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Bucks’ Brandon Jennings Looks Like the Real Deal

Before rookie Brandon Jennings was making headlines for the Milwaukee Bucks, he was making negative ones for himself leading up to the beginning of the 2009-10 NBA season.  Known by just about everyone because of his decision to skip college ball and play in Europe, Jennings had question marks all around him.  His upside was immense and GM’s knew that Jennings had the potential to be a franchise-changing player unlike the majority of the players in last year’s draft class.  However, they also knew his downside was investing money into a cancerous teammate who would repeat his lackluster performance in Rome.

Before Jennings could even step on the court he was back at it, firing his mouth away about then-teammate Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour.  On a radio show with rapper Joe Budden, he mentioned being upset with the Knicks passing on him and deeming himself the starter over Ridnour.  He also made headlines by calling out Ricky Rubio, saying he was “overrated” and not as good as Jennings after a workout with the Kings.

Bucks’ general manager John Hammond decided that the upside of Jennings was well worth the potential of failure and he selected him with the tenth overall pick in the draft.  His cockiness and swagger is something that, to an extent, all great basketball players need to have, and Hammond believed Jennings had that.

What Hammond most likely did not think Jennings had was the ability to average over 20 points per game in his first six games, racking up four wins for the Bucks.  In many ways, Jennings is looking like the savior that is going to save the Bucks.  Rumors have floated around that have the Bucks leaving Milwaukee, but Jennings could change all that.

His situation in Milwaukee this season is eerily similar to Derrick Rose’s last season in Chicago.  The Bulls had reached the playoffs in 2006 before winning just 33 games the next year.  When the Bulls defied lottery odds and were awarded the number one overall pick, they selected Rose and went on to win 41 games and make the playoffs.

In Chicago, Rose has seemingly rejuvenated the Bulls and made everyone around him better.  Joakim Noah is finally playing up to his potential that we all saw at Florida, Luol Deng is flourishing under Rose’s lead, and he has worked to mold rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson into role players this season.  The talent was there for the Bulls as seen by the three straight playoff appearances before 2007, but the team was growing old and John Paxson’s inability to trade for grade-A superstars had the Bulls wondering where the future would take them.

Knicks Bucks Basketball

Brandon Jennings has flourished with the Bucks and his confidence could not be any higher. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

In the same sense, Jennings has done the exact same thing in Milwaukee.  The Bucks made the playoffs during the 2005-2006 campaign with rookie Andrew Bogut, but three years of injuries and inconsistency had left the Bucks with nothing to show for the talent they had.  Now, Jennings has utilized Bogut as the big man that every good point guard needs, and vice versa.

Six games into his young career might be a little early to start crowning him the savior for the Bucks, but in basketball more than any other sport, early starts become trends.  The great ones usually start that way and do not fade as compared to baseball and football.

His skill set is very raw and at times he plays like the rookie that he is.  He doesn’t seem to have picked up on the logistics of the offense yet and many times he will create for himself.  But with a big man that can shoot the outside shot, the way he moves off screens has to be considered close to the top of the league, and his closing speed while going to the basket warrants a replay on most possessions.

One of his big question marks coming into his rookie campaign was defense.  However, six games in he is averaging over a steal per game and limited Chauncey Billups to 6-16 shooting, gave up just one point to Chris Duhon, and forced Derrick Rose to commit five turnovers. No one will be forgetting about Chris Paul any time soon but positive returns this early in the season are always good.

Just about every aspect of his game is raw right now, but that can be a good thing, too.  Sometimes just letting players go out and be athletes can bring success and it seems like head coach Scott Skiles is letting Jennings do that for the most part.  It’s been an unbelievable start for a guy who, a year ago, was living out of a suitcase and traveling on a bus to foreign places in Italy to average under six points per game.

He’s got a long way to go, but Brandon Jennings is looking like the real deal.

