Some of you may not know me well around here but I'm a long time member and big time college hoops fan. Every year I show up in most of the draft discussions/post. I believe I have a pretty good eye for talent and a pretty good record of calling it right with just basic public information. I've called out busts like, Thabeat, Cole Aldrich, MKG, Aminu, Evan Turner, and called out sleepers like Chandler Parsons, Paul George, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Patterson, etc.
Sure I've been wrong a few times (Wesley Johnson and others) but not that often. Some day my lazy butt will make a cumulative post with links to prove my hit record/ percentage rate which i believe will be surprisingly high, even to myself. In the mean time, should you care, feel free to search yourself: Balance + Draft.
So this year there isn't much draft talk around here for me to play in - understandably so, being that we don't have any daft picks. Nonetheless, this horrific fact seems so fittingly to be typical Warriors luck. While many are singing songs of joy that our team's hopes no longer rely on some draft prospects ability to change the future fate of the franchise! Now, the GSW are a relevant team and a desired destination amongst the leagues top talent. Dare I say, that we're now a perennial playoff team (knock on wood) so we can now discuss players that actually matter? The truth of it all is, the year we should be in the draft we're not. And, the years we were, well....
Actually, we have pretty good success recently. Let's not forget that we turned the franchise around through the draft in Steph Curry. And nearly every other player we have was also acquired through the draft in some way. We drafted Klay Thompson, Bogut was acquired through two players we drafted in Ellis and Udoh, David Lee was traded for Randolph and Azubukie (RIP to his short basketball career), Harrison Barnes was drafted and AI (Andre Iguodala) was traded for two future first round picks and two future 2nd round picks. Which may prove to be a huge mistake.
So back to this draft. The pundits say it's one of the best draft classes ever. I actually couldn't agree more. We will be coveting players from this draft for years to come. Let me just run you quickly through my quick thoughts on the draft. I really just want to put it out there for future reference.
Jabari Parker should probably be the 1st pick in the draft (this was drafted before news broke yesterday about Embiid's stress fracture and pending surgery). He's super talented. And the comparisons to Carmelo and PP aka The Truth are legit. However, I think he's better than both. Consider a unselfish, more athletic Carmelo, and a bigger PP. His biggest area of need is fitness. And that's got to be the easiest of any skill someone might need to acquire. He'll learn to eat right once he get's around some professionals and much like James Harden, he could become much more athletic once he gets in better physical shape. His athleticism is also highly under rated as he is today. I think pundits knock him on that because his game isn't predicated on athleticism.
On to one who's game is; Andrew Wiggins. I don't know where to peg him but i'm leaning toward over rated. Being that he's the youngest in this class and really should have been a senior in HS this year (he skipped a year of HS to enter college and the NBA draft early) it makes him a little more difficult to evaluate as his value really is mostly potential. It's extremely difficult to know who's going to reach their potetial and who isn't. At least from the information i can only gather from home. I'm not privy to private workouts et cetera.
Embiid is legit. His footwork, athleticism size and touch is Elite. He's one of the best center prospects i've ever seen. Possibly better than was Greg Oden. I sure hope he doesn't have the same fate. I wish him all the luck in his surgery and recovery. It will be interesting to see how far he drops because of this stress fracture in his foot. Coupled with the back injury and you begin to see the outlining of a player who's body can't support it's size. This doesn't bode well for his future as you can expect natural weight gain to occur for nearly anyone from 20 to 30 years old.
Aaron Gordon is the most under rated player in the draft. This guy is only 18 and i believe he could be better than Blake Griffin. Do you guys remember BG's freshman year? Do you also remember his explosive improvement in his Sophmore year before he was drafted? Yes, he played two years of college hoops before entering the draft. Gordon is not only a Freshman but the youngest of the class at just 18 years old. He has the beginings of a a better jump shot and a he's a much, much better defender. Dare i say elite. He's the one player in this draft I really, really covet and would trade just about anyone not named Curry to acquire. In fact, i'd rather have Gordon than K Love because of the defense, athleticism and rookie contract.
Julius Randle is a bit Z-Bo and a Bit-Josh Smith. He's got a better jump shot than most know and will be a beast in the NBA. He'll be getting to the FT line a lot! Definite all star. Also a Fab Freshman like many of the others in this draft. That point is what really is missing when people are evaluating this class. Not only are there so many All Star caliber prospects but these guys are just Freshman. It's hard to imagine what the buzz would be for this class if they were all a couple years older. Maybe unanimously awarded the best draft class of all time.
Okay let me just jump into the later value/sleeper picks. I'm not impressing anyone for saying the top 5 of this draft is loaded with exceptional talent.
Cleanthony Early - a fantastic scorer and under rated athlete. Didn't anyone notice he had the 3rd highest combine standing vert? he'll be a very good scorer in the NBA.
Nick Johnson - is also a superb athlete and fantastic/ elite defender. His jump shot is under rated and should improve but he'll be a fantastic two guard in the NBA.
Adreian Payne looks to be a really good PF. He's 6-10, 240 lbs with an outside jumper. Played most of the last season with Mono. He's also one of the most under rated athletes in the class. check him out in the dunk contest. He's a fantastic two way player and very under rated.
Dwight Powell from Standford is a freak athlete and elite defender. However, I'm not sure he can play Center in the NBA. If he can, he'll be a superb selection. Otherwise he'll be a back up PF, defensive specialist. But that's not a terrible thing. If he can mold his game after Serg Ibaka, he may be a super-sleeper. Remember, athletic big men do much better in the NBA than they do in college. See Mason Plumblee, Andre Drummond, Dennis Rodman etc. If we lose Draymond Green in a trade, i would love to pick up Powell. He's much bigger than Green, much more athletic and has the lateral quickness to defend the perimeter to the paint. Nearly every position on the floor. Just don't let him shoot.
Overrated: Marcus Smart. He's great competitor but not a very good shooter at all.
Dante Exum, beware. I just haven't seen enough of him to really know but i would proceed with caution. I don't see the Westbrook explosiveness.
Speaking of Explosiveness - Zach LaVine is super underrated. He should be a lottery pick but could be available late in the first round or early 2nd round. If you like Gerald Green, he's your guy. He could very well be a future dunk contest winner but he also has a very under rated handle and jump shot. The guy is super young but he's an elite athlete with a lot of upside. I don't think he's Paul George but I said this about him before the draft - he checks three important boxes that warrant him serious consideration: 1) size, check. 2) elite athleticism, check 3) a 3pt jump shot, check.
Okay, that's enough typing for now. If you'd like a specific opinion about someone who i didn't mention, feel free to ask below. I hope you find this interesting.
So these are just a few of my thoughts off the surface of this draft. I really wish we were in play for some of these guys.