How dangerous can the Golden State Warriors be in the playoffs?

Curry Thompson

The Golden State Warriors were considered as championship contenders prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season. However, soon after the start of the season they didn’t seem to be as dangerous as initially projected. After a not so great first half of the season the Dubs managed to bounce back in the second half of the season and they are now considered as one of the most significant underdogs in this year’s playoffs. But can they really threaten the best teams in the West? [Read more…]

Are The Golden State Warriors A Favorite To Win The Title In The West?

Stephen Curry Girls

The Golden State Warriors started the 2013-2014 season rather slow. After going 14-13 until mid-December, the Dubs have won their last eight game and they have set route for even greater things to come. The truth is that prior to the start of the season, the Warriors were considered as one of the most powerful teams in the West. However, their beginning wasn’t as good as all the fans of the team expected. [Read more…]

The ‘David Kahn’ Era

David Kahn

When Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor named David Kahn the president of basketball operations, he expected to have a playoff-contending team by now. Instead, in his four years on the job he has made more trades than times Dwight Howard has changed his mind about being traded, drafted more point guards than an apartment complex could support, and traded away more draft picks than Jarrod Saltalamacchia has letters in his last name. And now, the T’wolves are in another transition of which I am about to get to.  [Read more…]

Getting healthy an off-season must for Golden State Warriors

stephen curry andrew bogut

On paper, the Golden State Warriors don’t appear to be that far off from competing for a spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.  Adding a couple pieces this off-season and getting Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, and David Lee 100% healthy will certainly be crucial if Mark Jackson‘s team is going to take that next step.

[Read more…]

Difference Between Point Guard and Floor General

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By Paul M. Banks

In recent years, we have seen how drafting a point guard can help change the face of an NBA franchise. Think of the impact Chris Paul has had on the Hornets, Deron Williams in Utah, Rajon Rando with the Celtics, or just this past year, what Derrick Rose brought to the Bulls. And the crop of point guard prospects in this past draft was the deepest of this decade, possibly of all time, and could produce a couple players who may have the impact of the aforementioned young NBA floor leaders.

In a society so obsessed with celebrating and glorifying the military (and warfare in general), being labeled with the term “floor general” makes you more than just a star basketball player- it places you on a pedestal few even dream of reaching. That’s why the position is called the “one,” because you come first, top of the food chain, numero uno. Or maybe it’s “the one,” like “the chosen one,” the savior. All in all, there’s more poeticism in playing the point guard than  any position. I asked a lot of star collegiate point guards what the term means to them.


UConn alum and Pacers’ draft pick A.J. Price

“How effective you can make the team run? How efficient can your team be while you’re out there at the one? It’s about having leadership, being a vocal leader, small things telling people where they need to go, where they need to be and delivering the basketball.”

“I’m a big Chauncey Billups fan, I’m trying to get my body to where his is at, so I can perform like him. He’s able to guard twos, he’s able to stay in front of ones and everywhere he’s gone, the team has gotten better. He shows floor generalship,”

It’s the most important position on the court. It’s like the quarterback in football, you’re making the calls, it’s up to you to execute. You got to be headstrong to play the one, no room for error, to be shaken up or rattled- because the team’s going to follow you. Teams understand the need to have a steady guy at the one, who is always under control, a la Chauncey Billups or someone like that.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry:

“The one that when things are tight, you can look to, to tell you where to go, what play to run, handle the pressure at all times, being the most solid guy on the court at all times.”

“You have to execute plays, and the play starts with you most of the time, so if you don’t do your job, then you have to be mentally tough.”

Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez

“You gotta be a leader you got to make sure everybody around you is happy.”


76ers’ Jrue Holiday

“Captain. Point guard, but it doesn’t always have to be a point guard, just a guy that runs the floor, who knows the team, knows the coaches and communicates in a way that runs the team.”kalinlucas1


Marquette alumnus Jerel McNeal

“Whenever you come into the game as a point guard, you have added responsibilities of getting everyone involved, knowing your offense inside and out and having great leadership at all times.”

“It’s something like you said, it’s not only about physical toughness, but also mental toughness, but also being able to know different guys and know where they’re most effective and the different spots they need to be throughout the course of a game.”

Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas

“Every point guard does need to be the Floor General. He has to run the offense. He has to tell people where to go. He has to stay calm and he has to keep his composure…I try to keep it under one turnover a game, but mostly I just try to play solid at all times. It does get to me if I am turning the ball over, then I know I just need to clam down and make the easy pass.”

FINAL 2009 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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by: David Kay

All your NBA Draft needs including my Final Mock Draft, prospect profiles, position rankings, and NBA team off-season needs are just a click away.

