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NBA Draft Blogging (6/25/10)

By Paul Bessire

Friday, June 25 at 6:20 PM ET
We'll post a separate article soon that ranks the top drafted players by 2010-11 impact, but here are some thoughts on the rest of second round:

I left off with a joke about the Heat trying to milk minutes out of Dexter Pittman. If the question is: Can a team of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Jarvis Varnardo, Da'Sean Butler and six rec league players win an NBA Championship? I think the answer is yes. I love Varnardo, Butler is a gamer and Williams is an interesting story. The scenario is very unlikely, but it seems to be Pat Riley's dream. Odd that the Heat's second rounders probably won't actually make the team, yet could be playing important minutes in the playoffs right off the bat. If the Heat need to fill the roster though, I would recommend they go sign draft snubs Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Elijah Millsap.

Did the Lakers win the second round? They may actually have picked two players who will make the team. Derrick Caracter's game is more offensively oriented, but he could make the team in a similar fashion as Ronny Turiaf out of the second round in 2005. Devin Ebanks is a real steal. He's got an almost identical frame and skill set as Trevor Ariza. Ariza has developed more an outside shot. Ebanks is a little taller. He could be a significant building block for the future in either Ron Artest or Lamar Odom's role.

Sam Presti is a genius. It doesn't look like that's who Portland is truly after as GM, but he's one of the few guys that I would definitively want over Kevin Pritchard. Presti is so active, yet so focused. Everyone knows he needed size. Instead, he first went after backcourt players with great value and then spun them into bigs, who will be solid and contribute on what is probably my favorite team to watch going forward (at least before free agency shakes out). They are not a player, but I would say that the Thunder have the only roster that LeBron James could be added to and guarantee himself championship contention for ten years.

If the Bucks' first two picks were flipped, no one would have reacted differently. Darrington Hobson is a lesser athletic Danny Granger. That's still great news for a second rounder. Larry Sanders is a lesser athletic Marcus Haislip. That's still horrible news for a first rounder. With the Milwaukee's last two picks, the team seemingly upheld my theory that it just likes to take the biggest guys and hope on pans out. The Bucks did that too literally. Tiny Gallon isn't Tiny and Jerome Jame... Jordan is huge. Beer and cheese will not help this.

From Irish to Irish, Luke Harangody to the Celtics sounds like a perfect match, but his game is far more refined on the offensive end and he lacks the height, athleticism and intensity to play Boston's brand of basketball - especially on the defensive end.

The Cavs did not need to draft anyone to improve the team; they need to resign LeBron to keep the team from a massive collapse. The problem with not having any picks has little to do with the opportunity cost of losing out on top rookies. While the Bulls, Heat, Nets and Knicks are making all the news, the Cavs have been very quiet and essentially forgettable.

Do you think the Denver Nuggets front office even went into work on Thursday?

Sticks at 59 overall? Maybe it's a little ridiculous for me to think that a guy far more suited to be on the And 1 tour should have been a late-first/early-second round pick, but I still like the dude's game and think he could be a hit in Orlando. The Magic will just need him to run, jump and dunk. Stanley Robinson can do that. He should be listed at position "finisher." Speaking of "sticks"...

Guys who are 6'9" and taller and weigh less than 200 pounds are bad for my ego. Trying to make it in the NBA with that frame will be bad for theirs...

Enjoy the D-League Lance Stephenson.

Thursday, June 24 at 10:40 PM ET
That's probably it on the live blog for tonight. I'll catch up tomorrow with second round thoughts and then rank the drafted players for the NBA like I did earlier with the NFL. Watch for the latter article over the weekend. Have a great night.

Thursday, June 24 at 10:32 PM ET
If the Heat find a way to make a super team and get three max-level guys, I don't think milking Dexter Pittman for big time minutes is the best strategy.

Thursday, June 24 at 10:20 PM ET
The first round ends with its second Hayward. Hayward's win the draft!

Lazar Hayward is a solid player and may be a good role/bench player for many years. That's a great characteristic to have for a player that goes at pick 30 - if it's the best team in the league that makes the pick as opposed to the same team that had the first overall selection. I agree with the comment that this pick had a lot to do with Wesley Matthews.

I'm not sure there as many first round snubs as guys I thought would be first round busts who didn't go in the first round. Kudos to the NBA for waiting until the second round at least to take chances on Hassan Whiteside, Lance Stephenson, Tiny Gallon and Solomon Alabi.

That being said, I think Devin Ebanks, Jon Scheyer, Jarvis Varnardo and Gani Lawal are great players, who had fringe first round talent and, if the teams are smart, would go before the guys I just mentioned.

Thursday, June 24 at 10:15PM ET
Marcin Gortat > Daniel Orton... And I think we'll still say that at the end of their careers.

Thursday, June 24 at 10:00 PM ET
It pains me to heap praise on the kid because I'm not supposed to like Xavier players, but Atlanta just struck gold with Jordan Crawford. He is one of few players whose numbers get better as competition gets better. Sooner rather than later, Crawford will recreate Joe Johnson's numbers and provide for about a fairly seamless transition. Fantastic move for the Hawks. For the Nets, Crawford would have been interesting to watch, but they clearly aren't looking for guys who can fill up the bucket right now. They're looking for pieces to build around LeBron (or someone like him).

Thursday, June 24 at 9:52 PM ET
What we just learned: Joe Johnson is gone (we probably knew that already). O.J. Mayo is probably on his way out (Grizzlies just got two solid players that play his position - Henry's game is actually pretty similar).

