Happy NBA Draft Eve, everybody! Ah yes, the time of year, right after the Finals conclude, where 29 teams try to get better and the Miami Heat don't need draft picks because they're still drunk from the victory party and parade. This draft is considered pretty weak, the weakest since 2000 where Kenyon Martin was taken 1st overall and was the beginning of only 3 All-Star careers (Martin, Jamaal Magloire, Michael Redd) and several big top-10 pick busts (Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm.) Our beloved Grizzlies, Vancouverites at the time, took Stromile Swift in that draft. While he was never a star, he at least had a 9 year career in the league, and wasn't as terrible and Fizer, Johnson or Hasheem Thabeet. In honor of the annual fashion statement/crap shoot that is the NBA Draft, here are 5 bold predictions...
1. Ben McLemore will be the top player out of this draft. The sharp shooting SG from Kansas has been compared to Ray Allen, both for his pure 3 point stroke and his ability to get his shot by coming off of screens. Shooting has become more and more important in the NBA; all 5 of the top five 3 point shooting teams in the NBA made it to at least the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs this season (Golden State, Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, New York.) The game is changing, and players like McLemore are able to help a team instantly with spacing and scoring. Others will have decent to above average careers (Otto Porter, Cody Zeller and Trey Burke come to mind) but McLemore will be a star.
2. The Most Ridiculous/Awesome Suit Award Will Go To...Nerlens Noel. The only basis I have for this prediction is his awesome hair cut and hope for a Kid and Play shout out in the outfit.
3. Teams Will Do Their Best To Get a Possible Lottery Pick for NEXT Season. Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart may have gone 1, 2 and 3 in this years draft if high school seniors were allowed to get in to the draft and Smart had decided to come out early from Oklahoma State. These three possible superstars, in addition to plenty of Kentucky talent and others, makes next year's draft much more attractive. I expect someone to overpay for a chance to get a 2014 potential lottery pick, or for a team to turn down a pretty good offer knowing they will likely be terrible (I am looking at you, Charlotte) hoping to get in on the Wiggins sweepstakes.
4. Bill Simmons and Jay Bilas will Argue About a Player at Some Point. This could be a potential clash of the titans. I could see Simmons calling out Bilas about over hyping Seth Curry, or Bilas telling Simmons to go back to writing Draft Diaries. All of this is in jest, of course, but an exciting part of draft coverage this year will be seeing these two (whose basketball opinions I respect very much) interacting and reacting to trades and picks as they come in.
5. The Memphis Grizzlies Will Make a Trade to Get Into the First Round, Draft and Stash a Foreign Player and Take at Least 1 Wing in the 2nd Round. Here's a possibility- Jeff Withey 27th overall after trading Darell Arthur and cash considerations to the Denver Nuggets, Archie Goodwin 41st overall, Ryan Kelly 55th overall and Raul Neto (foreign PG) 60th overall. Of course, this prediction could be blown to hell given other trades and such, but I do think the Grizzlies will get into the 1st round somehow, probably to draft a backup C because they think they they can get wing help in FA. Goodwin at 41 and Kelly at 55 would be great value picks, and they draft and stash someone at 60.
Between the "major announcement" at FedEx Forum tomorrow that isn't a surprise at all and the Draft, it will be a big day for the new Front Office of the Beale Street Bears. How big, however, remains to be seen.
What are some of your predictions for tomorrow night, both Grizzly wise and overall? Comment away...