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November 13, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA | , , | 4 Comments

Final Two Round NBA Mock Draft 4.0

1. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut

3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricky Rubio, PG, DKV Joventut

4. Sacramento Kings: Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyreke Evans, PG, Memphis

6. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Harden, SG, Arizona State

7. Golden State Warriors: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona

8. New York Knicks: Stephen Curry, G, Davidson

9. Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan, SG, USC

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy

11. New Jersey Nets: Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina

12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke

13. Indiana Pacers: Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse

14. Phoenix Suns: Earl Clark, SF, Louisville

15. Detroit Pistons: Austin Daye, SF, Gonzaga

16. Chicago Bulls: Terrence Williams, SG, Louisville

17. Philadelphia 76’ers: Eric Maynor, PG, Virginia Commonwealth

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State

19. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest

20. Utah Jazz: DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh

21. New Orleans Hornets: Sam Young, SG, Pittsburgh

22. Portland Trailblazers: Omri Casspi, SF, Israel

23. Sacramento Kings: James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest

24. Dallas Mavericks: Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chase Budinger, SF, Arizona

26. Chicago Bulls: Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina

27. Memphis Grizzlies: Derrick Brown, PF, Xavier

28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonas Jerebko, SF, Italy

29. New York Knicks: Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State

30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Demarre Carroll, PF, Missouri

31. Sacramento Kings: Darren Collison, PG, UCLA

32. Washington Wizards: DaJuan Summers, PF, Georgetown

33. Portland Trailblazers: Victor Claver, PF, Spain

34. Denver Nuggets: Taj Gibson, PF, USC

35. Detroit Pistons: Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State

36. Memphis Grizzlies: Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s

37. San Antonio Spurs: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette

38. Portland Trailblazers: Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga

39. Detroit Pistons: Jack McClinton, PG, Miami

40. Charlotte Bobcats: Danny Green, G/F, North Carolina

41. Milwaukee Bucks: John Brockman, PF, Washington

42. Los Angeles Lakers: Rodrgiue Beaubois, PG, France

43. Miami Heat: Jermaine Taylor, SG, Central Florida

44. Detroit Pistons: Ahmad Nivins, PF, St. Joseph’s

45. Minnesota Timberwolves: Christian Eyenga, SG, Congo

46. Phoenix Suns: A.J. Price, PG, Connecticut

47. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sergio Llull, PG, Spain

48. Phoenix Suns: Dante Cunningham, SF, Villanova

49. Atlanta Hawks: Vyacheslav Kravtsov, C, Ukraine

50. Utah Jazz: Leo Lyons, PF, Missouri

51. San Antonio Spurs: Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette

52. Indiana Pacers: Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky

53. San Antonio Spurs: Goran Suton, C, Michigan State

54. Charlotte Bobcats: Patrick Beverly, PG, Ukraine

55. Portland Trailblazers: Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple

56. Dallas Mavericks: Tony Gaffney, PF, UMass

57. Phoenix Suns: Paul Harris, SF, Syracuse

58. Boston Celtics: Nando De Colo, SG, France

59. Los Angeles Lakers: Bryan Mullins, PG, So. Illinois

60. Miami Heat: Jeff Adrien, PF, Connecticut

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA Draft | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Milwaukee Bucks Need Johnny Flynn

As we close in on the three week mark until the 2009 NBA Draft, camps and interviews are in full swing, and teams are making notes about players that they like and do not like.

Sitting at the No. 10 spot, the Milwaukee Bucks will have many options to improve its 34-48 squad from last year. Injuries to stars Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut hurt Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, but a good draft—and a healthy offseason—will do wonders for the team.

The Bucks will have to make decisions on free agents Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, and the draft could affect what they do.

Don't let his size fool you: Johnny Flynn can get up.

Don't let his size fool you: Johnny Flynn can get up.

Potentially waiting at the No. 10 pick will be Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn. The 6’0″ sophomore has seen his stock rise since attending the combine in Chicago and is looking more and more like a surefire lottery pick. If he makes it to Milwaukee, there is no reason for general manager John Hammond to pass on the next big point guard in the NBA.

