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Monday, June 27, 2005
Draft Thoughts From Across the Pond by Bent 
I suppose I could weigh in with a well thought out and detailed analysis and try to determine what the Celtics are going to do with their picks, but there is plenty of that for you all to wade your way through elsewhere.

I have instead decided to spew out various random thoughts on the draft process and some of the players involved. Hopefully, you will find these interesting and perhaps even learn something.

* I'll start with some NBA comparisons. Feel free to debate these or shoot them down: (1) Andrew Bogut = Brad Miller (2) Ray Felton = Marcus Banks with a better J and PG skills, but less defense (3) Joey Graham = Shawn Marion (4) Sean May = Brian Williams a.k.a. Bison Dele (5) Hakim Warrick = Shawn Kemp when he was still thin (6) Charlie Villanueva = Xavier McDaniel, but a bit taller (7) Sean Banks = Paul Pierce (certainly in terms of his offensive game).

* It is worth noting that when a draft day trade is made, it can be made before the pick, so that no salary is allocated to it for matching purposes, or after the pick so that the salary for that position in the draft is included in the trade. This means that a draftee's salary can be effectively included or omitted from a trade to get the salaries to match. However, if the trade hinges on the player being available to pick, this can be risky.

* I think it will be interesting to see who gets the best three players out of Boston (18, 50 and 53) or the Lakers (10, 37 and 39). However, I think L.A. might ruin that by trading up.

* One of the best parts of draft day, is finding out how wrong you were with your assumptions of how foreign prospects pronounce their names. Who would have known that Zarko Carbakaba was pronounced "Char-back-a-ba", Viktor Khyrapa was pronounced "Hrrrr-apa" and Rafael Araujo was pronounced "Ha-fi-yell Ah-roo-jo"?

* Don't read too much into Dick Vitale's draft day analysis. He will laud all the seniors that are selected (look for him to gush over the selections of Frye, Warrick and Hodge) and bemoan all the high schoolers picked. Underclassmen could go either way, but generally he praises the player, but criticises the decision to come out early.

* Look for guys like May and Jack to go higher than expected in some circles. After the Bulls picked two Dookies and a UConn guy last year, it proved that anyone coming out of a winning program is more likely to be NBA ready. This doesn't necessarily mean that they will ultimately be better players. Do Deng, Duhon and Gordon have the same upside as the likes of Jefferson, Smith and Biedrins?

* There are several warning signs to look out for when making your selection. Any GM looking for a safe pick will overlook any foreign player who may not be as young as he says he is (Ilyasov), has a questionable attitude (McCants, Gilchrist or at the other end of the scale Taft, Villanueva), struggles with injury (Simien) or hasn't played (Petro - whose team unsuccessfully tried to delay his passage to the NBA by keeping him on the bench, even in the playoffs).

* Another thing I enjoy about the draft is seeing who stays in the green room the longest. Common wisdom suggests Koralev must have a promise, and that's why he stayed in, but if not, who knows how far he could slide. Any of the guys mentioned above could also slide for the reasons listed.

* Don't be fooled into selecting a player just because they have an exotic sounding name. Martynas Andriuskeviscius does not seem half as appealing if you realise that his name just means "Martin Andrews". Charlie Villanueva, similarly, would not get half as much attention if he was "Charles Newton". If only the Celtics had taken account of this advice when they drafted Cedric Brown.

* I'll close with some thoughts on individual players. It remains to be seen whether any of these will end up in Boston.

* Everyone says Hakim Warrick is too thin and does not have the skills to play PF in the NBA. I think, as long as he goes somewhere where he can get court-time (probably not Boston), he'll be productive and will certainly feature heavily on the highlight reels. He is capable of playing either forward position, if you ask me. I saw some comparisons to Walter McCarty, but that is way off base. Warrick is an infinitely better rebounder and athlete, and doesn't have the outside game. The only similarity is that they are both thin.

* I've never been big on Taft, he just seems to disappear for stretches. Frye is a better prospect and probably the most complete big man after Bogut, but I think his upside is not that great, so whoever picks him may be reaching somewhat.

* Bogut rhymes with yogurt, right? Well, here in England, we pronounce yogurt differently (Yog-gut, rather than Yo-gert). Do I have to refer to him as Andrew Boggut? Actually, they probably will on TV over here anyway. They pronounce Albert Pujols as puh-jolls.

* I've been saying all year that Luther Head and Julius Hodge will make good NBA players, because of Head's defense and Hodge's heart and versatility. Their stock has now risen to the point where they are likely to go in the 20's. This would be about right. They were previously touted as late second rounders. It's a shame everyone realised before draft day.

* I'm surprised that Martynas Andruiskeviscius, Johan Petro, Shavlik Randolph and Randolph Morris stayed in. Maybe they have a promise? In Randolph's case, I think he realises he'll be better off not being drafted than getting picked in the second round. As for Morris, once you get past how much he looks like the guy off "Hanging with Mr. Cooper", he is a good prospect, but a few years away, I reckon.

* I'd be thrilled if any of the following guys fell to us at 50 or 53, but I doubt it. David Lee/Matt Walsh from Florida, Jason Maxiell (an absolute monster - think Tractor Traylor with big hops) or Salim Stoudamire (totally undersized, but an incredible shooter).

* More realistically, our options at 50 or 53 could be Chuck Hayes or Alan Anderson (who I believe will both be excellent role player types in the NBA, and with character too), Travis Diener (a personal favourite of mine, identical size to Stockton and can really shoot) and Nate Robinson (a spectacular college player, but teams will be frightened off by his diminutive size, although the success of Boykins, may turn some teams on to the idea). There are also a few decent Europeans who we may look at....Mahinmi, Lorbek, Gigli. They could play in Europe (or now anybody could play in the NBDL farm league).
I won't form any conclusions. I have no idea what will happen (like last year, but unlike in 2003) and I'm pretty sure Ainge will have several contigency plans based on who goes where. Fingers crossed he hits another home run.

# posted by hagrid @ 6/27/2005 09:32:00 PM - Message Board

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