Come one, come all to the blog where you'll get my commentary here in the blog, and other FanNation users commentary in the comment section.
When trades such as the Jermaine O'Neal to the Raptors deal are announced by David Stern (that trade is actually a bad example, because the trade's not going to be made until the Base Year Compensation tag comes off of TJ Ford's contract), then I will cover them in this blog, but until then, we'll just act as if the teams that are selecting the players are actually selecting the players for themselves.
Comments made in anticipation of the draft are welcome here before we get started, which will be about 7:30 EST/ 4:30 PST.
PICK ONE- Chicago
The Bulls take Derrick Rose here and surprise absolutely nobody with this pick. They must figure that point guard is their biggest hole and not the lack of interior offense which would be provided with Michael Beasley. There is something to be said for drafting the hometown kid. I can't complain about either man being picked here, and Paxson's done a great job so far building this team post-Jordan.
PICK TWO- Miami
Miami goes the safe way with Michael Beasley, taking the best player on the board. One would think that the temptation of OJ Mayo would be too much for Pat Riley, but I feel he is too much like Dwyane Wade for both to succeed in South Beach. Beasley affords versatility for the frontcourt where both he and Shawn Marion can play the three or the four, and Miami immediately goes from cellar-dweller to contender. Wonder if they trade this pick later...
PICK THREE- Minnesota
Minnesota's pick is the turning point of this year's draft. That being said, the selection of OJ Mayo makes sense because he is the best player left on the board. Sometimes taking the best player is the best way to build a team, because drafting for need usually kills teams. Remember Bowie over Jordan? I do. Yeech. Mayo's a little sketchy on defense and a bit weak in the character department, but he's going to start on this team immediately, and help a team that was last in assists last season rectify that situation.
PICK FOUR- Seattle Oklahoma City?
Seattle suprises with Russell Westbrook here. GM Sam Presti is absolutely in love with the player and the position is one of need for the Supersonics and has been since Gary Payton left town. Westbrook's selection is all about potential, as he has the potential to be a lock-down defender and a 20 point per game scorer if he develops. I wonder if people in Seattle are cheering this selection...
PICK FIVE- Memphis
GM Chris Wallace (that's general mangler) took Kevin Love with this pick. It's a good pick, especially when you consider that the outlet passing he's known for will fit quite well in the up-tempo system that the Grizzlies run. It's a quick fix to replace Pau Gasol, and there's much long term ability for development with Love. Interesting selection of need over fit here.
PICK SIX- New York
The selection of Danilo Gallinari must surprise nobody here, as the dynamite workout he had for the Knicks coupled with the fact that it's a position of need for the team and capped with the fact that Mike D'Antoni played with Gallinari's father in Italy gave this pick away a long time ago. Point forwards are rare, and while it is a gamble to take a player from Europe this early, Gallinari's skill set will be unmeasurably great for the run and gun system of D'Antoni. This is another draft pick you can expect to start immediately.
PICK SEVEN- LA Clippers
Taking Eric Gordon here signals the end for Corey Maggette in LA. Gordon, an undersized 2-guard who can score, isn't much of a distributor and he needs the ball a lot. However, this selection is a good thing because facing the loss of Elton Brand, the Clippers are critically short on players who can score. Perimeter scoring has especially been a bugaboo of this team for as long as I can remember, but then again, so has winning games.
PICK EIGHT- Milwaukee
On a team that has a bunch of average players and no game-changing stars, the selection of Joe Alexander is puzzling. Does this mean the end of the Richard Jefferson-for-Yi Jianlian rumors, or are the Bucks just going to couple their new acquisition with another player who is exactly the same player but less athletic? I think this pick was ridiculous, especially with Jerryd Bayless and Brook Lopez on the board. There's a reason the Bucks have never been consistently good.
PICK NINE- Charlotte
Michael Jordan and the Bobcats take another proven college performer in DJ Augustin. Augustin should permanently shift Raymond Felton to the two-guard and put Jason Richardson at the three and give the Bobcats a team that can run and run and run and run and run and run. However, Larry Brown isn't big on teams who run, young players and bad management, and the Bobcats are 0-3. I think they gave up too soon on Sam Vincent and Michael Jordan will implode this team just like he did with the Wizards. I have Jerryd Bayless higher than this, this was a bad pick whether you consider it as need or for the best available player.
