Monday, June 27, 2011

1st Annual NBA Post-Draft Awards Show (June 27)

Yet another David Kahn masterpiece!
Hey, remember last Friday when I said I would get my post draft awards up by the end of the day? Remember that? Yeah…well…uh…it’s Monday. In all seriousness; all six of you who follow Boris Diaw Time should know by now that when I say “later in the day,” I actually mean two or three days later. Oh well, it’s my birthday today so cut me some slack. Here they are, in all their late glory; my honorary post draft awards!

In case you missed my team by team draft reviews, here are the links to Part I (Eastern Conference) and Part II (Western Conference)

Most Exciting Draft Moment
Jan Vesely making out with his sorta hot looking girlfriend

Between this, the highlight video of Vesely raining down nasty dunks (and doing nothing else), and his awkward interview in which he gushed over John Wall (major bonus points in my book); I’m already sold on Jan Vesely…not necessarily as a basketball player, but still.

Best Player Interview
Jonas Valanciunas

I might have already mentioned this about twelve times, but I’m Jonas’ biggest fan now! After being selected by the Toronto Raptors with the #5 overall pick, Valanciunas immediately compared his game to former Raptors forward (and quitter) Chris Bosh. When asked why, he said, “I don't know … I have … not so strong body.” Well done Jonas; well done. I look forward to your illustrious career of 5ppg and 7 Jonas Brothers jokes per game.

Weirdest Non-Draft Related NBA Story
Ron Artest files papers to officially change his name to Metta World Peace

There is literally nothing I can say that would add more humor to this. It stands alone.

Best Second Round Selection
Josh Selby - #49, Memphis Grizzlies

I’ll likely be in the minority on this one, but I’m shocked no one took a chance on him earlier in the round. You mean to tell me Atlanta (#48) wouldn’t have been better off taking a risk on Selby rather than go with proven underachiever Keith Benson? What about the point guard starved Knicks at #45? As I’ve said before, last season was an unmitigated disaster for Selby, so a subsequent freefall in the draft is more than understandable. Still, it was just one short year ago that Selby was rated as the top incoming college freshman by Rivals, above fellow PG’s (and first round picks) Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, and Cory Joseph, and was viewed by many as a potential top five pick. While the character concerns are very legitimate, a little perspective is needed with Selby. He spent the entire 2010-2011 season battling through various injuries, and played in a system ill suited for his skill set. Like I said before, there’s a pretty good chance Selby amounts to nothing and ends up playing overseas. On the other hand, there’s also a chance he puts everything together and ends up being the next Monta Ellis. All in all, a worthy gamble at #49.

Honerable Mention: Darius Morris, #41 Los Angeles Lakers; Tyler Honeycutt, #35 Sacramento Kings

Worst (and Weirdest) Second Round Selection
Targuy Ngombo - #57, Minnesota Timberwolves

Just when you thought David Kahn’s reign of terror couldn’t get any weirder…ladies and gentlemen, Targuy Ngombo! For those of you not aware of this situation, let me fill you in. Ngombo is a 21 year old, 6-6 SF from Qatar. According to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, one of Kahn’s scouts discovered Ngombo and convinced Kahn he was worthy of a second round selection. While that may seem totally innocent and normal, the story becomes a bit weird when you find out that Targuy Ngombo isn’t actually his real name. Targuy Ngombo is actually Tanguy Alban Harrys Ngombo. And why, you ask, would the purported Targuy Ngombo lie about his name? BECAUSE HE’S ACTUALLY 26 FREAKING YEARS OLD! A quick glance at Qatar’s roster on the FIBA website easily confirms his birthday as July 18, 1984. So, David Kahn drafted a player who will be 27 when the season starts! According to NBA rules, Ngombo is actually ineligible for the draft! HOW IS DAVID KAHN STILL EMPLOYED?!

