Monday, December 31, 2007

 

Welcome!

Well, the 06 NBA Draft lottery is over, let me tell ya, it was as bizzare as ever. If you ask me, there's nothing better than watching NBA general managers sit patiently for a half an our before their fates are sealed.

As you probably know, the big winners were Toronto, Chicago, and Charlotte. Portland was cursed by the bounce of the ball and will pick 4th. Also, NY felt the sting because they have Eddy Curry instead of the #2 pick (via last summer's trade with Chicago). After that, the draft order is set by poorest record and trades.

If you are wondering about the date of this post, I just set it ahead so this would be a header. All other dates are real.

Friday, May 26, 2006

 

Team Needs

Here's my analysis of what first round picks each team has, what they might be looking for, and who might be around. In alphabetical order:

Atlanta: 5th. The Hawks could really use a point guard but their pick might be too high for that position this year. They could also use a true power forward , insurance against Al Harrington bolting in free agency. One would think they would jump on any of the top 3 PFs if one is still around. They should stay away from SG and SF position where they are overloaded, but GM Knight likes to pick 'best available' so don't be surprised if they go with Roy or Morrison. What would I do? I'd shop this pick, get a veteran PF and a lower pick to take Williams, Rondo, or even J.J.

Boston: 7th. The C's are in a tough spot. The top 6 in this draft is pretty solid (see my 06 6-pack post), but it sort of falls off from there. With Pierce, Wally, and all those big kids, they probably won’t go with a forward or SG, so the logical choice is a true PG to run the show. Delonte West looks really good, but he’s better off the ball. Rondo and Williams are the best options at this point.

Charlotte: 3rd. The Bobcats failed to win the draft… again. Unfortunate for Bernie Bickerstaff, but the bad news ends there. Okafor, Wallace, and Felton make up an enviable young core if they can stay on the floor, so the obvious glaring huge gaps are at PF and SG (sorry Sean May). This is a good year for them. One of the top three PFs will be available by default, and I wouldn’t get against them taking whichever is left. I would rank them all equally for this team. The other option is Roy. If they believe in Brezec and/or May along Okafor, Roy has gotta be looking pretty good. The other option (as I stated in the 6-pack) is Morrison. Slide Gerald Wallace over to the SG and you have a very interesting line-up. Final word? Charlotte is in a great spot to finally play some competitive NBA basketball next year.

Chicago: 2nd & 16th. The Eddy Curry trade is looking a whole lot better than the Chandler/Brand trade right now. The Bulls have the opportunity to dominate this draft, with two picks in the first half of round one. The only assets the Bulls will be actively shopping this summer will be these two picks, no matter what you think about Ben Gordon v John Paxon. Pax is thrilled with his young core but would like to add a big presence on the inside. He would probably prefer to get KG at a budget price, but that won’t happen until the trade deadline at the earliest. If Thomas or Aldridge are taken #1, expect the other to go #2. If both are on the board, it’s anyone’s guess. I think Paxon is putting on a smoke screen and really wants Aldridge, but it might come down to a coin toss in the war-room. For the 16th pick, they would love to get Mardy Collins or possibly Maurice Ager. If there’s a 6-5+ guard who can play defense on the board, they’ll take him. If there isn’t one, they may opt to go with a backup PF or a project. A dark horse for this team would be to take Roy at the top, which would almost certainly trigger a trade (Gordon, Duhon, and/or Deng).

Cleveland: 25th. A surprisingly successful year for this squad lands them a very mediocre pick, but I’m sure they’re thrilled. They could really use a true PG to replace Eric Snow, who has had a great career, but looks to be near the end. Jordan Farmar is a possibility here, as well as Mardy Collins, Guillermo Diaz, Daniel Gibson, or even Dee Brown (which would be a stretch). The other option would be to go for a replacement PF to let Drew Gooden walk in free agency (Alex Johnson, Leon Powe, or Josh Boone would all work nicely), or an athletic wing to let LeBron play some guard again (James White, Richard Roby, Shawne Williams).

Dallas: 28th pick. The Mavs are in the Western Conference Finals and have a good shot at the title this year. What does that mean? Replace old parts or pick up a project. Where they are in the draft, they should have their choice of projects, and this team has been known to do it in the past (Dirk, Podkolzine). This year, check out Saer Sene (C from Senegal), Olexsiy Pecherov (Russian C), Rudy Fernandez (SG will probably be in Spain next year no matter what), or even Tiago Splitter (PF Brazil) if he slips this far (see Washington for more). Then again, this is the team that ‘found’ Josh Howard, so they might pick up an underrated collegiate (Alexander Johnson may be one).

