Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Token White Guy Mock Draft

It's been three months since my last post on here, and that last post was on a college basketball player's NBA future... a college basketball player not currently in tomorrow's NBA Draft... Fantastic. So, to get back on the posting trail with something that will be relevant within a year, I bring you my own Mock Draft. Now, let me tell you first off that this is not a "what I think will happen" Mock, but a "what I think should happen, and what would happen if GMs weren't stupid" Mock. Further note: I will not make any trades within the mock that have not been made already, but will suggest a few at the end of the article. Without further ado:

1) Chicago - Michael Beasley - PF - Kansas St.

Point Guard is, without any doubt, the most important position on any NBA basketball team. But choosing a point guard with inferior talent over a power forward with superior talent is simply inexcusable. Here are the numbers for Derrick Rose during the one season he played at Memphis:

PPG: 14.9
APG: 4.7
RPG: 4.5
FG %: .477

Do any of those numbers really stick out to you and tell you "this guys is Great!" No. The Bulls are looking for this kid to be a franchise point guard, a guy who will distribute the ball and be a floor general, who will lead them to an NBA Title. So, to help make a point as to why this guy is not a superstar in the making, I'll compare his numbers to a guy who is a superstar point guard, Jason Kidd (who played two seasons at Cal). These are Kidd's freshman and sophomore year numbers at Cal. (Stat: Fr. # / So. #)

PPG: 13.0 / 16.7
APG: 7.7 / 9.1
RPG: 4.9 / 6.9
FG %: .463 / .472

Again, consider the position. Kidd's assist numbers completely DOMINATE Rose's. It's not even close, Kidd had rose edged by 3 APG in their respective freshman seasons, and nearly doubled Rose's total in comparing Kidd's sophomore year to Rose's year. Isn't this supposed to be the most important statistic? Aren't point guards supposed to excel at passing? And even if you were to try to make the point that Rose is a better scorer than Kidd, he only averaged two more points per game than Kidd in their respective freshman campaigns. Kidd was known as an extremely sub-par scorer coming out of college, but he kept up with Rose and his supposed Jay-Bilas "blowbyability." This makes me sick. Rose is good, but he's not a #1 pick. At least not after just one year of college. Damn you David Stern... Damn you.

Now, after mentioning all of the reasons why the guy who is going to get taken shouldn't, let me once again show you the numbers Beasley put up that made everyone think he was the consensus #1 pick before everyone started talking themselves out of it after the college basketball season:

PPG: 26.2
RPG: 12.4
FG %: .532
3 Pt. FG %: .379

Hello? Is anybody looking at these? Anybody at all??? Beasley (a power forward) had a better three point field goal percentage than Rose (a point guard)(.337). To put Beasley's numbers in perspective, why don't we compare them to Kevin Durant's? They're both considered to be tall, long, smooth players who find scoring to be simply too easy to them. Here are Durant's Texas numbers:

PPG: 25.8
RPG: 11.1
FG %: .473
3 Pt. FG %: .404

Wait for it... Waaaaaaaaaaaaait......... Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. BEASLEY'S ARE BETTER!!! Durant was last year's #2 pick. What do you have when you have a guy better than a #2 pick - a #1 pick (note: that is definitely not a point that I'm making, it's crappy logic if applied to drafts from different years... I'd hate to image the crap that someone with way too much time on their hands - like me - could come up with by following this logic. I'll just say it was for dramatic effect and move on). My point is that Beasley's numbers are better than Rose's by a LOT, and don't we measure players by how they do in the games? Workouts don't matter once you get on the court. Just ask Chairman Yi (and that chair he totally posterized in all of those YouTube videos scouts fell in love with). Beasley's the right pick here, especially since Hinrich, despite his limitations, is on the books for (*wheeze*) four more years at over $11 mil per. And you're going to spend your first overall pick on that position? Sheesh.

