(I'm not declaring the Beta period over, yet. Still, let's rock, let's roll, it's time to rock 'n roll.)
Had a fun conversation over dinner with The Roommate about what we'd do in various draft positions this year. The Bobcats don't have a fun spot.
At the ninth pick, Roast, Beef, and Mayo will be gone. Forget about McLovin'. We're looking at an uninspiring crowd of unsure things that are still too good to pass up in favor of a flier. What's a mediocre team to do?
Here are some thoughts on the top candidates. Note that I'm convinced Raymond Felton and Jason Richardson are entrenched at the guard positions. If the Bobcats pick a point guard, they'd better be getting him in the second round specifically to back up Ray, or they'd better have a deal in place to trade #20 for a frontcourt player.
I CAN HAZ?
Joe Alexander -- The one thing that drives me crazy in the NBA Draft is when GMs choose players who have done nothing at any competitive level. The corollary to that is that it bothers me when accomplished players get passed over for said do-nothings. Alexander has only played organized ball for five seasons, but he's the kind of athlete that makes other elite athletes spit take, and, damn, did he produce in the Big East to the tune of 17 and 6 per game.
For the Cats, he'd likely start immediately, stepping in to a 3/4 hybrid spot, sharing with Gerald Wallace and getting spelled by Jared Dudley, Adam Morrison, and, when going small, Matt Carroll, with J-Rich sliding to the small forward spot. At this stage of the draft, no one will push the Bobcats to awesomeness, but I think Alexander, with his ability to create his own shot and get to the rim, could make the Bobcats among the more effective offensive squads in the league. Defense would still be a prickly proposition.
Brook Lopez -- The big dude from Stanford epitomizes the uninspiring nature of mid-lottery picks. He's a legit 7 feet, and the guy certainly knows how to put the ball in the hoop, as indicated by his 19 points per game. That's all great, and he's supposedly polished enough on the offensive end that a good amount of that skill should carry over to the pro game. However, whichever team drafts him should be wary of his Primoz Brzec potential. I mean, Primoz has some touch around the hoop, but he's so completely useless on defense and not much for rebounding that he's ended up a back-of-the-bench guy. Yup, Lopez only got 8 boards per game, uninspiring for a supposedly top-tier big man (there's that word again).
In Charlotte, Lopez would, ideally, push Emeka Okafor to power forward and Wallace to the three, where they "naturally" belong. At first, he'd surely share time with Nazr Mohammed, and I think it's fair to say that if he develops into the second coming of... er... Nazr, then his employer should be very happy. Don't expect a defensive presence, but, really, that's what Emeka's for.
Roy Hibbert -- Again, his defense is suspect, and it's hard to find evidence he'll ever dominate in the NBA, but I'm convinced he's a good enough spot-up shooter to develop into Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Of course, that's the best-case scenario. But even if the middle-case scenario for Hibbert is latter day Michael Olowokandi, that's a decent value for the middle of the first round, and great for late in the first.
Ryan Anderson -- If a power forward with three-point range dominates the Pac Ten, averaging 21 and 10, how could he be any worse than a lottery pick? He has no injury issues. Dozens of other draft hopefuls have yet to prove they can play good defense, either. Anderson's floor--the worst I see him performing--is Brian Cook's level. Lord knows he's a dynamic enough scorer to crack a rotation right away, and if you're passing that up for the likes of the guys in the section below, then you're beyond help.
HELL TO THE NAW
Anthony Randolph -- I will repeat this again and again: The guy wasn't the first scoring option on his own college team. If he couldn't produce in college, whatever makes organizations think he'll show lottery talent in the pros? I defy you to find concrete evidence, or at least a comment with concrete facts from someone in a position of authority with an NBA team, that explains why Randolph was considered a better prospect than Alexander, Anderson, Marreese Speights, Donte Green, and any number of other guys, for most of the Draft process.
DeAndre Jordan -- I was wrong about Luol Deng when he was drafted. I thought he was going to wash out quickly and completely, because I didn't see what he'd accomplished at Duke. However, Deng turned out to be a solid starter, and, in retrospect, I can see that I hadn't taken into account Deng's circumstances at Duke to modify my perspective of his skills.
DeAndre Jordan has had every opportunity to play well. Based on those opportunities, I feel comfortable saying DeAndre Jordan probably sucks. Dude only played 20 minutes a game in college. Dude wasn't exactly a dynamic scorer. Dude blocked some shots, but was decidedly underwhelming for a supposedly superior 7-foot athlete. Something tells me dude caused problems on the floor such that his coach couldn't bring himself to put him in the game. In other words, it's not like Marvin Williams was being held back on a national champion squad. Stay away. Please, please, please, please, please stay away.