Thursday, June 30, 2005




1-BOSTON. As much as Ainge gets blasted....he can play that draft game. They sat still and let Gerald Green and Ryan Gomes fall into their lap. Not bad for the Atlantic Champs.
2-CHARLOTTE: They got two local stars in Felton and May who can come in an play right now. So, in two years they’ve got their frontcourt and point guard locked down.
3-NEW YORK. The Knicks got a center [Frye], a power forward [Lee] and a backup PG [Robinson] in the draft. Not bad at all.
4-NEW ORLEANS. The Hornets sat back and let everyone else wiggle Paul into their hands. Paul was who they wanted all along. Then they go and take Brandon Bass in the second round.
5-UTAH. They got who they wanted...a guy that can make sure those 6-11 forwards aren’t firing up a ton of 3s. And they didn’t even have to deal away too much.



1-PORTLAND. They waited for Charlotte to give up #5 and #13...and then got stuck with a lowball deal with Utah. All they got was the #6, #27 and a first rounder next year [which will be Detroit's pick that Utah acquired].  Not the huge deal of the day they were hoping for.  Then they select yet another teenager in the draft.
2-LA CLIPPERS. With many impact guys still there, the Clips stuck with Yaraslav Korolev as if it was a coach drafting his son in little league. You’d figure the Clips wouldfigure out the draft by now.
3-TORONTO. Why Villeneuva? It isn’t that he’s not worth of the #7...but they ONLY guy the Raps have [Chris Bosh] is already linedup in Chucky’s spot. They did salvage a bit when they somehow nabbed Roko Ukic in Round Two.
4-NEW JERSEY. I really like Antoine Wright...but doesn’t this team have Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson already? With Hakim Warrick there...why did they go with another guard?
5-DENVER. It isn’t that I don’t like Julius’s just that he really isn’t what they need. They needed a shooter and Hodge is primarily a slasher. After that, they drafted 3 projects.



1-Yaraslov Korolev [Clippers]. First off, he’s a Clipper. Next, the guy has yet to play against anyone good. LA is banking on him being the next AK-47 but he may be stuck in Russia for a few more years.
2-Andrew Bynum [Lakers]. He is huge, but he’s only 17. And Kobe made the Zen Master see a shrink....what may he do to Bynum? I’m not saying it is a bad pick at all...just one that must pay off.
3-Fran Vazquez [Magic]. He does the same things Dwight Howard does and many people think he’s already peaked as far as talent goes.
4-Charlie Villenueva [Raptors]. He’s a slacker. You would think that on a team with Okafor and Gordon, he would’ve learned leadership skills. Instead, he disappeared in games.
5-Rashad McCants [Wolves]. I love McCants, but he could develop some poor habits now that he’s on his own. I just can’t get Joseph Forte out of my head.



1-Danny Granger [Pacers]. Someone had to fall, and it was Granger. He will fit in well with Indiana. It also allows Indy to look at dealing some of their wares.
2-Hakim Warrick [Grizzlies].
Warrick is the most underrated player in the draft. He can defend darn near any spot and replaces Swift in the jumping-out-of-the-gym department.
3-Francisco Garcia [Kings].
The Kings need him and he fits in perfectly. He can take over at the 2-spot and make teams pay on doubles.
4-Wayne Simien [Heat]
. He was a heck of a player at Kansas when he was on the court. Oh, and playing next to Shaq will make him into a somebody. Just ask Samaki Walker.
5-Gerald Green [Celtics].
Boston will fall in love with him and may end up booing Pierce out of town to make room for him.


Ronny Turiaf [Lakers]. He will be used in Los Angeles. If he rebounds, sets picks and hits a 15-foot jumper, he will be a excellent role player for years.
CJ Miles [Jazz].  I loved Miles in this draft and was surprised that others weren't. 

Brandon Bass [Hornets].  He is a local guy with skills that people may clamor for to see play.  Hey, these are the Hornets.

Roko Ukic [Raptors]. Two things. One, they need him. Two, he won’t care that he’s playing in Toronto. If Gerald Green didn’t fall, Ukic may have gone #18 to the C’s.
Salim Stoudamire [Hawks]. I know, he’s small to play shooting guard. But these are the Hawks and they’ll need someone with some nads to fire up threes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005



When the NBA adopted the new age limit...many deemed it racist. 

