2007 NBA Draft Musings

Posted by rtmsf on June 29th, 2007

Note:  If you’re looking for the 2008 NBA Draft Musings, look here. 

Some post-apocalyptic draft thoughts for your Friday, as we settle into a long summer of waiting for something to happen…


Championship or Bust in Portland?

  • One and Dones. These players acquitted themselves quite well in this year’s draft, which means they were getting good information from their schools and representatives. Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Mike Conley, Jr., Brandan Wright, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young were six of the top twelve players taken. Not coincidentally, five of those were among the top seven seniors of the Class of 2006, according to Rivals (Chase Budinger of Arizona was the lone holdout returning to school, and Conley was rated #18). Javaris Crittenton and Daequan Cook were also selected in the first round, meaning that every college freshman who declared was taken this year. Although it’s arguable whether the one-and-done system worked for college basketball (Ohio State – yes; Washington – no), we assert from a player perspective that it helped them exponentially in terms of marketability and readiness to perform at the next level. Every sports fan in America now knows who Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are – that wouldn’t have been the case prior the one-and-done rule.
  • Gator Rule. As we alluded to yesterday, the Florida Gators were set to greatly increase its all-time count of draft picks last night, and they did so with a flourish (see Joakim Noah‘s getup below), increasing its total from 10 to 15 overnight. Florida’s five entries into the NBA last night – Al Horford, Corey Brewer (who looked like the happiest man alive), Noah, Chris Richard (we figured he’d get a look), and Taurean Green – ties UConn for the most draft picks in one year. What, no Lee Humphrey?!?! The Huskies also entered five in 2006. One question, though. Where was Billy Donovan during this celebration of Pax Floridana? Maybe Christine hasn’t let him out of the house yet.

Joakim Noah Suit

Love the Seersucker, Jo

  • Conference Breakdown. The BCS conferences accounted for 39 of the 60 picks last night. The ACC (9 total; 6 first rounders) led the way, with the SEC close behind (8/3); the Big 10 (6/4), Pac-10 (6/4) and Big East (6/2) each showed moderate success, while the Big 12 fell behind the others (4/3). Considering that there were thirteen international players selected, that left only eight picks for the mid-majors. The highest mid-major player selected was Rodney Stuckey from Eastern Washington at #15; although Nevada also placed two players in the second round (Nick Fazekas and Ramon Sessions).
  • Dumb Declarations. By our count, only four players from D1 schools who stayed in the draft as an early entry candidate were not selected this year (most notably, Shagari Alleyne, formerly of Kentucky). This shows again that players are improving at determining their real value (vs. perceived inflated value) before making the decision to jump.

“Why Didn’t I Go Pro Last Year????”

  • A Year Late, A Dollar Short. Three players from big-name schools were probably kicking themselves for not leaving school early last year, when their weaknesses weren’t as exposed to the scouts. Duke’s Josh McRoberts (offensive skills), LSU’s Glen “Big Baby” Davis (weight issues) and Arizona’s Marcus Williams (headcase) all would have been much higher picks last year. Now each must battle for scraps as second-round selections this time around.
  • Parlez vous français? We always hate to see guys who put in their four years at college and were pretty good players, only to get passed over in the draft for Pau Gasol’s little brother. So a special shout-out goes to Zabian Dowdell (Virginia Tech), JR Reynolds (Virginia), Curtis Sumpter (Villanova), Mario Boggan (Oklahoma St.), Ekene Ibekwe (Maryland) , Brandon Heath (San Diego St.), Ron Lewis (Ohio St.) and Kyle Visser (Wake Forest) for providing wholesome collegiate entertainment over the last half-decade. We were tempted to also include Mustafa Shakur (Arizona) here, but he seemed to disappoint more than inspire during his tenure in Tucson.

SLAM Oden & Durant

Oden Wins Championships; Durant Wins Scoring Titles.

  • Final Thought. Oden vs. Durant was endlessly debated all season long. While we have to agree that we enjoy watching Durant play far more than Oden, that belies our bias against watching post men in favor of perimeter players in general. Still, Oden is the kind of player that championship teams are built around, and the Durants of history are comparitively light in the hardware department. We saw this played out in this year’s NCAA Tournament, where Oden’s team went to the national finals, and Durant’s squad was out (embarrassingly) in the second round. Either way, we wish the best of luck to both of them, as they made college basketball a more interesting game for the year they spent with us.
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Billy D Epilogue

Posted by rtmsf on June 8th, 2007

Tasty Waffles

Waffles, anyone?

So now that the Billy Donovan saga has finally ended, and everyone on both sides is making nice and saying all the right things, we wanted to comment on any residual effects that may result from this whole fiasco. On the college basketball side of things, critics of Donovan have stated that the man as a coach has put forth an image that he can no longer be trusted, and that this will ultimately manifest in his recruiting. Gregg Doyel at cbssportsline.com writes:

Donovan didn’t just think about leaving. He didn’t just try to leave. He left. He came back, true, but if he was willing to leave Florida once — after promising recruits like Jai Lucas that he wouldn’t leave this offseason — what’s to stop him from leaving again? That’s not just me wondering. That’ll be the subtle spiel of every coach who recruits against Donovan, and I’m not sure that would be categorized as “unfair negative recruiting.” It would be more accurate to call that “reality.”