Flynn has all the tools you look for in a point guard, starting with leadership. Despite being in just his second season at Syracuse, Flynn took a leadership role and was the main reason for the Orange’s success last year.

Over the last couple of years, the NBA has seen the point guard position take precedence as the spot to build a franchise around. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, and Rajon Rondo have all been examples of this new trend.

For the Bucks, Flynn would step in right away as the starting point guard. Helping make the transition would be a veteran group of players in Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, and Charlie Villanueva.

He would not be joining a young squad full of potential, where he would need to take over games and try to do too much (which he is guilty of at times). Instead, he would rather play within the offense and have help doing so.

Johnny Flynn can get by most defenders he matches up against.

Johnny Flynn can get by most defenders he matches up against.

Flynn remains the most sure thing in the draft among point guards in this year’s draft. As a sophomore, Flynn is actually one of the older guards in the draft.

In ESPN’s GM rankings of the top 13 point guards, just Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, Darren Collison, and Toney Douglas were older than him.

The good part is that Flynn is older, not old. He is just 20 years old and still has a ton of experience. He has not been to three Final Fours, like Collison, and he has not played overseas, like Brandon Jennings.

However, he has played two full seasons in the rough ‘n’ tough Big East and carried a team on his shoulders to the NCAA Tournament.

Flynn measured out at 6’0″ tall in shoes and had a 6′4″ wingspan, which gave a lot of GMs good reason to believe that he is big enough to succeed in the NBA.

The only thing you could possibly knock Flynn on is his size. But his decent size— comparable to Chris Paul’s—seems to get the job done. Flynn also had the highest vertical leap of anyone at the draft camp, being the only one to reach 40 inches on his jump.

When I watch Flynn play, he reminds me a lot of San Antonio’s Tony Parker. While Parker has two inches on Flynn, his jumping ability makes up for the size disadvantage.

Both go to the hole with a great sense of speed, direction, and ability to find open teammates.

Flynn got to the foul line six times a game, compared to Parker’s five trips per game, and both do most of their damage in the paint.

An added bonus in Flynn’s arsenal is his outside shot. Despite driving to the paint on most of his offensive touches, he has some ability to shoot the three when necessary.

Also, Flynn has about 15 pounds on Parker and is a lot more physical. While he has the ability to put finesse in his game, he will come right at you and draw a foul.

Don’t let his size fool you; his competitiveness drives him and he does not back down from anyone.

Flynn is as complete of a point guard as any team will find in this year’s draft. International players (Rubio, Jennings) are far from being a sure thing, and Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are one-year wonders from their respective colleges.

There are question marks on whether or not Stephen Curry will be able to play good enough defense in the NBA, and there are more questions about Ty Lawson’s size than Flynn’s.

With such an array of good outside shooters (Redd and Jefferson) and big men with mid-range games (Villanueva and Bogut), Flynn could do wonders in the Bucks’ offense.

With such good shooters on the perimeter, getting a guy that can run the floor like Flynn will create open shots on the break and lead to a much more efficient offense.

Rajon Rondo’s play in Boston comes to mind when thinking about the way Flynn runs the break. His first look is to get right to the hole, but he always knows where his players are (Ray Allen).

Flynn also excels when he slows the ball down and runs the half-court offense. At Syrcause, Flynn saw a lot of zone defense that allowed him to penetrate to the basket but not finish because of defenses collapsing.

When Flynn gets to the NBA, he is going to see a lot more man-to-man defenses and is going to be quicker than most of the counterparts he matches up against on a nightly basis. His ability to finish at the rim and draw fouls will go a long way to making him successful.

Scott Skiles loves a good point guard and Flynn can be the man for the job. Of the “young” point guards in the draft, Flynn is the most NBA-ready and can step in and help right away for a Bucks team that is not that far away from a breakout year.

Ramon Sessions has showed flashes of being a very good point guard in the league, but I still doubt whether he can handle the starting gig all year.

If he does not decide to re-sign with the Bucks, Flynn becomes the best option to start for the Bucks next year. The Bucks have longed for a star point guard that has the fire and passion Flynn does.

