Friday, June 29, 2007

Draft Analysis

These will be quick but they must be done before Hoopinion goes off-line while moving.

Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford was the third best player in the draft. Acie Law IV is what he is but what he is is better than anybody the Hawks have played at the point in recent years. (Okay, he may not be better than Tyronn Lue, but I've been anti-Tyronn Lue for over a decade and I'm not letting his recent, productive offensive play disrupt tradition.) To those who would have drafted Conley I say, the Hawks will not be so good so soon that they forfeit the opportunity to upgrade the point guard position further in the next couple of drafts. (EDIT: Stats has reminded me that Atlanta's first round pick in '08 goes to Phoenix, so they'll have one chance in the draft. I'd recommend trading Marvin Williams for Jose Calderon.)

Boston Celtics: Getting rid of Wally Szczerbiak's contract? Plus. Replacing Delonte West with Gabe Pruitt? Minus. Trading the rights of the fifth draft pick for Ray Allen? Plus in '07-'08, possibly a plus in '08-'09, probably a minus by '09-'10. Adding Glen Davis to play somewhere behind Jefferson, Perkins, and Gomes? Probably irrelevant to everyone except Leon Powe.

Charlotte Bobcats: Jason Richardson is a much better basketball player than Brandan Wright. Granted, I use to think of Jason Richardson as I now think of Brandan Wright so I could be wrong about all this in three years. Jared Dudley should immediately push Adam Morrison down into an appropriate spot on the depth chart while he learns how to get a good shot off in the NBA. Jermareo Davidson is unlikely to be a factor in that frontcourt. I predict Europe.

Chicago Bulls: Noah was the fourth best player in the draft. His lack of scoring ability is massively overstated. He led the first Florida national championship team in scoring (33.5 Pts/100) and simply became more of a passer last season (A/100 up by over 25%). He outscored Horford significantly in their freshman and sophomore seasons and scored just 0.7 fewer points per 100 possessions than Horford this past season.

When Noah's out there in place of Ben Wallace, Chicago will be playing 5-on-5 offensively. Hell, when Aaron Gray's out there instead of Wallace, the same holds. Gray figures to be great value for a second-round pick. He can play 12 good minutes a night for the next 6-8 years. JamesOn Curry was hindered by Oklahoma State's terrible point guard the last two years, but I don't see him becoming an effective off guard in the NBA.

Cleveland Cavaliers: No pick. No trade.

Dallas Mavericks: If his body lets him, Fazekas will make use of his skills. It's certainly a no-lose situation for the Mavericks to use a second-round pick on him but small consolation for Adam Morrison and JJ Redick stealing all of his Player of the Year awards year before last.

By the time Seibutis and Rakovic are ready to come over I'll have established an uninformed opinion about them. It's too early for that now, though.

Denver Nuggets: No pick. No trade. (But cheers to Arseblog for the Satan Kroenke moniker.)

Detroit Pistons: Rodney Stuckey is probably better than Flip Murray, though the extra made shots might be offset by the extra turnovers in the short term. Arron Afflalo is more likely to make an immediate impact as a defender and spot-up shooter. Sammy Mejia was a hell of a lot better than Wilson Chandler at DePaul. Like Chandler, he doesn't necessarily have a position in the NBA but as he's smaller and less athletic than his former teammate, he'll get far fewer chances despite far greater basketball skills.

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors already have a bigger version of Brandan Wright in Biedrins. It's a good situation for Wright as he'd struggle in any sort of half-court context. Plus, playing alongside Al Harrington, he'll immediately look like a good reboudner. Belinelli certainly sounds like a good fit and a possible yin to Pietrus's yang. Stephane Lasme must also be thrilled to have joined an organization that has use for a skinny, 6-7 power forward who specializes in blocking shots.

Houston Rockets: Aaron Brooks is (I guess) an upgrade over Little John Lucas. This is the only organization that keeps a roster spot for an undersized, shoot-first, defend-never point guard that was slightly overrated in college. Carl Landry was quite underrated in college but he has both size and surgery history working against him. If I may resort to stereotype and hyperbole, Brad Newley is going to make Steve Novak look athletic.

Indiana Pacers: Stanko Barac. May we all still have our health when his NBA career comes to pass.

Los Angeles Clippers: If the Clippers try to replace Corey Maggette with Al Thornton, Mike Dunleavy might finally recognize how good Corey Maggette is. Thornton is going to be a scoring, offensive rebounding, undersized power forward on a good team. Even then you'll have to live with his poor defense and frequency of shot attempts. Personally, I'd like to see him on a really bad team where he'd have the offensive freedom he had at Florida State. He's not a guy you'd want to play with unless you suck and need someone to score for you.

Jared Jordan is perfect for the GM who thought about inviting Will Conroy or Aaron Miles to camp but didn't like the fact that either of those guys can keep an opposing point guard in front of him. There's not a great NBA tradition of unathletic point guards who can't shoot. Bully to Jordan if he can change the game.

Los Angeles Lakers: Crittenton could really benefit from the structure of the triangle offense. Poor decision-making (and Paul Hewitt's acceptance of turnovers) limited the accomplishments of his freshman year. He's very talented and could become quite good. Marc Gasol could fill a need if Bynum's traded. Sun Yue can certainly sell some jerseys and possibly backup Luke Walton. Without even seeing Sun Yue play, I give him a good chance at beating out Radmanovic for minutes.

