After once again trudging through the hype, opinion and rumor-inspired non-sense that is the draft season, I've come to the following thoughts:
I don't believe that we're going to draft either Taft or Roko-Leni Ukic. Both have the dreaded long term "potential" label written all over them, but here's a couple thoughts on each to consider:
Taft - I thought we were looking for better basketball IQ's and less attitude problems? Taft is lacking in the former and seems to have an abundance of the latter. He was quite inconsistant in his final season at Pitt (which IMO, was at least one season less than he should have played) and more than a few people have acredited him with motivational issues that lend themselves to him disappearing during games.
Ukic - Uptempo and improvisational. Streaky shooter with limited range and doesn't possess a strong move to the hole. Defense is termed as a player who "troops the lanes", taking advantage of his long wing span, but not an exceptional 1 on 1 defender and often seems lost. He's also a stickboy (not that lack of muscle can't be fixed, but...) Sure he's young, but what exactly makes him a better option than Banks? I've obviously spent my share of time harping on Banks shortcomings, but Banks can play good defense(most of the time) and can take more than a few people to the hole at will. As my grandfather once pointed out: "When in doubt, stick with the Devil you know".
I firmly believe that we're not going to target a PG in the draft, but rather go after one via free agency. Don't ask me for a list of suspects right now, ask me after the FA signing period and the big contract names have been spoken for. It'll be a mid-level vet, whether acquired through trade or FA signing.
I'm expecting that we'll target a SF or PF in the draft to groom. After next season, Raef's contract becomes a moveable commodity in a package deal. Until then, expect him to continue to work hard and play enough to keep the "youngins" time down enough so that the team isn't depending on them too much. However, I don't see him here for the duration of his contract and thus, in the case of the PF spot, even if Jefferson is the future, he'll need help. You can never have too many SF's.
If we stay at #18, which I fully expect to, here's a short list of who I think that we'll target, assuming they are still there:
1. Sean May - There's no consistancy to where Mocks have him going or to what team. Yes, I know, he's only 6'9", but he's a banger and has a true inside game. He's also got a great basketball IQ and knows pressure situations and how to play big in the big games.
2. Hakim Warrick - Yes, he's a stick boy, but so what? Think Tayshaun Prince and it'll relieve some of your worries. Again, good bball IQ and comes from a program where he was counted on and delivered consistently in the crunch.
3. Wayne Simien - Don't bring up the KU connection stuff or the injury worries, they played no part in my thinking. I don't care about either. He's a double-double machine, comes from a big time program and knows the game.
4. Julius Hodge - Ok, he's my dark horse and most people have him on the first round bubble, which makes taking him at #18 seem odd. Here's my beef with the manner in which he's been dismissed: First, he's been largely dismissed his whole career, yet has continually carried NC State in a very difficult ACC Conference. No strong post up move? So what! He plays defense, plays with heart and has taken every knock against him and worked past it. I don't think he'll end up in Celtic green, but somebody's going to get a steal in this guy, mark my words.
5. Ryan Gomes - Another guy who I have no idea where he'll actually go, but he does have talent in the post area(especially since he's only 6'7", plays defense and knows how to handle pressure situations.
6. Jarrett Jack - Ok, say Dannyboy throws me a curveball and does decide to take a PG. My honest guess is that some other GM will have bought into the Ukic hype(Remember Swift from last Draft?) and taken him before our pick, leaving Jack as the best option left (Forget Ellis, he's a project at best). I'm not crazy about the kids attitude at all but he can play and will be a servicable NBA PG.
Other questions to be answered:
1. Will the C's be part of a draft day trade? NO, but if they are, it won't involve Paul Pierce.
2. Will Pierce be moved in the off-season? Tough call, but I haven't seen any scenarios that blow my kilt up and that leads me to believe the answer is no. Personally, I think people have made entirely too much out of alot of stuff in regard to Pierce. Boston is a microscope though, so I guess it's not much of a surprise. Pierce is not a malcontent and his body of work here in Boston is so heavily weighted on the Pro side of the Pro's vs Con's debate that all the venom being spewed towards him seems slightly silly to me.
Regardless, Feel free to join us for live chat tonight during the Draft (7PM on ESPN), Check out Gabe's Mock and as far as this article goes, let the feast begin.