Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brockman goes to Kings

No one quite knew where Jon Brockman was going to go but the Blazers took him with the 38th pick and are expected to trade him to Sacramento for former Pac-10 rival Jeff Pendergraph.

More Picks; Rubio to the Knicks?

The Timberwolves have become the home of point guard as they have taken North Carolina's Ty Lawson and have collected three point guards this evening, so a trade has to be in the works. The rumor mill has Ricky Rubio going to the New York Knicks. Atlanta gets its Wake Forest guard three years too late in Jeff Teague at 19 while Utah takes Eric Maynor to learn from Deron Williams.

Chris Paul gets a capable backup in New Orleans with UCLA's Darren Collison while Portland takes Victor Claver, a little-known Spaniard. Sacramento gets Omri Casspi, Dallas takes B.J. Mullens but is expected to trade him to Oklahoma City for Rodrigue Beaubois at 25. Chicago nabs USC forward Taj Gibson; Memphis gets Missouri forward DeMarre Carroll while Minnesota takes Wayne Ellington at 28. The Los Angeles Lakers takes Toney Douglas at 29 but may trade the pick to the Knicks while Cleveland finishes the first round Christian Eyenga.

More picks, no big surprises

Earl Clark of Louisville goes to the Phoenix Suns while Gonzaga's Austin Daye is headed to the Detroit Pistons, who will be tutored by Tayshaun Prince. The Chicago Bulls take Wake Forest forward James Johnson at 16 while Philadelphia has Jrue Holiday land in its hands at 17. Holiday will be a standout player in Philadelphia if can withstand the pressure.

Hansbrough to Indiana

Tyler Hansbrough landed perhaps in the perfect place for him, the Indiana Pacers. He will play in a smaller market that appreciates hard workers and with Larry Bird as a GM. It's a great value pick for the Pacers but they still need a point guard.

Nets get Williams; Bobcats draft Henderson

Althought it appeared he had a guarantee from Charlotte, Louisville Terrence Williams was drafted by the New Jersey Nets, who dealt Vince Carter earlier in the day. And Charlotte stays local by taking Duke standout Gerald Henderson, who should make the Bobcats a freakishly athletic team.

Rapts get DeRozan; Bucks take Jennings

The youngsters continue to get nabbed as the Toronto Raptors get DeMar DeRozan from USC to be their swing man and join Chris Bosh while the Milwaukee Bucks take the talented but erratic Brandon Jennings who could become a franchise cornerstone.

Wolves take Flynn; Warriors get Curry; Knicks nab Hill

Minnesota has some tricks going on here, following Ricky Rubio with Jonny Flynn, this will end the Sebastian Telfair era in Minnesota. The Golden State Warriors break the hearts of the New York Knicks by taking Stephen Curry and then the Knicks follow by taking Arizona's Jordan Hill.

Evans to Sac; Rubio to Minn

Despite rumors that the Sacramento Kings would take Ricky Rubio if available but they took Tyreke Evans and the Minnesota Timberwolves nabbed Rubio, meaning the Timberwolves may have the most marketable player of this draft.

Grizzlies take Thabeet; Thunder takes Harden

OK, we've got the first shocker of the draft as the Oklahoma City Thunder pass on Ricky Rubio and takes James Harden, meaning the Thunder has found its two-man and Russell Westbrook will remain at point guard. OK, so that means Rubio is available to Sacramento.

Blogging while mourning

OK, anybody who knows me knows Michael Jackson music got me through college and he was one of my favorite, so I blog the NBA Draft with an extremely heavy heart.

Washburn's Mock Draft

OK, you guys have read all of the other mock drafts, but here's how things are going to go down:

1) Los Angeles Clippers, Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) -- This is the only sure thing of the night, the Clips don't mess this one up, taking the most dominant college player since Tim Duncan.

2) Memphis Grizzlies, Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut) -- This makes up for the Pau Gasol trade and allows the Grizzlies to improve immediately defensively.

3) Oklahoma City Thunder, Stephen Curry (Davidson) -- GM Sam Presti decides that he can't pass on Curry's scoring potential and doesn't take a chance on Ricky Rubio.

4) Sacramento Kings, Ricky Rubio(Spain) -- The Maloofs need to make some money and taking a Spanish sensation draws fans and attention to their small-market team. It's a chance worth taking.

