Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Final 2012 NBA Draft Primer from Trapped in Golden State

By Justin Taylor


It would take a minor miracle but MKG might be the one guy that nobody complains about

The NBA silly season is officially hitting a fever pitch this week and I don't think anyone can remember the last time the Warriors had this many options heading into the draft.  There are so many scenarios to consider between picks, trades and free agents that it has been making my head hurt.  In years past we’d be sitting around wondering how the front office would crap the bed then spin it to make it sound like they turned over every stone, followed every lead and in the end they got their guy.  I still remember how upset I was the day we picked Todd Fuller over Kobe and then again the following year when we picked Adonal Foyle over Tracy McGrady.  Those were dark days that led to some of the worst seasons in franchise history.  It really wasn’t that long ago but that just isn’t the environment we live in anymore.  Now we can all sit back, relax and let the Logo do what the Logo does best.

Back then when we were (even bigger) laughingstocks, we all probably saw Gary Radnich give his take on KRON 4 News on draft night then read as Ray Ratto slammed it in the Chronicle the next morning (or the Examiner in the afternoon).  If you wanted to personally complain you could have called Ralph Barbieri at SportsPhone 68 or wrote a letter to a paper or magazine that had about zero chance of getting published.  But if you really wanted to make your point you could simply stop buying tickets (which is still be the best way to cast a negative vote to this day).

Times have changed, plain and simple.  Nowadays any average schmuck can let management know what they think of the job they’re doing by starting a website for a small fee (we’ll call it trappedingoldenstate.com in this case).  You can also set up a social network of similarly tortured fans on Facebook (a good example would be http://www.facebook.com/TrappedInGoldenState) or you can tap into the most immediate source of news and snide remarks mankind has ever known on Twitter (@trappdngoldenst would be another spot where your opinions wouldn’t fall on deaf ears).  That’s before you even log into WarriorsWorld.net or GoldenStateofMind.com to connect with thousands of other fans weighing in as the draft is still developing. 

Many league executives and coaches may like to think that since they’re the ones sailing the ship that they don’t need to listen to the passengers and they may be right.  At the same it’s hard to find a better reason why more and more execs and coaches are walking the proverbial plank faster then you can say amnesty clause since the dawn of the Social Networking Soapbox Age.

With so many decisions to make and so many ways for fans and media to contest, support, mock or a Molotov cocktail of all three the reaction promises to come like an avalanche as soon as they’re made.  As I get ready draft day I’ve got my mock draft, my trade scenarios, my Facebook and my Twitter locked, loaded.   With all that being said is there anything that can be done on Thursday that won’t draw any negative vibes on the interwebs?  I’m going to trot out my top 6 scenarios we might see tomorrow in order of how much I’d like to see them happen.  Post your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter leading up to or during the draft with your thoughts, most ridiculous draft day fashion jokes and reactions.

1.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist falls into our laps and everyone rejoices.  Who will take issue with this chain of events?  Even if he doesn’t become an all star he fits a long term need, our style of play and the mentality/personality that we want our entire team to undertake.  It may take a long time but he has a ceiling of Scottie Pippen and a base of Tony Allen or Luc Mbah a Moute.  So even if he’s a “bust” you have a solid rotation player but the upside is that you get an all star at the one position you need one.

Doesn't this hometown kid look good in a Warrior uniform already?  

2.  With MKG off the board Damian Lillard slips past Portland and we bring the local kid home from his school in the boondocks for good.  He provides excellent depth at the point whether Curry plays or is on the shelf with his glass ankle.  He will also provide easy looks to Steph and Klay for stretches of each game when they are sporting be one of the most lethal small lineups in the league.  This may just be my personal preference as option two since I’m quite sure if we take him with Drummond still on the board there will be hell to pay in some minds (but I don’t think anyone will return their season tickets for next year).

3.  I’m not a huge Harrison Barnes fan; in fact, I’m just not a fan.  It has more to do with his attitude and his “brand” then it does his game but you’d have to take him if he slips.  It’s half because of his game fitting a need and being the “best available” (debatable) and half because like Drummond he carries a certain amount of weight if we’re building for a trade at the deadline this season. 

I don't know who Herb Pope is either but I think he outplayed Joe Barely Cares 2.0

4. Drafting Andre Drummond for me is a value proposition only.  Teams are always willing to take a chance in building up or redeeming a big man with physical tools like his.  Bigs with questionable motors and debatable love for the game rarely pan out but it’s hard to argue with the value he brings.  I see a poor mans Joe Barely Cares but what do I know?  I’d like to see them flip him in a bigger deal before he ever plays a game so he can’t tarnish the trade asset that may be at its all time sell high point.  This is yet another point that I am in the minority but that is the beauty of the internet, haters will always exist.