PICK TEN- New Jersey
The rapidly rebuilding New Jersey Nets take Brook Lopez in a selection that will immediately bolster their depth at the pivot. Not really knowing how Nenad Krstic will play long term at center, the Nets went after the draft's best one. There's a lot to be said for a player who is seven feet tall and can face the basket and shoot. However, the Nets also drafted another center who was a twin from Stanford, Jason Collins, who's been frequently referred to as the worst rotation player in the NBA. Lopez's defensive shortcomings will be covered by last year's #1 pick Sean Williams, and should be very successful in New Jersey.
PICK ELEVEN- Indiana
Larry Bird's Indiana Pacers select Jerryd Bayless in another pick that does two things: One, it signals the end for Jamaal Tinsley in Indianapolis, and two, it ends the slide of a player many thought could land in the top five. However, I disagree with this if the Pacers are going to be trading Jermaine O'Neal for TJ Ford, because Ford is smaller than Bayless is, and Bayless isn't big enough to guard NBA shooting guards effectively. It does make sense regarding Ford's injury history though, and the Pacers don't need wing players as they have Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger already in the fold.
PICK TWELVE- Sacramento
Jason Thompson is the suprising pick here by the Kings. 24 double-doubles for Rider makes this a productive pick. He'll match up great with Spencer Hawes as their center. Sacramento didn't upgrade their point guard situation as Beno Udrih prepares to walk in free agency. The wings are flush with Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia and Ron Artest, and the Kings are a markedly improved team on defense. Should be interesting to see this play out.
PICK THIRTEEN- Portland
The selection of Brandon Rush will be an instant upgrade both offensively and defensively for the Trail Blazers. He'll probably fill Martell Webster's spot in the starting lineup, but he won't impact the minutes of Travis Outlaw or Steve Blake too much. On a team that right now stands to be a contender in the west for many years to come, this pick makes a lot of sense. As my father said just now on the phone "What is it with Portland drafting players with f**king knee problems?!!" He poses a good point.
PICK FOURTEEN- Golden State
On a team that has no business being in the lottery, Golden State's looking for the one player who can put them over the top and get them back into the playoffs. They think that Anthony Randolph is that man. I don't. A player that will need three to five years to develop if he does, he was rated most likely to be a bust by ESPN's Chad Ford. Golden State didn't really need a pick that would contribute immediately, but it could have helped put them over the threshold. Then again, Don Nelson is old school in the sense that he is a very veterans-first coach.
PICK FIFTEEN- Phoenix
On one of the draft picks from the Joe Johnson trade, the Suns use the Hawks pick to take Robin Lopez. Finally, the Suns don't sell a draft pick and they actually use it on one of the oldest rosters in the NBA, and the selection of this Lopez is going to signify a return to a more half-court based offense for the Suns. Long gone are the days of Leandro Barbosa and Steve Nash sprinting up and down the court 150 times a game, and with Shaq, Grant Hill and now Lopez, the Suns are going to go from one of the NBA's fastest teams to one of the NBA's slowest. I'm not sure I agree with this pick, but they're definitely trying to shape this team the way Terry Porter wants it.
PICK SIXTEEN- Philadelphia
Marreese Speights is the pick for the residents of the Wachovia Center, and a good pick it is. A natural post scorer, Speights will pair up well with Samuel Dalembert's defensive ability to take some of the scoring load off of Andre Iguodala. If the rumors are true of Elton Brand coming to Philly, Speights is big enough to play the five for stretches, allowing he and Brand to be in the game at the same time. A great value pick for the Sixers, and this should work out favorably for them in the long term.
PICK SEVENTEEN- Toronto
As the NBA's resident international team, the Raptors have taken that to heart with the selections of Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon and the acquisitions of Jorge Garbajosa, Rasho Nesterovic and Carlos Delfino. However, Toronto completely bucks this trend with the selection of four-year college player Roy Hibbert. As a player, Hibbert doesn't really fit the open offensive system that's been established north of the border, and I already think this has the potential of making Rafael Araujo looking like a steal. There better be a trade involved, otherwise people will question this pick for many years.