The Bucks will look at all their options and decide which point guard they like best and even hope a power forward like Jordan Hill falls to them.

However, if Flynn is available at the 10th pick, it would make all the sense in the world to make him a Milwaukee Buck.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA Draft | , , | 1 Comment

2009 NBA Mock Draft Round One 2.0

This year’s draft class is one of the weaker in recent memory, but a lot of teams are one piece away and there are great role players in this year’s draft who have the experience to come in right away and see minutes.  Round two will be up tomorrow but for now, enjoy my 2009 NBA Mock Draft 2.0!

1. Sacramento Kings: Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma

Unlike the NFL, when you have the first overall seed in the draft you go with the best player nine out of ten times. Count this one as one of those nine times as the Kings grab the best player in the draft in Griffin to tag-team with Spencer Hawes in the front court. NBA Comparison: Amare Stoudemire

It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Blake Griffin will be selected first overall by whoever wins the NBA Lottery.

It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Blake Griffin will be selected first overall by whoever wins the NBA Lottery.

2. Washington Wizards: Ricky Rubio, PG, DKV Joventut

Ever since his Olympics performance against the United States, scouts have been drooling waiting for Rubio to declare for the draft.  Now that he has entered his name, the Wizards can start building around him to get back to the playoffs. Moving Gilbert Arenas to a Dwyane Wade-type shooting guard role will help both players out and make the Wizards that much better.  NBA Comparison: Rafer Alston

3. Los Angeles Clippers: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona

Hill was one of the most improved players in the NCAA this year and will be rewarded for it in the draft.  Hill is an outstanding scorer and and even better shot blocker.  Hopefully Los Angeles can reverse their Lottery luck and start to build a core around Hill, Eric Gordon, and Deandre Jordan.  NBA Comparison: Al Jefferson

4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut

The Thunder are growing excellent young talent right now with Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook, but there appears to be a gaping hole at the center position.  Thabeet was the best defensive player in the NCAA last year and if he can add a some muscle to his frame, he will be the next big shot blocker in the league.  NBA Comparison: Sam Dalembert

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy

A lot of people are underrating Jennings because of his decision to play internationally instead of going to Arizona, but do not deny Jennings’ talent for one second.  He excels on his jump shot and getting to the hoop, where he finishes with great power.  Minnesota can move Randy Foye to shooting guard to make room for Jennings.  NBA Comparison: Allen Iverson

6. Memphis Grizzlies: James Harden, SG, Arizona State

I am not a huge fan of Harden as I wonder how good he can be without having top end speed. Still, you can not overlook his outstanding ability on jump shots.  He needs to work on creating more offensively and he plays pretty good defense for his size.  His potential is huge and despite having O.J. Mayo, the Grizzlies believe in Mike Conley and will build on more depth in getting Harden.  NBA Comparison: Ben Gordon

7. Golden State Warriors: Tyreke Evans, PG, Memphis

Evans was one of my favorite players to watch this year, and for good reason.  He has great size for a point guard and uses it very well getting to the hoop.  He is also able to guard bigger players on the defenders, something Golden State has been known to give up on most nights.  Evans also improved his jump shot as the year went on and will develop it even further in Don Nelson’s system.  NBA Comparison: Dwyane Wade

8. New York Knicks: Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest

Teague is the definition of a combo guard as he has a knack for scoring baskets but also handles the point very well.  He should thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s run-n-gun offense because of it, and with the uncertainty of Nate Robinson and Chris Duhon next year, Teague makes a lot of sense here.  NBA Comparison: Gilbert Arenas

9. Toronto Raptors: Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke

Toronto really struggled to find a steady and consistent shooting guard this year, but Henderson should solve all thier problems.  Henderson is unbelievably athletic and a smart player who will benefit greatly from an up-tempo style that he was not able to see while playing for coach K.  NBA Comparison: Joe Johnson

