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2009 NBA Draft Preview

Ok, I’m gonna talk about guys I like, guys I don’t, and guys I’m neutral on.  Then, I have a special mock draft summation at the end.

 Don’t Like

1)     Stephen Curry – PG?SG?…does anyone remember Trajan Langdon?  Now maybe Curry’s better than the 1999 draft bust that wily Jim Paxson snagged for the Cavs 10 yrs ago, but that’s not saying much.  He’s not a true PG, he’s not quick enough to be a true PG, and he’s 6’2” trying to be a shooter/scorer in the NBA with below average athleticism…good luck.  Any number of NBA defenders will be able to guard him, and he’ll struggle to defend most guards…I am NOT a fan.

2)     James Harden – SG…Does he have all the intangibles that a Roy or Paul Pierce has?  Is he that smooth and smart?  To go in the top 5, where a lot of people have him, he better be close, because he’s very average athletically…he also will be guarded more tightly and effectively, and will take time to adjust…if he ever does.

3)     Hasheem Thabeet – C…Is he Mutombo? I have a very good friend, a cousin-in-law, who’s a sharp hoops fan and big fan of Big East basketball as he went to G-Town. He hates this guy.  With my inherent dislike for unskilled bigs, I’ll defer to his judgment and join the detractors.

4)     Ricky Rubio – PG…He’s a white Euro PG…how many of them have hit it big in the NBA? And he’s taller than average, has a marginal outside shot, and is not an elite athlete by any means.  He will struggle to guard both PG’s and SG’s, while  lots of super-athletic home grown USA talent will be chomping at the bit to lock him down.

Like

1)     Johnny Flynn – PG…Ok, here’s a hunch…this guy is way better than Rubio or Curry both immediately and down the line.  Top 5 talent, very quick and explosive and fearless and confident.  Did you see Aaron Brooks for Houston in the playoffs?  Flynn’s a little bigger, a better leaper, but probably not quicker or as good a shooter.  He’s gutsy but he still has to develop his shot and PG skills further…hopefully he does, cuz the sky’s the limit if so.

2)     Earl Clark – SF/PF…Delicious upside…tall, skilled, a bit Lamar Odom-like (we hope the head is better!).  6’9” (7’2” wingspan), can handle it and shoot, play inside, and is athletic.  He does need to develop more moves in the post, but he’s versatile enough to be effective immediately while figures the post out.  He’s top 6 to me. A little like Anthony Randolph maybe, the G.S. rookie last year.

3)     Brandon Jennings – PG…Ok, here’s the caveat. The more you learn about him, the more you’re reminded of Sebastian Telfair.  Like Telfair, he’s small, super quick and athletic, and still learning much about the game. But he worked very hard in a tough European environment this past season, not easy for a kid spoiled throughout high school hoops, and I think it’ll pay off when he’s back in the states.  I think Telfair is a good guy, who may still get it one day…and I have faith in this kid, too.

4)     Jordan HillPF…A tall athlete similar to Clark, but plays more inside.  More upside than Thabeet, is a good rebounder, and has some post moves. Good athleticism and leaping ability, could be a big time PF if he really focuses – focus and intensity are issues with him.

 Neutral

1)     Tyreke Evans – PG/SG…Hmmm…lots of red flags, like his average quickness and explosion, tendency to dominate the ball, and bad shooting technique.  He does have a freakish wingspan of 6’11”, nice for a 6’4” guy, but he’s not a finished product, and who knows if he’ll ever be.

2)     Blake Griffin – PF…I’m only neutral as to the extreme hype surrounding him.  Yes, I too think he’ll make it and be good, but definitely All Star caliber…? Not sure.  He can board, but he’ll have to refine his offense a bit.  If he’s as good as Elton Brand in his prime, that’s impressive.  He’s more athletic than EB, but EB has the feel for the game and intangibles, not sure Blake will acquire those.

3)     DeMar DeRozan – SG/SF…ahhh, the last good thing to come of the USC hoops program for quite a while possibly, as things are a bit messy over there these days…but the football program’s clean, right? A super athlete, with T-Mac upside, but very young and undeveloped.  Showed improvement towards the latter half of the year, should go higher than T-Mac did (#9 in 1997). 

4)     Jrue Holiday – PG/SG…Might be able to contribute right away with his defensive skills and abilities.  Still needs to work on his offensive game, and is a nice athlete, but not elite, not explosive.  If he can develop into a true PG, with his height (6’4”), and also improves his offense, could be a nice player for a long time.

5)     DeJuan Blair – PF…He’s under 6’6” without shoes, only 6’6” & a half in shoes.  While that’s certainly a problem for an NBA PF, Blair weighs 270+ lbs. and knows how to use it to grab rebounds.  One reason is his freakishly long wingspan, 7’2” for someone under 6’6” – wow!  Averaged 5.6 offensive rebounds a game last year. Lack of mobility and explosion limits his upside, probably best served by getting down to 255 lbs.

 I looked at 7 different mock drafts and averaged the consensus draft position for the top players.  Here it is below, with each guy’s average position, and the range (highest draft slot & lowest).  After the top 13 guys, there is no consensus, and the next best average was well over 15.

 1)     Griffin ————-1.0…consensus #1.

2)     Thabeet ———–1.9…2-6

3)     Rubio ————–3.3…2-4

4)     Harden ————3.7…2-5

5)     Curry ————–6.0…4-8

6)     Hill —————–6.7…5-10

7)     Evans ————–7.6…6-12

8)     DeRozen ———–9.0…6-11

9)     Flynn —————9.4…7-14

10) Holiday ————10.7…4-18

11) Jennings ———–10.7…7-14

12) Clark —————-13.7…11-16

13) G. Henderson ——14.1…9-21

Click here for a full mock from SportsCity.com.

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