Well, I’ve been following all the trade and draft rumors this year more dilligently than I ever have in the past. With less than one week to go, I figured why not come out with some predictions and analysis of what I think each of the 14 lottery teams will (and should) do. I could write-up the entire first round, but predicting the late stages of the first round in the NBA draft is next to impossible. It’s harder to do than Sebastion Telfair trying to get through a metal detector. And seeing as how the Wolves are drafting #7, I don’t think too many people are all too interested in what Utah does with pick number twenty-five. I am however, very interested in how the lottery pans out. This draft is incredibly deep, and I could make a case for the Wolves wanting each and every player that is among the first 14 drafted. With that said, let’s begin:
Where will Oden land? [image2]
1. Portland Trail Blazers
Who I think they will draft: Greg Oden
Who I think they should draft: Kevin Durant
I really can’t see them passing on Oden, and the word on the street is that they will take him. However, how much sense does it really make? They’ve already got Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Joel Przybilla at the center and power forward positions. Who are their small forwards? Darius Miles? He didn’t play a single minute last year, has been injured, and fell out of favor with the organization. Martell Webster? He’s not nearly ready to be the guy, nor is Travis Outlaw. Durant would allow them to have Zach Randolph, Aldridge, and Durant out on the floor at once. That would be a sick front court. However, with Oden they still don’t have a small forward and either Randolph or Aldridge will have to be sitting when Oden is on the court.
2. Seattle Supersonics
Who I think they will draft: Kevin Durant
Who I think they should draft: Kevin Durant
I think Seattle has the most ideal position in the draft. They don’t have to second guess who they take. They simply sit tight and take whoever falls to them. Personally, I believe Oden will go #1, and therefore Durant falls to the Sonics. They’ve already got 3 projects at center, all taken the past three drafts. It looks like Rashard Lewis will be leaving (as he exercised his opt-out clause), which leaves Seattle without a small forward. I think Durant will fit in fine with Ray Allen and Ridnour. Chris Wilcox has developed into a nice power forward, and if they can just have one of their centers pan out they should be fine. Look for a good rebound year from Robert Swift, who has progressed nicely and was injured all last season.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Who I think they will draft: Brandan Wright
Who I think they should draft: Al Horford
I’ve heard chatter which points towards taking Wright, which I think is a big mistake. He’s a young project who certainly has the potential to be good, but doesn’t fit their needs. Al Horford is one of the most NBA-ready big men in the draft. They were plauged by lack of rebounding and point guard play last season. They tried to solve the rebounding by taking Sheldon Williams last season, but that failed miserably. This pick is too high to take Conley, and I think they like a different point guard at #11. Horford is a 6′10″ rebounding machine, and he would fit in quite nicely here. They should take him. Then again, it’s the Hawks. They’ll probably draft Thaddeus Young en route to cornering the world’s market of small forwards.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Who I think they will draft: Al Horford
Who I think they should draft: Al Horford
I think they will draft whoever falls between Brandan Wright and Horford. I think Horford will be a better pro than Wright anyhow, so they would love for him to fall to number four. You never know, the Hawks could shock the world and actually draft Horford, but I doubt it. Horford would fit in nicely with the young Memphis talent and Pau Gasol. Gasol and Horford would be a great front court, along with Rudy Gay and Hakeem Warrick on the Wings. I like their collection of young talent. They could possibly take Conley here if he really impresses them, as they need a young point guard to run this offense.
5. Boston Celtics
Who I think they will draft: Yiiiiiiiiiii Jianlian
Who I think they should draft: Trade the Pick or Corey Brewer
Word is Danny Ainge is infatuated with Yii. It also makes sense because the pick would put the Celtics on the map in the Asian community and help marketing enormously. Ainge has traveled to China on three different occasions to watch Yii in person. Even though I wouldn’t agree with the pick of Yii, I could see why they would do it. I think the best thing they could do is trade the pick (for KG, make it happen) to bring in more immediate help for Pierce. This is one of the youngest teams in the league, and I don’t think adding another project is what the team needs. Also, the last 15 Celtics fans may kill themselves. If they do keep the pick, I think they should go with Brewer. I think he will be one of the best players in this draft. His perimeter defense is second to none. He can slash to the hoop, finish with authority, and has three point shooting range. I liken him to Josh Howard with a better jump shot. Plus, he looks like Chris Bosh on meth. The Celtics defense was absolutely putrid last season, and Brewer would help immensly.
6. Milwaukee Bucks
Who I think they will draft: Mike Conley
Who I think they should draft: Mike Conley
He makes sense here, as it looks like Mo Williams is going to walk this off-season, leaving them with just Earl Boykins at point guard. That would be a disaster. If they let Williams walk, look for them to pick up Conley if he is available (which he very well could be.) If Conley is gone, my guess is that they take the best “big” available.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Who I think they will draft: Corey Brewer or just as likely, Spencer Hawes
Who I think they should draft: Corey Brewer
Where do I start? I have probably written hundreds of pages on our draft pick this year already, in the forums and on various website comments. In the interest of all our collective sanity, I’ll keep this somewhat short. I think Brewer should overwhelmingly be the pick right here. It’s probably 50-50 right now that he will be available, as his stock has risen dramatically since the beginning of the last NCAA season. I’ve heard him rumored at being taken by both the Celtics and Bucks, but I don’t think either will. If he is available, we need to take him immediately, without second thought. As I said, he’s the total package. He can play lockdown defense, get to the rim, shoot, he’s a winner (two NCAA national championships), and hell, he’ll probably even deliver your mail. I don’t need to say much more about Brewer, but I think when all is said and done, he’ll probably be one of the top players to come out of this draft.
