Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 10:35 AM
THE NBA DRAFT - THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
Let's get something completely clear regarding last night's 2015 NBA Draft from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn ...There are gonna be a whole lot of teams "answering" to their fans/critics in the days ahead as this 2015 draft is analyzed/dissected and discussed backwards and forwards and in a moment we'll weigh in on - as the headline says - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
First, a little piece of housekeeping as our Jim Sez Mock Draft this week did nail 27 of the 30 first-round picks - not bad - but we only hit four of 'em right on the head (not good!) and may we say we took particular pride in accurately calling the #11 pick of Texas C Myles Turner to the Indiana Pacers and the #12 pick of Kentucky F Trey Lyles to Utah ... so there!
Now, let's dispense with this silly notion of handing out grades here and instead get to the real meat on the bones of this year's NBA Draft ...
Gotta say that our own "draft board" had Kentucky F Karl-Anthony Towns and Ohio State G D'Angelo Russell basically dead-even on our talent scale and so we were kinda glad to see those two studs go back-to-back right at the very top of this draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively - and anyone that believes the Lakers were busy buying more "entertainment" than talent with the Russell pick you're only partially correct as LA truly liked him more than Duke C Jahlil Okafor who went third overall to the Philadelphia 76ers.
In a draft that was filled with high-quality shooters - and coming off an NBA season when the three-point happy Golden State Warriors won it all - we salute the first-round choices of Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky to Charlotte at #9, Kentucky's Devin Booker to Phoenix at #13 and Georgia Southern's R.J. Hunter to Boston at pick #28. Both Booker and Hunter fell a bit more than we would have forecast and so excuse us for rooting for both dudes next year.
And just so you know we were paying attention to Round II (that ended at 12:23 a.m. ET), let's give a round of applause to a pair of second-round selections as Houston grabbed fierce F/C Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) who we had valued as a mid-first-rounder and wound up going #32 overall while Utah at #42 snagged multi-faceted G Olivier Hanlan (Boston College) who played well against the toughest league in the country (yes, the ACC) last year.
Okay, so it's time to pour some cold water on a few picks here ... but let us say you might be surprised where we go in this segment:
Let's start with the Sacramento Kings who used the #6 overall pick to snag defensive-minded F/C Willie Cauley-Stein - forget for a moment that he was rated more in the #10-through-14 lottery area and consider that if the Kings wind up trading C DeMarcus Cousins, then Cauley-Stein will be "naked" along the front court and even if Cousins stays then this new draftee likely won't be enough of an offensive threat to take double-coverage heat off Mr. Cousins. We'd much rather have seen Sacramento have grabbed PG Emmanuel Mudiay (who went the next pick to Denver) or Duke's Justise Winslow (#10 to Miami). Now, if the Kings go out and trade for Nuggets PG Ty Lawson that we'll cut 'em some slack.
And how about Oklahoma City grabbing cocky Murray State PG Cameron Payne at pick #14 - is he really gonna handle the ball more/better than Russell Westbrook in new head coach Billy Donovan's offense?
The fact is Okie City - and a few other on-the-verge type teams - displayed no real imagination in trading up to secure better talent here ...Gotta believe the Thunder could have dealt this pick plus a body or two and gotten into the top 10 and landed Winslow before he ever tumbled to the Heat.
And deeper teams such as Toronto (#20) and Chicago (#22) needed to pull the trigger and make a move into the top 10 area - either could have "stolen" Kaminsky with the right deals - and yet they sat tight;
Finally, with all those damn draft picks the Philly 76ers had - six in all including five in Round II - is there anyone out there that thinks GM Sam Hinkie and his "Trust the Process" slogan had a big night when you consider they wanted Russell and "settled" for Okafor and then snapped up a bunch of big men (some of 'em likely stiffs and/or projects) all the while this team needs some outside shooters to keep opponents honest. Ugh!
Let's face it ... the 2014-15 New York Knicks really blew it by winning two games in the last week of the regular season and thus getting fewer ping-pong balls in last month's Draft Lottery and somehow/some way needed to land Towns, Russell or Okafor or else risk the wrath of their rabid fan base.
So, when seven-footer Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia was tabbed with the #4 overall pick, the home-town crowd went berserk (and that was nothing compared to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith who followed up the draft show with a spectacular rant in which he said Knicks' president Phil Jackson has "hoodwinked" the fan base) and surely the booing got to Prozingis who did his best to smile.
Yes, ugly stuff although maybe not as ugly as many of the draftees' outfits. Yikes!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear in early August - can't wait!
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