Previewing the NBA Draft

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NBA Draft

This preview will deal with the top 20 picks. Anyone that has watched the NBA draft over the last few years realizes that the last 10 picks in the first round are a crap shoot at best. The analysis here is a combination of what I think the teams will do and what they should do based on their needs.

This year’s draft is deeper than any in the last few years but there is a significant drop off after the 20th player. Look for the bottom 10 to take a lot of foreign players. The top teams in the league are often looking to draft a future player that can develop overseas for a couple of years without costing the team a roster spot or big money. That is particularly true this season because of the potential labor issue coming up in the near future.

1. Washington

Without doubt, John Wall PG Kentucky will be the choice. Some are saying he is the best player to come out since Kevin Durant. I don’t think so. Durant is a well rounded player that gets rebounds, assists and points. Wall will help a weak O develop some consistency.

2. Philadelphia

The 76ers will have D on the floor next season with Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday. None of them are NBA scorers. Some think the team will go with Cousins but my pick here is the most refined O player in the draft–Evan Turner SG Ohio State. He can create his own shot and draw doubles to dish off to an open player.

3. New Jersey

Derrick Favors PF Georgia Tech should be the pick here unless the team trades out of the spot. NJ was the worst team in the league last year with a ton of cap space. If they can get 2 or 3 vets in a deal for this spot they will take the trade in a New Jersey second. Favors has the physical style that the team needs on D and will be a consistent scorer.

4. Minnesota

The Timberwolves are trying to move up to get Turner. They won’t be able to. So they will go for another more mature wing scorer–Wesley Johnson SF Syracuse. Johnson is 22 and will be reunited with Jonny Flynn.

5. Sacramento

DeMarcus Cousins PF/C Kentucky is the picture of inconsistent play. He disappears for stretches of a game. But the team needs an athletic big man and he is the best of that category. He is a 1 and done guy that they will have to find a way to light a fire under to get the production that they expect from the 5th pick.

6. Golden State

Greg Monroe PF Georgetown is a perimeter PF that is more finesse than physical. He can’t help the team with rebounding on the wing. But he has great “upside” and that is what will get him picked here.

7. Detroit

Al-Farouq Aminu SF Wake Forest will probably be the pick here but I am wondering why. He can’t shoot beyond 6 ft. He is raw as steak tartar but he is athletic and has potential. That is what gets coaches fired faster than anything else.

8. L.A. Clippers

Ekpe Udoh PF Baylor has shot up the draft charts in recent weeks. He is a shot blocking specialist that will score and rebound. I project he will end up being a better player than Monroe or Aminu.

9. Utah (From New York via Phoenix)

There is a noticeable drop off between the top 8 and 9 through about 15. This is where the projecting gets a lot more difficult. I predict that Utah will take Cole Aldrich C Kansas. They need another big man to go with Paul Millsap because Carlos Boozer is a UFA and will leave. Aldrich is more physical than Millsap and will let the latter move to F.

10. Indiana

The Pacers would love to trade this pick for a proven vet PG. They don’t have a true starting quality PG on the roster and they will likely lose starting G Earl Watson to free agency. They have the 40th pick and might go PG there because there are no PGs rated high enough to be taken here. I’ll project Ed Davis PF North Carolina. He is a “2 and done” guy that looks better than he plays. He has talent but didn’t get it done on the floor for NC. Some are projecting Eric Bledsoe PG/SG Kentucky but he is not a true PG either.

11. New Orleans

NO would probably take Davis if he is on the board. If not they could go for Luke Babbitt SF/PF Nevada. He is a solid scorer and has the size and strength to play the 4 with the quickness to play the 3.

12. Memphis

The Griz could use a PG but like Indy is not likely to take one here. PG Mike Conley has not been bad but has not developed the way the team hoped having taken him with the 4th pick in 07. The big question is what will they do with RFA Rudy Gay? I predict they will resign him to play SF and go with Xavier Henry SG Kansas. That could move O.J. Mayo to PG. Henry is 6-6 and has an NBA body and good shooting range.

