Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The NBA Draft

In a half hour, the NBA draft will begin on ESPN. As a certified basketball nut, let me make a few predictions here.

1. The team that decides to draft Rudy Gay instead of Adam Morrison will regret that choice very much in a couple years. Rudy Gay is an athletic marvel, with enormous natural gifts, but everyone in the NBA has talent or they wouldn’t be there. There’s only one thing that separates an all-star from a benchwarmer: determination. There are a hundred guys in the NBA who are 6’6 with 40 inch verticals. What makes one Michael Jordan and another one Harold Miner? Jordan is the most competitive man on the planet. He’d run over his grandmother on the way to the basket in a tight game. Rudy Gay, with all that talent, averaged 15 points a game for UConn last year and disappeared in some games, only playing hard here and there during the season. Adam Morrison, on the other hand, is so intensely competitive that when he loses – at anything – he becomes furious. Adam Morrison will be twice the player that Rudy Gay will be, write it down and take it to the bank.

2. If you’re looking for maybe the gem of the draft, look no further than Randy Foye of Villanova. He’ll go in the top 7 and may be the second coming of Dwyane Wade. He’s got similar speed and quickness, and he’s mentally as tough as they come. If anything, he’s a better long range shooter than Wade. We may look back at this draft in 5 years and say that this guy was the best player in it.

3. JJ Redick may fall further than people expect. Two weeks ago, he was thought to be a lock for Houston with the #8 pick, which would have been a perfect situation for him. But with the herniated disk in his back, his stock may be slipping. I still think he goes in the lottery, but it’s possible that he drops as far as 17 or 18. Shelden Williams, on the other hand, will easily go in the lottery as expected.

4. Want a sleeper or two for later in the draft? Don’t overlook Shannon Brown from MSU, a spectacular athlete (I’ve seen him do a 360 dunk from the free throw line at just over 6 feet tall), who will be a late first round pick and could step into an ideal situation. Another one to watch out for is Mardy Collins of Temple, likely an early 2nd round pick. He’s a 6’6 point guard who can defend anyone. Lastly, keep an eye on PJ Tucker of Texas. Yes, he’s a 6’5 power forward, way too short to play that position in the NBA. Uh huh. Ask Charles Barkley and Larry Johnson about that. And yes, Tucker could be that kind of player. He’s a warrior on the inside and he works his tail off. Someone in the early 2nd round may just end up with an all-star on their team in 3 or 4 years if they snag this guy.

5. The Sports Guy’s running diary of the draft will be hysterical, as usual.

Comments

  1. #1 Capt. Rational
    June 28, 2006

    My predictions:

    1) I’ll get really bored after the lottery picks, because my Pistons don’t even have a first-round pick.

    2) Stephen A. Smith will yell… A lot more than he has already.

    3) If the Bobcats get Morrison, they’ll be a contender in two years.

    4) Kevin Garnett will be traded, even though Kevin McHale said he won’t be traded.

  2. #2 kehrsam
    June 28, 2006

    Two players to watch — even though they’ll go late 1st-early 2nd are Mike Gansey and Dee Brown.

    There aren’t many players who do everything well (as opposed to players who have the potential to do everything well) and Gansey is one of them. West Virginia’s schedule was a bit weak out-of-conference, or else he might go a lot higher.

    Brown had a miserable senior year after a magical junior run. The injury really took its toll. Still, if the rehab is coming along well, he gives you great speed, great defense, and a nice touch on the trey. That’s a lot of value for a 25-30 pick in a weak draft.

  3. #3 steve s
    June 28, 2006

    BLAH BLAH BLAH I’M STEVEN A SMITH…I SCREAM FOR NO REASON…I LOUDLY SAY THINGS EVEN WHEN IT’S POSITIVELY WEIRD AND DISTRACTING TO SAY THAT PARTICULAR THING LOUDLY…IT’S MY HOOK…IT MAKES ME STAND OUT…BLAH BLAH BLAH SOME OBNOXIOUS OPINION…I HAVEN’T NOTICED EVERYONE THINKS I’M A TOOL…

    Though a pretty solid basketball fan, it’s just not worth my time to watch the draft. I’ll read a news article about it later and save 3 hrs.

  4. #4 kehrsam
    June 28, 2006

    I went to law school at UNC, so I’m biased, but Reddick would be a terrible lottery pick, even if we could be sure his back is okay.

    First, although he is a great shooter, making buckets from unimagineable positions, he still didn’t come close to shooting 50% on the season. If he had ever showed self-discipline this might not be a problem, but he hasn’t.

    Second, other than scoring, he doesn’t do a lot to help the other team lose. He’s not a great defender, doesn’t have the skills to handle the point, and his height will be a major disadvantage in the NBA.

    I can easily see him as a role player for some team, coming off the bench to shoot when the other team has the second unit on the floor. It’s also possible he’ll make a great 6th-man type in 4-5 years. I don’t see much chance of a star.

  5. #5 Ryan Scranton
    June 28, 2006

    Stephen A. Smith is basically the ugly American abroad: he repeats exactly what has just been said, but at twice the volume. I can’t watch him for more than two minutes at a stretch. Gonna wait for Simmons to recap the rest of this one for me.

  6. #6 FishyFred
    June 28, 2006

    I have to say… I am shocked at how few cliches are coming from the broadcast team. The only one that REALLY pisses me off is when Stephen A. Smith and Greg Anthony refer to someone as an “a” or an “an.” Such as “a Jason Kidd” or “a Marcus Williams” or “a Renaldo Balkman.” THEY ARE INDIVIDUALS!

    About Renaldo Balkman… wow, Isiah is an idiot. He could have had Marcus Williams. Instead… “Dennis Rodman meets Ron Artest?” Are you kidding me? I hope that doesn’t include the implication that he’s going to dress in drag and assault fans.

  7. #7 Matthew
    June 29, 2006

    My steal of the draft is Guillermo Diaz from Miami. He’s one of the most athletic players i’ve ever seen and quite an incredible scorer. Last year I thought he was going to be the next Iverson, but i understand that he had a disappointing year. Still, his talent is incredible for even a 1st round pick; I think he has the opportunity to be like Gilbert Arenas.

  8. #8 tminuspi
    June 29, 2006

    Morrison went to Charlotte (a great move for both parties, for if he’d ended up with a playoff-ready team, they’d have written him off as trade bait after three years of “development”), but he’s gonna have to focus some of that intensity on defense (paying lip service to it, at the very least). Detroit’s been the default example for a few years now: strong “D” provides serious opportunity.

    In my opinion, Golden State made out the best with O’Bryant (assuming they keep him for more than a year). They’re becoming a feisty lot in a moribund division.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    June 29, 2006

    Matthew wrote:

    My steal of the draft is Guillermo Diaz from Miami. He’s one of the most athletic players i’ve ever seen and quite an incredible scorer. Last year I thought he was going to be the next Iverson, but i understand that he had a disappointing year. Still, his talent is incredible for even a 1st round pick; I think he has the opportunity to be like Gilbert Arenas.

    I agree, Diaz could be a real steal in the second round. Tremendous athlete, but also a really tough-minded kid who won’t back down from anyone. At the very least, I think he’ll stick in the NBA and has the potential to be a very good player.

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