Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Who NBA squads really need
By Scoop Jackson
I do drafts differently. I usually do them for myself, by myself. Never share them.
I don't go all Andy Katz or John Hollinger with the secret phone conversations with GMs. I'm not that inside. I do mine like most everyone who's reading this. I sit back and look at a team's roster, remember why they didn't play in June, and begin to base my opinions on what makes the most sense -- not what is about to happen.
I do this every year. Rain, heat, hail, hell, LeBron James or Joe Barry Carroll.
That written, I figured this time I'd share. Expose my illogical philosophy on the 2006 NBA draft and how tonight's selections should -- not will -- go down.
Toronto Raptors: Adam Morrison
Chris Bosh just became the best big man in the East, including Shaq. Charlie Vill is worth the next six-year deal for a couple of mil. The only thing missing? An assassin from 20 feet and out. Morrison could give the Raptors the most complete, most diverse front line in the NBA over the next six years. Plus T.dot needs a white basketball phenomenon with Bird range to worship. It's part of becoming a true NBA franchise.
Chicago Bulls: Trade (or legally find a loophole in the collective bargaining agreement that allows them to secure the draft rights to Greg Oden a year early)
There's no player in this draft who's going to help the Bulls get where they need to go -- past the first round. Their backcourt is solid as an Ashford and Simpson record, and Nocioni has proved he's one of the NBOTB (New Ballers on the Block) in the NBA, on the verge of being the East's version of Manu Ginobili. LaMarcus Aldridge, Tyrus Thomas, Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay are all just better offensive versions (smaller or longer) of Tyson Chandler -- not different. Unless a 7-foot center or Jermaine O'Neal becomes available, any player the Bulls take with this pick will put John Paxson on the fast track to becoming Jerry Krause II. If all else fails, draft Randy Foye. Hell, another great guard can't hurt.
Charlotte Bobcats: Rudy Gay
No disrespect to Gerald Wallace, who balled out this year, but Gay is the next Ray Allen. With Mek and Sean May coming back next season, adding Gay to the mix would give Raymond Felton enough options to call him the poor man's Steve Nash. Plus Jordan needs a solid first-round selection on his résumé. Because his last one
let's just say Jordan needs this pick to work.
Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge
Why not? What do they have to lose? Viktor Khryapa or LaMarcus Aldridge? Who would you rather have in your starting lineup next to Zach Randolph? At 6-foot-11, Aldridge will give the Blazers a chance to get what they never got out of Shareef Abdur-Rahim while he was there. And if, for some reason, Aldridge wants to be the next Chris Washburn instead of Chris Webber, there's no better place to play than Portland. And everyone wonders why Warren Buffett gave Bill Gates that $37B and gave Paul Allen nothing.
Atlanta Hawks: Marcus Williams
Crazy, right? Where in the hell did I get this from, right? Well, when a team has four, or six, or eight players who want to handle the ball and a point guard who rides the pine but can score 30 nightly if given the chance, that team needs to draft the one player who was born to be a point guard instead of a guard that scores points. Marcus Williams is the best PG in this draft. Atlanta, even with all of the ownership drama going on right now, needs someone at the one more than Sprite needs a new ad campaign. If they screw this up by taking another Joe Johnson-Al Harrington-Josh Smith-Marvin Williams type, they deserve whatever happens to them. Stupidity has its privileges.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Roy or Andrea Bargnani
As mush as I love Ricky Davis, he's too ghetto for Minnesota. B-Roy is so perfect. As is Bargnani (for different reasons). Everything the city needs. Especially if -- for some strange reason -- KG is re-signed
Boston Celtics: Andrea Bargnani or Brandon Roy
As much as I love Wally Szczerbiak, he's too American for Boston. Bargnani is so perfect. As is B-Roy (for different reasons). Everything the city needs. Especially if -- for some strange reason -- PP doesn't get traded
for Allen Iverson.
Houston: J.J. Redick
If Yao Ming/T-Mac are going to get double-teamed all day, who's going to be open at the 3-point line all day, every day, every game? J.J. will see more open looks in Houston than a casting agent.
Golden State Warriors: Patrick O'Bryant
While Chris Mullin is still waiting on Mickael Pietrus to blow up, Patrick O will be the perfect center to help get Adonal Foyle traded to the Bulls next season.
Seattle SuperSonics: Ronnie Brewer
The best-kept secret in the draft. The possible Raja Bell sequel. The Sonics need Brewer. They need someone who loves to play ugly basketball. More that that, they need a no-nonsense ballplayer to counter all of the nonsense that's been going on there since GP left.
Orlando Magic: Quincy Douby
Instant offense. Although they could use help rebounding (Dwight Howard can't do it alone). The Magic need someone who can get his shot off anytime against anyone. No one in the draft can do that like Douby.
New Orleans/OK City Hornets: Tyrus Thomas
Don't call it a drop. Tyrus sank this far for a reason. No other team will give him the liberty and luxury to grow and expand as a basketball player the way NO/OKLA will. He and Chris Paul can be the building blocks of the franchise, and the city. He'll become a hero in LSU's home state.
Philadelphia 76ers: Craig Smith
If Iverson stays, they need to move him to the two to make room for a free agent (like Al Harrington, Bonzi Wells, etc.) at the three so that Smith can split time with Webber at the four and hold the four spot down when Mo Cheeks moves C-Webb to the three to create matchup problems against teams that think Philly is over.