Denver: No picks. That was easy. But wait… I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade involving Kenyon Martin takes place, perhaps with a late lottery team. No solid rumors yet.

Detroit: No picks. Joe Dumars will probably not be active trying to get any rookies.

Golden State: 9th. The Warriors will probably look to add some size this off-season. They have good depth at guard and on the wings, but have had problems with consistency in the middle. Look for them to go big with their pick, possibly O’Bryant, Shelden Williams, or Hilton Armstrong.

Houston: 8th. They’ve got a ton of good options for this pick. If T-Mac and Yao are finally healthy next year (big if), whoever is picked here needs to be ready to contribute now. I like Brewer or Carney here, whoever they feel can fill the SG spot better. Since Brewer is a much better ball-handler than Carney and Luther Head, so he’d fit well with this team.

Indiana: 17th. They should be looking for a PG in this spot, and one of few prospects may fall in their laps. From least to most likely to be on the board, Marcus Williams, Foye, Rondo, Lowry, and Farmar are all good options to groom under Jamal Tinsley.

LA Clippers: No picks. They are focused on resigning Sam I Am and Vlad-Rad this summer, as well as extending K-man’s Kontrakt.

LA Lakers: 26th. Kupchak surprised a lot of people (especially me) by going with a project last year, then the team surprised everyone by winning three against Phoenix in the first round. The glaring problem for this club was the other guard (#8, I mean #24 has the SG thing down pretty good): Smush and Sasha just didn’t get it done. I expect them to draft a 6-5+ guard to work the triangle for Phil. The Swiss Thabo, Mardy Collins, Richard Roby, and Denham Brown are candidates.

Memphis: 24th. This is a solid veteran club with good depth, except at C. Of course, if the Suns win it all, nobody will play centers anymore, but my guess is they go for Gray, Davis, Saer Sene, or even Pecherov.

Miami: No picks. This team isn’t getting any younger, so if they don’t win it all this year expect another big shake-up. That might include trading for a mid-first rounder to pick up a replacement for GP.

Milwaukee: No picks. Last year’s #1 has #0 this year. They have a strong young core, but are definitely shopping Jamal Magloire, he just didn’t fit their team very well. That could get them a player plus a mid first rounder.

Minnesota: 6th. Take a deep breath Wolves fans. McCants and Bracey Wright didn’t really work out for them from last year, and they and Ndudi Ebi are their only first round picks since 1999. Thank you Joe Smith. Anyways, they desperately need to get KG some players, and it starts here. Gay, Morrison, Roy, or Bargnani will fall to them for sure. Any of these guys would probably be the second best player on the T’Wolves as soon as they lace up their sneakers. Sorry Ricky.

New Jersey: 22nd & 23rd. It is always weird having consecutive picks. Who do you take first? They have two glaring needs at PF and backup/future PG. I bet they try to fill both needs. Farmar, Lowry, or Rondo may fall this far. I like Powe, Pittsnoggle, or Gray/Davis/Saer Sene next to Kristic.

New Orleans / OKC (NOOK): 12th and 15th. If they want to move up to 6 or 7 they probably can just send these two picks packing. If they add a player, I bet the Hawks would even consider it at 5. Either way, they need a new wing player because JR Smith doesn’t fit in, and the might find Carney, Brewer, or (more likely) Vicinious on the board. The next need is to replace PJ Brown who probably had his last productive season. I think Hilton Armstrong would be a great replacement.

New York: 20th and 29th. Not 2nd. This is another team that screams trade. Their top 3 guys play the same position (SG who thinks he’s a PG), but nobody wants their contracts. Their best player is clearly Channing Frye, and if the get a decent coach in there, their front line (fried curry) sounds delicious and effective. I have no clue what they will draft, but it appears to be Isaiah’s only skill as a GM. Last year’s draft was masterful and unexpected. I will be watching closely.

Orlando: 11th. Jameer Nelson. D-How. Darko. Fran Vasquez (maybe). Hedo the Turk. This is an enviable young nucleus and they really started to put it together at the end of the season. Notice something missing? That’s right, a SG. So who’s on the board? Foye, Brewer, Mardy Collins, and J.J. Redick are possibilities. Or they could trade for a veteran.