PICK EIGHTEEN- Washington
Washington takes JaVale McGee, a man who's name is almost as tall as the player himself. A great athlete and a man with a 7'6" wingspan, McGee can help transform the stale post play that has plagued the Wizards since they wore red and had Chris Webber. He's incredibly gifted offensively, but they say he's a soft player. Nothing like having doubters, right Gilbert Arenas? A good pick, and one that will make a difference now.
TRADE- The first trade of the night sends Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack to the Pacers for Ike Diogu and Jarryd Bayless. This will work great for Portland, who gets an athletic big man in Diogu and a lighting-fast point guard in Bayless who will allow Brandon Roy to move back to his natural shooting guard position. The Pacers win by getting a 10 PPG combo guard in Jack and a wing player in Brandon Rush who can play offense, defense, and special teams (for lack of a better football cliche).
PICK NINETEEN- Cleveland
Taking JJ Hickson with this pick spells the end for Anderson Varejao in Cleveland. A clone of him, at least in playing ability, style and work ethic, Hickson is a great rebounder and defender who's post up game is questioned. If you're trying to keep LeBron James in Cleveland, Danny Ferry, why are you drafting role players? Make a deal, man.
PICK TWENTY- Charlotte
Croatian big man Alexis Ajinca is the selection for the Bobcats. Finally a change from the established college player that the Bobcats are in love with, Ajinca offers shooting range to the three-point line from someone who's 7'1". He only weighs 225 pounds though, so his durability as an NBA big man is questioned. Scouts rave about his quickness and defensive potential. This is a great long range speculatory pick by the Bobcats, and this may be the biggest steal of this draft when we look back on it five years from now.
PICK TWENTY-ONE- New Jersey
The Nets, after filling their big-man need with Brook Lopez at pick #10, go in the same direction again with Cal forward Ryan Anderson. Anderson can play the three or the four, causing offensive mismatches at both positions which he's more than capable of exploiting. The Nets have indicated with this pick that Richard Jefferson is in fact gone, but unfortunately for them, they've dealt the wrong max contract. They've got to get rid of Vince Carter while he still has a shred of value.
PICK TWENTY-TWO- Orlando
The Fighting Dwights select Courtney Lee. A poor man's JJ Reddick in college, this pick makes very little sense in that regard. Lee can't play the point, and on the wings, the Magic are flush with Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Maurice Evans. Should have gotten a power forward who can stretch the defense as well to make Dwight Howard even more effective in the post. Not my favorite pick of the day, even though as a player I like Lee.
TRADE- As part of the earlier Indiana-Portland deal, Portland ships Josh McRoberts to the Pacers.
PICK TWENTY-THREE- Utah
Utah takes Greek national and Ohio State player Kosta Koufos with the 23rd pick. A pivot who also has range to about 18 feet, Koufos underperformed at TOSU, but he's still started for the Greek National Team at the age of 19, so that's absolutely nothing to sneeze at. He will be well served watching Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer from the bench for the next couple of years before the Jazz truly give him a try, a great speculative pick by Jerry Sloan and crew.
PICK TWENTY-FOUR- Seattle Oklahoma City?
Wunderkind GM Sam Presti makes a San Antonio-style speculative pick on a European, this time on Congolese forward Serge Ibaka. Ibaka, who is on the verge of signing a blockbuster contract in Europe, may not contribute immediately, but by the time the lease is up on the KeyArena, he'll be in the NBA. He's long, lanky and plays fantastic defense, and there's a lot of compliments on his offensive touch. Not bad for taking the contract of Kurt Thomas off of the Suns (who they later traded for MORE PICKS).
PICK TWENTY-FIVE- Houston
The Rockets, who managed to play quite well even without star center Yao Ming, are looking for a long term player, which is why they selected French forward Nicolas Batum. Batum, a 6-10 small forward, could eventually take the place of Shane Battier or Chuck Hayes/Luis Scola in the starting lineup and be a dynamic offensive threat. Defensively, he's good, but he doesn't have the potential to be great, he's really about the offensive game. Shooting is something that everyone has to do in a Rick Adelman offense, and eventually, Batum will make a great fit.
