Well it’s that time of year again. Surrounded by the first day of summer, baseball games, the annual burning of California and oh yeah…the NBA draft!!!
In Minnesota, we have come to know June 28th as “great…now the whole world thinks we’re idiots” day. For most teams, it is a day of hope and a new beginning. Some how, McHale usually puts that feeling in you like he kicked you in the gut and then stole your wallet to take your sister out on a date to never call her back again. Kevin McHale has made screwing up drafts a science. Let’s take a quick look at some first and second round draft blunders by McHale.
1996: Trades for Stephon Marbury…could have had Steve Nash, Jermaine O’Neal or could have kept Ray Allen
1999: Draft Louis Bullock in the second round at 42…Manu “can’t say on my feet for more than thirty seconds” Ginobili goes 57th to the Spurs. Guess who made his respective team?
2003: First year since 1999 the Wolves have a first round pick. This is an exact conversation between McHale and Taylor… (Well…maybe not exact…but close I’m sure)
McHale: 26th pick?....I heard about this kid from London who only played High School Ball
Taylor: Kevin…we don’t need another High School-er…why not go for a seasoned collegiate player?
McHale: well sure…but he’s got great up-side…plus his vertical is 42 inches!!!
Taylor: Can he shoot, rebound, dribble…or even tie his shoes?
McHale: ……his vertical is 42 inches!
Missed : Josh Howard (ACC player of the year, great fit on the Mavs now), Leo Barbosa, Kyle Korver
Here are my predictions for the 2007 draft (Due to the fact that the Wolves and Hawks are still in the NBA…my draft may not be completely accurate)
1. Portland : Greg Oden/C
Has the potential to be one of the best big men in the history of the game. Blazers want another Bill Walton and Oden has the potential to be a force in the growing West.
2. Seattle : Kevin Durant/SF
Resembles another Kevin Garnett. Versatile for his size and can play inside or outside. Not a big banger but will the strength coaches in the NBA, he will grow. Could save the Sonics franchise from moving and could turn things around.
3. Atlanta : Mike Conley/G
Best guard in the draft. Showed that he could carry the load without Oden on the floor. He has to work on his shooting somewhat, but should make a great guard in the league. Hawks need a guard…but may be tempted to take Al Horford with this pick. It’s Atlanta…they might draft Courtney Paris (http://sooner.nmn.speedera.net/pics5/0/VO/VOOCWJZCNRBQJYQ.20060315203800.jpg) if they have the chance.
4. Memphis : Al Horford/F-C
Behind Durant and Oden, Horford is the most complete player in this year’s draft. The only reason that this doesn’t work is if Atlanta takes him with the third pick. In that case, taking Mike Conley should be a no brainer for the sad sad Grizzlies.
5. Boston : Corey Brewer/G-F
Improved his lottery chances with great NCAA tournament play. A solid 2 or 3 that can shoot and slash to the inside. Good personality and a good head on his shoulders. This has the potential to change if Boston trades this pick to another team for a veteran. I see it happening, but for the sake of space and time, let’s just assume that no trade occurs.
6. Milwaukee : Brandan Wright/F
Great up-side to Wright. Played at a big time school at a big time level this year. Size for his position is a concern but with the same thing going for Durant, he can bulk up. Only draw back is that Milwaukee needs size right away, and Wright is not it. This pick can go about 80 different ways.
7. Minnesota : Yi Janlian/C / Joakim Noah/F-C
I see this pick going either way as well. It really depends on what Boston does. If Boston trades for KG like many are saying is going to happen, look for Yi to drop a little bit. If Boston keeps the pick, I see Brewer first but Yi is a close second. Minnesota brought in Noah for a workout and Noah has plenty of upside. Great energy and could help KG on the boards. Unfortunately, KG doesn’t need help on the boards. He needs help in the Win column and I don’t see Noah being that help.
8. Charlotte: Joakim Noah/F-C
Would give good help down low to Okafor. For a franchise that has struggled greatly, Noah could help get fans in the seats.
9. Chicago : Spencer Hawes/C
Energetic big man with a lot of energy. Fits in well with the Bulls right now; young, energetic and fills their big man needs. Wallace rebounds, but is only 6’9”. Hawes can rebound and be a force in the small east.
10. Sacramento : Tiago Splitter/C
Kings need size and the big Brazilian bruiser could help immediately. The only way this pick doesn’t happen is if Artest steals the draft card and changes it to his name along with all of the artists on his music label.
11. Atlanta : Al Thornton/F
With the Hawks getting their PG need at # 3, they look here for quickness and size. Thornton, at only 6’8” plays bigger and is a great inside/outside player. Will compliment Joe Johnson, Conley and Shelden Williams. Look for the Hawks to win at least 31 games this year (which only puts them 3 games out of an 8 spot in the playoffs)
12. Philadelphia : Julian Wright/ F-C
Had a solid year at KU. One of the best and most versatile players in the Big 12, playing at a historical school. Only downside is that he played the role of Houdini too many times at KU. Needs to show up consistently in the NBA.
13. New Orleans : Jeff Green/ F
Great year next to Julius “Dr.” Hibbert at Georgetown. A very nice compliment to a team on the rise in the West. Philly could take Green at 12, but NBA sources say that Philly likes Wright’s upside a little bit more than Green’s.
14. Clippers : Thaddeus Young/ F / Nick Young/ G / Acie Law IV/ G
This can go with either of these three because the Clippers need everything but the kitchen sink right now. Reasons to draft all three…
Thaddeus Young : Great young talent. Almost too good to pass up at this spot. I expect the Clippers to take him at this spot.
Nick Young : One of the most athletic players in the draft and a great guard…this youtube clip ought to show you why…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdTh1RPIVAU
Acie Law IV: Best player in the Big 12 this year not named Kevin Durant. After seeing him single-handedly beat KU this year (a great moment that did not go without its fair share of pinches from a certain someone) I was sold.