Posted on: June 16, 2009 8:37 pm
1. A lot of people, myself included, were underwhelmed by the hiring off David Kahn as GM of the Wolves, the details of which can be found in one of my earlier posts titled "Kahn Air". Get it, like as in "Con Air". What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn't you consider that to be insane? Anywho, to his credit Kahn has basically said everything right since then. He sounds to be the the polar opposite of McHale. Sort of like the movie Face Off when John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are morally opposite but then find themselves quite literally transported into eachother's shoes. If I were to send you flowers where would I... no, let me rephrase that. If I were to let you suck my tongue, would you be grateful?
1A. The problem of course is that he has yet to turn any of his big talk into action, for which I am not at all upset about. The draft, however, will be his first chance to deliver. If he does something big and for once makes this organization look intelligent on draft night he will quickly endear himself to many jaded fans.
2. My absolute favorite NBA rumor and draft site is DraftExpress.com. They are my favorite because they have insightful articles, rumors that tend to come to life and historically have had accurate mock drafts. Today Jon Givony (very solid writer/source) wrote the following...
"No GM in the NBA is apparently more active right now than Minnesota’s David Kahn, as he’s apparently set on “making a big splash in his first draft” according to one NBA executive, and is “talking to everyone” at the moment. One rumor that is making the rounds has Minnesota sending Memphis Kevin Love in exchange for the #2 pick (and filler). Minnesota would then draft Ricky Rubio , which could help them significantly with their ticket sales, and still have the #6 pick at their disposal, which they could use to take someone like Jordan Hill ."
I love Kevin Love. I'd miss him. I'd help him pack if he needed it.
This one got me excited because on a few other occassions I've seen rumors that are totally reinforced by this one. Here is the alternate take I have heard and the one I'd like to see go down on draft night.
Minnesota trades Kevin Love and #6 to Memphis for Rudy Gay and #2 (the closest we'll probably get to Gay Love, right Knap?)
That exact scenario is posted on the Grizzlies forum on ESPN.com and has about 65-70% approval based on user comments.
Why Memphis does it: Ricky Rubio does not want to play for them. He has made that known. Furthermore, they don't really want him. They are commited to Michael Conley, which was made evident by the tradings of Jarvaris Crittenton and fan favorite, Kyle Lowery. What they need is a post presence. Kevin Love, if he were in this draft, would be the consensus #2 pick and perhaps even the #1. He's perfect for them. They lose Gay, who is made redundant next to shot happy OJ Mayo, but pick up the #6 pick for him. They promptly use that to draft Tyreke Evans, who is very much a hometown favorite for his Memphis Tigers connection.
Why Minnesota does it: They add a star potential player in Rubio. He is a position and personality of dire need. Is he a sure thing? No. Could he technically turn out to be the 3rd or 4th or even 5th best PG in this draft? Yes. Is he the sort of aggressive acquisition that could give both the organization and fanbase the massive boost it needs? Fuck yes. As a fan, this, like any other trade could backfire but no sound individual could really be mad at them for taking a shot on a move that appears to have all the upside in the world. They also add Rudy Gay. Some would rather have the #6 pick instead of Gay and I see where they are coming from. Concerns about Gay's on court IQ and hustle are legit. But in this case I'd take the player over the pick, especially when this player is still very young at 23 years old, fits a need at the wing and is capable of scoring 20 points a game. Plus, he's the kind of leaper that could thrive with a passer like Rubio. Kevin Love is a beast and a heck of a person but he's also the only piece they can give up to make this sort of move happen. To get, they must give.
* If it took an exchange of contracts such as the Wolves sending them Brian Cardinal's expiring and in return taking back Marko Jaric's bloated joke, I would still do it. If it took an expiring toss in like Craig Smith, I would still do it.
Minnesota turns around and makes another move to acquire some size. Sam Dalembert and Tyson Chandler are known to be available for expiring contracts. Maybe throw in #18, #28 or either of their 2nd rounders to make it happen.
PG - Ricky Rubio
SG - Mike Miller
SF - Rudy Gay
PF - Al Jefferson
C - Samuel Dalembert
Key Reserves - Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer
Without considering other possible trades or free agent moves I think you are looking at a playoff team before long. Jefferson and Gay are the one-two offensive punch. Foye comes in as an all-purpose guard 6th man and is able to play pressure free against second units. Miller melds back into the role of shooter. Dalembert protects the rim. And Ricky Rubio orchestrates the whole thing.
Memphis, by the way, walks away with a Mayo-Love-Evans-Conley-Gasol core. Not too shabby.
The Grizzlies win. The Wolves win. Small markets everywhere win. The fans win. Make it happen.