5.  There have been a number of trade down possibilities and if we can stay in the lottery while adding an immediate contributor like Mbah a Moute (or even Ekpe Udoh which was floated out as well) I’m in!  We’d have to get a hell of a player to go any lower than the 14th pick (where the Bucks pick currently sits after a trade with Houston) but I’m listening.  I’d actually put this scenario ahead of the Drummond pick but I made that selection with a bigger deal in mind.

6.  I’m still trying to decide if I’d want Dion Waiters more then a Drummond bait and switch or a Milwaukee trade down.  I like him and I’m pretty sure he’d look really good being a primary scorer on the second unit but I just don’t know enough about him.  He averaged less than 13 points per game on a talented squad but part of that was due to their Watch the Paint Dry Offense and partly due to a clash with Jim Boeheim.  Here’s to hoping Reverend Jackson can reign him in and extract every drop of potential out of him if that is the pick.

I’m so happy that I don’t need to read another mock draft and can slow down on my fake trade scenarios for a while at least.  Happy Draft Day everyone!  Hope to see all of you on Facebook and Twitter to chat as it all goes down...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Warriors Small forwards and other Small problems

By Justin Taylor

It would be awesome to look at your starting line up and see five potential all stars (you never know, six power forwards could get hurt and David Lee could be an alternate to the alternates all star again) but that doesn’t make it the best thing for the future of the franchise.  What you’d have is a group of borderline all stars and a motley crew of busts, kids and D Leaguers on the bench.  Joe Lacob and Coach Jackson both said that a starting small forward was the top offseason priority and I’m saying it was either another misguided statement at it’s worst or a misdirection play to make other teams think we’d overpay in a trade or over reach in the draft at its best.

Adding Deng for anything more than a pick and a bad contract would be counter productive

Everyone knows the names (Gay, Igoudala, Deng, Batum, Mbah a Moute; maybe I’m the only one there; or trading up for MKG) being thrown around by now and if this were Major League Baseball we would just call for the owner to spend some money to make it happen but it’s not.  Having one great player is better than three good ones but are any of these guys great?  Hell no.  Instead, we should be pursuing the hell out of Brandon Roy to round out the rotation, health be damned.  Bob Myers (his former agent) came out this week and openly stated they’re kicking the tires on that possibility.
I’ve been saying for a while now (and by a while I mean about three weeks since my last flip flop on the subject) that we should use the picks, draft the best players available, accumulate more young assets and prepare for a real blockbuster at the deadline if another trade is in the cards.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and try to win a fantasy championship on paper.  The question I’m asking is whether a small forward is really more important then all of our other needs combined?  If they can get Deng for the pick and a bad contract like Jefferson or Biedrins it will improve the team and give them an asset in a big deal but paying more than that will work against them and makes it an illogical deal for the Bulls.

For those of you out there that haven’t wasted a ton of time analyzing the roster, coming up with mock draft picks and creating fake trade scenarios I’ll break it all down and isolate the real needs for 2012-13 for you. 

Back Court

In Stephen Curry we have a naturally gifted basketball player and Olympic gold medalist who isn’t a pure point guard but will be the biggest catalyst for future success.  The only problem is that we’ve seen him on billboards and commercials more then we’ve seen him on the court over the last couple years.  If that wasn’t enough cause for concern the only player we have to back up the perpetually injured point guard is Charles Jenkins who still very young and is not a natural point either.  I’ve liked Jenkins since the day we drafted him but that doesn’t mean that I want all of my eggs in his basket if and when Curry goes down.

Klay Thompson just needs to keep improving and working on some go to facial expressions

Klay Thompson had a tremendous rookie year that ended with him on the All Rookie first team.  The only part of his game where we didn’t see development was a go to facial expression.  Our future at the two guard spot looks very bright and I’m happy he will go into camp as the starter.  Our only option to back him up will be Brandon Rush once he’s resigned and if Thompson experiences a sophomore slump, fails to meet the increased expectations or gets hurt we’ve got issues.  It’s one thing to get unlimited shots and minutes on a shitty team that’s going nowhere but this team has actual postseason aspirations, not just hot air playoff guarantees.  You know who the best back up is if he stumbles or one of these guys gets hurt?  Charles Jenkins!  You know, the only guy backing up the point guard spot?

Front Court

While David Lee may not be everyone’s cup of tea and may be slightly overpaid (today he is slightly overpaid, three years from now when all of his contract raises have kicked in he will be vastly overcompensated) but you know exactly what you’re getting out of him every night.  He has problems on defense and on offense against the longer defenders but he is going to work his ass off and give you 35-40 really good to above average minutes day in day out. 