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse

I don’t know if Flynn will end up going over Ty Lawson in the draft come June, but he should.  Not only did Flynn have a better statistical season (by a hair), but I believe that he is the next big thing to come and has more potential than Lawson.  Flynn plays much bigger than he really is and the Bucks could use a starting point guard on a team full of back-ups in Luke Ridnour and Ramon Sessions.  NBA Comparison: Tony Parker

11. New Jersey Nets: Earl Clark, SF, Louisville

Clark is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft and one of my favorites.  I got to watch him quite a bit as he played in the Big East, and from what I can tell he has all the tools.  His size matched up with his athleticism is unlike any other player in the draft.  If he can focus on becoming a true forward (settles for too many jump shots), his outstanding defense and versatility will carry him far in the league.  NBA Comparison: Josh Smith

12. Charlotte Bobcats: Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina

Ellington’s permiter game is outstanding and he has pretty good size for a shooting guard.  Charlotte lacked a true two guard after the Jason Richardson trade, and it never hurts to have a little home-grown talent to bring some people to the stadium.  NBA Comparison: Richard Hamilton

13. Indiana Pacers: Stephen Curry, PG, Davidson

The value that Curry brings falling to number 13 is too hard to pass up.  Curry formed himself into a combo guard this year, taking over point guard responsbilities.  This will be a key asset for NBA scouts to see as last year he was more of a pure shooter that did not do anything else very well.  NBA Comparison: Mike Bibby

How fun would Ty Lawson be to watch playing in the Suns offense?

How fun would Ty Lawson be to watch playing in the Suns offense?

14. Phoenix Suns: Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina

Lawson will become the heir apparent to Steve Nash and he should thrive in the Suns up-tempo system, somewhat similar to what he played in at Chapel Hill.  Lawson lacks ideal size for a point guard but his combination of speed and strength should make him a very good player in the league.  NBA Comparison: Deron Williams

15. Detroit Pistons: Demar DeRozan, SF, Southern Cal

DeRozan has filled up many a Youtube videos with his athleticsm and speed to go with it, but the question is whether or not he can translate that into a solid basketball player.  At Southern Cal, DeRozan had an efficient year and, with so much potential on his side, Detroit should be able to turn him into a stud.  NBA Comparison: Josh Howard

16. Chicago Bulls: Terrance Williams, SG, Louisville

I do not expect the Bulls to re-sign Ben Gordon this off-season, leaving somewhat of a hole at the position.  Williams has the best intangibles and leadership qualities of anyone in the draft and plays excellent defense, which is something the Bulls could use more out of their guards. If Gordon is re-signed by the time of the draft, this pick could easily be Patrick Patterson.  NBA Comparison: Andre Iguodala

17. Philadelphia 76ers: Chase Budinger, SF, Arizona

Budinger has significantly increased his stock since coming out of high school with Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, and has become a much better all around player because of it.  Philadelphia could use depth at the position but would also consider Flynn or Lawson if either of them were to fall this far.  NBA Comparison: Luol Deng

18. Minneosta Timberwolves:James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest

While Minnesota has entrenched their front court with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, Johnson is a project that can sit and wait in the wings for a few years becoming a full time player.  He flew under the radar all of last year because of Jeff Teague and Al-Farouq Aminu but his athleticism and strength are two great traits that could make him a stellar defender in the NBA.  NBA Comparison: Al Thornton

19. Atlanta Hawks: B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State

Mullens was the top prospect coming out of high school but did not have an unbelievable year at Ohio State. Still, he has a ton of potential that could very easily translate to the NBA game.  He is very raw but has good size and is fluid in the paint and is one of the few true centers that could go in the first round this year.  Atlanta could use some depth behind Zaza Pachulia and keep Al Horford at the power forward position. NBA Comparison: Sam Dalembert

20. Utah Jazz: DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh

If Carlos Boozer is not back for the Jazz, which I do not expect him to be, depth at power forward will be a major concern.  Paul Millsap proved that he is more than capable of starting, but behind him there is little talent on a team that runs on having depth.  NBA Comparison: Paul Millsap

