@Peezus Most of his score at will points come off a fast break against 6'3 or smaller guards. If you really think Ben Simmons is going to be scoring 20ppg like LeBron James, your crazy. I love the way he plays, sits by the free throw making plays for others. His defense is incredible. And his rebounding skills is great. But what I'm saying is if he can't knock down shots in the NBA, he will not be a franchise player.
Walt's 2009 NBA Mock Draft: June 25, 2009. Picks 16-30 (draft pick changes only).
Chicago Bulls: DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh, 6-7, So.
I'm feeling good right now because I actually know who DeJuan Blair is. Unfortunately, when it comes to James Johnson, Austin Daye, Demar DeRozan and every single foreign player, I'm pretty clueless. But hey, this is WalterFootball.com; not WalterHoops.com, right? Besides, I have two smarter basketball guys who cover the sport. Check out their 2009 NBA Mock Draft here.
Philadelphia 76ers: Ty Lawson, PG, UNC
I run a Live NBA Draft Blog every single year, and one thing people tell me that they look forward to is my dad's reaction to whom the Sixers pick. My dad has announced that he wants Ty Lawson more than anyone, so here's to him not having a coronary on Thursday.
Here are some of my dad's past reactions to his beloved Sixers' selections:
2008 NBA Draft:
9:01: The Sixers are the clock. We're two minutes away from my dad throwing the remote at the TV.
9:02: My dad on the pick: "If Billy King were still the GM, he'd take some horrible small forward no one has ever heard of."
9:04: With the 16th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select PF Marreese Speights, Florida.
9:05: Silence. My dad hasn't said anything yet. Hey, I'm not complaining... the TV's not broken.
9:07: Silence regarding the new Eddie Murphy movie too. There's mass confusion going on here. My dad hasn't cheered the pick, and hasn't criticized it yet either. He's looking at the Philadelphia Daily News to try and figure out what happened. It's pretty eerie, I think I'd like to have my TV broken.
2007 NBA Draft:
8:32: With the 10th pick, the Kings select Spencer Hawes. My dad just shouted about 15 curse words in a row: "Billy King's an idiot. Why didn't he trade up for Hawes? First, the Sixers refused to tank at the end of the season. Next, King stays idle at No. 12 when the top 10 players are clearly a cut above everyone else!"
8:34: My dad just said the following, "Watch, King's going to pick Sean Williams at No. 12."
8:46: With the 12th pick, the Hawks select Thaddeus Young.
8:54: My dad was just on the phone with his co-worker. This is what the conversation sounded like: "Billy King is a f***ing idiot! Can someone fire him? Billy King and Isiah Thomas, two f***ing idiots! How many small forwards can you have? Every team picked up a good player. The Sixers got garbage, as usual. No one has heard of this guy! He was supposed to go No. 19 or 20."
Minnesota Timberwolves: James Johnson, F, Wake Forest
If you don't know who Bill Simmons is, he's one of the best sports writers on the planet, and he has a column and a podcast on ESPN. Recently, Simmons has been pining to be hired as the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the premise that a crappy franchise like Minnesota has nothing to lose and everything to gain by pulling a publicity stunt like this.
Well, on that note, I'd like to petition Minnesota not to hire me as its general manager. I don't know anything about basketball, and if I had the top pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, I'd probably take Tyler Hansbrough because he's a hard-worker and a winner, and unlike every other single person in America, excluding the Hansbrough family, I don't think he's going to bust.
More on Hansbrough when he's off the board.
Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest
So, I'm sure you're all curious as to whom my No. 2 pick would be if some team was crazy enough to take Tyler Hansbrough with the top selection. That's almost too easy. Nope, not Blake Griffin. Not Hasheem Thabeet. Not Ricky Rubio. It would be Sam Young.
I don't look at silly things like height, weight and 40 times when it comes to NBA Draft prospects. Oh no... I judge NBA prospects on how scared I am when they have the ball and I'm betting against them.
Young's the best example of this. I went against Pitt a lot last season, and I nearly crapped my pants every time Young had the ball. He was solid from 3-point range and also had the ability to create his own shot. At 6-6, I have no idea why Young isn't considered a top-10 NBA prospect at the very least, but maybe it has to do with the fact that he looks 35 years old. Seriously, if Young hasn't faked his age, then no one ever has.
Utah Jazz: Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
Like I said two selections earlier, I'd take Hansbrough with the top pick. Everyone thinks he's going to bust because he's relatively small for his position, he's slow and he's white.
