Tuesday, June 27, 2006

NBA Draft Chatter

On the eve of the NBA Draft, I've decided to give my input on it, although it's nowhere near my "specialty" (if I even have one). By now, we all know that the Raptors have the number one pick, and although there's no true LeBron James-esque number one talent, this draft could provide a team out there with just enough of a spark to take them to the next level. Is it the Cavs? It's doubtful. With the #25 pick, there's a good chance that anyone we end up picking won't have an instant impact. Anyways, here's my analysis of my top 3 players in the draft, who will be the most successful, who will be the biggest bust, and who will have the biggest impact next season. Most of the finer details I'm posting will come from NBADraft.net, which is in all regards an excellent site.

Note: This isn't necessarily a mock draft, this is just who I feel will be the best player when all is said and done.

#1 Andrea Bargnani (6-11/240), PF, Italy

We've all heard this story before. The tall, lanky, Euro player with a stellar jump shot and will be a premier post player after some time in the weight room, who only ends up being a 7 PPG bench player. For some reason, I feel I shouldn't be falling for this trap again, yet something is a little different about this kid. Unlike the Darko's and Nickoloz Tskitishvili's of the world, this guy actually played in Europe. Not only did he play, he played well, too. He posseses a great jumpshot, with excellent mechanics. Also something that differs from most Euro flameouts, one of Bargnani's greatest strengths is his speed. Assuming he starts hitting the weights and the McDonald's when he lands in the NBA, he should be a top talent. Although, it will probably take some time for him to adjust to the NBA level, but there won't be a need to panic if he plays realatively mediocre in his first season.

Will fall no lower than: 2nd overall
Most logical NBA fit: Chicago at 2 (Toronto already has a surplus of forwards for the future, and will struggle to find time for Bosh, Bargnani and Villanueva to all play)
Will probably end up at: Toronto (Regardless of what I said, Raptors' GM Brian Colangelo won't pass up on Bargnani's potential in this relatively mediocre draft).



#2 Rudy Gay (6-8/222), SF, UConn

Moreso than in the collegiate game, especially at UConn, athleticism means a lot. And athleticism alone makes Gay the #2 prospect in my book in this draft. His ability to slash to the hoop and finish, as well as be a premier rebounder for his position only helps his case. If I had to compare him to a player today, I'd have to say a more offensive-minded Tayshaun Prince. He has a long wingspan which helps him lockdown defenders. His midrange game is also one of his better strengths, and it will only make defenses tighten up on him as he improves it, allowing him to drive to the basket easier. The only questions regarding Gay is his consistency and motivation. He's only 19, so it's way too early to tell if it was just jitters from being thrown into a superstar-role at UConn, or if he is too immature to handle the pressure. Only time will tell in the NBA, but most people, like me, expect him to flourish.

Will fall no lower than: #6
Most logical NBA fit: Charlotte at 3 (Word is that MJ absolutely loves this guy, and this team lacks an athletic front court player that can run the court as well as rebound. Just like with Bargnani, it might take him a season or two to adjust to the NBA game, but when he does adjust, we'll all know it).
Will probably end up at: Charlotte at #3



#3 Brandon Roy (6-6 195), SG, Washington

Roy is probably the best all-around player in the draft, and is probably the most NBA-ready of all of the upper echelon of talent in this draft as well. Although he may not have JJ Redick's spectacular range, or Rudy Gay's athleticism, he has a bit of everything, and enough of it to have an impact instantly. He has the basketball-intellect to make an impact on the court, but if he does have one weakness it is probably on the defensive side. He gives good effort, but doesn't have the lateral quickness or wingspan of the so-called "lockdown" defenders in the league. He played in the Pac-10, earning POY honors in the conference, yet so few people know much about him because he played on the west coast and Washington didn't exactly set the world on fire this year. His potential may not be as high as Gay or Bargnani, but he is as close to a sure thing as you're going to find this year.

Will fall no lower than: #5
Most logical NBA fit: Portland at 4 (If this team has a strength, and I'm still looking for it, it's in the front court. The team's current listed SGs are Juan Dixon, Voshon Leonard, and Martell Webster. Dixon is more of a point guard, Leonard can't really do much, anywhere, and Webster is more of a Small Forward, and will probably be worked into that spot as he continues to gain more playing time).
Will probably end up at: Minnesotta at #6 (The Hawks have more enough guys to fill the SG spot, and Portland already seems to have Adam Morrison all but drafted).





The player from the 2006 draft that will have the best career:
Rudy Gay. Freakish Athleticism, plus a solid midrange game should be a recipe for success, assuming he can put it together on a game-to-game basis. The way I see things going with Bargnani, he won't have nearly the opprotunities that Gay will have, which will cause Gay to blossom and Bargnani to become a top talent, but won't have as many opprotunities with the ball in his hands.

The biggest bust from this draft will be:
Adam Morrison. I don't get what everyone sees in this guy. Sure, he torched some good defenses in college, but he doesn't have anywhere near the speed nor athleticism to compete against the more athletic NBA defenders. His mechanics are a bit goofy, an dhe doesn't have any lateral speed, which will get him manhandled defensively. People say he's the next Larry Bird, but I see more of another tall, white guy with some 3 point range in him: Keith Van Horn.

The 2006-07 Rookie of the Year will be:
Brandon Roy. See my description of him for more details...I'm going to bed.

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