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1-on-1: UNC vs. Duke

—> Just like a game of pickup on the courts down at the park, we at EVERY MONTH MARCH will be playing a little 1-on-1 throughout the college basketball season.  Two of our writers will be squaring off in typical street-ball fashion on the ‘Debate Hardwood’ to discuss some of the most Hot-Button topics, schools and players throughout the NCAA. <—

So, over the next few weeks, we are going to begin some back-and-forth about recruiting battles that happen every day between rivals.

Where would you go if you were a top recruit? Why? Why not?

We see teams and coaches battle on the court, but the battle doesn’t end once the game is over. Coaches are at consistent odds with each other, competing for the best players to enlist into their program.

One recruit’s decision can significantly alter multiple programs at one time, and this can be lost on the casual college hoops fan. Let’s start with the biggest rivalry in college basketball: Duke/North Carolina.

DUKE

Pitching Duke on its own could be done by a half-witted fourth-grader while on the short bus on the way to school.

Not. That. Difficult.

However, when it comes to pitching Duke over their archrival North Carolina, the task becomes a bit more murky. Duke and UNC battle over the top recruits every single year, so this exercise is a pertinent one.

Take Austin Rivers, for instance.

He is, by all accounts, a top two or top three recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. His decision came down to UNC and Duke, and he chose Duke. That is an absolute game changer for both programs.

So, let’s take this from Rivers’, or at least a Rivers’-esque type of recruit’s perspective.

The old pitch against Duke would have probably have been: Sure, Duke is a great program. But how many guys has Coach K gotten picked in the top five or ten picks of the NBA Draft in the past five years? How many has he even gotten picked in the lottery? Now, the response to that is just two words: Kyrie Irving.

Irving did more for Duke than just playing in 11 games and bolting for the draft...

Irving did more for Coach K’s program just by being picked first overall in the draft than he really contributed on the court. Irving showed that Krzyzewski will take a guy into his program that will likely leave after a season, and that he will allow a guy like that to shine enough to be in the position to become a high draft pick.

That’s big for a guy like Rivers, or any other top recruit, these days.

What else is there really to say at this point about Duke?

Do you want to play in one of the most historic stadiums in college basketball history for some of the most passionate fans in the country?

Cameron Indoor Stadium—check.

Do you want to play for one of the three greatest head coaches in college basketball history? A guy who could have 90% of NBA jobs with the snap of his fingers if he wanted? A guy who has coached a gold medal team in the Olympics? Continue reading

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Recruiting Pitches: Guessing What Coaches Say

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports recently sat down with UCLA coach Ben Howland and discussed the misleading negative pitches that opposing coaches use on recruits. Howland makes them play defense. His offense isn’t fun. He’s not easy to play for. Coaches trying to steer potential players away from Pauley Pavillion probably use any or all of these anti-UCLA pitches. Howland just points to the 9 former Bruins in the league and how they haven’t all been Top-10 recruits like Kevin Love who would make the league (see: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ryan Hollins, Darren Collison).

This got me to thinking – If those are the attacks that Howland has to defend, what negative pitches do other coaches have to deal with and what are their counter-pitches?

John Calipari, Kentucky

What they say: “Coach Cal will be looking for your replacement before you arrive on campus and will be booting you off campus before the tournament ends. He’ll act like he’s your best friend and really cares about you, but he only cares about one person: John Calipari. He’s put two schools on probation and had their Final Fours vacated before he sneaked out-of-town. You’ll be lucky if he’s there when you arrive on campus. P.S. – he’s never won the big game.”

Please come to Kentucky now...I may have to leave by 2012.

What he fires back : “I win. Period. Everywhere I have gone, I have resurrected floundering programs. But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What’s been your dream since you were in middle school? Play in the NBA? That’s what I thought. I can make your dream a reality. Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Camby…I can go on. I’ve had five players drafted in the first round in one individual draft. FIVE. You want to get paid to play? Play for me…I mean the NBA obviously.”