Jeremy Tyler gave about what you’d expect from a kid his age with his inconsistent play and his slippery hands that could earn him a sponsorship from Pennzoil.  Just like Klay he got big minutes on a D league caliber team, we have no idea how he’ll handle the responsibility of being the first big off the bench on an NBA squad.  The only other option is the unsigned, blue-collar lunchbox toting Dominic McGuire.  He defends four positions, knows his role and strives to outwork his man on defense so there should be no question here.  It needs to be done.

It’s been so long since we’ve had a legitimate center it still doesn’t feel real.  Of course, there is a chance that it won’t be real to start the season or ever for that matter.   A 4/5 combination of Bogut and Lee looks fantastic on paper but if either of them gets hurt we’re in deep shit.  How many examples of 7 footers are there of guys who were never the same once the feet and ankles start to break down.  I know it was a freak injury but I’m a Warrior fan that runs a website called Trapped In Golden State so you’re damn right I’m nervous. 

Andris Biedrins might just need to bring back the "spike" to get some of his game back

Andris Biedrins is slated to play with no competition for the reserve 5 spot as long as he’s on the roster (or maybe even start if Bogut isn’t ready).  I know the thought makes you cringe but I think I’ve figured out the whole AB15 Disorder.  As soon as Biedrins hair went limp so did his game.  The disease has a few strains and the closest cousin to the AB15 Disorder is the AK47 Complex.  If we could just get a little bit of that old Goose with the gallons of product propping up that spiky hairdo it could pay dividends.  If anyone else has an explanation for what happened I can’t wait to hear it because I’ve never seen a guy fall off a bigger cliff between the ages of 24 and 26.  Does he have a drinking problem?  Is he on drugs?  Did a hot Eastern European girl break his heart?  Is his family in Latvia being held hostage by the Russian mob demanding he suck to tank games?  I’ll believe anything at this point.

The only way to give ourselves more options in the front court is to spend one or more of our draft picks on guys like Andrew Nicholson, Drew Gordon, Kevin Jones or Fab Melo at the bottom of round 1 or the top of round 2.  That can’t happen if we trade all of our picks for a veteran small forward or to move up in the draft to get one but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Just to recap before we move on to the “real” problem: I just rattled off four quality starters, one legitimate NBA 6th man, one versatile forward who hasn’t been signed yet, one promising but green combo guard, one inconsistent young big man with greasy hands and an overpaid 7 foot head case of epic proportions.  That’s four positions and six guys you think you can count on.  If you don’t have a problem with those numbers I’ll just get on with the biggest perceived issue.

Small Forward

Dorrell Wright is the guy that makes the small forward issue look bigger than it is.  Part of me thinks the only reason Coach Jackson started him and Biedrins as long as he did was that he was secretly embracing the tank.  He reminded me of a young Mike Dunleavy hiding out four feet behind the three-point line.  Making all those threes two years ago may have blinded us to his lack of aggression and indecisive play but this year he looked timid as a Girl Scout selling cookies out there.  It’s not like he’s suffering from the AB15 disease but he clearly regressed.  This team needs an attitude adjustment that starts with the removal of any soft or indifferent dispositions.  My (unsought) advice is to dump him regardless of any draft or free agency maneuvers.  If he can’t be included in any deals to bring in help this year he should be shopped for a pick next year since Utah will own our first rounder.  It will be addition by subtraction for team chemistry in this Golden State Worrier’s eyes.

Bringing back McGuire is more important than anyone is letting on

I’m arguing that the only place on the roster without a clear need is small forward.  Even with the incumbent starter out of the mix it’s the only position that has any true depth.  Having Rush (even though he’s the primary sub at shooting guard), McGuire (the real priority), Dick Jefferson and the human pogo stick Chris Wright means it’s the one spot with no potential all star but it’s also the only area where we have three legitimate NBA players and a wild card.  We shouldn’t be looking to draft a three let alone trade for one unless some other incompetent GM’s allow MKG to fall in our lap.  Getting Roy may create a bit of a logjam but he allows you to utilize the lottery pick on the best player available without worrying about needs since Roy could give you a few minutes of relief at the one, two AND three.  15 to 20 minutes a night for Jefferson, McGuire and Roy with the scraps to C. Wright keeps everyone healthy, aggressive and fresh.

