.  With their first pick they took Marcus Morris which I really don't get.  I think both Morris twins are very overrated but even with that Markief is the better player and Marcus really shouldn't have even gone in the lottery.  Marcus Morris will be stuck behind a slew of guys at PF in Houston and could try and play Small Forward.  But as my friends at http://www.walterfootball.com/ pointed out, if you wanted a SF why not take Chris Singleton, Kawhi Leonard or even Jordan Hamilton.  I didn't like this draft at all for Houston, they are headed nowhere fast unless they make a big move this off season which will be difficult with the season in doubt for next year. 

New Orleans Hornets: Selling a second round pick isn't the worst thing in the world to do but to me it sent a message.  The Hornets are much more concerned with saving money then building a Championship team.  What does that mean exactly?  Bye-bye Chris Paul.  Don't be surprise to see Paul get shipped out at some point this season (if we have one).  Paul isn't going to want to stay in New Orleans if they are going broke and can't add pieces around him.  Plus if New Orleans is trying to save money why not just get rid of Paul sooner then later to save some salary?  Get some expiring contracts and some draft picks and start all over.  They are going to have to do this eventually anyways and they might as well do it now rather then later. 

An Extra Two Cents


You can't really put a team that only had one second round pick into the winners bracket but I love the fact that Memphis picked up Josh Selby.  I really wanted the Lakers to draft him (I'm still fairly happy with Darius Morris though) and he was an absolute steal in the mid second round.  He will be a great guy to have coming off the bench behind Mike Conley.  I'm also torn on the Spurs.  I thought that they could have done much much better in the second round but it's also hard to question their success with foreign players.  I love that they got Kawhi Leonard though.  He is perfect for that team and even though they gave up some talent for him it was at a position that they could definitely sacrifice at.  I hate that the Spurs just refuse to go away, it's very annoying.  I'm also not sure how I feel about the "other" Point Guards in this draft.  Well mainly I'm unsure about Kemba Walker and his situation.  I think that Brandon Knight was a great pick for Detroit.  Sure they have depth at the Point but I think it is safe to say that Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey are not the long term solutions.  Kemba I get torn out.  I think he will be a very good player and a great winner so I like the pick in that sense but are they really already giving up on D.J. Augustin?  I don't know if I get that and I don't really like giving up on him already.  If they can turn Augustin into a solid big man or wing player (since they traded Jackson) I will be more ok with it but Charlotte has so many needs that they need to do something.  They cannot really afford to keep Augustin anymore and to me that is to bad but it could totally work out if they finally decide to build around someone then at least they are heading in the right direction.  

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More