Thursday, June 29, 2006

NBA Draft Recap & Analysis (West Conference)

DENVER: None (Traded the rights of #49 Leon Powe to Boston)
-- I was loving this pick when they made it, but then they turned around & made a boneheaded move; I thought Kiki had already left town. They had a guy in their hands who has 1st round talent, and also fills a void for a back-up post player & then you deal him for basically nothing. He's a 2nd round pick, you're not even financial obligated to him, its like a free player at this point. And if you don't want Powe, why do you pass on a guy like Mike Gansey as a 2-guard? To me, the Nugs should be doing everything in their power to pick up as many SGs in anyway they can. Its like the Nugs' front office is secretly playing cruel jokes on Melo. GRADE: F

MINNESOTA: Randy Foye (Villanova) (#7 via Port.); Craig Smith (Bost. Coll.) (#36); Loukas Marokefalidis (Greece) (#57)
-- I am not quite sure why Minnesota did not just take Foye at the #6, has anyone answered this question yet? Anyways, they got there hands on a pretty good player, although it will be interesting to see what position he plays. I am not so sure he works well playing the point alongside Ricky Davis, although having him paired with Jaric could work well. Craig Smith should have not even been drafted. Classic undersized PF with short arms & little athleticism--Powe has much more pro potential. GRADE: B-

PORTLAND: LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas) (#2 via Chi.); Brandon Roy (Wash.) (#6 via Min.); Sergio Rodriguez (Spain) (#27 via Phoe.); Joel Freeland (England) (#30)
-- I pretty much liked what they accomplished. They picked up arguably the best player in the draft & they started off in the #4 spot. I think Aldridge could work well with Randolph cause Zach can do all the bruising work on the low block & LaMarcus can float out. I would be interested to find out why they did not take Morrison & how there fanbase will react? Although, that possible negative fan base reaction could be tempered with the addition of another Northwest product, Roy. I am sure Coach Nate has to be jacked that the Blazers found a way to pick up Roy and he's probably already penciled in as the starting 2-guard. Not really sure why they needed to pick up Sergio--even with Telfair gone the Blazers still have 3 points left on their roster that saw significant time last year. I imagine they will keep Freeland oversees for awhile, and I am sure they don't want to pay four 1st round contracts this year. GRADE: A-

SEATTLE: Saer Sene (Belguim) (#10); Denham Brown (UConn) (#40); Yotam Halperin (Israel) (#53)
-- For the third year in a row, the Sonics go after another young 7-footer who's a major prospect. Not really sure why they went this direction again, especially when they picked up a similar, raw player last year in Petro. Ced Simmons was still on the board and he would have made more sense, especially with Wilcox's status in limbo. There's some talk that this was more a penny-pinching pick where they stash Sene over in Europe for a couple years so the Sonics do not have to pay him now. Denham Brown is a nice pick-up at #40 because the Sonics really need depth on their wings, especially a player who can defend like Brown. GRADE: C

UTAH: Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas) (#14); Dee Brown (Illinois) (#46); Paul Milsap (Louisiana Tech) (#47)
-- Utah was one of the top performers on draft night in my opinion. They picked up the athletic 2-guard they needed in Brewer. I probably would have taken Carney, but I have no big problem with Brewer here. Ronnie makes the Jazz a pretty tough defensive tandem on the wings with Kirilenko. The Jazz also needed a back-up point, and they maybe found one for Deron Williams in his former college teammate, Dee Brown. At #46, he was a great pick-up since he might have been the only point guard of substance still left on the board. The Jazz think they might have the second coming of Malone--not quite. Milsap is not a very good athlete, but his rebounding numbers can transfer over well. GRADE: A

DALLAS: Maurice Ager (Mich. State) (#28)
-- At the #28, picking up a player of Ager's caliber is pretty nice. He provides a sweet insurance policy if you lose Jerry Stackhouse next summer in free agency. Ager also shoots the ball pretty well, so that could come in handy if Jason Terry bolts this summer, as well as Van Horn possibly leaving. GRADE: A

