Oh, pick me, pick me
I'm not an NBA draft expert, but I play one on this blog. (Well, actually, what I did was look at about hundred mock drafts and came up with a consensus on which player might go where in tonight's draft. And on a couple, I just flat-out guessed.
So who goes first? Is it Ohio State big man Greg Oden (he's the big dude on the right) or silky-smooth swingman Kevin Durant (the silky-smooth guy on the left) from Texas?
Durant is the better player, the more polished player right now. His transition to the NBA should be smoother than Oden, who remains a bit of a project. A project with immense potential, but still a project. For the next couple of years, whoever takes Durant will likely seem to have gotten the better of the deal. But once Oden finds himself, most believe he will have the bigger impact in the long run. The bottom line is dominant centers are so hard to find in the NBA and that's why Oden will likely be the first pick.
As one NBA executive put it in the Salt Lake Tribune: "If you want to win a championship, you pick Bill Russell. If you want to win some (regular-season) games, you take Kevin Garnett.'' What’s that mean? Take Oden
So here's my mock draft. Just please remember that one goofball trade will throw this whole thing out of whack. But, for what it's worth, here goes:
1. Portland: Greg Oden, center, Ohio State
Can’t pass up a big man like this.
2. Seattle: Kevin Durant, forward, Texas
Maybe the best consolation prize since Michael Jordan.
4. Memphis: Mike Conley, guard, Ohio State
Best point guard in the draft.
5. Boston: Jeff Green, forward, Georgetown
Still smarting over losing out in the lottery.
6. Milwaukee: Corey Brewer, guard, Florida
Already has NBA shooting range.
7. Minnesota: Yi Jianlian, forward, China
The next Yao Ming?
8. Charlotte: Julian Wright, forward, Kansas
Though, don't be shocked if Joakim Noah is the pick.
10. Sacramento: Spencer Hawes, center, Washington
If Jianlian slips, Kings will take the Chinese big man.
11. Atlanta: Acie Law, guard, Texas A&M
Four years of college make him most ready for NBA point guard job.
13. New Orleans: Nick Young, guard, Southern Cal
A 6-6 shooting guard who can fill it up.
14. L.A. Clippers: Brandan Wright, forward, North Carolina
Just completed his freshman year.
15. Detroit: Javaris Crittenton, guard, Georgia Tech
Needs a guard in case Chauncey Billups leaves team.
16. Washington: Jason Smith, forward, Colorado
Wizards need a big man; Smith is a 7-footer.
17. New Jersey: Josh McRoberts, forward, Duke
Another big man (6-10) is exactly what guard-heavy Nets need.
18. Golden State: Thaddeus Young, forward, Georgia Tech
Actually, it would be a surprise if he fell this far.
19. L.A. Lakers: Tiago Splitter, forward, Brazil
At 6-11, 232, he would at least stand where Shaq used to.
20. Miami: Wilson Chandler, forward, DePaul
With Wade and Shaq already, Heat needs a forward.
21. Philadelphia: Rodney Stuckey, guard, Eastern Washington
Sixers still looking to replace Allen Iverson.
22. Charlotte: Marco Belinelli, guard, Italy
A smooth shooting guard.
23. New York: Morris Almond, guard, Rice
Knicks could use everything and this is the best player available.
24. Phoenix: Sean Williams, forward, Boston College
Can play either center or power forward.
25. Utah: Alando Tucker, forward, Wisconsin
Is he a guard or a small forward?
26. Houston: Glen Davis, forward, LSU
A power forward who can complement Tracy McGrady.
27. Detroit: Aaron Gray, center, Pittsburgh
Needs someone to eventually spell Chris Webber.
28. San Antonio: Rudy Fernandez, guard, Spain
Spurs also have success in Europe and will with this 22-year-old.
29. Phoenix: Jared Dudley, forward, Boston College
Can join his college teammate Sean Williams.
30. Philadelphia: Taurean Green, guard, Florida
Another possible long-term replacement for Allen Iverson.