White Hat Sports Headlines

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First Annual Draft Preview Part 2

Heres the second part of the three part series on the NBA draft. Lets get right into it.

11. Indiana Pacers-D.J. Augustin: I absolutely love this guy. He led the Texas Longhorns deep into the tournament, and really didn't have a whole lot around him. That is the first thing I look at when I look at point guards. He certainly showed maturity compared to his first year, and went from effectively wild to just plain effective. If I was drafting for an NBA team he would be the third guy on my draft board. I believe in him that much. Not only is he a great leader, but he can also score, and is a very good shooter. It's too bad he could go to a team like the Pacers that no one watches, but I have a feeling his name will be a household name in a couple of years.

12. Sacramento Kings-Russell Westbrook: Westbrook probably isn't going to ever be a scorer, but he can become a top of the line defender, and should be able to lead a playoff caliber team. I think this is a little high for him because of the fact that he struggles at times to score, but I've always said that you can survive in the NBA by doing one thing great, and he can certainly do that with his defense. I wouldn't ever expect much more than a 15 and 7 from him, but in this spot you could certainly do worse.

13. Portland Trail Blazers-Joe Alexander: If this was two years ago, the Blazers would take Donte Green from Syracuse here, a player who has plenty of talent but is very raw. It isn't, and the Blazers have really had some good drafts lately. I expect Alexander to help them continue down that path. This guy really impressed me last season, especially in the tournament. He can shoot, although he does need to work on his range, and he has plenty of athleticism. He also fits this team perfectly, and will work with Travis Outlaw well. I definitely have him as one of my sleepers in the draft this year.

14. Golden State Warriors-Tywon Lawson: ESPN has Kevin Love going here, and that makes me laugh. Could there be a player that fits the Warriors style of play less? Maybe Roy Hibbert, as at least Love throws good outlet passes. For me, this pick makes so much more sense. Baron Davis may or may not be staying around, but even if he does he is always an injury risk. Why not get a guy like Lawson who can come off the bench and actually run the team faster than Davis? This is a match made in heaven as far as I'm concerned.

15. Phoenix Suns-Brandon Rush: I really thought this guy was overrated his whole career, but then I watched him during this years tournament and went completely the other way. I now think he's underrated, and he is a guy who can contribute right now. For the Suns that is gold. They can't afford to wait for a guy to develop, but they also can't afford to continue to be complete idiots and trade their draft picks away. They probably should have won an NBA championship already, but they keep getting rid of their draft picks for cash. I expect this year they finally change that trend.

16. Philadelphia 76ers-Kevin Love: This is a good spot for Love, because he his weaknesses on defense won't be exposed as much with Samuel Dalembert at center and Andre Iguodola at the other forward. He can also step right into the starting rotation for the Sixers, who need a good power forward. If Love can play well I expect this Sixers team to really contend in the East, as AI2, Dalembert, Andre Miller and Louis Williams are really coming together.

17. Toronto Raptors-Chase Buddinger: This guy is a pure athlete and can really put the ball in the hoop. He's listed as a shooting guard, but I consider him more of a small forward at 6-7. The Raptors could really use a center, but at this slot I really don't see one worthy of their pick. They make take Kosta Koufos from Ohio State here, but I don't see it.

18. Washington Wizards-Marreese Speights: This guy has plenty of potential if he could just take the time to work at it. He is similar to Elton Brand in that he has a very wide frame, but the comparisons end there. He doesn't have the range of Brand, and he doesn't have the work ethic of Brand. If he can work at his game and his athleticism he can be a good player.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers-Roy Hibbert: I don't think Hibbert will ever live up to expectations, and he certainly didn't in college. That being said, he can be a productive NBA player. If he can work with Zydrunas Ilgauskas to improve his range and use the athletic ability he has to be effective then he can be a good player. He isn't ever going to wow you with his athletic ability, but he can become a smart player that starts in the league. I never thought he would amount to anything in college, but I'm starting to come around to the belief that if he is willing to work hard he can become a decent NBA player.

20. Denver Nuggets-Javale McGee: I'll be honest here, I don't know much about McGee. I do know that he is long and athletic, and at 6'10" that is what the Nuggets need. Two months ago I would have said they needed a guard here, but J.R. Smith really came on strong, and I think he can come in as the starting shooting guard next year. McGee is raw, but he should be able to help some off the bench for a team really needing defense.

~Aaron Jackson

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