1. L.A. ClippersBlake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Poor Blake Griffin.  This has to be the worst case scenario for him.  The Clips are a destination where players just do not thrive.  They already have some talented big man in Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, and Zach Randolph.  Maybe Griffin can be the spark and hard worker the Clipper franchise has been longing for for the past decade-plus.
Think: Amare Stoudamire

2. MemphisHasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Since it appears the Griz are not trading this pick to Minnesota, Thabeet is the guy.  He could be the defensive presence Memphis badly needs.  I maintain Ricky Rubio is the second best prospect in the draft and the Griz will regret not selecting him or trading down to gain more assets.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

3. Oklahoma City– Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
I get the feeling the Thunder GM Sam Presti is far too intelligent to let Rubio pass them.  Drafting the Spanish sensation means Russell Westbrook shifts to the two which may not be the ideal fit, but is worth doing to land Rubio.  P.S. Is it me or are the Thunder the best young team in the NBA if they land Rubio?
Think: Steve Nash

4. SacramentoTyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-5, Fr.
I am very high on Evans and apparently so are the Kings.  Sacramento needs a point guard which Evans played at Memphis, but is probably better suited as a two-guard in the NBA.  I would be curious to see how Evans and Kevin Martin would co-exist in the same backcourt.  If the Kings decide to take a more pure point guard, Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, and Stephen Curry are all options.
Think: Manu Ginobli

5. Minnesota (from Washington)- Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-3, Jr.
The T-Wolves have to be massively disappointing that they traded into this spot and didn’t land Rubio, Thabeet, OR Evans.  I’ve had more than one person say to me that Curry is in a way, a Randy Foye Part 2 which makes the trade with the Wiz a bit of a head scratcher.  Regardless, they need a point guard prospect with one of their top 6 picks.  Yeah, I know Curry isn’t even a real point guard.  Ish.
Think: Jason Terry

Here is the rest of my mock draft (don’t worry, you need not be an Insider like ESPN.com to access it)

Click here for prospect profiles.

Interested in position rankings?

How about NBA off-season team needs?

Stephen Curry and the Knicks: Destiny?

curry

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

Every Cinderella needs a Prince Charming.  So when Davidson made their run to the Elite Eight in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, Stephen Curry ended up with control of the glass slipper.  The baby-faced son of former NBA sharp-shooter Dell Curry became a media darling with his humble attitude, amazing scoring ability, and clutch play while in the national spotlight.

Curry’s range from the outside starts once he steps across half-court.  His release is so quick and pure that it almost seems effortless for him to knock down a 30-foot shot.  Curry can create his own shot off the dribble and also uses screens as well as anyone who played the college game.  Any NBA team would love to have a player with his three-point ability on their roster. “I see myself as a point guard; who can move over to the two if I need to if, and can spread the defense with the way I shoot the ball,” recently told me.

The biggest concern with Curry is how his game will translate to the NBA.  He is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body, and while he tried to run the point during his junior year, he never showed the consistency or ideal skill set to play that position at the next level.  “I’m not the quickest guy, or the fastest but I add another element of scoring that most other guys don’t have. But I can keep defenses honest with the way I shoot the ball and open things up for my teammates to make a plays. So I feel I add another dimension to the point guard position,” Curry said.knicks

His thin frame though prevents him from being the prototypical two-guard, making him a liability on the defensive end and sticking him with the dreaded label of a “tweener.”  He is a solid athlete, but will likely struggle trying to take bigger, more athletic players off the dribble, making him a fairly one-dimensional player.

Early in the draft process, rumors began to swirl that the Knicks promised to pick Curry with the eighth overall pick.  Curry has been anything but silent in his preference to play under the bright lights of the Big Apple, when the topic of playing his home games at Madison Square Garden came up at the NBA Draft combine, he told me “When I get into a situation with a lot of talented guys around me, a lot of professionals, I think it would make me a better player and make my team a lot better.”

Many, including Curry, feel the Knicks’ up-tempo offense under the tutelage of Mike D’Antonio would be a perfect match for the gunner.  When asked at the combine about why he’s so attracted to the Knicks Curry responded: “the D’Antonio system, they need a point guard that can shoot, to back up Duhon and playing in the Garden with that legacy, 41 games would be fun.”

Recent buzz has Curry going as high as six to the Timberwolves with the possibility that Oklahoma City, who owns the third overall pick, is also interested in his services.  That means the Knicks, and Curry may not see their supposed dream of coming together brought to fruition.  At the same time, it would not surprise me to see him fall out of the top ten as there are players with more athleticism and potential, whose game better translates to the NBA.  However, in the right situation (aka an up-tempo offense), Curry can be very effective in the association and not have his carriage turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

NBA Draft Early Entrants

By David K.

