Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The 2006 NBA Mock Draft

Random note: this is the 666th post on Sports Matters. Let’s hope it’s not an omen of any sort. (If it is, Oil fans should be happy that I chose to put a post about potential Chris Pronger trade destinations on the backburner for this morning).

The NBA Draft happens tonight. This year has provided more intrigue than normal, not because it promises to be a strong draft year (it doesn’t), but because the lack of can’t miss prospects has left it open. With that in mind, I’m going to do my best to project how things are going to shake out. I’ve incorporated my biases in some cases, but have done my best to project how I think teams will pick.

For info on some of my favorite prospects, scroll down to the bottom of yesterday’s post.

If things were to go my way, Randy Foye would fall to the Celtics, and the rumors of a trade for Sebastian Telfair or Allen Iverson would turn out to be a cruel joke. But in case they’re not, and actually come to fruition today, I may break down and cry, then drink my sorrows away. Anyone who’s interested in seeing this happen is invited to come over to my house in southwest Edmonton to watch the draft.

With that out of the way, here is my full, 2 round mock draft.

1st Round
1 – Toronto – Andrea Bargnani, F, Italy
Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo says they’ve finally settled on a pick. I think Bargnani’s been his guy all along, and he finally convinced the rest of the staff to go along with him. His ideal spot is at the 4, where Chris Bosh is established, but the Raps should be more concerned with bringing in young talent than with filling ‘needs’ at this point.

As an aside on Bosh, he’s been lobbying hard for his buddy LaMarcus Aldridge (who would also be a good pick), but if CB is really concerned with winning, don’t you think that it’s a good idea to give the benefit of the doubt to the guy who built a contender in Phoenix? With a track record of acquiring guys like Nash, Marion, Stoudamire, and Barbosa, don’t you think that he might know a little more than you do about building a winner?

2 – Chicago – LaMarcus Aldridge, F, Texas
I still think they should package their picks to go after a big man like Kevin Garnett or Pau Gasol, but if they keep this pick, Aldridge should be the choice, with Brandon Roy the only other guy who merits consideration. The big man from Texas fills a major need – low-post scoring, and can play either the 4 or 5, which is important, since the Bulls are shopping Tyson Chandler, their only true center.

3 – Charlotte – Rudy Gay, F, UConn
I think he’s a major gamble, but Coach/GM Bernie Bickerstaff loves him. After Brandon Roy cancelled his workout, I think MJ has no other choice here. If someone can motivate Gay, he’ll be a good pick, I’m just not sure that it will happen. He’ll be playing with high-character guys like Okafor and Felton, so if it’s going to happen anywhere, Charlotte’s as good a bet as you can find.

4 – Portland – Adam Morrison, F, Gonzaga
He’s the obvious choice, especially from a marketing standpoint. My only concern is that he’ll be expected to be the savior of the franchise, which might be too much to hope for. He’ll probably end up as a borderline all-star (at best), or reliable 2nd or 3rd option on offense (at worst).

If he does land here, and the Telfair trade happens, I might be able to get some enjoyment out of the Gonzaga reunion with Morrison and Dan Dickau. In fact, I think the Blazers should go all out and get as many former ‘Zags as they can (draft JP Batista, trade for Ronny Turiaf, sign Blake Stepp). They could even bring in Gonzaga alum John Stockton to coach the team. Don’t tell me this wouldn’t be a fun team to watch.

5 – Atlanta – Brandon Roy, G, Washington
This pick’s going to Houston. He’s the best player on the board at this point, and will thrive playing with Yao and T-Mac.

6 – Minnesota – Randy Foye, G, Villanova
I’m praying that he falls to the Celtics, but Kevin McHale seems enamored with him. The Wolves could use help everywhere, so he’s a great pickup. I think they should be dumping salary and rebuilding around guys like Foye and whoever else they can get, but if they’re going to go ahead and try and compete, Randy’s going to help this season as much as anyone else in the draft.

