As much as I love Duncan, if you put every player since then in a draft (coming out of high School, college, Europe) who is the can’t miss, number one overall pick?
LeBron. I understand that’s over Jordan, but keep in mind; he went 3rd. While everyone kills Portland now for it, they didn’t at the time (and no one killed Houston either). The bigger argument might be Ewing vs LeBron, to be honest. Top five might be those two (Ewing, James) Shaq, Hakeem, Timmy and maybe Danny Manning next. I might need to do some digging- but I’m not sure. Jordan is a top 15 pick in an all-time NBA Draft. Keep in mind there was debate between Jordan and Sam Perkins on who would be the better pro.
But lets say for the sake of argument that LeBron is the best case senario for the draft wheel. So lets spin the wheel and see how our franchise goes.
So, to restate.
For those of you that have no idea what the Draft Wheel is, its a plan floated out there to get past the entire “tanking” problem most think the NBA has. Basically, it starts like this; You have a set order of picks, no matter if you win 10 games or you win the title, you get the next pick in your list. If you win the title and its your turn on the wheel to get a top pick, then you get that pick.
So unlike yesterday, where I picked a random year, and the worst starting spot (in my opinion) and saw what happened, now I’m cherry-picking a player and a year- and lets see how that spread goes.
Pick 3: Penny Hardaway, 1993
This is as far back as I went, just for fun. Penny is one of those great “what if” players of all time. He’s got two big what ifs; If he wasn’t on a team with Shaq being an ass, and (of course), his injury. Imagine if he could have played with a classic center that didn’t mind sharing a spotlight? BUT as far as this wheel goes, I can live here.
Pick 28: Deon Thomas, 1994
Pick 21: Michael Finley, 1995
Pick 16: Tony Delk, 1996
So le’ts hope Penny is still ok and Delk is a great backup (or so we thought). Here are my first swings at back to back top ten picks.
Pick 9: Tracy McGrady, 1997
Pick 4: Antawn Jamison, 1998
Oh Shit. FA Center, Jamison, T-Mac, Finley (Starting to produce) and Penny? If Finley develops like he did, and Penny is still a 20/5 guy, I have a contender. I might have to move Hardaway to shooting guard by now, and Finley in rotation with Mac and Penny at the swing?
Pick 27: Jumaine Jones, 1999
Pick 24: Dalibor Bagaric, 2000
Pick 13: Richard Jefferson, 2001
Ok, now I have Richard Jefferson. I can move Jamison to center, Play T-Mac at power forward, Jefferson at small forward, and Finley at shooting guard. To top it off, I have Penny at point and just not one shit given about defense. Hell, on this team I can roll Delk out there (keep in mind he went over 10 points per game in 3 different seasons) off the bench, hire Paul and try for 120 points per game, I’m undersized as hell, but I think I’m better than most teams.
Pick 12: Melvin Ely, 2002
I think I’m still a contender, and the wheel has turned! Who do I get? Some high school kid? YES!
I have Jamison, LeBron, Jefferson, Finley. Here’s a scary thought;
PENNY HARDAWAY JUST TURNED THIRTY-ONE
Can you say 70 wins?
Yes, yes you can. Lets look at what we have going;
C- Jamison is about to go on a streak where he went over eight boards six of seven years, over 19 points per game for five years.
PF- LeBron James
SF Jefferson is about to go 18/6 OR BETTER the next 3 years.
SG – Finley is slowing down, so I can package him and T-Mac for a shooting guard
PENNY IS 31!! He went for nine points/two assists /three rebounds in real life after 87 surgeries! You can’t tell me he isn’t putting up Jason Kidd numbers if he’s even 80% of what he was!
People forget how good Jamison was. I understand LeBron is going to hurt his numbers, but I need some outside shooting. Free agents are going to be all over this team like they will be flocking to LeBron a decade later.
Let’s keep going with the fun. But lets be honest; there is NO chance the wheel keeps going here. None. The NBA will explode with anger at this point- unless this team is L.A. or N.Y.. Can you imagine a 70-win team in Milwaukee?
Yet, Atanta is still not selling out with this home team.
Pick 30: Since the T-Wolves lose it due to Joe Smith. Pick 31 was Anderson Varejão, 2004.
Holy Shit. I just added Varejao off the bench?
Pick 19: Hakim Warrick, 2005
Pick 18: Oleksiy Pecherov, 2006
So with four titles in a row, and maybe 30 losses total (playoffs and regular season included) I really need a point at this time. Unless I have grabbed one in free agency, Penny is done and Jamison is slowing. I now have two top seven picks.
There are NO point guards in this draft. I mean NONE in my range. Mike Conley has the highest assists per game in the entire class at 5.4. Next is Ramon Sessions. Ew. I have to trade here.
Pick 6: Danilo Gallinari, 2008
Can Dano play point? What about Eric Gordon? I could make a trade for either one of these picks. Imagine trading BOTH for say, Chris Paul? Deron Williams?
Pick 25: Rodrigue Beaubois, 2009
Pick 23: Trevor Booker, 2010
Pick 14: Marcus Morris, 2011
Pick 11: Meyers Leonard, 2012
Ok, so I’m down to: Jamison/LeBron/Gallinari, and free agents at this point- time to reload with my what? Eight rings?
Pick 2: Victor Oladipo, 2013
It’s ok, rest of the NBA. I only get the 29th pick next year.
So we have Oladipo as the point, with that front court, plus we need to look at replacing Jamison soon.
So again, I think this is pretty much the best case scenario for any team with the wheel. Are the other 29 teams going to put up with the wheel after giving a team in say, San Antonio, this mega-team?
Tomorrow, I will be back with the issues of this process. Stay tuned!
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