Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NBA Draft Preview, Part 2:
Gators, Yi, Sleepers, More!

Who needs contrived draft storylines when the Hot! Trade! Action! is so virile? (See post below) And yet, yesterday's NBA Draft Preview "Part 1" (Oden vs. Durant) got off to such a rousing start that it would be a shame to not publish a post on a hodge-podge of other drafty storylines. Feel free to add any more key storylines of your own in the Comments section. (Coming tomorrow: Mock draft!)

Big Storyline 2: The Gator Boys. Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah all taken between the 3rd and 9th picks. Not bad. Horford is the consensus "Best Player Not Named Oden or Durant." Brewer is considered the best perimeter defensive player in the draft. Noah is shat upon.

As with any draft, team fit is probably the biggest factor in each guy's success. That goes 10 times more for Noah. In the right context, he's Marcus Camby light, with worse shooting but better passing touch and love-him-if-he's-on-your-team energy. Horford and Brewer will be fine wherever they are, as long as they get minutes. Future studs, all, if not of the All-Star variety, then certainly of the Fantasy variety.

Commenters: How will the Florida guys pan out?

Big Storyline 3: Yi As In "Ee!" During the NBA Finals' ratings dud, I thought a lot about the NBA and China. Here's the upshot: If the NBA captures a fraction of hoops fans in China, it will dwarf the number of NBA fans in the U.S.

Now you understand why David Stern, Nike, ESPN and everyone else is so hot to enter the market with a basketball presence. Yi is the swingman version of Yao – and another piece in the coming dominance. If my former colleague Bill Simmons was truly a real fan of the NBA, he'd start learning Mandarin in time for the Takeover.

(Meanwhile: Given the development of Yao, why don't more fans want to see their teams in the Top 10 take Yi? Perhaps because they don't want to wait for him to develop, but I'm more resigned to the idea that it's the same xenophobia/racism that dogged Yao before -- and after -- he was drafted.)

Commenters: Yi -- Yea or nay?

Big Storyline 4: Non-Lottery Sleepers. In a draft this loaded (I'm arguing it's the most stacked draft of the post-KG Era), the talent will ripple down, not just into the bottom half of the first round, but even into the second round, where last year's first-round talents are this year's second-round steals. A few names I'm tracking:

Derrick Byars: He turned Vanderbilt – Vandy! – into a powerhouse last season and single-handedly destroyed Florida when they played in Nashville. Good enough for me.

Marco Belinelli: The league is evolving to the point where, at the very least, you better have a go-to scorer, you better have a versatile swingman and you better have a dead-eye outside shooter. Belinelli will be the shooter that has fans going, "How did my team pass on him?"

Glen Davis: Craig Smith. Paul Millsap. Enough said. Second-round tweeners are the new draft-night hotness.

Taurean Green: Before you shout "Damn your Florida bias!" consider that I found Green a far more infuriating player to watch than Joakim Noah. But Green has this freakish ability to make big shots look easy. Not a starting NBA point guard by any means, but a very capable backup.

Bobby Brown: Just watch this video. YouTube legend is the new Rucker legend. I'm only half-joking.

Commenters: Who are your biggest sleepers, from the end of the first round to the second round to the likely-to-be-undrafted-but-still-good? This should be fertile ground for each of your personal pet project players.

Again, coming tomorrow: The Mock!

-- D.S.


kway34 said...

Noah should be shat upon, he was so physically dominated in the title game I can't believe it didn't cost him at least a few spots. Granted, he has the hustle factor, and it's wasn't just any Joe Schmoe dominating him, but his performance exposed him.

Unknown said...

I say that the Hawks take Horford at #3 followed bt Brewer at #6 to the Bucks and Noah at #10 to the Kings.

Yi is much better than most people know. He should be taken at #5 by the Celtics but Ainge is too scared to make that pick so he will take Jeff Green. He won't be taken by the Bucks because they will be scared that the Chinese government won't let him play there. That will lead to him falling to 9th.

I'm not sure if he counts as a sleeper but Rodney Stuckey is absolutly sick. He could go as high as #15 though. Daequan Cook is another guy that will be better than people think. Tiago Splitter should go in the 20s. Marc Gasol will go at the end of the 1st round (probably to the Spurs) and is very worth it. Lastly, my homer pick, DJ Strawberry WILL be drafted because he is a great defender. He will go in the 50s probably which is fine. He has a jumper, can drive and dish, and has great leadership qualities.