21. New Orleans Hornets: Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU

The Hornets are really lacking at the shooting guard position and Thornton is a project that could stem into something very positive if he continues to work on his game.  He does a great job coming off of screens in offensive sets and even has a decent post game that he can use in the NBA.  NBA Comparison: Ray Allen

22. Dallas Mavericks: Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky

Other than Brandon Bass, the Mavs do not have very man post-up forwards, and that is exactly what Patterson is.  Injuries plagued him but when he is playing good basketball, he is a top-10 pick.  He averages close to three offensive rebounds per game and works very hard in the post to fight for rebounds despite still being a very raw player.  He could easily be the steal of this draft.  NBA Comparison: Al Horford

Jrue Holiday would benefit from another year with Ben Howland at UCLA...just ask Darren Collison.

Jrue Holiday would benefit from another year with Ben Howland at UCLA...just ask Darren Collison.

23. Sacarmento Kings: Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA

After addressing the power forward position, the Kings pick up a big-time project in Holiday.  He has the potential to be a starting point guard in the Association but will really need to polish up.  He struggled late in the season but gives good versatility as a combo guard.  I would not be surprised at all to see Holiday come back to the Bruins for another year of work in college.  NBA Comparison: Rodney Stuckey

24. Portland Trailblazers: Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh

Young is one of the most polished players in the draft that can come in right away and get minutes.  He will be coming to a team in the Blazers that has some of the best young talent in the league, so player that can see the floor from day one will be important.  Young plays great defense and really improved his jump shot this year.  NBA Comparison: Brandon Rush

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Eric Maynor, PG, VCU

Despite having standout rookie Russell Westbrook, the Thunder have shaky depth at the point guard position.  Maynor benefited greatly from the NCAA Tournament and was one of the most well-recognized names in March.  He is a veteran player and a great leader that can translate to the young Thunder team.  NBA Comparison: Nate Robinson

26. Chicago Bulls: Austin Daye, PF, Gonzaga

Daye is a very interesting prospect that, like most Bulls forwards, will be a project in the making.  The one difference is that Daye is an outstanding defender and very strong in the post.  Too many times this year the Bulls were “out-physicaled” and it cost them points in the paint.  Daye also has a nice mid-range game on offense.  NBA Comparison: Jared Jeffries

27. Memphis Grizzlies: Patrick Mills, PG, Saint Mary’s

Mike Conley showed flashes of starting capability, but just in case he is not the answer for the Grizzles, Mills will be a very good pickup with good value.  Mills takes too many outside shots right now and will need to work on that, especially if he keeps missing them, but over time could prove to be a solid option at the point.  NBA Comparison: Rafer Alston

Gani Lawal has tremendous athleticism, but will it translate to the NBA?

Gani Lawal has tremendous athleticism, but will it translate to the NBA?

28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech

With three selections in the first round, Minnesota will likely not have three huge needs to address, so they will either go with the player with the most potential or simply the best player on the draft board.  Lawal’s potential is through the roof as he plays above the rim on most possessions and has thunderous dunks in most games he plays in.  While he is still raw and not mechanically sound, he could be a star.  NBA Comparison: Jason Maxiell

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Darren Collison, PG, UCLA

Just like they did with Jordan Farmar, the Lakers go back to a UCLA point guard and get a great floor leader in Collison.  Staying for his senior year hurt his draft stock but he still produces at a high level and had three Final Four appearances, showing he knows how to win.  Derek Fisher will be 36 and has stopped producing for the Lakers, while Farmar is strictly a backup.  NBA Comparison: Chris Duhon

30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee

The Cavs are in good hands with LeBron James, but injuries to Wally Szczerbiak and J.J. Hickson this year really exposed the Cavs lack of a bench at the forward position.  Smith is definitely a project and there is a good chance he will return for his senior year, but regardless of when he comes out, he has the athleticism to make it in the pros, if only as a great defender.  NBA Comparison: Tyrus Thomas

May 5, 2009 Posted by | Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA Draft, Orlando Magic | , , , | 5 Comments