Thursday, June 23, 2005

The NBA Draft Made Easy

Now that the lamest NBA Finals in history have concluded with a characteristically low score, it is time to look ahead to Tuesday's NBA draft. Of course, there are a lot of candidates floating around, few of them decidely superior, and the middle-to-late first round could feature more nasty surprises than Asia SF to the uninitiated. Speaking of SF's, SF Marvin Williams, UNC's pogo-stick 6th man, has begun to really cause people to question whether Andrew Bogut, the national player of the year who averaged almost twice as many points and rebounds as Williams, is the consensus #1 pick for the Bucks, who have been quietly suffering their own version of chronic wasting disease out in the hinterlands. The word is that the Bucks will take the player most immediately ready to contribute (Bogut), leaving Williams to fall (and how!) to the Hawks.

Now, when Robinson Jeffers wrote Give Your Heart To The Hawks, he could not have known how right he'd be. To "heart", let us also add: point guard, shooting guard, power forward, and center. The Hawks, you see, never met a small forward they didn't like. After staking the franchise on the lovable but solid-at-best Al Harrington, they decided that 3 is indeed company in last year's draft, taking Josh Childress, arguably the greatest college basketball player of all time, followed closely by Josh Smith. Childress was stuck out of place at the 2, but played a very nice de facto 3 in the second half of the season, while Smith outshone the higher pick early on but never really proved to be more than a dunk/rebound/block kind of player (a tremendous shock, I know).

So, whither the Hawk's #2 overall pick? Conventional wisdom suggests that these perennial Emmy award winners will pick the one thing they have too much of already - which leaves #3 pick-holders Portland in a tight spot. No strangers to boneheaded picks (viz. Sebastian Telfair and Travis Outlaw) in recent years, the Blazers could select the best overall player, undersized but sparkling point guard Chris Paul. But they have already invested the point guard position in Telfair. So what do they do? They could bypass this conflict entirely and select Gerald Green, the prep schooler already being touted as a young T-Mac (wait, I thought T-Mac was a young T-Mac). They could pick Paul, and admit they goofed on Telfair. Or they could play the two side by side in a bid for the Shortest Backcourt This Side of the WNBA. (Of course, given the chemistry masterstroke of playing Zach Randolph and Shareef Abdur-Rahim side by side, it's not inconceivable).

Now, there is one outcome that no one is discussing. What if - and I am only saying what if - Atlanta does something smart for once, and picks Chris Paul, the floor general they so desperately need? And what if, with such grace shed upon them, Portland snatches the previously unthinkable Marvin Williams, a perfect complement to the menacing Randolph at the other forward spot? I know, I know: When you're Top 2, you're Top 2. But bear with me on this. Portland gets their man, and perhaps even deals Darius "I'm Gonna Average 9 and 5 The Rest of My Life" Miles to some really desperate and optimistic team. Think about it: #2 picks the best available player for their needs, and #3 does likewise. At #4, New Orleans nabs the obvious pick, Illinois PG Deron Williams. And everyone's happy. Well, everyone, that is, except the teams picking 5th-30th. But, like my dad says every time I piss off the wrong people, fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Because the rest of this draft is certainly looking like a hearty one.


Blogger BLawGer said...

nice ... i say the most underrated player in this draft is hakim warrick. i don't get why he's not a lottery pick: tall, decent shot, athletic as possible.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Moses Malone said...

Ike Diogu pick #9 to the Warriors! Finally that SOB is gone from the PAC-10. Who knows if he'll prosper at the next level. He'll go from playing with college scrubs to NBA thugs. On the other hand, he's the right kind of kid for Monty. A decent human, a team player.

Also, good move by the Charlotte Bobcats picking two NC Tarheels. That is smart business. Guaranteed local fan support boost.
I'm not buying May as an NBA player, but he'll get some UNC fans' butts in the seats.

10:22 PM  

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