Christmas Day for Warriors Fans, Part 1

by RT

For die-hard Warriors fans, the Baron Davis led 06-07 Warriors team ruined our annual holiday which is the NBA Draft.  Luckily for us, the 08-09 Warriors lived up to expectations and failed to make the playoffs.  As a result, I get to write this two-part NBA Draft preview.

In part 1, we will look at a few of the players that are making headlines this week.  Each of the selected players will be put into a group that (I believe) accurately predicts where they should be drafted based on their actual potential. 

Group 1: Should not be drafted in the first round let alone the lottery

Hasheem Thabeet

I am so sick of people comparing this guy to Diekmbe Mutumbo.  From his first day at Georgetown, Mutumbo gained satisfaction in blocking shots and reminding opposing players that he owned the paint with his signature finger wag.  Later on, he developed a serviceable offensive game and was at his best when he teamed up with Allen Iverson to make the NBA Finals in 2001.  Thabeet has nothing that even resembles the fire or the pride in his game needed to be successful at the highest level.  All you need to know about Thabeet is that he was so broken up by his team’s loss at the Final Four that he sat in the stands during the National Championship game wearing sunglasses with a big smile on his face.  He could be out of the league in 5 years.  Where is the upside?

Jordan Hill

Let me get this straight – Jordan Hill is a 6’9” power forward who is (“in theory”) a top 5 pick yet his team barely made the NCAA tournament and were dominated by their rivals (ASU) during his time at U of A. At best, he is good everything, great at nothing.  Sounds like the perfect franchise player to me!  Can you say Jared Jefferies?

(Brandon Jennings would have made this list but he is no longer projected as a lottery pick)

Group 2: Could be a productive NBA player but not worth the pick they will be taken at

Blake Griffin

Maybe I am missing something but isn’t Blake Griffin a poor man’s Dwight Howard

Freakish Athleticism: Check

No Jumper: Check

Low Basketball IQ: Check

Never going to be a go team player at the end of the game: Check

Don’t get me wrong, I know the guy is going to average 10 and 10 but he is not going to pay the dividends that teams should expect from the number one pick overall.

Stephen Curry

Why does everyone think Curry is going to be this great point guard?  He has been a scorer his entire life and now he is going to be asked to distribute the ball at the highest level of basketball on the planet.  Not exactly the easiest transition.  The majority of great point guards in the league played point guard in college and the best exception to that statement is Rajon Rondo.  However, how good would Rondo be if he was drafted by the Bucks? Think about it. Again, I think Curry will be a decent NBA player but stardom seems far from likely.

(More on Rondo, Danny Ainge would not be shopping the guy if he was as good as the media makes him out to be.)

James Harden

There is a very good chance that James Harden could have the mid-level exception named after him when his career is over.  Remember Will from Good Will Hunting?  Of course you do.  Well, James Harden will be Will Hunting’s equivalent in the NBA.  Harden has borderline All-Star talent with zero desire to do anything more than give B+ effort and collect $5 mm a year.  There is no doubt in my mind that one team will be tricked into picking him in the top 5.

Group 3: The NBA is a star driven league and these guys could become “IT” players

DeMar DeRozan

Besides Ricky Rubio, who in this draft has a higher ceiling than DeMar DeRozan?  The guy has an NBA body right now and is a super athlete.  He is not nearly as polished as O.J. Mayo was when he came out but is a better athlete and could be viewed as having more potential.  As long as David Stern is running the NBA, you will always need IT players to win the NBA Championship and DeRozan is one of the few players in this draft that could develop into an IT player.

Tyreke Evans

All I should have to say is 6’5” 195 lbs. and he plays the point.  What you need to know about him besides being a big PG is that he can distribute the ball and has the potential to cause all kinds of match-up problems if he is selected by a team with an above-average point guard.  There are very few teams that can boast two proven ball handlers on the perimeter and Evans could provide certain teams with that type of versatility. Similar to DeRozan, he has a higher ceiling than most players that are projected to go in the lottery.

Ricky Rubio

His ceiling is a taller version of Steve Nash (two-time MVP).  I don’t understand how he is not the automatic #2 pick.  How exactly can the Grizzles justify to their fans taking Thabeet over Rubio?  Numerous players on the Redeem Team raved about his skills in Beijing and yet some NBA GMs are afraid to take him.  Not only does he have the potential to be a great player, but he will also increase ticket sales which will offset the money you might have to pay to get him out of Spain.  Nobody is going to go out and buy season tickets to see James Harden or Jordan Hill but they will to see Rubio.  Besides Griffin, Rubio is hands down the best pick a team can make in the 2009 NBA Draft.

(Part 2 will focus on the Warriors and their draft “situation”)