I'm at work, but I'm listening to the draft on XM. I don't claim to be Peter Vecsey, although I did beat his ass down in an e-mail war during the 2006 playoffs when he relented and admitted he was wrong about the whole Steve Nash time-out debacle. However, I do watch enough college basketball to have an opinion about many of these players and of course, I'm an NBA addict, so I have some interesting thoughts on this year's very deep draft. Away we go, until the Lakers make the #19 pick:
1st selection: Portland selects C Greg Oden (Ohio State)
My take: I'm shocked, shocked, that we already have our first draft surprise. I fully expected the Blazers to select Sam Bowie with this pick. Seriously, is Oden really that young? He's a freak of nature, because I could show his picture to people and tell them he was retired NBA legend Connie Hawkins, and I doubt anybody would call me on it. He seems like a good kid, and as long as the Portland family curse of Marijuana addiction doesn't seek him out, he's going to be a stud.
2nd selection: Seattle selects F Kevin Durant (Texas)
My take: The rumors I planted that Durant was arrested in his meth lab last week obviously had no effect, because this pick was nearly pre-destined. Obviously, I have no argument with this choice; Oden and Durant could be this generation's Olajuwon and Jordan. The Western Conference just got even more scary. Supposedly, Seattle dealt Ray Allen to the Celtics for Szerbiak, Delonte West (?!?) and the 5th pick. WTF?
3rd selection: Atlanta selects F Al Horford (Florida)
My take: The first of three potential top 10 picks from Florida. That's a first if it happens. I liked this guy a lot in the NCAA, and the Bruins are surely glad to see him go. With Horford, Atlanta is no longer the laughingstock of the East (that's still the NY Point Guards until they make the playoffs).
4th selection: Memphis selects PG Mike Conley, Jr. (Ohio State)
My take: The future starting PG of the Portland TrailBlazers is another example of genetics at work. His dad was an Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump. Frigging stud and a huge FOGO (friend of Greg Oden). These two could be this generation's Cuttino Mobley and Steve Francis. Conley Sr. is the agent for Oden and his son - I want to become a FOMCS!
5th selection: Seattle err Boston selects Forward? Jeff Green (Georgetown)
My take: This pick makes absolutely no sense to me if the rumored deal with Seattle really has gone down. Seattle just took a SF with the #2 pick and now they get another? WTF!?! I am very confused. Green was awesome in the games I watched - very athletic and good shooter. Maybe Seattle is moving Green to the SG position?
6th selection: Milwaukee selects PF Yi Jianlian (China)
My take: I fear players who have only been seen in grainy YouTube videos playing undersized longshoremen from Shanghai and who don't work out for teams pre-draft. I'm no scout, but there's no way I take this guy before Corey Brewer. Is he Yao or Darko Milicic? Only time will tell (hey, an Asia song in a post about an Asian!)
7th selection: Minnesota selects SF Corey Brewer (Florida)
My take: Milwaukee will regret not getting this guy. He's a bona fide stud, and I like him a lot! #2 of the Florida top 10 trifecta. Kevin Garnett may not want to leave now that Brewer's going to be a T-Wolf.
8th selection: Charlotte selects F Brandan Wright (North Carolina)
My take: Nice choice, but Michael Jordan must be desperate to build an all-NC team. Half the roster is built around NC alums. Is Dean Smith going to be their next coach?
9th selection: Chicago selects "Who knows?" Joakim Noah (Florida)
My take: As predicted, Florida plants three players in the top 10. I have no idea what Chicago is going to do with Noah, as they already have Ben Wallace signed up to a long-term contract playing the same basic position as Noah. However, he's not a bad guy to study under, so expect Noah's defense to be great down the line.
10th selection: Sacramento selects C Spencer Hawes (Washington)
My take: Shit! I didn't want these the Queens to get this guy. This dude might be a better center than Oden someday. Blech! Double Blech. He's a big, athletic SOB, and I don't think he's going to take a long time to get this game. And the Lakers get to face him 4 times a year - very nice.