Last week I posted an article with nothing but (what I consider) realistic trade proposals.  I didn’t want to include any more hypothetical deals today but I’ve got one more.  Would Phoenix accept Dorrell Wright and two second round picks for their training staff?  What if we throw in Bob Fitzgerald, a wad of Joe Lacob’s cash and a 50% off Groupon for the Rocket Boat at Pier 39 since Suns owner Robert Sarver is so famously cheap?   Every single prediction regarding this team has to be prefaced with a capital IF and it’s making the offseason feel long already.  IF Curry and Bogut stay healthy.  IF Thompson, Jenkins and Tyler continue to develop.  IF David Lee continues to justify his hefty paycheck.  IF the uncertainties go our way for once and they don’t overspend to make a desperate move for a low level all star this team will still make the playoffs.  They will continue to improve, they will keep some semblance of financial flexibility and they will have a number of tradable assets if a real superstar hits the market.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Golden State picks, proposals and prophecies


By Justin Taylor

I have three torturous pastimes in the month of June each year.  Watching teams other then my own in the playoffs, reading ridiculous mock drafts and hysterically bad trade scenarios.  I wish I had a life so I could just brush off 90% of the crap proposed on fan sites (like this one) and reputable news columns alike.  If I alotted this much energy, focus and time trying to get ahead at work I’d be in line for a major promotion; but I don’t so I’m not.  It is such a waste of time in most cases but there is no denying that the NBA silly season makes for great conversation.  The fact is a majority of these trades wouldn’t happen on a cold day in hell unless David Kahn, Chris Wallace or Billy King were the ones fielding the offers. 

I can’t remember the last time there were so many trade possibilities here in the Bay.  This year the deals coming out of the Golden State Rumor Mill are more full of shit than a toilet at the Staples Center.  Why spend time reading and talking about a trade for Nicolas Batum when his restricted status makes it fiscally impossible.  It’s been fun to take part in the madness but more and more the realization is that our tradable assets outside of the picks aren’t worth the paper their contracts are printed on.  For the Warriors to match up the money for a marquee player some combination of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Dorrell Wright will need to be included the deal.  For some reason I don’t see many teams jumping at those names in order to get the number seven pick in the draft.  Having a direct line from Jerry West to Chris Wallace in Memphis might help us instead of the Lakers this time around but I don’t think it will matter. 

I’ve gone ahead made a few proposals of my own and outlined a few that everyone has already heard in some form.  I also went ahead and gave each one a short and long term grade of sorts that you can agree with or rip to shreds; this is the internet after all.

Who's ready to go all in for the next 3 years and beyond?

Andris Biedrins, Dorrell Wright, and maybe Jeremy Tyler plus pick #7 To Memphis for Rudy Gay

A line up of Gay, Lee and Bogut up front with Curry and Thompson in the backcourt is about as balanced as an NBA roster gets.  The can shoot; they can defend; they can rebound.  So what’s not to like you ask?  It depends on how excited you are to pay Lee and Gay $35 million of your sub $60 million dollar salary cap in 2014.  Paying over half of your budget to an aging David Lee (31 in 2014-15) and an aged beyond his years Rudy Gay (29) is not quite the same as committing $37 million to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who will both be 26 in the 2014-15 season.  Once you give a generous number to Stephen Curry and a resigned Andrew Bogut (call it $25 million combined) along with the final years of Thompson’s rookie deal (approx. $5 million) you’re capped out before you remember there are more than five guys on a team.  I can see Memphis accepting this trade for the same reasons I don’t want the Warriors to offer it.

Short Term Prognosis:  We’d have a fun team and would be no less then a fifth or sixth seed immediately.  Whatever happens this season would be the norm for the next two or three because the line up will barely change.     
      
Long Term Prognosis:  Trapped in Golden State.  Having no flexibility to continue adding to the bench let alone the core will not be pretty after 2 or three years.  If it doesn’t turn us into instant contenders it will turn us into the most cash strapped mediocre team in the league for years to come.

Igoudala is a smaller long term risk with more upside for the team

Andris Biedrins, Dorrell Wright, Jeremy Tyler plus picks #7 and #30 for Andre Igoudala and pick #45

As much as we hear that Philly wants to cut costs I can’t for life of me figure out why they’d partner with the Warriors to do it.  It’s basically a matter of adding the 7th pick and some second rate depth while saving about $6 million dollars.  The problem with these deals is that the only way Golden State can get the money to match is to include Biedrins or Dick Jefferson; if Jefferson were included instead of Goose the Sixers would clear a whopping $2 million before signing the pick.  Are the Sixers that deep of a team that they can’t find a way to get Iggy and Evan Turner on the floor at the same time?  Are they really better off with Turner, an unproven rookie and a 26-year-old flame out in Biedrins?

Short Term Prognosis:  I would absolutely love having AI at the three.  He brings athleticism, intensity, defense, rebounding, he’s in his prime and he’s not overpaid!  How many examples like that are there in the league?     
      
