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Draft Blog

June 28, 2012

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—With that the Draft Blog is complete. All 23 of my ranked players were taken within the first 31 picks so I did relatively well. Also guys I was higher on than most like Kidd-Gilchrist (I had #2 and taken #2), Terrence Ross (I had #8 and taken #8), and Royce White (I had #14 and taken #15) showed that, while I don’t put as much emphasis on this draft as the NFL Draft, I have a pretty good track record. The winners on my quick assessment are the Hornets who get a franchise player in Anthony Davis and a very good scorer in Austin Rivers (albeit one that doesn’t fit well with Eric Gordon), Houston that went 3 for 3 on their mid 1st round picks of Jeremy Lamb/Royce White/Terrence Jones, the Celtics who didn’t worry about fit and just pulled the trigger on the steal that was Jared Sullinger, and finally Oklahoma City who added a Top 10 talent in Perry Jones. If you’ll notice 3 of the 4 team’s I mentioned took players that didn’t necessarily “fit” on their team but the talent overwhelmed them so much they had to pull the trigger. The NBA Draft is that way as there are only 5 spots on the floor at a time and sometimes they won’t fit perfectly. When Ray Allen was traded to the Celtics so many people said it didn’t make sense as Pierce was their best player and was a SG but he moved out of place to SF and boom a championship happened. Teams that take fit over talent (Cleveland at #4) usually regret it as the NBA is a talent based league and if the talent doesn’t fit at all, well you still can trade it but if you force a pick like Triston Thompson then you look up and realize you have a 6’9 power forward who shot 43% last year and showed little promise. That you have trouble trading as he didn’t make sense at #4 last year and one year later he caused you to pass on a legit power forward in Thomas Robinson. Kyrie Irving is a good player but with the way they’ve used 2 of the past 3 Top 5 choices I’m expecting Cleveland to be bad for a long time. Good Night everybody and check me out tomorrow as I do more research on all the Mavs choices.

—Finally my list is complete! Jeff Taylor at #32 is a very good pick, I’ll pretend that he doesn’t fit at all with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who has similar talents, as he’s an athletic player who is a great defender and extremely athletic (’40 vertical). As the first pick of the 2nd round he’s a steal.

—The Moultrie to the Heat at #27 (steal) then traded to the 76ers who already have a lot of size makes little sense. With the Heat he’s a great fit, with the 76ers? Not so much.

—Perry Jones at #28 by the Thunder is an interesting pick. It’s an interesting pick in that it shows how stupid other NBA teams were that the Thunder whose best player plays SF still took a SF in Perry Jones due to how talented he was. It also could result in the Thunder not re-signing James Harden as they won’t have too much money available under the cap due to the max contracts of Durant and Westbrook so it’s likely they’ll have to choose between PF Serge Ibaka or SG James Harden. With a new playmaker off the bench in Perry Jones I could see them favoring Ibaka to Harden.

—Mavs take Jared Cunninggam at #24. Go to ESPN for analysis.

—Mavs again on the clock and now it really makes sense to take Perry Jones III. Yes he’s like water to Carlisle’s oil but at #24 he makes so much sense. He’s #11 on my board and #10 on Jay Bilas’ board so he’d be a steal at this point. If not him then Jeff Taylor an uberathletic SF who is a great defender and improving shooter makes sense otherwise my top 23 board at #24 is officially complete. I’m sure there’s still great talent available but I can’t guide you much further folks.

—John Jenkins at #23 is the 1st player I’ve never heard of. Apparently an amazing shooter. What’s funny is that he’s not even the best Vanderbilt player on my board as Jeff Taylor, 40 inch vertical, is still available.

—Fab Melo by the Celtics at #22 is another good pick. It isn’t a great pick like the Sullinger pick but he’s so long and his shot blocking potential is so high that he wouldn’t have lasted much longer. As a backup 5 with the chance to start down the road he makes sense this late………..unless Perry Jones was on the board which he was. I digress but seriously guys Perry is one of the 5 most talented players in the draft and he’s still available at #23. Very strange.

—Great pick by the Celtics at #21 with Jared Sullinger. He was ranked #9 on my board and even with his back issues he should look like a steal 5 years from now as he’s so skilled for a true 4 and with his weight he could possibly even play a little backup 5. He’ll need to be matched with a quality defensive player but if Garnett re-signs that won’t be an issue. Sullinger this late in the draft is a steal no matter how you slice it.

—Well the streak continues with internationals as he keeps it going with Evan Fournier being the only 1st round talent. If he had fallen to the 1st round he would have ended a streak since ’92 of internationals taken.

—The Magic are a poor drafting franchise and they happen to be the first team to draft off my list. Coincidence? Maybe but I doubt it.  Andrew Nicholson looks intriguing from his highlights and draftexpress.com had him #22 in their mock so not a huge surprise.

