Well, another rigged NBA Lottery is in the books. To no one’s surprise, two East Coast franchises leapfrogged the likes of Minnesota, Sacramento, and Golden State. Fans across those three cities are moaning and groaning while Wizards and Sixers fans are wondering how they got such good luck. Fortunately, the two best rookies from last year’s draft ended up in Northern California despite David Stern’s best (or worst, depending on how you look at) efforts. No need to worry Kings and Warriors fans. The two best players came at picks number 4 and 7…. No reason to think they can’t come at the 5th and 6th position. Let’s break down how this year’s draft is going to pan out….
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall – Part of me thinks that the late Abe Pollin made this happen from up above. The other part of me thinks Stern did this from down below. At any rate, the Wizards will win the John Wall sweepstakes, but it’s not going to change their fortunes. This franchise has found a way to lose under any circumstance. They had a solid core with Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler and still managed to be a lottery team. This year, they’ll try to ease Wall along, if only to keep Arenas happy. John Wall will go on to have an Antonio Daniels like career and the Wizards will be back in Secaucus next year….and the year after that….and the year after that.
2. Philadelphia Sixers – Evan Turner - Evan Turner is the consensus #2 pick, but his game is strikingly similar to Andre Iguodala. He’ll also fight for playing time on the wing with Thaddeus Young. In the end, the Sixers will keep Turner on the court to try and prove that they drafted better than last year with Jrue Holiday, and they’ll miss the playoffs once again. I’m setting the over/under on Evan Turner’s rookie season right at, let’s say, Corey Brewer.
3. New Jersey Nets – Derrick Favors – The Nets have a solid 1-2 in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Therefore, they look to the wing and select Derrick Favors. Problem is, no one’s really sure that Favors really likes playing basketball. Prediction: Favors and Terrence Williams still make little to no impact on the Nets in 2010-11.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – Cole Aldrich – With Al Jefferson already in tow, the T-Wolves shy away from Demarcus Cousins and select Cole Aldrich. The Wolves need a center, but Aldrich will be lucky to be as productive as Dean Garrett. Aldrich will fail to crack the lineup against the likes of Jefferson and Kevin Love, and like friend of Doin Work, Geoff said, “he’ll be selling you shoes at Foot Locker in three years.”
5. Sacramento Kings – Greg Monroe – Also passing on Demarcus Cousins, the Kings know they need a proven player, not a project. Though Sacramento doesn’t necessarily need a power forward with Carl Landry and Jason Thompson in tow, Monroe adds length and toughness to their frontcourt. He may very well be their starting center next year, and while he may not be the rookie of the year, the Kings will have their second consecutive 1st team All-Rookie nod.
6. Golden State Warriors – Demarcus Cousins – The W’s take Cousins simply because their short on size, literally. They’ll get Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright back, along with Andris Biedrins, but Cousins will give them another big body to grab boards, and more importantly, play in the low post on offense. My gut says the Warriors will draft the shortest, smallest guy in the draft, but they can’t pass up on Cousins falling to the number six spot.
7. Detroit Pistons – Wesley Johnson - The Pistons are on the fast track to irrelevance, and their selection of Wesley Johnson will further cement that. He’ll back up Tayshaun Prince and have an unspectacular rookie season, but at least he’ll stay above the proverbial Darko Milicic line.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu – The Clippers don’t have many areas of need, but they still suck. They can’t take a power forward since they have Blake Griffin still to debut, so they’ll take Aminu to play on the wing. He’s a solid pickup, but with Baron Davis, Griffin, and Eric Gordon, there simply won’t be enough touches to go around. Here’s betting you won’t see any highlights of him all season.
9. Utah Jazz – Epke Udoh - The Jazz are playing with found money here. They’re already a contender, so they’ve got nothing to lose, but Carlos Boozer leaving is nothing short of an afterthought at this point, so they’ve got to go with a big man here. But Udoh will prove to be too raw to produce during his rookie level, and will be relegated to Kosta Koufos like duties in his rookie campaign.
10. Indiana Pacers – Ed Davis – Indiana has a nice franchise player in Danny Granger, but they don’t have much else. They’ll select Davis in hopes that he’ll be the four man of the future to round out a stellar frontcourt of Granger, Davis, and Roy Hibbert, but it won’t pan out. Davis will be lucky to crack 10 minutes per game.
11. New Orleans Hornets – Patrick Patterson – The Hornets are set at the point guard position, and West, Stojakovic, and Okafor are nice pieces to the puzzle. All that’s missing is a slasher, so Patterson is a nice pick for them. But let’s be real here…. he’s not going to make a significant impact.
12. Memphis Grizzlies – Donatas Motiejunas – The Grizzlies may be on the brink of contention with a core of Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, and Rudy Gay. But, who knows if Gay will be back, or if they can get by with Mike Conley at the point. The Grizz will try to recreate the international magic they had with Pau Gasol, only to trade Motiejunas away a few years down the road for 50 cents on the dollar.
13. Toronto Raptors – Daniel Orton - The Raptors will likely have to replace Chris Bosh, so they’ll go big with this pick. Orton, however, is a project, and this selection will be lucky to live up to the phenomenal rookie campaigns of the Rafael Araujo and Andrea Bargnani.
14. Houston Rockets – Who Cares - I don’t at this point. The Kings and Warriors got screwed again, but they had the two best picks of the draft last year, so who’s to say they don’t this year. The Rockets are in desperate need of an Asian player to round out their roster, but there aren’t many available. They may want to look at Jin Soo Choi from Maryland with this pick.