So, for the first time in a while, I watched a lot of the NBA draft last night. First, I forgot about a couple of mid major guys, one you certainly heard of, one you and I certainly did not hear of (he was a sleeper on a few draft lists).
First, Jason Thompson of Rider went 12th overall to the Sacramento Kings. It was somewhat of a shocker that he went that high, but Thompson was dominant in his senior year with the Broncs. He was part of "The Great MAAC Attack" (that's what I call it now) of this past February's Bracket Buster Saturday where the MAAC won five of the six games they played that day (and that's when I knew Siena could knock off a team like Vandy after they went on the road and SMOKED eventual WAC champion Boise State). I think he is very NBA ready at 6-11 240 and averaged a double double the past two years (how Thompson ended up at Rider is a coup for the Broncs). And in Thompson last 12 games in college, 11 of them were double doubles..talk about clutch down the stretch. I think he will be a solid NBA pro.
Now for the guy you and I really never heard of. I had talked about IUPUI during the season, which included a big win over UMass, but little did I know that shooting guard George Hill would be drafted BEFORE my boy Chris Douglas Roberts. In fact, it wasn't even close. Hill, who was only selected 2nd team all mid major by College Hoops, went 26th overall to the Spurs (talk about landing with a really good team). Hill averaged 21.6 points, nearly 7 rebounds a game and 4 assists a game, can apparently play the 1 or 2. In that aforementioned UMass game, Hill had 30 points and 10 rebounds, including 8 of 16 from the field (4 of 5 from three) and 10 of 11 from the line. The kid can do it all and I am embarrassed that I don't know much about him.
As for the other two mid major guys I talked about, JaVale McGee and Courtney Lee, well they went as expected. McGee, who really needs to get a lot stronger, went to the Wizards at 18. Lee went to the Magic at 22.
As for shockers well, its three players that didn't get picked as high as they should have. Darrell Arthur, who many including Jay Bilas and Chad Ford thought was a top ten pick dropped all the way down to 27 by the Hornets. I thought it was a great pick for the Hornets. Well not so fast. The Hornets traded Arthur then to the Blazers, another good team. Then the Blazers traded him to the Rockets, another good team. Then the Rockets traded Arthur to the Grizzlies, well, not a good team. The kid was drafted low due to a supposed kidney issue (did anyone watch the two final four games, Arthur looked pretty good to me) and then he is passed around like a hot potato.
Then, speaking of Jayhawks who get drafted too low and then get traded, Mario Chalmers was drafted by Minnesota at #34 overall and then gets traded to Miami. The Heat get their point guard and Michael Beasley. Nice night for them.
Finally the steal of the night. Chris Douglas Roberts ended up at 40 (40?!!) to the Nets, in an absolute thievery, big time thievery. Chad Ford of ESPN said it best "The Nets make what could be their best pick of the night. I don't love Chris Douglas-Roberts, but he can score and is one of the best slashers in the draft. For a team that could use more juice in the backcourt, this is a fantastic value." Well, Chad, I love CDR. The Nets may have done the best of any team of the night. Brook Lopez falls, I mean falls into their lap at 10, then they draft Ryan Anderson at 21. Anderson's pretty good, a 6-10 forward with long range shooting and can drive to the hole. Then CDR at 40. SWEET. I think I just became a New Jersey Nets fan and as my friend Anthony Terentieff would say, "The Nets are jammin!"
By the way, do you think Kevin Love's father is doing cartwheels right now. During the draft on ESPN, they interviewed Stan Love, and he talked about showing Kevin old school forwards such as Kevin McHale (apparently Stan loves Kevin McHale) and then Love gets traded to McHale's team the Timberwolves. Perfect fit.
Other teams I thought did well; The Blazers had another interesting draft as Kevin Pritchard is every fantasy basketball GM's idol. They made oodles of trades and ended up with Jarryd Bayliss, which might be a steal, Nicholas Batum, who is a toolsy player and was the French league MVP, and tons of picks in next year's draft. Well they didn't need much this year and Greg Oden you could say is an addition since he missed all last year. I liked the Sonics pick of Westbrook (some say it was too high, but the Knicks were seriously looking at him at 6) and their trade for DJ White, an Indiana Hoosier player who actually comes to play - see below. Ibaka was a stretch but if he matures over in Europe, it could be huge for them. Also Detroit did well trading down and getting two solid second round picks that will fit their system in big men Trent Plaisted and Walter Sharpe.
And finally, the Clippers never learn. How ironic is it that the team with the most lottery picks in the history of the NBA draft, would use their 20th lottery pick on, yes, Eric Gordon. How priceless is that. Well, and to top it off, the Clips took D'Andre Jordan at 35th. He could be great, he could be a huge bust (but at 35, talent value wise its pretty good. Originally he was supposedly a lottery pick but teams were so scared about his work ethic he fell to 35). So, Clipper fans, get ready for the 21st lottery pick next year, because Eric Gordon is going to be a SPECTACULAR BUST. And we will have the Eric Gordon watch on this season. Every game he plays will be listed on this site. If I end up being wrong on Gordon, i will gladly admit it. But I don't think so. :-)