2) Miami - Derrick Rose - PG - Memphis

Now, allow me to totally reverse all logic used in the previous statement and tell you that Rose is the only option here. Nothing is better to have than a point guard who is pissed off at the world and ready to prove everybody wrong, whether it be his old team after he is traded due to legal troubles (Jason Kidd after his wifebeating - not the white trash shirts, the white trash recreational activity - leading the Nets to consecutive Finals appearances and flipping the Suns the middle finger), his old team after he is let walk in free agency because the owner of the former team doesn't think you're worth a less-than-max-money contract (Steve Nash returning Mark Cuban's middle finger with a photo of his trophycase), those who labelled him as being "not a true point guard" (Chauncey Billups after finally landing in Detroit), or a young kid who totally abuses the top competition at his position in workouts (this would not have changed my opinion, mind you, but it did piss him off, so the point is still valid... sort of.) and yet gets taken in the late first round and then sold for $4 million (Rajon Rondo, who totally schooled the point guards of his draft class in workouts, and then had his rights and Brian Grant's $1 million salary sold by the Suns for $3 million). Pissed off point guards are the best. This situation would be PERFECT for the Heat, especially because of how much Rose has lobbied to play for his hometown Bulls, and how much Pat Riley would make sure Rose knew that they didn't want him. Also, anytime you can replace Jason Williams as your starting point guard, that's always a plus.

3) Minnesota - OJ Mayo - SG - USC

If the Wolves really want a point guard to help fill the oh-so-extremely-not-so-really-huge hole left by Sebastian Telfair's departure, they shouldn't take Mayo or Bayless. It's simply idiotic to think either of those two is best served in the NBA bringing the ball up the court and initiating any offense. They score. It's what they do. Let them do it at the 2. If they want a point guard, the choice is Russell Westbrook. The kid has potential that he clearly has not reached, but he's Rajon Rondo ver. 2.0. We all saw what happened when teams underestimated and passed over ver. 1.0, so I'm hoping for the sake of the league that the same mistake isn't made twice. However, if this team is ready to let Randy Foye know that he's their starting point guard, which they should, considering they gave up Brandon Roy for him, then the choice becomes a lot easier. Take whichever of the two everyone-thinks-I'm-a-point-guard-but-they're-morons guys is better at scoring. That's Mayo. Now, that was easy, wasn't it?

4) Seattle - Alexis Ajinca - C - Some foreign country... oh yeah, it's France

Are you buying this? Huh? Are you? Yeah, me neither, I'm joking. If the Sonics went ahead and drafted yet another center, to make the ultimate craptastic quadfecta of Robert Swift, Johan Petro, Mouhamed Sene, and Ajinca (who averaged 5 points in some French league) into four out of five years' worth of first-round picks, there would be a mutiny in Seattle. Then again, if Clay Bennett can make it so that the city of Seattle doesn't even want the Sonics there anymore...... I might be onto something here... Nevermind. Now for the real pick (and just so you know, Ajinca will be nowhere in my mock. You need to average at lest 10 points overseas to be considered, nomatter how long your arms are. Sorry, Alexis. Come to think of it, there will be no Euros with the exception of seemingly sure-thing Danilo Gallinari in this Mock. I'm sick of people saying how good someone is as a late-round pick to stash in Europe when they average 8 points per game in some Euroleague, or played well at one corporate showcase. They're all banned. This should make things a bit more interesting, eh?).

4) Seattle Sonics/Oklahoma City Rodeo Clowns - Jerryd Bayless - SG - Arizona

Who cares if the Sonics aren't high on him? They're being stupid. The two biggest financial commitments they've made to players are to Nick Collison (the only player they have under contract for three more seasons) and Luke Ridnour (one of two on board for two more seasons, and the other, Damien Wilkins, makes less than half of what Ridnour does). So why are they thinking of taking a worse player (Russell Westbrook) despite the fact that he plays a position that they've made a financial commitment to already? This league baffles me. Suck it up and realize that of course Bayless was pissed and moody last year, he got to play under Kevin O'Neill instead of Lute Olson in his one year of college basketball. You'd be pissed too.

5) Memphis - Kevin Love - PF - UCLA

Memphis has too many good young point guards, has a couple of solid shooters, but with the departure of Kwame Brown's corpse, there is no size left in Memphis. Love, as well as being immensely underrated after an extremely productive season at UCLA, does a lot to fill that huge hole in the interior. Some people are saying Eric Gordon here, but what does drafting a 6'3'' shooting guard here accomplish for Memphis? I love Gordon, as you'll read below, but how can you not also love Love? (yes, I really did just want to say "love Love," guilty as charged.)