7 – Boston – Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU
I hope the rumors of this pick being traded for Sebastian Telfair aren’t true. If they’re picking for Portland, the Celts will probably go for a true big man (Shelden Williams, or Patrick O’Bryant). If not, they’ll add Thomas, who projects to be a combo forward who can provide defense and energy. As long as they don’t expect a big offensive contribution, he’s not a bad pick; this is about as high as I would go for him if I were a GM.

8 – Houston – Shelden Williams, F, Duke
The Hawks seem enamored with him. I think he’ll be Danny Fortson-like, and feel bad for Atlanta fans that they’re getting stuck with him. Oh well, Luther Head will be a good pickup in the sign and trade.

Speaking of…

Atlanta trades the rights to G Brandon Roy to Houston for G Luther Head and the rights to F Shelden Williams.

9 – Golden State – Patrick O’Bryant, C, Bradley
They could go for a small forward like Rodney Carney, but given that the overpaid, overrated Adonal Foyle is the only true center on their roster, this isn’t a bad way to go either.

10 – Seattle – Rodney Carney, F, Memphis
They’re probably losing Rashard Lewis next summer, so it’s a good move for them to grab an understudy here. Assuming they resign Chris Wilcox, there aren’t any other major needs to address, so this is a good pick for them.

11 – Orlando – Ronnie Brewer, G, Arkansas
This is the perfect scenario for the Magic. They have needs at the 2 and 3, so landing Brewer (a big 2, who can also play the point) works out for them. He could be a steal, especially if you like the analysis done by

12 – New Orleans – Cedric Simmons, F/C, NC State
They were hoping for O’Bryant, but Simmons is a good project. He’ll be solid on defense, and in time, could contribute on offense as well (he’s further along than most of the other projects at his position).

Philadelphia trades the 13th pick in the draft to Phoenix for the 21st and 27th picks.

The Suns are after Saer Sene, and probably need to get ahead of the Jazz to have a shot at him. The Sixers need bodies, and moving down to pick up an extra first rounder allows them to add depth.

13 – Phoenix (from Philadelphia) – Mouhamed Saer Sene, C, Senegal
He’s a project who has been compared to Dikembe Mutombo (though I doubt he will ever be responsible for a story as funny as this). If he pans out, he’ll be a steal; if not, the Suns just wasted a great opportunity to add another piece to their championship-caliber team.

Utah trades the 14th, 46th, and 47th picks in the draft to New Jersey for the 22nd, 23rd, and 54th picks.

New Jersey is targeting either a point guard to spell Jason Kidd, or a big man to play next to Nenad Kristic. They can probably get a project to fill one of those spots in the second round, so it makes sense to move up and grab a better prospect at the other. Meanwhile, Utah was hoping for either Sene or one of the 2-guards, so after missing out, they can trade back and take 2 players in the first round. Unless they’re set on Redick, there’s no one here worth gambling on.

14 – New Jersey (from Utah) – Rajon Rondo, G, Kentucky
He’s a good fit for the up-tempo game that the Nets like to play, and will contribute immediately as Jason Kidd’s backup.

15 – New Orleans – Marcus Vinicius, F, Brazil
I hear that they’re high on him, and with needs everywhere but at the point, he’s as good a bet as anyone.

16 – Chicago – Hilton Armstrong, C, UConn
He probably won’t amount to much more than a shot-blocker and rebounder, but that skill set should make Tyson Chandler even more expendable once he develops a bit more. Adding Armstrong will give the Bulls two young big men to build around. They can add the big guard they’re looking for via a trade or free agency.

17 – Indiana – Marcus Williams, G, UConn
They’re probably content to sit here and see who slides down the board. Williams was thought to be a top 10 pick at one point, but conditioning and off-the-court issues push him down. He’s the best pure point, and with Tinsley constantly getting hurt, and Jasikevicius disappointing in his first NBA season, they could use a young point guard to build around. He’s worth the gamble at 17 in a draft year like this one.

