Thursday, June 23, 2011

Draftastic Voyage: NBA Draft 2011

In our first A.E. post (after engagement...the First Lady and I made it official over the weekend), Daily Onions is going to breakdown one of our favorite nights of the year, the NBA Draft. Whether we've watched it from home, or live from the MSG theater, or got updates via text alerts, the Draft has always been a night of excitement for NBA fans because there is always so much "upside potential" for trades, new stars coming into the league, GMs making awful picks, etc. This year, however, stands out a bit from other years because.....this year's crop of draft players is AWFUL. Who knows, maybe in 5 years we will look back and talk about the surprise of how good the draft of 2011 was, but more likely it will be about the guy being drafted at number 14 being just as good as the guy drafted at number 3.

Best Dressed Wes
Daily Onions isn't going to do a mock draft as our preview. Wanna know why? Because if you Google "NBA Mock Draft 2011", 4,350,000 results come up in .32 seconds. Instead, we'll take a look at some of the things we are expecting tonight, what players we are rooting for to go into good situations, who's slipping, who's got a cool name, and who is going to be this year's best dressed player, aka The Wes Johnson Award. And now, in no particular order, let's explore this year's Draftastic Voyage:
  • Top Two: All signs are pointing to the Cavs (who have the first and fourth pick) going with Kyrie Irving to be the savior for the city of Cleveland. If that is the case, then Minnesota has the opportunity to grab potentially the best player in this draft at Number 2. BUT, Derrick Williams is a tweener in the sense of is he a 3, or is he a four. If they draft him, Minnesota should just change their name to the TweenerWolves, because their roster will consist of Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson, Lazar Haywood, Anthony Randolph, and Martell Webster - all guys with no true identity in their position. Throw in an undersized Kevin Love into the mix, and a log jam at the point guard position, and the TweenerWolves are a bad pick away from combustion. In our opinion, Wolves need to aggressively shop that pick and see if they can make their roster look more like an NBA team, and not a Picasso painting
  • The man, the myth, the Jimmer: If you aren't rooting for Jimmer to be successful, please leave the blog. No hard feelings, but we don't want you here. We are trying to figure out what would be the best situation for Jimmer. Is it Utah because of his local ties from BYU, and the tradition of John Stockton (aka white point guard), or is it Phoenix because he would have the best mentor a rookie point guard could ask for in Steve Nash (unless Nash is traded), or is it Indiana (Basketball, Indiana, White Kid that can shoot, it all goes together perfectly), or is it Sacramento (he can take over the point and form the backcourt that will average the most FGA's in the history of the league with Tyreke Evans). We are rooting for Phoenix (with Nash of course), or Utah (Jimmer and Gordon Hayward would be instant best friends).
  • Best in Show: Shout out to Jim Nantz...sorry I stole your line about Kemba Walker and the Huskies being the Top Dog of college basketball. Seems like Kemba's stock is slipping in the last few days though. We've seen mocks with him as high as 5 and as low as 17. Daily Onions has had a love/hate relationship with Kemba this year. We think he can succeed in the right situation. If he goes to a bad team, I don't think he can put them on his back and make them a contender in the NBA, like he did w/ UConn in the Big East and NCAA Tournament. We'd like to see him go somewhere that he can be a 6th man/backup point guard, and can basically become a Ben Gordon or Jamal Crawford type player. Recently, Kemba hung out at the AXE Lounge (click here for video) and answered a few questions about his favorite sneakers, pre-game music, etc. One of our favorite questions was what UConn player he most admired. He said Rudy Gay was his favorite (Daily Onions is cool with that), but then said the player he admires most is Ray Allen (Daily Onions loves that). Kemba shows us he is smart, not only by finishing his degree in three years, but also by showing respect to the best shooter the game has ever seen. We'll let him slide w/ his answer to who he was rooting for in the Finals.
  • Foreign Exchange: There is a possibility that 5 foreign players go in the top 15 tonight, and 3 of them could be selected in the top 6. Is there the next Dirk Nowitzki somewhere in that crop, or is there the next Darko Milicic. That's the risk GMs will face if they roll the dice and pick one of these guys early. It seems like the recipe for success with a lot of the international players is drafting them, keeping them stashed away for a year or two, and then bringing them over after a few more years of seasoning in their overseas league. Our favorite international player this year is Bismack Biyombo. Not only is his name really cool, but he is 6-9, 243 lbs, and has the potential to be another Serge Ibaka in a few years.
  • Baby I Like It: Just when you thought we couldn't incorporate an Enrique Iglesias song into an NBA Draft preview, we go there. Here are some other players that we like, and are rooting for to get drafted into good situations: Kawhi Leonard (athletic as heck, great defender, can put the ball in the bucket, and was a joy to watch as part of the SDSU squad last year); Kenneth Faried (he's the next David Lee/Taj'd take a guy like that on your team any day, he'll be a great rebounder/energy guy); Tobias Harris (we wish he would have stayed one more year in college, especially if he would have chosen Syracuse over much potential here, hopefully he doesn't rot away on someone's bench); Jimmy Butler (No, we didn't include him just for the Butler jokes, but he's another tough player w/ a lot of heart and can do all the little things for your team, would be a great fit for a perennial contender, also glad that he isn't playing for Marquette anymore); JaJuan Johnson (most likely a second rounder, but had a breakout senior season at Purdue, he can do a lot on the court and actually stayed in school for 4 years); Chandler Parsons (good to know that if MGMT ever breaks up, he can still be successful playing basketball); Shelvin Mack (he's from Butler, we love Butler, and we think Shelvin would be a great addition for a good team like the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, etc).
  • Iggy Outta Here: As a 76ers fan, we know that tonight could be the end of the line for Andre Igoudala in Philadelphia. We are completely fine with that. He is a better fit for another team, and could be great for a contender, as a #3 option and lockdown defender. He is just one of the many names out there being discussed in trades tonight, along w/ Monta Ellis, Steve Nash, Lamar Odom (and Khloe?), Tony Parker, Johnny Flynn, and so on and so on. The Sixers have the 16th pick (aka Who the Hell Knows What Value You Can Get Here), but we hope they are wheeling and dealing to unload Iggy, move up in the draft, or bring in some help in the middle. 
    There you have it. Everything that you needed to know about what Daily Onions was thinking about going into tonight's draft. T-minus 7 hours until the fun begins.

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