Posts Tagged ‘Kyrie Irving’

If you’re a fan of big names and surefire superstars running out their first blocks in the NBA, this draft isn’t for you. However, if following the most wide open NBA debut night in many, many years intrigues you, this is a great year. The talent pool for tonight’s NBA Draft is devoid of any John Wall, Blake Griffin or Derrick Rose type of definite impact debuts, but there is a ton of movement around a group of well known college stars that makes this one of the NBA’s best soap opera nights in sometime.

From the Cavaliers having to make not one, but two, tough calls in rebuilding their team early in the night, to mixture of “known”, by name only, college ballers being evaluated nearly equally with international guys, theres a lot of everything here. So before passing judgement or being disappointed by no one player that is already a superstar in a league he hasn’t played in yet, take time and look around what may be one of the purest drafts of all-time.

Irving brings a short resume to a spot with long expectations if his name leads off this draft.

No player has ever earned any top billing in the NBA before they step foot on it’s court. And at least with this year’s class, their image can only go up. Here is my take on what goes best for each club,  with a mixture of what fits, what’s the rumors and where their talent says they should land.

 

1. CAVS: Kyrie Irving-PG-Duke

In today’s NBA, a point guard is the quickest route to turning a franchise’s fortune, outside of a once in a generation-type talent to build around. Well since they lost one of those, and felt the immediate effects, they’ll go around the safest way to build up a franchise otherwise. Forget the Baron Davis is already there talk, if he was so good the Clippers wouldn’t have traded him (and this pick) just to move him out. Having a definite floor leader to influence the game and build around is a solid way to head back up the road to respectability, and Irving is the most balanced option in this year’s pool.

2. T-WOLVES: Derrick Williams-PF-Arizona

Williams is a great talent that can contribute in multiple ways from day one. However, exactly how (and where) he does that is uncertain. What is certain is that he puts the Wolves in a tight spot of needing to add the most talent possible, but having that talent be at a position they are relatively set at already. He could be an insurance item in the case of Kevin Love leaving town, or this year’s Derrick Favors (a high talent selection held on until the right deal presents itself…either tonight or after the season starts).

Whether it is about his position or even his city after being drafted, where he fits has been Williams' biggest question mark.

3. Jazz: Enes Kanter-C-Turkey

More than just a few guys help the Jazz here, as they could use a point guard and some help on the wing. However, taking Kanter gives them something that won’t be available when they pick again at number 12: a solid middle piece to an impressive collection of front court talent.

4. CAVS: Tristan Thompson-PF-Texas

Toughest call yet, and the first true wild card of the draft. Evidently the Cavs love seven footer Jonas Valanciunas here, but he won’t be available to play next year in the NBA, and the Cavs need as much immediate help as possible. They worked on Thompson again recently and liked what they saw, so the move to add another long, athletic talent around the rim could land on him. Since they have said they’ll be staying here, the options could be limited just to him at this point. A few other guys make a bit more sense to go with what they want to build around already though.

5. RAPTORS: Brandon Knight-PG-Kentucky

This a major find here for Toronto. He is a legit play creator that can function in both positions in the back court and would give them an impressive young, athletic backcourt along with Demar DeRozan. They need a body in the post that’s inclined to improve their terrible defense, but passing on Knight’s talent isn’t an option here.

Knight looks to follow in the footsteps of his Kentucky PG predecessor John Wall as a quick impact NBAer.

6. WIZARDS: Jan Vesely-SF-Czech Republic

Vesley gives them a long athletic finisher that can run the floor and continue to better that fast break approach the Wizards have committed to building around John Wall. They need help under the rim, but waiting on Valanciunas isn’t an option here and they love what Vesley brings to the table on potential as a perimeter defender as well.

7. KINGS: Kwahi Leonard-SF-San Diego St.

Tough call here, as they are in need of a point guard since Tyreke Evans is moving off the ball next season and there are several talented ones on the board still. However, Leonard brings an athletic, versatile forward that adds another running mate with Evans in their attack and has the skill to become one of the better shot blocking wings in the League. Management loves Jimmer though, and that could overrule here.