Guttsiest First Round Selection
Enes Kanter - #3, Utah Jazz

There are a lot of worthy candidates for this award, but I want to give due credit to Jazz GM Kevin O’Conner for pulling the trigger on this selection. In the weeks leading up to the draft, the consensus was that Utah would take Brandon Knight to fill their void at PG. Knight was viewed as a safe pick at a need position. While that makes some sense, I suppose, Utah obviously viewed Kanter as the better long term prospect. It would have been very easy to shy away from a relative mystery like Kanter, but in the NBA, the safe path usually ends up being the losing path. At some point, you have to hit a homerun if you’re going to compete. Yes, Kanter is more of a risk, but that’s why you have a scouting department.

Honerable Mention: Tristan Thompson, #4 Cleveland Cavaliers

Most Interesting (and also not real) Post-Draft Subplot
John Salmons post-trade performance

This is seriously the most underplayed story coming out of the draft. Every time Salmons gets dealt, he immediately turns into a thicker, more heavily bearded version of Michael Jordan. (Interestingly enough, the actual statistics don’t necessarily support this theory, except for when he got traded to Milwaukee two seasons ago. Hey, it still happened once! You go ahead and mock me! I’ll be watching!)

David Stern Award for Best Draft Moment
David Stern’s opening address

Let’s face it; this is ALWAYS the best moment of the draft. There’s nothing quite like seeing David Stern stride on stage, flashing his trademark sinister grin and soaking in each and every jeer and boo the crowd throws his way. As Stern throws in a sly “thank you for that,” it’s clear he loves every second of it. Watching Stern play the crowd (“this is a very rowdy crowd”) is entertainment at its best.

This Sucks Award
Me and my car

I just received a call that my car needed two new back tires and new rotors! And it’ll cost $500! YAY! Happy birthday to me…

Moving on…

Most Disappointed Celtics Fan

Hey, I win another award! WOW!

With all due respect to Bill Simmons and his Kenneth Faried sadness, I’m going to pass him over and give this one to myself. I really, really, really wanted Jordan Hamilton and I was so happy when he fell to us at #25. Then we traded to #27. And Hamilton was taken at #26. And I got angry and threw something. Yeah, I’m happy about getting JaJaun Johnson, but I really wanted Hamilton, if only because he’ll be the prototypical stud on NBA2k12. Oh well, at least we have Jeff Green!

Riskiest Selection & Worst Top Ten Selection
Bismack Biyombo - #7, Charlotte Bobcats

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what Michael Jordan’s strategy is. He makes a solid trade to land the #7 selection, has Brandon Knight fall into his lap, and takes the biggest project in the entire first round. In his draft grades column, Chad Ford writes this about Biyombo, “He may never figure it out offensively…” Oh, well, good thing that’s only 50% of the game! Don’t worry about scoring guys! We’ll just pitch a shutout tonight!

For some reason, everyone feels the need to compare Biyombo to Ben Wallace. OK, both are big, athletic, and good shot blockers. Fantastic. Here’s a little insight for anyone who hasn’t played the game of basketball before; there’s a lot more to playing good defense than being big and athletic. There have been TONS of big, athletic shot blockers who have sucked beyond belief. Somehow, I see Biyombo getting destroyed on a nightly basis (and probably racking up an ungodly number of fouls). You say Ben Wallace; I say Saer Sene.

Best Top Ten Selection
Tristan Thompson - #4, Cleveland Cavaliers

Since Cleveland settled on Irving at #1, this was the right selection for them at #4. In all honesty, I’m surprised they pulled the trigger on it. Reports leading up to the draft had Cleveland eyeing new Boris Diaw Time favorite Jonas Valanciunas. Some have suggested Cleveland was scared off by Jonas’ buyout situation (since resolved), but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with them loving Thompson. GM Chris Grant is a major proponent of using various statistical models to evaluate talent, and Thompson was clearly the big winner of those evaluation tools. In fact, John Hollinger’s Draft Rater had Thompson rated as the #1 prospect in the entire draft!

