May 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Nerlens Noel is interviewed during the NBA Draft combine at Harrison Street Athletics Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight all basketball fans will be in front of their tubes watching the NBA Draft. With many speculations going on, I feel that most people like to watch to see if any trades go down. I had a chance today to talk with Senior Staff Writer John Diaz on what we expect to go on during the draft tonight.
Michael Rehome: As you know there are alot of rumors and big name players being thrown around not only today, but weeks leading up to the draft.
What do you expect in the draft this year?
May 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cody Zeller is interviewed during the NBA Draft combine at Harrison Street Athletics Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
John Diaz: This year people have mentioned how weak the draft class is, but I don’t see it that way. You can’t accurately judge a draft until 3 or 4 years down the road. I don’t think there are any “superstars” in the 2013 class, but there is definitely plenty of above-average talent. And as we’ve seen with the Spurs, it’s all about how you develop your players.
MR: I have to agree. There is not many that have stuck out to me in this draft. You look at Nerlens Noel, Alex Len and Victor Oladipo as being the top three in this draft. There are a few other names that I am familiar with but as you stated don’t think they will be “superstars”.
Where do you see the three I mentioned going?
JD: I’m a huge Terps fan, so I love Alex Len. With that being said, I don’t think he’s a top 3 guy in the draft. Regardless of who the Cavaliers draft, that player won’t have enough of an impact to change their franchise immediately. Len has the support of the Cavs front office, thanks to Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Vitaly Potapenko, so he’s probably going first. With the Magic’s history of Shaq and Dwight Howard, Noel fits the Orlando mold of a strong defender/shot blocker. Oladipo is a great scorer and defender, but the Wizards took Beal last year. So Otto Porter at #3 is perfect for them.
Apr 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Trey Burke (3) talks to the media in the locker room after losing to the Louisville Cardinals in the championship game in the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Who else are you a fan of in the top 10 and where do you see them going?
MR: I don’t feel that Len is a top three pick either. I feel he will drop to maybe ten in the draft. I am a small guy so I like to look more at the guards in this draft. With that being said, during the college season I liked watching Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore and Trey Burke. I feel that he [Oladipo] could be the consensus number one pick but feel that Len will possibly go one. If he is still there at two, I feel the Orlando magic will be quick to pick him. He is the safest pick for them based on his fit and certainty he offers as a prospect.
I have heard that McLemore has impressed alot of scouts at workouts and to me he has the risk to reward ratio. Really, there is no risk. He is a 6’5″ stud whom is athletic and has a great jumper. I see him going to the Phoenix Suns.
The smallest of the three I like in this draft is point guard Trey Burke from Michigan. Burke would be a good fit for the Pelicans as he could come on to run the point as a more traditional floor general than Greivis Vasquez. With this pick, they could then trade off injured Eric Gordan.
What surprised do you see coming tonight?
Jan 26, 2013; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore (23) drives around Oklahoma Sooners guard Steven Pledger (2) during the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
JD: I agree with you on Burke going to New Orleans. But more because Burke can play point guard, while shifting Austin Rivers to shooting guard, where he has a better shot of succeeding. The Bobcats/Soon-To-Be-Hornets need someone who can score, so McLemore is a perfect guard to pair with Kemba Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist. Odd man out from those picks would be Oladipo, who would fit Phoenix’s scheme well too, as long as he works on his three-point shooting.
Surprises for tonight…I have two. Just for shock value and to be bold, I’ll predict there will be no trades in the first round of tonight’s draft. Secondly, and probably the more realistic, I have Shabazz Muhammad falling far down the draft. Maybe into the early 20’s. The fact that he’s a year older than originally thought is bad, but he’s such a prolific scorer, that it’s hard to think GM’s will forget about him.
MR: I too feel that Muhammed will fall down the draft as well. He is a good scorer and feel he can help those teams needing a scorer but as you stated the whole age dilemma.
Enough talk about those guys that the Spurs won’t see. Lets talk about our beloved San Antonio.
Before we get into whom we feel the Spurs will choose. Do you think they need to go more bigs than small?
Apr 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) dribbles the ball defended by Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva (3) during the first half of the championship game in the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
JD: I’ve wrestled with this all day. I’ve been hoping and praying the Spurs target a wing in the draft, to backup Kawhi Leonard. Glen Rice, Jr., Tim Hardaway, Jr., or even Livo Jean-Charles…but wing isn’t a true necessity. The Spurs need a backup point guard who can score. De Colo and Joseph struggled all season, while Neal isn’t a natural point guard. So they should definitely go small. There’s plenty of proven big and wing options in free agency that would fit the Spurs system perfectly. Find Tony a servicable backup so the bench doesn’t struggle as much without the Big 3 on the floor.
MR: Solid points. Around the net I have read people wanting the Spurs to go big, get rebounders and those that are strong on the offensive end. That would be nice but I am with you on finding a solid point guard that can compliment Tony. Having a TP 2.0 would be just grand.
So who do the Spurs pick in the first round?
Nov 12, 2012; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Erick Green (11) drives to the basket against Rhode Island Rams guard Mike Powell (1) at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
JD: NBADraft.net broke the rumor that the Spurs already promised their 28th pick to Erick Green. Then Adrian Wojnarowski added fuel to the fire today, saying that Green made a second visit to San Antonio recently. He’s a great combo guard and scorer, something Cory Joseph hasn’t shown to be…yet. But he’s also older than CoJo. Maybe Neal’s days are numbered? Or De Colo might be on the way out. Either way, I’ll go ahead and go with the rumors and say with the 28th selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select (dramatic pause) Erick Green from Virginia Tech.
In before the Spurs select Xoqisuafskjl Wasgoie from some foreign country. Is that joke still funny? Whatever. Who do you see the Spurs taking?
MR: After seeing the tweets and rumors going out about Erick Green I did a little research myself and find him to be more of a George Hill type player. I liked Hill when he was with San Antonio and glad to see him do well in Indiana. I think he will be a solid pick up for San Antonio at 28. I like to agree with you on Neal’s days being numbered with San Antonio. As for CoJo. I think Green can come in and make an impact right away with him being a great combo guard and scorer.
Thank you John for your time today.