Thursday, June 29, 2006

NBA Draft Recap & Analysis (East Conference)

BOSTON: Rajon Rondo (Kentucky) (#21 via Phoe.); Leon Powe (Cal) (#49 via Den.)
-- Not a bad day for Ainge, he really stocked up on their biggest hole, PG. He got a point guard who can be a possible starter down the road in Rondo from the Suns for basically a small amount of money. He also picked up Telfair in a trade from Portland. Getting Powe from Denver for small potatoes was a steal in my mind. They don't necessary need him, but a guy who has legit 1st round talent, on par with a Ike Diogu, and to fall that far, why not take a chance. Although, with the two young points coming in you maybe are starting to see signs of that Iverson deal brewing and one of the points being shipped out. GRADE: B

NEW JERSEY: Marcus Williams (UConn) (#22); Josh Boone (UConn) (#23); Hassan Adams (Arizona) (#55)
-- Absolutely loved what they've done. By far, the biggest winner this draft day. They needed a back-up PG. So they have the best point in the draft who should have gone in the top 10 fall to them. Now they have someone they can groom to be their point of the future. They needed a PF who could rebound, defend, & run the floor. Guess what? They fit that need perfectly with Boone. I am a Boone fan and he has the ability to be just as good of a pro, if not better, than the guy who was taken at #5, Shelden. I know he's got desire issues, but I think he's going to be a solid pro. Also, to pick up a guy like Adams that late in the 2nd round, was not too shabby either. He could really work well playing next Kidd, filling lanes on the break. GRADE: A+

NEW YORK: Renaldo Balkman (South Carolina) (#20); Mardy Collins (Temple) (#29)
-- Let's just say I am with the majority consensus. Isiah might want to head down to Kinko's to refresh that resume. The Knicks could have used a role-playing SF, just not this one, especially at #20. They really don't need more guards but when all those point guards started to tumble you have to grab one. I think the NYC fanbase would love an old-school PG like Marcus Williams, but it was not to be. I did not mind the Collins pick at the #29 with the guys left on the board. He's a guy who would work well alongside the collection of undersized 2s of the Knicks and he has good defensive skills. At 20, passing on Boone as well was a little mind-boggling for Balkman. I have to admit that I am not as totally down on this pick as everyone else. Believe me, I think is was mostly bad, but Balkman is the type of player that the Knicks need to look for at the SF position. Its just you need to find a more talented version of Balkman, because I'm not sure he's even NBDL-quality. GRADE: D-

PHILADELPHIA: Rodney Carney (Memphis) (#16 via Chi); Bobby Jones (Wash.)(#37 via Min); Edin Bavcic (Bosnia)(#56)
-- Although, I'm a big Carney fan and believe he should have no way fell pass #11, he still might not be what the Sixers really need. The Sixers have Iggy to do the things that Carney does. I mean its not crazy to stock up on another athlete like Carney, but you really needed a point & all of the top points were still on the board. Marcus Williams would have been my pick. To me though, this could just be a precursor to more deals to come in Philly, based around Iverson. Trading for the rights of Bobby Jones was a great move. Bobby was my ultimate sleeper in this draft and he provides what the Sixers badly need: defense. The Sixers have to get some credit for upgrading their perimeter defense & adding some serious athletes.

TORONTO: Andrea Bargnani (Italy) (#1); PJ Tucker (#35)
-- Not a big surprise. Colangelo had his sight aimed at him for awhile. I would have taken either Aldridge, Morrison, or Gay, but again I've only seen highlights packages of Andrea. The issue about his rebounding has to be put in some context though: over in Europe a lot of the time big guys have to guard away from the basket a fair amount, so who's to say when he guards closer to the basket in the NBA he can't grab more boards. Just a theory to consider. Tucker was a solid pick where they were picking, but I think Denham Brown, a Canadien, might have been just as good. Brown also is a solid defender, which the Raps need. GRADE: B

CHICAGO: Tyrus Thomas (LSU) (#4); Thabo Sefolosha (Switz.) (#13 via Phila.)
-- I am not as hot on these picks as everyone else. They had the guy that makes much better sense in Aldridge & traded him away. They really need scoring from their interior--Thomas is like a smaller version of what you have in Chandler. Another thing, Thomas might have to switch to the 3, and you already have rising talent there with Nocioni & Deng. Sefolosha was the guy they wanted to provide a big defender at the 2. He looks pretty athletic in his highlights, but he might be more of a SF as well. I am not really sure why the Bulls are so concerned about adding these defensive-minded players when they are already one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. And Skiles can get overachieveing effort from any mediocre defender. Its the offense that should be upgraded right now, especially in the post. GRADE: C+