11th selection: Atlanta take PG Acie Law (Texas A&M)
My take: I'm still not sure if this guy is going to be a star, but he should be a solid contributor at the PG position, even as a rookie. From what I've seen and read, he doesn't appear to be that fast, but neither was Magic Johnson and we know how that turned out (the great career, not the early retirement from HIV followed by a misguided comeback).
Comment: C'mon GMs, take some high-risk Euros already - I'm praying for a miracle that allows a NBA ready talent to fall down to the Lakers.
12th selection: Philadelphia takes SF Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech)
My take: I don't like this guy. Sorry, but he seemed to have a low basketball IQ in the GT games I saw. Who knows? At this level of the draft, we get lots of question marks that won't be answered for several seasons.
13th selection: New Orleans/Shithole Hornets take F Julian Wright (Kansas):
My take: Ooh, I'm beginning to fear the Hornets. This kid is underrated. Now you've got Chris Paul and with Wright, a solid ballhandling young forward. Excellent pick. Damn, why couldn't he fall 6 more spots.
Up next: The Clippers. Will they take another European unknown who will never play for them?
14th selection: Buffalo takes F Al Thornton (Kansas State):
My take: Leave it to the Clippers to make another WTF move. Did they forget that their PG Shaun Livingston just destroyed his leg? You've got several good options at PG left on the board and instead they take a questionable forward. The guy can shoot like a mother, though. He could be murder on the opposition during fast breaks, because he's really quick for a 6'8" player. Regardless, this is another in a long line of horrible picks for the Clippers.
15th selection: Detroits selects PG Rodney Stuckey (Eastern Washington):
My take: Okay, I admit it - I've never seen this guy play. Eastern Washington doesn't exactly get a lot of airplay down here. But, from what I've read, this guy's a baller. The Pistons need a young guard, so this is a very good 'draft for need' pick. Why the Clippers let him go, I'll never know?
16th selection: Washington selects Swingman Nick Young (USC):
My take: Fuck! I thought he might slip to the Lakers. Obviously, I've seen him play more than once. I love Nick Young. The kid has heart and a sad backstory (his brother was murdered by an aspiring gang member trying to prove himself). He always plays hard and is a great swing - I imagine he'll play the 2 more than the 3, though. Three picks to go!
17th selection: Brooklyn selects C/PF Sean Williams (Boston College):
My take: He got kicked off the BC squad mid-season for numerous issues and admitted that he likes to smoke dope. I can't believe the Nets stole this guy from the Knicks.
18th selection: Golden State selects SG Marco Belinelli (Italy):
My take: Yeah, like I see this guy play all the time when I'm in Europe. I don't like Europeans that much in the NBA, so why would I endorse a white SG who apparently lives up to the title of the Rosie Perez on Jeopardy! movie.
Next up: LOS ANGELES LAKERS - What the hell do we do here? The team is being held hostage by the whims of our insane mecurial shooting guard. I think we should take a defensive minded PG or a better swingman than Sasha Vujacic.
19th selection: LOS ANGELES LAKERS SELECT PG JAVARIS CRITTENTON (GEORGIA TECH):
My take: Hey, not bad at the 19th spot. Crittenton was projected to go to the Clippers, and I thought this kid was solid in the games I watched. He can shoot free throws, I know that. Essentially, he's similar to Smush Parker but younger, more athletic and with a much better basketball IQ. I figure he starts for us unless he ends up going to another team in a big trade. What does this mean for Jordan Farmar? Well, they're two different kinds of players, so there's definitely room on the roster for both of them. I don't believe they'll both be on the roster come November, though. Anyway, we've been weak at the PG spot, so we're going a great job of improving there.
Okay, that's it - I said I'd draft until the 19th pick. I'll do a full Lakers draft day recap tomorrow.
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