I mean, white kids in hockey, tennis, golf and baseball can go pro at 18...why can't the black hoops players?  Well, mainly because the kids in hockey and baseball get to go to a minor league...where as the NBA doesn't have one [the NBDL is not much of a league].  And tennis and golf are individual sports where organizations don't need to wait for your development.  And the argument that this affects young black men is true, in a sense....but the ones who benefit most are....young black men.  If we aren't drafting high school players....who will we be drafting?  College players...and most of them black. comes the one about "an 18 year old can fight in Iraq".  So?  Playing in the NBA isn't a right....nor is it a duty.  Heck, you can't rent a car until you are 25....yet you know how to drive well enough that the state gave you a licence. 

Here comes the "LeBron, Kobe, T-Mac, Amare" glance.  Hey, Shaq, Iverson, Webber and Mourning would've been fine entering the league outta high school, too.

Or how about the one where it keeps basketball players from earning a living.  Hogwash.  Sure, college isn't for everyone...but there are leagues out there.  All over Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States.  Go to the USBL or the CBA.  You can earn a living there as well....just not the ones you see on the Sprite commericals. 

The reason is that NBA teams are tired of drafting crap.  Potential that never works out.  On a roster of 12 players and in a draft with 2 rounds...draft picks are important.  Darko Milicic sat on the bench for most of the NBA Finals.  Wouldn't some other veteran been more productive in that roster spot?  Why have a player on your bench that you cannot use? 

The NBA is full of this.  Guys that are sitting on benches waiting to learn to play.  Sorry, but this is the should know how to play once you sign the contract.  For years, the draft yielded instant impact players as well as role guys fitting in.  Sure, there are always busts even if they graduated college.  The draft is imperfect. 

Of the 30 picks in the first round...24 would be legal under the rules of next year's draft if they applied today.  Only Martell Webster, Andrew Bynum, Gerald Green, Yaraslov Korolev, Johan Petro and Ian Mahinimi wouldn't have been in this draft.  Only Green has any hopes of being something right away....and that may not be much. 

The NBA also likes to have some name recognition coming in.  Most basketball fans only heard of half the guys taken in the first round.  The ones they may recognize played roles in the NCAA tournament.  Two months ago, you never heard of Gerald Green.  Now, you project him as the next Tracy McGrady.

I like the rule....but I feel it should have been set at the original 20....or "high school + 2".  There was only ONE college freshman taken in the first round [Marvin Williams] and he hasn't started a game in over a year. 

Of course, if you look at the seniors are rewarded.  Channing Frye, Joey Graham, Danny Granger, Hakim Warrick, Julius Hodge, Luther Head, Jason Maxiell, Wayne Simien and David Lee were all picked in the first round...with the first two picks of the second round [Salim Stoudamire and Daniel Ewing] were also college seniors.   Of the high schoolers....only 3 were selected in the 1st round while NINE were taken in the 2nd round.  Teams don't mind wasting 2nd round picks on projects. 

Again, I know that there are a ton of college seniors taken in the lottery that busted as well.  But teams figure it out a bit quicker.  Teams don't like to have a Tracy McGrady or Jermaine O'neal sit on the pine for the length of their rookie contract so another team can lure him away just as he is hitting his stride.  It is like re-drafting the player.  You have to weigh the potential of your own player!!! 

My point is this: Kentucky and North Carolina

Last year, Kentucky's Randolph Morris was oh-so-close to entering the NBA Draft out of high school.  He didn't...and went to Kentucky instead.  While at Kentucky, he showed he wasn't even ready for a lackluster SEC...let alone the NBA.  Someone apparantly got it into his head that he was an NBA player.  Dude, you averaged 8 points in the SEC.  With the shiny lights of the NBA just within sight...Morris couldn't stay on his Kentucky road and detoured into a brick wall.  He performed poorly in the workouts yet stuck in the draft.  As Tuesday night went along....Morris' name was nowhere to be heard.  Sure, I'll bet his phone was ringing as a few teams were inviting him to their summer leagues...but that wasn't what Morris had in mind when he up and left Kentucky.

Then you look at North Carolina.  The Tar Heels placed 4 of their players in the top 14 of the draft.  EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM benefitted from going to college.  Sure, under my plan, Marvin Williams would still be in Chapel Hill....but he's legal under the current plan.  Would Williams been the #2 pick out of high school??  Nope.

Was Raymond Felton a #5 pick last year?  Were Rashad McCants or Sean May lottery picks last year?  Nope.  Felton developed range in his 3rd year at UNC.  He was always fast....he always had handle.  But his new jump shot moved him to #5.  Sean May was a tubby center who huffed and puffed up and down the court.  May learned conditioning in his 3rd year.  That kept him in games longer, upping his productivity and landing him in the lottery.  The knock on McCants was his attitude.  The guy spent 2004-2005 quelling his offensive arsenal to help Carolina win a championship!   He matured.

