2007 NBA Draft
By Bob Radl, StaffWriter
The next generation of future NBA stars was drafted lastThursday night in New York. Three of the first four players drafted were truefreshmen. Four of the top seven players drafted played in this year’s 2007 NCAAchampionship contest. The NBA draft means more to teams than its counterpartsin other pro sports. The 2007 NBA draft was considered to be one of the deepestdrafts in recent history. Some experts feel the draft may equal the 2003 draftthat yielded stars such as, Carmello Anthony, Chris Bosh LeBron James andDwayne Wade. There were two franchise or money ball players at the top of thedraft in Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.
1. Greg Oden, Center, Portland, Oden is an extremelyathletic and talented player for his size at 7’ 0” with an NBA ready body. Hehas a great aptitude for the game and moves very well for a big man of hissize. Possessing good lateral movement, he uses both hands well and is a highcharacter guy who will allow himself to be coached in the pro game. He canfinish around the basket and is considered to be a centerpiece for any teambuilding for the future. He is the complete package and one of the best big manprospects since perhaps Patrick Ewing or Hakeem Olajuwon. Oden will be animmediate force on the boards and with his shot blocking skills. His offensivegame may take a while to develop, but he is a sure fire choice for dynastyleagues.
2. Kevin Durant, SF, Seattle, Durant is considered tobe a scoring savant and will most likely lead the NBA in scoring sooner ratherthan later. He has great athleticism and range on his jumper. He can take a manoff of the dribble as well as create his own shot. Durant averaged 26 ppg as atrue freshman for Texas this past season. He has a very long wingspan at 7’ 4”and will be able to block shots in the pros. He will contribute in multiplefantasy categories immediately. He will need to bulk up some in the pros andget stronger. Another great choice in keeper leagues.
3. Al Horford, PF, Atlanta, Horford has an NBA readybody with good quickness and outstanding leaping ability for a 6 10” player. Heis considered to be a fundamentally sound defender and a solid rebounder.Horford had good post moves, a high basketball IQ and is a good passer for abig man. He was one of the most NBA ready big men in this year’s draft. He willneed to become more assertive in the pro ranks.
4. Mike Conley, PG, Memphis, Conley was the best pointguard prospect in the draft. He is very quick, poised under pressure andplays like a man much older than a true freshman. He has terrific ball handlingskills and great court vision. He can finish around the basket with eitherhand. Conley is a streak shooter and must become more consistent with his shot.At only 6’ 1”, his height will also pose some match-up issues in the NBAagainst bigger and stronger point guards.
5. Jeff Green,PF, Seattle, Green was the 2007 Big East player of the year. He can passvery well for a big man and is a solid rebounder. He improved his outside thispast year and has the potential to put up big numbers in the pros. He mustbecome more assertive and also improve his ball handling skills at the nextlevel.
6. Yi JianLain, C/F, Milwaukee, Yi was the firstinternational player to be drafted this year. He is a very agile and smooth 7footer with a nice jump shot and ball handling skills for a player of hissize. He will most likely play facing thebasket in the pros as a PF. Yi has dent strength in the lower body but willneed to work on his upper body. He will need to improve his defense andrebounding at the next level.
7. Corey Brewer, SF, Minnesota, Brewer is a veryversatile player with a great wingspan for a man of his size at 6’ 9”. Somescouts felt he was the best defender in college this past year. He can be alock down defender in the NBA. Brewer was the 2007 Final Four MVP this pastyear. He has improved his offensive game, which is still considered to belacking. He has a great motor. He possesses a great attitude and some niceupside to his game.
8. Brandan Wright, PF, Golden State, Wright wasconsidered to be a steal at the #8 slot this year. He will need to bulk up ashe is 6’ 10” and weighs only about 200 lbs. He has excellent hands andoutstanding athleticism. Wright can run the floor like a deer. He has greatshot blocking potential with his wingspan of 7’ 4”. He has a nice jump hook butwill need to polish his offensive game in the pros as well as add bulk.
9. Joakim Noah, PF, Chicago, Noah was the thirdFlorida Gator to go in the top nine in this year’s draft. He is a high-energyguy with a great motor. He can rebound, block shots and possesses a highbasketball IQ. Noah is still adding bulk to his frame and must work on hisjumper. His shooting form is quite poor. There is a great deal of upside to hisgame.
10. Spencer Hawes, Center, Sacramento, Hawes is notconsidered to be a finished product and has some upside to his game. He is atrue freshman. He is a seven footer who can run the floor well and is quitecoordinated for his size. He has nice offensive skills and can play facing thebasket or with his back to the basket. He does not play above the rim and isnot a great shot blocker.
11. Acie Lawe IV, PG, Atlanta, Law excelled inpost-season play this year. He won the Bob Cousy award this past year. Law is agood-sized guard at 6’ 3”. He likes to take the big shot in crunch time. Hemakes excellent decisions with the ball in his hands. His defense and shootingcan be hot and cold at times.
12. Thaddeus Young, SF, Philadelphia, Young isanother athletic young wing player. He has a nice jump hook; good hands and isa solid offensive rebounder. He will need to work on his ball handling skillsto play on the wing in the NBA. He will also need to work on his upper bodystrength.
13. Julian Wright, SF, New Orleans, Wright wasdrafted on his potential as much as anything. He has a great attitude and feelfor the game that cannot be taught. Wright is an unselfish player. He canrebound, play defense and thrives in an up-temp game. He must improve his rangeand create better shots off of the dribble.
14. Al Thornton, F, LA Clippers, Thornton is anexplosive athlete who can make plays. He will add another big body to theClippers frontcourt. He has an explosive first step and is a good offensiverebounder due to his second jump ability. He will need to improve his ballhandling and lateral quickness.
