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Tag:Derrick Williams
Posted on: September 13, 2011 9:43 am
Edited on: September 13, 2011 9:51 am
 

Report: Adelman hired despite Kahn

By Matt Moore

When Rick Adelman started to be considered a serious candidate for the Timberwolves job, everyone had the same thought. "How did Kahn pull that off?" For years, David Kahn has seemingly been running a sinking ship. It started immediately. He made a brilliant trade with the Timberwolves before the 2009 to acquire back to back top-five picks. Then he spent them on two point guards (and later brought in more in free agency). He brought in Kurt Rambis as his head coach, despite Rambis not having the requisite success as a head coach to warrant the position, and despite Rambis running the triangle, which essentially neutralizes the point guard position. Kahn gave Darko Milicic a long-term deal, and reportedly sought to bury Kevin Love. In short, his tenure has not been the kind of thing that a prospective head coach, the best on the market, would look at and say "Wow, that's a guy I want to work for." So how is it he was announcedas the new Timberwolves head coach Tuesday? Well, according to Yahoo Sports, it wasn't Kahn that brought in Rick Adelman. Not one bit.
Once Kurt Rambis was fired, Kahn reached out, and Adelman resisted. Ultimately, Kahn needed Minnesota owner Glen Taylor to get involved in the recruitment of Adelman, because the GM had no chance with him.

Five months ago, Adelman never would’ve imagined he’d coach the Timberwolves. He was 65 years old, wanted a contender, and the Wolves are a long, long way away. Well, $5 million a season can change a man’s mind. It’s no crime, but understand: The money mattered here. Probably mattered the most. Yes, Adelman wanted to coach Kevin Love, but he had no intention of doing it on a discount. In the end, money overrode everything – including the presence of Kahn.

“Rick would never agree to anything with Kahn,” one league official connected to Adelman said Monday. “This had to be [a deal] with Taylor. …Rick has talked many times of his dislike for Kahn.”
via Love and money lure Adelman to Minny - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Basically, the Wolves had to overspend to get Adelman in order to compensate for Adelman having to work with their GM. If so many of the decisions weren't based around Taylor's thinking, you'd start to feel bad for the guy. Taylor, more than any other owner, is in need of the so-called "idiot-proof" CBA revisions to prevent the ability of bad decisions to impact profit. That said, landing Adelman is a huge one, and Yahoo predicts he'll wind up taking over Kahn's turf.

And that's a huge element in all this. While it may make for an uncomfortable and unstable situation, if Adelman were to take over the reins, it could save the Timberwolves. They've managed to collect enough talent (nearly by accident - Love was never valued by the franchise decision-makers until he became an All-Star last season, it took them two years to get Rubio, and Derrick Williams fell in their lap and they still tried to trade the pick all the way until the last minute) to have a core that's worth building around. Having someone who knows what to do with it could be huge. Adelman had his problems in Houston, sure. But his biggest was injuries, which he couldn't prevent. Watching the power play in Minnesota will be something important early and often.

Until such a move is made, expect both sides to heavily refute this kind of report, as they put out strong statements denying this kind of dynamic. Sure, it makes sense, given Adelman's reticence and the eventual meeting with Taylor, but they'll say it's just a distorted view of the facts. Rule No.1 in these kinds of situations is to put up a strong united front.

Just ask Kurt Rambis.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 9:39 am
 

Rick Adelman hired as Wolves coach

By Matt Moore

Update 9:38 a.m. EST: The Timberwolves have officially announced the hire

Update 8:40 a.m. EST:
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has confirmed with multiple sources that Adelman has accepted the offer to become the new head coach of the Timberwolves. Yahoo Sports and ESPN both independently are discussing the deal as done

Original Report: Kevin Love is known to have pretty loose lips. He's an honest cat and tends to release info on his Twitter account. After reports this weekend that Rick Adelman has an agreement to join the Minnesota Timberwolves as their new head coach, Love tweeted Monday:
Houston, we have a coach.
via Twitter / @kevinlove: Houston, we have a coach. ....

Now, that could mean a lot of things, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune indicates that there's no sense arguing over the tea leaves. It's reporting Adelman has in fact agreed to become the head coach of the Wolves according to one source, but is stopping shy of calling it official. The Star's Jerry Zgoda does report that if it's true, it could have huge ramifications for the Wolves. Particularly, Love discussed what it could mean for his future in the Twin Cities:
Yes, if it's true Love said Adelman’s presence would “absolutely” play a factor in whether he signs a contract extension with the team.