The NBA released the official early entries for this year’s NBA Draft which will be held on June 25th (coincidentally enough, that is my birthday.  It’s only fitting.)  The college players who have declared but not signed an agent, thus keeping their eligibility open in case they decide to return to school, have until June 15th to make the decision to stay in the draft or pull their name off this list.  The NCAA recently moved that date to May 8th for next year with the intention of not hand-cuffing college coaches who are waiting on a player to make a decision while figuring out what to potentially do with that scholarship that would open.

EARLY ENTRY CANDIDATES FOR 2009 NBA DRAFT

*Darion Anderson-Northern Illinois, 6-2, Sophomore
*Ryan Anderson-Nebraska , 6-4, Junior
*Dominique Archie-South Carolina, 6-7,  Junior
DeJuan Blair-Pittsburgh, 6-7, Sophomore
*Derrick Brown-Xavier, 6-8, Junior
Chase Budinger-Arizona, 6-7, Junior
*Nick Calathes-Florida, 6-6, Sophomore
Earl Clark-Louisville, 6-9, Junior
*Dwayne Collins-Miami, 6-8, Junior
*Kareem Cooper-Texas-El Paso, 7-0, Junior
*Kenneth Cooper-Louisiana Tech, 6-10, Junior
*Brandon Costner-North Carolina State, 6-9, Junior
Stephen Curry-Davidson, 6-1, Junior
*Bryan Davis-Texas A&M, 6-9, Junior
*Austin Daye-Gonzaga, 6-10, Sophomore
DeMar DeRozan-Southern California, 6-7, Freshman
Eric Devendorf-Syracuse, 6-4, Junior
*Devan Downey-South Carolina, 5-9, Junior
*Osiris Eldridge-Illinois State, 6-3, Junior
Wayne Ellington-North Carolina, 6-4, Junior
*Chinemelu Elonu-Texas A&M, 6-10, Junior
*Tyreke Evans-Memphis, 6-6, Freshman
Gary Flowers-Chipola JC (FL), 6-8, Sophomore
Jonny Flynn-Syracuse, 6-0, Sophomore
*Jonathan Gibson-New Mexico State, 6-2, Junior
*Kyle Gibson-Louisiana Tech, 6-5, Junior
*Taj Gibson-Southern California, 6-9, Junior
Blake Griffin-Oklahoma, 6-10, Sophomore
D’mond Grismore-Huston-Tillotson (TX), 6-6, Junior
*Rogér Guignard-Texas-Arlington, 5-11, Junior
Daniel Hackett-Southern California, 6-5, Junior
*Luke Harangody-Notre Dame, 6-8, Junior
James Harden-Arizona State, 6-4, Sophomore
Kevin Harris-Northwest Mississippi CC, 5-11, Sophomore
*Paul Harris-Syracuse, 6-5, Junior
*Gerald Henderson-Duke, 6-5, Junior
Jordan Hill-Arizona, 6-9, Junior
*Jrue Holiday-UCLA, 6-4, Freshman
*Damion James-Texas, 6-7, Junior
James Johnson-Wake Forest, 6-9, Sophomore
*Mac Koshwal-DePaul, 6-10, Sophomore
*Gani Lawal-Georgia Tech, 6-9, Sophomore
Ty Lawson-North Carolina, 5-11, Junior
*James Lewis-Fresno Pacific, 6-4, Junior
*Darnell Lindsay-Tennessee Tech, 6-4, Junior
*Dior Lowhorn-San Francisco, 6-7, Junior
*Ater Majok-Connecticut, 6-10, Freshman
*Jodie Meeks-Kentucky, 6-4, Junior
Nate Miles-Southern Idaho, 6-7, Freshman
*Patrick Mills-St. Mary’s, 6-0, Sophomore
*Tasmin Mitchell-LSU, 6-7, Junior
B.J. Mullens-Ohio State, 7-0, Freshman
Ronald Ogoke-Paul Quinn College (TX), 7-0, Junior
*Patrick Patterson-Kentucky, 6-9, Sophomore
*Scottie Reynolds-Villanova, 6-2, Junior
*D.J. Rivera-Binghamton, 6-4, Junior
*Terrence Roderick-Alabama-Birmingham, 6-6, Sophomore
*Magnum Rolle-Louisiana Tech, 6-1, Junior
*Junior Salters-Wofford, 6-1, Junior
*Donald Sloan-Texas A&M, 6-3, Junior
*Tyler Smith-Tennessee, 6-7, Junior
DaJuan Summers-Georgetown, 6-8, Junior
*Shawn Taggart-Memphis, 6-10, Junior
*Jonathan Tavernari-BYU, 6-6, Junior
*Jeff Teague-Wake Forest, 6-2, Sophomore
Hasheem Thabeet-Connecticut, 7-3, Junior
Malcolm Thomas-San Diego City College, 6-9, Sophomore
Dar Tucker-DePaul, 6-5, Sophomore
*Jarvis Varnado-Mississippi State , 6-9, Junior
*Greivis Vasquez-Maryland, 6-6, Junior
Martez Walker-Riverside CC (CA), 6-6, Freshman
*Michael Washington-Arkansas, 6-9, Junior
*Jeremy Wise-Southern Mississippi, 6-2, Junior
*Nic Wise-Arizona, 5-10, Junior

