The NBA draft is upon us, and here are my final thoughts:
* I hope the Thunder gets Giannis Adetokunbo, the 6-foot-9 Greek of Nigerian descent. I like everything I read about the guy. Hardscrabble upbringing. Good shooter. Draft him, stash him in Europe, bring him over when he’s ready. However, recent reports say he’s not that keen on being stashed.
* Look for Kansas center Jeff Withey to rise. The 7-footer was projected as a late first-rounder, but wouldn’t surprise me to see Withey get into the teens. Withey’s offense needs work, but he’s tough, and it’s not easy to find tough 7-footers.
* You generally can’t go wrong with versatile Mountain West Conference forwards. Nevada-Las Vegas’ Anthony Bennett is going to go high, but don’t forget San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin, a 6-5 swingman, or New Mexico’s Tony Snell, a 6-7 swingman. Kawhi Leonard’s splash with the Spurs has made him the patron saint of such players.
* I’m not big on Trey Burke. I’m generally not big on sharpshooting point guards. I know, Steph Curry. But I think penetrating point guards are a much better bet. Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker. The list is long.
* C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) and Ray McCallum Jr. (Detroit Mercy) have made this draft awfully confusing. A primer. C.J. took down Duke in the 2012 NCAAs; Ray grew up in Norman. C.J. is considered the better prospect, probably top 10. Ray is late first round at best. Can you imagine the confusion had they played together in college?
* Here’s how I rate the guys considered the best seven prospects: 1. Nerlens Noel; 2. Ben McLemore; 3. Victor Oladipo; 4. Anthony Bennett; 5. Otto Porter; 6. Alex Len; 7. Burke. The reason I like Noel (and generally don’t like other big men) is that I think we know exactly what Noel will do. He’s going to be a rebounder/shot blocker. I don’t think we have any idea what Len or the other big men will do.
* Here’s how I rate all the big men: 1. Noel; 2. Steven Adams; 3. Len; 4. Gorgui Dieng; 5. Rudy Gobert; 6. Cody Zeller; 7. Mason Plumlee; 8. Kelly Olynyk.
Seven-footers whose weakness is defense, like OIynyk, I don’t have much use for.
* My guess is the Thunder ends up not trading at all, at least in the first round. Financially, the draft works out great for the payroll-strapped Thunder. A player at No. 12 will bring some savings, even minimal. Every little bit helps. And at No. 29, the Thunder can draft international and stash, since there’s no ready roster spot.
* My guess: Steven Adams at No. 12. The affable New Zealander (is there any other kind?) seems like a Thunder-type personality.