The day is here (finally)
Well, pretty soon all of the talk, the speculation, the spinning and the endless, mindless talk about trades that will never happen will be over and we'll all know how the 2007 NBA draft played out.
For the Wizards, it's looking pretty simple: barring a trade that pops up between this afternoon and around 9 p.m, Ernie Grunfeld will look at what's left on the board and choose his player. My guess is that your next Wizard will come out of a group that includes forward Julian Wright, forward Thaddeus Young, point guard Javaris Crittenton, shooting guard Derrick Byars and possibly, shooting guard Marco Belinelli of Italy.
I'm assuming, of course, that shooting guard Nick Young of USC will be off the board. It also may be a stretch to think that Wright will drop that far. Unless the kid has done something off the court I haven't heard about it, he should be a top 12-14 pick. Personally, I think Ernie should take Nick Young or Wright should they drop and if they don't, he should take the best shooting guard available.
I heard that Byars had an impressive workout and he's liked in Wiz circles. The kid has an NBA 2-guard frame, is a good defender and proved in big college games that he stroke big jump shots. Maybe he can be a guy who will come off the bench and if nothing else, knock down some open shots during those crucial 10-12 minute stretches when the Wiz bench killed them last season. In the second round, look for the Wiz to take D.J. Strawberry if he is still sitting there. He'd be a nice backup guard and I hear the Wiz brass likes him.
Just for fun, check out the following scouting report on Byars: http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=225550
One fan (sorry I can't remember the name but you'll know who you are) wrote me an interesting e-mail asking about the whole thing with teams making guarantees to guys and I did a little asking around. Here's the deal: it happens but most players, agents and teams treat such hand shake deals with the appropriate level of seriousness.
One example: I was on Washington Post Live yesterday with Caron Butler and he talked about his experience in the 2002 draft. Now, Caron went into draft day thinking he was going as high as No. 3 to Golden State (which took Mike Dunleavy) and no lower than 5th or 6th (Denver took Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Cleveland took Dajuan Wagner which would explain why those GMs are no longer with teams). During the workout process, Caron said he had a great one with Memphis, so good in fact that GM Jerry West told him not to work out for anyone else because the Grizz would not let him get past No. 4.
Of course, the logo took Drew Gooden at No. 4 and Tough Juice inexplicably dropped all the way to No. 10 where Pat Riley was more than happy to snatch him up. Thing is, Caron didn't even workout for Miami because Riley never thought he'd be there. So, I guess it just goes to show that mock drafts and so-called "promises" are pretty much worthless. That's why I'm so careful about putting too much into "reports" because many of them are nothing more than rumors that derived from a single "source" who may or may not be privy to what is really going on with a team.
By the way, Amare Stoudemire somehow went 9th in that 2002 draft so to review: two all stars were taken AFTER Jay Williams, Dunleavy, Gooden, Tskitishvili, Wagner, Nene and Chris Wilcox. That's impressive drafting by those teams. Really sharp.
I'll check back later from draft central down at Verizon Center.
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