*has not hired an agent to preserve eligibility if they choose to return to college.

International players who have applied for early entry into the 2009 NBA Draft:

Amadou Aboubakar Zaki-Nancy (France), 7-1, 1988
Rodrigue Beaubois-Cholet (France), 6-0, 1988
Nemanja Bjelica-Crvena Zvezda (Serbia), 6-10, 1988
Georgios Bogris-Ilysiakos (Greece), 6-10, 1989
Omri Casspi-Maccabi Elite (Israel), 6-9, 1988
Victor Claver-Pamesa Valencia (Spain), 6-9, 1988
Vladimir Dasic-Buducnost (Montenegro), 6-10, 1988
Christian Eyenga-DKV Joventut (Spain), 6-5, 1989
Vitor Faverani-Unicaja Malaga (Spain), 6-10, 1988
Sergey Gladyr-Mykolaiv (Ukraine), 6-5, 1989
Adam Hanga-Albacomp (Hungary), 6-7, 1989
Bari? Hersek-Efes Pilsen (Turkey), 6-9, 1988
Rudy Jomby-Le Havre (France), 6-6, 1988
Tanel Kurbas-Kalev/Cramo (Estonia), 6-6, 1988
Milan Macvan-Hemofarm (Serbia), 6-9, 1989
Boban Marjanovic-Hemofarm (Serbia), 7-4, 1988
Tim Ohlbrecht-Bamberg (Germany), 6-1, 1988
Carl Ona Embo-Biella (Italy), 6-1, 1989
Nikolaos Pappas-Real Madrid II (Spain), 6-5, 1990
Anton Ponomarev-Astana Tigers (Kazakhstan), 6-10, 1988
Paulo Prestes-Unicaja Malaga (Spain), 6-11, 1988
Miroslav Raduljica-FMP Zeleznik (Serbia), 7-0, 1988
Fernando Raposo-Pau Orthez (France), 6-9, 1989
Ricky Rubio-DKV Joventut (Spain), 6-4, 1990
Evangelos Sakellariou-Pagrati (Greece), 6-5, 1989
Alexandros Sigkounas-Olimpia Larissa (Greece), 6-7, 1988
Ludovic Vaty-Pau Orthez (France), 6-9, 1988
Ibrahim Yildirim-Banvit (Turkey), 6-3, 1990
Artem Zabelin-CSKA Moscow (Russia), 7-1, 1988

*Country indicates where team plays, not country of nationality.

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2009 NBA Mock Draft

By: David K.

This is my second mock draft that has taken team needs into account.  Now that the NBA regular season is done, the preliminary order is set until the draft lottery takes place on May 19th.  The deadline has also passed for college underclassmen to announce if they are declaring for the draft or returning to school.  Those underclassmen that have yet to hire an agent have until June 15th to do so.  Remember, I got as many picks correct last year as ESPN’s “expert” Chad Ford and watched 274 college basketball games this season, so I feel pretty good about my projections.

1. Sacramento- Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
If the Kings land the top pick, it’s a gutsy call, but I think Rubio is their guy.  Sacramento has a few young bigs, but has a major need for a long-term franchise player and a point guard, both roles that Rubio can fill.  Plus, I think Rubio is the “sexier” pick and the Maloof brothers are all about “sexy.”
Think: Steve Nash

2. Washington – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-9, So.
Griffin has proven to be the most dominant player in college basketball and will likely be the number one pick if any team but the Kings are selecting first.  While he doesn’t fill a need for the Wizards, he is too good to pass up with the second pick.
Think: Amare Stoudamire

3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
The Clips already have Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman up-front, but Camby is a free agent after next season.  Thabeet is the third best prospect in this class and absolutely owns the paint on the defensive end.  Not being needed to contribute major minutes in his first season might actually be a good thing since his offensive game still needs to improve.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