Philadelphia: 13th. This team was a huge disappointment this year (except to us Bulls fans). C-Web played unbelievably well considering he’s on one leg. AI played the point admirably. Korver shot the ball well. Igoudala… won the slam dunk contest (right?!). Something is rotten in Denmark. I think they should get someone who can play some point next to Iverson and spread the floor a little. That means J.J. Redick. I think he would fit in very nicely. They could also go for Collins, who is local and big. It would be a bit of a stretch, but he could guard SGs but run the point and allow AI to move off the ball, a la the Eric Snow era.

Phoenix: 21st. They may be the favorites to win it all next year. But the window is closing pretty fast. If healthy, this team is deep and talented. I would look for them to draft PF or C as Amare insurance. Powe, Alexander Johnson, Saer Sene, Splitter, and Pecherov may have the athleticism to keep up with this team.

Portland: 4th & 30th (& 1st in round 2). Any team with three picks in the top 32 is a “move-up” candidate. I think they have the best shot at Toronto’s #1 or Charlotte’s #3, especially if they can get rid of Zack Randolph or Darius Miles in the process. They want Tyrus Thomas or Aldridge, but may have to settle for Bargnani, Roy, or Morrison. Morrison and Roy are beloved figures in the northwest, and considering there’s no one on the team who is safe (except Martel Webster), there’s no reason not to be happy with those options.

Sacramento: 19th. Look out: here they come. The Kings are poised for either a great season or a total meltdown, and either way it will be fun to watch. Whoever is coaching this team will have loads of talent to work with. The only hole in their lineup is backup PG. Lowry, Farmar, Daniel Gibson, Rondo, and/or Collins will be available here. Swish.

San Antonio: No picks. They just need to nurse some wounds (physical, mental, emotional) in the off-season and rest up.

Seattle: 10th. To me, this is the single most obvious pick in the whole draft. Shelden Williams. This team was a playoff team in 04-05 and the only roster difference this year was Reggie Evans and Jerome James leaving. What did those two guys bring? Toughness and rebounding. What does Shelden bring? Toughness and rebounding. I will honestly be physically ill if they pass on him it would be so stupid.

Toronto: 1st. Numero Uno. There are a dozen different scenarios I can think of, all equally likely. Some people say Colangelo loves Bargnani. Some people think Bosh and Aldridge next to each other would tear up the league. Some people think they’ll try and trade Charlie V for a center and take Adam Morrison. Crazy stuff. If I were them I would trade this pick to Portland for #4 and Jarrett Jack, take Brandon Roy and laugh my way to the 5th seed in the playoffs. Colangelo is usually very good at stuff like that.

Utah: 14th. This is a tough one. They are pretty deep in the frontcourt, and they love Deron Williams. Can Harpring really play SG though? If not, they won’t be starting their 5 best players. They could go for a backup for AK-47 or a big guard. Shawne Williams, Mardy Collins, Rodney Carney, or even J.J. Redick might work.

Washington: 18th. Here’s another pick I’m pretty confident about. Tiago Splitter. He won’t play in the league for another year or two due to a nasty/impossible contract, but he’s still only 21 and he’s been a defensive and rebounding monster in the Euroleague: a man amongst men. Washington has a good roster at this point and can afford to wait. Without the contract situation, he’d be a top 10 pick for sure.

Phew. That’s a solid 4 pages right there. Took me two days. I’ll update things as things go, especially if/when there are pre-draft trades.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Mock Draft #1

Mock Draft Round 1

Here is my first mock draft of this year’s lottery, including teams with trade interests. This mock is more geared towards what I think teams should do, rather than what they will actually do. Until we hear more from GMs about personal workouts, there isn't much to go on.

1. Toronto: Tyrus Thomas, 6-9 PF from LSU. But I don’t think he’s going to Toronto. The best 3 players in this draft are PFs, and that’s the only position where Toronto is set. Colangelo is too good to create a logjam, so I imagine he will shop this pick for some veterans or a later pick. Portland will probably offer something like this: their 30th and 31st overall picks plus Jarrett Jack and Darius Miles for this pick and a bad contract (Alvin Williams?). Considering the depth of this draft, I think that would benefit both clubs, but Toronto might rather have the #4 overall pick than Miles.


2. Chicago: LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-10 PF from Texas. Bargnani will tempt Paxon, but at the end of the day this team lives on defense. Aldridge and Chandler in the middle is a pretty scary thought. That said, Paxon would much rather have a veteran PF for this club. He’s got the 16th pick as well, which means that they might make a run at Jermaine O’Neal, KG, or even Nene.

