After a week (and a lockout) to gather our thoughts, we came up with our three best/worst picks in this year’s NBA Draft.
Disagree? Want to argue your point? Tell us why. We love arguing.
1) Chris Singleton, 18th, Washington Wizards – In a draft full of likely role players, getting the best defensive player in the draft as far down as no. 18 is great value. He is a great athlete who can get up and down the floor and has the potential to be an above-average spot-up-jump-shooter. The most underrated aspect is the attitude he will bring to a team that, quite frankly, was soft last year.
2) Brandon Knight, 8th, Detroit Pistons – Mocks had Knight going as high as no. 3 to the Jazz, so the Pistons get a steal at no. 8. Knight has the tools and versatility to emerge as one of the best players in this draft, if you ask me. He will take some time to develop, but his size and athleticism at the point guard spot, coupled with the fact that he’s as skilled as he is…great pick.
3) Bismack Biyombo, 7th, Charlotte Bobcats – BISMACK! When you’re a rebuilding team you need to find a star or two, but just as importantly you need guys who provide energy, defense, and rebounding on a consistent basis. Check, check, and check for Biyombo, who has all the makings of a potential Defensive POY award winner. Charlotte can consider their rim protected with this pick.
1) Kemba Walker, 9th, Charlotte Bobcats – Michael Jordan might have failed on his first pick (see below), but he made up for it with this pick. Kemba is a champion, a tireless worker, and a media darling. When is the last time the Bobcats had anyone they could really market? Stephen Jackson? Gerald Wallace? Ehh. Now they have Kemba. He’ll become an instant fan favorite and will eventually replace D.J. Augustin at the point.
2) Chris Singleton, 18th, Washington Wizards- This pick made the most sense out of any in the draft- a lottery talent and best defensive player in the draft falls to a team that was absolutely abysmal on their end of the court last who needs help on the wing. Hmm…yea that was as easy a pick as it gets for Ernie Grunfield. Some Wizards fans wanted him at the 6th pick. Getting Singleton here was what made Washington the winners on draft night.
3) JuJuan Johnson, 27, Boston Celtics – Quick. Who was the Big Ten POY last year? Nope, not Jared Sullinger. It was JJ. He was absolutely incredible averaging 21 points, 9 boards, and 2 blocks a game. Any Celtic fan will tell you how much Big Baby SUCKED last year in the post-season and won’t be crying when the headcase leaves. Johnson is exactly the type of player that can help the Celtics aging front-court and KG can take under his wing as the Cs make one last run at a title (lockout pending).
1) Brandon Knight, 8th, Detroit Pistons –Dropping all the way to #8, Knight is a steal at this point for the Pistons. Rodney Stuckey hasn’t quite panned out as Joe Dumars and the Detroit front office has hoped, so Knight is a great insurance policy. Plus, both Stuckey and Knight can play both guard positions, so don’t be surprised to see them on the court together at times.
2) Kawhi Leonard, 15th, San Antonio Spurs – Before the draft, many experts had Leonard pegged as a top-six pick. But on draft night, he found himself free-falling harder than a Tom Petty song. Luckily, Leonard got scooped up at 15 by the Pacers and then shipped out to San Antonio where he will have the pleasure of learning behind Tim Duncan for at least one year, before taking over for the big fella.
3) Alec Burks, 12th, Utah Jazz – Burks sat around and watched as Klay Thompson and the Jimmer were taken just ahead of him. I’m sure the message was received loud and clear, as Burks realized that teams were a little down on him. But, the shooting-guard with the most talents in this year’s draft should use that as more motivation, as he fits in alongside Devin Harris and 2010 #1 pick Gordon Heyward in Utah.
1) Jonas Valanciunas, 5th, Toronto Raptors – The Raptors may have just found Andrea Bargnani’s clone…and I’m not saying that as a compliment. Valanciunas has plenty of room to develop but he needs to add a lot of strength to play an effective center position in the NBA. With Bargnani and Ed Davis on the roster up front, the Raptors needed someone to bring some strength and toughness to their front court. Biyombo was sitting right there for them. I just don’t believe Valanciunas will become that guy.
2) Nolan Smith, 21st, Portland Trail Blazers – Nolan Smith is a nice player. I would’ve been ecstatic to get him in the second round, but at 21? Too high if you ask me, especially, when a guys like Reggie Jackson and Kenneth Faried are still on the board. Smith provides ball handling and toughness, but his ceiling is probably a sixth or seventh man in the league. There were potential starters available at that point.
3) Iman Shumpert, 17th, New York Knicks – Don’t hate this pick as much as others, but the Knicks seem to want to win now by acquiring guys like Amar’e Staudemire and Carmelo Anthony last season. Given that rationale, I don’t completely understand drafting such a project in Iman Shumpert. Shumpert could be a very good player in four or five years, but they need help now to compete with Chicago and Miami.
1) Bismack Biyombo, 7th, Charlotte Bobcats – I’ll make this short and sweet- I’m skeptical of Biyombo’s age (think Freddie Adu/Danny Almonte) and his offensive game is non-existent. Yea, he might have some highlight-reel blocks helping from the weak side, but how is he going to hold up against power players like Zach Randolph or Lamarcus Aldridge when they post him up? This ain’t the Spanish league anymore. He’s gonna flop.
2) Iman Shumpert, 17th, New York Knicks- This is simple – the Knicks wanted to improve their defense and they didn’t pick the best defensive player in the draft. They picked a shorter player who isn’t as effective offensive and never won in college. Why does everyone think Donnie Walsh is some genius? What has he ever really done? Horrible pick.
3) Klay Thompson, 11, Golden State Warriors – The Warriors continue to add offense when they have greater needs in the front court and need to help build a defensive identity. Unless they plan on getting rid of Monta Ellis, I don’t understand this pick. But nevertheless, Klay, “Come get in my poster!”
1) Corey Joseph, 29th, San Antonio Spurs – A pretty big reach here, but at that spot in the end of the first round, taking a risk is almost a must. But, there were some better prospects to snag at this point — Charles Jenkins, Josh Selby, Darius Morris — who might have had more of an impact. Joseph does have upside and sizes up similar to recently traded George Hill, but not sure he’ll ever live up to Hill’s stature.
2) Marshon Brooks, 25th, New Jersey Nets – I actually think that Brooks will be a good role player for the Nets, but trading up for what seemed like no reason was a bit questionable. He’s gt an opportunity to contribute right away but still isn’t the most polished player on defense.
3) Iman Shumpert, 17th, New York Knicks – Here’s the dilemma, I actually like Shumpert as a prospect and a good, young point guard for the Knicks to develop behind Chauncey Billups. But, at 17? I think it was quite a reach. The Knicks probably could have dropped back into the mid-20’s, grabbed another player or first rounder and still snatched up the athletic Georgia Tech product. For the simple fact that it was a reach I say “nay” to the selection and feel for Knick fans everywhere.