Here are just a few observations from last night's NBA Draft.
-I could not be more thrilled about what the Celtics did. Going into the night they held the #30 and #60 picks. What can they do there? Well Danny Ainge has always drafted well late in the first and in the second. In my piece Don't Ignore Round 2, I mentioned 3 players I thought could be sleepers in this draft. They were Bill Walker, D.J. White, and J.R. Giddens. I'm giddy, for lack of a better word, at what the C's were able to do. D.J. White went 29, so they didn't even have a chance for him, plus he plays the same spot as Leon Powe and Glen Davis. He's a good pick, but not for Boston. Instead they go after uber talented J.R. Giddens who went to Kansas out of high school only to transfer to New Mexico. He could turn in to a nice shooter/ scorer off the bench.
-Bill Walker was a 2nd round pick? I'm splitting the Celtics break down up a little bit, because Walker deserves his own space. Outside of the top tier, Walker is my favorite player in this draft. He was a high school teammate of O.J. Mayo, where they won back-to -back state titles in Ohio, and before they could make it 3 in a row, Walker was deemed ineligble. This caused quite the turn of events. Walker, at the time, was one of the best "juniors" in the country and was supposed to be a part of one of the best senior classes that consisted of the likes of Mayo, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Jerryd Bayliss, Derrick Rose, and Eric Gordon. Rather than sitting out the season, and feeling sorry for himself Walker took excellerated courses to graduate from high school early and enroll in college. He had to do this, of course, because high school players can not enter the NBA Draft. An article in ESPN the Magazine stated that Bill Walker may have been the first casuality of the no high school rule.
Walker graduated high school, and decided to go to the school coached by Bob Huggins, Kansas State. Huggins, the long time coach at Cincinnati, had built a relationship with both Walker and O.J. Mayo while in between jobs while the boys were at North College Hill High School in Cincy. (Mayo transferred from North College Hill once he knew Walker would not return. Mayo went back to Huntington, WV and teamed with now Kentucky star Patrick Patterson.) So Walker became one of the best freshmen in the country at K-State. He had to sit out based on NCAA rules an X number of games, but when he came back he played well. Until he blew out his knee. Walker red shirted, and came back to school for another year. This time, however, without Bob Huggins, and playing in the shadow of Michael Beasley.
With all that said Bill Walker is one of the most athletic players in the entire draft. Can he stay healthy? That, of course, will be the key. I'm not sure how much either Giddens or Walker will play next year for the Celtics, particularly if they re-sign James Posey, but I'll be rooting for them the whole way.
-Celtics used their 60th pick on 7'1 center from Turkey named Semih Erden. Not a bad idea to draft a foreign player when you have extra picks. Keep him over seas and see what happens.
-Speaking of foreign players, the 1st one selected was Italian Danilo Gallinari by the Knicks at 6. The fans booed the pick, but this could work. It's going to be a long turnaround for New York, so I don't see the need to take a guy who can help right now. Help what?
-The Miami Heat fooled everyone. They don't want Michael Beasley? Really? Great draft by the gang in South Beach. Beasley, and Kansas teammates Mario Chalmers and Darnell Jackson in the 2nd round. Great job. A lot of new "Big 3's" following the draft, and one of the most formidible is the Heat's 3 of D.Wade, Shawn Marion, and Michael Beasley.
-The Bucks trades and picks leave them with a core of Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, and Joe Alexander. Not bad. The Nets giving up Jefferson for Yi and Bobby Simmons still leavs me scratching my head.
-The Nets did make the most of their 3 draft picks though. Brook Lopez at 10, Ryan Anderson (the leading scorer in the Pac-10) at 21, and Chris Douglas-Roberts in the 2nd round. They'll need all the help they can get after dealing Jefferson for a pair of bodies.
-The Bobcats are not a fan of their current point guard Raymond Felton (#5 pick in '05) as they select Texas PG D.J. Augustin with the 9th overall pick. This right after the ESPN crew said Charlotte should get help up front. Oops.
-Pacers work a few trades and walk away with Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert. I like Rush a lot, think he can help them right away. T.J. Ford, Danny Granger, Brandon Rush, Mike Dunleavy... without O'Neal they're going to need Hibbert to play.
-T-Wolves and Grizz worked a late night trade. O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love and Mike Miller as well as both teams swapping horrible contracts. Could work out for both teams. Doesn't look like Mayo will play poing guard in Memphis though, like he would have to play in Minny.
-Jerryd Bayliss joins an unbelievably young and fun team up in Portland. The youngster from Arizona can play both guard spots much like new teammate and former Rookie of the Year, Brandon Roy. Bayliss will have competition from his own team for that award, as Greg Oden makes his much anticipated return.
-The Sonics made 5 picks. The more the merrier I guess.
-And if you're a fan of the Hawks, Nuggets, or Hornets, pretty boring night, as those teams combined for a grand total of 0 picks.
-Now we still need the dust to settle on some of these trades. Starting on July 1st we will see a lot more shake up in the NBA with signing free agents and even more trades. I'm already looking forward to what should be another exciting year in the NBA.