Friday, May 26, 2006

The Sportszilla Draft Board
By Zach

With the NBA draft about a month away, it's time to take a look at who I'd take if I were running an NBA team. Now a few basic statements about the concept:

- David devised a set of rules that a GM should use when drafting. Almost without exception, they'll be applied here. Still, you'll have understand that I'll be using my judgement in the case of a few guys who may have excelled in college but not may not in the pros.

- Position doesn't matter. This isn't a mock draft, just a list of the top players in the draft. I tend to think that teams should take the best player available (David explains why above), and since I'm not tied to any particular team, I don't have to worry about how many minutes each player would get.

- No foreign players will be on my list. Sorry, but I've seen none of them play. To rank them, I'd have to rely on what Chad Ford and others have said about them, and since you can find that out for yourself as easily as I can rewrite it here, it doesn't seem to be of value. Thus, this is merely a list of guys who played in college this past season.

Today, I'll bring you the first ten guys on the list. Let's get right into it.

1. LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-11, Texas (So). Every time I saw him play, I was certain he'd be the top pick in the draft if he came out. He's got the size to play in the post in the NBA (not just height, but strength), and functions well on both ends of the court. He's got nice post moves for someone his age, and runs the floor reasonably well. The question would be, can he fit into the newer, up-tempo NBA. In other words, are big centers and power forwards being made obsolete by the Shawn Marions of the world (I tend to say no)?

2. Brandon Roy, 6-6, Washington (Sr). Here's a shock, me putting a Husky high on this list. Of course, this time I'm not alone. Roy is, at the present, the best player in the draft, and he could quite easily be the best pro. He's got the ability to play both guard positions, and could step into a starting role on a number of NBA teams. He plays defense with passion, and wants the ball late in games. He can score a variety of different ways, and should continue to improve on his outside shooting.

3. Adam Morrison, 6-8, Gonzaga (Jr). Will he score at the same rate in the pros? No. But I really doubt that he'll fail at the pro level. He shoots in traffic as well as any player I've seen, and his high release should allow him to get his shot off, even against more athletic players. His average athleticism and diabetes might scare teams, but Morrison would be my pick as the frontrunner for the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year. He'll be a legit scorer right away, and will contribute more in other catagories than people expect.

4. Marcus Williams, 6-3, Connecticut (Jr). I'm surprised he hasn't generated more buzz around the league. He was the best point guard in college basketball this year, and was the only reason UConn even made it to the Elite Eight. He took (and made) a number of huge shots for the Huskies, and also ran their offense with precision. His off-the-court issues shouldn't be a problem in the pros (he probably won't need to steal laptops with his paycheck), and he's another player, like Roy, who greatly improved his shooting. Would be a great fit for almost any team that needs help at the point.

5. Randy Foye, 6-4, Villanova (Sr). Yet another player who will be bypassed for youngsters and foreigners, even though he was a First Team All-American and a nearly unstoppable scorer for much of this past year. While some might think he can't play the point, I'd contend that with Noah Lowry around, he wasn't required to. To me, he's another player ready to come in and play big minutes for a team right away, if for nothing else than his tremendous perimeter defense.

6. Sheldon Williams, 6-9, Duke (Sr). I'd put a lot of money on Williams being a much better pro than JJ Redick. First, Williams was a better college player. Second, his game will translate better than JJ's. Shelden may be undersized, but I see him as being the next coming of Dale Davis at worst (and Davis was an All-Star). Williams plays intelligently and passionately, and while he may never be a dominant player, he's going to have a 10-15 year career as a starter. While most teams will gamble with younger players with more upside, the team that lands Sheldon Williams should be happy to get him.

7. Tyrus Thomas, 6-9, Louisiana State (Fr). See, Thomas is the kind of guy that causes problems in the draft. You see the freakish athleticism, the great performances in the NCAA Tournament, and the upside. I see a kid who didn't do much in the regular season, has no offensive game to speak of, and has no position (at least immediately) in the NBA. He's too small to guard most power forwards, and it remains to be seen if he's quick enough to stay with small forwards. Could he evolve into a star? Sure, but once you start gambling on potential, you're heading down a slippery slope.

8. Ronnie Brewer, 6-7, Arkansas (Jr). A guy who combines very good college play with a lot of potential. He's got the body of a swingman, but can handle the ball like a point guard. His shooting is mediocre, and his mechanics suck, but he's become a solid defensive player and should crack the rotation (if not the starting lineup) wherever he ends up going.

9. Rodney Carney, 6-7, Memphis (Sr). Now here's a bit of a gamble. Carney was unstoppable at times in college, but also could disappear. Still, he's got so many tools to work with. He's got a solid shot, and fantastic athleticism and speed. In my mind, he's a slightly better gamble than the next guy on the list, in part because he did more in college and carried his team at times.

10. Rudy Gay, 6-9, Connecticut (So). Ah, the enigma. No one did as much damage to their draft stock in the NCAA Tournament as Gay. He looked utterly disinterested most of the time, both on offense and defense. Most of the time, it seemed as though he was reluctant to shoot, not a good sign for a guy who many considered the most talented player in college. Still, he does so many things well that he'd be worth the risk a bit deeper in the lottery. He can shoot, dribble, pass, and defend on a high level, and at his age could still have plenty of development in him. If he can be motivated, look out.

I'll be back with more of the draft board next week...

1 Comments:

Blogger Matt Brown said...

I have no Northwest bias, and I agree with you 100% about Brandon Roy. I see him as this year's version of Dwyane Wade - a small-to-midsize player with a dynamic, excellent all-around game, and a polished senior at that. Wade slipped further than he should have in 2003, and he's proven to be the top player in that year's class not named LeBron. There is no LeBron or Tim Duncan in this year's crop. NBA teams always seem to get seduced in the draft by the players with some sort of raw upside (be it size or speed), and in doing so they forget about which guys can actually play the game. Roy can do that, and very well. Whoever grabs him will be making a wise choise.

7:29 PM  

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