***None of this goes down without absolute confirmation that Rubio is cool with playing in Minnesota. I shudder the thought of the nuclear event, which shall not be detailed here.
Posted on: June 16, 2009 12:03 am
Here's my take on a wild card scenario that may be developing amongst the top few picks. Note that I don't believe it will go down this way, only that according to some reputable draft heads there may be more truth to these possibilities than meets the eye. Also, I only did the top 10 picks because my remaining 20 haven't changed enough since my last mock. So, let's say the damn thing goes crazy...
1. Clippers - Blake Griffin PF OKLAHOMA This is the pick, they can't screw it up...right?
2. Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet C UCONN The riot starts here. They reportedly love Thabeet and are put off by Rubio (more on that later). They could try to trade down a couple of spots, which at this point their fanbase appears to favor doing, but they won't risk the Thunder grabbing him with #3.
3. Thunder - Stephen Curry PG/SG DAVIDSON What's in your head, in your head, zombie zombie zombie, hey hey hey oh oh oh. With the Westbrook pick last year the Thundonics proved they will stir it up and take the guy they want regardless of popular opinion. They worked Curry out at length and are just arrogant enough to think a Westbrook/Curry backcourt will work. I personally hate the idea of that duo but I think Curry is legit and I won't wince at all if a certain Wolves team takes him at #6. Rib on.
4. Kings - Johnny Flynn PG SYRACUS He had an amazingly good workout in Sac on Monday and I think they are intent on taking a PG. His off the court interviews were apparently as good as his on court performance, in both of which he clearly came off as better than Holliday and Jennings.
5. Wizards - James Harden SG ARIZONA STATE No brainer at this point. Arenas, Butler, Harden and Jamison should be good for 100+ points a night and a reentry to the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff seeds.
6. Timberwolves - Ricky Rubio PG EUROPE At this point you're all shaking your head, I know. But remember, this isn't exactly how I think it will happen but it's also maybe not as unlikely as you might think. First and foremost, he isn't working out in the US. Out of sight, out of mind. Plain and simple, his stock is falling. Scouts are really starting to question if he can guard other PGs or consistently hit a jumpe shot. The Clips won't take him. Rubio's agent has flat out said he's not interested in playing or working out for Memphis or Washington, citing playing opportunites as the reason, while emphasizing it has nothing to do with market size in Memphis' case. The logic being that his appeal will be on an international level so whatever US city he happens to play in doesn't really matter. His agent also says he is very willing to workout and play for Oklahoma City and Sacramento. The problem: they may not want him. I've heard repeatedly that the Thunder view Westbrook as thier PG of the future and are very much enamored with Curry and Harden. Kings GM, Geoff Petri, has flat out said them taking Rubio is by no means a lock. Their recent raves about Flynn and Tyreke Evans may lend merit to this. Neither OKC or Sac is thrilled that Rubio isn't over here working out and I've heard it strongly suggested there is a chance he will fall here. So if the claim that Rubio doesn't care about the market size and really just wants to be the sure thing starter then Minnesota is a good spot for him. He could also pull some bullshit and try to force his hand to Golden State or New York, in which case the Wolves would be left in a Yi Jianlin situation. Would they call his bluff? Who knows. If I were Kahn I'd be on the phone with his agent seeing if Minnesota is a place he'd be will to set up. If so, I'd be pushing strongly for a trade. I read a rumor in a Memphis paper of Kevin Love, #6 and Brian Cardinal (expiring) for Rudy Gay, #2 and Marko Jaric (not expiring).
7. Warriors - Brandon Jennings PG EUROPE Like Flynn, he smoked his workout in Golden State. The Kings and Wolves could be possible destinations but I'd almost bet my left nut at this point that Jennings ends up here.
8. Knicks - DeMar DeRozan SG USC Knicks get scorned on their top three choices (Curry, Flynn, Jennings). They go for the next biggest shot at a star. New York should offer up this pick and David Lee to Memphis to move up and get Rubio.
9. Raptors - Tyreke Evans SG MEMPHIS They want DeRozan but Evans is a good consolation prize. Truthfully, he's probably better.
10. Bucks - Jeff Teague PG WAKE FOREST I have it on good word they are in love with Teague, which Teague better hope is true or he could fall into the 20s.