Utah Jazz: Paulius Jankunas
Six-foot-eight from Lithuania. Nuff said. If Matt Harpring doesn't return, the Jazz don't miss a beat.
New Orleans/OK City Hornets: Rodney Carney
The other Tyrus Thomas. Might be trade bait for the Knicks in case Isiah needs to Howie Mandel with someone. This is the pick where the "best player left in the draft" sentence explains your pick. Even if you desperately need someone besides Kirk Snyder at the two.
Chicago Bulls: Kevin Pittsnogle
The name alone, yo. The name alone.
Indiana Pacers: Jordan Farmar
The beginning of the end of the Jamaal Tinsley Era.
Washington Wizards: Shelden Williams
The safest pick for a team that's not looking for much. Can back up Jamison and Haywood whenever they aren't playing the Heat.
Sacramento Kings: Rajon Rondo
They have everything but a strong backup in case Mike Bibby goes down. Any time your team is so deep that Bonzi Wells and Shareef Abdur-Rahim are coming off the bench, a draft like this isn't going to help much.
New York Knicks: Trade (Knicks receive Peja Stojakovic in a sign-and-trade with Pacers, Pacers get a current Knick mentioned below plus the 20th pick: Pops Mensah-Bonsu)
They already have three rooks from last year who made names for themselves, and have to find a way to continue to give them major ticks this year. At some point Mo Taylor, Q-Rich, Steve Francis and/or Jamal Crawford have to not be in New York. This pick will be a smart place for Isiah to begin his talks.
Phoenix Suns: Leon Powe
What happened to the two first-round picks the Suns were supposed to get for the Joe Johnson trade from Atlanta? Weren't they supposed to get the fifth pick? Anyway, without knowing the condition Amare's coming back in, the best thing to do is to get the one player in the draft who is the closest to being what Amare once was. Leon Powe has the ability to be the next Amare Stoudemire. So why not put him in a PHX uniform?
New Jersey Nets: Cedric Simmons
Shot blockers don't come along too often in drafts. Usually they develop over time once they get used to NBA defenses and the speed of the game. The Nets haven't had a shot blocker since K-Mart went stage left. The Nets haven't been to the Finals since K-Mart went stage left. Now I ain't saying Simmons is Kenyon Martin, but someone has to replace him in order for them to live up to my ESPN The Magazine expectations.
New Jersey Nets: Rashad Anderson or Mike Gansey
The double-up. The standard rule in drafts whenever a double (back-to-back picks by the same team) occurs: Get the exact opposite of what you picked right before. Since the Nets got a long-armed, quick shot blocker with the 21st pick, they should flip and get a no-defense slinger who drops bombs from 25 feet out either on the regular or when the clock is going down. With either one of these two players the Nets got it made better than Special Ed.
Memphis: Hilton Armstrong
You can't teach height
especially when you need it most. The Grizz have been getting by without any real presence in the middle. Not that Armstrong is the answer, but he's 6-11 more than what they had at the end of last season.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Franko Kastropil
Zydrunas has about one, maybe two good years left. After that, it's Sabonis time. Knowing that, the Cavs must begin the process of keeping the middle filled. Not that Kastropil is the next great Euro big man -- he's far from that. His attractiveness? He played in Croatia and has a Split personality.
Los Angeles Lakers: Carl Krauser
After watching Smush fall off in the last three games of the PHX series, the Lakers are going to need someone that DGAF when it's crunch time. And if there's anything Krauser has proven over the years -- be it with Pitt or at Rucker -- he DGAF when it's Nestlé time.
Phoenix Suns: Gerry McNamara
Imagine him in a PHX uniform. Imagine him and Nash on the court at the same time. Imagine him and Barbosa on the court at the same time. Imagine how perfect this pick would be.
Dallas Mavericks: Shannon Brown
One thing that got exposed during the Finals is that the Mavs have a lot of skilled ballplayers but no raw athletes. Shannon Brown could be the answer to D-Wade simply because he doesn't know any better.
New York Knicks: Paul Davis
Someone needs to save Isiah's ass if Eddy Curry doesn't get the job done by December. Paul Davis might be FEMA.
Portland Trail Blazers: Trade (Trail Blazers receive Devean George in a sign-and-trade with Lakers, Lakers get the 30th pick: Pape-Philippe Amagou, a.k.a. the next Tony Parker)
Scenario 2: to Lakers for rights to obtain Devin George (sign and trade; why, I don't know) Player in draft selected in return: Pape-Philippe Amagou (France)
Package Sebastian Telfair and Darius Miles in an attempt to convince Billy King to get Iverson out of Philly.
As far as the second round goes, there will be no Gilbert Arenas available (well, maybe Darius Washington Jr.)
no player who will get picked so low that he'll be on a mission to prove he's worth guaranteed money and a second contract and in the process make the All-Star team and drop 40 in a playoff game.
But then again, I'm the man who in 1986 said the Cavs should take Chris Washburn over Brad Daugherty. In 1997 I thought Derek Anderson should have been selected ahead of Tracy McGrady.
Which proves that a smart brotha can always be a victim of his own ignorance. Or brilliance.
And it proves one more thing: I'll never be a GM of an NBA squad. Unless James Dolan still has my number in his Blackberry.
Scoop Jackson is a national columnist for Page 2 and a contributor to ESPN The Magazine. He has a weekly segment on "Cold Pizza" and is a regular forum guest on "Rome Is Burning." He resides in Chicago. Sound off to Scoop and Page 2 here.