Thursday, June 24 at 9:39 PM ET
I missed talking about it earlier, but just talked to my Buck-fan father about it. Milwaukee's pick of Larry Sanders reminds me of the Bucks' selection of Marcus Haislip out of Tennessee. Some teams just drafted the tallest player they think has a high ceiling (Warriors and Bucks have done that routinely over the last decade). Some teams fall in love with projects (Pistons, Grizzlies, Raptors). Some sell off their picks or don't need them (Suns, Magic, Lakers). Some teams remain so active that you can't really tell what they are doing until the dust settles and the team looks completely different (Trail Blazers, Thunder). And others draft solid prospects that may not have the highest ceilings, yet will perform (Spurs, Rockets, Celtics). Those last three teams are typically drafting late because they win in the season. They also win the draft.

Thursday, June 24 at 9:29 PM ET
He may not blossom before the Tim Duncan era ends, but James Anderson brings the exact skillset that a team like the San Antonio Spurs needs - a great shooter, who isn't afraid to get his own shot.

I knew there was no way the Thunder could keep Bledsoe. Clippers got a great player.

Thursday, June 24 at 9:26 PM ET
Avery Bradley needs Doc Rivers. Bradley is exactly the type of defensive-minded guard with which Rivers excels. This is a great pick. If Rivers stays, it will look like a huge steal.

Thursday, June 24 at 9:18 PM ET
Eric Bledsoe is an absolute steal at 18. I love his defensive potential with those long arms. And he's one of the better shooters in the draft (sorry Luke Babbitt). I also love the Thunder. BUT, I just don't see how Bledsoe fits. The Thunder already have Eric Maynor, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Daequan Cook. None of those guys can play the three, especially when the team also has Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Thabo Sefolosha. Something is going to change, because that's too many backcourt players (and not enough frontcourt players). Either way, the Thunder are probably two years away from serious Finals contention. I just don't get the fit.

Thursday, June 24 at 9:11 PM ET
Kevin Seraphin is a guy who the team may be able to stash for a few years while it tries to recover from Gilbert Arenas and his contract elsewhere. For everyone thinking that Seraphin's game will mirror Rodrigue Beaubois or Nicolas Batum, I would turn to an African player, not French, and see what Serge Ibaka brings to the table. Oddly, while the original international influx of talent was about big guys who could shoot and had offensive skills, all four of those players excel defensively.

Thursday, June 24 at 8:59 PM ET
So why didn't Kentucky win the national championship this year? When John Calipari says that this is the "biggest day in Kentucky basketball history," he should probably first contemplate that question. Patrick Patterson is solid and the type of player that fits in well on the Rockets. His NBA game will probably closely resemble former Rocket and current King Carl Landry.

Thursday, June 24 at 8:34 PM ET
With the 10th overall pick, the Indiana Pacers select, Danny Granger, SF. They're not identical, but they're similar enough. Indiana isn't keeping George, or it isn't keeping Granger. It was oversight below, but I do like George. 6'9" wings who shoot 91% from the line are rare. If he stays in Indiana, Larry Bird may be able to teach George to stay creative, but play under a little more control.

Thursday, June 24 at 8:23 PM ET
Your 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year plays for the Clippers. Congratulations Blake Griffin. In related news, is that how Al-Farouq Aminu actually sounds or was that part of the act with the glasses? I know Jaleel White is in LA and can ball, but Aminu marks Urkel's true arrival to the League.

Hayward - Utah. Makes sense.

Thursday, June 24 at 8:16 PM ET
I'm so glad DeMarcus Cousins did not end up on the Warriors (more on that in a second). There may not be much else there, but Cousins and Tyreke Evans - with a little bit of Omri Casspi and Carl Landry - will make for an intriguing squad for years to come. They may be the most tenacious team in the League.

As you can see below, I loved Ekpe Udoh coming into the draft. That being said, Golden State is where skinny, athletic bigs with one good year of college ball go to die (Brandan Wright, Patrick O'Bryant, Anthony Randolph). I feel like Udoh had a better career up to this point than any of those guys, but that doesn't mean he won't suffer the same fate. The team just doesn't worry enough about defense to focus on guys who can get up and block shots.

Thursday, June 24 at 7:47 PM ET
Two quick takes on John Wall and Evan Turner. Wall will be a very good player, but I would consider him a tall Ty Lawson. That means more about what I think of Lawson than Wall, but I still wouldn't want Wall over Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams or Derrick Rose.

Turner's turnovers don't scare me that much because he handled the ball so much. The most promising thing about Turner is that he has constantly improved and made big strides every year. That's part of the winning instinct and competitiveness that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have and I believe Turner has. I mean, he broke his back and barely missed time.

Thursday, June 24 at 7:23 PM ET
As with the NFL Draft, I'll be sharing my thoughts on the NBA Draft as it proceeds. Personally, growing up, basketball was always my favorite sport and I've been more into the NBA Draft that just about any annual event. I still don't believe in mock drafting, but I do believe in finding ways to determine which players will succeed and which will never quite make it. As usual, that has a lot to do with the numbers. So, with the draft just a few minutes away, here are some lists:

Guys I love:
DeMarcus Cousins
Evan Turner
John Wall

Guys I love (more than you):
Xavier Henry
Eric Bledsoe
Ekpe Udoh
Jordan Crawford
James Anderson
Jarvis Varnardo

Guys I like (more than you):
Avery Bradley
Devin Ebanks
Greg Monroe
Gani Lawal
Stanley Robinson
Jon Scheyer
Quincy Pondexter

Guys I don't like (as much as you):
Derrick Favors
Ed Davis
Cole Aldrich
Al-Farouq Aminu
Wesley Johnson

Busts:
Daniel Orton
Ed Davis
Hassan Whiteside
Solomon Alabi

More to come...

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