Monday, May 31, 2010

NBA Draft Buzz: Is Evan Turner the clear-cut 2nd pick overall?

In nearly every mock draft I've seen, Evan Turner is the #2 pick overall. And why not? He's one of 2 slam-dunk superstars in this draft (John Wall), and few combo guards can match his size and skill.

This is before you factor in three things.
  1. The 76ers already have Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young.
  2. Samuel Dalembert, the only guy who can really play center, is out of contract next summer. Some would even argue this point. Translation: They need a center.
  3. Philadelphia has $65 million committed in salary next season, which is within striking range of the luxury tax.
Barring sign-and-trade possibilities involving the expiring contracts of Dalembert ($12.2M), Jason Kapono ($6.6M), and Willie Green ($4M), the 76ers will not be a key player in free agency, and will need to add height and bulk through the draft.

That's why the 76ers organization needs to be creative, and not just look at drafting the best player and hope for everything to fall into place. As much as Evan Turner should be the clear-cut #2 pick who goes to the 76ers (he could still be the #2 pick overall to another team, of course) based on talent, the organization must put more stock in making a need-based pick.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NBA Draft Lottery Thoughts

A few quick hits on tonight's NBA Draft Lottery:
  • The draft lottery has become a media spectacle, and demonstrates America's fascination with the prospect of new beginnings. As an aside, I don't remember the last time a likely #1 pick was interviewed during the telecast, but John Wall will certainly look good in a Bullets uniform.
  • I love it when 18-year-olds are given canned statements for interviews by their agents / advisors. It makes for arresting television.
  • For the 6th year in a row, the team with the worst record did not get the #1 overall pick. As a result, New Jersey becomes even less likely to win the LeBron sweepstakes.
  • Simply stated, I think the draft lottery is rigged, favoring bad teams who actually tried to win games late in the season. Washington fit the bill. Minnesota and Sacramento did not. At all. As for New Jersey, they won a few games late, but their #1 pick probability never wavered.
  • What happens after the 1st pick will be the storyline of the draft. I rate Evan Turner as the 2nd-best player in the draft, but is his skill set too similar to that of Andre Iguodala? If so, which big man is selected?
  • Another theme to keep your eyes peeled for is whether teams will draft based on proven talent (Evan Turner, Patrick Patterson, James Anderson, Damion James, etc.) OR limitless potential (Derrick Favors, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry, etc.). Will teams finally learn that proven talent is the way to go following the successes of 2009 class members such as Darren Collison (21st), DeJuan Blair (37th), Marcus Thornton (43rd), Chase Budinger (44th), and Wesley Matthews (undrafted)? Time will tell.