“When I talked about the prospect of me re-signing, I always said one of the things we’d have to have is a great coach,” he said. “If it’s true, we’ve got a great coach.”
via On the Wolves | StarTribune.com.

Love goes on to say he can see himself being used perfectly in Adelman's system, as a facillitator from the high-post. We're right there with him.

While Ricky Rubio will benefit from a system that both pushes him in transition and allows him to focus on scoring at the bucket, no player may benefit more than Love, who enjoys a personal relationship with Adelman. (Love played with Adelman's son Patrick in high school and has known him since junior high.) Adelman won't seek to bury him as previous coaches have, will use him in the right contexts, from that catapult outlet pass to his three-point range and will help him develop his inside scoring. Most importantly, he can improve his individual defense. 

If the report is accurate, defense will be a concern for the Wolves. They were a young team last year, so naturally bad defensively, and on top of that, they were bad defensively even for such a young team. Love has said before they need discipline. The Rockets under Adelman came unglued defensively last year, and that was their biggest challenge towards making the playoffs. 

But overall it's a brilliant hire and something for Wolves fans to be extremely excited about, should the reports and Love's own beliefs turn out on point.

Lost in all the talk of Rubio and Love will be this. Derrick Williams, a combo-forward at 6-8, 241 lbs. will be coached by the man who got the most out of Chris Webber,  a combo-forward at 6-9, 245 lbs. Using Williams in similar ways and developing him in the same mold could have huge results for the youngster. It'll be interesting to see immediately what Adelman elects to do with the trainwreck of a roster behind the starting lineup, with Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph both behind Wililams, and the rest of the confusing moves made by Kahn.

Speaking of Kahn, this is both a good and bad thing. It his best move to date, sliding just above his move to trade Mike Miller in 2009 for the Wizards draft pick (note, this is for the move to acquire the pick, not his decision to draft two point guards back to back). If Adelman can have the kind of success he's had throughout his career, it could very well save Kahn's job. On the other hand, Adelman almost assuredly took the new gig under the condition of having input on the roster and personnel decisions.  It puts someone who could easily take over the GM role should Kahn become unhinged from the Timberwolves coil. But if it works out, this could prove to be the accidental Summer of Kahn. 

 We'll keep you updated on whether the reports turn out to be confirmed.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 9:00 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 9:07 am
 

Larry Brown to interview for Wolves job

By Matt Moore

Larry Brown! You're the next contestant on... "Who Wants To Coach A 17-Win Team That's 'Done Rebuilding?!" 

From the Minnesota Star-Tribune:
After interviewing Rick Adelman and Don Nelson over the weekend, the Timberwolves intend to interview Larry Brown and possibly one or two others in this first phase to replace fired coach Kurt Rambis.

When the Wolves will interview Brown, who has coached teams to both NBA and NCAA titles, is uncertain because of a recent death in his family, according to a league source with knowledge of the team's search.
via Larry Brown next to talk to Wolves' Kahn | StarTribune.com

The Star notes that there is a previous connection between GM David Kahn and Brown, Kahn worked as a student reporter when Brown coached at UCLA. Setting aside the fact that this puts into perspective just how long Brown has been doing this, it should be noted that Kahn himself has been around for two decades in pro basketball's management side, and nearly 10 before that as a writer. He knows everyone. 

Brown's an odd fit in Minnesota, as he is most places. He's known to clash with younger players and to be notoriously hard on young point guards. The Wolves are a clashing young outfit with a notoriously young point guard. Kahn has gone on record saying that rebuilding is over in Minnesota, yet the roster isn't ready to compete for a title, or a playoff spot, or .500 ball yet (it would seem; it's entirely possible Rubio and Derrick Williams are the difference in winning more games than they lose for the Wolves, but they're not skyrocketing into a top seed or anything). Brown would essentially be trying to rehab his image after failed stints in New York and a dispiriting end in Charlotte. 

Brown is also linked to be vying for a spot on the Celtics' support staff. That kind of puts it in perspective. Minnesota interviews Boston assistant coaching candidates for its head coaching position. Then again, Brown's a Hall of Famer, so it's not as if he's a terrible choice. Maybe Brown could make an impact. It's certainly not as crazy of an idea as Don Nelson, who interviewed Sunday with Minnesota



(HT: HoopsHype)
Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:05 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:22 am
 

Derrick Williams expresses regret if season lost

By Matt Moore

Derrick Williams, like a lot of college kids, enjoyed being at college. It's a fun atmosphere, as a star athlete, you're treated as a demigod, there are lots of fun activities (and, you know, partying), and no real responsibilities (relative to the "real" world).