Now, those tools are simply pieces of the puzzle and are far from a sure thing. No one would legitimately claim Thompson as a better prospect than Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams. However, many people (including myself) have consistently said Thompson was the fourth or fifth best prospect in the draft. He has a lot of work to do on his offensive game, but he’s not nearly as raw as the Euros. Cleveland had major issues rebounding the ball last season, and attacking the glass is Thompson’s forte. I’d expect Byron Scott’s up-tempo system and the veteran presence of Anderson Varejao/Antawn Jamison will be a major help in Thompson’s development. In the future, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was a 16-10 type of player…which would make him the Moses Malone of this crappy draft class.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Knight, #8 Detroit Pistons

Best Selection Outside the Top Ten
Tie – Chris Singleton - #18, Washington Wizards
Tie – Kenneth Faried - #22, Denver Nuggets

I just can’t pick between these two! Of all the players picked outside the top ten, I feel like these two have the best chance of still playing in the league ten years from now. As I’ve talked about before, I hate jack-of-all-trades types of players, especially this late in the draft. You need to have more than versatility and potential to make it in the NBA. Both Singleton and Faried already have elite, NBA-ready skills. Singleton is an absolute lockdown defender for a team that desperately needs perimeter defense. Faried is a ferocious rebounder and shot blocker for a team needing to replace Kenyon Martin.

If I had to pick between the two, I’d take Chris Singleton, because I think the talent/potential is there for him to be more than just a defensive specialist. For whatever reason, his offensive game didn’t develop at Florida State. He certainly has all the tools to become an effective scorer at the next level. Perhaps playing in a different system or playing with a PG like John Wall will help speed the process along.

Worst Selection Outside the Top Ten
Tie – Iman Shumpert - #17, New York Knicks
Tie – Nolan Smith - #21, Portland Trail Blazers

Note: While I hate the Nolan Smith selection to death, it’s not nearly as bad as Shumpert at #17. I only included it because I hate Duke.

This Iman Shumpert pick is beyond dumb. My buddy Laney and I were watching the draft together and my first question to him was this, “what’s the difference between Iman Shumpert and DeAndre Liggins?” He couldn’t tell me. Several days later, and I still don’t have a satisfactory answer despite the fact that Liggins was drafted 36 picks later. Shumpert is a perfect example of the classic draft mistake. He’s got terrific size for his position (6-6), he’s super athletic, he supposedly has a ton of potential, and he looks great in workouts. Never mind that he can’t shoot a lick, turns the ball over like it’s his job, and isn’t actually a PG! Those aren’t important! He jumps so dang high!

The thing that makes this so awful is that it’s the Knicks. After more than a decade of stupidity, shame, and embarrassment; the Knicks were finally looking like they had turned the corner. Several solid drafts (Danilo Galinari, Wilson Chandler, Landry Fields) had given them hope and helped land them Carmelo. After pairing together Amare and Carmelo, it was imperative the Knicks find a quality rotation player to fill the gaps. Yet, with the team needing a shooter or a big, they reach on a second round talent who fills no needs.

Just for fun, here’s a list of all the players drafted after Shumpert who would have been smarter selections:  Chris Singleton (#18), Nolan Smith (#21), Kenneth Faried (#22), Marshon Brooks (#25), Jordan Hamilton (#26), JaJuan Johnson (#27), Jimmy Butler (#30), Justin Harper (#32), Shelvin Mack (#34), Tyler Honeycutt (#35), Trey Thompkins (#37), Jon Leuer (#40), Darius Morris (#41), Charles Jenkins (#44), Josh Selby (#49), DeAndre Liggins (#53), Me (Undrafted).

Most Overrated Draft
Sacramento Kings

Everyone is raving about Jimmer’s selection and I’m still confused. I spent a bunch of space talking about this last week, so I won’t blather on about it again. The one aspect of their draft that is not being talked about is how the Salmons trade and the Jimmer selection affects Marcus Thornton’s playing time. Thornton came over from New Orleans in a midseason trade and immediately went crazy, averaging 21.3ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.4apg, and 1.7spg in 27 games. It certainly seemed like Sacramento had hit the jackpot on Thornton, but now I’m not sure what they do with him. Thornton will be a restricted free agent whenever the lockout is lifted, and he’s way too good to get lost in Sacramento’s backcourt logjam.

