Who Won The Lottery?
Yesterday, the NBA draft was held in New York. There was little consensus on any of the players, fueling an action-packed day of speculation, rumors, and trades. Below is how Oly Sandor, the NBA Guru, sees the lottery breaking down.
1) Toronto Andrea Bargnani/PF 7-0 240 lbs. Benetton Treviso (Italy)/20 years old.
Player description: That’s right. You guessed it. Another European prospect slapped with ‘The Next Dirk’ label. But Bargnani is better than Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Darko Milic. Two seasons ago, in an exhibition game against Toronto, his athletic ability and smooth jumper gave Chris Bosh problems.
Sandor’s take: Bargnani will be a great offensive player. Unfortunately, he won’t solve Toronto’s defensive problems. This pick could have been included in a trade with Milwaukee for Jamaal Magloire and T.J. Ford. But Bryan Colangelo, Toronto’s new GM, preferred Bargnani.
2) Portland (via Chicago) LaMarcus Aldridge/PF-C 6-11 235 lbs. Texas/So.
Player description: Aldridge can score, defend, and run the floor. He’s an outstanding athlete, but needs to add some bulk before heading off to his first NBA training camp.
Sandor’s take: There’s a reason ‘Rip City’ traded up to get Aldridge. He’s a Chris Bosh clone. With Aldridge in the fold, Portland will once again try to move Zach Randolph’s massive contract. The Blazers should keep Isiah Thomas and the New York Knicks on speed dial.
Player description: The ‘moustache’ is a cold blooded assassin, who can sink any outside shot. And the rest of Morrison’s offensive game is almost as versatile as his Bon Jovi hair.
Sandor’s take: Morrison immediately becomes the Bobcats’ primary scorer. He also complements the young nucleus that Bernie Bickerstaff has meticulously assembled. Oh yeah, Morrison’s rock star appeal should sell tickets, which Charlotte desperately needs.
4) Chicago (via Portland) Tyrus Thomas/PF 6-8 220 lbs. LSU/Fr.
Player description: Thomas’ forty inch vertical had scouts drooling. His defense, rebounding, and athleticism will help the blue-collar Bulls. Thomas’ game needs some polish and he’s undersized for the four-spot.
Sandor’s take: This kid is going to be an outstanding player. However, Thomas is a ‘tweener’, stuck between the two forward spots, so Chicago should have drafted a center.
5) Atlanta Shelden Williams/PF-C 6-9 260 lbs. Duke/Sr.
Player description: Williams is a defensive stud. But the ‘Dukie’ has a limited offensive game, scoring his points through rebounds and hustle plays.
Sandor’s take: Williams gives Atlanta a mean, defensive-minded center. On paper, this should work. Then again, nothing has worked for the Hawks since they inked Jon Koncak to a contract extension in the late eighties.
6) Portland (via Minnesota) Brandon Roy/SG 6-6 205 lbs. Washington/Sr.
Player description: Roy put it all together during his senior year at Washington. The big-guard can get to the hoop and keeps improving his outside range. Roy also has the ability to defend three different positions.
Sandor’s take: Roy’s a solid all-round player, who will man Portland’s two-spot for several years.
7) Minnesota (via Portland and Boston) Randy Foye/G 6-3 210 lbs. Villanova/Sr.
Player description: Is he a lead-guard or an off-guard? Does it matter? Foye lacks a true position, but New York, New York has the moxie and skill to carve out a great professional career.
Sandor’s take: Minnesota got a stud in Foye. He’ll provide the Wolves with some much needed leadership.
Player description: Gay, once regarded as the first-overall pick, slid to the middle of the lottery after an inconsistent season at Connecticut. Gay’s physical gifts suit an up-tempo style. He needs to expand his range and become more consistent.
Sandor’s take: Some see Gay as an enigma. Others see him as a future all-star. He’s probably somewhere in the middle. However, it’s never wise to question ‘The Logo’, Jerry West, who traded Shane Battier for the rights to Gay.
9) Golden State Patrick O’Bryant/C 7-0 260 lbs. Bradley/So.
Player description: O’Bryant hit the lottery with his 28 point, 7 rebound performance against Pitt in the NCAA tournament. Literally! He wasn’t heavily recruited coming out of high school and most scouts hadn’t heard of him until his breakout game at the college tournament. With his wingspan and athleticism, O’Bryant has some upside.
Sandor’s take: O’Bryant is still an unknown and the Warriors rolled the dice with this pick.
10) Seattle Saer Sene/C 7-0 240 lbs. Pepinster (Belgium)/20 years old.
Player description: Sene only started playing basketball four years ago, so he’s a project. He’s got the physical skills to man the five-spot and recently received props from the epitome of NBA ‘old skool’, when Jerry Sloan praised his work ethic and improving jump shot.
Sandor’s take: Why have the Sonics selected three project-centers in the last three drafts? And Sene isn’t any better than Robert Swift or Johan Petro. Jack Sikma, Seattle’s assistant coach, better clear his schedule for the next few years because Sene needs his help.
11) Orlando J.J. Redick/SG 6-6 190 lbs. Duke/Sr.
Player description: There are several questions surrounding Redick. Can he create his own shot? How’s his back? And what about that arrest for impaired driving?
Sandor’s take: Believe it or not, this situation could work out. After all, Dwight Howard commands double teams, so Redick will have room to use his amazing outside shot.
12) New Orleans Hilton Armstrong/PF-C 6-11 240 lbs. Connecticut/ Sr.
Player description: A late bloomer, Armstrong finally got some ‘pub’ on a Connecticut team that was stacked with hi-profile, big-name players. A defensive gem, look for Armstrong to have a solid career.
Sandor’s take: Armstrong has a great mentor in P.J. Brown. These two and David West will give the Hornets a formidable inside presence.
13) Chicago (via Philadelphia) Thabo Sefolosha/SG-SF 6-7 205 lbs. Biella (Italy) 22 years old.
Player description: Sefolosha has all the tools to be a strong perimeter player. He should immediately crack the Bulls’ rotation because of his defensive abilities. With great athleticism and a strong skill set, Sefolosha looks like a young Doug Christie.
Sandor’s take: Chicago has gotten awfully deep at the two-spot. Is Ben Gordon ‘expend-a-bull’?
14) Utah Ronnie Brewer/PG-SG-SF 6-7 225 Arkansas/Jr.
Player description: Brewer is a versatile, athletic player, who can quickly fill up the stat-sheet. He needs to re-work his two-handed shot.
Sandor’s take: Brewer’s athleticism makes him a great defender, so he should get minutes in Utah’s rotation.
Oly Sandor is an NBA analyst and a free-lance journalist based out of Vancouver, Canada. His basketball writing has appeared in basketball.com, insidehoops, Ballerz Basketball Magazine, betus.com, eurobasket and hoopsvibe. Oly’s take can also be heard on various radio stations. Contact him at OlySandorNBAGuru@yahoo.com.