8. PISTONS: Jonas Valanciunas-C-Lithuania

A top-3 talent with plenty of strings attached. No team wants to go through a Rubio situation and while Valanciunas’ debut is guaranteed to only last a year, all of these teams need help yesterday. The Pistons are looking for a defensive talent to pair with Greg Monroe around the rim, and Valanciunas’ promise may be worth the wait. This could be a hold pick for the Rockets as well, as they are in love with the Lithuanian big man and are willing to give up several picks to select him.

The impact won't be immediate, but Valanciunas is out to prove he is worth the wait.

9. BOBCATS: Chris Singleton-SF-Florida St.

The Bobcats need everything they lost when Gerald Wallace was shipped away, and Singleton brings many of those same tools to the table. He isn’t the freakish athlete Wallace is, but he is the best defender in the draft and is also quite familiar with coach Leonard Hamilton from college.

10. BUCKS: Alec Burks-SG-Colorado

The Bucks need another attacker on the wing, and Burks is the most aggressive scorer in a weak shooting guard class this year. His shot needs to come a long way, but he can flat score and gets to the rim and free throw line. Instant offense.

11. WARRIORS: Klay Thompson-SG-Washington State

Jerry West likes smart players, and Thompson is that. He is capable of playing anywhere from the 3 to the 1, and gives the Warriors options as they reshape and balance out their roster under their new regime. An athletic big man could also be in play here.

12. JAZZ: Jimmer Fredette-PG-BYU

This is part need pick and part fan pick. Jimmer is a legend in Utah and he is also instant offense for a team that needs to get more off it’s bench. Being paired with Devin Harris for now at the one gives him time to grow, and gives Jazz fans a reason to get excited.

13. SUNS: Marcus Morris-PF-Kansas

The Suns brought nothing under the rim that could provide any sort of threat around the rim after Amare Stoudemire left for New York, and they suffered last year because of it. Morris is a solid big that does some of everything, and while he’ll never be the All-Star athlete that preceded him, he does give the Suns a much need boost in the toughness department.

14. ROCKETS: Nikola Vucevic-C-USC

The Rockets need size around the rim and Vucevic is the last of the legit true centers in this draft. There’s more talent available, but this is a pick to fit and the Rockets learned how small they are last year with Yao out the mix. He’d be one of the quicker to start players in the Draft landing here.

15. PACERS: Kemba Walker-PG-UConn

And the slide ends here. Kemba could take a major hit if the Kings pass on him or another team doesn’t stray far from their needs to snatch him before he gets here. The Pacers made the move to solidify their PG situation with Darren Collison last year, but landing Kemba gives them another offensive threat from the point, which they lacked for a long time.

Walker brings a big name to the Draft, but could he be in for a big slide too?

16. SIXERS: Bismark Biyombo-PF-Congo

The biggest unknown in the field and will be tempting to a number of teams long before this point, starting with the Raptors at 5. However, with so little for sure talent in this year’s pool, some teams may pass on him due to concerns about him having any offensive potential at all. However, he can bang under the rim and he will add a body, which is exactly what the Sixer need to mix in.

17. KNICKS: Kenneth Faried-PF-Morehead St.

The Knicks need defense anyway they can get it, and Faried is exactly the type of guy they need. He can match up with either forward position and has a strong motor around the rim and blocking shots. He is exactly the type of defensively inspired player they need.

18. WIZARDS: Jordan Hamilton-SF-Texas

A long, rangy shooter that can step into the shoes of Rashard Lewis. Hamilton gives the Wizards the ability to stretch the court more and could live on kick outs from Wall alone.

19. BOBCATS: Markieff Morris-PF-Kansas

The Bobcats need more presence around the rim and guys that are able to rebound. The other Morris twin gives them that and is experienced and ready to go now.

20. TIMBERWOLVES: Iman Shumpert-SG-Georgia Tech

A hot rising name in the last few days before the Draft, and there are a number of teams that are interested in him before this point. If he lasts this long he makes great sense for the Timberwolves, who have an abundance of young offensive-minded talent, but need a defense first grinder as well. Shumpert is that guy, and can guard either position in the backcourt.

21. BLAZERS: Tobias Harris-PF-Tennessee

The Blazers need more help on defense around the rim, but passing on Harris may be too hard to do. He can play either forward position and gives the Blazers another tall forward that can stretch the floor with his jumper. Taking a combo guard could be the order of the day here too.

