Idle Chatter on Draft Day

Joakim Noah celebrates his arrival into the NBA with Commissioner Stern.

Since I have taken such a lengthly hiatus from Paints in the Point, let it be known that I intend to return to the web better than ever. Mediocrity may have been my calling card in the past, but tonight is the beginning of a new era. The 2010 NBA Draft marks the return of the Paints in the Point Podcast (my personal favorite) and my return to our webpage. It also marks the arrival of John Wall to the NBA and begins the weeklong countdown to July 1st and Free Agency. Big day, wouldn’t you say? Regarding John Wall; I don’t think Gilbert Arenas and Wall can play together, that is asking for too much. Gilbert, although a remarkably gifted scorer, is a point guard through and through and deserves to start in this league. Wall and Arenas cannot coexist, especially on a rebuilding team. John Wall is the can’t miss player of this draft and the Wizards should select him with the first overall pick. It would be a mistake not to. After the selection of Wall, Washington will have to find a way to move Arenas in order for Wall to develop at his own rate and be the team’s starting point guard from day one. I understand that Arenas is owed something like $20 million this year, but Washington has got to find a way to get rid of him. Wall is the future.

Philadelphia needs stability. John Collins is a step in the right direction but what the team really needs is the stability afforded by quality starters. Trading away Samuel Dalembert makes sense, but the money this team gave to an aging Elton Brand still baffles me. I also have trouble pairing Andre Igoudala and Evan Turner together, but it would seem to be the right move for this team. Turner gives them points, rebounds, and assists, and in the future, he and point guard Jrue Holiday could make for an excellent backcourt tandem. Some have compared Turner to Brandon Roy, but I just don’t see Turner ever becoming the explosive scorer that Roy has proven to be. Also, Wesley Johnson is not the complete player that Turner is. Johnson is a superior athlete and is a much better shooter, but Turner fills up the stat sheet like no other player in this draft.

The Nets have a great chance to build a dominant front line in this draft. However, the Nets would be wise to steer clear of Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins with this pick. New Jersey already has the best young center in the league not named Howard or Perkins in Brooke Lopez. With Lopez anchoring the paint, New Jersey should instead select Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors. The young Favors was the best power forward in college basketball last year, and was nearly the top high school player in the country, as many considered him to be neck and neck with John Wall. Make no mistake though, Favors is raw and unfinished and his offensive game needs work. However, his upside is as high as anyone in this draft and if the Nets are looking for their forward of the future, Favors is their man.

With the fourth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select… anyone but Ricky Rubio or another point guard. As long as the Wolves select a player who does not, has not, nor will ever play either of the guard positions, they can say they had a successful draft. If this pick is not traded, Minnesota should select Syracuse forward Wes Johnson. Johnson, unlike the players selected before him, enters the league at age 22, polished and ready to contribute immediately. Scouts have called rated his jump shot as one of the best in this draft, and raved about quality of his footwork. Johnson moves fluidly and shows none of the mechanicalness exhibited by Derrick Favors. Minnesota has plenty of depth inside, but could really use an impact player on the wing. Johnson is a better shooter and a better athlete than Evan Turner, and is most certainly a better basketball player than Corey Brewer. A team in desperate need of an impact scorer, Johnson could be the man. In addition, Johnson, Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, and Kevin Love make for a terrific young nucleus.

The Sacramento Kings pick 5th. If he isn’t already gone, DeMarcus Cousins comes off the board here. Other than John Wall, Cousins is the most NBA ready player in this draft. His game, in particular his rebounding skills, should translate to the NBA immediately. Questions about his maturity level abound, and the Kings should expect to experience their fair share of growing pains with Cousins, but when he is on the floor, he is a bruising, in your face, instant impact kind of player. You might say he is the anti-Derrick Favors. Cousins, if selected, gives the Kings a much needed center and makes for an extremly talented nucleus the includes reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, and Omri Casspi.

Switchin’ Gears:

Give it up for Sam Presti. Not only has he assembled a wildly talented team in Oklahoma City, but the guy has two more first round draft picks to work with this year. Plus, he recently pilfered the 18th pick and Daequan Cook from the Miami Heat. For a team already on the fast track to playoff contention, adding talent through the draft only sweetens the pot. It isn’t as though the Thunder have the 30th pick either, we are talking about the 18th overall pick. It should also be mentioned that this newly acquired pick and Cook could serve as excellent bargaining chips should Presti be looking to move up and into the lottery. Can you imagine a Thunder team with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and another lottery pick? They already have James Harden and Thabo Sefolosha, and Nic Collison isn’t bad. This is a team poised for a meteoric rise, and they are doing it the right way. There are quite a few teams out there that would love to be in Presti’s position, and even more who could learn a thing or two from this guy. Cleveland Cavaliers, are you listening?

Couldn’t do this whole thing without mentioning LeBron, could I?

One thing is for certain, I could not do this whole thing without mentioning William Wesley, a man who utterly fascinates me. According to Jalen Rose, himself a close friend and confidant of Wesley’s, LeBron James will not be returning to Cleveland next year. Rose said through Twitter that LeBron and Wesley have mulled it over and have settled on somewhere other that Cleveland. We’ll see about that one.

I hate to look like a fool with all of this talk about teams having a talented young nucleus. The reality is, even with the praise I have for some of these potential player pairings, most of these teams will be back in the lottery next year. The revolving door that is the NBA Draft Lottery is never ending, once you’re in it, it takes a very special talent to escape. Outside of John Wall, I don’t see any of the players in this draft having the kind of impact on their team to transform them from a lottery team to a playoff team. Unfortunately, Wall is that singular talent, but he is seems destined to be mired inside the beltway on a team with no apparent direction at all. What a shame.

Stay tuned for more on the mysterious William Wesley, draft analysis, and free agency news.

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One Response to Idle Chatter on Draft Day

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