On the NBA side of things, critics are saying that he’ll be akin to kryptonite should he ever hope to follow his dream to coach in the NBA again. One exec from a Varsity Conference team said:

“It’s not going to leave a good taste in the mouths of a lot of people. People in the league already were asking last week, ‘What did he do to deserve a contract like that?’ And now this; it really casts a doubt about his intentions.”

Harkening back to our long-lost legal education and in the spirit of Donovan’s last seven days, we both concur and dissent with these viewpoints. The NBA issue is a no-brainer – any NBA executive will have to take a long, hard look at whether he wants to risk dealing with Donovan in the future. Thanks to what is effectively a five-year moratorium on Donovan taking another NBA job, however, this will allow ample time for hard feelings and raw nerves to diminish. If the situation arises where a true “dream job” such as the Knicks or Lakers opens after that time, then we’d still expect Donovan to get that call. This assumes, of course, that the next five years at Florida do not turn into some post-apocalyptic disaster where his coaching abilities are called into question as in the early 2000s.

Christine Donovan is much happier today

And what of the University of Florida, who rewarded Donovan’s insouciance today with a contract worth $3.5M per year for the next six seasons (plus an option for the seventh). As much as it may seem elementary to believe what Doyel says about other coaches using this against Donovan in the future, and no doubt they will try, we see another more powerful side to this argument. Instead of worries about whether Donovan will be around at UF in the near future, we now know with near-certainty that he will be in Gainesville for the next five years. He already turned down his dream college job and a near-perfect NBA situation, and is additionally barred from seeking another NBA job. Where else can he realistically go? If anything, this provides an incredible stability around his program that almost no other coach in America can claim. As such, Donovan may actually be returning to Florida in a stronger recruiting situation than he otherwise would have enjoyed had he never left in the first place. How crazy is that? Whether that will translate into more Final Fours and national titles is impossible to know.

Our (hopefully) final thought on the matter is that we’re quite pleased that Billy D was keeping tabs on our blog while he was in his solitary confinement at home the past few days. :)

I said I can’t do this and live with myself for the next two to three years. I don’t know if the press conferences should have been flip-flopped or not (Orlando second and Florida first), but my heart wasn’t into it.

It wasn’t that something happened with my wife, or Jeremy Foley guilt-tripped me or something that the Magic did upset me or there was a problem with (Magic general manager) Otis Smith or the way Christine’s face looked in a photo on the Internet at the press conference.

Everyone wants to put a reason as to why something happened. I’m terribly sorry for what happened, and I take responsibility for it. But this is a Billy Donovan issue, not a Christine Donovan or Jeremy Foley or (Orlando Magic president) Bob Vander Weide or (Magic owner) Rich DeVos issue.


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The Christine Donovan Effect

Posted by rtmsf on June 4th, 2007

CD Angry

Mrs. Donovan appears thrilled at the press conference naming her husband the new coach of the Orlando Magic.

Memo to Billy Donovan:

Listen to your wife before you sign the contract next time. As a married man of over a decade, you should have known better. Sure, her lips may have been mouthing “do whatever you want, honey” but the eyes… look at those eyes!!! were saying something completely different.

Because of this egregious infraction in marital comprehension, you now look like a circus clown (isn’t Barnum & Bailey’s college around there too?) and more than a little flakey in front of the basketball universe. Sure, others have been down this road – most recently, Dana Altman (Creighton to Arkansas and back) and Gregg Marshall (Winthrop to College of Charleston and back) – but neither of them were foolish enough to sign a contract prior to backing away. The last person we can remember who actually signed the contract while still employed was Bobby Cremins (Georgia Tech to South Carolina and back), and has he been heard from since? Not really. (Note: Majerus was unemployed/retired/at the trough when he backed out on USC in 2004; and Cremins is now the head coach at College of Charleston in an ironic twist.)


So let’s be honest, Billy. Despite complete radio silence coming out of Gainesville, and Orlando officials stating publicly that you are still in a “dialogue” with the Magic, we all know that this is simply legal saber-rattling for the sake of saving face. The buyout/settlement that you will pay Orlando will surely be substantial. Wouldn’t that money have been better spent on a new convertible Benz for your wife – which, incidentally, you’re going to have to buy her anyway (look at the eyes). A Benz might actually be getting off easy – imagine all the painstaking interrogations and whispering that is already going on behind her back at the PTA meetings and at the pool’s social committee. Her ears are burning and her eyes are furious.

Actually, Billy, here’s another thought. After you get off the phone with Orlando management, maybe you should call Tiffany’s as well. We heard that diamond earrings look just divine while driving an SL 55 Roadster.

Update: Andy Katz wrote that Donovan started having second thoughts on Friday afternoon at the Florida farewell press conference, and upon waking Saturday morning, he was sure he had made the wrong decision. This dovetails very nicely with the Christine Donovan effect. Who hasn’t gone home thinking a decision is final only to learn that your opinion is far less valuable than you believed when it results on you sleeping on the couch that night?



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