Friday, June 29, 2007

Draft Recap & Analysis (Eastern Conf)

ATLANTA: Al Horford (#3); Acie Law (#11)
Finally, a competent draft night for the Hawks. They filled two holes they had to fill. Even though I had Conley rated slightly ahead of Horford, I think the Hawks made the right call going with Horford at #3 because they were still able to acquire a lottery-caliber PG later. If they would have taken Conley at 3, they would have still needed/wanted a big at #11, but the problem was there would not have been a viable big left at the #11. So their strategy made sense. The only minor question is: does Acie Law have the ability to run the point at the pro level as well as he did at Tex A & M or was he just another undersized 2-guard college stud?

BOSTON: Gabe Pruitt (#32); Glen Davis (#35 via Sea)
Thought they did a solid job with their 2nd round picks. Liked Pruitt as a Top 25 player so I thought this was a minor steal. And now the Celts have someone to back-up Rondo after the dealing Delonte. Since there really wasn't a talented center at #35, think Big Baby was a decent pick-up, though he seems to duplicate what Powe gives you & his shooting pct. is a red flag at his size. Not really sure where I stand on the Allen trade. Does give the Celts a potent scoring triumvirate with Pierce & Jefferson, and they might be good enough to win the Atlantic. And Ainge did not have to part with Ratliff's valuable expiring contract, and got rid of Wally instead. Though Ray is going on 32 and coming off of some ankle injuries, so maybe giving up the #5 was not a great idea. Tough call.

CHARLOTTE: Jared Dudley (#22); Jermaro Davidson (#36 via GS)
This team desperatley needed a dynamic scorer & a dynamic scorer they got in Jason Richardson. JRich might be a little overpaid, but the Bobcats had loads of cap space & had to start using it to get some valuable vets. Though Dudley was a nice grab at 22, and he can provide some smart play on the wings. Instead of chasing another wing in the 2nd round maybe should have chased a PG in the 2nd round since they waived Brevin Knight.

CHICAGO: Joakim Noah (#9); Aaron Gray (#49); J. Curry (#51)
Disagree with my partner on this one. Really liked what the Bulls accomplished on draft night. They really needed some size & they got it in Noah. Sure, they didn't fill their biggest void of a low-post scorer, but they did add two 7-footers to a roster that had no one over 6-9. Noah's skills do overlap with what Wallace gives you, but if Joakim develops quickly, he could make it easier to deal Big Ben. Probably not a bad idea to grab JamesOn Curry since Duhon could be on the move. Granted, Aaron will not light the NBA on fire, he does have the size & skills to a serviceable reserve for a long time in this league. He can give the Bulls a smattering of post scoring, but by no means answer all their post scoring needs.

DETROIT: Rodney Stuckey (#15); Aaron Afflalo (#27); Sammy Mejia (#57)
Even though Nick Young was on the board, think Stuckey actually might be the better fit in Detroit because he can move over to run some point when needed. Pistons badly needed bench help at both guard positions, so Stuckey was ideal. He also looks to have the ability to provide some slashing, something the Pistons' offense desperately needs. Afflalo was a safe pick at #27, and Dumars probably sees a little bit of himself in Afflalo--a dogged defender who understands how to win (2 Final 4s in 2 years).

INDIANA: Stanko Barac (#39 via Miami)
Did not originally have a pick, but traded into the 2nd round to get Stanko. What I know about Stanko is he's big & can shoot. But not surprisingly he's slow, so he might never even come over to the States. Indy would have been better suited trading for a chance at a PG or SG instead.

MIAMI: Daequan Cook (#21 via Phil)
Nice pick-up. The Heat need a lot of bench help across the board and now they have a nice back-up for Wade. Think Cook can work nicely next to Wade when Dwyane's running the PG. Cook provides shooting, which the Heat can never have enough of around Wade & Shaq. Probably needed a back-up PG more, but the only guy at #20 that would make sense was Pruitt.

MILWAUKEE: Yi Jianlian (#6); Ramon Sessions (#56)
One of the biggest losers on draft night besides maybe Sacramento. Can't say I like their draft day too much. From everything you hear, Yi & his handlers want nothing to do with Milwaukee, for which I can't blame him. On top of that I'm not even that high on Yi's prospects, and the Bucks had a few viable otptions still on the table to fill their question mark at the SF spot. Corey Brewer would have been my first choice & provided a much needed defensive punch to a horrid defensive team. Wasn't all bad for the Bucks, thought the Sessions pick-up was solid, especially since all the Bucks' PGs are free agents.

NEW JERSEY: Sean Williams (#17)
Pretty solid choice. It was worth the risk at the #17. Had Williams along with McRoberts & J. Smith as one of the ideal draft targets for the Nets. He has the tools that the Nets need on their frontcourt. Excellent shot-blocker who provides much needed athleticism next to Krstic & Collins. Alright rebounder, but could be better. Not sure he will offer more than what Boone can give you as this stage but adds much needed depth upfront with Mikki Moore a free agent & Uncle Cliffy playing on fumes.

NEW YORK: Wilson Chandler (#23)
Chandler has a great physical package but just don't think that he's that overly talented to be taken at #23. The Knicks probably needed some help at the SF with QRich's health always precarious, but Chandler's just not that good of a shooter--something you're gonna need to keep doubles off of Zach & Curry. And let's quickly cover the Zach-Francis trade. Might be an exciting trade on the surface for Knick fans, but looking deeper at the new Zach-Curry combo gives you plenty of pause. Sure, having another potent low-post option is often a nice problem to have, but I really wonder how well Curry & Randolph will co-exist. Both guys do their damage in the same area & both guys demand a lot of touches; something gotta to give. But maybe the biggest issue is you are pairing Zach, a pitiful defender, with Curry, a horrid defender, to form one of the worst defensive frontlines in the NBA. And defense was the biggest deficiency the Knicks had last year, besides TOs. This move also could very likely cut down on Lee's minutes since Zach will want more minutes than Frye got. So Knicks fans, settle down.

PHILADELPHIA: Thaddeus Young (#12); Jason Smith (#20 via Miami); Derrick Byars (#42 via Port); Herbert Hill (#55 via Utah)
Not sure I really liked the move to get Young at the #12. But can't say I disliked the move totally because I don't really know what to make of Young right now. Only got to see him for one year, and though he was still raw, his physical attributes do excite & make you wonder about his scary potential. Liked the move to get Smith, it was either him or McRoberts at that point in the draft--the Sixers had to get somebody who could play PF at #21. Like the 2nd round trade to get Herb Hill because the the Sixers need all the PF help they can get; don't even have a viable back-up right now. Byars was considered by some a late 1st talent so Philly did a nice job scooping him up even though they have plenty of wings. Still need to find a back-up PG.

WASHINGTON: Nick Young (#16); Dominic McGuire (#47)
Though the Wiz really did not have a need for more scoring from the perimeter, can't fault them for taking Young, who fell into their lap. Thought Young was the best 2-guard in the draft who had arguably the best mid-range game in the draft. He is somewhat overkill, and probably doesn't help their defensive prospects, but could open up some trade options. Will have to search for some defensive role players in free agency or thru trades.