CLEVELAND: Shannon Brown (Mich. State) (#25); Daniel Gibson (#42); Ejike Ugboaja (Nigeria) (#55)
-- I really liked what they did here. At the #25, they got arguably the best player on the board & someone who can fill the void left by Flip Murray by bringing some scoring off the bench. He's also a solid outside shooter that can work well next to LeBron. Then at #42, they got a guy they were rumored to be looking at with the #25, Gibson. I said I liked that rumor in my Team Needs section, and I think he's a great fit next to LeBron. You got a late-1st round talent at 42 who can possibly be your starting point in the future. He's more of a combo, but you don't need a pure point like Farmar who was there at 25, you need someone who can shoot & defend next to Bron. GRADE: A

DETROIT: Will Blalock (Iowa St.) (#60); Chieck Samb (Senegal) (#51 via Lakers)
-- The Pistons only had one pick & it was last one of the night in Blalock. You can't really fault Detroit because one of their main needs was PG, and this guy might be their long-term back-up. GRADE: B+

INDIANA: Shawne Williams (Memphis) (#17); James White (Cincy) (#31 via Port.)
-- I am not really sure I like the pick of Williams. They already have a guy similar to him that they drafted in the same slot last year in Dan Granger. They could be losing Peja, so I guess its not totally misguided. But at that point in the draft they should have went with the best player available & I felt like that in my Team Needs section. Again, Marcus Williams would have been a better call or maybe even Rondo. I do think the White trade for Alex Johnson was pretty good. He might be the best athlete in the draft and the Pacers need to add a little more transition baskets to their plodding offense. GRADE: C

MILWAUKEE: David Noel (UNC) (#39); Damir Markota (Croatia) (#59 via Spurs)
-- The Bucks had only second round picks & went with arguably the best athlete in the draft at #39. But that's all he pretty much is-- an athlete. I would have either went with Leon Powe or Alex Johnson to maybe help fill their biggest hole at the PF. Markota is not a bad pick-up. He's a guy that has gotten good buzz for a couple years now and he's a typical Euro big who can float out & shoot. GRADE: B-

ATLANTA: Sheldon Williams (Duke) (#5); Soloman Jones (So. Florida) (#33)
-- Well, at least Billy Knight keeps his word. They also seemed to luck out a little that Aldridge didn't fall, which would have made their guarantee look really bad. It still looks fairly dumb from my perspective. You had two guys in Foye & M. Williams, who are better players than Shelden & that would have filled a even bigger void the Hawks have. Another thing, quality PGs are a much harder commodity to come by than role-playing 4s, and you should not pass on them 2 years in a row, especially when the free agent crop is shaky. Jones was not a bad pick since there were no quality points left on the board and Soloman maybe gives you a back-up at center, something that is needed. GRADE: D

CHARLOTTE: Adam Morrison (Gonzaga) (#3); Ryan Hollins (UCLA) (#50)
-- It was either Gay or Adam here, take your pick. You can't fault the Bobcats either way they chose. Adam immediately becomes their #1 scoring option. He's going to be asked to do a lot of heavy lifting on offense. I think they liked his marketing potential--they did it last year with Felton & May--although I am not sure if that was the tiebreaking factor. I have to imagine Jordan loves his competitive fire. Hollins was a nice pick-up at 50, cause the Bobcats could maybe use a back-up at center since Mel Ely could be leaving in free agency. GRADE: A-

-- The current champs sat this one out. They have to take care of their bench issues in free agency. Their trade options are very limited--maybe Doleac, Dorell Wright--although Riley worked some magic last year in a similar quandary to get Walker.

ORLANDO: JJ Redick (Duke) (#11); James Augustine (Illinois) (#41)
-- The Magic made a big mistake passing on Carney & also passing on Brewer. Too high for JJ. Carney provides you with pretty good shooting, not as good as JJ, but good enough for the defense to respect him. On top of that, he's better in every other aspect of the game by a lot. Carney could really be a terror to stop going to the hole with the tight hand check rules. You think you can say the same about JJ? Also, you really need someone to play defense between the less than stellar Nelson & Hedo. I have a feeling Darko & Howard are going to be picking up fouls like crazy trying to clean up all the defensive lapses from their perimeter. Augustine's not a bad choice there, hopefully adding some depth behind Darko & Dwight, but maybe a guy like Hassan Adams might have been better since the Magic are going to need some defensive perimeter help.

WASHINGTON: Oleksiy Pecherov (Ukraine) (#18); Vladmir Veermenko (Russia) (#48)
--To me, the Wizards did not have a really productive draft night. They had major needs for a pure point or a defensive big, and they failed to address them. They had a handful of points sitting there on the board at #18 and they passed on all of them. Rondo would have been a great fit here cause he can bring a little defense to the porous Wiz defense. I don't know much about Pecherov, but it does not seem in his scouting report is any mention of defensive prowess. Not sure what Grunfeld was thinking. GRADE: D-