So college can help.  The problem is young players been leaving early due to duping scouts into that "potential".  There is a reason the NBA adopted this new rule...and I cannot wait to see how it turns out for the future of a league I love.



Here is my breakdown of the NBA Draft.  I will give the pick...analyze it....give who I would have drafted at that spot [in real time] then give it a grade.

(C) Andrew Bogut - Utah         

#1-ANDREW BOGUT [C]-UTAH.  Excellent pick.  Safe pick.  YCSJ said it perfectly when he stated that getting a big man is tough...especially to get one this cheap.  In the NBA, you gotta overpay to get a decent center.  Bogut can contribute now.  He'll be their starting center and be able to keep Michael Redd in house.  Bogut does command double teams which will make Redd into a better player.  If TJ Ford can come back from injury...they have a great nucleus [and a ton of cap space] to build around.  MY PICK:  Bogut.  GRADE:  A

(SF) Marvin Williams - North Carolina      

#2-MARVIN WILLIAMS [SF]-NORTH CAROLINA.  One of the weirdest things this draft season was the fact Atlanta wasn't dealing out of this spot.  Williams doesn't fill a position need...but he does bring explosive talent.  He can score in a variety of ways...has great attitude...and can be a leader on this team.  I honestly think that Atlanta got the best player in the draft.  MY PICK:  Williams.  GRADE:  A+

(PG) Deron Williams - Illinois   

#3-DERON WILLIAMS [PG]-ILLINOIS.  The highest picked Illini ever, Williams was a great choice for Utah.  He brings leadership qualities, defense, shooting and pacing to the Jazz.  Of all the PGs available, he fits the Utah mold to a T.  MY PICK:  Williams.  GRADE:  A

(PG) Chris Paul - Wake Forest             

#4-CHRIS PAUL [PG]-WAKE FOREST.  Paul is an explosive guard and is the best pick for the Hornets right now.  They dealt of Davis, who was the same sort of guard...but Paul will be cheaper and without as much nicks and tears.  He and JR Smith may develop into the next Parker-Ginobili.  MY PICK:  Paul.  GRADE:  A+


#5-RAYMOND FELTON [PG]-NORTH CAROLINA.  The second Tar Heel selected, Felton is a somewhat surprise pick.  While he is a nice fit for the Cats, he may not be the 5th best player in the draft.  However, Charlotte got a running PG to go with their running team.  They also got a local hero [Felton grew up in the South Carolina town of Latta and played for UNC] which will help in the attendence department.  MY PICK:  Martell Webster.  GRADE:  B

(SG) Martell Webster - Seattle Prep (WA)      

#6-MARTELL WEBSTER [SG]-HIGH SCHOOL.  Essentially, the Blazers had Webster on their scope all along.  He is a great shooter who helps in the 2-guard department for Portland.  However, is itsmart to draft another high school player in Portland??  In the last decade, they've drafted a ton of very young guys [Jermaine O'Neal, Qyntell Woods, Zach Randolph, Travis Outlaw, Erick Barkley...not to mention dealing for Darius Miles] and haven't seen any kind of positive results.  MY PICK:  Andrew Bynum.  GRADE:  B-

(PF) Charlie Villanueva - Connecticut    

#7-CHARLIE VILLENUEVA [PF]-UCONN.  Every year, someone makes a pick that turns the draft on it's ear.  It seems, that every year it is Toronto making that pick.  This pick makes no sense.  Nothing against Chucky, but the Raps have only one good player, Chris Bosh.  Toronto just drafted his backup.  With every other possible hole on their team...they pick Bosh's backup.  Good luck in the future move to Las Vegas, Raptors fans.  MY PICK:  Channing Frye.  GRADE:  F

(C) Channing  Frye - Arizona    

#8-CHANNING FRYE [C]-ARIZONA.  With Toronto letting Frye slide, the Knicks got what they needed.  Frye can contribute right away in a variety of ways.  He's got a great touch and is a perfect pick and roll center....something that is handy when you have Marbury on your roster.  This time, the Knicks actually got it right.  As one GM said, those Arizona guys over-perform in the NBA.  MY PICK:  Frye.  GRADE:  A-