PICK TWENTY-SIX- San Antonio
San Antonio bucks their recent trend of drafting international talent late in the first round, instead drafting the NCAA's offensive efficiency leader in Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis's George Hill. Hill, an undersized combo guard, could immediately come in and pressure Jacque Vaughn, Michael Finley and Brent Barry for playing time as he is a more dynamic scorer than any of the Spurs other options at this advanced state of their careers. Great value pick.
PICK TWENTY-SEVEN- New Orleans
In a pick that's eventually destined for the Trail Blazers (according to SI), the "Hornets" select Darrell Arthur. A player who was the Rashard Lewis Award winner for staying in the green room longest, Arthur scared teams off with medical red flags, namely about his kidney function. If the Hornets keep this pick, it adds considerable depth to the front court on the bayou, but if they trade it, Portland gets a player that a lot of people thought they'd select at #13.
PICK TWENTY-EIGHT- Memphis
Donte Greene goes here, and the ex-Syracuse player will do quite well in the up-tempo Marc Iavaroni offense. What may well become Mike Miller with a post up game, Greene's a great shooter with an NBA body who pays exactly 0 attention on the defensive end. If he played defense like he could, chances are he'd be going in the lottery, not to a lottery team at the end of round one.
PICK TWENTY-NINE- Detroit
The Pistons take DJ White with this pick. White, the uberproductive yet slightly undersized five from Indiana, brings a great work ethic and a knack for getting hard points inside. On a team that's looking for more youth in the post, this is a great pick. Dale Davis and Antonio McDyess have basically been rendered obsolete immediately by White, the quintessential low-ceiling, well-rounded college senior. Michael Curry's coaching tendencies are unknown as of now however, so it should be interesting as to how players are used under him.
PICK THIRTY- Boston
The NBA Champions take JR Giddens, a player who's a top fifteen talent, and a world class headcase. Giddens has more drama than All My Children, but he's a good addition, in terms of ability, for a team that just wiped the floor with the Lakers. Nothing like a youth infusion for a team who had five key players (Cassell, Brown, Garnett, Allen, Pierce) over thirty.
PICK THIRTY-ONE- Minnesota
Minnesota starts round two off by taking a European player in Nikola Pekovic, a trend that will continue throughout this round. Pekovic, MVP of the Serbian league this year, he'll probably not voyage over the pond until next year at the earliest. When he does make the trip, the Timberwolves will have a great, established offensive center who will slot Al Jefferson back down to the four. Not bad for round two.
PICK THIRTY-TWO- Seattle Oklahoma City?
The ex-Supersonics take UAB forward Walter Sharpe with this pick. Sharpe, a player who's being drafted on athleticism and potential, really is just a flier at this point. If he is successful, the Sonics will be able to capitalize on the high value of Chris Wilcox at some point in the future. If not, they're only out a second round pick. It's worth it, especially with all of the other young talent that GM Sam Presti's bringing in.
PICK THIRTY-THREE- Portland
The Trail Blazers take Joey Dorsey here, feeling that they need some more toughness inside with the mostly jumpshooting Travis Outlaw and LaMarcus Aldridge already in the fold. Consider this pick a back-up in case Greg Oden doesn't live up to the hype.
PICK THIRTY-FOUR- Minnesota
Final Four hero Mario Chalmers goes to the T'Wolves here; a point guard being a necessity to a team last in the NBA in assists for the 2007-08 season. Chalmers, who's more renown for his defense than his offense, has the ability to lock down the one or the two guard, something invaluable to a young team like Minnesota. A great pick, even if Chalmers has a low ceiling, solely because he plays basketball like it should be played.
PICK THIRTY-FIVE- LA Clippers
LA's other team takes DeAndre Jordan, a center who has been compared to Dwight Howard, but who's work ethic questions have dropped him this far in the draft. No doubt a first-round talent, Jordan was even considered a late lottery pick as late as last month, but apparently, poor work outs and red flags about character did him in. A great pick for the Clippers to replace Elton Brand if they can coerce performance from him.
PICK THIRTY-SIX- Portland
The Blazers make their customary dip into the European talent pool, this time for Turkish center Omer Asik. I'm in love with the fact that we can pick this guy in the second round and see what happens, but he's signing a five year contract with no buyout where he's playing now, so this pick is wasted and will be more than likely fruitless. But if he is signed, Portland gets yet another great young talent.
