After a whirlwind of rumors gone amok, the 2007 edition of the NBA Draft finally came to a close late on Thursday night at
Since Pay was kind enough to tackle the even-numbered selections, I (Clement) suppose it’s only fair that I try my best to analyze the odd-numbered selections as well as the trades that took place.
Without further adieu…
-First off, I’m a huge fan of Oden’s character on the court. While sensational scorer Durant is more than tempting, the Blazers had the easiest pick of the night, at least in my opinion, as 7-footers who love to fill the paint, block shots, and rebound are nearly impossible to find. Nobody will look back at this pick and regret it. Nobody.
- In most years, Durant is the top selection, so let’s just lay that out there. The Sonics get a natural replacement for the likely-departing Rashard Lewis, who opted out of the final two years of his contract. In Durant, the Sonics get a leader who the coachless team will look to from day one as a source for inspiration … and points.
-I understand that Horford was clearly the best prospect left on
- While I love the prospect of Conley Jr. running the show in Memphis and the Grizz adding an actual defensive presence to the backcourt, his skills do not differ too greatly from Kyle Lowry, who the team was very high on prior to his season-ending injury. At this pick, the Grizzlies really could have benefited from an inside to shore up the leaky defense that made many fantasy owners happy whenever their players went against
-I’m not gonna analyze the trade itself; instead, just the selection of the Hoya. While I may give Green too hard of a time for becoming completely absent, for over thirty minutes, in the Final Four…I realize he could be a great asset to place right next to Kevin Durant. However, he is not the 1B to 1A (Durant). A nice 3 or 4 piece on a contender, Green will have to step up quite a bit, especially if Durant starts cold, on an extremely young
Grade: B+ [
-I love the courage behind this pick. It’s not necessarily because since I think Yi is the right piece for this team, which had a major aversion to playing individual and team defense. It’s because Yi’s representation did everything they could to prevent the Bucks from seeing Yi work out. As a business decision, I love it, because the man will be marketable be he 19 or 22 going on 23. In basketball terms, the Bucks would have been better off drafting Corey Brewer.
-While I am a huge Brewer fan, I was left with a bit of a sour taste with this selection. While the Wolves obviously can use his perimeter defense, I feel they needed a better playmaker on offense. With Randy Foye the new point guard (Mike James was sent back to
- Jay Bilas was spot on when he said that the Bobcats front office should have worn masks when they made this selection, because this selection was a steal. As for Wright, he’s a long defender who’s an excellent alternative to oft-injured Sean May, who lacks the necessary wingspan and defensive presence. Not to mention, playing alongside Okafor, he can dominate inside eight feet. However, as with any good front office decision made by Michael Jordan, he botched it by trading the pick for a fading star with plenty of mileage and $48 million worth of salary over the next four campaigns.
Grade: A [on
-I hate agreeing with Stephen A. Smith, but he nailed it on the ESPN telecast. Scott Skiles clearly needed an inside scoring presence and not another Skiles-type guy. As useless on offense as Ben Wallace (except from the charity stripe, of course), Noah shouldn’t take away minutes from the progressing Tyrus Thomas. While Hawes also seemed fuzzy (as he couldn’t be on the court with Wallace most likely), I felt the Bulls needed to do their best to either move this pick for a veteran or potentially consider selecting either Al Thornton or a potential replacement for potential trade-bait Ben Gordon. While I don’t think Noah will be as useless as I project him to be, he won’t be the factor Paxson is eyeing him to be.
-Hawes is a very skilled interior player who’s been groomed for the NBA since his childhood. After a year of grooming under the watchful eye of Lorenzo Romar, Hawes has improved in terms of shotblocking, but does not rebound well for a true 7-footer. The Kings needed this pick, though they could’ve gone the Al Thornton route.
-While I loved watching Law all season long, this seems ridiculously high for him (especially considering
- Young is Mr. Upside in this draft and his draft position reflects that despite what many insiders thought was a down first year at Georgia Tech. Little known fact that was mentioned at the draft – Young had a killer GPA in high school (above 4.0). Unfortunately, his skills resemble that of Iguodala and Carney too closely, so I was scratching my forehead during this pick despite my obvious excitement at the rebuilding project in Philly.
