2008 NBA Draft: What Do We Do?
Posted by r1zzo23 on June 22, 2008
In just four short days, the NBA will be holding its annual draft in New York City. Just think back to one year ago when we were all sitting around still wollowing in our pain of being slapped in the face with the 5th pick of the draft. Good bye Greg Oden. See ya later Kevin Durant. You didn’t really think Al Horford would be there, did you? Many Celtics fans hung their hat on an unproven commodity in Yi Jianlian, a soft, 7-foot Asain baller that we prayed would be the next Dirk. Then Danny went for broke, trading the pick for Ray Allen and never looked back.
Fast forward to today. Some of us may still be hungover from the thought of a 17th championship banner being hung in the TD Banknorth Garden. Some still might have not went to sleep yet (Paul, as our captain, please get some sleep and rest that knee). Usually we sat around for months waiting for the draft as our team was done playing basketball in April. Now, just one week after completing the absolute destruction of the Los Angeles Lakers in game 6, Danny Ainge needs to be ready to select the next piece of the Celtics’ puzzle. But who should we take? Do we go draft mainly on position? Do we draft best player available? Do we try to move the pick for a veteran player? Only Danny knows what he will do, but whatever that decision is, I will stand by it. If you really think about it, when it comes to the draft, Ainge and Coach Belichick have become geniuses. They have both made great picks and questionable deals, but in the end, they have always lead to something positive for their respective franchises.
To get back on topic, what should we do with this pick? What I would like to the see the Celtics do is to move the pick, probably with one of our bench players (Tony Allen or Glen Davis) and bring in a veteran. But what veteran could we really get with the 30th pick and a player with knee problems or an overweight, undersized power forward? If Danny were to be able to steal a good player with a deal like that, I would be all for it. But since it doesn’t seem reasonable, maybe holding on to the pick is a better idea. Besides, Ainge is a expert at drafting good talents later in the draft (Rondo, Powe, Big Baby, Pruitt).
Do we draft specifically for a position? I think this really hinges on whether or not Ainge has a good feel for the chances of James Posey returning to this team. If not, then I believe we must draft a wing player with above-average defensive skills that will be able to step in and play right away. Some names that possess some (and probably not all) of those characteristics are: Brandon Rush, Bill Walker, Gary Forbes, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Kyle Weaver. Now many of those players will not be available at #30, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility to move up into the early to mid-20s in order to get one of them. But if the Celtics get a good feeling that Posey will be sticking around for the long haul, then we don’t need to select one of these players, but they are all great candidates for being our selection at #30.
Should we look for another young big man that could spell Perkins in the post? Sure we have Leon Powe and Glen Davis on the bench, but they are undersize power forwards and this team could use a legit center that can give this team some hard-nosed defense and even a little offensive ability would be a nice touch. For me, I like to break down big men into two categories: US big men and foreignors. Not to be biased or any of that, but I think there is a huge difference between the two. For the most part, American-born big men usually play a much more physical game while the foreignors are more finesse. For the Celtics, the we strive to be the best defensive team in the league and a physical one at that. With that said, I’d prefer we go with a big man out of college rather than an oversees center. Some good options for college big men are: Roy Hibbert, Robin Lopez, Jason Thompson, JJ Hickson, DeVon Hardin. Once again, the Celtics could attempt to move up into the early-20s for a player like Hibbert or the 2nd Lopez twin, but Thompson or Hardin would also be very nice picks at #30. Once believed to be around at our pick, Thompson has been absolutely shooting up the draft boards and some are even talking lottery pick. If we were to walk away with any of these players, I’m not sure I could be upset at all.
Now I know I sounded pretty down about drafting an international big man, there are a couple out there that have been having great workouts and could be a huge asset to this team. The biggest name climbinb up the draft board is Alexis Ajinca. This 7-footer from France is very long and athletic and has beeng wowing front offices across the country. Once considered perhaps a project, Ajinca is looking like he could make an instant impact for any team that selects him. Nathan Jawai, a bruiser from Australia, is a borderline first-rounder. He’s got the description of a typical bruiser: big body, very physical, hard worker, extremely raw. He would need to work on his all-around game and pick up some more basketball IQ (something Ainge always looks at) before he could see some extended burn for this team. But would we really need another 6 foot 10 inch bruiser? I guess you can’t have enough big men.
Coming into this article, I was going to actually try and convince myself of which route we should take when approaching our 30th pick. After the two hours of writing this article, the only thing I know is that I want to keep the pick. Who we draft, whether we base it by position or best player available, US born or foreign big man, none of those questions I have a strong opinion on. All I know is that whatever Ainge decides to do, I’ll stand behind it 100%.
NBA Draft graphic provided by NBA.com