I'd contest that if Hansbrough were any race other than white, including Malaysian, Egyptian or Sri Lankan, he would be described as: tough, gritty and crafty, though a bit undersized. But because he's white, he carries this stigma that he's going to suck.
Well, I have a dream... that one day... slow, small white centers will not be seen as crappy prospects despite their high bust rate. One day this dream will come true, and when it does, you'll remember where you heard it first. Let's just hope by that day, the Clippers, Knicks or Timberwolves didn't make the mistake of hiring me as their general manager.
New Orleans Hornets: Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga
A year later and I still can't believe Reggie Miller declared that Chris Paul is the next Kevin Johnson. Way to go out on a limb, Reg. Even Marv Albert looked at Miller like he was on crack. I'm actually grateful Albert responded with, "I think Chris Paul is a bit better than Kevin Johnson right now," or else I would have lost my sanity.
What else is Reggie going to say? That Stan Van Gundy is the next Doug Moe? David West is the next Shawn Bradley? Reggie Miller, as an announcer, is the next John Madden? Wait, that last one should be the other way around.
Portland Blazers: Omri Casspi, F, Isreal
Let's bring in Mark "Robot" Jackson to be our next celebrity mock drafter. Mark, tell us whom you think the Portland Trailblazers will pick here.
"If I'm the Portland Trailblazers, I'm taking the best player on my draft board. If I'm the Portland Trailblazers, I'm takin' the point gahd from Virginia Commonwealth, Eric Maynor. Eric is a very talented basketball player. If I'm Eric Maynor, I'm takin' the same leadership I had at Virginia Commonwealth and bringin' it to Portland. If I'm Eric Maynor, the only thing better would be playing in New York like me. I'm a New York point guard. I love New York. If I'm Portland, I'm happy I'm getting Eric Maynor. If I'm the Portland Trailblazers fans, I'm cheerin' this pick. And if I still am Mark Jackson next season, I'll continue to make more bland statements, all starting with 'If I'm' on ABC."
"I was drivin' down in the road, and I saw a sign that say, 'Get an MBA in college.' Now I want to ask, how come I was never pick in the MBA Mock Draft? I went to college across the Florida line. Go Gator! I have a good time playin' in the NFL, but I am versatility enough to play in the doggone MBA.
Now before I get to these pick, I find it a li-bit interesting to say the list that the Sacramento King are drafting twice in the first rounds. How do these happen and no one have noticed? The King obviously stole one of these pick from someone else. If I'm another team, I'm gonna start calling the King the... uhh... the other word for King's wife but do not have the word 'King' in it, I forget."
Dallas Mavericks: Eric Maynor, PG, Virginia Commonwealth
I have something planned for the final five picks of this 2009 NBA Mock Draft, so I won't get the chance to talk about the Timberwolves again.
Looking back at my 2008 NBA Mock Draft, I noted that Minnesota was in miserable cap situation. Here's a review:
The reason the NBA isn't as good as it used to be is because the number of clueless GMs out there. Take the Timberwolves, for example. Check out their highest salaries for the 2008-09 season:
- Antoine Walker, $9.3 million (8.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
- Juwan Howard, $7.4 million (no longer on team - is he still alive?)
- Marko Jaric, $6.6 million (8.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
- Troy Hudson, $6.3 million (no longer on team)
- Greg Buckner, $3.8 million (4.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
Awesome job, guys. And it's not like these contracts are expiring. Only Howard's doesn't extend past 2009. Walker, Jaric and Buckner are all booked till 2011, while Hudson's deal ends in 2010.
I'll discuss Minnesota's current situation in the next write-up.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Victor Claver, F, Spain
Now that we're a year into the future, I was looking forward to bashing the Timberwolves again. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that they somehow cleared up their mess.
Howard's contract is off the books (no word if he's alive though). However, Walker, Jaric, Hudson and Buckner are no longer on the team. The Timberwolves have just $15 million committed for the 2010-11 season, so they can go after LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, because you know that both of those guys would love to play in Minnesota.
So, where did Walker, Jaric, Hudson and Buckner all go? Well, Hudson's with the Warriors, where he'll be stealing $6.7 million from the owner in 2009-10. Walker, Jaric and Buckner, meanwhile, are all in - surprise - Memphis! Yes, the genius Grizzlies will be roped into paying Jaric and Buckner a combined $11.84 million during 2010-11 season. Convinced this team needs to be disbanded yet?
