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2011 NBA Draft Questions

Will the 1st and 4th overall picks revitalize the Cleveland Cavaliers? Holding the 1st and 4th overall picks in tonight’s draft, the Cavs are expected to select Kyrie Irving with their 1st overall pick, but the 4th selection is not attractive with Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes choosing to remain school in lockout-related decisions. With the 4th pick there are no guarantees, in what is considered a weak draft class, and that poses a serious problem to Cleveland’s rebuilding efforts. The Cavs desperately need to land a talented player with the 4th pick to help Cleveland’s LeBron James Recovery Act.

Will the San Antonio Spurs move Tony Parker? With George Hill set to grab the reins at point guard, this is a position of strength for the San Antonio Spurs. Having anticipated the retirement of Tim Duncan in the near future, the Spurs have to look for ways to rejuvenate a franchise that has the potential to stay at the top or be an also-ran. Moving Parker looks like the smart move.

Do the Lakers trade Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum to move into the top of the draft? Mitch Kupchak and his Lakers’ front office staff seem to have set their sights on Arizona’s Derrick Williams. It has been reported that the Lakers offered Lamar Odom for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ #2 overall pick in the draft. Minnesota is looking for Gasol or Bynum for the #2 slot. The Lakers realize the next CBA is going to make it impossible to have Kobe, Pau, Odom and Bynum on the roster.
The Lakers will try to do something.

Kemba or Jimmer? As Chasing 23’s Marcas Grant informed our moderately intelligent readers, Kemba Walker’s stock has depreciated. Marcas makes a persuasive case that the UConn sensation is more than ready for the NBA grind, possesses creativity and some Gary Payton nifty junk to his game, but has seen himself move down the board. Marcas likes Kemba over Jimmer – and I agree with him.

I believe that both players are going to develop into legitimate NBA talents, but it may be more important for Jimmer to find a system that suits his game than Walker.

And I get sick of hearing that Jimmer doesn’t play defense, and that Walker wasn’t an elite defender at UConn – who cares. In today’s NBA, no one can effectively stop a point guard that can attack the paint, which was demonstrated by J.J. Barea, destroying the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. When people claim that Walker and Jimmer won’t be able to play adequate one-on-one defense versus the league’s elite point guards, please name a perimeter defender who can do that. I didn’t see anyone shutting down Derrick Rose on a nightly basis.

It’s far more important to have a point guard that can get to the rim, finish, and distribute the ball to a shooter behind the arc, than it is to have a lockdown defender at point guard. Barea proved that.

The Ricky Rubio Effect: In Spain, Ricky Rubio averaged 6.5 ppg and 3.5 apg for the 2010-11 season. Rubio is the
21-year-old sensation that Minnesota general manager David Kahn views as a key cog to future success in Minnesota.
Those numbers don’t suggest Rubio is going to be the next Steve Nash, but he is young. Minnesota is expected to deal Johnny Flynn, who they have soured on, and turn the ball over to Ricky. Kahn’s drafting of Flynn and Rubio never made sense, and Minnesota will not receive much in return for Flynn. The carnival continues in Minnesota. Cue the merry-go-round music.

Looking for the Next Nowitzki? For the 2010-11 season, there were 59 international players on teams’ rosters. With those kind of sparse numbers, the chance of finding the next Dirk is miniscule, which makes Dirk’s emergence to NBA superstardom even more astounding.

What are the best college programs to draft from? Based on the number of players on 2010-11 Opening
Day rosters, here are the sure bets:

  1. UCLA – 14
  2. Duke – 13
  3. Kentucky – 13
  4. Kansas – 12
  5. North Carolina – 12
  6. UConn – 11
  7. Arizona – 10
  8. Texas – 10
  9. Florida – 9
  10. Wake Forest – 8

Will Portland’s Andre Miller be dealt? With Derr Kommissar David Stern poised to tighten the salary cap, a Miller sighting on the Miami Heat will not be possible, but he would be a perfect fit in Miami.

The Suns will move Steve Nash closer to the Canadian border? Phoenix and Minnesota had talks about moving Nash for the #2 overall pick in the draft. That would have been an excellent move for the Suns. Nash has one year remaining on his
contract – he has been coveted by Orlando, New York and Portland – and chances are that Steve Nash will not be playing basketball for the Suns after this season. Not sure what would be Minnesota’s angle – perhaps that Nash could mentor Rubio – and then Minnesota would move Nash before next season’s trading deadline.
Is the draft overrated to a team’s future success? The draft can bring a small market team a franchise player – probably the only way a small market team is going to land a Kevin Durant – but is the draft all that relevant to large market teams? The Celtics used the draft to accrue young talent, and then traded it for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and  a 2008 title. Would that same model work for the Sacramento Kings or Minnesota Timberwolves?


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