4. Oklahoma City- James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
OKC would likely take a long look at Jordan Hill as well, but Harden fills a major void for a shooting guard.  He has the ability to take over a game whenever he wants, although he also tends to be too unselfish at times as well.  Harden would be a nice running mate for Kevin Durant.
Think: Paul Pierce

5. Minnesota- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
I love Evans and think he would be the perfect fit for the T-Wolves who need a player that can attack the basket which is Evans’ strength.  He can also play some point guard, a position that Randy Foye has never really taken over since arriving in Minnesota.  The knock on Evans is his inconsistent outside shot, but that improves with time.
Think: Manu Ginobli

6. Memphis – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
The Griz would be ecstatic if Hill fell to them.  With young perimeter players like Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay, Memphis needs someone to play down low.  Hill has great athleticism which would be perfect for a young team that wants to run.  He also has nice touch around the basket, but will need to get stronger
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge

7. Golden State- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
Jennings is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft because he did not have great success playing overseas this year, but is loaded with potential.  He would be a perfect fit for a team needing a true point guard who can get other players involved, but also score when called upon.
Think: Kenny Anderson

8. New York- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
With Larry Hughes, Cuttino Mobley, and Quentin Richardson all one year away from free agency, the Knicks need to find a long-term solution at the two-guard.  DeRozan is an incredible athlete and really came along strong during the final month of the season, though his three-point shot still needs work.
Think: Vince Carter

9. Toronto- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
The Raptors have a major hole for a wing player who can take it to the rack.  Henderson took a major step during his junior season and will likely continue to improve at the next level.  He is that athletic scorer needed in Toronto and can also stroke it from deep.
Think: J.R. Smith

10. Milwaukee- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Flynn seems like a player who Scott Skiles would love to coach.  He is tough, plays with a lot of heart, and just gets it.  He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, when his team needs him to be a scorer.  Since Luke Ridnour is not the answer and Ramon Sessions is a free agent, Flynn is the choice.
Think: Raymond Felton

11. New Jersey- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
This would be somewhat of a steal for the Nets at 11.  Clark has the potential to be a point forward-type player in the NBA, is a freak of an athlete, and has nice range on his jumper.  He would be a great fit in New Jersey as they need some help on the wing.
Think: Lamar Odom


12. Charlotte- Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-5, Jr.

Playing for the National Champion Tar Heels certainly elevated Ellington’s stock.  The Bobcats could use some depth on the wing and Ellington would provide that.  He has one of the smoothest shooting strokes in college hoops and can also take it to the rack.
Think: Richard Hamilton

13. Indiana- Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-3, Jr.
Is he a one or a two?  Despite being the most talented pure shooter in college basketball and having limitless range from the outside, the fact that Dell’s son is a “tweener” could deter teams from taking him.  Plus, he is rail thin.  He likely won’t fall out of the lottery and the Pacers could use a sharpshooter to bring off their bench.
Think: Jason Terry

14. Phoenix- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
Steve Nash is getting up their in age and if the Suns pick up his option for next season, would become a free agent in 2010.  Like Ellington, Lawson’s stock soared during UNC’s title run.  He was probably the best floor general in college hoops and has greatly improved his three-point shot.
Think: Jameer Nelson

15. Detroit- Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
I think it’s safe to say the Allen Iverson deal backfired.  AI and Rasheed Wallace are both free agents so the Pistons could go in either direction with this pick.  Teague is a scoring point guard who shot the ball at a very high percentage last season.
Think: Keyon Dooling

16. Chicago- DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So
It has been pretty clear against the Celtics, that the Bulls lack that low post bruiser.  Enter Blair.  At 6-7, he is undersized to play power forward, but he is just so strong and long which makes him a force on the block and board.  It is uncertain how that will translate to the pro game, as Blair will need to work on his mid-range jumper to be effective at the next level.  A shooting guard could also be an option in case Ben Gordon leaves via free agency.
Think: Craig Smith

17. Philadelphia- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
With Andre Miller eligible for free agency, the Sixers likely draft a point guard..  Maynor is a playmaker on the offensive end, a true floor general, and has good size to play the point in the NBA.  He must continue to become a more consistent shooter.
Think: Antonio Daniels

18. #Minnesota- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
With the second of their three first round picks, I still think the T-Wolves need to address their need for athletes on the wing.  Williams is the definition of versatile.  He attacks the hoop, is a very improved shooter, can rebound, is a great passer, and plays defense.  I think he is a steal of a mid-first round pick.
Think: Gerald Wallace.

