Monday, May 25, 2009

Danny Thoughts - Draft Edition

This is my friend Danny. Danny has many thoughts. They will be presented here in this new recurring segment called simply....Danny Thoughts.

As the season ends, my true torment begins. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the off-season. This is the time of year when people, like me, fantasize about every little move their team and the other teams could make. Neurosis does not describe the insanity that goes through my head during this time. There's no such thing as being rational. Comments like “How could we get Amare Stoudamire on this team” and “We absolutely have a chance at Lebron in 2010” pop into my head and linger for a handful of days. These few moments provide a long enough time for me to formulate a ridiculously lop-sided deal to make these things happen…

Sigh… if only we were in the post-season…

My favorite part about the offseason is the insanity I bring to the table when talking about the NBA Draft. The Nets have the 11th pick this year (no man’s land) and God FUCK-it, we will get the PERFECT player for us this year! After my year round analysis and excessive bothering of my friends, I’ve decided that at our position and based on our needs, we should draft one of three types of players:

1. Defensive SG/SF: They just need SOMEONE who can guard the perimeter and take pressure off of Devin Harris, since he is carrying a large load on offense. My picks would be:

Gerald Henderson: He is athletic, a very good defender, ATHLETIC, has an inconsistent jumper, ATHLETIC, and plays hard all the time. But, he's not a consistent scorer and is a Dukie, which could cause me serious agitation.

Wayne Ellington: Now, I’ll be frank here. I’m a huge UNC fan and I love this kid’s game. He doesn’t take over games all the time but his defense is very solid, especially playing in the passing lanes. When he catches and shoots, he hits almost everything. He’s got role player written all over him but what do the Nets need at this position? Someone who can play D and hit the open J. This kid can do that. Most importantly he reminds of Kerry Kittles. And I love Kerry Kittles.

Sam Young: Is he a SG or a SF? I don’t know! But I do know that this kid definitely plays defense real well and can hit the occasional jumper. He’s very athletic, but can’t really create for himself; therefore, he’s a catch-and-shoot type of guard/forward. I also saw him hit some big shots and have some big games when his team needed him. He’s from a tough-minded Pitt team and OK in my book!

Stephen Curry: 6’3”? Really? I wonder… He is an absolutely outstanding shooter with a quick release and moves terrifically without the ball. He seems like a shorter version of Rip Hamilton. However, I worry about him on D. The effort will be there and, with the offense not running through him, he’ll have much more energy to play D. But, I have a point to make here. For all the people who think and say defense is all about effort, ask yourself: Could YOU guard Lebron? Kobe? Wade? Melo? Vince Carter even? It’s not all about effort; you need some inkling of athleticism. Stephen Curry is not a Vince Carter athlete. He would be TERRIFIC off of our bench and I would strongly consider trading/releasing Jarvis Hayes if we drafted this kid. He’s not really a PG, but I think he’s got the handle to be effective. I just seriously wonder about his D.

Earl Clark: I hate these types of players; they never really pan out. I mean, a PF with SF handle? Where do they play? Are they even good enough to BE a mismatch? This is just another phrase for a player not great at anything specifically (rebounding, shooting) but decent at everything. They look great in college but probably won’t pan out in the NBA. However, Jeff Green is the Chosen One to ruin this theory. Damn him, I wish he were a Net! Oh, and Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, damnit, I’m gonna stop. But Earl Clark is not one of these players.

2. Bruising rebounding PF that can hit the occasional jump shot: I mean, they need Yi Jianlian to turn to the Dark Side or Ryan Anderson to get more consistent because our rotation this year was terrible. It was painful to watch the inconsistency and lack of production. It was also painful to see Yi or Ryan hit a jump shot one game, and totally air ball the same shot the next. Or stand on the FUCKING three point line and just wait for nothing. (On a sidenote, watching Yi shoot in practice, I learned that when he’s on, he only misses long or short, never left or right. Fix his balance Kiki.) That being said, the PF in this offense needs to have some form of a jumper or be able to play interior D and rebound well. And the contestants are:

DeJuan Blair: He is a bruiser, a hustler, a PF in a SF’s body, rebounds real well, flips 7’3” Centers from Uconn, gets into foul trouble, and finishes well. He is only 6’7”, but could he be a Paul Millsap-clone? IF ONLY. I like his toughness a lot and he is from that mentally tough Pitt team which could help kick some Yi Jianlian butt and whip him into shape.

James Johnson: This guy could be the sleeper of the draft. He can shoot it, put it on the floor, runs well in transition, rebound, handle, pass well, etc. HOWEVER, apparently he lacks focus at times and makes mental mistakes (see THE WHOLE WAKE FOREST TEAM). Other than that I don’t know too much about him except that says he improved exponentially from his freshman to sophomore year. Looks good on paper!

3. A speedy pg that passes first and moves the ball but can also finish at the rim and hit the occasional jumper (Devin’s back up not named Keyon Dooling): Devin gets hurt a lot because of his style of play (reckless, fast, a little dangerous, sometimes undisciplined). I think we need a speedy back up that moves the ball first instead of shoots first. And oh boy, there are two really FUCKING fast points guards in this year’s draft that do just that!

Ty Lawson: Another one of my UNC boys! Are you telling me that if this kid is sitting there at 11, you would not want him? He was the FASTEST player end to end in college basketball and if you watched UNC in the tourney this year, you would have seen that this guy was the reason they won the championship. He’s got terrific handle, doesn’t turn the ball over, is a much better shooter than people think, is real strong, and makes great decisions with the ball. He’s short for his position at 5’11” but he’s got terrific athleticism (yes, he can dunk), plays solid defense, and plays through pain. I haven’t even mentioned his crossover yet. Unbelievable. See how DJ Augustin did last year? This kid is WAY better.

Jonny Flynn: Another Big East player! They had an insanely competitive conference this year and it showed in how tough-minded all the players were. Sure, they didn’t have anyone in the championship game but they had 3 one seeds in the tourney this year, which tells you a lot. Jonny Flynn played amazingly well when it counted in the Big East tourney and he is also ridiculously fast. His 3 point jumper is a little suspect, but this kid can run a team. His handle is sick as he can crossover going both ways. I wish his D were better for a little guy but I think with the right tutelage, this guy could be a terrific point guard and someone I would not be angry with if Lawson and all the other players were gone.

Now here’s one of the more pressing questions. Do we draft based on position need or best player available? If this team were one player away, I would say go with position need. If we were the San Antonio Spurs, I would say stash in Europe. If we were the Phoenix Suns, I would say sell the pick and save cash. However, we are the New Jersey Nets baby! And I say we go best available player at whatever position from whatever city, state, country, universe, etc. WE NEED PLAYERS THAT CAN PLAY BASKETBALL, not Yi, not a hurt Najera, not Bobby Simmons, not Trenton Hassell. We not only need a competent big man, defensive guard, or passing PG - but an increase in overall talent. Best player available would give us more chips to trade, in the future. Outside of the top two picks, there is no one that could start for the Nets in this draft. Therefore, my final diagnosis is to get someone who could impact the game coming off the bench.

This has been Danny Thoughts. Drive home safely.

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