College basketball players have until April 24 to declare for the NBA draft; and the deadline to remove your name is May 8. Here’s how the draft order looks today, with six nights left in the regular season.
Minnesota, because Kevin Love is sidelined, have overtaken Cleveland (by half a game) for worst record in the league. Which means the Wolves will have the inside track on the No. 1 pick. I still don’t think there’s a clear-cut No. 1 pick in this draft, and the selection is contingent upon who is drafting. The Wolves could use a SG and a C (I’m assuming Ricky Rubio is their point guard, Beasley is SF, and Love is PF.) Neither can be found. Derrick Williams had a dominant sophomore season, but seems like a risky pick at No. 1. What about Harrison Barnes, should he come out? There’s always Enes Kanter, the Kentucky Wildcat who has yet to play a college game and is something of an unknown entity. Plus, isn’t he a PF anyway? Trading the No. 1 pick seems crazy, but a few teams could really use a point guard, and by that, I mean Kyrie Irving.
Cleveland: Rebuilding. I think their best player is JJ Hickson, and they’ve got a ton of D-league/end-0f-the-NBA bench talent. Ideally, they’ll get Irving with their first pick, and then get the best on board a few picks later (from the Clippers). An alternative option is to take a chance on Mr. Upside, Perry Jones of Baylor here, and then use their second lottery pick on Kemba Walker.
Toronto – Have at least one building block in place (DeMar DeRozan), and Jose Calderon is a slightly above-average point guard. Bargnani could get freed up to play more PF if Ed Davis plays next year like he did in the last month. I’d say their biggest needs are at SF and someone who can shoot 3-pointers (because their shooting guard, DeRozan, can’t). Toronto is last in the league from behind the arc. Derrick Williams of Arizona, should he fall here, would add toughness to the frontline, and wouldn’t have to force that toothpick Bargnani to feign rebounding. Also, Kanter could play PF, Davis C, and Bargnani SF … although he probably couldn’t defend anyone there, either.
Washington: The talent’s there, obviously – Wall, Blatche, McGee – and guys like Nick Young and Jordan Crawford can score. They don’t play anything resembling defense. Obviously it won’t happen here, but Florida State’s Chris Singleton would be an ideal fit. He’ll never look for his offense and lock down the team’s wing scorer. A taller Bruce Bowen. It might make some sense to trade down to the 10-15 area, where Singleton would make more sense. Everyone loves Baylor’s Perry Jones, and his length plus JaVale McGee’s would be impressive at the defensive end.
Sacramento: Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are who Anaheim will want to build around, and as strong as Marcus Thornton has been since the trade, I still see him as a 6th man/Microwave type player. If Brandon Knight of Kentucky comes out, I could see him pairing nicely with Evans. If Knight stays in school, what about Kemba Walker? I don’t love any of the SFs here (Terrence Jones could be another DeMarcus Cousins attitude-wise). As talented as Perry Jones is, I think he’s way too soft and passive to be a factor yet. Someone will inevitably take him in the Top 5, though.
Utah (from New Jersey): Do they grab Jimmer Fredette here before anyone else can? (That theory was outlined last week.) The glaring hole on the roster is at SG. Jimmer’s supposed to be a better fit at PG because he’s only 6-foot-2, but maybe he becomes a Ben Gordon-type gunner off the bench?
Detroit: Assuming Prince and Wilcox leave after this season, the Pistons could use a small forward (Austin Daye has improved a bit this season, but looks more like a career reserve) a “legit” power forward, since Charlie Villanueva is more of a tweener. They’ve got Bynum/Stuckey at PG (neither is great) and a disenfranchised SG (Rip). Yup, an all-around mess. No one player can turn this debacle around. If Dumars could pull off a trade – everyone on the roster but Greg Monroe could go right? – to get in the Top 2 and grab Irving or Barnes (who I think are the only sure things in this draft as it stands today), he should try it. If not … take a chance on a Euro who hopefully turns into something like Danilo Gallinari in a few years? Chad Ford is touting Jonas Valanciunas and Jan Vesely.
Cleveland (from the LA Clippers): This is a spot for Perry Jones. As the 2nd pick for the Cavs in the lottery, he won’t have nearly the pressure of the guy who goes No. 2 overall and is selected to run the team. A frontline of Jones-Hickson-Varejao in 2012-2013 could be nice.
Charlotte: Offensively inept from the field and 3. Larry Brown got off the sinking ship in time. Tough spot for a draft pick because in a lot of cases, you’d just be re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But I really liked what I saw from Trey Thompkins of Georgia this year. Inside-outside player, makes Boris Diaw trade bait, and has the skill set to contribute immediately. Wouldn’t be surprised if he up 12-8 as a rookie and made the All-Rookie team.
Milwaukee: Playoffs last year, spent lavishly in the offseason, and yet here they are in the lottery. Injuries were the problem, and the Bucks should bounce-back next year. The Bucks are the lowest scoring and shooting team in the league, so offense is needed. Alec Burks from Colorado is a great wing scorer, but he may not come out. Tobias Harris from Tennessee is a tweener and not a great scorer (yet), but he’s got a great skill set. What about Kyle Singer at small forward, since he can create his own shot and hit the 3?