Posted on: June 9, 2009 4:19 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2009 4:21 pm
This time of year is always great for NBA draft junkies like myself. This year, however, is even better than most because of the mass uncertainty extending all throughout the 1st round. Last year, Russ Westbrook was a curveball and no one saw Jerryd Bayless falling as far as he did, but for the most part dudes went where they were supposed to, especially in the lottery. This year will be nothing like that. Everything after the 1st overall pick (and even that isn’t a given) is up for grabs and it is exhilarating. Here is a sampling of the rumors that are abound about various prospects, collected from columns, articles, fan forums, nerps, message boards, etc…
DeJuan Blair PF PITTSBURGH - An undersized banger PF in the mold of Craig Smith but with a better overall game. Would be perfect for Detroit at #15 or Chicago at #16, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he went higher to maybe New Jersey at #11.
Chase Budinger SF ARIZONA, Sam Young SF PITTSBURGH & Austin Daye SF GONZAGA - All wing players with uniquely different games but will probably be sought after by teams looking for similar things. I’ve seen Budinger rated the highest with Phoenix at #14 being a possibility. Sam Young could sneak into the mid teens but will more likely go somewhere in the 20s. Austin Daye is a boom or bust, freak athlete/raw talent type player all the way. He could easily slip to the early 2nd round ala DeAndre Jordan or go as high as #15 to Detroit, who has worked him out a couple of times.
Posted on: June 1, 2009 2:53 pm
Keep in mind, this is a mock draft, not player rankings. My rankings would actually be quite different. The following, rather, is based on what I think will happen and the various reliable-sounding rumors I have heard. There's quite a few changes between this and my last mock. A big trend I went with was teams taking players who went to college in that state when push came to shove. I'll put the initials HS (home state) at the end of each commentary to denote that every time that happens.
Posted on: May 26, 2009 1:06 am
Edited on: May 26, 2009 8:18 am
Now that we know the team order, here's my take. For now I didn't predict trades, only where I think the player will end up. You'll see.
1. Clippers - Ricky Rubio PG EUROPE I just somehow think he ends up here, whether by draft choice or trade.
2. Grizzlies - Blake Griffin PF OKLAHOMA Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah! I think the Grizz would take Thabeet over Rubio if it comes to that.
3. ZombieSonics - Hasheem Thabeet C UCONN A perfect fit.
4. Kings - Brandon Jennings PG EUROPE I actually think the Wolves will trade up to this spot to nab Harden in front of the Wiz and the Kings will drop down to #6 and snag the guy they want without having to reach as much.
5. Wizards - Jordan Hill PF ARIZONA 50/50 chance they trade this pick. A post presence like Hill makes sense though.
6. Timberwolves - James Harden SG ARIZONA STATE OJ Mayo atoned for.
7. Warriors - Ty Lawson PG UNC Why not? He's exactly the position they need and the kind of player they love.
8. Knicks - Stephen Curry SG DAVIDSON This pick seems destined, although I would take DeRozan ahead of him.
9. Raptors - DeMar DeRozan SG USC Shades of Vincanity.
10. Bucks - Johnny Flynn PG SYRACUSE They'll let Sessions walk, Flynn embodies the new face and direction of the team.
11. Nets - Earl Clark SF LOUISVILLE Great fit with Harris and Lopez, Clark could prove to be a top 5 talent in this class.
12. Bobcats - Gerald Henderson SG DUKE Another in-state draft pick.
13. Pacers - Tyreke Evans SG MEMPHIS This team is a mess so they go best player available.
14. Suns - James Johnson SF WAKE FOREST The days of unloading picks for cap relief have to end sometime. Johnson, like Earl Clark, can play both forward spots.
15. Pistons - DeJuan Blair PF PITT Pistons have the cap room to make a run at Boozer, this pick may change in that event.
16. Bulls - Terrance Williams SG LOUISVILLE No idea what the Bulls will do, if they don't re-sign Gordon this would be a great pick.
17. 76ers - Eric Maynor PG VCU Dre Miller is gone so this position is the obvious fill.
18. Timberwolves - Jeff Teague PG WAKE FOREST Maynor is another possibility if he falls but Teague is intriguing. Or should I say inteaguing?
19. Hawks - Jrue Holliday PG UCLA With no obvious need they take the high upside Bibby replacement.
20. Jazz - Chase Budinger SF ARIZONA White + scrappy = Utah.
21. Hornets - BJ Mullens C OHIO STATE Someone is gonna take him, why not the Hornets? Chandler replacement is the logic.
22. Mavericks - Taylor Hansbrough PF UNC Oh no they didn't!
23. Kings - Sam Young SF PITT Versatile wing is best player on the board at this point.
24. Trail Blazers - Taj Gibson PF USC I doubt Portland will use this pick but a physical post presence is their main need.
25. Zombies - Gani Lawal PF GEORGIA Drafting for need. I won't be surprised if this dude ends up falling out of the first round.
