Since Jelly is the resident expert on the draft, (I wonder sometimes whether he even likes NBA, college, or the idea of basketball, of if they're all just necessary evils to knowing about the draft.) I haven't chimed in yet. I am excited about tomorrow, however, and plan to celebrate in the usual manner of eating a sickening amount of wings. If I don't find a quality wing establishment in Philly though, I might have to do the Arby's Pick 5 again. (No, there isn't a better deal in fast food. And two Jr. Roast Beefs, medium curlys, mozzarella sticks, and a Jamocha shake if you're scoring at home.) Looking around town, something tells me there are more than enough wings to go around.
I'm so glad I unpacked my digital camera for dinner Monday. Outside the frame on the right, there are fourteen Jamocha shakes.
There aren't enough quality NBA prospects in the draft pool, and I intend to tell you which ones look ready to me. Right now there's no point to doing a mock draft since there are so many trade rumors afoot. Let's say I do four "justified," guys I like--since there's no such thing as under-rated in draft prognostication--and four over-rated dudes.
Justified (which obviously would include Oden and Durant)
1. Al Horford- Despite having a roster of about ten forwards between 6'6" and 6'9", I don't see how you could pass up Horford at the third pick if you're the Hawks. He's more polished than any of the other top ten picks, with a skill set that includes solid footwork, a dependable mid-range jumper, and the ability to play with his back to the basket. The Hawks also need his rebounding help, despite the fact that they have, you know, ten forwards between 6'6" and 6'9".
2. Mike Conley, Jr.- I don't know why some people haven't been convinced. He's fearless with great ball-handling skills and a pass-first attitude, and he has succeeded at the highest levels up to this point, all while being secure in the second-banana role. If the Hornets didn't already have the guy everyone's hoping Conley turns into, (No, I'm not talking about Cedric Simmons, sadly.) I would be dying to trade up for him. Full disclosure: Unlike Jelly, I place way more emphasis on experience at the highest levels of competition. Conley playing with confidence in the NCAA Championship Game holds way more sway with me than some Ukranian getting fifteen minutes a game and dunking on sixteen-year-olds in some Turkish league. Apparently, it's just me, but the tide is beginning to change, as the last three Rookies-of-the-Year had significant experience at major programs before bouncing to the League.
3. Nick Young- He's getting a lot more buzz, so I hope Young is still around for the Hornets at thirteen. He would be a great fit. We almost certainly won't pay Desmond Mason what he wants to stay, and Young is virtually the same player with his inside-out scoring, leaping ability, and spotty D. I really respect the program being run at USC, and I think Young has a lot of upside.
4. Arron Afflalo- Absolutely no one is talking about Afflalo at this point because he's not a very sexy pick, kind of awkward and unathletic when compared to the guards that will be taken in the first round, which he won't. (Look out for using the word "sexy" to evaluate a player. It'll happen all of Thursday night.) But he has experience and size, and the guy just seems to understand the game. I never saw him rattled at UCLA, and he could be quite an asset off the bench for an already-established team. And usually, when people mention the "for an already-established team" thing, they're talking about potential, bringing a guy up slowly. That's not the case for Afflalo. He's ready right now. For the same reasons, I would also recommend Alando Tucker from Wisconsin.
1. Brandan Wright- It's hard for me to knock a UNC guy and I don't think Wright will be a terrabull choice, but I could never justify him going in the top seven or eight picks. He'll be able to rebound right away, but anything else will take a long time to develop.
2. Spencer Hawes- Quick, give me the number of successful NBA players with the name of Spencer. There's no way Hawes should be selected in the mid-first round. He's a stiff. He has no mobility, and he's too soft to get any position with his 7'1" frame. The good news? Philadelphia worked him out twice. I'm so glad I moved here. (Yeah, yeah, Spencer Haywood was good. Whatevs.)
3. Julian Wright- He's going to slide way down the board on draft night and with good reason. There's nothing I hate about Julian Wright, but there's also nothing he does expertly. There isn't one part of his game that seems that above-average to me. He should have stayed in school another year.
4. Sean Williams- I admit Williams is a first-rate shot-blocker, but he didn't work out for anyone; he got busted for pot and was kicked off his Boston College team; and he doesn't have any finesse in the post, let alone any weapons beyond five feet in. Definitely a first rounder, don't you think? People are now saying that his teammate Jared Dudley should be chosen before him, but that's kind of like saying, "Who's funnier: Billy Crystal or Robin Williams?" Can I just not pick either and be done with it?
"Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!"
"You look mahvelous."
For the record, I'm intrigued by Yi Jianlian and would probably take him in the six-to-nine pick range.
More draft madness to come before tomorrow. Until then, I'm thinking Arby's.
Slightly out of context:
Dead Kennedys- "When Ya Get Drafted"