3. Charlotte: Adam Morrison, 6-8 SF from Gonzaga. The Bobcats will finally have an identity and people will finally want to watch them play. Okafor, Wallace, and Felton make a good core. Add Mr. Morrison to the squad and see what happens. Bickerstaff sounds unimpressed with Morrison’s game, but if I were him I’d take the gamble. The other clear choice is Roy, the conservative pick here.


4. Portland: Andrea Bargnani, 7-0 F from Italy. The Blazers finally get lucky. They’d rather have Thomas (see #1 pick) and may make a trade to make it happen. Otherwise, Andrea is not a bad consolation prize.


5. Atlanta: Brandon Roy, 6-5 SG from Washington. The Hawks need a trade so bad it isn’t funny anymore. With all the top PFs off the board, they are forced to go with the best player available, definitely Roy in this case. I would be shocked if Joe Johnson, Josh Childress, Marvin Williams, and Josh Smith are all on this club by the end of the summer anyways. Look for them to try and move up using one of those guys and this pick.


6. Minnesota: Rudy Gay, 6-9 SF from UConn. When the dust settles, the Wolves may be the luckiest team here. Gay, Roy, or Morrison is going to fall into their laps, and any of those guys would be the new #1 reason for KG to stay.


7. Boston: Marcus Williams, 6-3 PG from UConn. Back to back to back Huskies, I like it. While this may be a twilight zone version of the Marcus Banks, the C’s are looking for a true point, and Marcus is the best fit. Rondo will get some looks here too. New York and New Jersey have two late round picks and may be interested in moving up. Picks 7-14 in this draft are about equal value this year.


8. Houston: Ronnie Brewer, 6-7 SG from Arkansas. Brewer can play both guard positions or SF, which will come in handy given T-Mac’s injury history. They like Luther Head on the court, and the only other serious contender for this pick, Randy Foye, is a clone.

9. Golden State: Patrick O’Bryant, 7-0 C from Bradley. Somebody is going to reach for this guy because of his size. Golden State actually has decent depth in their lineup, and is paying Derek Fischer way too much to draft Foye.


10. Seattle: Shelden Williams, 6-9 PF from Duke. Another reach, but the best players available (Carney and Foye) make no sense for this team. Swift and Collison have been average at best, Williams would add some much needed interior depth and toughness. Keywords being "NEEDED" and "TOUGHNESS."


11. Orlando: Randy Foye, 6-4 G from Villanova. Not the best fit, with undersized Jameer Nelson already on the court, but a player of this caliber this late in the draft would be too tough to pass up. Jameer and Randy together might struggle a little against bigger guards, but they would be dynamite on offense.


12. NOOKC: Rodney Carney, 6-7 SF from Memphis. Well they don’t need a PG that’s for sure. Chris Paul and David West are the nucleus, so the Hornets take the best player who doesn’t play their positions. In this case, Carney should give them some versatility on the wing, which they could really use if JR Smith is out the door like he says he is. They have the 15th pick as well, which means they might be able to move up. Atlanta, Portland, and Minnesota might be calling. I’m sure they’d love to have Gay, Roy, Morrison, or even Bargnani to fill the SF spot.


13. Philadelphia: J.J. Redick, 6-4 SG from Duke. The Sixers probably want to get AI back into the SG slot, and Redick fits the bill. With he and Korver out there, the floor would open up. How Igoudala fits in with this team remains a mystery, but I’d play small-ball with Iggy at PF (the Phoenix style).


14. Utah: Shawne Williams, 6-9 SF from Memphis. This is a need pick. Utah needs a wing player, and they don’t need another PG. Rondo and Lowry are quality guys but don’t fit the gaps.


15. NOOK: Hilton Armstrong, 6-11 C from UConn. Conventional wisdom says that PJ Brown needs to be replaced. Armstrong is a very similar player, minus the 15-ft jumper, which he can work on. Might not have the mental toughness of PJ, but defense and rebounding shouldn’t be a problem.


16. Chicago: Mardy Collins, 6-6 G from Temple. The Bulls will look for a PF or a tall SG here. If he is on the board, Collins is a very nice fit for them. Paxon wants a big guard to play some defense and take the pressure of Hinrich, and Collins is an ideal prospect for that assignment.

17. Indiana: Rajon Rondo, 6-2 PG from Kentucky. Rajon probably doesn’t fall past the Pacers, who are about to give up on Tinsley. Jasakevicius is not a PG, so getting this quality a PG would make Larry Bird very happy.


