Friday, June 22, 2007
NBAnoise's 2007 NBA Draft suggestions
June 28th is rapidly approaching, so I am getting the NBA Draft butterflies. For me, I get to see my Blazers bring home the number one pick. Luckily, I don't think they can go wrong in this draft. No, this will not be Sam Bowie part II. Greg Oden, on all accounts will be a powerhouse at the C position, and is no Sam Bowie. On the same note, while Kevin Durant will wow all of us with his athleticism and intensity, I cant find it in myself to remotely compare him to Michael Jordan (except this pose does look Jordan-esque). If the teams in this year's top 10 spots know what is best for them, this is how the draft should go down (not how it WILL). This, of course, is assuming that no teams change draft position - which I wouldn't hesitate to bet against. As it was my birthday yesterday, I am a year older on paper, so you know I am all the wiser. These predictions are less speculation than they are fact:
1. Portland Trail Blazers - Greg Oden
If the Blazers don't take Oden, then they will be regretting their decision for years to come. A legitimate star at the center position comes only 1 or 2 times a decade. A stellar defender, a great rebounder and not a bad low-post scorer to boot. His goofy personality is a great fit for this team as well. With Oden, Aldridge and Roy, the Blazers will have a special young core that will lead this team back to Rip City.
2. Seattle Supersonics - Kevin Durant
The Sonics have it a bit easier than the Blazers because they will be making the number two pick by default. Whoever the Blazers don't pick (out of Durant and Oden) will end up with the Sonics. I certainly think that Oden would be a better fit with the stellar perimeter players for the Sonics like Ray Allen and a re-signed Rashard Lewis (maybe?). However, I think most people don't expect Lewis to be in a Sonics uni next year, so Durant might be the perfect replacement here. Forget that Durant couldn't bench press 185 lbs. As a FRESHMAN, Durant averaged 26 points, 11 boards, 2 steals, 2 bloacks, and, oh yeah, took home the Wooden Award for College Player of the Year. But, as Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard has ambiguously indicated, Kevin Durant will probably be a 10 time All-Star and a league scoring leader, but Greg Oden will get you some championships.
3. Atlanta Hawks - Mike Conley Jr.
The Hawks passed on Deron Willams (current superstud) and Chris Paul (former R.O.Y.) to add to their everlasting plethora of forwards. Will they do it again this year? My guess is yes, but they shouldn't. They should take Conley Jr. and run with him, they wont be sorry. This guy has great speed and is a pure point guard. While his outside shot isn't stellar, he has time to develop that aspect of his game. Who do you want at the helm: a promising young PG in Mike Conley Jr., or an injury prone and undersized PG in Speedy Claxton? There is enough talent on this Hawks roster that they could actually surprise some people with the addition of a solid floor general.
4. Memphis Grizzlies - Al Horford
Horford is arguably the 3rd best player in the draft, but he just might be the most "NBA ready". Horford is a beast in the paint, and was the dominant inside force for the champion Florida Gators (don't let the screaming and clapping of Joakim Noah fool you). A good shot-blocker and rebounder, Horford would be a great compliment to Pau Gasol in the Grizzlies front court. Jerry West, eat your heart out with your number four pick.
5. Boston Celtics - Yi Jianlian
Meet Yi, the International Man of Mystery. Nobody really knows what to expec out of Jianlian, but he has apparently been very impressive in work outs. His size and finesse style of play have garnered Dirk Nowitzki type comparisons. But, is he more Dirk or Nikoloz Tskitishvili, that IS the question. I say if you are the C's and you cant trade this pick, take Jianlian. You are alread up that muddy creek without a paddle, mind as well go big or go home with this pick.
6. Milwaukee Bucks - Brandan Wright
This 19-year-old Freshman may be lanky, but I think that he could have the potential to be an impact player at PF some day. Wright is a very athletic player with some good athletic moves in the paint. His left-handed game has had some compare him to Chris Bosh. While the Bucks do have Charlie Villanueva, Wright might be too much potential to pass up at the 6 spot.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Corey Brewer
I think that Brewer could be an immediate impact type of player for the T-Wolves. He is a solid outside shooter on offense and a game changer on defense. Brewer is said to be one of the premier perimiter defenders in the draft. It wouldn't hurt the T-Wolves to add a guy like Brewer who has consistently showed a knack for winning during his college career either. Sadly, I don't think anyone who the T-Wolves pick is going to make them into the contender that KG longs for.
8. Charlotte Bobcats - Jeff Green
I am a just say "No" to "Noah" guy. While other drafts have Noah going here to the Bobcats, I think that is a terrible idea unless you are looking for a painful sequal to the movie that is Mark Madsen. That being said, I think that Jeff Green is one of the best players available at this spot. Green is a fundamentally sound forward who will give you just a little bit of everything. A Jack-of-all-trades and a King-of-none kind of guy. He also has a great NBA body and is considered by many to be one of the more "NBA ready" players in this year's draft.
9. Chicago Bulls - Spencer Hawes
I'm not really sold on Hawes being a big time player in this league quite yet. I think a year or two more at UW could have served him (and his stock) very well. But, alas, here he is in the draft and the Bulls need help in the frontcourt. If nothing else he is another big body. I think he will develop nicely eventually because he has soft hands and good footwork for a big man. I just don't think his time is now.
10. Sacramento Kings - Al Thornton
I think that you have to look at the SF position here with the uncertainty that is Ron Artest still on your team. Luckily, I think the Kings will have some good options this point. Thornton's stock seems to be rising and he could be a good fit for Sacramento. Bottom line with Thornton, he can put the ball in the hoop. He is an exciting, high-flying player whose athleticism is top notch in a draft full of athletic anomolies.