Here’s my next-to-last first-round
projection for the June 28 NBA Draft.
This one differs from my first and
last (to be posted the day before the draft) in that it is, for the most part, a
look at the 1 to 30 selections if I were getting paid to make the respective
choices for the franchises.
My last stab at this will be one in
which I’m strictly projecting the way I think each of the decision-makers will
decide upon each of those selections.
OK, here we go . .
If yours truly was picking for each
of the teams on June 28:
1. Portland: Greg Oden
(*6-11, Ohio State)
Frank Says: If only all of
life was so simple and clear-cut as saying “We’ll take Greg Oden with the No. 1
selection, thank you very much!”
2. Seattle: Kevin Durant
Frank Says: And, yes,
picking the slender scoring sensation (there’s your daily dose of alliteration)
in this slot is every bit as self evident as the previous selection.
3. Atlanta: Mike Conley
(*5-11 ¾, Ohio State)
Frank Says: This franchise
needs an elite playmaker, first and foremost – not a guy who might prove
to be a better player than Marvin Williams or Shelden Williams.
The Hawks shouldn’t delude themselves into believing Acie Law and Javaris Crittenton would be “good enough” alternatives to Conley at the No. 11
4. Memphis: Al Horford (*6-8 ¾, Florida)
Frank Says: His ceiling for
stardom isn’t as high as Jeff Green’s or Brandan Wright’s but he looks like an
immediate 12-to-14 point- and 7-to-9 rebound-per game producer.
5. Boston: Jeff Green (*6-7
Frank Says: The Celtics have
got Paul Pierce and Gerald Green as wing-types but Jeff Green’s versatility, and
star potential, makes him the obvious choice anyway.
6. Milwaukee: Brandan Wright
(*6-8 ¾, North Carolina)
Frank Says: Just think – the
Bucks are going to have the opportunity to draft Horford, Green or this guy and
throw him into a frontline that already includes Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva. They should be feeling pretty good come June 28.
7. Minnesota: Joakim Noah
(*6-10 ½, Florida)
Frank Says: He’s not nearly
the scorer that Spencer Hawes or (apparently) Yi Jianlian is but Noah should
have more impact as a defender, rebounder and “energy guy”. And, who knows?
Maybe that ugly jumper will eventually be rescued.
8. Charlotte: Corey Brewer
(*6-6 ¾, Florida)
Frank Says: Jeff Green would
be the ideal selection in this slot but I’m thinking there is no way he’s around
for the Bobcats. Brewer needs to get a stronger and gain a bit of consistency on
his jump shot.
9. Chicago: Spencer Hawes
(*6-10 ½, Washington)
Frank Says: If you’re of the
mind that the Timberwolves have “promised” Hawes at No. 7 (and I’m told that
isn’t the case), he could already be gone by the time the Bulls are up.
Hawes/Luol Deng (assuming he’s not dealt in a package for Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant)/Tyrus Thomas would have the look of an intriguing frontcourt.
10. Sacramento: Yi Jianlian
Frank Says: He’s supposedly
quite the athlete with quite the jump shot and quite the ball-handling skills.
With all the other frontcourt guys probably gone at this point, he seems the
11. Atlanta: Julian Wright
(*6-8 ¾, Kansas)
Frank Says: Assuming the
Hawks have gone for Conley at No. 3 and still hold this choice, this becomes one
of those “best available prospect” kind of selections – even with a roster
flooded with wing-types.
12. Philadelphia: Al Thornton (*6-5 ¾, Florida State)
Frank Says: The 76ers would
love to see Hawes still on the board here. But it’s not going to happen. Nick Young would be tempting here as well.
13. New Orleans: Nick Young
Frank Says: The guy
(Lorenzo Romar) who coached the 2007 Rookie of the Year (Brandon Roy) at the University of Washington thinks Young can have comparable
immediate impact next season.
14. L.A. Clippers: Acie Law
(*6-2, Texas A&M)
Frank Says: The franchise
needs a point with Shaun Livingston’s future effectiveness still in limbo. Get
ready for a new edition of L.A. Law.
15. Detroit: Rodney Stuckey
(*6-3 ¾, Eastern Washington)
Frank Says: He would give
them someone capable of playing 20 or so minutes per game in relief of both
Chauncy Billups and Richard Hamilton.
16. Washington: Josh McRoberts (6-8 ¾, Duke)
Frank Says: The Clippers
will be tempted to snap him two slots earlier and the Wizards might also go
Jason Smith or Kyrlo Fesenko here.
17. New Jersey: Sean Williams (6-8, Boston College)
Frank Says: McRoberts (if
available) or Smith would also be in the mix, especially since they are taller
and better offensive players than the shot blocking and rebounding specialist
toting some off-the-court baggage.
18. Golden State: Jason
Smith (*6-10 ¾, Colorado State)
Frank Says: As is the case
with Yi Jianlian, NBA decision makers are trying to decide whether he is
really a future standout NBA player or just a very tall athlete who looks
like he should be a player.
19. L.A. Lakers: Thaddeus Young (*6-5 ¾, Georgia Tech)
Frank Says: Any of the other
wings/two guards listed a few slots below this could also come into play,
especially if the league’s leading scorer truly is headed elsewhere this
20. Miami: Kyrlo Fesenko
Frank Says: One of the
hottest names on the workout circuit may be long gone before the Heat is making
21. Philadelphia: Gabe Pruitt (6-4, USC)
Frank Says: A better
prospect than Crittenton as a “point” who could also play on the
22. Charlotte: Javaris
Crittenton (6-3, 194, Georgia Tech)
Frank Says: Of course, if
there are enough NBA scouting staffs who don’t buy into my opinion that he rates
below Law, Stuckey and Pruitt, the chances are that he will have been chosen at
least several picks before the Bobcats are making their second
23. New York: Marco
Belinelli (6-5, Italy)
Frank Says: Then again, if
the Wilson Chandler (DePaul) “promise” speculation has merit, the Knicks will
pass on Belinelli (assuming he hasn’t already been selected).
24. Phoenix: Rudy Fernandez
Frank Says: He’d fit right
in, filling lanes and taking passes from Steve Nash for dunks or 3’s.
25. Utah: Morris Almond
Frank Says: He’s a
“catch-and-shoot-it” guy who would be an inviting target for Deron Williams
26. Houston: Aaron Gray
Frank Says: Gray and Tiago Splitter could prove to benefit most by DeVon Hardin and Ante Tomic pulling out
of the draft pool.
27. Detroit: Tiago Splitter
Frank Says: Based on the
scouting department’s insights into overseas talent, “going foreign” seems
likely with one of the Piston’s first round selections.
28. San Antonio: Daequan Cook (*6-3 ¾, Ohio State)
Frank Says: The Spurs will
find it difficult to pass on lottery-level talent while picking this
close to the bottom of the first round.
29. Phoenix: Petteri Koponen
Frank Says: Or, the Suns
might for another potential Steve Nash protégé – Aaron Brooks of
30. Philadelphia: Marc Gasol
Frank Says: After picking a
wing (Thornton) and combo guard (Pruitt), the 76ers might be inclined to go
“big” with their final first-round option.
*Height, without shoes, and weight
at Pre-Draft Camp; others are estimated or what was listed on college
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of
Fame in April, 2005, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at
email@example.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at