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

What they say: “How many of Coach K’s players get drafted in the lottery? How many become stars in the NBA? Sure there’s a few, but not all that many. Coach K is worried about his legacy and his program–not your future. He’ll make you do it his way or you won’t play. Plus, it’s Duke–a small private school known for smart kids. How much fun are you going to have there?”

He fires back: “Ask any player I’ve ever coached whether they regret playing at Duke. Whether they were one of the few to leave after their first season or two (William Avery, Elton Brand, Kyrie Irving, etc.), whether they were a star on a championship team, or whether they rode the bench. I guarantee you they will look back on their experience here as some of the best years of their lives. Duke is a family, and once you’re part of the family, you’ll always be part of it. And if you’re good enough to go pro, I will support you every step of the way. Just ask Kyrie Irving. And, by the way, basketball players are gods here. Trust me, there is no better place to play.”

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Thursday TwitHitters: Draft Recap

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.

Best Picks:

MAYO

1) Chris Singleton, 18th, Washington WizardsIn 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.

Singleton = Steal of the Draft.

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.

GIBLIN

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).

LUKE

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.

Did Joe Dumars benefit from MJ taking Biyombo over Knight? We say yes.

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.

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Retroactive Draft Night Diary

Draft night is now almost a week passed and we have heard plenty of analysis from experts around the country. We were building up to this Draft for months with analysis and articles in the weeks prior, so it seemed appropriate that we get a little live-diary going for the evening’s festivities.

Granted a little late but we wanted to give our readers an inside look at our thoughts as NBA teams built towards the future.

Plus, we all write in our own personal diaries every night anyways, might as well be productive with it.

Without further adieu, let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?

  • 5:12 – Three team trade between the Bobcats, Bucks, and Kings has destroyed our mock draft less than 2 hours before the draft. Hope you liked it (Giblin)
  • 6:08 – Just saw that Jeff Van Gundy will be on ESPN’s broadcast team. What’s the point of watching the draft on mute? Damnit. (Giblin)
  • 6:10 – No love for Van Gundy, Giblin? Come on man. You more of a Mark Jackson guy? (Mayo)
  • 6:55 – Dick Vitale covering this draft makes me sick as well. Every player is gonna be aweseome baby! God I hate the ABC/ESPN NCAA guys almost as much as the NBA guys. (Giblin)
  • 7:15 – Bilas and John Barry are the guys to listen to tonight. Best knowledge, analysis, and straight-forwardness. Ignore the idiot in the middle. (Giblin)
  • 7:27 – When did Fran Fraschilla become an expert on international prospects? Are you an expert if you attend one or two workouts? I might be applying for that position. (Giblin)
  • 7:34 – Has any commissioner ever gotten a cheer from the fans when he first steps up to the podium? (Giblin)
  • 7:35 – Only cheers tonight will be reserved for Adam Silver.. (Mayo)
  • 7:39 – 1 for 1 in our mock! Should we stop this on a high note ala George Costanza? (Giblin)
  • 7:42 – Is it me or do Kyrie Irving’s highlights not blow you away? He’s definitely a skilled player but athletically I find myself not being overly impressed. (Mayo)
  • 7:46 – No suprise with Williams at number 2 but who knows if David Kahn and Minnesota keep him. And now Utah up with the most pivotal pick in the draft. I’m shotgunning a beer if it’s not Knight. (Giblin)
  • 7: 48 – It seems like things are shifting to Kanter being the pick, but I don’t understand it. They have Jefferson, Milsap,and Favors up front. I think Kanter is at least the third best player in this draft, but a) there is no guarantee they get Jimmer at 12, and b) their backcourt is disheveled to say the least. Devin Harris is just OK, and they have nothing at the two spot. (Mayo)
  • 7:51 – That sucked. Anyway, the chances for Jimmer to end up playing in Utah shot up 3000%. (Giblin) Continue reading

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NBA Draft: Winners and Losers

Thursday night’s NBA Draft proved to be fairly dull on most counts, with predictability taking precedent for the most part. But, the greatest intrigue of the night had to have come by way of the trade.

Sacramento picking for Charlotte, who swapped picks with Milwaukee, and Boston exchanging with New Jersey or Dallas conceding all draft picks in exchange for a proven player in Rudy Fernandez.

