The annual NBA draft is already upon us and we are nowhere near ready to fully comprehend the magnitude of greatness or stupidity that each of the teams will achieve Thursday night. Every year, teams will pick out a player among the hundreds available to either lay the foundation for their franchise, or to sew up any loose ends. Often, however, they will make a critical mistake that could cost them in the long run and be mocked nationally on radio shows. You could draft the next Michael Jordan, or the next Chris Mihm.
So, with the first pick, whom do the Los Angeles Clippers choose to be their favorite disappointment? Blake Griffin seems to be the easy and obvious choice for the sad and pathetic Clippers. He could replace All-Star forward Elton Brand’s rebounding after he abandoned ship previous to this season and help Baron Davis by throwing in the occasional dunk. However, he is the shortest 6’10’’ player in basketball and could struggle against long defenders. The Clippers need a big name and a young big man who can aide either Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby (whichever one they keep).
With the first pick all bust assured to be Griffin, the rest of the draft has more mystery and intrigue than a Dan Brown novel. There are some freakish athletes, foreign studs, and possible draft busts out in the field of hopefuls. One European player that scouts are raving about is Ricky Rubio. The Spanish stud has been hyped for a few years at this point, claims of his scary ball handling skills and his Ginobili-esque ability to maneuver around the court. He could go anywhere from number two to all the way down to the Knickerbockers at number eight. He would fit in well with D’Antoni’s system, the New York version of Steve Nash. Unfortunately for New York fans, his potential will not allow the other six teams to let him slip down the board.
The rest of the picks are a toss-up. Brandon Jennings has loads of potential and leaves some scouts salivating at his prospects; his jolt to Europe instead of college worries some teams. Tyreke Evans is another player who will be drafted on potential and not actual stats or figures. Hasheem Thabeet has enormous height that will bait and hook some team in desperate need of a shot blocker. Jordan Hill plays big at 6’10’’ and is garnering much interest from the Knicks who currently rely on Eddy Curry and David Lee to pound the paint. Chase Buddinger has more talent than most of the players in this draft. He is a freaky athlete that probably could have gone pro in volleyball.
Then comes the curious case of Stephen Curry. He has the name recognition that most fans die for. He would immediately become a fan favorite, with the people in the stands chanting his name. His pedigree is impeccable, with his father Dell a longtime professional and his brother playing at Duke. He could find his shot anywhere on the court at Davidson and has unlimited range. Although J.J. Reddick was thought to be very similar with his skills and abilities, so you never know. He can handle the rock as well as shoot lights out if given space. He, more than any other player, is a wild card in this year’s draft. He could either be a devastating three-point shooter, or he could ride the bench for the entirety of his miserable career, playing in scrap minutes and bounce around the league. He could either be Reggie Miller or Damon Jones, and therein lies the risk when you select a player based on potential.