CMFost said...

I hope that Danny is smart enough to take Brewer and give this team someone that will be able to guard Wade/Lebron....etc for the next 10 years.

My Sleeper is Sean Williams from BC, he could be the best lost post defender in the draft

Yi and Noah will both be mega busts.

Brewer has the potential to be on the NBA all defensive team every year.

Horford will be an All-Star in 3 years

CMFost said...

has anyone else been checking out the mock draft that Chad Ford and Bill Simmons are doing, it is pretty entertaining.

here is a link to it

Unknown said...


I think your question should have been is anyone besides me watching it. Cause you know I am.

Add to my sleeper list Morris Almond. He is great. Should be very late 1st round. He is the next Michael Redd. Anytime you can get Michael Redd at the tail end of round 1, you take him.

CMFost said...

none sports but RIP


Trey said...

I think Hawes has the most bust potential. I just hope he doesn't end up on the Bulls.

Unknown said...

My biggest sleep is Massachusetts Center Stephane Lasme. This has 100% to do with the fact that I am a proud UMass alum, and I have met Stephane on many occassions so I know how good of a person he really is.

However he is also a DOMINANT defensive player. He is thin, but he plays a lot bigger than he is, and he is incredibly long. He averaged 5 blocks a game last season at UMass - and someone is going to get one hell of a player in the second round.

The thing about Lasme that I love is that throughout his whole college career which I watched almost every game of - he got better, and bigger and stronger. He was constantly improving and isn't that what you want when you take a guy in the 2nd round? Someone who is a hard worker.

Lasme has one skill that he does incredibly well (low post defense) and he is definately going to log minutes for someone.

I expect him to go anywhere from 37 (Portland) to 45.

CMFost said...

according to ESPn Radio Danny Ainge has come and said that he does not expect to trade the #5 pick and is currently planning on making the pick.

Big D said...

Here's the thing about Noah. With all the grief he's taking, he's going to end up one of two ways - either he's completely crushed by the negative press, fans' reactions to him, etc... or he uses it as fuel and completely dominates (or as much as someone with his skills can dominate) at the next level.

I can see him slipping down, maybe even into double-digits (I mean, this is the NBA. The qualifications to be a GM are "1) Quasi-Literate 2) Tall...") and using the disrespect of the teams passing him over as fuel for the rest of his NBA career. Or at least the length of his rookie contract, so he can sign a big-money deal in 6 years.

Also... CM, did you just bring up Liz Claiborne in the comments section of a sports-blog? Really?

TBender said...


Even better is Almond went to Rice.

Sadly, the fact he got a real education will hurt his draft status.

Chaddogg said...

No way Noah slips past Chicago - he's too perfect for them. Plays well in the team style game, can score but his real value is on defense, plays down low, and gives them a replacement potentially for Wallace. Oh yeah, and he fits the Paxson model of picking guys (Hinrich, Gordon, Duhon, Tyrus Thomas) who's college teams had success, particularly in focus of March Madness.

Bulls draft Noah at 9, offer P.J. Brown a one year deal, sign Nocioni with the mid-level exception. They then run out the starting 5 (Hinrich, Gordon, Deng, Wallace, and Brown), with this high-energy bench (Noah, Sefolosha, Duhon, Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas). 10 deep, with plenty of pieces for a trade if they need that one player to vault them to the top.

Seriously, if no one above the Bulls takes Noah, they are making a HUGE mistake, because Noah will improve the Bulls and make them arguably the deepest team in the league.

pv845 said...

Except as has been stated above, the Bulls need low-post scoring and Noah is as far from that as is humanly possible.

Andrew said...

Two mega-ultra deep sleepers.

Dashaun Woods G-Wright State (if he was taller, he'd be a first rounder), Reinaldis Seibutis G-Lithuania (Lithuanian Ginobili!)

Travis said...

Im hoping the Celtics take Yi. My boyfriend, whos name is also Yi is hoping hes taken by someone in the Atlantic division thus meaning more games at MSG to watch him play.

Nate Jones said...

Bobby Brown is a sensational talent. I've been watching him play the last couple of seasons, and got a chance to interview him for the fanhouse about a month back. He's definitely a sleeper.