June 22, 2009
With the NBA Draft just a few days away, Ball Don't Lie has decided to weigh in with its own 2009 Mock Draft, just for shots and giggles. But since we know so little about college basketball, we called in SB Nation's team experts (and a few others) to throw their darts at the board. Let's see what sticks ...
With the fifth pick in the 2009 Ball Don't Lie NBA Mock Draft, the Washington Wizards select ...
Stephen Curry: G, Davidson, Junior
"The Wizards are the most misunderstood team in the lottery, as evidenced by all the talk of the Wizards selling their pick and their stars to save money. Any team that spends lots of cash to sign a proven coach like Flip Saunders isn’t one that’s rebuilding. Similarly, the Wizards aren’t going to dump one of Gilbert Arenas(notes), Caron Butler(notes) or Antawn Jamison(notes) for cap relief when they rejected a Jamison-to-Cleveland trade at this year’s trade deadline that would have netted instant savings in the form of Wally Sczcerbiak’s expiring contract.
That’s not to say the Wizards won’t entertain offers for the fifth pick, but it’s not because they want to cut salary. The Wizards would rather trade the pick for a veteran who fits into the Big 3’s timeline than a rookie that supposedly will take time to 'develop.'
The selection of Stephen Curry therefore is as much about other teams as it is about the Wizards. The Knicks, Bobcats, Timberwolves and Blazers are among several teams who have expressed interest in Curry. Curry can offer much more in a trade than Thabeet, Hill or other prospects.
But even if Curry is kept, he can offer a lot to the Wizards. It’s true the Wizards need defense badly, and it’s true that, in taking Curry, I’m passing up on the best defensive center in the draft. But as strange as it sounds, the Wizards are set enough at center to pass on Thabeet. Brendan Haywood(notes), assuming a healthy recovery, is a very underrated player. He’s never received the credit he deserves for his defense because he is single-handedly forced to cover for the defensive limitations of Butler, Arenas and Jamison. In addition, the Wizards already posses a top-notch center prospect behind Haywood in JaVale McGee(notes), who made major strides last year. They don’t need yet another project center.
Hill seemingly would help solve the Wizards’ rebounding woes, but his so-so college performance left a lot to be desired for me. Despite claims about his 'upside,' Hill is also one of the oldest prospects in the draft, having played three years at Arizona. The Hill you see now is more than likely the Hill that you’ll get in five years, despite claims to the contrary.
Curry adds a legitimate three-point threat and a proven playmaker, both of which the Wizards need. Even when the Wizards’ offense was clicking with everyone healthy, they were a below-average shooting team and a below-average passing team. Curry provides an immediate upgrade in both areas, either in tandem with Arenas or as a third guard.
Curry is perhaps the most polished prospect in the draft, which is key for the Wizards, who want to win now with their veterans. His upside is not as high as Thabeet’s or even Hill’s, but the Wizards are concerned primarily about today, not tomorrow. That makes him the ideal selection if the Wizards do indeed keep their pick."