19. Atlanta- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
With only seven players under contract for next season, the Hawks need depth at every position and probably take the best available player.  One major NBA Draft web-site has Johnson listed as the tenth best prospect in this draft, which is a bit ridiculous in my mind.  The former Demon Deacon is an athletic forward who can play the three or four, and while his frame is ready for the rigor of the NBA, his shot is not.
Think: Wilson Chandler

20. Utah- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
I am still surprised Mullens decided to go pro as he would have been better served returning to the Buckeyes and developing his game.  But based on his athleticism, size, and potential, he is definitely worth a mid-first round pick  The Jazz likely go for a post player since Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur could both opt out of their contracts this off-season.
Think: Spencer Hawes

21. New Orleans- Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
The Hornets need to add some depth up-front as Hilton Armstrong is their only reserve post player under contract for next season.  Patterson has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism, and decent range on his jumper.
Think: Kenyon Martin

22. Dallas- Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
The Mavs have two important players entering free agency, Jason Kidd and Brandon Bass, so drafting a replacement for either makes sense.  Lawal is a slightly under-sized power forward who has a nice low-post game.  He is a solid rebounder, decent shot blocker, but doesn’t have much of a perimeter game.
Think: Brandon Bass

23. &Sacramento- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
Assuming the Kings take Rubio at #1, they should look for a wing player here. Budinger’s strength is his versatility.  He can jump out of the gym, hit the three ball, and has a nice inside-outside game, but his tendency to disappear during stretches is a major knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson

24. Portland- Victor Claver, F, Spain, 6-11, 1989
The Blazers roster is pretty much set for next season, so the logical move would be to trade out of this pick or draft another Euro player and stash him overseas.  Claver is a typical Euro-style player in that he is long, has a good all-around skill set, but needs to get stronger.
Think: Donte Greene

25. +Oklahoma City- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
Despite being one of the most decorated in recent college basketball history, a lot of people are questioning how his game will translate into the NBA.  I don’t see him being anything more than an energy guy off the bench at the next level, but could bring his work ethic and winning mentality to OKC.
Think: Eduardo Najera

26. %Chicago- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
Since I have the Bulls going big at #16, they likely take a wing player in case Gordon does bolt this off-season.  Young can elevate, hit it from deep, has a tremendous basketball IQ, can take bigger defenders off the dribble and post up smaller guys.  His lack of NBA-type athleticism drops him to this spot.
Think: Michael Finley

27. $Memphis- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
The Griz are likely to address their need for a back-up point guard with this pick.  Mills can create his own shot, excels in transition, and is lightning quick off the dribble.  He had a very successful Olympics last summer playing for Australia and caught the eyes of a lot of NBA scouts.
Think: Ramon Sessions

28. ^Minnesota- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
I doubt the T-Wolves actually keep all three of their picks, but James would be a good value here.  A sub par season hurt his stock as he was once a projected lottery pick.  He was one of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, has an NBA-ready build, and a nice shot from the perimeter.
Think: Maurice Evans

29. L.A. Lakers- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
Smith would provide some insurance if Lamar Odom leaves via free agency.  The former Vol is fearless when attacking the hoop and thrives on the break.  He is not a great outside shooter, but his rebounding and passing abilities help his stock.
Think: Thabo Sefolosha

30. Cleveland- Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.

Thornton is a little undersized to play the two in the NBA, but there is no question the kid can flat-out shoot the rock, and what he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength.  I think he would be a great late first round pick especially for the Cavs who would just need him to compliment LeBron for a few stretches a game.
Think: Daequan Cook

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Second Round
31. Sacramento- Vladimir Dasic, SF, Montenegro, 1988
32. Portland- Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
33. Washington- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-2, Sr.
34. Denver- .Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
35. Memphis- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
36. Detroit- Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
37. San Antonio- Omri Casspi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
38. Portland- Milan Macvan, PF, Serbia, 6-9, 1989
39. Detroit- Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
40. Charlotte- Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
41. Milwaukee- Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
42. L.A. Lakers- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
43. Miami- Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
44. Detroit- Lee Cummard, G/F, BYU, 6-7, Sr.
45. Minnesota- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr
46. Cleveland- Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
47. Minnesota- Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
48. Phoenix- Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
49. Atlanta- Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
50. Utah- Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
51. San Antonio- Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
52. Indiana- Leo Lyons, F, Missouri, 6-9, Sr.
53. San Antonio- Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
54. Charlotte- Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
55. Portland- Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
56. Portland- Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
57. Phoenix- Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2
58. Boston- Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
59. L.A. Lakers- Sergio Llull, PG, Spain, 6-5, 1988
60. Miami- Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.

