Sacramento Kings: For reasons that remain unclear, the Kings moved down three spots to draft Jimmer Fredette and took on bad salary (John Salmons). Everyone waited for the Kings to then move Salmons … it never happened. Now, there’s a logjam in the backcourt (Tyreke Evans, Jimmer, Marcus Thornton and Salmons). If any of those guys plays an ounce of defense, I’ve never seen it. And let’s be honest – there’s no way humanly possible that the Kings can start Evans, Thornton and Salmons. Oh, and they drafted Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas with the 60th pick in the 2nd round. I thought Tyler Honeycutt (35th) was a nice grab, but you wonder how long it’ll be before he’s partying with Cousins.
New York Knicks: With defensive specialist Chris Singleton on the board and rebounding machine Kenneth Faried still available, some rube in the New York War Room fell in love with Georgia Tech’s Iman Shumpert, a good athlete whose other skills leave something to be desired. And so they took the offensively-challenged Shumpert, and then said they liked him to possible play shooting guard (he shot 27 percent from three last year, and more no significant progression in his years at GT). This feels likes shades of 2006 when they took Renardo Balkman … and then Boston drafted Rajon Rondo with the next pick. I’m not saying Singleton will become an All-Star … but Balkman has been a non-factor so far in his career.
Players who left school early, didn’t get taken in the first round (ie guaranteed money), and now must fight to get on a roster:
Jereme Richmond, Illinois – Undrafted. Teeming with potential as a wing player, but should never have left after his freshman year, mostly because he’s more raw than some of the foreign players.
Malcolm Lee, UCLA – Drafted 43rd overall by the Bulls, but traded to the Timberwolves. Supposedly a 1st-round talent, but he has his work cut out to make the roster: Rubio/Ridnour at PG, and Ellington/Wes Johnson/Webster at SG. Sure, Johnson can play SF, but with Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley hogging those minutes …
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA – Drafted 35th by the Kings. Should have no money making that terrible roster. But if he stays another year, does he go in the first round?
Jordan Williams, Maryland – Drafted 36th by the Nets. Will be interesting to see if Kris Humphries is re-signed, because if he is, Williams will have to beat out Brook Lopez, Humphries, Brandan Wright (former lottery pick) and Johan Petro for minutes. Should make the roster, but clearly, Williams either got bad advice or simply made a bad decision.
Darius Morris, Michigan – Drafted 41st by the Lakers. Interesting situation because the Lakers have point guard woes (Fisher is ancient, Steve Blake was not very good last year). For awhile, it looked like Morris made a bad decision, but perhaps falling to the Lakers will wind up being a good thing. But if he stayed at Michigan, the Wolverines could have been a Final 4 sleeper.
Shelvin Mack, Butler – Drafted 34th by the Wizards. I can buy the argument that his stock would have never been higher after going to two straight Final 4’s. I like Mack’s game and I think he’ll make Washington’s roster as a combo guard and be a contributor as a rookie.
34th to Washington
Scotty Hopson, Tennessee – Undrafted. Can’t totally fault him for leaving after his coach, Bruce Pearl, left.
Trey Thompkins & Travis Leslie, Georgia – 37th and 47th, respectively. Both went to the Clippers, and they’ll – at best – be reserves to Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. Good luck, fellas.
Josh Selby, Kansas – Drafted 49th by the Grizzlies. Horrible decision to leave Kansas early. No guarantee he’ll make the Memphis roster. More likely to get beat up by Tony Allen.
Seniors who didn’t get taken at all (or in the 2nd round):
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State – It seems like his best basketball memories will be as a clutch college basketball player.
Jacob Pullen, Kansas State – Scoring machine with the Wildcats was more of a combo guard, and the NBA doesn’t really draft 6-foot tall combo guards.
Matt Howard, Butler – Remember how people talked about him as an NBA player during Butler’s second straight run to the Final Four? Guess NBA teams disagreed.
Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame – You mean to tell me there’s more value in some of these foreign players at the end of round two than the Big East Player of the Year?
David Lighty – Ohio State wing player is mostly known for his defense, but I guess that wasn’t enough.
Demetri McCamey, Illinois – Undrafted. That has to hurt. He had beef with coach Bruce Weber,
so leaving early wasn’t a major shock. Too bad he couldn’t have just grown up.
Should have left a year early:
Kyle Singler, Duke – Drafted 33rd by the Pistons. Fell out of the money round and was quickly gobbled up by Detroit, but one wonders what might have been if Singler had left after winning the title (and being the Final 4 MOP) as a junior. He returned to Duke for his senior year, and his shot wasn’t as automatic. Though nothing became public, you have to wonder if he wasn’t happy with the way Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith dominated the ball (maybe Jon Scheyer was a better teammate for Singler?). At any rate, he should be able to make the Detroit roster and compete with Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers at small forward.