On the eve of the NBA Draft, I was given the assignment of what I would do if I was in charge of the War Room.
Quite simple, really. I would trade young, unproven commodities for The Big Ticket (Kevin Garnett) and Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen). No, but in all seriousness, the NBA Draft is absolutely the biggest crapshoot in all of the four major sports.
College All-American players eventually end up starring in Greece, high school phenoms rule the league, wasted draft picks on European players that are soft and sometimes unknown college role players become the final cog that catapults a contender into a World Champion.
This draft will be no different than any other. ...
There are only seven players in this year's crop that I feel have an NBA-ready game and really popped off the screen last year in college.
If I was GM of any NBA franchise, (preferably the Lakers) here is how I would rank them on my draft board. Remember, as you read this, I am the same guy who said the Lakers blew it by trading for Pau Gasol instead of Jason Kidd, so my credibility may come into question.
1. Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis—Will one day challenge Chris Paul as the NBA's best point guard.
2. O.J. Mayo, SG, USC—Will be a better pro than collegian; his game is special.
3. Micheal Beasley, PF, Kansas St.—May not be ever be 20/10 guy, but has the skills to dominate at the next level.
4. Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana—10-time NBA All-Star and may be considered the elite player from this draft.
5. Bill Walker, SF, Kansas St.—If he is fully recovered from nagging knee injuries and regains his explosiveness, he could develop into a dangerous NBA scorer.
6. Brandon Rush, SF, Kansas—A slasher, he will become the Rush brother we thought the other two would be.
7. Jamont Gordon, PG, Mississippi St.—6'4" college point guard; will probably be a 2 in the pros.
The rest of the names called tomorrow night are just guys. Guys who will linger in the D-League or Turkey or ride the bench for the Clippers.
Remember how great J.J. Reddick and Adam Morrison were in college? Do any of you remember Chris Washburn? He was the guy selected third in the 1986 NBA Draft, right after Len Bias.
For every Allen Iverson, there is a Michael Olowokandi; for every Kobe Bryant, there is a Jonathan Bender.
So if Rose, Mayo, Beasley and Eric Gordon are gone when it is my turn to pick, and if it is too early to reach and select Rush, Walker or Jamont Gordon, I am trading my first-round pick and two journeyman veterans to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson, who is in the final year of his deal, so that he can get his ring.
I would also look into making a deal with Minnesota for Sebastian Telfair, whom I thought at times last year looked like he was ready to become a solid NBA point guard. Don't believe me? Look at his stats.
Oh yeah, and I would bring back Penny Hardaway.