PICK THIRTY-SEVEN- Milwaukee
Milwaukee continue their puzzling draft by selecting yet another small forward, this time UCLA defensive stalwart Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. They're taking drafting talent over need to new heights tonight, and there's a reason why that team has played horribly. The front office makes poor decisions. Be it resigning Charlie Bell and Maurice Williams to contracts where it seemed they were bidding against themselves to trading high potential picks like Yi Jianlian, the Bucks are ruining what they had going.
PICK THIRTY-EIGHT- Charlotte
Charlotte goes with a proven college performer again, this time with Wazzou combo guard Kyle Weaver. Weaver, who along with Derrick Low teamed to lead Washington State deep into the NCAA Tournament, is an athletic 2 who can play the point occasionally and hustles constantly, everywhere on the floor. I don't know if the Bobcats needed another player like this after drafting Jered Dudley last year, but they've got one now.
PICK THIRTY-NINE- Chicago
The Bulls, after drafting Derrick Rose first overall, went to the potential department again with the draft pick of Sonny Weems. Weems, who can jump out of the gym, has a rough game offensively and defensively, but has such innate ability that he may be able to make it in the NBA. He's a player to watch five years from now, but just as easily, he could fade away into oblivion.
PICK FORTY- New Jersey
Chris Douglas-Roberts finally goes to Jay-Z's crew with this pick. CDR, a great slasher with a decent outside game, should compliment the pieces that New Jersey's already got in place, and I'd compare him to Manu Ginobili in terms of his offensive ability. Defensively, he's nothing special, but defense isn't a calling card for anyone in New Jersey at this point.
PICK FORTY-ONE- Indiana
The Pacers took Australian big man Nathan Jawai. Built like a bowling ball with a 7'5'' wingspan, Jawai is about as rough of a prospect as you'll find in the NBA Draft. However, this could pay off for the Pacers, as Jawai will probably spend two more years in Australia, learn how to play offense, and come stateside. He's big enough, at 280 pounds, that he can play the five without getting run over by bigger players, so there might even be incentive to bring him over sooner than that. A good risk/reward pick here.
PICK FORTY-TWO- Sacramento
The Kings apparently have found the replacement for Beno Udrih with the selection of Virginia point guard Sean Singletary. A great shooter and penetrator, Singletary faught illness all through his senior year, but still managed to keep his draft stock high enough to be selected. He's a natural scorer who distributes off of the drive, something that will fit very well for Reggie Theus' Kings squad.
PICK FORTY-THREE- Sacramento
Apparently, the name's not everything. Patrick Ewing, Jr. got selected by the Kings with their second of back-to-back picks. A tweener who's not quite big enough for the four or fast enough for the three, Ewing will get a shot in the NBA solely because of who his father is, but if he makes it, he'll make it as a different player entirely. It will be a good story to watch over the long term.
PICK FORTY-FOUR- Utah
Utah takes giant Croatian project center Ante Tomic with this pick. Tomic, who is 7'2'', won't probably make an impact at all in the NBA for a few years, but with proper coaching, his size could be a major force for the Jazz. Another low risk/high reward selection that even the most die-hard Jazz fan can't get excited about.
PICK FORTY-FIVE- San Antonio
Yet another foreign draft pick, the Spurs selected Slovenian point guard Goran Dragic. Dragic doesn't have a great jump shot, but he's a skilled penetrator who can improvise on the go. Watch for him in a few years to join the Spurs and make an impact behind Tony Parker.
PICK FORTY-SIX- Seattle Oklahoma City?
Seattle takes BYU giant Trent Plaisted here. Plaisted, an established low post scorer, is a great pick for what the soon-to-not-be-Supersonics need inside to take the pressure off of Jeff Green and Kevin Durant down low. Plaisted fell mostly because of his poor foul shooting (55%) and his low ceiling, but this pick makes the Sonics better RIGHT NOW, which is something you can't say of most second-round picks.
PICK FORTY-SEVEN- Washington
The Wizards end up with Bill Walker, a forward who, had he not blown out his knee last season, would have ended up in the lottery this year for sure. The injury didn't rob Walker of much, but the fear of him reinjuring the knee has a giant red flag attached to his name. His scoring ability on the wings will make the Wizards just that much more potent offensively, as if they needed it.
