I don’t know why I like mock drafts so much. Their usefulness and/or accuracy usually get squashed by the time the draft starts, if not before. Especially in the NBA, where the general managers aren’t afraid to make trades based on a whim (or a friendly relationship with another GM they used to play with).
Still, it’s fun to look at all these groupthink predictions and picture if they are actually true. Is Memphis really going to choose Hasheem Thabeet and stick him next to Marc Gasol? Is Ricky Rubio going to Oklahoma City, Sacramento or Minnesota? Is Blake Griffin already cursed, or is he safe until David Stern announces officially that he’s on his way to Clipper Hell?
One thing that’s clear after wasting time researching all these mock drafts: everyone’s buying what Larry Riley and Don Nelson are selling. In the murkiest draft in years, experts have seemingly decided to give up and take as truth what Riley said the other day — that 6’10” power forward Jordan Hill will be selected by the Warriors with pick No. 7. Yep, “We Believe” has now turned into “We Believe Larry,” even though Riley’s in Nelson’s back pocket and even after Nellie told reporters, “I hate to lie to you guys, but if you want to talk about the draft, I will.”
BASG Prediction: No way the Warriors select Hill, unless Brandan Wright gets traded today. Their first choice will be Stephen Curry if he’s available, followed by James Harden, Demar DeRozan, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark and James Johnson, in that order. Or, they’ll trade the pick to Phoenix in a deal that gives the Warriors Amare Stoudemire (something I’ve been predicting ever since Stoudemire became available).
Links specifically chosen to prove whatever points I’ve been making lately
- According to this report, the Warriors are currently trying to pry Stoudemire away from the Suns for a package including Andris Biedrins. Maybe the Suns will pick Hill if the Warriors include the 7th pick in the deal. You know, bring in the local kid to pacify fans wondering what the hell happened to their 60-win team. (AZ Central)
- Here’s the first of several mock drafts that have the Warriors taking Hill. After discussing the other available options and discussing why the Warriors wouldn’t take them, Adam Lauridsen writes: “Which leaves us with Hill, who for all the reasons weâ€™ve rehashed for the last week or so fits a need (at least in Nellieâ€™s post Brandan Wright world), has the upside to justify the draft position, and appears to bring the maturity Nelson favors with his picks.” (Fast Break)
- This mock has Hill going to the Warriors, and Patrick Mills going with to the Pistons with the 9th pick of the second round. If that’s true, Mills should have stayed in Moraga for another year. I still say whoever gets him won’t be disappointed. I mean, Dan Dickau went in the first round for chrissakes! Dickau couldn’t play in the Olympics if they made him an honorary citizen of Iran. (DraftExpress)
- Even Tim Kawakami is falling for the Warriors’ ruse, though he has his suspicions: “Could it be the sly Nellie double-fake-a-roo? He and Riley make their fondness for Hill so public that everybody presumes it’s smokescreen … but maybe that’s really another smokescreenÂ and the Warriors take Hill? My head hurts.” (Talking Points)
- And another mock draft where the Warriors select Hill, this time from a Utah Jazz columnist. (Examiner)
- Three out of four “draft experts” think the Warriors will get Hill. (HOOPSWORLD)
- Wait, someone who says the Warriors will pick Jrue Holliday? Finally, someone willing to go against the grain, but since Holliday’s agent is Dan “Eff Rob Rowell” Fegan, I can’t see this happening. I liked Holliday’s game at the end of last season, as his offensive game was obviously being stifled by UCLA coach Ben Howland, but Fegan clients are pretty much off limits to the Warriors at this point. I like John Jackson’s little blurb about Golden State, though: “Although taking a point guard should be a no-brainer, the Warriors rarely draft according to what makes sense.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. (Chicago Sun-Times)
- OK, enough mock drafts. Marcus Thompson II says that the trade for Acie Law and Speedy Claxton doesn’t mean the Warriors won’t draft a point guard. Now my head hurts. Hey, Kawakami and I actually have something in common! (Inside the Warriors)
- The great Bethlehem Shoals from Free Darko writes on his mainstream blog why he isn’t that excited about Shaq joining LeBron. Among other things, “At the risk of being a total downer, has anyone stopped to wonder whether James and Shaq can both fit in the lane at the same time?” (The Baseline)
- The Lakers sell the No. 29 pick overall for $3 million. Doesn’t that seem a little high? Oh well, more money to pay Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown. (ESPN)
- Jordan Farmar’s on the trading block. The Rockets said no, but to be fair Mitch Kupchak probably asked for Aaron Brooks just so they wouldn’t have to face him again. (Los Angeles Times)
- Moving away from the NBA for a second, the 49ers’ decision-making process is very different than last year. Namely, Mike Nolan isn’t mucking everything up. (Matt Maiocco)
- Many unanswered questions for the Raiders right now, including what to do with one of my favorite forgotten running backs in the league, Michael Bush. Let Justin Fargas enjoy “turkey bags” with Yukmouth all day and all night, Bush is the one who should get every carry Darren McFadden doesn’t receive. (Inside the Oakland Raiders)Bruce Jenkins says that Kevin Frandsen “epitomizes the kind of patience and diplomacy required of ballplayers on the fringe. They can’t get too exasperated to the point where it affects their play, and they can’t go popping off to the media about their rotten luck.” I guess Jenks missed when Frandsen told the Fresno Bee earlier this month, “The Giants don’t see me as an everyday player, but I see myself differently,” he said. “At a certain point, you realize a lot more teams need help, no matter how much my heart is set on this team.” (Three Dot Blog)
In case you didn’t see this, the Giants signed their third round draft pick, Chris Dominguez. He’s a third baseman from Louisville who cracked 25 homers this past season, meaning the Giants arguably could use him now. (The Splash)John Bowker is tearing it up in Fresno, and he’s walking more than a soccer mom with hand weights. Would that translate to Major League success, and who would he replace? (Bay City Ball)
- Finally, here’s the hilarious tale of how Elvis Grbac was named People’s “Sexiest Athlete Alive” in 1998. No really, that actually happened. (Deadspin)