Archive for June 24th, 2011

WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA DRAFT HIGHLIGHTS

BASKETBALL

Thursday night:  The NBA Draft.  Here were the highlights.

Cleveland began their rebuilding efforts by selecting Duke point-guard Kyrie Irving with the #1 overall pick.  He’s definitely a good player, but we only saw him play 8 games at Duke.  There are concerns, however, that Irving doesn’t have the same explosiveness as previous point guards drafted #1 overall (i.e. Derrick Rose and John Wall).  Then at #4, the Cavs added another big piece taking Texas big man Tristan Thompson.  That gives them both a solid point guard and a potential low post dominant force.  And they could also deal a few pieces before the season.  They still probably won’t make the playoffs, but they are showing the fans that they ARE trying to rebuild.

Everyone was expecting a major trade from Minnesota at the #2 spot, but they kept the pick and picked the explosive Derrick Williams out of Arizona.  The Wolves will be an interesting team next year.  They’re finally getting pretty boy Ricky Rubio back from Spain and it looks like they’re also firing their coach Kurt Rambis in the next few days.  They lost former top pick point-guard Johnny Flynn last night to Houston in a trade, but they’re so loaded at that position.  You can bet that with a better coach, the T-Wolves could be a serious threat next season.

Moving down the first round, there was a plethora of international players.   Utah added big man Enes Kanter at #3 from Turkey, the Raptors grabbed the versatile Jonas Valanclunas, the Washington Wizards nabbed a big athletic guy in Jan Vesely from Czech Republic, and the Charlotte Bobcats added the huge guy from Congo Bismack Biyombo.  This influx of international talent should add a new dimension to the NBA.

Two of the biggest questions of the night were where two of the biggest stars in college basketball would play.  That would be BYU’s Jimmer Fredette and the superstar who led UCONN all the way to the title, Kemba Walker.  The Sacramento Kings traded up to get Jimmer, but many think that this was less of a basketball pick and more of a desperate financial move.  Most thought that Jimmer would slip to the 12 – 15 zone, but the Kings need to sell some serious tickets and get on TV.  They thought having a celebrity player like Jimmer Fredette might put people in the seats.  If they want to stay in Sacramento, they need to make money NOW.  And they’re hoping that Jimmer is as good as most have said.  As for Kemba, he’s headed to Charlotte.  Walker proved that he’s ready to play now and has the will to win, but it took until the 9th pick overall for a team to take a chance on him.  Charlotte parted ways with Stephen Jackson last night, one of their leading scorers, but they’re hoping that getting these two young guys both with huge amounts of potential might propel them into the playoffs.

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