There were plenty of twists and turns and while players were being nabbed off the board under the radar every five minutes, analysts were rushing to try and break down trades and fit the specific pieces in the correct cities.

So, while your mind may still be tingling with confusion and popping with frustration over your team’s selection (Knicks fans I feel for you), here is a breakdown of the biggest winners and losers from Thursday night.

WINNERS:

1. The Wiz Kids– A young and talented Wizards team was looking for some good players to implement right off the bat in 2011-12. Taking the very talented and NBA-ready Vesely at #6 was a god send for the D.C. boys. The wing position was arguably Washington’s biggest problem in 2010 and they were in dire need of a long, slasher who could compliment rookie scoring machine Jordan Crawford and take some pressure off of 2010 number 1 pick, John Wall. Vesely is a great talent for the Wiz — plus his girlfriend is an absolute smokeshow — and a terrific value at 6th overall.

Not only is Vesely a top-10 talent but his girlfriend is also a smokeshow

The Wizards got a great player in Vesely here, not to mention an absolute steal in Chris Singleton at #18.  The lengthy defender can play both the 3 and 4 (in some sets) and should have an immediate impact on defense. Combine his length on the wing with Wall’s ability to guard the perimeter and you could be looking at the start of a great defensive team for years to come.

Don’t knock the selection of Shelvin Mack in the 2nd Round either, he’s a shifty point guard, who could provide some rest for Wall at times or be a good compliment to him, playing off ball in some sets.

Overall, great draft for the Wiz and this could be the start of a long run of quality basketball in the D.C. area.

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NBA Draft: Mock 3.0

The NBA Draft is now less than 24 hours away and we here at Every Month Should be March wanted to take one last stab at predicting this year’s outcome.

After two attempts to lock down this year’s draft class — taking an in depth look at teams needs, player ratings and scouts opinions — we have finally compiled all our thoughts into one Final Mock Draft.

Consensus #1 Overall, Kyrie Irving, leads us off but after that it’s about any bodies guess as who will be taken.

So, take a trip with us here at EMM and find out who our experts are predicting your team will select…

MOCK DRAFT 3.0:

  1. Cleveland CavaliersKyrie Irving, PG, Duke: The rumors have already begun that the Cavs have committed to Kyrie Irving, confirming what the vast majority of draft pundits have suspected. Irving has a lot to prove after missing most of his only season at Duke. Still, most believe that he is one of two players in this draft with any potential to be consistent all-star selections. Irving wins out because the league is becoming a point guard dominated league. (Mayo) 

 2. Minnesota Timberwolves Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona: With Kyrie going 1 overall, it’s pretty much a sure thing that Williams goes to the Wolves here. Long, athletic and good upside he could be a great addition to Kevin Love in the front court. He would also make Beasley an expendable commodity. Any takers? (Luke)

Brandon Knight will be ecstatic if Utah calls his name at number 3.

  3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Everyone has Irving and Williams going 1-2. After that, no one is quite sure yet between Knight and Kanter. I have doubts whether the Devin Harris will actually be anything more than what he is (a starting point guard for a lottery team). Knight is the pick as they try and replace Deron Williams. (Giblin)

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, PF/C, Kentucky, C, Turkey: Kanter gets taken 4th overall but maybe won’t fall this far. Utah is strongly considering him with the 3rd pick. If that is the case, Tristan Thompson may be the pick here (a reach). But for now we are giving the Cavs Kanter. Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are considered the only blue chip prospects in this draft, but Kanter is the top player of the next tier. This would be a coup for the Cavs.
(Dalton)

5. Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard, SF, SDSU: Some believe that the Raptors might go point guard with this pick, but I contend that they give Jerryd Bayless a shot at running the show. They have a big need for a swingman who can defend and provide some toughness to a team who definitely was lacking in that category last season. (Mayo)

6. Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic: The lengthy swingman is probably the most polished foreigner in this year’s draft class. If Leonard isn’t available here or unless the Wiz move up a few spots, Vesely is the best option and could be tossed into the starting lineup right away. (Luke)

7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker, PG, Uconn: Rumor has it the Maloofs want Jimmer, but Kemba is the better player and can sell tickets too. With Walker running the point, Tyreke Evans can move to the 2 where he’s a better fit. (Giblin)

Long, athletic, everything teams are looking for in a 2-guard, right?

