NBA Draft Preview: The End of the Lottery
We're now to part three of this NBA Draft preview, and in just a few short picks, the lottery will fade away much like all of Fall Out Boy's popularity. That's right, we're getting into the good teams, which means we're also getting into the best picks of the draft. Oddly enough, it's always the teams who have to dig deeper to find talent that end up scoring the most. That or they just overpay to keep bringing in stars like the Lakers and Knicks do. How's that working right now? Alright, alright, I'll ease up on the shots towards the big markets. Just know that there's not going to be a ton of drama in regards to who I think should be picked and who will be picked today. Pretty simple. Oh, there's also some Final Fantasy jokes. But we'll get there. We'll get there. Alright, I'm going to stop rambling now. ON WITH THE SHOW!!!
Who They Should Take: Willie Cauley-Stein. Look guys, I really like Roy Hibbert. He's got great size. He's proven to be a defensive force at times during the postseason. Hell, his cameo appearances on Parks and Recreation are the stuff that would make Abed from Community swoon. But come on; this relationship between him and the Pacers is like The Sopranos; it's over. Thus, a replacement is in order and, as much as I like Frank Kaminsky, Stein is just a better fit here. He's got out of this world athleticism and he's ready to go on the defensive end, two qualities the Pacers could really use going forward. Does he have the offensive game yet? No, but then again, did Hibbert ever really have it? If Stein can even be a poor man's DeAndre Jordan, the Pacers will be fine.
Who They Will Take: Stein. Not only does he make the most sense, but Pacers president and Bill Simmons' hero Larry Bird evidently said not too long ago that Stein was a $100 million player. That statement might've had more hyperbole than a Stephen A. Smith poem on LeBron, but it pretty much tells you all you need to know.
Who They Should Take: Mario Hezonja. Here's something that no one is talking about here; the Jazz don't really need that much. Did you see that team once they got rid of Enes Kanter at the trade deadline? The Jazz suddenly went from nomads to one of the best teams in the West post deadline, with Gordon Hayward finally coming of age and Rudy Gobert looking like a cross between Godzilla and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. With those two centerpieces and a supporting cast that should take a leap in year two under Quinn Snyder (looking right at you Rodney Hood, Trey Burke and Dante Exum), Utah can afford to trade this pick for another piece (a stretch four perhaps?) or take a flyer on a player like Hezonja, who they can either keep overseas for a year or bring in and add another shooter to the mix.
Who They Will Take: Hezonja. The Jazz will continue their slow rise to the top with this pick; the only question is whether Hezonja plays for them this year or next. Either way, time to get excited Utah fans. It's going to be a glorious next ten years with Gobert telling people to get off his lawn.
Who They Should Take: Frank Kaminsky. It just makes way too much sense here. The Suns like to push the pace and shoot threes more than anyone other than the Golden State Warriors. Kaminsky can hit threes. Combine those two factoids with how much the Suns missed Channing Frye last year, and you've got a match made in Immortan Joe's Valhalla.
Who They Will Take: Kaminsky. I think it'll be tight between him and Portis, but the Suns organization is sharp enough to know Kaminsky fits better right now and can immediately play. I'll now let Suns fans sit back and enjoy thoughts of a Kaminsky, Markief Morris, Marcus Morris, Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe floor spacing lineup. Seems pretty legit, huh?
Oklahoma City Thunder
Who They Should Take: Stanley Johnson. This is quietly a big pick for the Thunder, what with the team facing win now pressure due to Kevin Durant's impending free agency. If I'm Sam Presti, I'm looking at this from two different viewpoints; the Thunder need either the best player available at their spot, someone who can potentially replace Durant if he bolts to Washington or Miami next summer, or both. Enter Johnson, the Arizona freshman. He's not Durant (in size or in skill), and he's not the most NBA ready player at only nineteen. But he has considerable potential and honestly could be a top ten pick in this draft if the right team talks themselves into him. Unless the Thunder can get a whopper of a player in a trade with this pick, Johnson is the best bet.
Who They Will Take: Johnson. I'd be tempted to say Kaminsky if he was still available, but the Thunder have enough bigs as is, and we all know how much they need wing depth. Thus, Johnson is the pick. I'll be more shocked if the Thunder go elsewhere than Tidus was when he learned Sin was Jecht in Final Fantasy X.
Who They Should Take: Sam Dekker. I mean, did you see this kid during the NCAA tournament? Kaminsky may have been Wisconsin's leader, but Dekker morphed into the kind of thing you only see in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video. He's got range, he's got size (6'9) and he's got the balls to be someone who tells everyone to get out of his way. As great as Atlanta was this past season, what was the one thing they didn't have? Yup, someone to take the last shot. Dekker can be that guy for them, especially if DeMare Carroll decides to cash in on his breakout year. Hell, even if Carroll stays with the Hawks, him and Dekker at the three is change I can believe in.
Who They Will Take: Dekker. Wait a second, am I really predicting these five teams will all take guys they should take? This is unbelievable! This is madness! Alright, it's not madness, it's just smart. The Hawks could use a big shot maker and some depth at the three. Dekker gives them both. And seeing as the Atlanta staff is one of the brightest in the NBA, I see no reason to believe they'll go in another direction here. Amazing that the teams in the lower rung of the lottery always seem to pick better than the teams in the lottery. And we wonder why these teams are more successful!
That'll do it for now guys. I'll be back with picks 16-20 later tonight, as well as a Lucha Underground column of sorts in between. Till then, play some Final Fantasy X. It's got blitzball, my brother's favorite sport of all time. Makes sense that it's not real then. Oh and of course, it's got this reveal.