6) New York - Russell Westbrook - PG - UCLA

People need to think more about the cities people are going to before they draft a guy. You really want to send some Italian guy to New York City (as many mocks have done)? Really? Mike D'Antoni can't watch over the guy all day long. He'd get torn to shreds at the first sign of struggles, which he would go through, and I'm not sold on any Euro guy being tough enough to handle the New York Media sticking their collective junk up his pooper. Just write a eulogy while you're at it. Instead, why don't they just take the best player available? Westbrook, or Rondo 2.0, plays the most important position on the court and does it well. Many are questioning whether a rookie can handle the Steve Nash system, but who says that Stephon Marbury can? Seriously, you can only go up from that starting point. Westbrook would be fine.

7) L.A. Clippers - D.J. Augustin - PG - Texas

Some are saying that the Clippers are looking at Eric Gordon, but why? Hell, all that would do is confuse the scorers table guys when he comes in for Cuttino Mobley, THEY'RE THE EXACT SAME PLAYER!!! Gordon is not a point, and this team drastically needs a point. I'm not a huge fan of drafting strictly for need, but it's not like Augustin is a huge reach here, he'd go within the lottery anyways, and likely within the next four or five picks. Augustin is a legitimate point guard, which they have been sorely lacking since they cut Space Man Sam loose and had the "Daunte Culpepper knee injury" re-named as the "Shaun Livingston knee injury." Not too hard of a pick to make.

8) Milwaukee - Brook Lopez - C - Stanford

Some are saying that West Virginia's Joe Alexander, a small foward who shot 27% from three-point range last year, will go here. Too bad they don't look at Milwaukee's roster, they'd see that they've already got two of him (Desmond Mason and Bobby Simmons), and have been trying to get rid of both. Alexander might be a good pick for someone, but it's just not the Bucks. Others say Gallinari, but, lo and behold, one of his main questions is his long-range shooting. Either of those picks will might cause Michael Redd to go drink a dozen pints of good ol' Milwaukee ale and sacrifice himself in a field Children of the Corn-style. No, the pick here is Lopez. Even though he's got the athletic range of a rock, the guy has some polished low-post moves, and won't be as much of a bust as many think he will. The kid averaged nearly 20 points a game last year... You can't be too bad and do that. After years of Dan Gadzuric and Jake Voskuhl, this would be a very welcome change.

9) Charlotte - Kosta Koufos - C - Ohio State

Charlotte basically has four players on its roster it would like to keep for the forseeable future - Emeka Okafor, Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, and Raymond Felton. That means, naturally, it needs a center. Koufos is far more athletic than Lopez, and since it's not like the Bobcats are going anywhere anytime soon as it is, they can afford to be patient and let Koufos develop into a good basketball player. Many are saying that if Koufos had waited a year, he's be a top-5 pick. So why does that mean he shouldn't be picked high this year (more fantastic broken logic from NBA scouts)? Some would call it a reach, I call it a good pick.

10) New Jersey - Eric Gordon - SG - Indiana

This is a pure talent pick. And it's a damn good one. Eric Gordon will be special, and since the Nets seem to be actively trying to dump off either Richard Jefferson or Vince Carter, this allows them to do so for the best offer on the table, and without worrying about filling the hole left behind from the deal. Gordon averaged over 20 points a game while playing for a coach who was embedded in a scandal (and eventually got canned mid-season), while playing with a wrist injury, and while the rest of his teammates essentially gave up on the season. And why is this guy not rated higher? Like, say, as a top-5 prospect? To let you know how much I like the kid, I seriously considered slotting him in at #4 instead of Bayless. I consider him to be either at the same level as Bayless or just barely below. The difference is that slim. Sadly, after that pick no other team makes sense for Gordon until perhaps the teens, and he was simply too good of a talent to make it there without some team neglecting need and snatching him up. I say the Nets should do it.