Williams elected to leave college as a sophomore to cash in on his draft value coming out of the NCAA tournament. Only problem, that cash is locked up in the lockout.

On Wednesday, after announcing his signing with Under Armour, Williams did the press circuit, and The Basketball Jones asked him about that decision to jump. Williams made it clear that if the NBA loses the entire year, he's going to be pretty upset at how things turned out. From TBJ:
“If they told me I was going to miss all 82 games next season I would have stayed in college and enjoyed myself and enjoyed all of my teammates and everybody else who is involved with Arizona. I definitely would have went back.”
via TBJ Q+A: Derrick Williams on Under Armour, the lockout and staying in school | Blog Archive | The Basketball Jones | Blogs | TheScore.com.

You have to wonder how many draft picks feel this way. It's not as if they weren't aware of the lockout coming out. There's a reason so many player decided to return for this college season, knowing the lockout would affect things. But the way it's worked out, there's been so many negative signs, it's looking as if those players will lose a whole year of income and a year of campus hijinx. 

Williams made the best decison he could at the time, but it's still frustrating for these players that the one year that's best for them to enter the draft, this whole disaster happens. Forces out of your control, and all that. Just another victim of a lockout that didn't need to happen the way it did. 

Posted on: July 20, 2011 4:53 pm
 

Derrick Williams signs with Under Armour

By Matt Moore

2011 has definitely been a huge step forward for Under Armour as a basketball brand. Coming into the draft, Under Armour had only Brandon Jennings and Greivis Vasquez in their stable. They added Kemba Walker soon after the draft for a huge addition, the first major "star" coming into the league (without having played a game, of course). Walker's a named name. Now they've added a new one as the brand announced today that they have added the No.2 overall pick in the draft, Derrick Williams, to its stable. 

From an Under Armour press release:
“Derrick had a terrific college career and emerged as an absolute force on the sport’s biggest stage,” said Matt Mirchin, Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing, Under Armour. “We love Derrick’s passion and hunger to play better every time he steps on the court. He’s a great representation for the Under Armour brand and a terrific example to all young basketball players who are dedicated to becoming game-changers.”

After winning the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award in 2010, Williams raised his game to the next level in 2011, receiving finalist honors for the John R. Wooden Award and a second-team All-American selection. He exceled in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, helping the Arizona Wildcats reach the Elite 8 with a 32-point and 13-rebound performance in the regional finals.

“It’s exciting to join a young brand that brings such a strong, new voice and look to the game,” said Williams. “Under Armour is a great fit for me because they are just as passionate as I am about working hard and striving to be the best.”
Yes, exciting stuff, but still, it's a presser. It's an interesting development for Under Armour, which has experienced in full-effect the domination of Nike in the market. Interestingly, as Rufus on Fire notes, Walker plays for Michael Jordan, the face of Nike Basketball. Now Derrick Williams becomes the highest drafted player Under Armour has signed. It's unlikely anything will touch Nike for the next, oh, several decades, but Under Armour's approach is pretty solid. Go after established names coming out of college, instead of high-upside guys. Those are players that are more marketable off the bat. 

Williams' attitude alone is worth investing in. Now we'll have to see if they can transform that... whatever word you like better than swagger... into a platform that gets traction. 

(Photo via Under Armour PR, HT: IamaGM.com)
Posted on: July 16, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:42 pm
 

Some teams are probably missing Summer League

Posted by Royce Young



The NBA's annual Vegas Summer League would be wrapping up right about now. Young players would be finishing up a week of gambling, partying and hopefully, at least for their coach, getting better.

Summer League has always been sort of approached by most as nothing more than a perk of July, just something to sort of help bridge the gap. Nobody really pays attention to it except for the hardest of hardcore fans, general managers, scouts and coaches. And bloggers. Summer League basically is blogger paradise, because it's something to write the crap out of for a couple of weeks in mid-July.

Except this summer, because of the you-know-what, there is no Summer League. No rookies to overhype because of a good, random game against a bunch of D-Leaguers. No second-year fringe players to latch onto and get excited about because of a quality week. And no players to completely write off because of a 2-12, five-turnover game. For shame. For damn shame.