13. Toronto

Avery Bradley SG Texas is the choice here. At 6-3 180 he is a SG in the body of a PG but has great athleticism, body control and above average shooting range. He can play the PG on D but will let either Jarrett Jack or Sonny Weems bring the ball up the court.

14. Houston

There are a lot of possibilities here. The team might be interested in a C (in case they lose Yao Ming) or SG but the ones they like are gone. I think they go for Gordon Hayward SF Butler. He had a great tournament but he is athletically limited and can struggle to get his own shot. I think he will be a marginal player at best at the next level.

15. Milwaukee (From Chicago)

Patrick Patterson PF Kentucky could be the pick here but a SF could also be the choice. He doesn’t have the size to be a true 4 but doesn’t have the quickness to play the 3. He can shoot and they will need more scoring if they lose SG Michael Redd and the rest of the UFAs on the team.

16. Minnesota (From Denver via Charlotte)

A guy I like better than Patterson is Stanley Robinson SF UConn. He is a true SF with the quicks to play that on both ends of the floor. He is an above average athlete that worked hard on his 3 point accuracy. Most experts have him going later but I like him quite a bit.

17. Chicago (From Milwaukee)

The only question here is who can they pick that will be the biggest draw to bring LeBron James to the windy city? The problem for the Bulls is that they have a couple of limited big men in the starting lineup. PF Taj Gibson is not as athletic as you would like and C Joakim Noah is a head case of the first order. They should be looking for someone like Larry Sanders PF/C VCU. He is a physical blue collar guy that brings it every game. Instead they will probably go for James Anderson SG Oklahoma State. Anderson is a sharp shooting wing man that will protect them if they can’t get LJ and will open up the lane for Derrick Rose.

18. Miami

The rumor is that SG Dwayne Wade will go where ever LJ goes. If LJ goes to Chicago, Wade may not be able to follow. Either way, despite the fact that he has a player option to stay, he will go somewhere. That leaves a BIG hole at SG and the Heat will likely take Eric Bledsoe PG/SG Kentucky. The only problem is that he is too small to play SG on the D end of the floor. He does have a great stroke and will help replace the scoring if Wade goes.

19. Boston

During the finals, the old legs of the Celtics bigs showed. They need to get some young bigs that can stay with quicker opponents. For that reason, I think that Solomon Alabi C Florida St. will be the pick. Alabi has a couple of years under his belt at FSU and is a shot blocker. He needs a lot of coaching on the O end of the floor.

20. San Antonio

The Spurs need a wing man because Richard Jefferson has not worked out. They really like experienced players and will pick Damion James SF Texas. He is a 4 year guy with grit and toughness. He will fit nicely in the Spurs O and help on D.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Analysis: When is a deal not a deal? When it's a DUMP!

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Lebron

The Bucks traded their best player, Richard Jefferson, for a trio of decent but not winning players. The Milwaukee Bucks have sent a message to their fans—“We lost with Richard Jefferson. We lost paying the NBA Luxury tax for being over 71.5 million. So this year don’t bother watching us. We are going to save money and dump the 2009-10 season.”

Like all the NBA teams that are dumping payroll this year and next, the excuse is that “we are preparing to make a big splash in the free agent market in 2010.” Don’t believe that for a second. No major free agent is going to go to Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland (if LeBron leaves), Washington, Oklahoma City, or any other of the cold weather and traditionally mediocre teams in the league.

The reason that teams get away with these half-truths is that all sports fans are gullible. As a Cavs and Cubs fan, I include myself in that group. We all believe that all we need is one more really good player to bring a title to our long suffering team.

There are several BIG names in the 2010 free agent pool. But the pool is not nearly as deep as it looks.

CLE – LeBron James

The future of the Cavs begins and ends with James. If he leaves, it ends for sure. No free agent would ever come to Cleveland except to play with LeBron. There is a 33% chance that LeBron will stay in Cleveland. I believe it will depend on what the Cavs do this off season. If not, he is bound for Orlando, LA, NY, or maybe even San Antonio.