-Never a Jayhawk supporter, even I won’t deny I view Julian as top-5 talent. While
-I’ve been touting Al since before the 37 and 15 game at Cameron Indoor Stadium which put him on the national basketball map. The Clippers were somewhat cursed by their draft position, because they lack the ammo to trade into the top 10 where they could’ve selected a big (power forward or center) sans the tweener label. I love
-One of the more solidified projections over the past week or two,
-Ernie Grunfeld goes with the best player remaining on the board. Nick Young fits right into the Wizards system and his selection signals that both DeShawn Stevenson and Jarvis Hayes may be on their way out. His defense has come into question much like the team that selected him. Although I think Young fills some needs, Italian stallion Marco Belinelli would’ve filled more and possibly better.
-There should be no surprise that Rod Thorn was willing to take a gamble, even at 17, on the kid. Former Coach John Lucas gave him a thumbs-up and his talent seemed to win out over his more than questionable behavior. I personally think this is the right spot for him to land. While I doubt projections, specifically from ESPN’s Jay Bilas, tabbing Williams, if he was a good-boy, as a late lottery selection…I do believe Williams can form a rather strong supporting core duo, off the bench mind you, with last year’s big-man selection Josh Boone. With a team getting older by the minute, this was a risk worth reaching for. I’d like to put some fat clauses in the contract to protect myself though.
- I gushed over this pick when it was announced because the Warriors have a defined system and they are selecting the best players possible to fit that system. In addition, some of these guys actually play defense. Belinelli is vastly skilled and should feel at home in a wide open system. Caution: Flammable.
-Don’t write off Jordan Farmar as a mistake last season. He started in the 1st round of the playoffs and performed as most rookies would’ve. However, the Lakers couldn’t pass up on the Yellow Jacket, who slipped past the Clippers (who couldn’t pass up on
- I yawned during this selection and proceeded to change the channel. The ESPN panel made yet another great point in that if Smith is so good, then why did his team not even worthy of NIT talk? Clearly, Smith is talented and has a solid game extending out to 18 feet and he will undoubtedly benefit from Shaq’s tutelage. I’m just not sure where the upside is.
-I don’t buy this kid being a total malcontent. However, if he stayed at
Grade: Incomplete. [I stink, I know.]
- It’s a good thing that Clement didn’t get this pick, because he would rail on the BC star for about ten lines calling him a whiner.
-Hold your breath fellow Knick fans. I wholeheartedly support the pick. While I wanted Belinelli to drop here (he was gone at 18), everyone in the building knew the Blue Demon was gonna be drafted. Fortunately, he has excellent size and seems quite versatile. While still developing, he adds to a rather interesting young nucleus of bodies including David Lee, Renaldo Balkman, and Marty Collins. While I would’ve loved a gamble on Rudy Fernandez, even with the buyout in
-Let me state my man crushes on Kevin Pritchard and Paul Allen. At pick 24, they realize there’s a lottery talent still on the board and Pritchard goes to Allen and asks him for $3 million to buy the pick. As for Fernandez, Clement and I both love the guy. The Ginobili comparisons are legit and despite his tender age, he has plenty of international experience on a fantastic national side. Fernandez does have a large buyout, but the Blazers can be patient given their guard depth.
-While I overestimated Ronnie Brewer’s impact (which can still change for the better), I don’t feel wrong in stating that Almond is a great 2-guard for the future for the Jazz. While still young and potentially untested, Almond has a sweet stroke and loves to take the big shot. Miss or make, I love that attitude from a college kid.
- Why would the Rockets select Brooks despite having Rafer Alston and recently re-acquired Mike James already on the books. Brooks is a playmaker but this team really needed a power forward to play alongside
-Get ready for the NBDL, Arron. While he may one day fit into the Pistons lineup, I don’t see him overcoming what most people dog him for: inability to create his own shot consistently and being a step behind on defense. While Pay and I differ on his potential, Afflalo is a class-guy and a potential solid reserve, in a few seasons potentially, for the not-so-young Pistons.
- Hate on the Spurs. Do it. They needed a big and they had their pick of the litter with Splitter, McRoberts, and Big Baby. Splitter has a huge buyout and that’s the reason for the major drop. He won’t play in the NBA soon, but when he does, he’ll be a Top 5 European league talent rather than just one of its rising stars.
-I suppose Grant Hill’s desire to be in
2nd-Round: [No grades for Round 2]
31) Seattle Supersonics select Carl Landry [F, Purdue]
-With their quagmire of underdeveloped talent at the 5-spot, I kind of like this pick of the Boilermaker. While there were plenty of other options, if Landry stays healthy, he will be a nice physical presence to offset the incoming rookie duo of Durant/Green. It’s a definite reach, but one I feel may work out.
32) Boston Celtics select Gabe Pruitt [G, USC]
- Pruitt is the natural replacement for Delonte West, who like Pruitt, was a point guard out of necessity. Pruitt will need to add weight to his 170-lb frame and become a more disciplined defensive player, though the potential is definitely there.