And while most just write off what happens in Vegas as unimportant, any time players take the court and compete, there's something of value there for the players, the organization and the coaches. Basketball is about development. It's about getting better. Summer League is a vehicle for new draft picks to get a feel of pro basketball and a feel of playing with a couple of teammates. It's a place for guys to prove themselves a bit. In reality, it's kind of important, even if it's generally ignored by the general basketballing public.

But I can guarantee you a good number of teams were mighty disappointed when Summer League fell through because of the lockout. There's progress to be made, and a week in Vegas is an excellent place to start, especially for rookies. Some teams and players are going to feel the sting of missing out on the opportunity. Here are the ones I see feeling it most.

Minnesota Timberwolves
No team would've benefited more than Minnesota's young roster. First, it would've been the first look at Ricky Rubio on American soil. He would've played against NBA talent and had a chance to run the show for his new team.

It also would've given all of us a chance to rush to snap judgments about his game and, therefore, his career, based on a couple of Summer League games. It would've been great.

But on top of some run for Rubio, Derrick Williams, Wesley Johnson and a few other youngsters could've put away a week or so of games. Every second those guys play together, the better they'll get. They need time to develop, and Summer League is a place for that. Instead, it's going to have to happen on some private court without any coaches. Not the ideal situation for young players to learn and improve.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Pretty much the same scenario for the Cavs as it is for the Wolves, or any young team with talent. Kyrie Irving could've used the extra time on the floor, but not just because he could get a feel for offense or learn the pace of the NBA game or anything. For Irving, it's more that he just needs to play, period.

He only played in 13 games for Duke last season and after returning from his foot injury, played a couple of games in the NCAA tournament. He has barely played any competitive basketball at all in the last year. For a 19-year-old, that's not a good thing. The more play you get, the farther you move ahead.

Not to mention the No. 4 overall pick, Tristan Thompson, getting some play, too. Obviously, that would be great, but to me, it's more about Irving. It's his franchise now, and the objective in Cleveland now is moving him along. Something small like Summer League is one of the first steps forward in doing that.

Sacramento Kings
The Kings' inclusion really is more of a selfish reason. Because with Summer League, you know that every game with Jimmer Fredette woudl be a total experience. Vegas is close to BYU, and Jimmer has quite the following in the area. But, really, it could be in Maine and The Jimmer would walk in like a rock star.

The Kings do need him and Tyreke Evans, though, to get some experience playing together. Who's running point? Is it Jimmer? Is Reke going to handle those duties too? Are they going to tag-team it like Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry? These are some of the questions you can sort of at least start to find answers for, if only they were actually playing.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder really do have a ton of room to grow. The roster is extremely young with some pieces that need developing. Two of the most important being Cole Aldrich and this year's pick, Reggie Jackson.

With Aldrich, he simply needs to play a little. He spent most of his rookie season in the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers, and while that's good for development, Summer League gives him a chance to be a focus in a competitive setting as well as a primer for what he needs to work on heading to fall camp. Aldrich is far from a lost cause, and the Thunder are willing to stay patient. But part of that being patient comes because you think a guy is going to improve. And to do that, he's got to play.

With Jackson, Summer League could've helped signal a little where he might fit in. Is he a point guard? Shooting guard? Combo guard? Is he a scorer the Thunder want to use off the bench next season? Is he someone that even will challenge for minutes? The Thunder clearly liked Jackson enough to promise him a spot in the first round, but without him working out for anyone before the draft, he's still largely an unknown for everybody.

Miami Heat
Yes, seriously, the Heat. No doubt that for the most part, the roster is set. LeBron, Wade and Bosh handle pretty much all of the heavy lifting, and veterans Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem pick up the remaining slack.

But the Heat need to develop young talent. Players like Dexter Pittman need an opportunity to grow a bit. Where the Heat lacked most last season was having cheap, young talent to infuse with LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Instead, Pat Riley went with trying to work in guys like Mike Bibby, Juwan Howard, Eddie House and whoever else was willing to take the veterans minimum to chase a title.

A week in Vegas for Miami's youngsters like Pittman and rookie Norris Cole could go a long way to restructuring the role players on the roster. And on top of that, it's a chance to maybe scout three or four other unsigned guys to take a look at later on. Miami needs some young talent, and the Vegas Summer League is one of the best places to look.

