Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Draft Dreams

I have been silent during the run-up to my favorite day of the year, NBA Draft Day, for a couple of reasons. First, I haven't had time to follow the draft as avidly as I'd like to. Second, the Guru has adequately prepared the Jazz faithful for the big day. Third, I had a nagging feeling that the Jazz were going to get out of this draft altogether. But seeing as how it looks like the Jazz will at least select someone tonight, I'm throwing my draft preview up in one huge, overly long post.

I am a draft philosophiser. I believe in certain principles that dictate my draft desires. And one dominant truism reigns supreme: Draft the best player available. This may seem quite obvious, but the Jazz are one of the worst teams in the league at doing this. For instance, last year the team's front office decided that we needed a center. So, when Koufos was still available we took him. Was he the best player available? No, but he was the best center available, and that carried the day.

Now, I haven't seen enough of the big fat Greek to form a solid opinion of his potential, but I'm not holding my breath of him being the savior of the ballclub. By choosing Koufos, we left the two Kansans, Supre Mario Chalmers and Darell Arthur on the board. Now, those guys aren't going to be all-stars next year either, but Mario is the starting point guard for a team that was better than the Jazz last year, and Arthur starts for an admittedly terrible Grizzlies squad. So why didn't the Jazz draft those guys? Because they didn't fill a positional need (center). Well, I'm here to tell you that such thinking is stupid.

Tonight's draft is a one player draft. Blake Griffin is the only guy that has franchise potential. There are a couple other guys that could turn into legitimate NBA players, the second or third best player on a contender, but that's their ceiling. So, at pick number 20, we're hoping, HOPING, for a decent backup. That's what we're dealing with. So, instead of hoping to find the power forward of the future in a draft with one quality big man, why don't we just take the player with the most talent, athleticism and potential, regardless of position? Great question.

Here's my breakdown of the draft:

Potential Perennial All-Star
1. Blake Griffin - the guy is a monster. He has Karl Malone-lite potential.

Potential All-Star
2. Ricky Rubio - I love him. He'll be a solid starter for years.
3. Stephen Curry - Another of my favorites. He reminds me of a younger, taller Mike Bibby.
4. Johnny Flynn - The little guy will be solid. I think he'll be a steal.

Potential Starter on a Contender
5. James Harden - Will be a solid player. Nothing flashy, but effective.
6. Hasheem Thabeet - I am suspicious. I think he's a bust, but 7''3' busts tend to stick around.
7. Terrence Williams - I love this guy, and think he'll go late. Great NBA body.

So, in my opinion, there are seven players that will likely be long term solid NBA players. That is an awful draft. Just terrible. The T-Wolves have staked their long-term success on this draft. The T-Wolves! That should tell you all you need to know. Let's just move on.

Potential Athletic Star/Potential Bust
8. Tyreke Evans - If Guru is right and the Kings take this guy over Curry, good riddance.
9. Jordan Hill - A big athlete. That's enough to get you in the top 7 in this draft.
10. Brandon Jennings - Iverson-like quickness, but he sucked in Europe last year.
11. DeMarr Derozan - A classic boom/bust pick. He could be incredible. He could tank.
12. Jrue Holiday - If you want to draft a guard that averaged less than 10 pts. in college, be my guest.
13. Earl Clark - I like this guy, mostly because he's built like Maggette.
14. James Johnson - Long, athletic, unorthodox player. I love this guy.
15. Jeff Teague - Extremely quick. Bad decision maker.

Potential Contributor/Sixth Man
16. Gerald Henderson - Solid, unspectacular player.
17. Eric Maynor - I LOVE this guy. More on him later.
18. DeJuan Blair - This guy could be a Millsap clone, if his knees hold up.
19. BJ Mullens - Think Kosta Kofous with a moustache.
20. Sam Young - Athetlic wing player with so-so jumper. Ronnie Brewer.
21. Ty Lawson - Small guard that can get to the rim. Always nice.

That's about the extent of players in the draft. After those 21, I think you are hoping for a Paul Milsap-like lightning strike. But here's the sad thing about tonight's draft for Jazz fans. I think that there will be multiple players from the "potential contributor" list available and perhaps even a player from the "potential athletic star" list available when we pick. But we're not going to take any of them. No, I think we have decided that we want a traditional power forward, so that's what we're going to take. And if it's Tyler Hansborough, described as a slightly less spastic and much less mormon version of Mark Madsen, it's a wasted pick in my opinion. Hansborough is a bad defender and doesn't possess great post moves. He is a classic garbage man, which is great, but also something you can get off the waiver wire.