With all that said, I’ve heard waaaaaaaay too many rumors about the Wolves promising to take Spencer Freakin Hawes with this pick. If this happens there is a good possibility of bad things happening at whatever draft party I am at. If we take Hawes and pass on Brewer, there is a great possibility of me getting incredibly drunk, ripping my own arm off, and then beating myself to death with it.
8. Charlotte Bobcats
Who I think they will draft: Joakim Noah
Who I think they should draft: Joakim Noah
I think he fits in well here, with their collection of former college stars. In all seriousness, he would be a pretty good fit on this team. He brings serious energy and intensity, and they need a big guy opposite Okafor to help him with the dirty work, since Sean May isn’t panning out (and the fact that he is fat and always injured.) If they don’t take Noah, I guess I could perhaps see them going with Jeff Green or Julian Wright.
9. Chicago Bulls
Who I think they will draft: Whoever is left between Noah, Hawes, and Julian Wright
Who I think they should draft: Trade this pick, or draft in this order: Noah, Hawes, Wright
The biggest need for the Bulls is a scoring bigman. However, being that by this position in the draft, the players left will be largely devoid of that commodity (other than a risk with Hawes) they are left to choose among these three players. They tried to fill their bigman void with Ben Wallace, who they overpaid for and is quite clearly on the downside of his career. I think they should do whatever they can to trade this pick with some of their young assets for a bigman like Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, KG, or even Jermaine O’Neal. I could see one of those deals going down before the draft, but maybe not (it’s such a crapshoot with these types of predictions.) Chicago is also rumored to like Yii if he is still available. Hawes is supposed to have good post moves and could probably be a decent fit for Chicago, but I think he is a slug. If the Wolves take him I will cry before I beat myself to death.
10. Sacramento Kings
Who I think they will draft: Julian Wright
Who I think they should draft: Jeff Green
What a depressing franchise. I am glad I am not a Kings fan.
11. Atlanta Hawks
Who I think they will draft: Javaris Crittenton
Who I think they should draft: Acie Law IV
I’ve heard all kinds of rumors that they really like Crittenton here. This allows them to not have to reach for Conley at three. It totally makes sense to me. Crittenton is a 6′5″ play making guard, that the Hawks need desperately. I think he could be a good fit, but I like Acie Law more. He was one of the most clutch shooters in college basketball last season and played four years in college. He’s seasoned and he is a great leader. I think he would do wonders running the young Hawks team. Law could help that collection of young talent to really grow and maximize their potential. The Hawks really can’t go wrong with either Crittenton or Law with this pick. Now, if they pass on Conley at number three and draft someone like Al Thornton or Thad Young I will laugh uncontrollably for days, possibly even years.
12. Philadelphia 76er’s
Who I think they will draft: Al Thornton or Spencer Hawes
Who I think they should draft: Gulp, Hawes.
These are the two guys that I have heard them rumored to most likely select. I’m not a big Hawes fan, but he is a much better pick at 12, rather than 7. I think he would fit in pretty well on Philly with Iguodala, Andre Miller, and Dalembert. Do they really need Al Thornton when they’ve already got Iguodala? I don’t really think so. Plus, I’ve consistentely heard Thornton’s workouts have been pretty sub-par. He commits a lot of turnovers and is a slow decision maker. I’d stay away. It really sucks for the fans of the Sixers that they have to try and psyche themselves up for either Thornton or Hawes.
13. New Orleans Hornets
Who I think they will draft: Al Thornton
Who I think they should draft: Al Thornton or Nick Young
They desperately need a shooting guard, but who knows if Peja Stojakovic will be healthy or not? It sounds like Desmond Mason will be walking since his contract expired, and Al Thornton would be a pretty decent pick to replace him. This team is already set at PG (Chris Paul) and bigmen, two of the most important positions on the court. Nick Young is the best shooting guard in the draft, but do they need him if Peja is completely healthy? I really don’t think so. Perhaps Thornton will already be selected, and in that case they should go with Nick Young. But, if it comes down to a choice (and Peja will be healthy) I’d probably go with Thornton.
14. LA Clippers
Who I think they will draft: Acie Law/Crittenton
Who I think they should draft: Acie Law/Crittenton
I think they will select whichever point guard Atlanta presumably leaves for them. With Cassell starting to pout again, and Livingston’s horrific injury, they are in desperate need of a young franchise point guard for years to come. I honestly think either guard would be a good fit for this team, but if it came down to a choice (hahahahaha if Atlanta is truly that stupid and passes on point guards with the #3 AND #11) then I like Law over Crittenton. It’s not personal, it’s just who I like from my own observations.
Well, there you have it. It’s my 2007 Mock Lottery Draft. Let’s hope Brewer falls to the Wolves. I can’t wait to see how close (or totally wrong) I am at this time next weekend.