Washington Wizards
John Wall is going to be a star. I don't have any doubt. But he's still raw and still has a whole lot to learn about running a team. I remember how much Summer League did for Russell Westbrook a couple of years ago as he was prepping for his second season. It helped Westbrook learn how to slow down a bit, learn when to look for a shot, when to look to set up and when to push. Wall would've been the best player in Vegas, much like Westbrook was always on another level when he was there. But it taught him how to play under control -- to a degree -- while also being able to run around anyone. That would've been a good lesson for Wall.

Then there's Jan Vesely, who is mostly a mystery as he prepares to maybe step in as Washington's new small forward. We know he can jump and dunk, but can he defend? Can he rotate over and help? Can he shoot? If Wall and Vesely are the offensive attack of the future for the Wizards, having them play together, if even for just a week, would be huge.

Utah Jazz
Even more than Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter hasn't played competitive basketball in a long time. He was forced to sit out all of 2010-11 for Kentucky because of a NCAA violation, and while he's had some workouts and a little five-on-five action here and there, he hasn't been in a real game setting since he moved from Turkey to the United States. The Jazz liked him enough to take him fourth and maybe force a re-shuffling up front, so obviously they're invested in the young big man.

And on top of him, don't forget the Jazz had another lottery pick in wing Alec Burks, who could surprise a lot of people as an NBA-ready scorer. He was terrific at Colorado as he sort of came out of nowhere to climb into the lottery. A little burn for both him and Kanter could've gone a long way for the Jazz, who are committed to the youngsters in life after Deron.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 3:16 pm
 

Derrick Williams is Rookie of the Year favorite

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams is the odds-on favorite to win 2011-2012 Rookie of the Year. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-williams-large

Derrick Williams might have been the No. 2 selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he's sitting in the pole positon to win the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year award. 

Bodog.com
has released its early odds for which member of the Draft Class of 2011 will take home the Rookie of the Year award. Williams, a dynamic combo forward out of Arizona, leapfrogged one-and-done Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, drafted by Cleveland Cavaliers, to claim the No. 1 spot. The No. 10 selection, BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, selected by the Sacramento Kings, also finished ahead of Irving.

Here's a look at the top 10. Strictly for entertainment purposes only.

Why does Irving slide? Two reasons. To win Rookie of the Year, you must be as NBA-ready as possible and have the opportunity to play boatloads of minutes so that you can accumulate stats.

In Irving's case, he missed a good chunk of his rookie season at Duke, raising questions about how ready he is to be an impact player in the NBA from Day One. Second, the Cavaliers have a muddled point guard position with Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions and Boobie Gibson hanging around. That will likely get sorted out before next season rolls around, but it will be difficult to trade Davis, who is sure to get some serious burn.

Williams, on the other hand, is arguably the best physical specimen in this year's class. The Timberwolves have nothing to lose and, while Michael Beasley is on the roster and has a similar game, Minnesota has every incentive to turn Williams loose. With Rubio in the fold, look for the Timberwolves to continue to play an up-tempo game, with Williams given the green light to shoot and attack as often as he likes. One possible area of concern: Williams and Rubio, by virtue of playing on the same team, could cancel each other out.

Fredette represents the dumb money on this list. With no limit on his shot attempts in college, he compiled absurd scoring numbers. While he enters Sacramento figuring to get plenty of minutes, Tyreke Evans will command a very large chunk of the team's possessions, as will emerging big man DeMarcus Cousins. If Fredette doesn't defer, he will be marginalized. Ownership might be infatuated with him, but winning over his teammates is far more important.

Kanter appears to be more NBA-ready than most, but he enters a very crowded frontcourt in Utah. Surely he will carve out a solid role. But will it be enough to put up real numbers?

One solid dark-horse candidate: Kemba Walker. While he might not start from Day One because of D.J. Augustin, Walker will find plenty of available minutes in Charlotte's torn-down backcourt. The Bobcats are entering Year One of a major rebuild and thus will have Walker's development as a top -- perhaps the top -- priority. He enters the NBA after three years in college, and he proved that he was a star on that level. 

Ultimately, I would expect this to boil down to a three-man race between Williams, Irving and Walker. Williams is a worthy early favorite.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:29 pm
 

Way too early Rookie of the Year contenders

Posted by Royce Young



When people say things like, "It's never too early to talk about..." what they really mean is, "It's way, way too early to talk about this but I'm trying to at least acknowledge that."

