Monday, June 23, 2008

My Favorite Prospects

I usually do a more advanced NBA Draft preview, but I've been so bad at predicting the draft and am so tired of trying to come up with unique things to say about all these overanalyzed and nitpicked kids that I'm resorting to a simple list. Simple, but effective, I say!

So here are my 25 favorite players in this year's draft, complete with a comment about each guy. Sorry folks, this is the most energy I could muster, although I won't rule out a few trade ideas and Blazer-related comments in the days to come.

1. Derrick Rose, Memphis - A highly original top pick, I know, but I happen to think that Rose will be 90% as good as Deron Williams offensively and 100% as good as a young Jason Kidd defensively. No brainer for Chicago.

2. Michael Beasley, Kansas State - I'm still concerned about the Derrick Coleman comparisons, but D.C. went for 12 and 9 per game as a frosh at Syracuse and was already 23 years old when he entered the league, while Beasley is coming off 26.5 and 12.5 and is only 19. Plus, Coleman made just 16 threes in his four-year career at Syracuse while Beasley drained 36 in just one season.

3. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona - Being labled a "combo guard" used to be the kiss of death; now combo guards are starting to rule the NBA. Bayless is like Monta Ellis with better point guard skills. I know he can't fight through a screen to save his life, but I'll take my chances.

4. Joe Alexander, West Virginia - He looked great every time I saw him play last year, he is said to have plenty of room to grow as a player, and the word is that his intensity and work ethic is off the charts. Throw in the dearth of quality small forwards in the NBA right now (the most under-reported story out there) and I think he's definitely a top 6 pick in this draft.

5. Kevin Love, UCLA - This is how I know what a weak draft this is; I consider Love to be closer to the next Sean May than the next Bill Walton, yet here he is, at #5.

6. Darrell Arthur, Kansas - His numbers were suppressed in Kansas' balanced offense, but this guy has skills and room to improve.

7. Marreese Speights, Florida - I'm not sure why Speights is projected so low. He reminds me of Elton Brand and did a terrific amount of damage in relatively few minutes during his sophomore year in Gator country.

8. Mario Chalmers, Kansas - That's right. It's my boy Chalmers, at #8. Look, I'm not trying to predict the actual draft or impress anyone with how closely I can read mock draft boards. These are the guys that I think will be the best players.

9. Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis - I'm showing some real title game bias here, but CDR has all the tools and is a proven winner. He has size, athleticism, scoring ability, defensive awareness, confidence ... I have no idea how this guy could slip out of the lottery in a weak draft.

10. D.J. Augustin, Texas - The Memphis game in the Elite Eight is still all too visible in my mind's eye, but I think Augustin can be an effective NBA point guard. Maybe a rich man's version of Jameer Nelson.

11. O.J. Mayo, USC - To me, he projects pretty poorly as an offensive playmaker, but the good news is that he looks like a defensive force in the making.

12. Richard Hendrix, Alabama - The most likely winner of this draft's "Carlos Boozer Award" for the productive, visible, power conference big man that somehow gets completely ignored and taken in the second round, only to go on and have a great career.

13. Ryan Anderson, Cal - Another guy that has serious skills (deep shooting) that are in serious demand in the current NBA climate. I know Anderson wouldn't have been ideal in 1996, but guess what? It's not 1996. What team couldn't use a 6'10" forward with umlimited range on his J? Am I missing something?

14. Brook Lopez, Stanford - I think he's a stiff, but he's good enough to go #14 in this draft, so I'll end the Lopez embargo.

15. Danilo Gallinari, International - I've never seen the guy play, I know nothing about him, so I'm sticking him here. (It was either that or leave him out altogether.)

16. Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky - Lee can create his shot and then make said shot. Better than 40% of the current NBA shooting guards.

17. Russell Westbrook, UCLA - Once upon a time I was really high on Westbrook, but he suddenly has "bust" written all over him. I'm concerned.

18. DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M - Everyone seems to loathe Jordan these days, but I still remember the play I saw back in December when he ran the floor at top speed, hauled in a lob pass, and dunked it on the other side of the basket ... with authority. Considering all the hype about Andrew Bynum this year, I'm kind of shocked that teams would be so down on a big man with athleticism and unpolished skill. I mean, isn't that the Bynum blueprint?

19. Bill Walker, Kansas State - Every year in my fantasy drafts I try to snag a guy with a minor injury because I know I'm getting a steal. I think the same thing is about to happen in real life with Walker.

20. Brandon Rush, Kansas - He looks like he could be a James Posey type, and I mean that as the highest possible compliment.

21. Donte Greene, Syracuse - In fairness to Greene, I only saw him play once this year and it wasn't a very impressive performance. I might have him too low.

22. George Hill, IUPUI - He looked smooth and legit back before his injury least year and I'm hearing that he played great at the pre-draft camp. I have a hunch he will be a valuable rotation player in the NBA before too long.

23. Eric Gordon, Indiana - This is probably too low, but I just don't see what the big deal is about an undersized shooting guard with no discernable point guard abilities.

24. Kyle Weaver, Washington State - In fact, I'd probably rather have Weaver than Gordon.

25. Darnell Jackson, Kansas - He has "productive 12-year NBA career" written all over him.

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1 comment:

Brandon said...

Do you think Rose has Deron's vision? He only managed to average 4 apg on a team that ran like the Suns. I think he'll be a Devin Harris clone, but won't be near the level of Deron or Paul. Takes more than quicks to be an elite point guard, IMO.