Long Term Prognosis:  I see this working out great over the next three years.  After that his contract is up and the direction of the team will determine how we move forward.  I really don’t see the downside if Philly is dumb enough to give us their best player for Biedrins and a rookie.

Andray Blatche knows how to stink up the joint.  Ask Dominic McGuire.

Dorrell Wright and Jeremy Tyler plus picks #7 and #35 to the Wizards for Pick #3 and Andray Blatche

Sometimes you’ve got to give and take to take.  Blatche is owed almost $25 million over the next 3 years and is probably one of the top 5 boneheads in the game right now.  On the young Wizards he’s an all out cancer but what is he when you’ve got character guys and a preacher for a coach surrounding him?  He would be a reclamation project that Mark Jackson could really hang his hat on.  Make no mistake though, he will be a Warrior for the duration of his contract, Washington has damn near been trying to give him away since the day after he signed that ridiculous contract.  If you end up with Thomas Robinson no one will remember Jeremy Tyler’s name and if you get MKG at #3 along with Kevin Jones, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, Fab Melo or Drew Gordon at #30 it won’t be much different.  The biggest drawback to this deal would be the fact that our cap takes a hit over the next few years but you’ll be adding a potential all star at best and quality depth at worst.  

Short Term Prognosis:  This trade would allow the team to continue building without mortgaging the future completely.  On a team with such a high basketball IQ Blatche’s brain freezes may not be a big deal

Long Term Prognosis:  Blatche’s contract is way bigger than it should be but it isn’t a back breaker.  If the right pieces are added with this year’s picks we could be set to improve dramatically over the next three years and start contending for consistently deep playoff runs after one more year spent developing the youngsters.

#7 and #30 picks to Houston for picks #14 and #16

Personally I’d rather just use the 7th pick on Dion Waiters or a falling Bradley Beal who inexplicably is projecting to the Warriors on NBADraft.net.  If neither of those guys are around at seven I wonder if Houston has someone they’d like to move up for.  In this scenario you could probably get a Terrance Jones, PJIII or point guard Kendall Marshall since one will be dropping and a big man like Meyers Leonard, Arnett Moultrie or John Henson.  In this case we also keep pick #35 where we could potentially land the sinker of the bunch out of Kevin Jones, Royce White, Festus Ezeli or Andrew Nicholson.

Short Term Prognosis:  When you’re talking about pick for pick it’s hard to say what we’re getting with any kind of certainty.  In this draft I’m really not sure how much more valuable the 7th pick is over the 14th or even how much the 16th pick is worth over the 30th.       
    
Long Term Prognosis:  No more Trapped then we are right now or would be otherwise.  Depending on whom you get with the 16th pick it could be a wash or a disaster if the 7th pick hits big.  It pretty much falls in line with my overall sentiment below, accumulate assets and get ready to swing for the fences at the deadline.

Mbah a Moute comes with a reasonable contract, a consistent game and a big heart

Dorrell Wright and picks #7 and #35 to Milwaukee for Luc Mbah a Moute and pick #11

Here is a smaller deal if management doesn’t think they can hold onto Dominic McGuire.  I actually think the Mbah Moute would be an upgrade because you get a little bit of offense along with the guy you stick on opposing teams top scorer every night.  You also get a guy with a superior work ethic who along with Lee will set a good example for the youngsters and whomever we get when we trade down a measly four spots.  You may not even need to throw in the 35th pick to make it happen.  If you haven’t noticed yet, I kind of want to get rid of Dorrell Wright.  The only thing he can show the new guys is where he stands on offense, where he stands on defense and where he cashes his check on the first and fifteenth.  His reasonable and expiring contract is the other part, the Warriors just don’t have much to offer that upgrades another team or trims their payroll outside of the picks.

Short Term Prognosis:  I’m a fan of this deal and you could still end up with a Sullinger or a Jones (1 or 3) at #11 so it’s a low risk medium reward proposition.

Long Term Prognosis:  Same as the short term.  If you end up with one of the guys the Logo wanted at seven you basically just got a solid NBA player for a second round pick and a guy that seemed to be running from his shadow on the court all year.

After reviewing all of the prospects and available players I have no problem with the team using all of their picks or trading forward or back.  Chasing a guy like Brandon Roy to fill some of the void at the three while accumulating assets to prepare for a midseason blockbuster trade is the best course of action.  If we want to limit the risk of being Trapped in Golden State for too many more years we shouldn’t mortgage the future for anything less than a true game changer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Trapped in Golden State Mock Draft Challenge

Congratulations to WarriorsFan84 for winning the Trapped in Golden State Mock Draft Challenge!
Please send an email to trappedingoldenstate@gmail.com 
to claim your free Trapped in Golden State T-shirt!