8. Detroit Pistons – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado: The Ben Gordon experiment (and his contract) has not exactly payed big dividends for the Pistons. With a solid foundation of Greg Monroe at the post, the Pistons need to look to get younger. Burks is a good start. (Dalton)

  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Thompson is one of the better all-around players in this draft. He can guard multiple positions, is a versatile scorer, and hits the boards on both ends. He doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he plays with a blue collar attitude. Charlotte might see higher upside elsewhere, but they can’t afford to whiff on these top-ten picks. Thompson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game and should provide some stability. (Mayo)

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania: Sure, Valanciunas won’t be playing in the NBA next season, but come 2012-13 Andrew Bogut may also not be on the Bucks roster anymore. He may have the highest ceiling of any player in this draft. Look for a team to grab him in the top-10 regardless of contract issues. (Luke)

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Draft Debates: Chris Singleton vs. Jordan Hamilton

With the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant dominating the NBA from the wing, teams are continually looking to counter those stars with great wing players of their own.

Now, neither Chris Singleton nor Jordan Hamilton project to be anywhere near the caliber of James or Durant, but both are athletically gifted and likely to be good NBA players and that’s exactly what this draft class is all about – Potential!

So, who would you rather the defensive guru, Singlteon, or offensive aficionado, Hamilton?

Let’s take a look… shall we:

Chris Singleton, Florida State

(Giblin)

He's got the defensive game but will the lengthy wing ever develop an offensive arsenal?

What He Brings: Defense. Defense. Defense. In a NBA world with wings like the ones mentioned above, having a perimeter defender like Singleton can turn a team’s postseason fortune by shutting down these stars and throwing them off their game. But with Singleton’s size and athleticism, he can guard not only wing-oriented guards and forwards but also opposing team’s power forwards. That type of versatility cannot be overlooked. In a draft that is considered relatively weak, why not draft the one-sure thing: the best on-ball perimeter defender who can make an immediate impact?

So the guy has the athleticism and size to defend at the next level, but what about his offense? Well…it’s improved. It was pretty much non-existent his first couple years in Tallahassee, but he improved his PPG each of his three season at FSU and went from a 30% 3-PT shooter to 37%. That’s a big improvement but he still tends to be a little streaky. Developing a more consistent jumper would do wonders for his game. Nevertheless, he showed signs of improvement which has to be encouraging. But with Singleton’s size and leaping ability, he should be attacking the basket more and trying to pick-up more “garbage” points around the basket.

Some have questioned Singleton’s mentality and “fire” (I’m looking at you Chad Ford). I don’t buy it. You don’t jeopardize your basketball career by rushing your recovery from a broken foot to participate in the NCAA tournament without a little toughness and “fire.”

Possible Landing Spots: Washington Wizards (6th and 18th picks), Sacramento Kings (7th), Charlotte Bobcats (9th and 19th), Milwaukee Bucks (10th),Golden State Warriors (11th), Utah Jazz (12th), Houston Rockets (14th and 23rd), New York Knicks (17th)

Ideal fit: I honestly think Singleton is the safest pick in the draft. There are many gifted offensive players that end up playing in Europe or for perennial lottery teams. Defenders like Singleton are in such high demand and almost always find themselves playing in May and June. It’s not a coincidence.

That said, I think a blue-collar team like the Jazz would be a good fit. AK-47 likely is not going to becoming back to Utah, so replacing his versatility and defense with Singleton seems like a perfect fit. While Jerry Sloan might be gone, Kevin O’Conner will still love the versatility that Singleton can bring and would be a good complement to their already strong front court.

