Kenny Roda will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the entire Cleveland sports universe. Check back often for his updates!
After searching the internet, making a ton of phone calls, watching everything from ESPN to NBA TV and talking with some high ranking NBA Big Wigs, here’s the “411″ I can give you about the 2006 NBA Draft before it happens. When it’s all said and done we’ll see how we did and if I’ll trust those people for next year’s draft.
This is considered an average draft at best. No true number #1 pick and no true superstars. In a good to above average draft you could project 10 to 12 players who would end up being starters. One NBA exec told me this year those numbers are projected at maybe 6 to 10.
While there may not be as many starters or impact players in this draft, there is depth to fill out rosters.
Because of the items we just mentioned, expect there to be some wheeling and dealing in this draft for a number of reasons. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Depending on the needs of a team, someone might be willing to trade up or down because they are targeting one particular player they feel could help them immediately. Also, a team may feel they have projected a sleeper in the draft and will go get him via trade.
As for European players in this draft, there are a few, but the free agent class for the Euro’s is projected to be better than the draft class. But the best in this draft class is 7’1” power forward Andrea Bargnani of Italy. He’s being considered as the top choice by the Raptors. Others include power forward Olexsiy Pecherov of Ukraine, point guard Sergio Rodriguez of Spain, small forward Thabo Sefolosha of Switzerland and power forward Joel Freeland from England.
The deepest positions in this draft are wings and point guards. The weakest position of this draft…centers, or “Bigs”, as my good buddy and former Cavs coach John Lucas liked to call them.
Point Guards – My Top 6 – Marcus Williams from UConn, Kyle Lowery from Villanova, Rajon Rondo from Kentucky, Sergio Rodriguez from Spain, Jordan Farmar of UCLA and Dee Brown out of Illinois. Brown’s size is the biggest question about him. If he were taller than 5’11”, he may be the #1 point guard in this draft. He’s tough, hard-nosed, can play both guard spots (which he did at Illinois), can score and pass and is a winner. I’d take him on my team any day and I think whoever drafts him may get a steal of a deal.
Wings (shooting guards and small forwards) – My Top 6 – Brandon Roy from Washington, Adam Morrison out of Gonzaga, Rudy Gay from UConn, Ronnie Brewer out of Arkansas, Randy Foye from Villanova and Shannon Brown from Michigan St. In my opinion, Brandon Roy is the most complete player of this group. Great first step, can handle the rock, can create and slash, average passer and decent defender. Randy Foye is not far behind, but like we mentioned with Dee Brown earlier, his size could hurt him. The best scorer of this group is Adam Morrison, but can he play defense at the NBA level? If he goes to a team who is already defensive minded it won’t be a concern. The best value pick in this group late in the first round could be Shannon Brown.
Power Forwards – My Top 6 – LaMarcus Aldridge from Texas, Tyrus Thomas of LSU, Andrea Bargnani from Italy, Cedric Simmons out of NC State., Sheldon Williams from Duke and Olexsiv Pecherov from Brazil. Two sleepers to keep an eye on are Alexander Johnson from Florida St. and Leon Powe from Cal. Josh Boone is kind of a tweener whether he is a center or power forward. To me it doesn’t matter. I’d love to have UConn’s Boone on my team, especially on the defensive end.
Centers - My Top 3 – Patrick O’Bryant from Bradley, Josh Boone from UConn and Paul Davis out of Michigan St. Like I said earlier, not a good year for “Bigs”.
Who do the Cavs go with?
As far as the Cavaliers go at #25 in the first round and picks #42 and #55 in the second round, General Manager Danny Ferry has said that bringing three rookies into camp probably won’t happen. So that means one of two things. Either they’ll try and package two picks to move up and get a player if someone slips that they really like, or they could draft a player or two in the second round and let them play overseas for a year or two.
My guess on the Cavaliers is they’ll come away with a point guard for sure because of the ages of both Eric Snow and Damon Jones and the fact that they aren’t very good. The Cavs also will want to find a power forward who can bang, rebound and block shots. But then again, depending on how the draft goes, they could go for one of the wings since that position is so deep. If the Cavs could have one player in this draft I believe they would take Brandon Roy out of Washington. I’ve heard they love his all around game and if not him then point guard Kyle Lowery. Also a player like Josh Boone would really help them defensively around the hoop. If they stay at #25 and it comes down to two players and one of them is a point guard, they will take the point guard, no doubt. From what I’ve been able to gather, here’s what Danny Ferry, Mike Brown and the Cavaliers are looking for in a point guard: 1) Can he defend? 2) Can he shoot? 3) Does he have the size needed in the NBA? and 4) Can he handle the ball and make good decisions with it?
Names to realistically consider for the Cavs: Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown,
Dee Brown, Josh Boone, Daniel Gibson (point guard from Texas), Shawne Williams from Memphis, Olexsiy Pecherov, Mardy Collins out of Temple and Leon Powe.
The Cavaliers worked out 30 to 35 players and the most important part of the workout was not what they saw on the court because 90% of their mind is already made up on the players’ athletic ability. It’s the chance to test them mentally on the court and afterwards by interviewing him. This allows the Cavs a chance to balance their basketball skill with his mental skills or his basketball IQ.
Don’t forget. After all 60 picks are made over the two rounds, free agent frenzy begins when teams try to sign undrafted kids. This is where teams with a great scouting department might find that diamond in the rough!
One last thing. After the draft ends on Wednesday, June 28, the most important move of the Cavaliers’ off-season will be only three days away. That’s when the Cavaliers can offer LeBron James his $75 million contract extension. So if things don’t go the way you were hoping on draft night, forget about it. Worry more about whether or not LeBron gives the Cavaliers his autograph on that new contract!