11) Indiana - Danilo Gallinari - SF - Italy

The Pacers just got T.J. Ford, and it's a darn good thing in my logic-based mock because the two best point guard prospects are gone. This allows them to go ahead and take Gallinari, whose short-range game is actually a nice compliment and fit for them to contrast with Mike Dunleavy's huck-up-the-trey style. Another solid talent pick, if all those foreign scouts are really correct about how good this guy is. I've personally given up on trying to guess which foreign prospects are any good. I just don't get it anymore.

12) Sacramento - Joe Alexander - SF - West Virginia.

One of the few crappy teams around that really has no need whatsoever for a post player. With Beno Udrih's inevitable overpayment and likely departure, this is a team in dire need for a point guard. Sadly for them, at this point in the draft, there looks to be absolutely none of any value available. The last point that seems to be first-round talent is Mario Chalmers, after which we get into Kyle Weaver territory, and that is territory that should never be approched anywhere until at least pick 25, not to mention pick 12. And with Chalmers, I just can't find it in myself to take a guy in the lottery who hasn't noticably improved statistically from freshman to junior year. Look at his numbers, they're all the same. 30 mins per game, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 and a half steals, and 2 turnovers. That's the peak of your potential for a lottery guy? I'm not buying it. So, Sacramento should just brace itself for Ron Artest's new secret campaign to re-establish himself as a major sports headline grabber and take Alexander. By this point in the draft, he's not as wildly overrated as he is when teams are picking him in the top eight. And, quite frankly, it's simply the safe thing to do...

13) Portland - Donte Greene - SF - Syracuse

The Blazers would have really loved to have had Alexander. Like really loved to have him. But with him gone, and no players to fill any holes in sight, the Blazers should probably just take the guy who will be the best player in three to four years when the Blazers start winning titles. Green averaged 17 points last year and yet people have him out of the lottery. Why? Heck, I'd make Green the Sacto pick ahead of Alexander if the last Syracuse small forward who came out after one year (that's Carmelo for those of you who somehow might now know) wasn't embedded in legal troubles, and the Kings want to make sure that the guy backing up Artest doesn't have anybody within six degrees of separation with character flaws. Greene will be very good though. I'm almost scared to give him to Portland...

14) Golden State - Anthony Randolph - PF - LSU

While I would simply love for Randolph to fall to Phoenix, I simply wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I rigged my own meaningless mock draft to get my team the best player it could logically get at its draft slot. Hopefully this will give me some sort of good karma and we'll end up with him in the real thing. Who knows. Randolph basically is a freak of nature who put up solid stats in his freshman campaign, and has way more potential to tap into. He's another one of those really freakishly athletic guys drafted in the late lottery/mid first-round who has a chance to either develop into a special player or be a total waste of space. But he runs the floor well and G-State is coached by Don Nelson. Granted, they already have a better form of Randolph with a year of NBA experience in Brandan Wright, but they're both hit-and-miss, so if you have more than one of them, your odds are better.

15) Phoenix - DeAndre Jordan - C - TAMU

Phoenix is really one of the only three or four teams that I think would be smart to pick Jordan. Why? Because their current center is stud who could get this kid's act and work ethic straight. You think Shaq would be ok with this kid wasting his ridiculous talent by not caring? That's not going to fly with the Big Cactus, and you can bet he'd make sure that Jordan and Stoudemire became a freak show in four years. It's making my mouth salivate just to think about it... Can we cryogenically freeze Steve Nash for the next four years and then bring him back just in time to still be playing when Jordan and Amare both are in their primes? Please? Someone tell me we can make this happen...

16) Philadelphia - J.J. Hickson - PF - NC State

The Sixers are trying to get their hands on Elton Brand in some way, allowing them to free up their 3 spot for Thaddeus Young, but it looks like they will be unsuccessful in doing so, limiting them to the prospects of acquiring a short list of available elite players that is limited to that very 3 spot (Antawn Jamison, Shawn Marion, Josh Smith, and their own restricted free agent Andre Iguodala). With this in mind, they clearly need to address that power forward position, making the undervalued and tough Hickson my choice for them. How Darrell Arthur is rated above this kid is beyond me. Here's to hoping the Sixers don't either. (In terms of potential? Hickson was a freshman, and Arthur was a sophomore. That doesn't add up to me...)