—Well that was fun for about 5 minutes wasn’t it? Oh well. More picks makes sense but Zeller made a lot of sense to me so I’m pretty disappointed. Thankfully there is still a little talent left with Jeff Taylor, Arnett Moultrie, and others but my expertise is close to running out (only ranked the top 23 and yet to have one taken not on my list) so hopefully the Mavs know what they’re doing.

—With the Rockets final pick in the 1st round they conclude with Terrence Jones which makes them 3 for 3. I’m unsure if they keep all of these picks but Lamb, White, and Jones is pretty close to as good of a trio as you can get. I really like the Jones/White combo as both have the ball handling skills to play the 3 offensively and both have the size to play the 4 defensively. One of them will possibly be overmatched foot speed wise (Jones likely will take the harder cover) but together they make a unique duo. Who knows if all three get shipped off for Howard but if they keep these three I will have to say that Daryl Morey is back as my favorite GM. Great draft!

—With the 17th pick in the 2012 the Dallas Mavericks take C Tyler Zeller. I had him ranked #12 and earlier said he was one of three players (along with Ross and Lamb who were off the board) who could start for Dallas on Day 1. Well let’s get him going. This is a perfect rookie for Carlisle as he hates inconsistency, he hates selfishness, and he hates a lack of effort yet Zeller is none of these things. I really like this pick.

—Here we go Mavs fans. My top players available as they are on the clock are:

PF Jared Sullinger #9

SF/SF Perry Jones #11

C Tyler Zeller #12

SF/PF Terrence Jones #13

SF Jeff Taylor #17

—The Rockets with their 2nd pick at #15 take Royce White who I ranked at #14. He’s one of my most underrated players and arguably the last guy (Sullinger?) who can still be classified as a creator and not a role player. His versatility is amazing as he led his team in 5 categories this year and at +250 lbs he has a legit handle that makes me think the 3 spot is actually maybe his best fit. He’s a poor shooter but he has the ability to defend in the post, is a great rebounder, a great passer, and had +5 assists per game which was the highest assist total for a PF prospect in the past decade. I love the kid and think Houston is 2 for 2 with their picks.

—Maurice Harkless (ranked #22) gets taken #15 and it’s an interesting pick but overall I don’t like it. He played PF in college but he’ll need to be a SF in the pros and I don’t think he can do it anytime soon as he’s a very poor shooter (23% 3 pt, 67% FT). He reminds me of Paul George due to his length and athleticism but I liked Paul a lot better coming out of college.

—John Henson (ranked #7 by me) is a great pick at #14 by the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s a slightly taller Brandon Wright who is just as skinny (a bad thing) and just as athletic (a good thing). The issue with Wright was that he didn’t gain weight and his lack of weight caused him to have some injury issues so he needs to bulk up to hopefully solve both issues.

—Well goodbye Steve Nash. Kendall Marshall at #13 pretty much guarantees they are moving on which is fine to me as Nash is still one of the 20 best players in the league and he hasn’t led them to the playoffs in a few years now. Not a huge fan of Marshall though as he can’t shoot and can’t defend. He can run a team though so at worst you have a good backup but again at #13……dubious at best.

—With the Rockets having 3 picks in the next few spots I was very intrigued to see how Daryl Morey (Houston GM) would use them. He started very well with Jeremy Lamb who I had ranked #5. He’s a smart, efficient player who just needs to improve his 3 point shot and for a 20 year old he’s very experienced due to his championship run in 2011. Very good start for Houston.

—Meyers Leonard at #11. I ranked him at #15 and had him ahead of Andre Drummond as I liked his skill level a lot more. Not bad of a pick for Portland but they are definitely doing a needs based draft as they are set at SF and PF and used their first two picks on a PG who was a reach and a C who might have been there 5 picks from now.

—I love the player in Austin Rivers at #10 as he was ranked #6 on my board yet hate the fit. In my opinion there are two long term players on the Hornets team (PF Anthony Davis and SG Eric Gordon) to go with two transition players (C Chris Kaman and PG Jarrett Jack). They have nothing at SF next year or in the future so that made the most sense to address that spot but even taking a PG or C would have made more sense than this pick as 1-2 years from now the players at those spots won’t be around. Yet Eric Gordon will so either Rivers plays the point which I don’t think he can or one of them comes off the bench. I admitted in my draft bio on Rivers that I could see him him settling in as a 6th man off the bench yet to put him in that spot as a rookie and never give him a chance to start makes little sense to me.

—Andre Drummond (rated 16th by me) is taken #9 by Detroit. It’s interesting for a few reasons. First off is the fact that arguably their best player is C Greg Monroe and everyone agrees that Drummond can only play C. Second is that defensively he has the potential to be the DPOY in the NBA as he’s 7’0 with shoes on, has a 7’6 wingspan, and is extremely mobile for a 276 lb man. Third is the reason he ranks #16 on my list as he shot 29.5% from the free throw line. Let me repeat myself. The official handed the ball to him 15 ft from the basket and told him to take as long as he wanted as everyone would stay away from him yet he MISSED 7 out of 10 shots. I’m a scout that values offensive efficiency (note my comment soon to be on Jeremy Lamb) so I cannot give this guy a lottery grade. Also keep in mind that the only guy I’ve seen lately who had this poor of an offensive game was Bismarck Biyombo who was another Top 10 draft pick that only NBA diehards know of. He could be great but 80% says this guy is a huge bust.

