I'm going to take my turn at our community Draftboard. Last year I hyped and promoted Rubio to anyone who would listen. Finally Pookey and I started the unofficial Rubio love-fest fan club (by unofficial I mean I started the club, and tried to include Pookey until he filed the restraining order against me... Can't a guy stalk another guy without being charged! Well, anyway... I stalked his brains out!). On Draft Day (or as I called it at the time D-Day) we were either too drunk or upset to care what happened after Rubio's name was NOT called when the King's came up to pick... and well that turned out OK. Seeing as our beloved franchise ended up with Reke-ROY and our new cornerstone and Rubio decided to stay overseas and be La Pistola a bit longer.
All of this to say, that I even though I spent time watching Evans play last year (Marshall played Memphis twice I believe) I thought Evans would be a mix of Larry Hughes and Bonzi Wells. Sheesh, was I ever wrong. So take these with a grain of salt.
Also, I would like to point out that I have reviewed the statistical analysis at Draft Express (www.draftexpress.com) and recommend that if you have not (or are not that familiar with measurements, statistics, projections etc.) head over there and prepare to have your mind blown. Also, for my comparisons I rely heavily on my own opinion and Basketball-Reference (www.basketball-reference.com/). However, seeing as both of my kids are ill (and SUPER young) at the moment I am taking the lazy way out and giving you my opinion without the statistical data for reference. (Besides, most of you in the community have already reviewed it, and those that haven't should do the work themselves!) :P
1. John Wall - After going back and watching a bit more KU and understanding his abilities more, I think he can turn into a BETTER Gilbert Arenas. If that makes sense, Great Size, Great Speed, Superb Passer (way, WAY better than Arenas), and just has a knack for the point-guard position. He made his team-mates better (look at all the KU players who are projected in the first round). The Wizards seem to be getting some good karma after the clustercuss that was the previous season.
2. Derrick Favors - I see two outcomes with Favors and they have been much talked about. He's another in a Long-Line of hyper athletic Forwards who are the next whatever. I honestly think that he's a bit more Dwight Howard than anything (Obviously not Howard NOW, but when Howard came into the League he was super raw the same as Favors a prospect who could go either way). From everything that has been said, and I have read about Favors he supposedly has a great attitude and wants to put the work in to become a great player... and that is the key. Will he truly get into the gym and listen to his coaches and strive to become a dominant defensive force and double-double threat OR will he slide by on his athleticism like so many others who have come before.
One more thought, why would Philly not take Favors? They like Athletic Prospects and have a SUPER Aging Frontcourt (Brand, Dalembert) and Injury riddled backups (Speights, Smith). I think if they pass on Favors they are really missing the boat.
3. Greg Monroe - Sure I'm probably over-rating him a bit. So sue me! It's my Draftboard! :D I like Monroe, I think he's got a higher ceiling than most are crediting. He compares quite favorably (size wise) to Andrew Bogut (Bogut is more athletic). I like that Monroe is 19 years old, spent two years in a pro-stlye system at Georgetown and improved dramatically from his Freshman to Sophmore season despite being the team's cornerstone. I also like that fact that he is a lefty. He's got red-flags for sure. (Does he really have the passion for the game? Can he really body up in the pro's and will he develop his post defense?). But I'll take the kid with the high basketball IQ over some super super raw prospect anyday. Also, something that should be mentioned is that Georgetown plays at a snail's pace so improving his rebounding the way he did is particularly impressive.
I would not mind if the King's selected Monroe with our 5th pick, I also would not mind if we passed because while I like him if Petrie does not thing he's the guy, then he's not the guy AND it could be argued (and has been) that he duplicates what our froncourt already does, and I do not disagree, I just happen to think that his ceiling is higher than Hawes and possibly JT as well.
I also think that Utah would be a great fit for Monroe.
4. Evan Turner - I like him, He carried and OSU team and played very very well. He could be Brandon Roy. The reason I don't have him rated 2-3 is that Big Men seem to impact the game more than swingmen. In that, you can find a swingman to put up decent stats easier than a Big Man. (unless of course you are the T-Wolves, then you trot out Corey Brewer and Ryan Gomes and hope for the best... but hey when an evil villain from a galaxy beyond ours is your owner look out - swingmen, the final frontier.) Here's my thing, I understand Philly thinking that you can plug Turner into the two guard spot and then bump Andre Igoudala to the 3 and Thaddeus Young to the 4. But who's going to secure rebounds in this scenario?
Also, Defensively speaking Igoudala at the 2 and Young at the 3 is absolutely SMOTHERING (Particularly if Jrue Holiday is your PG the opponents wing's and guards are going to have a nightmare scoring).
Which brings me to my point, I think Turner in New Jersey makes a TON of sense. I know they have Courtney Lee who can sop up minutes at the 2 and Terrence Williams who they are high on as well (even though he's more of a 3 than a 2). My concern (if I was New Jersey) would be who's going to shoot the 3Ball? Well you still have Lee (.338 from range last year). Then you can spend your free agent dollars on a hustle-rebounding power-forward to compliment Brook Lopez and a spot up 3pt shooter.
5. Wesley Johnson - I like Johnson, I don't think his size is an issue for the 2 in that I don't believe he is TOO BIG to play the 2guard.
My biggest questions are about Zone Defense and his abilities defensively translating sooner rather than later. Melo' didn't play D for a while, Greene took a season to adapt (and his dedication to the defensive side of the ball), Flynn was routinely beaten defensively last year (but should improve this season as well).
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I think Johnson has the ability to be a solid defensive player at the 2, it's just going to take him a season to develop that and truly become a solid defender.