Miami – Dwayne Wade (Player option)

Wade is the most valuable PG available in the next 2 years. He will likely move to a contender. The Bucks fans don’t have to worry. No way will Wade or any other big time FA go there.

Bos – Paul Pierce (Early Termination Option ETO)

The BIG 2.5 (Ray Allen is only half) is getting older. We saw this year how important the loss of Kevin Garnett was. If Pierce leaves, the Celts are the 4th or 5th best team in the East. The team will do whatever it takes to keep him. Allen will also be unrestricted in 2010 and will likely be allowed to leave.

Hou – Yao Ming (ETO)

Since a group of Chinese businessmen bought into the Cavs, there have been rumors of Yao going to Cleveland to join LeBron. Don’t bet on it. Yao may well take a hike if the team loses more of his support. Ron Artest is a free agent this year, and Tracy McGrady is a free agent in 2010. If they both stay and the Rockets bring in someone else, he will likely stay. The problem that the team faces is that Yao is the only young C in the pool. He will receive a lot of offers.

ATL – Joe Johnson

There is no way that a team that is young and building is going to let a scorer go. Johnson will be super-glued to the Hawks roster. With the Hawks coming along nicely, he won’t leave.

Milw – Michael Redd

Redd will likely put his house up for sale this year because the housing market is down. That should give him plenty of time to sell the house prior to him leaving the Bucks. He is the one player that might go home to Cleveland but only if LeBron is there. Since Redd is a SG, he is not exactly what the Cavs need the most.

There are a lot of other players including Amare Stoudemire (ETO Suns) who is an oldie but goodie.

Most teams are using the 2010 season of LeBron as an excuse to lose now and save money. But we all get lied to a lot, so why the NBA team owners be any different.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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The NBA Playoffs are rounding first and staggering toward second.

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nba

By Bill Smith

The first round of the NBA playoffs is complete—FINALLY! At one time the first round of the playoffs was the best of 5. The league decided that didn’t provide enough money so that round was changed to best of 7 like the rest.

Eastern Conference

For a long time, the Western Conference has been dominant. That could be changing soon. The Suns are setting. San Antonio is a shadow of its former greatness. In the East, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta are all on the rise.

8 Detroit vs 1 Cleveland

Fortunately the Cavs were kind to the Pistons. It hurts less when you pull the bandage off quickly. The Cavs sat watching Atlanta and Miami slug it out. The Cavs move on and the Pistons will rebuild. They have been competitive for a long time. That time is over. They need to rebuild or face falling to the top of the draft. I predict ping pong balls in their future.

7 Chicago vs 2 Boston

Of all the series in the first round, this is the only one that we could have enjoyed seeing more games. I’m not sure that either team could have survived another game of tackle basketball. Boston limps away to fall in the next round. Chicago is young and this tough series will provide the equivalent of 2 or 3 series of playoff experience . They both will be back next season but the Celtics are on the down elevator because of age and the Bulls are rising.

6 Philadelphia vs 3 Orlando

This was a warm up for the Magic facing the Celtics. The Magic have enough stars to give any team trouble—even the Cavs. The 76ers are treading water. The were 40-42 last season and 41-41 this year. They are going to have to shake things up in order to improve beyond the 40 to 45 win season level.

5 Miami vs 4 Atlanta

Atlanta has grown into a really good team. The team improved by 10 wins this year. The series win over Miami was their first since 1999. To move beyond the second round in the future they will need another piece or 2. Miami is a tough out. They improved by 28 games this season and are coming back from the dead zone of the NBA. They have a way to go, but they are getting better.

Western Conference

LA is the cream of the conference but they can’t look back too often. It is not the same old teams that are chasing them but a new group that could ultimately be more dangerous.

8 Utah vs 1 LA

If Utah ever learns to win consistently away from the friendly confines, it will be dangerous. They seem to play a lot tougher at home. Utah is trying to rebuild on the fly and lost ground this season falling from 54-28 to 48-34 and 3rd place in the division. LA has all the pieces in place now. The team is totally different with Andrew Bynum in the lineup when he is 100%..