17) Indiana - Mario Chalmers - PG - Kansas

Having tabbed Gallinari instead of a point guard to send Jamaal Tinsley back into the Dark Void where he came from, the Pacers get their chance for justice. Although I'm not high on Chalmers, the Pacers have such a ridiculously glaring point guard hole that any help to Travis Diener is appreciated, and Chalmers qualifies. Really an easy pick for me to make...

18) Washington - Marreese Speights - PF - Florida

I'm sure Washington, in making this pick, would hope that he would be a center for them. However, this simply isn't to be, as Speights really is meant in the NBA as a power forward. That does not, however, mean this is a bad pick (especially with Antawn Jamison's possible desparture). While getting very minimal time this year, Speights put up some solid numbers as a sophomore on an incredibly depleted Florda team. Especially after the Billy Donovan issue last summer with Orlando, it was hard to believe that anybody on Florida would give enough of a crap to even try to play, but Speights nevertheless managed to post some solid statistics. That actually impresses me, and that's hard to do.

19) Cleveland - Chris Douglas-Roberts - SG - Memphis

Any thoughts of the Cavaliers taking a post player makes no sense to me... They have Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Anderson Varejao already tied up in large contracts. What this team, like most, really needs is a good point guard, but they aren't going to find that here, so they will likely settle for any guard help that can be found for Bron Bron. A stretch you say? Well let me explain. Many would wonder why I havn't had Brandon Rush tabbed yet, but what is so damn special about Rush? He averaged 13 points (exactly 13.5) his freshman year... and 13 points (exactly 13.3) his junior year (as you can see, actually a bit of a drop. This is a top pro prospect?). Douglas-Roberts showed huge improvement, and is a high-percentage, low-volume outside shooter. Isn't that exactly what LeBron wants - A guy who you don't have to give too many shots to, but who will make them when you give them to him? He plays good D, is smart, it just makes too much sense to me...

20) Charlotte - Brook Lopez - C - Stanford

It makes too much sense. While they were just barely unable to get Brook Lopez in the early part of my mock, they get his brother to be backup to Kosta Koufos, the role he's been comfortable with all throughout college. They manage to, in this scenario, take care of all of their center problems with two picks in one draft. MJ, sadly, probably will not manage to do this... When I'm torn between one guy and Bernie Bickerstaff as which was the better GM for one team, it's probably not good for that one guy.

21) New Jersey - JaVale McGee - C - Nevada

After lucking out with Eric Gordon with their first pick, the Nets would like to have some size here. This leaves them with very few interesting options, including a few foreign guys with "Saer Sene pt. 2" written all over them, the ever-underachieving Darrell Arthur, the ever-unimproving Roy Hibbert, or taking a flier on McGee. Both of his parents played professional ball, and he managed to put up some moderately encouraging numbers at Nevada this season. He needs to get a helluva lot stronger, but if he does so it could be scary.

22) Orlando - Courtney Lee - SG - Western Kentucky

Having Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, and Jameer Nelson all on the books for five more seasons, and having them not be the three most productive players on the team (Hedo Turkoglu is in there either just behind Howard or just ahead of Nelson) makes drafting pretty simple for the Magic. Find a shooting guard who can contribute and go small, or find a center who can contribute and go big. That leaves them really with two options in my opinion - Roy Hibbert or Courtney Lee. Hibbert's incredible oafishness, however, would totally get in the way of what the Magic try to do on offense (namely, have Jameer, Lewis, and Howard run, while Hedo spots up for threes), so Lee is the choice. The kid straight-up produced in college. Numbers remind me of guys like Kevin Martin, and that's a damn good comparison to have.

23) Utah - Darrell Arthur - SF - Kansas

This is a talent pick. Utah really isn't a team with a whole lot of needs, and they're in the fortunate position of picking based on talent. Arthur showed he's got talent in the title game, but he has to show that he is dedicated enough to play up to that talent all the time. We'll see if he can. Sadly, he is put in the unfortunate position of being a black basktball player in an all-white city. Maybe the thought of flocks of angry white mormons will motivate him. Who knows...