18 – Washington – Sergio Rodriguez, G, Spain
Neither Arenas nor Daniels is a true point. Rodriguez fits in well with their offense, and will let the Wiz move the former two players to the 2 at times and play smallball.

19 – Sacramento – Alexander Johnson, F, Florida State
They could use depth in the frontcourt, and he’s as good as anyone left on the board.

20 – New York – Olexsiy Pecherov, F, Ukraine
Regardless of who the Knicks pick here, there’s no room on the roster or in the rotation to have him contribute. Given that, despite the ultimatum that Isaiah faces, he’s best served adding a player who is a year or two away from contributing, but has a higher ceiling. Even if he gets canned, Isaiah should look at this as a parting gift to Knick fans. It’s the least he could do given that he’s killed their cap room and roster flexibility for the next 5 years.

21 – Philadelphia (from Phoenix) – Shawne Williams, F, Memphis
He can play multiple positions, but has a lot of developing to do since he’s coming out after his freshman year. The Sixers should be waiting to rebuild once they shed the albatrosses that are Iverson’s and Webber’s contracts in a couple of years time, so they can afford to wait on him.

22 – Utah (from New Jersey) – Shannon Brown, G, Michigan State
They need a 2-guard, and with JJ Redick’s personal, and back injury problems, decide to go with this workout warrior ahead of him.

23 – Utah (from New Jersey) – Thabo Sefolosha, G/F, Switzerland
With an additional pick, they take this European star and can afford to sit on him for a couple of years while he develops overseas.

24 – Memphis – Kyle Lowry, G, Villanova
They have needs at the point and at center; with no big men left worth taking a shot on here, it’s a choice between Lowry and Jordan Farmar. I like Lowry better, and since Farmar cancelled his workout with the Grizz, the choice is obvious.

25 – Cleveland – Jordan Farmar, G, UCLA
They need a point guard in the worst way, and he’s a good prospect to let develop. Playing with LeBron will help him succeed within the next couple of years.

He Should Expect Similar Treatment From The New York Crowd

26 – LA Lakers – JJ Redick, G, Duke
The slide finally ends. The Lakers don’t need a true point guard in their system, so Redick could line up next to Kobe and knock down the open looks that he’ll get.

27 – Philadelphia (from Phoenix) – Guillermo Diaz, G, Miami-FL
This pick will be flipped to Miami, since Pat Riley is a big fan. The Sixers should be looking to contend 3-4 years down the road, so they trade Diaz to Miami for a Future First Round Pick.

28 – Dallas – Maurice Ager, G, Michigan State
Assuming they resign their key free agents (Terry, Mbenga), they don’t have many needs. Ager is a good fit as the best player left on the board. If they trade Marquis Daniels, or let Stackhouse walk after next year, they’ll have a bit of a need at the 2, so he’ll come in handy then.

29 – New York – Quincy Douby, G, Rutgers
He’s a local kid, can play both guard positions, and is a great shooter. Given the Knicks’ aversion to true point guards, he’s a good fit.

30 – Portland – Josh Boone, F/C, UConn
They’re looking to move both Ratliff and Randolph, so some depth in the frontcourt is necessary. He comes from a good UConn program, which is a selling point to a team trying to shed its Jail Blazers image.

2nd Round
31 – Portland – Joel Freeland, F, England
They have enough youth on the roster, so adding a guy who can play in Europe and come over a few years from now is a good move.

32 – Houston – PJ Tucker, F, Texas
He’s an undersized combo forward, but has a lot of potential. At best, he grows into an Anthony Mason-type player; at worst, he’s a wasted pick, like the majority of second-rounders are. Not a lot to lose, here.

33 – Atlanta – Dee Brown, G, Illinois
They added Luther Head in an earlier trade, now Brown can come in and provide a spark off the bench. He’s not a pass-first point guard, but he brings in a lot of energy to the team; he could be a Spud Webb/Nate Robinson-type, but with a little more height (he’s 5’10)

34 – LA Clippers – Yotam Halperin, G, Israel
The Clip don’t have any immediate needs, so a project like this makes sense.