7 New Orleans vs 2 Denver

Denver showed its speed against an over maned opponent and won the series 4-1. The Hornets fell from 1st in the Southwest to 4th and just made the playoffs. Chris Paul needs more help. Denver is coming on fast. They won the Northwest and are going to be a tack in the sneaker of the West for a while.

6 Dallas vs 3 San Antonio

This was one series I missed on. San Antonio looked older and slower than ever. Dallas survived but will be hard pressed to win in round 2 against Denver.

5 Houston vs 4 Portland

Portland put up a good fight but the combination of lack of experience in the playoffs and exhaustion from the late season drive to get into the post season took a toll on them. They will get better and stronger. Houston has the best chance to beat LA in the west. Houston took the Lakers in game 1 in LA and stole home court advantage.

Dikembe Mutombo has announced his retirement from the NBA. With all bad news about rich athletes acting badly, Mutombo was a star on and off the court. He gave his team, the fans, and the game all he had to give. He also gave his time and money to his homeland. His foundation was a gift of health to his people.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people of the Congo.

Nothing else needs to be said. We will miss him.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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The NBA Playoffs are set!

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Fryingpan Sports

The NBA Playoffs are set!

nba

By Bill Smith

The NBA playoff match-ups are set but this edition won’t be similar to previous years. Seldom has home court advantage meant as much. Here are some things to watch for in the first round series.

Eastern Conference

8 Detroit vs 1 Cleveland

In the past, the Pistons would have been able to out-physical the Cavs. But the Pistons are not the team that pushed their way past the NBA Eastern conference in the past. The Cavs will win in 5 or 6 games. While the Pistons are no longer as physical, the series will turn into tackle basketball when they get behind.

7 Chicago vs 2 Boston

Danger Celtics! Danger! Yesterday, the Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced that Kevin Garnett will probably miss the playoffs. If the Celtics had Garnett, this would be no contest. Chicago’s core talent is young, hungry and dangerous. Since the Celtics have had several weeks to adjust to the loss of KG, Boston wins in 6 or 7. But the Celts will have to spend so much energy winning the first round match up that they will be twice as vulnerable in round 2.

6 Philadelphia vs 3 Orlando

The 76ers may have exhausted themselves getting into the playoffs and getting high enough to avoid Boston and Cleveland. They will play hard but don’t have nearly enough to beat Orlando. This year, Philly will be lucky to win a single game. That may not be the case in the future. Look for Dwight Howard to have a really big series.

5 Miami vs 4 Atlanta

This is going to be the closest series of the 4 in the East. Atlanta has home court and that will probably save them. If the Heat is going to win, PG Dwayne Wade has to do more distributing than scoring. He will need at least 10 assists a game to get the Heat into round 2.

Western Conference

8 Utah vs 1 LA

At one time Utah looked like more of a threat to LA than they do now. After going 15 out of 16, the Jazz stumbled down the stretch and ended up in 8th. That is their ticket out of the playoffs. The Jazz will be tough at home but are unable to beat a good team let alone a very good team like the Lakers on the road. LA in 5.

7 Charlotte vs 2 Denver

The Nuggets were a surprise 2 seed. They have home court and blinding speed and will survive to round 2 for the first time in over a decade.

6 Dallas vs 3 San Antonio

IF the Spurs were younger and healthier, they would be a threat to the Lakers. But since the team lost Manu Ginobilli for the season and with Tim Duncan suffering from sore knees, the Spurs are a shadow of what they were when they beat the Cavs in the finals. Fortunately for them, they have the Mavs in round 1. The Spurs will take a fleet of ambulances into round 2 but run out of gas there.

5 Houston vs 4 Portland

Of all the series, this should be the most interesting to watch. The Blazers put on an all out blitz to get home court in round 1. This version of the team is new to the playoffs but if they haven’t burned out with their flurry of wins in the final weeks of the regular season, they will get past the Rockets and into the next round. Portland is not dangerous now, but if Oden can stay healthy, the team has enough talent to be a real threat in the near future.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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