33) San Antonio Spurs select Marcus Williams [F,
-With already an intriguing selection in Brazilian Tiago Splitter, the Spurs snagged a real sleeper in Williams. Regarded as a potential top-10 talent before his freshman year in
34) Dallas Mavericks select Nick Fazekas [F,
- Fazekas has the skills to pay the bills at this level and will learn a lot from playing against Dirk Nowitzski. At the next level, he’ll definitely be serviceable. In the immediate, he’s a natural replacement for Austin Croshere, whose disgusting contract is finally over. I foresee a career somewhere between Jack Sikma and Frank Brickowski.
35) Seattle Supersonics select Glen Davis [F, LSU] (draft rights traded to
-Pay’s nickname (“Sprained Ankle”) is borderline classic. While I have my doubts, I don’t believe Big Baby is the next Tractor Traylor. However, he had better toughen up and work hard over the summer to earn minutes next season. With plenty of odd bodies already on the roster,
36) Charlotte Bobcats select Jermareo Davidson [F,
37) Portland Trailblazers select Josh McRoberts [F, Duke]
-While it’s not a Terrence Morris-like drop, it’s close. Touted as a sure-fire lottery pick around 24 months ago, McRoberts sank and sank down draft boards in ’07. While the
- Fesenko is a very raw player with excellent size. The Pistons were the first to scout him but were unable to hide it from the rest of the NBA. Go figure. At age 20, he lacks experience, but he has a NBA body (6’11” 250) with very good strength, hustles, and is active on the boards. Fesenko will need more time (my guess is 2-4 years) to develop in
39) Miami Heat selects Stanko Barac [C, Siroki Prima -
- Barac is your classic European 7-footer – he has the fundamentals down pat, demonstrates adequate basketball IQ and he can shoot. In fact, he shot 35.9% from behind the European arc. The best part about Barac is that he’s very coachable. On the flipside, he lacks an inside game and is slow to get off of the ground. His inability to pass out of double team also leaves plenty to be desired.
40) Los Angeles Lakers select Sun Yue [G/F, Aoshen Olympian -
- Sun wasn’t even on my top 65 and I was shocked by this selection. Of course, the Buss family doesn’t give a damn about what I think. The Lakers will take a liking to Sun because he’s an unselfish player who loves to pass and has great vision. At 6’9”, he creates mismatches and uses his long arms to cut off passing lanes. Usually the case with pass-first players, he lacks shooting ability and still needs to develop a mid-range jumper. I hope this was more than a marketing ploy by the Lakers.
41) Minnesota Timberwolves select Chris Richard [F,
-A little early in my opinion, the Wolves now have another interesting big body to plant onto its bench (Craig Smith was a gem by late last season). While his actual offensive game comes into heavy question, I like his body size and his ability to play physical when necessary. This is the type of 2nd round pick that a lot of contenders, which
42) Portland Trailblazers select Derrick Byars [G/F, Vanderbilt] (rights traded to the
- The pick speaks for itself. Byars is a top 25 draft talent. The trade makes little sense, because the Sixers needed a young point guard to develop and the Blazers major remaining hole was at small forward (Udoka, Outlaw, Webster, etc. hardly excite me). Fundamentally, he’s as gifted as anyone in this draft class. He knows pressure, as he was only the SEC player of the year and took every big shot for his team this season. On defense, Byars has the tendency to reach and be overaggressive despite being able to stay in front of his defender. Add another swingman to Mo Cheeks’ arsenal.
43) New Orleans Hornets select Adam Haluska [G,
-Limited exposure, at least for me, had me surprised the guy went this early. While Chris Paul does need some shooters, I really wonder if they would’ve taken Derrick Byars, even with Julian Wright incoming, if he had slipped just one more spot. Call me a homer, but I think
44) Orlando Magic selects Reyshawn Terry [F, UNC]
- At UNC, Terry was a gem lying in wait following the championship run of 2005. When watching Terry, his athleticism and ability to make an impact on defense even when he’s ice-cold on offense stand out. Terry has struggled with confidence issues and his development will hinge upon how well he is coached. For
45) Los Angeles Clippers select Jared Jordan [G, Marist]
-I had a sneaking suspicion that somehow, he’d be drafted. No way did I expect it to the Clippers a 45. I’m not going to ramble on this reach, except that both Taurean Green and Ramon Sessions would’ve been much smarter picks.