I think a much better choice would be one of these guys:

Now, are Jeff Teague and James Johnson going to be available at 20? Probably not. But on draft night, someone like them, someone with more talent and athleticism than players drafted after them, always tumbles. Last year it was Arthur and Chalmers. If it's one of the Wake Forest mob, or anyone else on my top 15 list, the Jazz should nab them. And I bet someone on that list slips.

And if they aren't available? Please, for the love of all that is holy, take this guy.
Eric Maynor is a perfect Jazz-man. Steady, classic, heady point guard from a small school that no one has ever seen play on tv. Sound familiar? Maynor is the solution to our backup point guard problem, and anyone that thinks we don't have that problem is smoking crack. Please, Kevin O'Conner, take the point guard. Don't get sucked into positional picking. We have enough Kostas.


Jazz Fan said...

Hey man, Im right there with you. I cant understand the concept of positional drafting. Or should I say, the way the Jazz draft people. I dont quite get while we pass on talented players to draft a postion. You make the comment that we can get someone off waivers or free agency, why dont the Jazz fill those needs with players that have experience??? I just dont understand!
As for tonight, I want the Jazz to draft Hansborough. He would be a great fit for Jerry Sloan and the Jazz. Now before people get all upset with that,let me explain. We need people to work hard. Tyler will work hard. We all know what Coach Sloan expects from his new players, and Tyler understands that. I honestly think that he could be a 2nd or 3rd option for the Jazz when substituting. I dont think that he would need the time in the D League to develope. He could come in and help for a good 8-10 mins a game. He could take Jaron Collins spot, except he would actually help the Jazz (not just be good for 6 fouls.)
I actually expect some sort of trade tonight. I say that becuase it always seems like the Jazz trade someone they draft. I just hope that its the right player they trade.
Let face it, the Jazz suck at drafting players (with the exception of Deron, Millsap, and Brewer)

Ryan said...

I'd like the Guru to weigh in on his USC boy, Taj Gibson. He's an athletic post with a 7'4" wingspan and it sounds like he can play down low and block shots. Why aren't teams more interested?

Today will be interesting, but we'll know a lot more about next season's Jazz on June 30 when we find out if Boozer, Okur and Korver are going to opt out.

Orlando said...

I understand Hansborough's appeal: he's a tough-nosed, high energy player. Sloan would LOVE him. We don't have many tough players on our squad.

But if we're just looking for a replacement for Collins' minutes we can find them for a lot cheaper in the D League. I say draft a player that has some potential to make an impact long term, even if it's as a sixth man. I don't envision Hansborough as a sixth man.

Draft Guru said...

Brilliant post!... and excellent comments on here. I absolutely agree on Teague and Maynor. I love Eric Maynor. I'm hoping that he'll be available. Teague would be fantastic as a backup. I doubt James Johnson will be there at 20. Sometimes... I joke around about Hansbrough. But really, he could be a solid backup... and playing for the Jazz, he'll be better than he is (which is average). The Jazz have a reputation of making scrappy, hardworkers look better than they really are because of the system and culture the Jazz employ. Hansbrough fits perfectly in that regard.

As far as Taj Gibson goes, I really like him. I've seen him play a lot. He would be terrific on the Jazz. His offense isn't as rugged or versatile as Psycho-T, but he can block shots (unlike T) and rebound in impressive fashion. I believe he'll be under consideration at 20. His problem though, is that he's light and skinny like Kirilenko. He doesn't have great mass or strength to push around the bigger, heavier PFs. In a perfect world (my opinion), the Jazz would select the best available PG at 20, and then acquire another late 1st to get Taj.

Orlando said...

I'm all for your strategy guru. If we are looking for positional need, why not take a point guard in a point guard heavy draft? Seems to make sense to me?

Cj said...

NOT Hansbrough.

He has no range. His defense is suspect. He plays smaller than he is.

He is Koufous with less height and less range. He is Harpring with no jump shot. Seriously. He's Matt Harpring with a 5-foot range. Works hard. Drives other people crazy. Without any range at all, though, where do you play him?

He will work hard, and he will go to the basket, because that is all he CAN do. He will rebound. So, we have Paul Millsap again, only with no shotblocking and no offensive range and no upside. Don't we already have Paul Millsap?

Sigh. But it's going to be Hansbrough. Mark Madsen can be had, you know. For cheap. We don't need to waste round 1 money getting a white guy that plays shorter than his measurements to do some rebounding on the second team. But that is Hansbrough.

Cj said...

I am overjoyed to be wrong.

Thank you, Indiana!

Orlando said...

I couldn't be happier (unless Teague had slipped one more spot).

Ryan said...

Well, check out who looks like a genius this morning. Well Done Crotty. When we went on the clock, I was sure we were going to pick Blair, but I should have had more faith in the insights of the Crotty Kid.

Any chance Sutton makes the roster?

sex shop fleshlight said...

Really useful material, lots of thanks for your post.