So... it's never too early to talk about next season's early contenders for Rookie of the Year (assuming there is a next year blah blah blah). Most everyone proclaimed last night's draft to be of the weak variety and while it very well may be, it's going to have a couple good players. Whether it's the top overall pick or a sleeper taken in the 20s, the 2011 NBA Draft won't go down as a total dud.

Who are the candidates to make a big rookie splash? There aren't a ton of franchise changing guys in this draft, but more a bundle of potential. Someone will be named Rookie of the Year and honestly, this might be one of the most wide open races in a long time. Derrick Williams isn't Blake Griffin. Kyrie Irving isn't Derrick Rose. From picks 1-15 really, there are a lot of guys that could contend. So here are my top five.

1. Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavaliers: If the No. 1 overall pick isn't a Rookie of the Year candidate, well, then his name must be Michael Olawakandi. It's hard to really know if Irving is going to step right in and start from day one or if the Cavs want to groom him behind Baron Davis -- don't laugh -- but he's going to get his minutes. This franchise is now his. He's the guy.

He's not John Wall or Derrick Rose, but that just means he's not as flashy. He makes plays everywhere, shoots the ball extremely well and is incredibly composed and mature. It's pretty easy to picture Irving averaging something along the lines of 15 points and five assists per game, which will likely be enough to win the award.

2. Derrick Williams, F, Timberwolves: I think Williams is a fantastic player. A 6-9 guy that's athletic and strong and shot 57 percent from 3? How could you NOT like him?

But I've got questions that almost made me leave him off the list. Where does he fit in with the Wolves? Is he their starting small forward? Does he fit alongside Kevin Love? Does Michael Beasley take too many shots and minutes from him? Does Williams play power forward and Love slide to center? Can Williams play power forward? Is he too much of a tweener, like Jeff Green?

If the Wolves are smart, and of course that's a whole other thing there, Williams sees minutes from day one and Beasley is shipped out so that Williams' growth is never messed with. I don't think the two can co-exist. Give the keys entirely to Ricky Rubio, Love and Williams and see what they can do. If that happens, I think he can put up pretty solid numbers and a few flashy highlights as well.  

3. Jan Vesely, SF, Wizards: Blake Griffin didn't win the Rookie of the Year last year just based off a bunch of crazy highlight dunks. But there's no denying that they certainly helped.

And Vesely is the prime candidate to be 2011-12's official YouTube Party candidate for Rookie of the Year. He has an incredible amount of athleticism, a bunch of flash and some skill to boot. He can score, play and dunk. If Vesely gets minutes, he's going to grab some attention. And in winning awards, sometime attention is all it really takes.

4. Jimmer Fredette, PG, Kings: I'm coming clean -- I'm a total Jimmer junkie. I think he's going to be a great pro. My philosophy is, if you're one of the best at your craft at the highest level you can play, you'll likely be good at the next level too. Adam Morrison excluded, of course.

And Jimmer can score. Yeah, his defense stinks. But I think that was more of a product of the system and structure he operated in at BYU more than anything. BYU's coach Dave Rose knew Fredette couldn't dare pick up a couple early fouls, so he was hidden in a 2-3 scheme and rarely moved his feet or went for a steal. I don't think that's just because Jimmer doesn't understand a simple defensive stance, but more that he was instructed, "Don't you think about picking up a foul." There were similar concerns about Blake Griffin's defense too, but at OU Jeff Capel employed the same mindset to Griffin's defense. And I think that worked out.

The Kings cleared out room for Jimmer to immediately start and run the show. If he's ready for it, he's going to have a chance to put up really nice numbers on an improving team. Is he going to look to score or pass? That's to be seen. But he's a smart guy, has a bunch of talent and knows how to play. He's going to be good.

5. Alec Burks, SG, Jazz: I live in Big 12 country so I'm a bit biased having seen Burks play most of his college games. But let me tell you, that dude tore up the conference. Inside, outside, defensively, rebounding -- he was a one-man team.

The Jazz are slowly transitioning and while Enes Kanter was the No. 3 pick, I think he's going to be brought along more slowly than Burks. There's not a whole lot standing in the way of Burks and playing time, while Kanter has to settle in somewhere around Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Mehmet Okur. I don't know what the future of Andrei Kirilenko is but I'm sure Utah isn't that worried about finding room for Burks to play. He's going to likely be in the rotation from the start and might even push C.J. Miles for the starting shooting guard spot.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com