If you are looking for suspense and intrigue in next weeks NBA draft, you will have to wait until pick #6. The Top 5 picks are as close to etched in stone as I have seen in recent draft memory:
The Dubs pick at #6 is when the uncertainty starts. And, let’s face it, who cares who they pick? Until then, you can put the Top 5 players in the book, and send ‘em to the podium!
This is not my personal draft board. This is a close to no-brainer order, based on perceived risk-reward valuation of each player, by each team, with as much sensible info that I can find and filter.
Why, then, are the Kings bringing back Whiteside and Greg Monroe, a casual observer may ask? Isn’t the selection process in dynamic flux? Clearly, the Kings must seriously be considering a handful of players at #5, and willing to trade down to nab their favorite, right? Not really.
In my estimation, based on front office talks with agents and reliable league chatter, the Kings have to know with high degree of certainty who the Top 4 teams will pick. See above. What they don’t know, however, is if the four teams ahead of them today will be the same four teams on draft night. A leap frog by an unknown team into the Top 4 has to be the Kings biggest concern to landing our starting center for the next decade.
How then, to possibly dissuade a leap frog trade into spots #2, #3 or #4? By conveying to teams sitting at #6 and #7, or any team considering a move up, there is possibility DMC will be on the board past our pick. This smokescreen has practical value too. If a trade cannot be prevented, you need to grudgingly execute Plan B, and decide upon the superior prospect between Whiteside and Monroe. Hence, the comeback visits.
The Hawes-Dalembert trade today reminds us to expect the unexpected. But Geoff Petrie’s desire to increase toughness, physicality, and put like minded players around Tyreke should come as no surprise. DMC embodies the anti-finesse game of Spencer that teased more than it delivered.
With the hope that high draft picks deliver to the fans of floundering franchises like the Nets, Wolves, and 76ers, and the cap friendly rookie contracts compared to those of bloated veterans, and overpriced free agents, I would bet firmly against these picks being relinquished. No leap frog trades! Moreover, I will bet, no guarantee, DMC will be donning a purple and black hat a week from today.
So let me be the first to say: Welcome to Sacramento, DeMarcus.
(Note to editors: If pick is Luke Babbit, please delete this post. :P)