Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mock Up: Snap Judgments

The lottery did have a small impact on the Trail Blazers draft fortunes, as we're now in possession of the 33rd pick in the second round thanks to the Clippers, but as you're well aware, we've been locked into the 24th pick since the tiebreaker ceremony on April 17.

With the draft lottery taken care of (way to go Clips), the first wave of mock drafts are popping up all over the internets. Let's take a look.

Chad Ford,
Darren Collison, UCLA, PG, 6-1, 165 lbs.
Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard's perpetual search for a point guard continues. Last year, the team acquired lottery pick Jerryd Bayless, but it's pretty clear that Bayless is more of a Ben Gordon type than a Steve Nash type. Collison's quickness, penetrating ability, leadership and defensive talent would have to intrigue the Blazers
Collison has been projected all over the place during his four years at UCLA. Getting him at No. 24 would seem like a no-brainer from a "best player available" standpoint. Then again, Collison strikes me as the kind of guy who could really improve his stock in predraft workouts, much in the same way his backcourt partner Russell Westbrook did last season.

Ian Thomsen, Sports
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, PF, 6-9, 250 lbs.
He is definitely going to succeed in the NBA, not as a star but as a hard-working contributor to the second unit of a good team. He'll be a reliable guy off the bench for Portland.
I'm torn on whether or not I buy this one.

On one hand, Kevin Pritchard and his staff have made a habit of taking chances late in the first round. They did it with Joel Freeland, Rudy Fernandez, Petteri Koponen and Nicolas Batum. To me, Hansbrough doesn't fit that mold. Not because he's not an international, but because he's the epitome of a safe pick. Probably never going to be more than a role player, but he's not going to make you regret taking him either. That just doesn't seem like KP's style at No. 24.

But then again, the kid is a winner. And if there's one thing the Trail Blazers front office likes out of draft picks, it's hardworking players from successful programs. Pritchard has also mentioned on numerous occasions that he seeks out Roy Williams' advice on many a topic, and I'm sure the UNC coach has a lot of nice things to say about Psycho T.

Draft via HoopsHype
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech, PF/C, 6-8, 233 lbs.
High-energy power forward who displays intriguing characteristics for a role-player prospect. Not incredibly tall, but extremely long and athletic with a great frame to compensate. The stereotypical hustler. Very active around the basket, gets his hands on plenty of loose balls, an excellent offensive rebounder and a talented shot-blocker to boot. Makes plays around the rim, quick off feet and very instinctive. Gets to the free throw line but does not convert. Likely won’t ever be a huge scoring threat. Work ethic, character are reportedly superb. Still raw, but with a big upside.
I know absolutely nothing about this guy. We're pretty loaded at center, but a backup power forward who can bang could certainly find a spot in Nate McMillan's rotation. And as stated above, No. 24 is the place for high risk, high reward.

Sean Deveney, Sporting News
Austin Daye, Gonzaga, SF, 6-10, 190 lbs.
He’s coming off a knee injury and a so-so season, but Daye is big and loaded with potential.
Again, a guy I don't know that much about. If he's the best player available, then so be it, but we're already stacked at small forward. Stacked I yell ya'. Also seems strange that a sophomore coming off a knee surgery and so-so season would enter the draft if he was going to get picked in the last first round. From what I can tell he hasn't hired an agent, so if he doesn't improve his stock through predraft workouts, I wouldn't be surprised to see Daye head back to the Dog Pound Kennel for another season.
Austin Daye, Gonzaga, SF, 6-10, 190 lbs.
Again, a tough nut to crack.

Tom Ziller, AOL Fanhouse
Omri Casspi, Maccabi Tel Aviv, SF, 6-8, 220 lbs.

Caspi's name has been out there for a while, meaning his book is probably pretty extensive at this point. Playing for one of the two best international clubs in Maccabi Tel Aviv certainly doesn't hurt this cause with the Blazers brass. Then again, Chad Buchanan mentioned during the first round of predraft workouts that the international prospects were pretty thin this year.

Caspi fits the mold of what Kevin Pritchard and his staff like to do late in the first round. Thing is, it's hard to tell how many European prospects the team wants to store away, especially when the "championship window" seems on the brink of opening.

Jrue Holiday, UCLA, PG/SG, 6-3, 205 lbs.
This is a pipe dream. No way Holiday is on the board at No. 24 unless something outrageous happens. The kid has size, great character and a ton of talent just waiting to be harnessed. Heck, Chad Ford has him going 10th to the Bucks and Draft Express has him at 18th. One thing is for sure: if for some reason he is on the board at No. 24, he's a Blazer. Period.

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech, PF/C, 6-8, 233 lbs.
Well, we've got some early consensus. I'll have to do some research on this fellow.

If you've found any other legitimate mock drafts around the internet, throw those in the comments and I'll add them to the list. We'll update once a week up to the draft.


pcracken said...

I'd never heard the name Lawal before, but I don't really follow college basketball, so that's not saying much.

A strong PF/C could be a really good backup, especially if it would mean someone to come in if some foul trouble happens.

Plus, his last name sounds like LOL, and that's just too good.

Paul said...

Dog Pound? You mean the Kennel?

Rick Johannessen said...

Kerry Eggers via Yahoo Sports is yet another Gani Lawal fan.;_ylt=AgW63YpRBYTboIkOH6iqXsa8vLYF?slug=ys-mockdraft052009&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Casey Holdahl said...

I too enjoy pronouncing Lawal's name.

I knew I got that wrong Paul. Thanks for the correction.

I'll add that one to the list Rick.