I can't help but question some of the Mock Drafts posted on every site and in every publication imaginable. How do any of these educated guesses make their thoughts any more relevant then those of hardcore fans who watch all of the same games?  I can be convinced that guys like Chad Ford and even Yahoo's Marc Spears; who have "sources" that prefer to remain anonymous;  have some real insight into what teams are thinking, making their picks more accurate.  At the same time those "sources" are feeding them all types of garbage that they have to sift through because the teams are more interested in misleading other franchises then making sure ESPN has accurate information.

I'll be rewarding the reader who posts their picks and comes "closest to the cup' in picking the hardest and most important selections.  The most valuable selections in this challenge are the Warriors picks at 7 and 30 followed by the picks lower in the lottery since those once are harder to nail down.  DraftExpress may have more resources but I'll put the knowledge of Warrior fans up against anyone without inside information.

Highest score gets a Trapped in Golden State T shirt and the title of "Best Mock Drafter Trapped in Golden State." which will buy you a pack of gum if you throw in a dollar of your own.

Test your knowledge against the "experts" and let everyone know what direction you want the Warriors to go June 28th and beyond.

Rules: Copy and paste the draft order into the comments and fill in your picks next to each team name.

2 points for nailing picks 2 and 3
5 points for nailing picks 4 through 6
7 points for nailing the Warriors pick at number 7
2 points for each pick 8-14
Mega number: Warriors pick at number 30 worth 15 points
10 points for calling any trades that happen (must be called before 6/28 and before any news breaks)
15 points for calling a Warriors trade
Funniest comments and best scenarios on realistic directions to go in the draft get extra points and could end up being the ultimate tie breaker.

Only one per person will be scored but if you tell me you want an updated version to be scored before 6/28 that is legal...

Thanks in advance for participating and I look forward to checking out your picks!

Copy and paste and fill in your picks in a comment below...

1. Hornets:
2. Bobcats:
3. Wizards:
4. Cavs:
5. Kings:
6. Blazers:
7. Warriors:
8. Raptors:
9. Pistons:
10. Hornets:
11. Blazers:
12. Bucks:
13. Suns:
14. Rockets:
30. Warriors:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

First Annual Mock Mock Draft


By Justin Taylor

Over the next month there will be hundreds if not thousands of Mock Drafts done by every sports website, magazine and news publication.  The reason is that people like me (and you apparently) cannot wait for the actual draft to happen.  Some of them mimic the draft process and others make a mockery of it.  I plan to land somewhere in the middle with the First Annual Trapped in Golden State Mock Mock Draft.

Sometimes I wonder if some of these sites are pulling names out of a hat, rigging the draft to get their team a good pick or having a 4 year old fill the form out in crayon; then they update it over and over until the page is just a big colorful mess.  I plan on doing a follow up scorecard after the draft so I can clearly document just how much time I’ve wasted following what these draft “experts” are saying.  I just want ESPN.com, Nbadraft.net, draftexpress.com, Yahoo Sports the Mercury News and the Chronicle to be warned, someone is scoring your garbage this year.  I also plan on having a contest (for the most awesome Trapped in Golden State T-shirt anyone has ever given you) for the reader who comes closest to the cup in projecting the lottery so look for that later in the week.

Lets see if my first shot at it can stand up to the “professionals” without taking the process too seriously or rigging it for the Warriors too badly.

Has an eye brow (literally one eyebrow) ever received so much attention?

1. New Orleans Hornets: Unibrow / PF / Kentucky / Freshman

You heard it hear first, I called it…stone cold lock.  No one saw that coming.  I considered putting another name here just to see how much hate mail I could generate.  This draft slot should put all the NBA Draft Lottery conspiracy theories right to bed, no?  If it were allowed the Hornets would have signed him up on stage at the draft lottery.  The only questions left is whether he’ll wear a god-awful suit and will he split the “brow” for draft night?  Maybe I’m the only one who was paying attention but I feel like that thing got bigger and more defined since Kentucky won the NCAA tounament.  Has anyone told him this isn’t like growing your first beard or mustache?  I think I need to move on.


2. Charlotte Bobcats: Harrison Barnes / SF / North Carolina / Sophomore 

The Bobcats proved that tanking harder then anyone in the history of the game does not get you an extra ping pong ball.  Since the whole thing is rigged any way I wonder if this is just a subtle middle finger back at Michael Jordan for that season he played minor league baseball.  They do need a Small Forward but I’m pretty sure not even GM Rich Cho thinks (as if his opinion matters) that Harrison Barnes is the best player on the board.  But the team is going to suck anyway so you might as well take a kid from one of the real pro teams in the state (the Tar Heels and Duke were both better then the Bobcats this year) so you could sell some tickets.  The thing that turned me off on Barnes was the fact he was talking about his “brand” before he even arrived at North Carolina.  Maybe Jordan can help him sell shoes but we all know he blows when it comes to scouting and cultivating talent.

3. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist / SF / Kentucky / Freshman

I think MKG will go second but if he lands here it will be the first good influence the Wizards have put next to John Wall since he got there.  This kid has got more work ethic then JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Andray Blatche combined and squared.
            
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andre Drummond / C / UCONN / Freshman


They have got Kryrie Irving and little else.  They probably think they have the Power Forward spot sewn up with Tristan Thompson and Sideshow Bob (aka Anderson Varejo) so I think they take a chance on a true center with extreme boom or bust potential.   I say he’ll be a booming bust.  I heard he destroyed Yi Jianlian’s chair in his latest workout though.


5. Sacramento Kings: Bradley Beal / SG/ Florida / Freshman

They’re probably crossing their fingers that Drummond falls to them so they can field one of the biggest frontlines in the history of the league.  What they have is one of the most immature rosters in the league and they’re about to end up with another teenager.   Hopefully they hire a life coach to assist Keith Smart and someone to continue shitting on the fans when the Maloofs get tired and dehydrated.

6. Portland Trailblazers / Damian Lillard / PG / Weber State / Junior

Raymond Felton started looking like he was ready to stop eating his way out of the league right around the time he realized his contract was about to expire.  Portland needs a future point and some slashing ability and I hear Lillard can provide the scoring but I wouldn’t know.  I couldn’t even guess where Weber State is.  People around the country might be saying the same thing about Golden State right now.

7. Golden State Warriors / Thomas Robinson / PF / Kansas / Junior

If it played out this way I don’t see how the Warriors go any other direction.  If he’s not here (and that’s a pretty sure bet) I’m glad it’s not me pulling the trigger.  I don’t want Harrison Barnes’ “brand” or Andre Drummond’s lack of skill.  I could go for Dion Waiters slashing ability and I do like Terrance Jones ability to guard multiple positions but not at number 7.  I can’t help but feel like a package of picks for someone who can contribute this year is the way to go.  Since I don’t see anyone else helping this season I see a full column’s worth of trade proposals coming on. 

Here are my top ten hopes for the thought process behind this pick:

1. Thomas Robinson or Bradley Beal fall into our laps
2. Trade
3. Dion Waiters
4. Trade
5. Harrison Barnes
6. Trade
7. Andre Drummond
8. Trade
9. Trade
10. Terrance Jones or Jared Sullinger

We hear over and over how Small Forward is the priority and Jones or Sullinger are good fits but where is the value in those guys?  I trust the Logo to do as he sees fit but until he tells me otherwise I’d like to see the pick(s) traded for an immediate consistent help if these are our choices.

8. Toronto Raptors: Dion Waiters / SG / Syracuse / Sophomore

Here comes the section none of us care about until we get close to the 30th pick.  The Raptors suck on both sides of the ball so they might as well get someone who can score and excite all the hockey fans.

9. Detroit Pistons: Perry Jones / SF-PF / Baylor / Sophomore

The Pistons are paying Charlie Villanueva and Tayshaun Prince roughly $14 million a year to do basically nothing at this point.  It’s probably time to bring in a new tweener who will show just enough to get overpaid in four years and then lay down on them.  The best part of it is when he gets back up in year four during his contract season and convinces another team to do it all over again.  I love this game!

10.  New Orleans Hornets: Kendall Marshall / PG / North Carolina / Sophomore

On a team with so many offensive liabilities (Unibrow included) they are going to need a guy who can mask some of those deficiencies even if he is deficient himself.  I like the thought of him setting up Curry, Thompson, Lee and Bogut but I can’t help but think he’ll be taking just as much off the table as he puts on it.  He won’t be making anyone forget about Chris Paul.

This is what happens every time the Blazers spend a high pick on a big man

11. Portland Trailblazers: Tyler Zeller / C / North Carolina / Senior

Since the Blazers are clearly cursed when it comes to using high draft picks on young big men with limitless potential I think they’ll spend a late lottery pick on one that has experience with huge limits to his upside.

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Myers Leonard / C / Illinois / Sophomore

 This concludes the run on big, slow, limited, white men in the draft.  You know how these things go, when the first one goes everyone gets nervous and gets theirs while they can.  Andrew Bogut’s legacy in Milwaukee will be safe.

13. Phoenix Suns: Jared Sullinger / PF / Ohio St. / Sophomore

Sullinger is a good example of why you don’t go back to school after you are guaranteed to be a top five pick in the draft.  He cost himself a few million dollars with that move.  I don’t know what his major was but I’m sure it wasn’t business.