—By the way I’m also a little sad that Ross was taken #8 as I was hoping the Mavs would move up for him if he went in the teens.

—Jay Bilas’ exact quote, “(Terrence Ross) I was a little surprised it was this high….he’s going to be taken in the lottery but I don’t think anybody had him at 8.”

—Haha. Am I killing this? Terrence Ross was predicted to be a mid 1st but I was the only person I’ve yet to see that said he’s elite. I actually had him rated ahead of Barnes as he was my #8 talent and he goes…..#8! Ross was underrated because he had no mid range game but he’s an elite athlete with a very good jumper and what impressed me was his defensive skills. There are a lot of long range bomber types (Chase Buddinger, JR Smith, etc.) but few that actually want to do the dirty work like rebound and defend. Putting him on the court impacts the game in so many ways as he’s a top notch 3 point shooter, good rebounder, great shot blocker (his 0.9 blocks per game was higher than some centers!), good stealer, and overall is just a complete player. Will he be a #1 scorer? NO! Yet as a #3 scorer at 15 pts a game while adding all those other things isn’t he worth a Top 10 pick? I thought so and so did Toronto.

—Finally I can rip Harrison Barnes! It’s not as fun at #7 as some had him going #2 and I was flabbergasted. He’s nothing more than a tall guy with a jump shot. Yes he has good athleticism but doesn’t he remind anyone else of Wesley Johnson who was a Top 10 pick a few years ago by the Timberwolves and still is known by only NBA diehards. He’s an average defender, a below average rebounder, a below average passer, and wasn’t even that efficient offensively. I had him at #10 and he went #7 so my anger has subsided as it isn’t as big of a reach as was expected but I still think the Warriors taking an offensive threat that does nothing else is like the Heat taking a player who has to have the ball in his hands at all times who can’t hit an outside shot. You already have that!

—Portland’s pick of Damian Lillard at #6 is a reach (had him #18) as he’s nothing more than an athlete with a jump shot. That sounds good but at #6 your looking for a creator and a distributor not a guy who can defend and shoot an open jump shot. That being said he is the best PG in this draft and Portland’s biggest need is at PG so it makes sense in terms of fit.

—What an absolute steal for the Kings with Thomas Robinson. He not only fits perfectly, him next to DeMarcus Cousins could be incredibly tough in a few years, but is great value. The Kings need to thank Cleveland for being so dumb because even though getting  the #3 player at #5 doesn’t sound like much NBA Drafts are very much about top talent at the beginning of a draft and he was one of those talents. This was a 4 person draft in my opinion and for the Kings at #5 to get one of them shows how little Cleveland knows about drafting.

—This is a classic example of a bad pick causing another bad pick. Last year Cleveland surprised everyone by taking PF Tristan Thompson (sorry going off the top of my head so be patient folks) with the #4 pick. It was a reach and it didn’t work well at all last year as he was bad. Because of this pick they felt they couldn’t take another PF with the #4 pick one year later so they reached again, this time with Dion Waiters. Waiters was the #21 guy on my board and reminded me of Jamal Crawford (tall, rangy, inefficient combo guard on many losing teams in his career) while Thomas Robinson reminded me of Kenyon Martin (top notch defender and rebounder on many winning teams in his career). This is the 2nd time in two years they’ve wasted a Top 5 pick and those usually come back to haunt a franchise.

—Beal was taken #3 and it’s a very good pick as him and Wall really fit well together. Wall does everything except shoot and while Beal’s stats aren’t great his shot is so smooth it’s only a matter of time before he’s hitting 38-40% from 3.

—Michael Kidd-Gilchrist goes #2 and unlike every other scout he was……#2 on my board. Booyah! No but seriously this kid is such a good player as he’s a great defender, great leader, great penetrator, and seems to really have a great basketball IQ. Did I say the word great enough? He’s top notch. I expect him to be an All-Star very early in his career. His only negative is his jump shot and with his work ethic it should be fixed by year 3 or 4 and even if not he’ll be great.

—Anthony Davis #1….yawner. Him and Chris Kaman could be a pretty sick 4/5 duo.

—Calipari is going to clean up even more in recruiting after this draft. He has a chance to get 4 of his guys taken in the 1st round.

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3 Comments
  1. Michael Scott permalink

    ….great penetrator…..TWSS

  2. Michael Scott permalink

    How much have the Rockets pooped their pants now that they can’t make many moves?

    Dion Waiters, like Craig James, also killed 5 hookers in college

    • I love the Rockets draft. They’d be stupid to trade these three guys for one season of Dwight Howard who also killed 5 hookers in college.

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