26. Bulls - Omri Casspi SF ISRAEL Stash the Israeli for a few years instead of drafting some body to warm the end of the bench.
27. Grizzlies - Patrick Mills PG ST. MARYS Insurance incase Conley finally tanks out.
28. Timberwolves - Austin Daye SF GONZAGA 6'10" forward is major project but also has major upside.
29. Lakers - Darren Collison PG UCLA - hometown kid eventually takes over for Grandpa Fisher.
30. Cavaliers - Marcus Thornton SG LSU You might not know him, but he's good.
Players who could easily move into 1st Round: Wayne Ellington SG UNC, Derrick Brown SF XAVIER, DeJuan Summers SF GEORGETOWN, Dionte Christmas SG TEMPLE, Toney Douglas SG FLORIDA STATE
Posted on: May 22, 2009 11:41 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2009 8:11 am
One thing is certain about the David Kahn hire as President of Basketball Operations of the Timberwolves: he will not be given a fair shake by the majority of fans. In the minds of many of the faithful, he’s already blown four or five drafts, traded away a couple of stars in the making and signed Ryan Gomes to an under-the-table max contract.
The outpouring of negativity over this hire on various internet, radio and television outlets has been astounding. I understand feeling underwhelmed and even disappointed. Those things are valid. I understand not trusting the hire because of Glen Taylor’s recent pattern of ineptitude. Also valid. But to rip Kahn so thoroughly, as though we just lured Isaiah Thomas away from Florida International is a complete overreaction and frankly, beyond the bounds of fandom.
What we do know about Kahn…
That’s it. That’s all we know. We know his Pacer teams were competitive and had a lot of talent pass through the organization during his tenure but we still don’t know how much of that can be attributed to him. By his own admission, Kahn has typically worked in “under the radar” positions but people within NBA circles vouch strongly for his talent (ie. Walsh, Stern, Larry Bird). He’s no Jerry West. And he’s no Kevin McHale. Not yet, anyways.
I’ll be the first to admit, he’s not an exciting choice or even one to warrant as many words as I am typing (Yet I continue to type. Why?). Since I’m essentially imploring fans to give the guy a chance, I will start by admitting that he was fairly impressive in his introductory press conference this Friday. He came off infinitely more basketball savy than Glen Taylor. He also outlined a philosophy for success that gave me more insight into the future plans of this team than Taylor/McHale has done in five seasons. He seems intelligent. He seems committed to aggressively pursuing winning talent. He seems a little cocky. He seems a lot better than I thought he would.
What he can do to quickly endear himself to fans and in the process, sell a lot of tickets…
Good luck, pal.
Posted on: May 22, 2009 11:31 pm
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Posted on: May 18, 2009 1:52 pm
I’m a lover of non-war related drafts. The NBA draft is my Superbowl, if you can wrap your mind around that. This is my current First Round mock with analysis for the top 14 talents. Why 14? Because the lottery is the first 14 picks, silly. In about 24 hours we’ll know the actual draft order and things can get a bit more team specific. Until then, it's more of a best overall sort of affair. Feast…
2. Blake Griffin PF OKLAHOMA - He’s a star in wait. I’m much higher on him than I was Michael Beasley and I was high on Beasley. His main knock is that he doesn’t have a jump shot, which not many bigs do when they enter the Association. His athleticism is first class for his size and his 'team first' attitude is what you need out of a leader. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Tim Duncan/Carlos Boozer.
3. James Harden SG ARIZONA STATE - He doesn’t look flashy or particularly quick but he’s highly creative and efficient when it comes to putting the ball in the basket from anywhere inside of 24 feet. His defense and positive attitude are right on, too. His criticisms are exactly like the ones Brandon Roy was subject to when he was drafted and we’ve all seen how that played out. Gamers game and ballers ball. It’s that simple. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Brandon Roy/James Posey.
4. Ty Lawson PG UNC - I might be the only person without the last name “Lawson” that ranks him this high but I’ve looked closely at his game and beyond being somewhat undersized at 6’0” I just don’t see many flaws. His strengths, on the other hand, are plentiful. His speed is elite, great court vision, a tenacious defender, strong, great at slashing to the rim, fiery competitor, clutch performer and stood out at a major college program. His major knock coming into last season was that he was a poor jump shooter. All he did to answer that was shoot 53% from the field and 47% from 3 point land. I love him. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Chris Paul/TJ Ford.