(PF) Ike Diogu - Arizona State  

#9-IKE DIOGU [PF]-ARIZONA STATE.  While G-State couldn't get Frye, they stayed in Arizona to nab Diogu.  He will bring physical toughness to the Warriors [something they lack] and an active body up front.  While smallish, he rebounds, defends and can stick a mid-range jumper.  This might be one of those puzzle pieces that puts the Warriors into the postseason.  MY PICK:  Danny Granger.  GRADE:  B

(C) Andrew Bynum - St. Joseph HS (NJ)  

#10-ANDREW BYNUM [C]-HIGH SCHOOL.  For the last week, I was convinced that the Lakers would take Bynum.  In my final mock draft, I didn't think he'd fall to 10.  Bynum could be a bruising center for many years to come.  However, being the youngest player ever drafted, the Lakers must wait to see if any dividends will come.  He has nice touch and a huge body...but he is a raw as they come.  But,his workouts have blown him from an early 2nd rounder to the #10 pick.  MY PICK:  Bynum.  GRADE:  B

(PF) Fran Vazquez - Spain   

#11-FRAN VAZQUEZ [PF]-SPAIN.  He is probably the best Euro in the draft.  However, why pick Vazquez when you just drafted Dwight Howard?  They are essentially the same player.  Vazquez is a defensive guy with a ton of athletic ability...especially on the boards.   Does this mean Howard moves to the center spot?  MY PICK:  Antoine Wright.  GRADE:  C


#12-YAROSLAV KOROLEV [SG]-Russia.  In the worst secret of the draft, LA was in love with Korolev.  They've been scouting him for quite some time and is pretty much the reason he entered the draft to begin with.  He may turn into another Kirilenko, but it will take quite a bit of time - he hasn't even played against any good Euro competition.  MY PICK:  Danny Granger.  GRADE:  C-

(PF) Sean  May - North Carolina    

#13-SEAN MAY [PF]-NORTH CAROLINA.  Charlotte goes with another Tar Heel.  You know what you will get with May:  rebounds, a little jumper and great attitude.  Teaming up with Felton again will help both adapt to life in the NBA as well as the development of the Bobcats.  One thing is for sure, this team will run.  MY PICK:  Gerald Green.  GRADE:  B-

(SG) Rashad McCants - North Carolina   

#14-RASHAD MCCANTS [SG]-NORTH CAROLINA.  The Wolves needed a scoring guard and they got one.  McCants, while only 6'3, can score in a ton of ways.  He has awesome range, awesome hops, a quick first step and can handle the ball.  His biggest knock is his "attitude" which isn't so much attitude as "free spirit".  He may be Ricky Williams without the hippie lettuce.  MY PICK:  McCants.  GRADE:  A-

(SG) Antoine Wright - Texas A&M   

<FONTSIZE=1>#15-ANTOINE WRIGHT [SG]-TEXAS A&M.  I've been a Wright fan for the last few weeks.  He's the kind of guy that fits perfectly for Jersey.  He won't be a star...but he will compliment Kidd and Carter very nicely.  He'll be a guy the Nets can count on.  MY PICK:  Wright.  GRADE:  B+

(SF) Joey Graham - Oklahoma State   

#16-JOEY GRAHAM [SF]-OKLAHOMA STATE.  Graham will bring toughness to the soft Raptors.  He'll play SFs very physically, has a high basketball IQ and can do a ton of intangibles.  He'll be a very good rebounding small forward.  MY PICK:  Gerald Green.  GRADE:  B-

(SF) Danny  Granger - New Mexico   

#17-DANNY GRANGER [SF]-NEW MEXICO.  Indiana, in my mind, got the biggest steal in the draft with Granger.  This is a guy many wanted to trade up for.  While Granger doesn't replace Reggie Miller, he's the best player on the board and gives the Pacers some contingency plan if they do actually deal off Artest.  MY PICK:  Francisco Garcia.  GRADE:  A-

(SG) Gerald Green - Gulf Shores Academy (TX)    

#18-GERALD GREEN [SF]-HIGH SCHOOL.  Just as Aaron Rodgers fell in the NFL draft...Green fell in the NBA Draft.  Last week, Portland had everyone convinced they'd make Green the #3 pick.  Green is most likelythe best athlete in the draft....but something has made teams weary of him.  One thing is for sure, this gives the C's some moving room to deal Pierce.  MY PICK:  Green.  GRADE:  A-

