Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The NBA Draft

Okay, time for a basketball break. First and foremost, leave this page immediately, go read the Sports Guy’s draft diary, and remind yourself why this guy is the best sportswriter on the planet today. This exchange alone cements his status:

9:33 — Utah takes 7-foot-5 Pavel Prdzswsbqzpdne, who stands up and immediately whiffs on two high-fives. Not a good start for the Pavel Era. Katz calls it a “safe pick.” Of course, the USA Today’s scouting report mentioned that Pavel “takes medication for a hormonal disorder related to pituitary gland.” I don’t know if “safe” was the best choice of words, not after the Gheorge Muresan Era and Giant Gonzalez’s wrestling career. Jacko quickly jokes, “Must improve: Genetic deficiency.”

9:35 — Stu Scott interviews Pavel and his interpreter. Just to clear things up, Pavel does understand English … he just can’t understand Stu Scott. Seriously, I’m not fronting.

Bloody hilarious, and dead on accurate. Watching Stu Scott try to speak in black American slang phrases to 8 foot tall white guys from Somewherehesneverbeenistan absolutely shatters the Unintentional Comedy Scale. How do you say “playa hatuh” or “boo-yah” in Ukrainian?

The one thing that jumps out from the draft is that some of those picks just have to be leading to other trades and moves, or they just don’t make sense. The Bulls took Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon, both point guards, when they already have second-year point guard Kirk Heinrich, who had a great rookie season and looks like he’s going to be one of the better point guards in the league for the next 10-12 years. And they still have Jamal Crawford, who plays some point guard but mostly plays the 2. Makes no sense. Duhon was a good pick in the second round as a solid backup point guard, but the Gordon pick, while I love him as a player, is entirely redundant. They can’t keep them all.

The Dallas draft and trades also have to be leading to a trade, almost certainly to the Lakers for Shaq. They traded Antawn Jamison to the Wizards for Jerry Stackhouse and his albatross-like contract, Christian Laettner and the rights to #5 pick Devin Harris. They can now try and package a boatload of players for Shaq and hope the Lakers will bite without having Dirk Nowitzki involved. But I can’t imagine the Lakers will want to take on Stackhouse’s contract. He makes far too much money, he plays the same position as Kobe, and he’s been virtually non-existent for the last 2 seasons. But if the Lakers won’t take him, why the hell would Cuban want to keep him? $7 million a season for a corpse who is also a cancer in the locker room? Not on a bet.

So what do they do? They can package either Harris or a resigned Steve Nash along with Antoine Walker, Pavel Podkolzine and Josh Howard and hope the Lakers bite. The Lakers might take on Walker’s contract, which is twice as bad as Stackhouse’s, only because it comes off after next year and that opens up another $14 million they can use on a free agent next summer. The Lakers will demand that they throw in Nowitzki instead of Walker and it all depends on how hard Shaq pushes for the trade.

I think Orlando made a huge mistake taking Dwight Howard instead of Emeka Okafor. That’s a team that needs help on the inside NOW, not in 4 years. Charlotte must have pinched themselves to be able to make Okafor their first draft pick and build their team around this guy. He’s the total package – ability, character, work ethic, mental and physical toughness. He’s going to be a stud in the NBA. Orlando passed up a sure thing for a guy who might end up being a little bit better, but by the time they know he’ll be a free agent. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Here are my predictions for this draft:

Busts

Josh Smith (Atlanta) – no work ethic

Al Jefferson (Boston) – take a seat at the end of the bench next to Kendrick Perkins

David Harrison (Indiana) – no work ethic or killer instinct

Sebastian Telfair (Portland) – overrated head case

Rafael Araujo (Toronto) – he may end up being a decent player, but they picked him WAY too high

Kris Humphries (Utah) – very talented but very selfish. He’ll be in Jerry Sloan’s doghouse before the season even starts

Sleepers

Jameer Nelson (Orlando) – tough as nails, all heart, faster than hell, very strong. Big mistake passing on him for many teams.

Delonte West (Boston) – he’s a scorer. Not necessarily a shooter, though he shoots very well, he’s just one of those guys who finds a way to put the ball in the basket. Very smooth, very creative with the ball.

Luis Flores (Dallas) – huge steal in the second round, could end up being a very good point guard in the NBA.

Peter John Ramos (Washington) – another second round steal, he could end up being great. Of course, he could also end up being the second coming of Fred Weiss.

Romain Sato (San Antonio) – another pure scorer, very strong, very good defender, very long arms and quick feet. He will end up being a solid rotation player for the Spurs. A perfect player for that system, especially defensively.

Tim Pickett (New Orleans) – just a great shooter. A little undersized for the two, but this guy is all heart and determination. He’ll make that roster and be a contributor, which is all you ask from a #44 pick.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike
    July 8, 2004

    I’ve heard there’s a guy out there, that’s been a sleeper, by the name of Joe Lewandowski. I hear he played in Europe and did very well and teams are missing him. From what they say he is an outstanding 3 point shooter, a very good defender, unselfish, and very talented overall. Some NBA teams are just getting word of him, have you heard about him or what teams may be looking into him?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    July 8, 2004

    I’ve heard there’s a guy out there, that’s been a sleeper, by the name of Joe Lewandowski. I hear he played in Europe and did very well and teams are missing him. From what they say he is an outstanding 3 point shooter, a very good defender, unselfish, and very talented overall. Some NBA teams are just getting word of him, have you heard about him or what teams may be looking into him?

    Nope, can’t say as I have. If guys like Chad Ford, who follows the European basketball scene very closely, haven’t heard of him, you may well have an Ivan Renko situation. For those who don’t remember, many years ago Bobby Knight decided to have a little fun with the “recruiting experts”. He mentioned to a reporter that he was about to sign a European player by the name of Ivan Renko to a letter of intent to attend Indiana and that he was going to lead them to another national championship. Within days, all of the recruiting magazines had detailed reports on Renko – his height, weight, analysis of all his strengths and weaknesses. The only problem? He didn’t exist.

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