5. Tyreke Evans SG MEMPHIS - This guy is both a big time talent and a need position for the Wolves. At 6’5” he can play the wing, yet has PG skills. Memphis used him at point last year during a stretch where the team went 27-1. He’s a great scorer but not necessarily a great shooter. He gets to the rim with ease and is prone to drawing fouls. His perimeter defense is outstanding, which comes from his great quickness and sneaky reach. All that being said, he is a bit of a raw talent and does have some boom or bust potential. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Latrell Sprewell/Ronnie Brewer.
6. Brandon Jennings PG EUROPE - A pure point guard. Everything you’d want in one, to boot. Great speed, vision and passing ability with a very high ceiling (star potential). Character concerns arose with his decision to play in Europe instead of go to college but that was due more to poor grades and test scores than personal choice. Apparently he showed a lot of maturity and humility overseas playing with veterans. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Gilbert Arenas/Sebastian Telfair.
7. Hasheem Thabeet C UCONN - You can’t teach height and in a draft deprived of it Thabeet’s 7’3” frame is at a premium. No one can question his elite shot blocking ability, which is a major need for the Wolves, but in my opinion he failed to show enough progression in other areas this year to warrant a top 5 pick. He too often looks soft and passive when rebounding. I’d rather throw an expiring contract out for a guy like Tyson Chandler, which is all it would take, and draft any of the above players instead. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Dikembe Mutumbo/Michael Olowokandi.
8. Jonny Flynn PG SYRACUSE - This is a bit of a reach but I am enamored with his A+ intangibles and leadership. He’s got the overall skill set and demeanor you’d want from a point guard, although his jumper needs some work. He's sort of like Lawson, but slightly less good at everything. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Jameer Nelson/Antonio Daniels.
9. DeMar DeRozan SG USC - Based on athleticism and natural born talent this kid has more upside than anyone in the draft. On that along he should be a top 3 pick. Of course, that won’t happen because he’s a major project. So much so that he could fall out of the top 10. Flashes of greatness last season will keep him in the lottery and depending on how his workouts go he could approach as high as #5. Regardless, he’ll be in the dunk contest next year. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Vince Carter/Gerald Green.
10. Earl Clark SF LOUISVILLE - Another guy with freakish tools and notable question marks. He has the quickness and slashing ability of a wing along with the strength and power game of a post player. The problem is he rarely put it all together last season and often appeared to mentally check out of the game. The “Lack of Aggression” label is a tough one to shake. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Lamar Odom/Marvin Williams.
11. Jordan Hill PF ARIZONA - Next to Griffin, he’s the only other true power forward worthy of a first round pick. As a result, he’ll actually go much higher than this, perhaps as high as #3, but since my rankings are skewed towards the needs of the Wolves this is where he goes. He’s a very solid big man with a fast motor and all around skills. I just don’t see much star potential. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Al Horford/Chris Wilcox.
12. Stephen Curry SG DAVIDSON - I think anything beyond expectations as a role player, and a good one at that, are a bit unrealistic. He was extremely effective against double and triple teams all throughout his college career, has great intangibles and his shot will definitely translate to the NBA but other than that, he has as a lot of factors working against him. He’s short with a small frame, not particularly fast or athletic, comes from a small school/conference and cannot run as an effective point. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Mike Bibby/JJ Reddick.
13. Eric Maynor PG VCU - Not many people saw him play but he’s both talented and skilled. There’s a difference. Things that stand out: high basketball IQ, great on court leader, effective shot creator, clutch performer, all around offensive game. I like that he had a lot of big games against big teams. His defensive abilities are in question. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Mo Williams/Rafer Alston.
14. Jrue Holliday PG UCLA - He had huge buzz heading into last season and did nothing but underwhelm everyone who cared to watch, averaging 8 PPG and 3 APG. Still, he’s got a ton of talent and a lot of “experts” claim he was terribly mismanaged within the UCLA system. The only thing that stood out was his great skills as a defender, which is nice but not enough. He’s an upside pick. HIGH/LOW COMPARISON: Rodney Stuckey/Shaun Livingston.
15. Gerald Henderson SG DUKE
16. Jeff Teague PG WAKE FOREST
17. Terrance Williams SG LOUISVILLE
18. Sam Young SG PITTSBURGH
19. Nick Calathes PG FLORIDA
20. Chase Budinger SF ARIZONA
21. James Johnson SF WAKE FOREST
22. Patrick Mills PG ST. MARYS
23. Marcus Thornton SG LSU
24. DeJuan Blair PF PITTSBURGH
25. Dionte Christmas SG TEMPLE
26. BJ Mullens C OHIO STATE
27. Taj Gibson PF USC
28. Austin Daye SF GONZAGA
29. Wayne Ellington SG UNC
30. DeJuan Summers SF GEORGETOWN