15. Rodney Stuckey, G, Detroit, Stuckey has beenlikened as a poor man’s D-Wade in terms of basketball skills. He is a strongphysical player who can get his own shot. Stuckey will give the Pistons someinstant offense off of the bench. He is caught between being a 1 or 2 guard at6’ 4”. Stuckey must improve his decision-making and ball handling at the nextlevel.
16. Nick Young, SG, Washington, Young was all Pac 10two years in a row. He is a great shooter and has nice range on his shot. Hehas a scorer’s mentality and can get to the shot. He should be a nicethree-point shooter for the Wizards. Young will need to improve his defense andlearn to move better without the ball.
17. Sean Williams, PF, New Jersey, Williams wasdismissed from the Boston College team in January of 2007 for multiple issuesand violations. He is a good example of a potential high risk/high rewardplayer. At 6’ 10”, he will be a shot blocker for the Nets and is a veryexplosive player. He is a good rebounder. Williams must improve his maturityoff the court to stay in the NBA.
18. Marco Belinelli, SG, Golden State, Belinellialready have five years of pro-basketball under his belt at the ripe old age of21. He has nice range on his three point shot and is a scorer. A very niceathlete with good length and leaping ability, Belinelli dropped 28 points onteam USA last year in just over 20 minutes. He will need to be able to takeplayers off of the dribble and improve the consistency on his jumper.
19. Javaris Crittenton, G, LA Lakers, A tall, smoothguard at 6’ 5” with nice athleticism and a solid shooting touch, Crittenton isa big strong guard with good ball handling skills. He must improve his decisionmaking skills and shot selection. He is viewed by many scouts as either a boomor bust prospect.
20. Jason Smith, PF/C, Philadelphia, Smith is atalented seven footer with nice skills for a man of his size, especially on theoffensive end of the court. Her has good footwork and shoots well for a man ofhis size. He played in a weak conference and will need to get tougher to thrivein the NBA.
21. Daequan Cook, SG, Miami, Cook is a player with areal scorers mentality. He has great offensive instincts and is a prolificshooter. He shows a lot of promise due to his natural instincts on offense.Cook must learn to respond better to coaching and improve his defensive play aswell.
22. Jared Dudley, F, Charlotte, The 2007 ACC Playerof the Year, Dudley plays within the team concept and has a good feel for thegame. He has a very nice touch and shows good footwork on the court. Dudley isa very good passer for a forward with intangible skills. He must improve hisfoot speed at the next level.
23.Wilson Chandler, F, New York, Some scouts feelthat Chandler may be a better pro than he was a college player. Chandler isversatile and long with a good second jump. He may not get much playing timeimmediately but could work out down the road. He must work on his maturity,especially playing in the Big Apple.
24. Rudy Fernandez, SG, Portland, The Blazerspurchased this pick from the Suns. Fernandez is an athletic 22-year-old guardfrom the Spanish league. He has a large buyout and will most likely remain inSpain for another year.
25. Morris Almond, SG, Utah, Almond’s stock soaredwith an excellent showing at the Orlando pre-draft camp. He is an NBA readyplayer with an excellent shot. He will bring some offense off of the bench forthe Jazz and give them a three-point shooter. He will need to work on his ballhandling skills at the next level.
26. Aaron Brooks, PG, Houston, Brooks is very quickand just a shade under six feet. He will have minimal fantasy value with RaferAlston, Mike James and Luther Head on the team.
27. Aaron Afflalo, G/F, Detroit, Afflalo is anothernice wing player for the Pistons. He is a decent scorer and a great defender.His fantasy value will be limited at first. He fits the mold of the type ofplayer that the Pistons covet.
28. Tiago Splitter, C/F, San Antonio, Splitter couldbe a great choice for the Spurs. He is smart experienced post player with anNBA frame and is a very good defensive player. Splitter will most likely stayin Europe another year.
29. Alando Tucker, SF, Phoenix, Tucker was a nicechoice for the Suns as he can run with them in their up-tempo style of play. Heis a good athlete and an aggressive player. He will need to improve the rangeon his jump shot.
30. Petteri Koponen, SG, Portland, The Sixers sentthis pick to the Blazers. At just 19 years of age, Koponen is not ready for theNBA yet. He has nice size for a shooting guard but is raw. The Blazers willstash him away in Europe for a year or two.
Notablepicks from the second round of the draft include:
32. Gabe Pruitt, G, Boston, Pruitt
33. MarcusWilliams, F, San Antonio, Williamsis a smooth swingman with nice passing skills, good ball handling skills and anice basketball IQ. He is fundamentallysound, but not an explosive athlete. He may need some time to develop at thepro-level.
34. Nick Fazekas,F, Dallas, Fazekas is anexcellent shooter and rebounder with range extending all the way out the to thethree point line. He had numerous double-doubles against weaker WACcompetition. He will need to bulk up and get stronger to play in the NBA.
35. Glen Davis, F,Boston, Davis has soft handsand great footwork for a big man. His body still needs work despite losingconsiderable weight this past year. He has a nice touch out to about 18 feetand an excellent touch around the basket.
37. JoshMcRoberts, F, Portland, Mostmock drafts had Roberts going in the first round. He is a smart and versatileforward who runs the floor well. He has a soft touch and good hands. Thequestion remains about his ability to create his own shot. McRoberts also mustdevelop a tougher mindset.
42. Derrick Byars,G/F, Philadelphia, Byars wasproject to go in the first round in many drafts. He is considered to be acomplete player who does many things well, but nothing exceptionally well. At6’ 7”, Byars has nice court vision and should break into the Sixer rotationthis season. His ball handling skills will need to improve in the NBA.