22. Nuggets: Marshon Brooks-SG-Providence

Brooks is a multi-talented guard that can slide between shooting and point guard with little effort. Since J.R. Smith most likely will not be returning and Raymond Felton could be on the move, he fits in in a number of ways here.

23. ROCKETS: Dontas Motiejunas-PF-Lithuania

Once again, more size for a team that needs it, but this time with an offensive touch. While the Rockets could be packaging this pick to move up for his countryman Jonas Valanciunas, if they don’t make that move they don’t lose out completely landing this 19 year old with definite offensive skill to be developed.

24. THUNDER: Kyle Singler-SF-Duke

Singler is just a solid, do everything needed type and fits in well with the Thunder, who don’t have one glaring need. They are said to be in love with his work ethic and ability to do what is needed between the lines. We’ve seen his kind before, and if given a manageable role, he’ll be a good asset.

25. CELTICS: Tyler Honeycutt-SF-UCLA

The Celtics are building up their bench for the soon-t0-come roster turnover due to the age of their stars, and having Honeycutt on staff helps them out at either the SF or SG spot down the road. It’s all about versatility here.

26. MAVERICKS: Reggie Jackson-PG-Boston College

Jackson hasn’t worked out once due to a knee injury suffered just before Draft camps and workouts began, but for a team that can afford to take a risk to get back a sure fire contributer, he’s a good pick. The Mavs have the depth in the backcourt to support such a pick and he makes some of their impending free agent decisions a bit easier to confront.

27. NETS: Jimmy Butler-SF-Marquette

The Nets are weak on the wings, and need a solid overall player that can step in and help immediately. Butler is that guy and can knock down the long range shot at a plus rate as well.

28. BULLS: Jajuan Johnson-PF-Purdue

Another body never hurts, and Johnson is an experience veteran that is committed to defense around the rim and is an athletic finisher to boot. He fits in perfectly with what the Bulls emphasize.

29. SPURS: Nikola Mirotic-SF-Serbia

The Spurs collapse at the end of the season and rapidly aged roster says on the surface that they need to get an immediate youth boost with this pick, but if they are anything as a franchise it’s patient and Mirotic is an investment in that philosophy. He won’t be available to come to the NBA for at least two years, but could be well worth the wait (he’d be approaching Lottery consideration if he was free to play next year) and would give the Spurs yet another international first round theft.

30. BULLS: Nolan Smith-PG-Duke

Smith is a polished contributor and ACC Player of the Year that proved over the course of his career at Duke that he was capable of filling any role needed, including defense first guard, to off ball shooter to offensive center piece. He is perfect for a Chicago team that needs help at both guard spots off the bench and needs a steady ball handler behind Derrick Rose.

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This years Draft lotto caught a fair amount of shade based on the fact it has been decided long ago that this class was a joke. While it is nowhere near the deepest class ever (long before about half of the top 10 prospects pulled out), there are still some intriguing players in it that could make a difference on some of these clubs at the top of this Draft. There’s no day one franchise savior, but there’s a few talented difference makers….for those picking high at least.

The Cavs hit the jackpot after their nightmare fall from grace this year, and after being able to land nothing in the wake of LeBron leaving town, now have two top 5 picks where they can max out on the limited available talent in this class. The Jazz also worked their way up the boards with a top 3 pick after dealing their franchise PG mid season, and still having a later pick..

Basically what this draft is putting some former major players in good position to get better quickly. And below is who won by landing where they did based on what they need and what’s out there, and who flat out lost by where they ended up at and what’s available.

This isn’t the best draft, and it would be much better to be higher next year, but with some smart picks, there’s some solid bonus picks here after the clear top two guys. I’ll be back later this week to familiarize you with some of these prospects and my take on them and how they fit in the NBA, but for now run with the team info/projections and fall backs options.

Not sure if any of these guys (even the #1) is enough to save these squads….well that’s a different question. Bit they can’t get much worse. I think.

1. CAVS: #1 is always a great spot, even in this year’s uncertain class. And in any situation, for unloading Mo Williams and babysitting Baron Davis, they land the top pick as a throw in and now have a chance to get a potential new face of the organization to rebuild around.

The CHOICE: Kyrie Irving. If no? Derrick Williams.


2. T-WOLVES: Once again they miss out on the top prize in their never-ending rebuilding project, and as a result, they are subject to whatever the Cavs do. Any point guard is a loud admission of perhaps early defeat in their Flynn/Rubio ’09 Draft, but with Derrick Williams they at least get some versatility, albeit at the positions they are best at, forward. Tough spot.