18. Washington: Tiago Splitter, 7-0 PF from Brazil. The only reason he isn’t going higher is because he will probably be overseas for another one or two years. Washington has a good enough group right now to be a playoff team, and Splitter provides a nice little project for them.

19. Sacramento: Kyle Lowry, 6-0 PG from Villanova. This is a pretty good team, as San Antonio can attest. Getting a backup for Bibby is on their summer to-do list, and Lowry should be a solid career backup in the Association.


20. New York: Cedric Simmons, 6-9 PF from NC State. Trying to predict what Deke will do on any given day is a ridiculous proposition. He does have a solid history of taking undersized big men and trying to have them play center. This would be another.


21. Phoenix: Alexander Johnson, 6-10 PF from Florida State. The Suns are a healthy Amare away from being the favorites to win the 2007 championship after the way they’ve been playing this post season. Too bad Amare had the most devastating surgery in sports and may never again contribute like he did in his first two seasons. Johnson has the athleticism to fill in if Amare needs a lot of bench time.


22. New Jersey: Jordan Farmar, 6-2 PG from UCLA. Anthony Johnson will not be scoring 40 very often and JKidd isn’t getting any younger. They clearly need a PF (see next pick), but Farmar would be a nice PG of the future. I’ve watched this guy play in person many times, and I think he has the basketball IQ and intangibles to be a valuable PG in the NBA for a long time.

23. New Jersey: Leon Powe, 6-8 PF from Cal Berkley. Technically this would be a reach, but this is a well-managed team. This guy is a monster. I saw him a lot in the Pac-10 this year, and I think he’s going to be a successful pro, if not a star. This team is set at every position but PF with Kristic playing so well, and Powe will defend, rebound, and score inside. Eerily similar to Ike Diogu from last year. He really started to show some signs for Golden State towards the end of the season.


24. Memphis: Mouhamam Saer Sene, 7-0 C from Senegal. Lorenzen Wright is one foot out the door, and even if he stays, he isn’t the long-term answer. They will look at Paul Davis and Aaron Gray as well, but Saer Sene is quicker and has more potential (read: he isn’t cement-footed).

25. Cleveland: Daniel Gibson, 6-3 PG from Texas. Who to put next to LeBron? The never-ending question. Eric Snow is getting long in the tooth and needs to be replaced. Damon Jones is a shooter, not a floor leader. Gibson doesn’t need to score to be effective, and should take some ball-handling pressure of King James when the double teams come. If they pick a PF here, expect Drew Gooden to leave in free agency.


26. LA Lakers: Thabo Sefolosha, 6-6 SG from Switzerland. Phil loves big guards. Smush clearly didn’t get it done in the playoffs this year, and the idea of having a Thabo-Smush rotation is just too much for me to pass up for the ‘All Names Team.’


27. Olexsiy Pecherov, 6-11 F from Ukraine. The Suns will almost certainly go for a project here, and this long and lean Russian fits the bill. A season or two overseas or in the NBDL would be good for him.


28. Dallas: Shannon Brown, 6-3 SG from Michigan State. This is simply the best pick available. Dallas is stacked at every position and is a title contender next year just by staying put. That might be tough in the coming years, as Daniels and Howard will need big money contracts. This is some insurance in case one of them leaves.


29. New York: Aaron Gray, 7-0 C from Pitt. Again, conjecture only with Isaiah at the helm. He’s very large and is one of the only quality picks left that isn’t an undersized SG. I think they have enough of those… but that’s never stopped him before.


30. Portland: Paul Davis, 6-11 C from Michigan State. Not a very exciting pick, but it’s always nice to have another stiff… I mean big man… on the bench.

So that’s it for the first round. They best guys left out of the mix are Vinicious an F from Brazil, Rodriguez PG from Spain, and a handful of SG’s (Diaz, Ager, Douby, White, Gansey, and Roby). Only picks 1-22 are really sure-thing first rounders. Picks 23-36 will be a total crapshoot, and nay of these guys mentioned could go as high as 17.


 

06 6-pack

This draft is weird. No highschool kids for the first time. No clear #1. No Elite Point Guards or Centers. But there are 6 players that stand above the rest. If any of these guys are around after pick #6 I will be somewhat shocked, no matter who is picking. I'll give you a comparison to a current or past NBA player for both their physical game and their personality, as quality players need to have both in order (ask the Trailblazers and Knicks about that). I try to stay away from the obvious parallels (Aldridge to Bosh, Morrison to Bird) because you've heard those before. Also, I've added my own nicknames (some are borrowed) just for the hell of it.