(PF) Hakim Warrick - Syracuse   

#19-HAKIM WARRICK [SF]-SYRACUSE.  He replaces Stromile Swift's athleticsm...but he isn't as big.  The problem is that he is just another swing man on a team full of them [Miller, Battier, Posey].  However, there was no one that was worth the #19 pick that they needed....hence the trade rumors.  MY PICK:  Jarrett Jack.  GRADE:  C-

(SG) Julius Hodge - N.C. State   

#20-JULIUS HODGE [SG]-NC State  This isnot what Denver needed.  Hodge has talent...but he isn't a shooter...and that is what Denver craves.  He's just another player they have that has to take his defender off the dribble to the rack to score.  MY PICK:  Francisco Garcia.  GRADE:  C+


#21-NATE ROBINSON [PG]-WASHINGTON.  Acquired in a deal with Phoenix, Robinson gives the Knicks that popular "change of pace" point guard who can come in and take advantage of his speed against bench guards.  He can speed the game up..even allowing Marbury to move over to the 2-guard and help get the Knicks some quick points.  MY PICK:  Francisco Garcia.  GRADE:  B-

(PG) Jarrett Jack - Georgia Tech   

#22-JARRETT JACK [PG]-GEORGIA TECH.  Acquired in a deal with Denver.  I don't know if Jack is what Portland needed.  I championed the cause of them taking a PG [Stoudamire and Van Exel are gone] but Jack is turnover prone and is more of a guy that is most effective playing alongside an talented 2-guard...and Portland has a high schooler there right now.  MY PICK:  Francisco Garcia.  GRADE:  C-

(SG) Francisco  Garcia - Louisville   

#23-FRANCISCO GARCIA [SG/SF]-LOUISVILLE.  As you can tell, I have had Garica pegged for a while.  He is talented, a pure shooter and the Kings are lucky to have him.  With shooting guard as a need for Indy and Denver...Sacto didn't think he'd land here.  He gives the Kings yet another perimeter scorer who can fill it up and make teams run around defensively.  MY PICK:  Garcia.  GRADE:  B+

(PG) Luther Head - Illinois   

#24-LUTHER HEAD [PG]-ILLINOIS.  He fills a need...since the Rockets were trotting out Wesley and Sura out there.  However, Head could have been gotten later in the draft and there were better guards out there.  He is a winner...not afraid to take the big shot...and may have been the best player on the 2-loss Illini squad.  MY PICK:  Roko Ukic.  GRADE:  C

(C) Johan Petro - France      

#25-JOHAN PETRO [C]-FRANCE.  Despite the name and where he came from...Petro can come in and play for Seattle.  Not polished, but big..can block shots..and only needed to do that right now as Jerome James backup.  It was a "best available pick" since all of Seattle's targets were already gone.  MY PICK:  Wayne Simien.  GRADE:  C

(PF) Jason Maxiell - Cincinnati    

#26-JASON MAXIELL [PF]-CINCINNATI.  Let's see.  An undersized big man who will defend, bang under the basket, hit the glass and be a pretty good teammate.  Hmmm...sounds like a Detroit pick to me!  While Maxiell was on noone's first round draft board, the Pistons felt they need that toughness bad enough to take a chance.  MY PICK:  Wayne Simien.  GRADE:  C-

(SF) Linas  Kleiza - Missouri   

#27-LINUS KLEIZA [SF]-MISSOURI.  Acquired in a deal with Portland, Kleiza is another questionable pick.  A project, at best...Kleiza plays the the same spot as Melo and K-Mart.  MY PICK: Salim Stoudamire  GRADE:  D+


#28-IAN MAHINMI [PF]-TURKEY.  If there was one thing you could be sure was the Spurs drafting a foreign player here.  They got Tony Parker 28th a few years ago...and Manu Ginobili with the 28th pick in the 2nd round before that. act like I know about this guy...I will just say he is raw.  MY PICK:  Erazan Ilysova.  GRADE:  ???

(PF) Wayne Simien - Kansas      

#29-WAYNE SIMIEN [PF]-KANSAS.  We all know that the biggest question about Simien is his health. When healthy, he was one of the NCAA's top players.  Thats been his problem.  He will benefit playing along side Udonis Haslem has done this year.  Because of that Haslem may cash in free agent style and Simien will just pick up where Shaq leaves off.  MY PICK:  Simien.  GRADE:  A

(PF) David  Lee - Florida  

#30-DAVID LEE [PF]-FLORIDA.  Lee will join the Knicks front line along with most everyone else on their roster.  MY PICK:  Salim Stoudamire.  GRADE:  D+