14. Houston Rockets:  Jeremy Lamb / SG / UCONN / Sophomore

Kevin Martin’s days are numbered in Houston and Lamb seems to offer more versatility.  I haven’t seen him play much but I’m sure his demeanor and shooting stroke won’t make you want to punch him like Martin does.

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie / PF / Mississippi State / Junior

We saw their ceiling during the playoffs so it’s time for the Sixers to start rebuilding.  They’re hoping it starts with a potential Elton Brand replacement.

16. Houston Rockets: Terrance Jones / PF / Kentucky / Sophomore

I don’t think they were happy with Marcus Morris last year so this year they’re taking the new and improved Marcus Morris 2.0.  You have to wonder what position Jones thinks he plays because nobody else seems to know.

Considering 00 played for Creighton I've got a feeling John Henson has a lot of this in his future

17. Dallas Mavericks: John Henson / PF /North Carolina / Junior

Brandan Wright, meet John Henson.  John Henson, meet Brandan Wright.  Now switch jerseys and lets see if anyone notices.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Terrance Ross / SG / Washington / Sophomore

The Wolves need a two guard so they can stop pretending like Wesley Johnson can play the position.

19. Orlando Magic: Moe Harkless / SF / St. Johns / Freshman

Since every Dwight Howard trade scenario involves the contingency called Hedo Terkoglu’s terrible contract this pick could be a short and long term upgrade at his spot.

20. Denver Nuggets: Royce White / SF / Iowa St. / Sophomore

This guy could replace Al Harrington’s pudgy ass right away and might be the steal of the draft if he doesn’t get arrested and isn’t too afraid to get on the team plane to away games; see Royce White, anxiety disorder.

21. Boston Celtics: Austin Rivers / SG / Duke/ Freshman

Talk about rigging a mock draft.  It’s too convenient to save Lil Doc for daddy.   I’m sure someone will take a chance on him before now but I’m just not a fan.  He can definitely replace what Ray Allen is giving them at this point but what is that?  He may turn out to be a hell of a player once he realizes he is not the man.

22. Boston Celtics: Fab Melo / C / Syracuse / Sophomore

The C’s probably wish they had Kendrick Perkins replacement this season instead of next when it’s too late.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Tony Wroten Jr. / PG / Washington / Freshman

Joe Johnson’s ridiculous contract (my name for him until he justifies at least half of it) will be happy to have a guy that wants the ball but someone will have to remind this kid the ball doesn’t have his name on it.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doron Lamb / SG / Kentucky / Sophomore

Kyrie Irving needs a running mate in the backcourt and after this selection that will still be the case.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Quincy Miller / SF / Baylor / Freshman

Many say he’d already be better than Perry Jones if he didn’t tear his ACL which makes me hope the Warriors don’t take Jones that much more.

26. Indiana Pacers: John Jenkins / SG / Vanderbilt / Junior

Indiana is very good for a team that can’t stretch the floor so adding one of the best shooters in the draft seems like solid logic to me.

27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green / SF / Michigan St. / Senior

Miami needs to replace Shane Battier’s rotting corpse so adding a Tom Izzo grad can’t hurt.  This team needs toughness and versatility outside of the big two and a half.  Maybe they can replace Mike Miller’s carcass in the 2013 draft.

28: Oklahoma City Thunder: Andrew Nicholson / PF / St. Bonaventure / Senior

San Antonio north wants high IQ, high efficiency guys who will can grow old with Durant and give Westbrook a reason to pass the ball every once in a while.

29. Chicago Bulls: Evan Fournier / SG / France

Because apparently Rip Hamilton died two years ago.  Where do I send flowers?

Why draft Sullinger when you can have this guy 20 picks later?  Bob Huggins has probably been paying him for years so it's almost like he already has pro experience.

30. Golden State Warriors: Kevin Jones / PF / West Virginia / Senior

High motor, Confident, passionate, polished and driven are labels I’ve seen attached to this guy.  I think he gives you more then Jared Sullinger for half the price.  Looking at him I get visions of David West and you could do much worse at #30.  If we don’t trade the picks I’d be happy to see this guy compete for minutes behind Lee.  Some other prospects that will get a look here are Andrew Nicholson if he’s still on the board, Vanderbilt big man Festus Ezeli (who looks like a taller, longer Ekpe Udoh) and Bay Area product Drew Gordon.

It’s been said that this is a deep draft (only for rotation players in my mind) but it strikes me as odd that I’m more excited for guys late in the first round then I am about those projected to go in the late lottery.  I won't be opposed to the age limit increase because I'm tired of having no idea what these guys will become in the league and I don't plan on being in the lottery next year (since the Jazz will have our pick) or for years after that.