There comes a time when the kids are grown and you have to say goodbye. You may want them to stay, safe in your nest, but it’s time to let them spread their wings and fly…
To the NBA!
And like any proud parent – er, fan, you want to make sure that your favorite players end up in a good situation. The NBA draft hasn’t been kind to the ‘Cuse in recent years, with Jonny Flynn and Wes Johnson regressing well below the mean in Minnesota, and Donte Green having the privilege of watching Tyreke Evans take a lot of shots in Sacramento. Now we have to watch Dajuan Blair and his no ACL’s jump on the Spurs Championship express. A player’s draft landing spot can make all the difference to career success.
As the draft is approaching, we’re getting a good idea of where our boys are going to land. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst situations that the Orange players in the draft may end up in.
(Projected draft selection are taken from NBAdraft.net. Best and worst teams are all picking within 3 slots of the player’s selection in this projection. Ratings are based on coaching, teammate quality and playing-time opportunity.)
Projected Pick: 20
Best-Case Scenario: Minnesota Timberwolves, 18
I’d like to start by saying that I’m sorry. I looked at the teams picking from 17 to 23, and I tried to talk myself into every single other team. And even though I really do believe that this is the best place for Dion, I will cry if he gets drafted by the T-Wolves.
But this could really, really work. Kurt Rambis is out, and Rick Adelman’s offense is the kind of up-tempo attack that suits Waiters needs. The roster, with Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Derrick Williams, has youth, ability, and a big gaping hole at shooting guard (sorry, Wes), a combination that would allow Dion to step right in as a major part of a budding contender.
Worst-Case Scenario: Atlanta Hawks, 23
The Orlando Magic are probably about to lose Dwight Howard for peanuts, the Dallas Mavericks are as old as the hills, and the Hawks had the best record of any team eligible for this pick, but this is absolutely the right choice. The Hawks have had a young core for years, but have been unable to make any significant strides, and they’re probably going to lose Josh Smith for cap reasons. Worst of all, Dion’s natural shooting guard position is tied up for years by the millstone that is Joe Johnson’s contract.
Projected Pick: 24
Best-Case Scenario: Boston Celtics, 21,22
This was a tough choice, between Boston and the Miami Heat at 27. Both teams have openings at center, and Miami has a younger Big Three in Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. But Boston has superior coaching, a better defensive role model in Kevin Garnett, and a better distributor at the point in Rajon Rondo. I’m taking the Celtics, for better individual development over stronger overall team performance.
Worst-Case Scenario: Memphis Grizzlies, 25
This is 100 percent about playing time. The Grizzlies just locked up stud center Marc Gasol for 4 years. He’ll get as many minutes as he needs, and all that’s left for Fab is the scraps.
Projected Pick: 38
Best-Case Scenario: Portland Trailblazers, 40,41
The Blazers would be a sweet situation for Joseph. LaMarcus Aldridge has transformed into a stud at the PF spot, and Wes Matthews can carry a lot of the offensive load, allowing Kris to play the more complementary role that better suits his temperament and good but not top-tier athleticism.
Worst-Case Scenario: Sacramento Kings, 36
Black hole supreme Tyreke Evans, the DeMarcus Cousins timebomb, and no playing time until he beats out Donte Green. Need I say more?
Projected Pick: Undrafted
Best-Case Scenario: Australia
Lots of sand, surfing, and a history of success for some old friends.
Worst-Case Scenario: NBADL
It doesn’t seem likely that Scoop will ever play a key role on a good NBA team. Better he spend his best years seeing the world and earning better money than barnstorming in small US cities for chump change.