Look, I hate the NBA. But because of its ties to the college game, the draft is arm's length enough for me to post on it. Kinda like the Rockets I suppose but that's more local interest than anything else. Also I'd be remiss if I didn't give credit to my true muses on the subject. The Astros suck, the Horns get taken behind the woodshed by L$U, and my boredom arguing about the merits of eugenics with an asshat on Orangebloods. Speaking of eugenics, how about a tip of the cap for Huck covering the CWS. Guy's a witch. A switch hitting witch. No double entendre intended. Seriously, aside from his team chemistry takes, he's legit. He could be the John Nash of baseball. HenryJames has a good piece on the future of Longhorn Baseball. Anyway, on to the draft.
1. Los Angeles Clippers select Blake Griffin (PF, Oklahoma)
Meh. Safe pick. Can he guard or is he willing to guard? Can he learn to face up bigger fours and not rely on brute strength so much? If so, he compares favorably to Karl Malone, because his athletic skills are apparent. If he can't, he's Clarence Weatherspoon.
2. Memphis Grizzlies select Hasheem Thabeet (C, Connecticut)
His size/athleticism ratio is off the charts. His willingness or unwillingness to fine tune his offensive game make this a risky pick but I understand the gamble. Teach him a little jump hook to go along with a power pivot game and he's a difference maker on both ends. If not, he's Dikembe Mutombo, and who doesn't want to sex Mutombo?
3. Oklahoma City Thunder select James Harden (SG, ASU)
I absolutely love this cat's explosiveness which is tailor made for the NBA game. He can be a left handed Brandon Roy if he can be consistent from deep. Flank him with Westbrook and Kevin Durant and he'll wreck shit. Perfect pick for Okie.
4. Sacramento Kings select Tyreke Evans (SG, Memphis)
He's Derrick Rose light. Not as good a shooter as Rose and not as polished a point guard. Rubio should have been the pick, and I hate Euros.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves select Ricky Rubio (PG, Spain)
Call him the Professor. Give him The Helicopter and Half Man Half Amazing and he'll do alright. Put him on a Timberwolves squad in the role of scorer and he'll struggle. Weird pick considering the Wolves next pick...
6. Minnesota Timberwolves select Jonny Flynn (PG, Syracuse)
Lightning quick PG with suspect range. Maybe Flynn, Rubio, and Lawson can 3 man weave the fuck out of teams.
7. Golden State Warriors select Stephen Curry (PG, Davidson)
Quick, get this cat one of Minnesota's PG's asap. He's a scoring guard that needs to be off the ball to excel. But go ahead and call him a point guard because he gets his game from his mother. I'm not sure he's strong enough to be on the ball for 30+ minutes a game in the League without wearing down. Needs to hit the weights.
8. New York Knicks select Jordan Hill (PF, Arizona)
Sweet. Another Marcus Camby. Congrats. At least he's not Lou Roe. I hate this pick.
9. Toronto Raptors select DeMar DeRozan (SG, USC)
Probably the biggest beta in the draft. He could be the next Mitch Richmond or the next Harold Miner.
10. Milwaukee Bucks select Brandon Jennings (PG, Italy)
Love him. He's got elite quickness and can get anywhere on the floor with the dribble. I like him better than Flynn and Evans.
11. New Jersey Nets select Terrence Williams (SG, Louisville)
Williams is a terrific defender, but I worry about his ability to get his own shot against the athletes in the NBA. It's a ballhandlers league and that's not one of Williams' strong suits.
12. Charlotte Bobcats select Gerald Henderson (SG, Duke)
Uber athletic kid with a legit deep stroke and a Duke pedigree, what's not to like? Not your typical Duke system kid. You know he'll defend and rebound, but he's got some streetball in him which sets him apart from other Dukies not named Corey Maggette.
13. Indiana Pacers select Tyler Hansbrough (PF, North Carolina)
Huge reach. Call him Christian Laetner light and not because he's white. He'll be a role player from the get go unless he develops a perimeter game or gets competent with post moves around the rim. He'll be in for a rude awakening if he relies on his power game around the rim. 6-10 guys with average athletic ability are drinking Gatorade and watching cheerleaders at the end of an NBA bench in a city near you.
