I am a draft philosophiser. I believe in certain principles that dictate my draft desires. And one dominant truism reigns supreme: Draft the best player available. This may seem quite obvious, but the Jazz are one of the worst teams in the league at doing this. For instance, last year the team's front office decided that we needed a center. So, when Koufos was still available we took him. Was he the best player available? No, but he was the best center available, and that carried the day.
Now, I haven't seen enough of the big fat Greek to form a solid opinion of his potential, but I'm not holding my breath of him being the savior of the ballclub. By choosing Koufos, we left the two Kansans, Supre Mario Chalmers and Darell Arthur on the board. Now, those guys aren't going to be all-stars next year either, but Mario is the starting point guard for a team that was better than the Jazz last year, and Arthur starts for an admittedly terrible Grizzlies squad. So why didn't the Jazz draft those guys? Because they didn't fill a positional need (center). Well, I'm here to tell you that such thinking is stupid.
Tonight's draft is a one player draft. Blake Griffin is the only guy that has franchise potential. There are a couple other guys that could turn into legitimate NBA players, the second or third best player on a contender, but that's their ceiling. So, at pick number 20, we're hoping, HOPING, for a decent backup. That's what we're dealing with. So, instead of hoping to find the power forward of the future in a draft with one quality big man, why don't we just take the player with the most talent, athleticism and potential, regardless of position? Great question.
Here's my breakdown of the draft:
Potential Perennial All-Star
1. Blake Griffin - the guy is a monster. He has Karl Malone-lite potential.
2. Ricky Rubio - I love him. He'll be a solid starter for years.
3. Stephen Curry - Another of my favorites. He reminds me of a younger, taller Mike Bibby.
4. Johnny Flynn - The little guy will be solid. I think he'll be a steal.
Potential Starter on a Contender
5. James Harden - Will be a solid player. Nothing flashy, but effective.
6. Hasheem Thabeet - I am suspicious. I think he's a bust, but 7''3' busts tend to stick around.
7. Terrence Williams - I love this guy, and think he'll go late. Great NBA body.
So, in my opinion, there are seven players that will likely be long term solid NBA players. That is an awful draft. Just terrible. The T-Wolves have staked their long-term success on this draft. The T-Wolves! That should tell you all you need to know. Let's just move on.
Potential Athletic Star/Potential Bust
8. Tyreke Evans - If Guru is right and the Kings take this guy over Curry, good riddance.
9. Jordan Hill - A big athlete. That's enough to get you in the top 7 in this draft.
10. Brandon Jennings - Iverson-like quickness, but he sucked in Europe last year.
11. DeMarr Derozan - A classic boom/bust pick. He could be incredible. He could tank.
12. Jrue Holiday - If you want to draft a guard that averaged less than 10 pts. in college, be my guest.
13. Earl Clark - I like this guy, mostly because he's built like Maggette.
14. James Johnson - Long, athletic, unorthodox player. I love this guy.
15. Jeff Teague - Extremely quick. Bad decision maker.
Potential Contributor/Sixth Man
16. Gerald Henderson - Solid, unspectacular player.
17. Eric Maynor - I LOVE this guy. More on him later.
18. DeJuan Blair - This guy could be a Millsap clone, if his knees hold up.
19. BJ Mullens - Think Kosta Kofous with a moustache.
20. Sam Young - Athetlic wing player with so-so jumper. Ronnie Brewer.
21. Ty Lawson - Small guard that can get to the rim. Always nice.
That's about the extent of players in the draft. After those 21, I think you are hoping for a Paul Milsap-like lightning strike. But here's the sad thing about tonight's draft for Jazz fans. I think that there will be multiple players from the "potential contributor" list available and perhaps even a player from the "potential athletic star" list available when we pick. But we're not going to take any of them. No, I think we have decided that we want a traditional power forward, so that's what we're going to take. And if it's Tyler Hansborough, described as a slightly less spastic and much less mormon version of Mark Madsen, it's a wasted pick in my opinion. Hansborough is a bad defender and doesn't possess great post moves. He is a classic garbage man, which is great, but also something you can get off the waiver wire.
Now, are Jeff Teague and James Johnson going to be available at 20? Probably not. But on draft night, someone like them, someone with more talent and athleticism than players drafted after them, always tumbles. Last year it was Arthur and Chalmers. If it's one of the Wake Forest mob, or anyone else on my top 15 list, the Jazz should nab them. And I bet someone on that list slips.
And if they aren't available? Please, for the love of all that is holy, take this guy.
Eric Maynor is a perfect Jazz-man. Steady, classic, heady point guard from a small school that no one has ever seen play on tv. Sound familiar? Maynor is the solution to our backup point guard problem, and anyone that thinks we don't have that problem is smoking crack. Please, Kevin O'Conner, take the point guard. Don't get sucked into positional picking. We have enough Kostas.