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Draft Debates: Point Guards, Walker vs. Knight

It is no secret that Kyrie Irving is going to be the first point guard taken in this draft. Whether that means he will be the first overall pick remains to be seen, but there is no chance that another point guard usurps him. From there, it has been widely speculated that Kentucky’s Brandon Knight would be the next ball handler off the board, but as the draft looms closer, things could be shuffling a bit. A lot of it will depend on what the Jazz, who many mock drafters have had taking Knight, decide to do with their third pick. If they pass on him, then that opens things up quite a bit. Some teams are rumored to consider Walker a better fit for their offense than Knight. Still, many teams are simply mesmerized by Knight’s upside. Time will tell–but let’s sound off on it.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky

He's represented the Cats, who's next?

What He Brings: The word “upside” is one of the most overused terms when it comes to any draft, but when it comes to picking 18- and 19-year-old kids who have only played a year in college, most of what teams base their decision on is potential, or in other words “upside.” Knight certainly falls into this category–not that he didn’t produce at Kentucky during his one year there where he averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 4.2 APG. NBA scouts are in love with his size for the point guard position. He stands at 6’4″ but his length doesn’t detract from his quickness or defensive ability, which is a big plus.

The questions arise as to whether or not he fits as a pure point guard in the NBA. Where Kemba Walker dazzles GMs is with his charismatic personality which instills a confidence that Walker can run a team. Knight, on the other hand, is much more reserved, but so is Derrick Rose. How is that working out for the Bulls? Knight can score in a variety of ways and proved during this past NCAA Tournament that he plays big in big games. His turnover numbers (3.2 per game) are definitely where he needs to work on his game and are part of the reason that some GMs aren’t 100% sold on him as a pure point guard in the NBA, but those are the kind of problems that can be ironed out in his development.

It would not surprise me in the slightest if five years from now Brandon Knight is rated as the best point guard to come out of this class.

Possible Landing Spots: Utah Jazz (3rd pick), Toronto Raptors (5th pick), Sacramento Kings (7th pick), Detroit Pistons (8th pick)

Ideal Fit: There is no way that Knight slips past the Kings at number seven. The question will be whether the Jazz snag him third overall. If so, I think it would be a great fit for both sides. With Devin Harris in the fold, Knight does not have to start and run the offense from day one. He can learn the system and develop behind a veteran player. The Jazz are amassing young talent that will be able to grow and develop with Knight. They have another pick in the lottery (#12) this year and added rookies Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward to the squad last season.

Hypothetically, if the Jazz were to choose a guy like Alec Burks or Chris Singleton with their later pick, they would have quite a group of youngsters to develop. A lineup of Knight, Burks/Singleton, Hayward, Favors, and Al Jefferson in three years could have other Western Conference teams a little nervous about their futures.

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Twithitter’s: 2nd Round Value

We have completed not one, but two NBA mock drafts so far and we’ve learned one thing: this draft is going to be incredibly difficult to project. And we’ve only focused on the first round!

Recent history has shown us that some serious NBA talent can drop to Round Two and the teams that find those hidden gems can reap the benefits for years. Paul Millsap, Marc Gasol, Carlos Boozer, DeJuan Blair, Monta Ellis, Gilbert Arenas, and the list goes on. Some players have been All-Stars. Others have turned into solid role players.

Either way – teams can pick up championship pieces in the second round.

So that begs the question: what players could be this year’s hidden gems? Who could contribute immediately coming off the bench for a contender?

Our “Experts” weigh in…

Giblin

Looks like white man CAN jump after all

  1. Jon Leuer, Wisconsin – Leuer has a great shooting stroke for a 7-footer and has better athleticism than he is given credit for. He reminds me a lot of Tyler Hansbrough (sorry for the Caucasian on Caucasian comparison). Hansbrough went 13th overall. Leuer in the 2nd round would be phenomenal value.
  2. Isaiah Thomas, Washington – Need instant energy and offense off the bench? Isiah’s your guy. What Isiah doesn’t have in size, he makes up for in heart and drive. We’ve talked about how much we love Isiah before but rightfully so – he’s going to be an instant contributor at the next level.
  3. Demetri McCamey, Illinois– McCamey may not have elite athleticism but he has pretty good size and is a natural point guard unlike some of the other scoring “point guards” in this draft. When his head is screwed on straight, he can run a team and be very effective. We’re guessing a paycheck will help him keep his focus at the next level. Continue reading

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NBA Mock Draft 2.0

Round two of our mock NBA Draft comes with the NBA less than ten days until the June 23rd draft. We changed the draft order up a bit and added Dalton to the mix. And to the shock of no one, it looks completely different than our first go at it.