HOUSTON: Steve Novak (Marquette) (#32); Lior Eliyahu (Israel) (#44)
-- They had Rudy Gay in their hands and dealt Gay & Stromile to the Grizzlies for Battier. Some people are up in arms about this trade and think its a fleecing by Jerry West. I don't think its quite that extreme--Battier is a very underrated player who is a good outside shooter & defender. Also, I don't think they were happy with Swift and he is more of a back-up anyways. But on the other hand, Gay shoots the ball pretty well, and has the potential to be a very good defender himself. And I'm not really sure why the Rockets feel the need to have to bring in Battier's defense when their team defense is already very good & is always good under Van Gundy. I think Gay had the potential to give the Rockets a more dynamic 3rd scoring option and I would have held on to him. Houston now has to find a starting quality PF and they only have their MLE, which is probably not enough to lure Chris Wilcox or Drew Gooden away from their teams. I think the Rockets have the second coming of Matt Bullard with Novak and that is the exact same comparison I've been making for a couple months. But I am just not a fan of taking him this high in the 2nd round. First off, he's slow. Not just an average kind of slow, I mean even slower than guys you play with at lunchtime at the YMCA. You know the type-- the middle-aged guy who wears knee pads & Rec-Specs and is a general danger cause he's so unathletic and can't out of the way of fouls. All he can do in the NBA is standstill shoot & is strictly a specialist who can only play like 8 minutes a game. I know the Rockets need shooting around Yao & Tracy, but why not take Pittsnogle, who can shoot nearly as well, and at least has the ability to play more meaningful minutes cause he has the body to guard centers. Novak can't dream of guarding anyone at the next level. GRADE: D

MEMPHIS: Rudy Gay (#8 via Hous.); Kyle Lowry (Villanova) (#24); Alexander Johnson (Fla State) (#45 via Port.)
-- For starting off the day with only one pick in the lower first round, Jerry West showed he still has the ability to work magic. They found a way to acquire Gay, who has maybe the heighest ceiling of anyone in the draft, at the #8 and immediately filled their most crushing need of a potent perimeter scorer. It still must have been hard though to part with Battier because he's one of the best role players in the NBA, but the Grizzlies badly needed someone who can create some offense. They re-acquired Swift in the deal and I am not really sure if that was good or not. I mean he already played in Memphis, and they did not feel the urgency to impede him from going to Houston last summer, so I am not enamoured with him. The other need for the Grizzlies was a point guard, and they found one at #24 in Lowry. Although, I think that Farmar or Rodriquez were better choices at that spot because I don't think Lowry can ever be a starter in the NBA, and the other two possibly can. But its not a total error, because they do need a back-up point right now anyways. Getting Johnson that late in the draft was a minor steal as well. He was being projected as a possible late 1st rounder and could have been even a good pick at #24. GRADE: A-

NEW ORLEANS/OKLA: Hilton Armstrong (UConn) (#12); Cedric Simmons (NC State) (#15); Marcus de Souza (Brazil) (#43)
-- The Hornets had a pretty good day grabbing the best big guys on the board at the time and helped fill their biggest hole in the draft. I proposed Hilton as the optimal pick in my Team Needs, and they got a center they are badly missing. Simmons fell a little lower than expected, and I can't really fault the Hornets for taking him. They have David West at the PF, who was nice surprise this year, but they don't have much depth behind him, so the Ced pick works. You could have made a case that they needed to find a SF, but Shawne Williams was the only one on the board who would have made some sense, so its not a big deal. They might have found a decent SF anyways in the 2nd round in Souza. He was mentioned sometimes as a possible late 1st rounder, so maybe the Hornets have a minor steal on their hands. GRADE: B+

SAN ANTONIO: None (traded the #59 pick, Damir Markota to Milwaukee for future 2nd round picks)
-- San Antonio was probably not going to find anyone at #59 who can help them now and the Spurs' time is now. Although, I am slightly surprised they did not keep Markota because they love to stash Euros picks and Markota has a promising reputation. Will see what they do with their other Euro properties like Luis Scola & Robert Javtokas this summer assuming they only have their MLE to use. GRADE: Incomplete