Worst Draft
New York Knicks

I tried to pick another team, but the Shumpert pick is such a huge miss that I can’t not “honor” them for it. On a more positive note, I’m thrilled that Josh Harrellson was drafted. #45 might be a little high for him, but I refuse to doubt that he’ll be a solid NBA role player. Nobody works harder or plays harder. All right, I’m done making out with him.

Honorable Mention: Houston Rockets

Most Underrated Draft/Best Draft
Indiana Pacers

People seem to be very split on the George Hill trade, and I’m not sure why. Over the last 20 years, the #15 overall pick has an average PER of only 12.97 and an average EWA of only 2.94 per season. That’s not a good NBA player. In his last two seasons, Hill’s PER has been 14.7 and 14.6 and his EWA has been 6.7 and 6.1. Let’s just do a little math here and we can probably figure out that GEORGE HILL IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE TWICE THE PLAYER KAWHI LEONARD IS! Say what you will about Leonard, but the odds of him being a productive NBA player are low. Personally, I think Leonard will struggle in the NBA because he’s a tweener and he can’t shoot. Most players who fall into that category end up failing. Hill, on the other hand, has proven to be a solid NBA player, and he carries the potential to do much more with added playing time. Indiana ranked 28th in the NBA in assist ratio and 24th in turnover ratio…can you guess what their biggest need was? It’s unclear as to how the Pacers plan on using him, but the ability to pair him with Darren Collison in smaller lineups or play him at the point in bigger lineups gives Indiana much more versatility.

A lot of people, myself included, have been pretty harsh on Larry Bird’s draft record. The time for that to stop is now.  While countless other teams whiffed on similar late lottery picks, Bird has landed Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, and Roy Hibbert (greatest player ever) in successive years. Not a bad haul! And now, Bird has seemingly fleeced the infallible San Antonio Spurs. Perhaps Kawhi Leonard will end up being a star and some snarky blogger (like me) will point and laugh at the George Hill trade, but the odds are stacked against it. The fact is, the #15 pick usually ends up being nothing , and Bird turned it into a young starter. By my estimation, present day George Hill would have easily been a top ten pick in this landfill of a draft…so yeah, trading the #15 pick for a top ten pick is a pretty solid move. To say the least.

So please, Larry, accept my apology for criticizing your picks…I’m sure it kept you up at night.


  1. Looking back at this draft, I find it difficult to find a single player that will be an opening day starter on their team. Several players have a good chance (Irving, Williams, Walker, Jimmer) but all those guys have at least an adequate player at their position ahead of them. I haven't done the research but this may be the first draft ever that didn't have a single player start their first game.

  2. Kyrie Irving will start. Logical or not, Cleveland seems intent on handing him the ball from day one. Baron and Ramon Sessions are likely to be dealt once the lockout is over.

    Derrick Williams will likely be the starting SF for Minnesota. Hes easily better than Wesley Johnson and Martell Webster.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Brandon Knight was starting. Word is Stuckey is on the outs and Dumars has the green light to blow things up.

    Kemba is DEFINITELY the starter in Charlotte. They have been looking for a reason to sit D.J. Augustin for an entire year now.

    Jimmer is going to start because they have no other options at PG. Also, because the Maloofs want to make out with Jimmer.

    Depending on whether or not they trade Monta, Klay Thompson could start.

    As sad as it sounds, Nikola Vucevic has a really good shot to start because the only other option is Spencer Hawes.

    I'd imagine either Chris Singleton has an outside chance to start...very outside though.

    If Chalmers gets a sizable offer from some sucker team (it's the NBA...I'm counting on it) then Norris Cole could actually be the starter in Miami.