As I admitted earlier in the week on our Father’s Day podcast, I’ve been hiding from sports over the couple weeks.
I’m fairly certain it happens every year around this time. Basketball and hockey have both ended and I’m not quite ready to start following baseball just yet. For me, nothing in baseball matters until the All-Star break. (Hope you enjoyed the first half of the season, Cleveland!)
But seeing as how I’ve become the resident basketball authority at DGWUS, a title I have sullied again and again, it’s time to take a look at the new class of rookies getting ready to join the professional ranks.
Now, if you’re looking for accurate predictions on who’s going where and in-depth analysis on why they’re a good fit… well… you’re reading the wrong blog. However, if you’re looking for unsubstantiated speculation based solely on opinion, then I’ve got the NBA Draft Preview for you.
Numerous teams have been rumored to be making attempts at trades before the draft. The Lakers tried to ship Lamar Odom to Minnesota for the 2nd overall pick. Oklahoma City, Denver and New York are eager to move up as well. But the most intriguing rumor is Orlando in talks to trade for Atlanta forward Josh Smith.
The worst kept secret in the NBA right now is that Dwight Howard is unhappy in Orlando. To hear him tell it, there’s no jersey he’d rather wear than one with “Magic” on the front. But most of us (see: all of us) suspect that Dwight’s days in Florida are drawing to a close. The Magic made a huge gamble last season, essentially gutting the team to try and reverse their downward spiral that started in 2009. Needless to say, it hasn’t quite paid off. Now they’re left with only a handful of tradeable assets, no cap space and zero help coming in the draft. Not exactly tempting reasons to stay for Mr. Howard. So I’m sure the Orlando management is churning out every trade scenario they can think of to keep him or get something valuable in return. The trade for Josh Smith probably won’t take place, but Orlando needs to think of something or else risk winding up in the same place they were when Shaq left.
First, there’s Duke forward Kyle Singler. Now I know the Yachtsman is rolling his eyes somewhere since both of us have spent most of the last four college basketball seasons making fun of this pale, gangly young man, but the fact of the matter is he’s a proven winner with a great jump-shot and an even better work ethic. He’s definitely going to bulk up a bit, but not many of his fellow draftee’s have an NCAA title on their resume. And these days, it always seems like the players who spent 3-4 years in college have an easier time finding their place in the pro’s.
Then there’s Kemba Walker. Walker won’t blow anyone away with his physical gifts, but his performance in the Big East tournament moved him from the 2nd round to a lottery pick for a reason. His leadership and performance in the clutch has to be tempting for many teams out there. There’s good reason to believe he can have a real positive impact for somebody out there willing to take a chance.
Along the same vein is BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. Jimmer’s speed and size worry most scouts who fear that his talent won’t translate to the NBA. But as with Kemba Walker and even Singler, there’s something to be said for kids who are solid team players with a tendency towards leadership.
Of course, the elephant in the room during all this speculation is the upcoming lockout. I would say the possible upcoming lockout, but I just read that the NBA wants the players to return $161 million from money earned during the 2010-11 season. So enjoy draft night! It’s the only basketball you’ll be getting anytime soon.