Also, at this time I don't think Johnson is particularly better than the other players on our roster. Provided we do not have any freak accidents I really see Garcia blossoming next to Evans. You need someone on the floor who can help get the team into it's offense and Beno and Garcia both do that for the Kings when Evans can't. THAT is where I see the biggest problem with Johnson playing the 2 for us, we really need a secondary ball handler on the court who can help guide the team and make life easier for everyone. If he could develop that aspect of his game (and basically be Scottie Pippen lite) then he's a great pick. If not he could be a perimeter scoring threat who plays decent D and helps the team win (a Batum in Portland-type player, it should be pointed out though that Batum is a 3).
6. Gani Lawal - Seriously, I get the knock on him (he's a bit older than other prospects, not that great of size) but hello, how many players do we hear get saddled with this label year after year, and then come into the league and tear it up! Paul Millsap, David West, Udonis Haslem, Dejuan Blair, our own Carl Landry. Lawal, suffered the same problems at GT that Favors did in that the guard play hurt the big men (get em the dang ball!). This past season Lawal's stats were affected by the presence of Favors, much the same way that Favors were affected by Lawal.
He may not have a TON of upside or anything but should be a 14-15 points per game guy with close to ten rebounds (he's a better rebounder than Landry or West already). While he will have to dramatically improve defensively and will need to get stronger so as not to get pushed around due to his size I really see Lawal being that second round "steal".
7. Paul George - He should be able to come in right away and jack up bad 3pt shots and play spotty defense all while teasing us with his ability every 3rd game. The thing about George is that he reminds me a bit of Rudy Gay and Danny Granger. If he can put it all together and play smart ball, he's a Danny Granger type. If he comes in and takes his team out of his offense from day one and has to be reigned in and developed and blossoms in 3-4 years then he's more Rudy Gay. Either way I think you are going to get a solid player (again provided that he puts the work in). He's got the athletic ability now he just needs to reign himself in and be open to coaching.
8. DeMarcus Cousins - The thing about DMC is that for every Charles Barkley and Derrick Coleman you have a Vin Baker and Eddie Griffin. Now, Baker and Griffin both had abuse issues (which Cousins has not had he's more Delonte West than anything attitude wise, a bit off his rocker sometimes, but a competitor). What I hope (and I'm sure the team that drafts him as well) is that he is able to put it all together and become a sort of mashup of Barkley and Coleman. I say this a lot, 20-10 is 20-10 and it is very possible that Cousins is the next in line to be THAT guy... the 20-10 guy on an underachieving team (Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson come to mind) the thing that seperates DMC from those players is that he is a decent defender. Here is hoping he throws his frustrations into the game instead of petty crime and substance abuse.
9. Cole Aldrich - His physical numbers are very much in line with Emeka Okafor regarding size. Athletically Okafor looks like Dwight Howard compared to Aldrich. I think Aldrich will be able to step in to any team from day one and contribute 20+ minutes of great defensive work in the post. He's got good timing for blocking shots but not enough "Ups" to really be a dominate shot blocker on the NBA level. He's a very safe pick and would be a great pick-up for a playoff team (Hello Utah!). He seems like the type of player who understands his role and abilities (basically I don't see him calling for the ball and demanding touches or taking ill advised jumpers). That said, Hustle goes a long way in this league and Aldrich seems to be the type of hustle player who can stay around for 10 years or more like those who have come before, Najera, Varejao, Haslem and those types.
10. Hassan Whiteside - Go Herd! I was bummed to hear that Whiteside was declaring this year (as Marshall Basketball had it's best season in years and years with Whiteside altering shots in the middle). I think he can be a Marcus Camby type player in that He's going to block shots and has the makings of a decent midrange game. But his bread and butter is going to be hustle points and while watching Marshall this season he did not seem to have that sort of fire. As I have said all over the place I think with Whiteside you cannot expect much the first two seasons. As he's going to have to bulk up more to play effective defense and he's going to really take a while to understand the NBA team game and prostyle offense. That being said He could develop into a player with a good long lifecycle in the NBA and someone who will block a ton of shots and rebound the ball defensively very well. One thing he needs to learn how to do to truly become a Camby type is to pass the ball. Camby is underrated as a passer and for now Whiteside really does not have the understanding to keep the ball moving.
For Picks 11 - 15 are all inter-changable for me as such my analysis will be even more basic and simplified.
Xavier Henry - I think he's got a solid all around game (much like Delonte West actually) that could fit very well with Evans. But again with Beno and Garcia ahead on the depth chart I don't see many minutes for Henry.
Patrick Patterson - Basically, Patterson is a bit bigger version of Gani Lawal. I like him! He's got the potential to be a great player in the league again in the mold of Carl Landry.
Gordon Hayward - I know that nbrans would disagree with including Hayward (at least based on his draft rules), But I think this kid can just flat out play! :p He's got a lot of intangibles regarding leadership and I think he can develop into a very solid contributor at the next level not an all-star, but the type of player that helps you win ballgames.
Ekpe Udoh - A player who hangs his hat defensively, but does not rebound very well.......... I like the defense but if you are going to come out and say you can help a team right away defensively you better be able to rebound defensively. I think he's got some potential as a shot blocker, but not someone to build your team defense around.
Eric Bledsoe - I think playing next to John Wall really hurt Bledsoe. He led the team early in the season (while Wall was not playing). And still managed to put up decent numbers. Sign Me Up!
Also Deserving Mention:
Avery Bradley - Speedy pointguard with decent range... yes please!
Willie Warren - Perhaps a second round steal... though he does have some question marks about his attitude.
Ed Davis - the reason Mr. Davis is this low on my draft board is that I spent four years watching UNC (I have a friend on the team Deon Thompson, we went to high school together), and Davis just never did much for me... he's got some skill just needs to really put it all together.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to disagree! I, like most of you, cannot wait for the draft!