14. Phoenix Suns select Earl Clark (SF, Louisville)
Can't pass up an athletic baseline player like Clark so late in the first round. His length and versatility almost guarantee success. If he develops a handle, he's an all-star year in and year out.
15. Pistons Austin Daye (SF, Zags)
Could be a steal if he finds a pharmacist. If not, he could be Tayshon Prince if he can handle.
16. Bulls James Johnson (PF, Wake Forest)
Has all the physical attributes to be an impact player in the NBA. The fact that he disappeared in games surrounded by a personnel grouping including Teague and Smith among other studs for Wake Forest is cause for concern. I'm not sure the kid loves the game. Honestly, if Damion James could handle the ball even a little bit, I like him more than Johnson, but Johnson can put it on the deck. If I'm James, Johnson's my benchmark for next year's draft. Johnson has the ability to guard big forwards but that doesn't warrant the 16 slot in my opinion.
17. 76ers Jrue Holiday (PG, UCLA)
Great size and athletic ability for a PG. Give him time and room to grow and he can be a difference maker as a 1. His upside is better than Flynn's.
18. Timberwolves Ty Lawson (PG, UNC)
His lack of shooting ability hampers him if he's playing on a team asking him to be a top one or two scoring option. A little high in my opinion. And so were the Wolves for taking three point guards.
19. Hawks Jeff Teague (PG, Wake Forest)
Steal of the fucking draft. His game is perfectly suited for the NBA. He's a better shooting Jason Terry. He's a better distributor than Aaron Brooks. He'll be a perennial all-star. Hawks are getting Deron Williams like value here.
20. Jazz Eric Maynor (PG, VCU)
I like this pick in terms of its fit with current personnel. Maynor can get Williams off the ball, which is huge for the Jazz. When you consider Maynor will be creating for one of the premiere baseline players in the game in Kirilenko it gets even better. Tough kid with college skins on the wall. A pure leader. He'll give the Jazz some "street toughness" on the roster which is a trait they desperately lack.
21. Hornets Darren Collison (PG, UCLA)
Too small and not quick enough. No Nick Wises to pork in the NBA my friend.
22. Trail Blazers Victor Claver (SF, Euro)
If he can recover from a knee injury he'll be a steal. If not, it's a gamble the Trailblazers can withstand considering their baseline.
23. Kings Omri Casspi (SF, Wailing Wall)
If you're a Longhorn fan, Casspi's emergence was an integral part in pushing James back to Texas.
24. Thunder B.J. Mullens (C, THE OSU)
Good pick for the Thunder considering Mullens' size and athletic ability. Needs to develop skills around the rim to be a contributor because he won't be able to overpower NBA centers. Like most young big men, developing post moves will be key. Where have you gone Pete Newell a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
25. Mavs Rodrigue Beaubois (PG, Euro)
6-10 reach on a 6-1 point guard is nuts. Finishing second to Blake Griffin on the backboard drill is nutsier. Can he handle?
26. Bulls Taj Gibson (PF, USC)
Unreal length and athleticism. Finisher/dunker extraordinaire. And he'll guard your ass. I love the pick and the value Taj brings to a perimeter centric team, especially this late in the draft. Plus rebounder.
27. Grizzlies DeMarre Carroll (PF, Show Me U)
He's too small to be a true power forward. He needs big 5's and 3's on the floor with him to pick up the rebounding slack. But he'll take your power forward away from the bucket and do work. If you can hide his size deficiencies on defense and on the glass he's an intriguing player.
28. Timberwolves Wayne Ellington (SG, UNC)
Meh. Don't like it. Give me a player that can get his own shot off the deck. Chase Budinger comes to mind. Ellington can stroke it. But he can stroke it just as well in the second round.
29. Lakers Toney Douglas (SG, FSU)
That's more like it. A war daddy that can hunt his offense. He can carry an offense because that's what he's done his whole career. He can step right in and replace Fischer when he hangs them up. Douglas can also slide over and run the show in the Farmar role. Except Toney brings talent to that role.
30. Cavaliers Christian Eyenga (SF, Congo)
A 6-6 skilled wing. If he's tough enough he'll be a keeper.