35 – Toronto – Mike Gansey, G, West Virginia
He’s a great shooter, and fills a potential need at the 2. This could be the steal of the draft.

36 – Minnesota – Damir Markota, F, Croatia

37 – Minnesota – Mardy Collins, G, Temple
Collins traded to Chicago for conditional draft pick.

38 – Golden State – James White, G, Cincinnati

39 – Milwaukee – Darius Washington, G, Memphis
TJ Ford looks to be a keeper, but they need insurance in case Mo Williams walks next summer.

40 – Seattle – Kevin Pittsnogle, F, West Virginia
He can fill the hole that Vladimir Radmanovic left.

41 – Orlando – Renaldo Balkman, F, South Carolina

42 – Cleveland – James Augustine, F, Illinois

43 – New Orleans – Paul Davis, C, Michigan State

44 – Orlando – Lior Eliyahu, F, Israel

45 – Indiana – Leon Powe, F, California

46 – New Jersey (from Utah) – Taj Gray, F, Oklahoma

47 – New Jersey (from Utah) – Vladimir Veremeenko, F, Russia

48 – Washington – Solomon Jones, C, South Florida

49 – Denver – Bobby Jones, F, Washington
He’s a great defender, and could be another Bruce Bowen/Quinton Ross type. He’s an absolute steal here.

50 – Charlotte – Daniel Gibson, G, Texas

51 – LA Lakers – Paul Millsap, F, Louisiana Tech

52 – LA Clippers – Ryan Hollins, C, UCLA
Good player to take a flier on; he could be valuable if Chris Kaman walks in the next couple of years.

53 – Seattle – Allan Ray, G, Villanova

54 – Utah (from New Jersey) – Louis Amundson, F, UNLV

55 – Cleveland – Pops Mensah-Bonsu, F, George Washington

56 – Toronto – Cheik Samb, C, Senegal

57 – Minnesota – Kenny Adeleke, F, Hartford

58 – Dallas – Nik Caner-Medley, F, Maryland

59 – San Antonio – Rashad Anderson, G, UConn

60 – Detroit – Terence Dials, F, Ohio State

A few closing comments:
Most Likely Steals: Randy Foye to Minnesota, Bobby Jones to Denver, Kyle Lowry to Memphis, JJ Redick to the Lakers (sigh), Mike Gansey to Toronto (Sportzilla has a good piece on him, though I don’t agree with their call on Redick)

Most Likely Busts: Shelden Williams to Atlanta via Houston, Shannon Brown to Utah, Mouhamed Saer Sene to Phoenix (he’s got the upside of DeSagana Diop)

Pick That Will Draw The Largest Jeer from the Crowd: When the hometown Knicks pick Olexsiy Pecherov. I just hope that it’s preceded and/or followed by a ‘Fire Isaiah!’ chant. That’s always fun. Runner-up to JJ Redick, since people don't seem to like the guy.

That’s all. Enjoy the draft tonight. As always, it should bring length, tremendous upside, and nuclear athleticism to your television for two solid hours of entertainment.


At 6:16 PM, Blogger Loxy said...

Ray Allen and Allan Ray on the same team?

That's just crazy.

You did that on purpose.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I didn't notice until I wrote the pick down, but yeah.

Is anyone else watching this thing? What the heck is happening in the NBA that allows the Suns to basically sell off their two first round picks?

As for the Celtics, seeing Randy Foye wear the Cs cap when everyone knew he was headed to Portland was a giant cocktease. I didn't need to deal with that. And now that they're stockpiling point guards, I just know that they're trading for Iverson. Not a good day, Danny. Not a good day at all.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Also, will we ever get more info on what exactly these cash considerations that keep going back and forth are? Is it one million? Two? Does one team cover the roaming charges that the other team's GM racked up making the trade? These are the things I wonder about instead of listening to Stephen A. Smith.


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