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 seventh pick in the 2009 Ball Don't Lie NBA Mock Draft, the Golden State Warriors select ...
Brandon Jennings: PG, Lottomatica Roma (Int.)
"Based on the astute draft research analysis of ESPN's Chad Ford and The Mercury's Tim Kawakami it seems like the Warriors are down to a Fab Five of Jrue Holiday, Jonny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, Terrence Williams, and Tyreke Evans. Evans is off the board and we wish him the best of luck in Sactown.
The remaining four are all intriguing talents and I personally wouldn't be upset if the Warriors end up with any one of them. But Jrue "TWDY Players" Holiday doesn't appear to be that pure point guard, and wings — aside from the elite LBJ and KB — are a dime a dozen in this league. Flynn looks to be a solid, steady pro, but not a superstar, which is what the Dubs need. Williams, aka "Gatorade Protector", could be the steal of the draft (or a trademark Nellie smokescreen), but at No. 7 that would be pulling a Raiders and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Maybe the Dubs can swing a deal and get him later in the draft though, if that's who they're targeting.
So in this draft, it's all about the people's choice — and the golden people have spoken: Brandon Jennings, welcome to the Yay Area! In the words of DJ Quik: "Because Oakland is just like Compton." Jennings has (drum roll please) ... ridiculous upside.
I don't doubt that it will take Jennings a few seasons to get acclimated to the NBA. I don't doubt that pairing him with Monta Ellis is a defensive disaster waiting to happen. But that's not what draft picks are all about. For the Warriors, it has to be about fishing for a superstar who, at worst, can be a serviceable player in this league.
Still, barring a miraculous trade for a superstar (which I'd love to see), the Warriors are not going to the playoffs next season. Does it really matter if it takes Jennings a few seasons to mature if he's going to have the best NBA career when it's all said and done? By the time he matures, if the Monta-BJ duo isn't working and it turns out he's BETTER than Ellis — move Ellis. If the Monta-BJ duo isn't working and it turns out he's WORSE than Ellis — move Jennings. You don't make draft decisions based on your current cast unless you're one piece away from a sure-fire championship (see the Blazers passing on Michael Jordan because they had Clyde Drexler).
Jennings is indeed a high risk reward player, but when you're the Warriors and you've sucked this bad for a decade and a half, you've got absolutely nothing to lose."