Decisions, decisions (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday May 22, 2007 11:18PM; Updated: Wednesday May 23, 2007 2:03PM
No. 2 Seattle: The Sonics have yet to hire a GM to replace Rick Sund, but that job became more attractive with Kevin Durant's arrival. (Lenny Wilkens will not be making the basketball decisions.) Durant and promising center Robert Swift (returning from knee surgery) will join Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in what will be one of the league's most intriguing lineups, provided they don't botch the negotiations to re-sign Lewis. Might want to hire a GM soon, Mr. Bennett.
No. 3 Atlanta: The Hawks will be considering either the athleticism of Brandan Wright or the toughness of Al Horford. My guess is they'll go for Wright's length -- and that they might also be interested in using their cap space to acquire a veteran point guard in a package for their No. 11 pick, now that that secondary pick has become expendable.
No. 4 Memphis: The Grizzlies' GM and coach openings became a little less attractive, and any thoughts from owner Michael Heisley that he would have an easier time selling his team with Oden on the roster are long gone. The best guess is that they draft Horford for the needed toughness he'll provide up front as well as for his potential to sell tickets. Though Mike Conley might also be considered here for his leadership and star potential.
No. 5 Boston: The pressure on VP Danny Ainge to trade this pick for a veteran will be considerable, though he'll have a hard time coaxing a proven star in exchange for the No. 5 pick. A lot is obviously going to change, but my gut feeling is that the Celtics will ultimately keep the pick on the premise that Yi Jianlian of China will contribute immediately and deliver more star potential than any existing NBA player they can acquire. Good luck convincing Paul Pierce of that.
No. 6 Milwaukee: Conley might be the choice to either replace or complement free agent point guard Mo Williams, who is more of a combo scorer. The Bucks could also look at Corey Brewer here. The presence of Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva would seem to preclude Joakim Noah.
No. 7 Minnesota: The Timberwolves need a big man, but will Noah complement Kevin Garnett? Or would defenders shade even more toward KG because Noah isn't a shooter? Pencil them in for Brewer.
No. 8 Charlotte: Noah might wind up here, though the Bobcats could also look at point guards Conley and Acie Law.
No. 9 Chicago: The Bulls are unlikely to land the low-post scorer they need to complement Ben Wallace with this pick -- 7-2 Roy Hibbert has withdrawn from the draft to return to Georgetown, and Noah can't be an option because he can't play alongside Wallace -- and so they may be forced to make a trade to shore up their front line. With this pick it wouldn't be surprising to see them go with Law as a big tough point guard in the Scott Skiles mode; they might very well draft a wing player here to help re-stock their perimeter should they have to deal one of their starters for a big man.
No. 10 Sacramento: There's no guessing what Geoff Petrie will do here, just as there's no sense in guessing what will happen past this point in the draft with a full month of rumor and gossip still to be played out.