After the first two picks, the Luke thinks the Jazz go big and the ripple effect changes everything after…Cavs up first with Giblin making the pick…

  1. Cleveland Cavs – Kyrie Irving, Duke: Dalton explained why he likes Kemba over Kyrie because of experience and production, but he forgot that NBA G.M.s don’t draft based off of your collegiate performances. Kyrie has the skills to be an elite point guard in the league. As talented as Derrick Williams is, Dan Gilbert and the Cavs get their floor general of the future. (Giblin)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Arizona: This pick is a no-brainer. Although the Timberwolves seem to only have SFs and PFs (William’s natural positions), Williams is one of the precious few blue chip prospects in the draft. He’s a poor man’s Blake Griffin but, in this draft, that warrants immediate consideration at number two. They could also go PG here, but David Kahn wouldn’t dare try to bring in another first round PG after the Timberwolves have basically said it is a done deal Ricky Rubio is coming over. (Dalton)
  3. Utah Jazz –Enes Kanter, Turkey:  Kanter has been a hot name among Scouts and GM’s over the past few weeks and even with a logjam in the middle for the Jazz, Kanter’s potential is too good to pass up.  A year or two behind Big Al and Milsap and the Kanter/Favors combo could be a force to be reckoned with. (Luke)

    The Turks got some ups, but is it enough to get the Jazz attention at #3?

  4. Cleveland Cavs – Jan Vesely, Czech Republic: With Kanter off the board, the Cavs have to shuffle a bit, but Vesely is widely considered a top-5 pick and would give Cleveland a versatile wing with size to pair with Kyrie Irving in the rebuilding project. If there was any issue with Vesely’s buyout with his European team, the Cavs should be able to wait a year or two given that this team is very likely not going to be contending for a playoff spot for at least a few years. (Mayo)
  5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight, Kentucky: Many people feel Toronto G.M. Bryan Colangelo wants to go international for this pick; but if Brandon Knight falls out of the first four picks, he won’t hesitate grabbing the gifted Wildcat. He’ll replace Jose Calderon in no time giving Raptors fans a legitimate one in a growing point-guard dominate league.  (Giblin)
  6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: Leonard has been falling in many mock drafts, but he shouldn’t be. Leonard is extremely athletic and has the ability to be a Bruce Bowen like defender. I don’t want to continue to disparage this draft, but this year that warrants top ten considerations. Leonard will give the Wizards a tough, defensive presence that they have not had since Deshawn Stevenson left. The Wizards should focus on defense this year then get offensive firepower next year in a loaded 2012 draft. (Dalton)
  7. Sacramento Kings – Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania: Kemba seems to be the popular pick here, but with Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih and a rising stud in Marcus Thornton all playing a combo-guard role already, taking a big here would be beneficial. Not to mention, the 6-10 Lithuanian teamed with 2010 #1, Demarcus Cousins, in the middle, should help the Kings add to the win column and fast.  (Luke)
  8. Detroit Pistons – Tristan Thompson, TexasThompson provides some toughness and versatility for the Pistons to pair with Greg Monroe in the front court. Thompson can add a low-post scoring threat that Monroe doesn’t quite bring on a consistent basis, and the two could do some great things together. (Mayo)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton, Texas: The Bobcats need a scoring star for their future. I have heard that Michael Jordan and company have talked about “drafting for doubles instead of home runs.” That doesn’t sound like MJ does it? Bobcats try and find a player that can develop into an elite scorer with improved shot selection. Alec Burks could be the pick here too.  (Giblin)
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – Marcus Morris, Kansas: Morris is a very athletic and skilled big man who should be able to contribute right away. He is not particularly tall, but he is young (doesn’t turn 22 until September), and would give the Bucks a solid front court pairing of Morris and Bogut. (Dalton) Continue reading

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