Memphis Grizzlies: Taking Conley was a no-brainer. I always thought Kyle Lowry would be an excellent backup. Now they just have to get moved to the Eastern Conference.

Miami Heat: Daequan Cook is a lot more talented than Dorell (I always have to check as to whether it's one 'r' or one 'l') Wright but I don't know how well he fits in Miami. With the players they currently have under contract, I'd be tempted to give him Antoine Walker's minutes at the 3, but that has more to do with Antoine's inadequacies than Cook's readiness or ability to succeed at that position.

Milwaukee Bucks: Who knows if they'll get Yi to play for them or what they could get in a trade for him. The simple thing to do would have been to draft Noah or Brewer and get immediate contributions. I would have taken Zabian Dowdell ahead of Ramon Sessions in the second round.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Garnett can play but he'll probably be traded. McCants can play, if he's healthy. Foye and Brewer can play. Craig Smith is a nice complementary player. Chris Richard (assuming his success at Florida wasn't primarily due to his ability to play well with good players) might be their next best player depending on Ricky Davis's mood.

New Jersey Nets: I wonder how often I will write this off-season: "Sean Williams is not a good rebounder." In fact, his rebounding numbers last year were almost identical to those Marcus Williams posted. Sean Williams will block a lot of shots but in between shot blocking opportunities his attention wanders. He's a better dunker than Jason Collins but other than that their offensive games are similarly limited.

New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets certainly won't have to worry about their first-round draft pick duplicating any of Peja Stojakovic's skill set. Julian Wright will be immediately useful defensively and as a rebounder on both the offensive and defensive glass. He can finish in transition and is a good passer. If he simplifies his game off the dribble and improves his shooting he'll go down as a massive draft steal.

Haluska may fix any Chris Andersen jones the Hornets franchise has. He's extremely athletic, but at his size, I'm not sure that can make up for his relative lack of skill.

New York Knicks: Wilson Chandler doesn't know how to play basketball. Demetris Nichols can score, but nobody's going to let him touch the ball. Zach Randolph is better than Eddy Curry, but it's not like Eddy Curry does anything other than make a high percentage of his field goal attempts so he can't complement Randolph. Fred Jones might be an upgrade over Mardy Collins the next time Isiah feels the need for blood vengeance.

Orlando Magic: I like Reyshawn Terry a lot but I'm not sure I like him better than Trevor Ariza. Terry can shoot so he might get some minutes at the 2.

Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young did not show any interest in defending, rebounding, or scoring in the paint at Georgia Tech. He'll have to attempt at least two of those tasks to become a good NBA player. My guess is that he's content to be a jump shooter who gets the occasional dunk in transition or off an offensive rebound.

Jason Smith scored well at Colorado State, but he turned the ball over a hell of a lot. He could be little more than an upgrade over Shavlik Randolph. Derrick Byars has his uses, but are they different than those that Korver, Carney, and Bobby Jones offer? Herbert Hill could parlay his ability to play on both ends of the floor into serious minutes very quickly considering the alternatives.

Phoenix Suns: Alando Tucker can't shoot and he didn't rebound much at Wisconsin. He'll have to make the volume scorer to defensive specialist transition that Adrian Griffin eventually managed. DJ Strawberry could very well be the more productive NBA player.

Portland TrailBlazers: Putting Fernandez and Koponen aside for the moment as I'm ignorant, Portland acquired the best player in the draft, the point guard of the last two national champions (I'm skeptical that Taurean Green will be a useful NBA player, but I wouldn't be shocked if he figured out how to become one.), and picked up Josh McRoberts at a cost appropriate to his abilities. Now all Kevin Pritchard has to do is find a decent small forward.

They also got Channing Frye who figures to fit in nicely alongside either Oden or Aldridge. For the record, Frye is not very much like LaMarcus Aldridge at all. Aldridge rebounds, plays defense, and has a nascent post game.

Sacramento Kings: This may be the first time I'm glad they left Kansas City 22 years ago.

San Antonio Spurs: Splitter is worthy reward for running your organization really well. They're also buying low on Marcus Williams who had a fine freshman season at Arizona but was party to the implosion in Tucson last year. He could give them something like Stephen Jackson's contributions to the '03 NBA Champions.

Giorgis Printezis looked a lot like Eli Roth.

Seattle SuperSonics: I think you can afford to pay Wally Szczerbiak $25 million over the next two years for however many healthy games he can provide you when you're only paying $6 million for Kevin Durant and Jeff Green's combined production. Delonte West should provide a lot of good minutes in the backcourt and one has to assume that some of the current roster will be traded over the summer.

Toronto Raptors: No pick. No trade.

Utah Jazz: Morris Almond should be able to play alongside Ronnie Brewer while backing up Derek Fisher and Matt Harpring, thus preventing Gordan Giricek from playing 1200 minutes again next year. I deem that a success.

Washington Wizards: I fail to see how Nick Young complements Arenas, Butler, and Jamison any better than Jarvis Hayes did. Young is coming off a career year. He'll have to improve significantly to be that good again (relative to the level of competition, of course).

Dominic McGuire is an undersized, under-skilled four who doesn't contribute as much on the offensive glass as those types of guys generally have to in order to be useful. He's this draft's poor man's Stephane Lasme.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Afflalo pick left me scratching my head.