Picks 21-25: Not a bad pick for the Portland Trail Blazers as they are getting older and Nolan Smith gives this team much needed speed. Reminds me a bit of former Duke guard, Jay Williams--before the motorcycle accident, of course.
One of the best stories of last year's NCAA tournament was the rebounding machine of Morehead St., Kenneth Faried. However, at 6'7", he is undersized and because of this, reminds me of Danny Fortson. The Nuggets can definitely use a guy like Faried who brings a lot of energy and toughness on the court.
Nikola Mirotic from Montenegro eventually goes to the Bulls. It was reported at the time of the draft that he had a $2 million buyout in his contract and was reported at the time of the draft that he would have to wait 4 years before making it to the NBA. Fran Frashilla did mention that if it weren't for all the barriers in selecting this player, Mirotic would be a "mid-lottery pick." Was also compared to Luis Scola. Yet another European player that won't be with his NBA team anytime soon.
Another former baseball player selected? No! It's just Reggie Jackson from Boston College going to the Thunder. Jay Bilas predicted that this 6'3" guard is a scorer and because of that, had a shot to be the first scoring option off the bench. Also has a "very quick first step"--so the Thunder drafted a poor man's version of Ben Gordon. Not too shabby.
When MarShon Brooks (out of Providence) was selected by the Celtics, I couldn't help but be perplexed at this selection. Described as a player who plays horrible defense, I just didn't see how he would fit with the Celtics. Then reports came out that he would be traded to the Nets. A player who plays horrible defense going to the Nets? Yes sir, he'll fit nice and perfect with that club! All joking aside, the 6'5" perimeter guard is described to have the ability to score at will. Plus the Nets needed a shooting guard so it's win-win.
Picks 26-30: Jordan Hamilton out of Texas would eventually end up in Denver. More on what he will mean to the Nuggets in a later post. Nevertheless, at 6'8" he would be another undersized power forward along with Faried. But as a shooting guard, he's a matchup nightmare! Unfortunately, he is considered a defensive liability so I can only imagine how clumsy he will look guarding quicker perimeter players. Plus NBA teams grew weary of his conditioning. Wow, good luck with that whole conditioning deal in Denver.
The Celtics get their man by trading for JaJuan Johnson from Purdue. The Big 10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year fits perfectly on this team. Boston emphasizes defense as a core necessity towards their success and Johnson personifies that emphasis. Johnson also has good shot-blocking ability and is no slouch on offense as the ESPN panel was impressed by his mid-range game. However, Jay Bilas believes that his body frame will limit Johnson's ability to get bigger and stronger, but considering the type of player he is, the Celtics probably don't mind that at all, if they even buy Bilas' theory.
(It gets better for the Celtics as they were able to also select Johnson's teammate at Purdue, E'Twaun Moore, who will not get an in-depth look in my draft review, but is worth noting that these college teammates will also be playing in Boston and are clearly the type of players that the Celtics were looking for).
As a Bulls' fan, I was hoping that the Bulls would keep Norris Cole (out of Cleveland St.) as Derrick Rose's backup. However, he would eventually find his way to the Miami Heat, making him just another player to keep around for salary cap purposes. Described as very athletic and plays decent defense. Not flashy, but might be a solid pro.
The Spurs quickly replace George Hill with Corey Joseph out of Texas. The Spurs were very high on Joseph apparently as even Jay Bilas, who always has more positives than negatives things to say about these players was very nonchalant in describing Joseph's game. The only thing he could come up with was that he knew better than to question the San Antonio Spurs.
And finally, with the last pick in the 1st round, the Chicago Bulls select Jimmy Butler from Marquette or as I like to call him, the NBA's version of The Blindside (the story goes that he was abandoned by his mother at the age of 13, only to be adopted by a family who helped nurture him). A 6'7" perimeter player, he is described as "a humble kid," and I wouldn't be surprised if John Paxson pushed to draft this player as he tends to lean on these low risk, high character, collegiate players. Bilas was impressed by this player's versatility and defensive skill (but after 30 draft selections, we already know that Jay loved, for the most part, every player's versatility and defensive skill)--I remember when the Bulls drafted a player like this. His name was Thabo Sefolosha.
The Second Round is Next, but first we wanted to make sense of these trades in our next installment of the 2011 NBA DRAFT PREVIEW....