- Simply put, I jock this pick so hard. In the playoffs, it was evident that the Warriors needed a defensive specialist who can rebound and block shots. Offensively, Lasme needs retooling despite steady improvement to his footwork, but that’s not why he was drafted. He could easily be the 3rd or 4th guy off of the bench who can come in and change the landscape of a game.
47) Washington Wizards select Dominic McGuire [F,
-I’m always a little too touch on Fresno State Bulldog players. Yet, I do wonder if McGuire, who seems to me a 3, was the best pick here. Especially with the contract of Jarvis Hayes to deal with and a complete lack of interior post depth, that is at least credible when on the floor, in the nation’s capital. I would’ve reached for my boy Herbert Hill here or potentially Ali Traore. On a side note, the NBA Live spots with Arenas and Durant didn’t progress well. Clearly, Gilbert should’ve written the scripts and directed it himself.
48) Los Angeles Lakers select Marc Gasol [C, Akasvayu Girona -
- Excellent value at 48. In most other drafts, Gasol is a late first-round selection. His continuous improvement demonstrates his ability to be coached and that’s music to Phil Jackson’s ears, should he remain coach when Gasol is ready to play. Athletically, Gasol is lacking and must trim down in order to adjust to the new, quicker NBA.
49) Chicago Bulls select Aaron Gray [C,
-Good value right here. He may be the opposite of almost-drafted Spencer Hawes skill-wise, but Pay was right in noting that Gray has the size and stature to last in the NBA. He won’t get a ton of minutes, but he’ll be effective enough to stay out of the NBDL the majority of this season.
50) Dallas Mavericks select Renaldas Seibutis[G, Maroussi Athens -
- The Mavs go with the exciting Lithuanian slasher who can play either guard position. Rumored to go at pick 35, the Ray Allen trade went through and
51) Chicago Bulls select JamesOn Curry [G,
-Why come out this early exactly? The Bulls delivered on their promise, but never said anything about Curry being in the developmental league (I think). With too much depth at guard already, don’t expect his tenure in
52) Portland Trailblazers select Taurean Green [G,
- A part of Green must have regretted this decision. Of course,
53) Portland Trailblazers select Demetris Nichols [F,
-I expected him to be mid-to-late 40s, but not to
54) Orlando Magic selects Brad Newley [G, Townsville Crocodiles -
- I have no idea what
55) Utah Jazz selects Herbert Hill [F,
-While my buzz spelled doom for Avis Wyatt, Hill recovered from a borderline hellacious camp experience to still be drafted. Ironically, Hill might be the perfect practice-buddy for last year’s 2nd-round big man, Paul Millsap. While he won’t garner any type of real minutes, it’s a smart pick by a smart organization. There really wasn’t a 2 or 3 worth taking this last in the game.
56) Milwaukee Bucks select Ramon Sessions [G,
- Not only will Sessions make the team, he will become a key contributor and a possible starter by midseason. Sessions is an excellent floor general and should’ve been drafted much earlier. As I’ve said, Sessions has the best combination skills of scoring, passing, and rebounding of any point guard in this draft.
57) Detroit Pistons select Sammy Mejia [G, DePaul]
-Pleading the fifth. I had to research
58) San Antonio Spurs select Giorgos Printezis [F, Olimpia Laresa -
- Known for his hustle and energy, Printezis is a hard worker who’s not afraid to attack the basket. He’ll need to improve his overall shooting in order to make the jump. Side note: You have to love the fact that Printezis shows up at the draft paying his own way, waits more than four hours for his name to be called and has the biggest grin in the world. Again, hate on the Spurs.
59) Phoenix Suns select DJ Strawberry [F,
-If he makes the team, good luck finding more than a minute or two a game. Send him to the NBDL and see what happens. At least the “Darryl” chants in the Garden woke up the crowd before the final pick was made.
60) Dallas Mavericks select Milovan Rakovic [F, Mega Ishrana -
- If Rakovic ever makes the squad, it’ll be after years and years of honing his game in
Draft Day Deals:
I’ll spend the briefest of times on the draft-day deals. Why? Because they affected several picks, their subsequent impacts and a half-dozen at teams (at least). I’ll even try and go in order of importance too.
No other trades were major enough to include. Although there was one of those annoying, “I’ll trade you my pick at 21 and some cash for yours at 20.” Probably netting
While the draft buzz, as always, was more bark than bite. At least some big-time deals went down. The draft itself lost some steam, I feel, after the early teens, but there was plenty of interest throughout. Plenty of people slipped (Byars, McRoberts, Crittenton) and plenty of people rose as well.
In the end, it’ll take at least four to six years to make any real assessments.
Until next time ...