In no particular order, here they come:


Tyrus Thomas, 6-9 PF from LSU
NBA Comparison: Physical - Stromile Swift, Mental - Tony Battie
Tyrus came out of nowhere to absolutely dominate the floor in the NCAA tourney (except against UCLA). He will be a great off the ball help defender immediately, and score off alley-oops and offensive boards. Great leaping ability and physical attributes for the 'new' PF. Will have trouble guarding big guys and scoring with his back to the basket, but can face up with a decent 15 foot shot. Importantly, he plays with nastiness but not with anger. Under the right supervision, has the physical tools to be a dangerous player in the league. Nickname: T-Rex


LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-10 PF from Texas
NBA Comparison: Physical - Marcus Camby, Mental - Tracy McGrady
He's got the goods, no question. Very skilled at both ends. With some added weight and good coaching will be a dependable defender. He can shoot the outside shot better than Thomas and has a much better inside skill game, but is nowhere near the leaper. At Texas, sometimes he dominated, sometimes he took a quieter supportive role. This can be a plus or a minus depening on who drafts him. He will not likely be any team's #1 go-to guy, but he can be a very very good starter. Given his size and age (20), that is an extremely valuable commodity. Nickname: Llama


Andrea Bargnani, 7-0 SF/PF from Italy
NBA Comparison: Physical - Charlie Villanueva, Mental - Who really knows?
This guys is a mystery to most NBA fans because he didn't play college ball in the US. People keep trying to say he's the next Dirk, but the fact is Dirk is in a class by himself after what he did to San Antonio so it's not really fair. I think he's much more like last year's Villanueva. He's got a good outside shot for his size, but he will want to play SF. It's unclear if he can guard anybody, but he can definelt score. His numbers and highlight reel from the Euroleague are very impressive, but I haven't seen him play a whole game so I can't really say anything special. NBA GM's are drooling, but my guess he lands somewhere between Dirk and Darko. Nickname: Dirko


Adam Morrison, 6-8 SF/SG from Gonzaga
NBA Comparison: Physical - Rashard Lewis, Mental - John Stockton
We all know this guy already. As you can see from this incredible piece of photographic evidence (hey, I'm a UCLA fan, this was a great moment!), he's got... heart. Phenominal shooter and scorer, unbeatable intangibles. The key about Morrison is that he can give his NBA team an identity. Teams like Portland and Charlotte have no identity right now, so I can't see him slipping past them. He (probably) won't be anywhere near as dominant as Larry Bird, to whom he is often compared, but he can score and ignite a crowd (and sell tickets). His defense and footspeed are suspect, but that won't hinder his offensive game. His intensity on defense will make up for some of his slowness. He has type I diabetes, and while control is excellent these days, his long term durability has been questioned. Nickname: Crybaby (until he proves otherwise)


Brandon Roy, 6-5 SG from Washington
NBA Comparison: Physical - Allan Houston (when he was good), Mental - Marquis Daniels
You want this guy on your team. He plays the right way and is incredibly smooth. Prototypical SG in many ways. Plays under control and can dominate games without forcing anything. Can create with the dribble or the pass, and understands the importance of good D. His play in the NCAA's wowed a lot of people, but not me: I've seen him do it all season in the Pac-10. One of my favorite guys in this draft. Nickname: HRH (His Roy-al Highness... ok so this one is stupid)


Rudy Gay, 6-9 SF from UConn
NBA Comparisons: Physical - Luol Deng, Mental - Luol Deng
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. What happened? Much like Mr. Deng, Rudy Gay has freakish size and wingspan for a player at his position. Also like Mr. Deng, he never really dominated in college. He started the season as a potential #1 overall, and has slipped to 4-6 range. He's got every trick in the book, from outside shooting and monster dunks to quick feet and good instincts on defense. But it does not appear that he has the will to take games over consistently, despite a ridiculous set of games early in the NCAA 2005-06 season. He may not be a go-to all-star caliber player because of this. Deng, a very similar prospect, slipped to 7th overall and has been excellent but not dominant. He has quietly produced on both ends, and turned in some spectacular performances that leave you scratching your head. Expect Gay to be the same way, at least early in his career. He officiall has no ceiling on his game, and the right coach and team setting could make whoever drafts him look like a genious. Nickname: Air Gay (too easy)

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