Plotting the draft (cont.)
Posted: Monday June 25, 2007 2:10PM; Updated: Monday June 25, 2007 3:44PM
4. The first Boston College player taken in the draft should be Jared Dudley.
A lot of talk has centered on former Eagles center Sean Williams, who was kicked off the team last season and had a 2005 arrest for marijuana possession. But Williams has been reluctant to work out for teams in the weeks leading up to the draft. I'll tell you why: He has no offensive game. Yes, Williams is a tremendous shot-blocker who was leading the nation in that category when he was dismissed, but even at his best he was considered a rudimentary offensive player who didn't have much of a repertoire outside of the dunk.
In the NBA, Williams, generously listed at 6-10, will likely have to play power forward, a position that will take away some of his shot-blocking abilities. At BC, Williams was free to roam around the rim, a task he performed admirably. But there are questions about his individual defense.
With Dudley, there are no such questions. The 6-7 senior may not do anything great, but he does everything well. He is a sound ball handler, excellent offensive rebounder and has mastered the mid-range jump shot, a lost art in the NBA today. Dudley has Eric Williams potential -- and in his prime, Williams was a pretty good player.
5. The San Antonio Spurs select Tiago Splitter and wait him out.
The Spurs have become the United Nations of the NBA, with five foreign players earning championship rings this season. And thanks to the international scouting acumen of GM R.C. Buford, they are also a team with a waiting list. Luis Scola, a 2002 second-round pick and one of the top players in Europe, is champing at the bit to join fellow Argentines Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto in San Antonio. Ian Mahinmi, a 2005 first-round pick who recently tore a muscle in his chest, has been developing nicely in France and could jump to the NBA next season. Splitter, a 6-11 power forward from Brazil who can run the floor and finish around the basket, may not be able to play in the NBA next season because of an expensive buyout with Spanish club Tau Ceramica. With teams not eager to waste a first-round pick on a potential Fran Vazquez, Splitter could fall to the Spurs at No. 28. And San Antonio has shown no reluctance to draft players it has to wait for.
Ideal fits for players
Corey Brewer with Boston: At the moment, the Celtics aren't looking for help at swingman. But if Boston keeps the No. 5 pick, the 6-9 Brewer, an aggressive, lock-down defender, could step in right away and wreak havoc on the defensive end. Unfortunately, "great perimeter defender" is not on Pierce's wish list.
Yi Jianlian with Phoenix: Yi's greatest asset is his speed, and the Suns' offense moves like a 747. Nothing helps a foreign player adjust like easy baskets in transition, and Yi would be a 10-point-per-game scorer immediately playing alongside Steve Nash.
Morris Almond with New York: The Knicks need shooters, and they don't come much better than the Rice senior. If New York wants Eddy Curry to see fewer double and triple teams next season, taking Almond would be a wise investment.
Mike Conley with Atlanta: While the third pick is way too high to select Conley, should the Buckeyes' freshman fall to No. 11, the Hawks should scoop him up. If the NCAA tournament was any barometer, Conley is the type of heady floor general Atlanta needs to guide its young offense. Let Conley, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Shelden Williams and Horford/Randolph grow together.
Jeff Green with Georgetown: Do you think there is any chance the paperwork got mixed up and Roy Hibbert was actually staying in the draft and Green was the one going back to college?