5) Minnesota Timberwolves, Tyreke Evans (Memphis) -- The Timberwolves get a physical guard to make up for the loss of Randy Foye and for passing up O.J. Mayo last year.

6) Minnesota Timberwolves, James Harden (Arizona State) -- Minnesota gets the 1-2 combo of the future in one draft and gives loyal fans reason for hope.

7) Golden State Warriors, Jordan Hill (Arizona) -- The Warriors have too many finesse big men as it is and they take a physical one who has toughness and upside.

8) New York Knicks, DeMar DeRozan (USC) -- The Knicks jump on this swingman with crazy potential and he will have time to develop under coach Mike D'Antoni's system.

9) Toronto Raptors, Jrue Holiday (UCLA) -- The Raptors don't let this youngster go and he is the best option at this position. They may get more immediately for a more seasoned player, but not in the long run.

10) Milwaukee Bucks, Jonny Flynn (Syracuse) -- With Ramon Sessions a free agent, the Bucks take this freakishly athletic little man who could make an immediate impact.

11) New Jersey Nets, Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) -- New Jersey gets a hard-working player to team with Brook Lopez because their clock to make the postseason is ticking.

12) Charlotte Bobcats, Terrence Williams (Louisville) -- Word is that Williams has a promise from the Bobcats after two impressive workouts and he is a Larry Brown type of guy.

13) Indiana Pacers, Jeff Teague (Wake Forest) -- While he may be raw and inconsistent, the Pacers can't pass on his quickness, explosiveness and potential.

14) Phoenix Suns, Gerald Henderson (Duke) -- GM Steve Kerr nabs a Grant Hill clone from Grant Hill's alma mater. He is a fine athlete and son of an NBA player.

15) Detroit Pistons, Earl Clark (Louisville) -- The Pistons believe that can turn Clark into the hard worker and superstar he has the talent to be, so they pass on Austin Daye and opt for the more proven Clark.

16) Chicago Bulls, DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh) -- The Bulls have a bunch of power forward but none particularly physical. They could take a shooting guard but none are worthy of 16.

17) Philadelphia 76ers, Ty Lawson (North Carolina) -- Tough pick here between Lawson and Eric Maynor but Lawson is a better shooter and can run Eddie Jordan's Princeton offense.

18) Minnesota Timberwolves, B.J. Mullens (Ohio State) -- He is taken simply because he's 7-feet and the Timberwolves aren't trying to win right now. This may work. This may not.

19) Atlanta Hawks, Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth) -- Maynor is big, physical and steady and exactly what the Hawks need. They take him over Brandon Jennings.

20) Utah Jazz, James Johnson (Wake Forest) -- With Carlos Boozer likely gone, the Jazz used its pick on the tough but flawed Johnson. Paul Millsap takes over at power forward.

21) New Orleans Hornets, Austin Daye (Gonzaga) -- The Hornets take the talented swingman in hopes that he becomes a cornerstone someday, a good value at this pick.

22) Portland Trail Blazers, Brandon Jennings (Italy) -- The Blazers are pretty much set at each position except point guard with the unspectacular Steve Blake is the starter. Jennings eventually takes over.

23) Sacramento Kings, Omri Casspi (Israel) -- The Kings are looking for a more physical big man to join Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson and Casspi likely will stay in Europe for a while.

24) Dallas Mavericks, Chase Budinger (Arizona) -- Mark Cuban gets an athletic swingman who can give the Mavericks aging lineup some life.

25) Oklahoma City Thunder, Wayne Ellington (North Carolina) -- Presti gets a steady shooter for his offense and someone who can help Kevin Durant offensively.

26) Chicago Bulls, Toney Douglas (Florida State) -- The Bulls get the shooting guard to perhaps replace Ben Gordon, who may leave via free agency.

27) Memphis Grizzlies, Taj Gibson (USC) -- He is 24, ready to play in the NBA and won't trip off playing in Memphis. The Grizzlies need a tough guy.

28) Minnesota Timberwolves, Nick Calathes (Florida) -- He is allowed to play a few seasons in Greece and then comes back to Minnesota ready to make an impact.

29) Los Angeles Lakers, Darren Collison (UCLA) -- Aaron Brooks getting into the paint at ease encourages the Lakers to take the speedy Collison.

30) Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Brown (Xavier) -- The Cavaliers take the local kid who has tremendous upside and an underdog mentality, a solid pick.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What The Lakers Should Do Now

OK the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the pinnacle of the basketball world after a seven-year absence with their impressive 4-1 series win over the Orlando Magic. General manager Mitch Kupchak, after a series of questionable decisions over the past few years, compiled a championship team with some shrewd deals such as netting Trevor Ariza from Orlando and Pau Gasol from Memphis.

The most difficult task for a general manager is not building a championship team, however, it's retaining a championship team. And Kupchak has some arduous decisions to make in the next couple of weeks for the Lakers to make a serious run at a repeat. Of course, Kobe Bryant and Gasol will be back, but let's look at the entire roster and the prospect of their return or departure.

Kobe -- Actually folks, he has an opt-out clause this summer but he won't exercise that, so rest easy. He is due $48 million over the next two seasons before free agency. How much should the Lakers pay him in 2011?

-- He has two more years on his contract at $34-plus million. He will also be a free agent in 2011.

Lamar Odom -- He's a free agent. He's nearly 30. He made $11.4 million last season. Do the Lakers give him a nice raise? No. They can get another solid player with that money who is younger and more consistent.

Derek Fisher -- He has one more year on his deal at $5 million. You let D-Fish come back and then perhaps he retires for a front office job.

Sasha Vujacic -- Wow, he has two more years on his deal at more than $10 million. Is the NBA hiring? He is stealing money. Kupchak has to deal him.

Luke Walton -- Who signed this guy to a six-year deal? By the time his contract is up, Lil Wayne will be Old Jeezy. Nobody is taking on his contract, the Lakers are stuck.

Adam Morrison -- Maybe I am in the serious minority here, but this dude has talent. Give him the summer and a chance to play a role on this team, and he can serve as a valuable asset.

Ariza -- The Lakers need to make him a priority. He doesn't turn 24 until June 30, Kupchak needs to give him a five-year deal at $45 million, and that deal will eventually become a major bargain.

Andrew Bynum -- He is owed $57 million over the next four years. The Lakers are stuck with his deal and has to pray he improves.

Jordan Farmar -- He has one more year on his deal and the Lakers will have to make a decision by Oct. 31 whether to bring him back for 2010-11. I think they should let him go.

Josh Powell -- He is a free agent and actually not a bad player. Give him a slight bump in salary and bring him back.

DJ Mbenga -- He doesn't make much, but the Lakers can find another backup center who is more skilled. Hey he got a championship ring out of the deal.

Shannon Brown -- Dude can ball and I would replace Farmar with him. He is a free agent. Give him $2.5 million per season and let him flourish.

Phil Jackson -- The one thing that motivates Phil is money, offer him a two-year deal with a raise and let him coach Kobe into his mid-30s.

Tell me what you think!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Where's Brent Musburger's Super Bowl Ring?"

That's what UC Berkeley professor Harry Edwards said to me 20 years ago when I asked why Musburger, then the primary voice of the TV sports following Howard Cosell, was the lone non-player in the broadcast booth during games. African Americans -- in those days -- had to bring major playing credentials to get an opportunity to analyze the game they played. Watching Michael Wilbon dissecting NBA Finals games between the Magic and Lakers should serve as an inspiration to those blacks and other people of color who know the game but have not had the good fortune or talent to play the game.

While networks have hired analysts such Seth Davis (CBS college basketball), Tom Verducci (MLB Network) or Tony Kornheiser (who recently left ESPN's Monday Night Football) to analyze games, African Americans have mostly been left out of this opportunity, creating the perception that blacks couldn't talk the game unless they played the game. Wilbon and Stephen A. Smith before him have dispelled those stereotypes, giving more people of color credibility in analyst positions.

ESPN may be heavily criticized at times for creating the storylines they report, but they deserve credit for allowing black journalists -- such as Jemele Hill and Rob Parker -- to display their sports expertize in debates against the combative Skip Bayless on "First Take."

And adding Wilbon to the booth for NBA coverage was a major step for sports television that shouldn't be ignored. And hopefully there are more people of color who know the game to follow because their voice deserves to be heard. Diversity is beautiful.