The Choice: Derrick Williams. If No? Brandon Knight


3. JAZZ: They have a cluttered roster that is in transition after the Deron Williams move, and there will definitely be some new openings, but they could have really used a spot in the top 2 to properly address their needs. But with this first of two Lotto picks, they should take another backcourt athlete, or potentially a high potential foreigner. But really, nothing fits perfectly here.

The Choice: Brandon Knight. If No? Jan Vesley.


4. CAVS: A luxury pick for many other clubs, this is a blessing from above for a team in need everywhere. This quick turnaround in the top 10 represented by their own pick gives them a shot to add two quick fixes along the road of redemption. They really have to take the best available player here once again.

The CHOICE: Enes Kanter. If No? Kemba Walker.


5. RAPTORS: They need helping the middle, as they have a large group of talented, but slender frontcourt guys. However, an athletic backcourt scorer to run with DeMar DeRozan would be a big coup as well, and here they have the option to do both. Although they have a taste for international talent, they could benefit more by looking south intobthe States this year.

The CHOICE: Kemba Walker. If No? Jonas Valanciunus.

6. WIZARDS: The need athletic wings that can bring out the best in John Wall, so the more they can run and finish, the better. However getting an shooter that can stretch the D is needed too…AND a big man that turn his back to the basket…AND, well just about everything else too. They may be best suited taking the best available player that can contribute quickly.

The CHOICE: Kawhi Leonard. If No? Jan Vesley

7. KINGS: Getting higher in the mix to land the point guard they need to move Tyreke Evans off the ball would have been ideal, but they’ll miss out on that this late, while being too high to take a reach at the next level of PGs. They have to settle for one of the wings here late, and hope to find a better way to even out their lineup elsewhere.

THE CHOICE: Jan Vesley. If No? Josh Shelby

8. PISTONS: There will be a TON  of personel turnover here after the last season mutiny by the veterans on board. Whatever gets done however will be based around Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey (and the log jams of Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and their contracts). These issues say take a physical front court presence or find an athletic swingman to fill in the Richard Hamilton gap in the works.

THE CHOICE: Jonas Valanciunas. If No? Alec Burks

9. BOBCATS: This team needs scorers of any type, but their lack of toughness inside will most likely take priority. Whoever can start to give this team some identity again would be a great call, but with Jordan calling the shots you never know what could happen here. Logic says take the best available player from my view.

THE CHOICE: Tristan Thompson. If No? Jimmer Fredette

10. BUCKS: The were tremendously underwhelming this year, but still have a lot of talent on deck to be adding a top 10 player to. This works out well because it can be a bonus to a core that can improve. An athletic front line body would be a big bonus, but a slasher that can shoot a bit too would be the best fit.

THE CHOICE: Alec Burks. If No? Marcus Morris

11. WARRIORS: Usually, this doesn’t matter. They’ll just take the best player at a position they are already deep at. However, with Jerry West on board now in Oakland, the picks will get smarter. They need to fill in the space between David Lee and Monta Ellis/Stephen Curry with some versatile forward talent. Or they could potentially look to land a legit fixture at center as well.

THE CHOICE: Chris Singleton. If No? Bismack Biyombo

12. JAZZ: This depends on what they do with #3, but getting more explosive overall has to be their goal. They are in a position to gamble here on potential/payout, but could go for the name brand move here too via a certain BYU star. Makes a weird sort of symmetry sense, but could also be a decent fit.

THE CHOICE: Kenneth Faried. If No? Jimmer Fredette

13. SUNS: They’ll be changing a lot very soon, and it could even include Steve Nash. However, they could delay some of their mass overhaul by adding getting some athletic size to go with their guard based attack, as they have nobody on their roster currently that presents an obstacle to opposing rim attackers.

THE CHOICE: Markieff Morris. If No? Jimmer Fredette

14. ROCKETS: They are picking from the same position as last year, but they are not the same team as they were a year ago. They don’t have the same optimism on Yao Ming returning, and have no true presence at the point. They would be best suited adding some height, but this late in a shallow pool, they are the rare position of having to actually settle for the “best” available player to better themselves.

THE CHOICE: Jimmer Fredette. If No? Donatas Motiejunas