Chicago Bulls: Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina
As mentioned, I have something special planned for these final five selections. I'm confident that David Stern is reading this, so I want to reveal my five ideas to increase the popularity of the NBA Draft.
The NFL Draft ranks among the greatest sporting events in this country. It's growing every year, and there are millions of football fans who read NFL Mock Drafts, engage in NFL Draft forums and watch the entire NFL Draft, from start to finish.
The NBA Draft will never be as popular in this country, but that doesn't mean that Stern can't take certain steps in order to increase its popularity. So, here are my five ideas:
5. Solving the NBA Draft Lottery Problem: Everyone has their own idea for this. Some argue that it should be completely random and unweighted. Others think there shouldn't even be a lottery.
I say make it interactive. It should be a game that all the non-playoff teams can enjoy.
Here's the premise: Stern does something to rig the lottery. I don't know what; that's up to him. But he makes sure he leaves a few clues behind so each team's fan bases can attempt to figure out how Stern fixed the lottery. The first team's fan base to piece the whole thing together gets the top selection. The fan base that comes in second gets the No. 2 pick, and so on.
However, if no one figures out Stern's devious plan, Stern gets to set whichever order he wants, ensuring that the Knicks will be drafting a bust with the top choice instead of a mid-round selection.
4. Mel Kiper: The NBA Draft has no recognizable face. Jay Bilas is nice, but he's all college basketball and not enough NBA. Chad Ford makes NBA Mock Drafts for ESPN, but I wouldn't recognize him if he walked into my room with a t-shirt that read: "Hi, I'm Chad Ford and I Make NBA Mock Drafts for ESPN!"
ESPN needs Mel Kiper to be part of its NBA Draft coverage. Kiper's not doing anything right now anyway. He may not be an NBA Draft expert, but ESPN apparently doesn't care about silly things like that because it has Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell and others cover fantasy baseball, football and basketball, meaning each roto analyst is too spread out and can't be highly effective in one area.
ESPN also ruined its best show, NFL Primetime and tends to hire "analysists" who can't speak English. Actually, if you couldn't tell, this was more about bashing ESPN than improving the NBA Draft.
3. No More Foreign Players: Now, let me be clear - I'm not saying I don't want foreign players in the NBA. I just don't want foreign players in the NBA Draft. If you're from another country, you should be forced to play for an NCAA team for at least one year before you can enter the league.
Why, you ask? Because American fans can't get into the NBA Draft because we've never seen these foreigners play. I'm not sure this Jonas Jerebko fellow is a real basketball player or a villain from 24.
And how can we even be sure that Ricky Rubio is a better talent than the great Tyler Hansbrough? No one has ever seen Rubio play. Now, if Rubio came here for a year and thrived as the starting point guard for Texas, Duke or Wisconsin, maybe more NBA fans would be thrilled at the prospect of obtaining Rubio. Instead, Rubio is some unknown European with a high bust rate who will rope crappy franchises like the Grizzlies into taking him.
2. Move the NBA Draft: The NBA Draft is way too soon. The NBA Finals just ended. The refs haven't even cashed in the bets they placed yet, and we're supposed to gear up for the NBA Draft?
David Stern needs to recognize his target audience. Most NFL Draft fans are college students. Having the NBA Draft in late June pretty much nullifies that demographic because college students are seldom on their computer during the summer.
Moving the NBA Draft to late August or early September (on a non-drinking night) would ensure that most male college students are looking up NBA Draft news, mocks and rumors instead of doing school work. If Stern cares about his product at all, he'll make a serious attempt to ruin every male's college education to increase his 18-24 viewership.
1. 40-Yard Dash: The 40 is most scrutinized prospect attribute in the NFL Draft. Almost every single football fan knows that the 40 means absolutely nothing, yet everyone pays attention to the 40 at the NFL Draft Combine and makes a huge fuss if a prospect is a lot faster or slower than expected.
The same thing needs to happen in the NBA Draft process. Could you imagine the buzz if Blake Griffin ran a 4.5 40 at 6-10, 250 pounds? Or how about if James Harden came in at a disappointing 4.87 despite being "just" 6-5, 218? I told you. Harden - sixth-round pick. Lock it up.
More importantly, what if the Clippers knew that Michael Olowokandi ran a 5.85? Would they have selected him with the first-overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft? Of course not! Perhaps if the Clippers had this information, they wouldn't have been losers this past decade. And maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have to change their name to the Not-Clippers.