24) Seattle - DJ White - SF - Indiana

What Seattle really would probably like here is a legitimate center, but unless they think that adding DeVon Hardin qualifies as such an option, or that Trent Plaisted isn't a total stiff, then they're headed in the quality direction or the overseas direction. Since I'm morally opposed to the overseas direction, I went the quality direction with White. He finally had a healthy season and produced at a high level. Yet, somehow, he isn't being very highly considered. I don't get it, but don't think GMs even get why. They just do as they're programmed.

25) Houston - Kyle Weaver - PG - Washington State

The Rockets need a point guard. Aaron Brooks and Steve Francis just won't cut it, but the problem is that there's nobody decent out there for them. They had to reach a tad for Brooks last year and they're doing it for Weaver this year in my mock. They'll probably look to land the highest quality player they can find as some of the teams above make boneheaded moves and go for unproven crappy international guys. They won't end up really picking this guy, and probably shouldn't...

26) San Antonio - Ryan Anderson - PF - Cal

Apparently the Spurs have committed to this kid, and I tend to listen to Poppovich more than most GMs. He's figured this whole drafting thing out. This kid apparently does things similar to what Robert Horry does. How funny, Horry appears set to leave the Spurs through retirement. Now how convenient is that for San Antonio?

27) Portland - Jamont Gordon - SG - Mississippi State

He just scores... Many have worries as to how he scores, but the bottom line is that he does it. He's played three seasons at Mississippi State and has put up numbers. At the end of the first round, I've found that that's the best thing to look for. I'd have gone with Jason Thompson from Rider here, but they've got that position a bit log-jammed at the moment.

28) Memphis - DeVon Hardin - C - Cal

At this point in the draft, even after taking Kevin Love with my fifth pick, the Grizzlies are still shockingly small. Their only guys under contract going into the draft who might qualify as bigs are Hakim Warrick, and most agree he's somewhere between a 3 and a 4, Darko, who is bordering somewhere along the line of useless in athletic terms and being deceased, and one of the Collins brothers. It doesn't matter which Collins brother really, they both suck, but just know that he can henceforth be referred to as "That Collins Brother's Expiring Contract." Hardin might have never put up legitimate offensive numbers at Cal, but any athleticism and defense he can provide will be an addition for the Grizz.

29) Detroit - Richard Hendrix - PF - Alabama

Reminds me a lot of Big Baby Davis. Scouts think he relied on his strength so much to get his numbers that he isn't considered a big NBA prospect, but yet those numbers were so darned good that he's gonna get some sort of a look from someone. And, if you ask me, that team will be well-rewarded.

30) Boston - Shan Foster - SG - Vanderbilt

Foster has one skill - shooting threes. And he does it damn well, hitting a .469 clip last year (FORTY SEVEN PERCENT!!!) and averaging 20 points per game in the process. Guys can make careers out of shooting threes, and this is a guy who would compliment the pieces Boston has in place well, stay out of the way of the stars, and hit shots when given the ball. You know what you're getting with this kid, and the champs would love him.

Other guys I think will be solid basketball players:

Oregon SG Malik Hairston (put up good scoring numbers - why he isn't more highly considered is beyond me)
Kansas St. SF Bill Walker (poor man's Gerald Wallace... or maybe homeless man's Gerald Wallace - depends on how that good ol ACL heals)
St. Joe's PF Pat Calathes (big men who can shoot can usually find niches in the NBA - especially if they're clutch - we'll see on this kid)
IUPUI SG George Hill (some call him a point, but he simply doesn't pass well enough - can put the ball in the basket though, and put up huge numbers at IUPUI - plus, my bro played him, and if this kid turns out decent, there's another claim to fame for the Token White Guy Family)
Virginia PG Sean Singletary (someone give this kid a serious look - he averaged almost 20 points per game and over six assists per game in his senior year at Virginia - why is he not getting looks? The NBA baffles me)

Well, that's my Euros-excluded, if-it-was-me Mock Draft for 2008. Of course, the draft as a general process sucks, nobody (including me) really knows what they're doing, and a solid 25% of what I said in this article could probably be thrown in my face as proof of my idiocy in three years. Cheers, mates.

No comments: