Just a quick note 5 minutes before the draft – While more common to the NFL draft (and Card’s draft picks in particular) the “winners” of the NBA draft can be saddled with a millstone around their neck, in the form of overpaid, underperforming high first-round draft picks.
Paging Kwame Brown to the white courtesy phone, please. Kwame Brown, to the white courtesy phone.
Looking over the mock draft boards, it is millstone-central. The consensus #1 pick is a guy who can jump, and overpowered smaller college players, but he can’t dribble or shoot. Mmmmm, sounds like just the guy to succeed in a league where every big man is, well, big. Mr. Griffin might well do ok, but I’ll go out on a limb and say winning this draft will be more curse than blessing. Number 2 is Ricky Rubio, a guy that, according to the ESPN board “lacks ideal speed and athleticism.” Ah yes, just like CP3. Or something.
I like thinking about a pick’s NBA comparables when predicting success; that is, who is he similar to? For Blake – decent but not great size, strong, athletic, no jump shot, no ball handling skill. KMart? Beasley-lite? Lou Amundsen? Don’t laugh – how much better is Griffin’s skill set (not talent) than Sweet Lou? And if he is better, how much is the difference worth? I’m here to say it ain’t first pick money.
And before you say “it’s not my money, I don’t care,” remember that it’s a salary cap league and Sarver doesn’t much like going over the cap, so we’re in a zero sum game for salary dollars. Dollars sunk in a guaranteed contract for Griffin handcuff your flexibility.
Of course, based on the Suns’ karma with the Atlanta protected pick, this would be the year the Suns go “frozen envelope” and win the lottery. If so, here’s hoping they sell this one to the Blazers, too.