PICK FORTY-EIGHT- Phoenix
Phoenix draft Oregon guard Malik Hairston. This is a puzzling decision in my book because they already have Alando Tucker, a player who's the same as Hairston, but does everything better. Consider Steve Kerr as a GM one of the most foolhardy moves in basketball history. End the experiment.
PICK FORTY-NINE- Golden State
The Warriors pick up a great rebounder and hustle player in Richard Hendrix here. Hendrix will fit in perfectly at the four in the Nelly Ball system, and will bring the grit and toughness that no other player on the Warriors roster has. A good pick this late in the draft.
PICK FIFTY- Seattle Oklahoma City?
The Sonics snatch up another great value pick with the selection of Cal center DeVon Hardin. Hardin, who was the premier rebounder in the Pac-10 while putting up more than fifteen points a game as well, will compete with Plaisted and Nick Collison for the minutes at the power forward position. What a diamond in the rough.
PICK FIFTY-ONE- Dallas
The Mavericks snag a great shooter in Shan Foster. Foster is a player who may be able to immediately contribute if given the correct window, as the Mavericks don't really have any bombers from deep anymore (Nowitzki's really playing more and more in the post). Draft picks like this are why the Mavericks are perenially among the best teams in the NBA.
PICK FIFTY-TWO- Miami
Pat Riley occasionally has to find players late in the draft who are great role players. Darnell Jackson fits the bill. Jackson was probably the least heralded rotation player for the Kansas Jayhawks this year, but his tenacity on defense and his great skill in rebounding makes this pick a good one for the heat. Jackson's basically a clone of Udonis Haslem, and that's a good thing for your longevity in the NBA.
PICK FIFTY-THREE- Utah
Tadija Dragicevic is the selection by the Jazz. A forward from Serbia, Dragicevic is the consummate late second round pick. A European who won't sniff the NBA for 3 years at the earliest, he's a project that the Jazz won't have to worry about if he never develops and can reap the rewards if he does. There's a lot to be said for that.
PICK FIFTY-FOUR- Houston
Houston continues their trend of selecting Oregon Ducks (that's two years running for those of you keeping score at home) with the selection of sharp-shooting forward Maarty Leunen. Leunen will fit very well into Rick Adelman's shooting system, and he's also a very good distributor of the ball from the post. The major knock on him is the lack of athleticism, but that's not always required in a good NBA player, just look at John Stockton for instance.
PICK FIFTY-FIVE- Portland
The selection of Iowa State point guard Mike Taylor may raise some eyebrows, but he's a solid distributor and defender with a more than acceptable jump shot. Whether he makes a loaded Trail Blazers roster is up for debate, but if not there, he will catch on with another team elsewhere in the NBA.
PICK FIFTY-SIX- Seattle Oklahoma City?
The Sonics selected Sasha Kaun. The former Jayhawk center and Russian citizen, Kaun may not sign with the Sonics due to the large contract that a Russian basketball team has offered him. The Sonics are definitely hoarding big men in this draft. One of them has got to be good, right?
PICK FIFTY-SEVEN- San Antonio
Maryland forward James Gist was the selection here. A shot-blocking demon who can dunk like it's nobody's business, Gist is a great hustle player who probably won't make this team, but may make another.
PICK FIFTY-EIGHT- LA Lakers
The Lakers with their inaugural selection of the night select Kentucky shooting guard Joe Crawford. Crawford may make a team somewhere in the NBA, but not in LA, where he's behind Kobe, Sasha Vujacic, and Bill Walton.
PICK FIFTY-NINE- Detroit
Detroit picks up Virginia Tech's Deron Washington with this pick. Washington, a player who reminds me of Corliss Williamson, is a great hustler who has great intensity and athleticism. He's very raw offensively, but it should be interesting to see how he does in the NBA.
PICK SIXTY- Boston
Boston takes Turkish center Semih Urden. See my analysis of any other European player in round two, apply it to Semih.
TRADE- Boston acquires rights to Bill Walker from Washington in exchange for cash.
TRADE- Minnesota trades rights to Mario Chalmers to Miami for future considerations.
TRADE- Portland trades rights to Mike Taylor to the LA Clippers in exchange for a future second round pick.