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Declared for the Draft:
>Dominique Archie, SF, South Carolina, 6-7, Jr.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
>Derrick Brown, F, Xavier, 6-9, Jr.
Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
>Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-6, So.
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
>Dwayne Collins, PF, Miami, 6-8, Jr.
>Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
>Bryan Davis, PF, Texas A&M, 6-9, Jr.
>Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga, 6-0, So.
Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
>Eric Devendorf, G, Syracuse, 6-4, Jr.
>Devin Downey, PG, South Carolina, 5-9, Jr
>Osiris Eldridge, SG, Illinois State, 6-3, Jr.
Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina, 6-5, Jr.
>Chinemelu Elonu, F/C. Texas A&M, 6-10, Jr.
>Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Daniel Hackett, PG, USC, 6-4, Jr.
>Luke Harangody, PF, Notre Dame, 6-8, Jr.
James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
>Paul Harris, G/F. Syracuse, 6-5, Jr.
>Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, Jr.
>Jrue Holliday, G, UCLA, 6-4, Fr
>Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
>Mac Koshwal, C, DePaul, 6-10, So.
>Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina, 5-11, Jr.
>Ater Majok, PF, UConn, 6-10, Fr.
>Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky, 6-4, Jr
>Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
>Tasmin Mitchell, SF, LSU, 6-7, Jr.
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
>Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
>Scottie Reynolds, PG, Villanova, 6-2, Jr.
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
>David Sloan, G, Texas A&M, 6-3, Jr.
>Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
>Shawn Taggart, PF, Memphis, 6-10, Jr.
>Jonathan Tavernari, G/F, BYU, 6-6, Jr.
>Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
>Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State, 6-9, Jr.
>Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
>Michael Washington, PF, Arkansas, 6-9, Jr.
>Jeremy Wise, PG, Southern Miss., 6-2, Jr.
>Nic Wise, PG, Arizona, 5-10, Jr.

>has yet to hire an agent

Staying in School:
Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas, 6-11, So.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma St., 6-6, So.
Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson, 6-7, Jr.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
Patrick Christopher, SG, Cal, 6-5, Jr.
Sherron Collins, PG, Kansas, 5-11, Jr.
Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina, 6-10, Fr.
Devin Ebanks, F, West Virginia, 6-9, Fr.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue, 6-10, So.
Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas, 6-10, Jr.
Stanley Robinson, SF, UConn, 6-8, Jr.
DeShawn Sims, SF, Michigan, 6-8, Jr.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-4, Fr.

#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
&Kings get Houston ’09 1st round pick via Ron Artest trade
+Thunder gets Spurs’ ’09 1st round pick (lottery preotected) via Kurt Thomas trade
%Bulls get lower of Thunder’s ’09 1st round pick (from either SA or Den) via Thabo Sefolosha trade
$Memphis gets Orlando ’09 1st round pick via Rafer Alston trade
^Minnesota gets Boston’s ’09 1st round pick (top 3 protected) via Kevin Garnett trade

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College Hoops 101

By: David K.

Welcome to a weekly article at thesportsbank.net where I will give you the 101 on what has happened in the week of college basketball and what is to come in the days ahead.

Selection Sunday is six days away!!!!  Be sure to check back to thesportsbank.net frequently during the next couple weeks as I plan on dropping all sorts of college basketball knowledge for your reading enjoyment.

Rewind

-Five teams earned an automatic bid into the Big Dance; Cornell (Ivy League), Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), Radford (Big South), Morehead State (Ohio Valley), East Tennessee St. (Atlantic Sun).  Northern Iowa is the only one that could actually make any first round-upset noise in the tourney.

-Bubbles are already being burst as upsets are knocking out big name teams from their conference tourneys.  Creighton, who lost in the semi’s of the MVC Tournament, now has to be considered for an at-large bid.  As does Stephen Curry and Davidson who fell to Charleston in the Southern Conference Semi’s.  Big conference bubble teams (like Moe Diddy’s Arizona Wildcats) hate seeing this happen.

-The bubble officially burst for the following teams: Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Maryland, Miami (FL).

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-The dreaded took place as Marquette lost to Pitt and Syracuse this past week, meaning they have now lost all four games since Dominic James’ injury.  MU has proven that without James, they can hang with any team in the country, but cannot get over the hump.  Barring a major run in the Big East Tournament, do not be surprised to see them end up with a 7, possibly even 8 seed come Selection Sunday.

-Convince me NOT to pick Pitt to win it all in my brackets.  I dare you.

-Kudos to Bill Self and Kansas.  Even after losing all the talent they did from last year’s National Championship team, the Jayhawks captured the Big 12 crown and put themselves in a position to have no lower than a #3 seed in the tourney.