GOLDEN STATE: Patrick O'Bryant (Bradley) (#9); Kosta Perovic (Serbia) (#38)
-- Alhtough, I am highly skeptical of O'Bryant's future in the NBA, at the 9 spot it was not a bad choice. The Warriors's biggest need was for a center and he was probably the best on the board, besides maybe Armstrong. O'Bryant does showcase more offensive skills than Hilton, and the Warriors are need of some post scoring. I don't think Brewer would have been out of the question here, because the Warriors need a ball-handling SF to play with chuckers like Baron & Richardson. Brewer also brings good defense, another thing missing from the Gold St. attack. Perovic is a big center who's name has been floating around for a few years, but he is very slow, even by Euro standards. GRADE: B-

LA CLIPPERS: Paul Davis (Mich. State) (#34); Guillermo Diaz (Miami) (#52)
-- I really liked what the Clips did at the spots they were picking. The biggest hole for the Clips is frontcourt depth considering they currently only have Zelly Rebraca as their only true post back-up behind Kaman & Brand. So they go pick up the best big on the board in Davis, and a guy who can help right away off the bench. He's a strong guy who can rebound well & be valuable in pick-n-pop situations. With the #52, they got a relative steal with Diaz, a guy who has late-1st round talent. He could work very well next to Livinston as an undersized 2 who can guard points while Livingston can guard 2s. Things seem to be really turning around with this organization. GRADE: A

LA LAKERS: Jordan Farmar (UCLA) (#26); Danilo Pinnock (Geor. Wash.) (#58 via Dall)
-- Although I don't think Farmar is quite the perfect fit to play next to Kobe, for him to drop to #26, its a pretty good idea to grab him. The Lakers needed a point guard, and Farmar was the best on the board. He does not shoot the ball great from deep, but he's alright. The Lakers would prefer a better shooting point, but the Lakers should feel good cause they needed just a point guard of any kind and they got a guy who is potentially starter material. The only other guys that would have made sense at that spot were either Ager or Gibson. Gibson could have been an interesting fit next to Kobe. GRADE: B

PHOENIX: None (Traded the #21 pick, Rondo to Boston; Traded #27 pick, Rodriguez to Portland)
-- If I am a Suns' fan I would be a little concerned right now. There are rumors that owner, Rob Sarver, is let's say frugal, but the Suns moves on draft night were discouraging & puzzling. What was the incentive for giving up Rondo to Boston? Just so Boston would take Brian Grant's $1.5 mil contract off your hands? That's a little scary. If you don't want Grant's contract, just buy it out--its so small of an amount by NBA standards. And you also give up Rondo's contract which is barely $1 mil a year with Grant's to save about $2 mil, when you could use a back-up point, very troublesome. Then you do the same exact thing with another promising PG with an even smaller contract at #27. On top of that, you did not even get a defensive big & you had Boone there who could have helped you right away. I highly doubt now that they resign Tim Thomas & those Marion rumors seem a lot more viable. Maybe the Suns' team is not the wave of the future. The only reason I don't give the Suns a "F" is because they could still win the title with their current roster, so this poor showing should not really effect them this year. GRADE: D

SACRAMENTO: Quincy Douby (Rutgers) (#19)
-- The Kings screwed up this pick, and you usually don't say that when Geoff Petrie's involved. They just added another 2-guard (Douby is a 2, have no delusions he can play PG), after adding a SG the last 2 years. Kevin Martin played pretty well this season and showed a lot of poise in the playoffs. The Kings also have Garcia and you need to give him time to develop. Most importantly, the Kings needed either a back-up PG or defensive big and all the major PGs were still on the boards. Rondo would have been the ideal fit because he could have brought some much needed defense at PG. In the case that Bobby Jackson might come back, then the Kings should have taken Josh Boone who would have given some interior defense that the Kings are lacking. GRADE: F