My AP Top Ten (if I actually voted in the poll)

1. North Carolina (27-3)
2. Pitt (28-3)
3. UConn (27-3)
4. Memphis (28-3)
5. Louisville (25-5)
6. Oklahoma (27-4)
7. Wake Forest (24-5)
8. Michigan St. (25-5)
9. Gonzaga (25-5)
10. Duke (25-6)

Fast Forward

-I don’t even know where to begin.  Just please plan on watching some of the best college basketball yet this week.  I am setting a personal goal of 25 games this week, (my previous individual week high is 17)  Any social life is going out the window, unless it involves sitting at a sports bar, watching a 70-foot flat screen.  In which case, BOTTOMS UP!

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The Drive to 225

To update my goal of watching 225 college basketball games this season, which will be broken this week…  This should have been the week the Drive was accomplished, but a combination of the flu and a crazy weekend at work ruined those chances.  I’m actually a little upset about this because I missed A LOT of sweet games…

Games watched through 3/8: 223

Games watched this past week: 10
Villanova at Notre Dame
Rutgers at Syracuse
Marquette at Pitt
Wisconsin at Minnesota
Tennessee at South Carolina
UConn at Pitt
Syracuse at Marquette
Louisville at West Virginia
Standford at Arizona
Indiana at Wisconsin

College Hoops 101

By David K.

Welcome to a weekly article at thesportsbank.net where I will give you the 101 on what has happened in the week of college basketball and what is to come in the days ahead.

Rewind

-ESPN’s College Gameday was in my backyard, Madison, on Saturday.  I got to cover the Badgers/Ohio State game for work and made sure that I was at the Kohl Center in plenty of time to watch the whole crew do their thing.  It really is amazing how ESPN being there brought a huge buzz to the game.  I sadly though did not get to ask Jay Bilas if he would be my valentine.  (Yes, I know Erin Andrews was there too.  But asking her to be my valentine would be so cliché.)

-My apologies to Hasheem Thabeet.  When I picked my All-American teams two weeks ago, I left the UConn big man off my first two teams.  Thabeet is an absolute monster in the middle for the Huskies.  He is putting up the stats to back it up lately, including a 25 point, 20 rebound, 9 block performance against Seton Hall on Saturday.  On top of that, the 7’3” junior alters so many shots and practically changes the way an opposing team attacks the hoop.  Thabeet deserves to be in any conversation about All-America teams.

On his recent visit to Madison, TSB.net founder Paul M. Banks asked me about my five favorite teams to watch.  So here they are:
1. Marquette- For obvious reasons

2. Arizona- Frequent commenter Jason Moe got me hooked on ‘Zona since that is his team.  The Cats have won seven in a row and look poised to make some noise in March.

3. Syracuse- I love their up-tempo style and ability to put a lot of points on the board.

4. Wisconsin- Since I cover them on a daily basis, I should probably like watching them.  Plus, I respect what Bo Ryan does with a basketball program, even if their style is fairly boring.

5. Arizona State- All because of James Harden

-Speaking of Paul, he received an “Onions” text from me Thursday night when Demetri McCamey hit the game-winning shot as Illinois came back from a 14-point deficit with five minutes to play to win at Northwestern.

My AP Top Ten (if I actually voted in the poll)

1. UConn (24-1)
2. Oklahoma (25-1)
3. North Carolina (23-2)
4. Pitt (23-2)
5. Memphis (22-3)
6. Michigan St. (20-4)
7. Wake Forest (19-4)
8. Louisville (19-5)
9. Clemson (20-4)
10. Duke (20-5)

Nipping on their heels:

Marquette (21-4)
Villanova (20-5)
Arizona State (19-5)

Fast Forward

Pitt at UConn (Monday, 6:00 ESPN)

I mean, wow.  The Thabeet/DeJuan Blair match-up down low is going to be a battle.


Michigan St. at Purdue (Tuesday, 6:00 ESPN)

A Spartans win might just be the Big Ten title clincher.


Notre Dame at West Virginia (Wednesday, 6:00)

This game has crazy bubble implications.

Butler at Davidson (Saturday, 11:00 ESPN)

This is biggest of the “Bracket Buster” games.  Hopefully Stephen Curry’s injured ankle will be ready to go.


Wake Forest at Duke (Sunday, 6:45 FSN)

Wake won the first match-up on a last second basket.

The Drive to 225

To update my goal of watching 225 college basketball games this season…

Games watched through 2/15:  187

Games watched this past week: 17
West Virginia at Pitt
Marquette at Villanova
Florida at Kentucky
Iowa at Wisconsin
Syracuse at UConn
Xavier at Dayton
North Carolina at Duke
Louisville at Notre Dame
Gonzaga at St. Mary’s
UCLA at Arizona State
USC at Arizona
Villanova at West Virginia
Georgetown at Syracuse
UCLA at Arizona
Ohio State at Wisconsin
St. John’s at Marquette
North Carolina at Miami (FL)
USC at Arizona State