by Jack Maidment
The NBA Draft usually has the power to change the fortunes of three, maybe four teams.
That is not to say that other teams don’t get players that help them get better, but in terms of a dramatic change in fortunes, only a handful of teams truly benefit.
Last year it was Sacramento with Tyreke Evans, Golden State with Stephen Curry and Milwaukee with Brandon Jennings.
The year before that? Chicago with Derrick Rose, Oklahoma with Russell Westbrook and New Jersey with Brook Lopez.
This year’s Draft has two stand outs in John Wall and Evan Turner and then two players just below them in terms of talent and projected ability: DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors.
In this Draft it would appear the pieces have fallen almost perfectly, four players made to fit the four teams that have been blessed with one of the top four picks.
No doubt they all would take Wall given the chance and the same can be said for every team in the NBA if they were in with a shout. He will go #1, that much is certain.
As it is the Washington Wizards got the right to take Wall and change the face of a franchise in desperate need of some serious reconstruction.
Gilbert Arena remains and so does his horrific contract.
Can the two of them play together? Arenas has never been a pure point as Wall is and so he will undoubtedly play off the ball in a role that could allow him to thrive, especially in his first season back in which he will be doing his very best to focus on basketball and not guns or anything other distraction.
Arenas used to be The Man in the nation’s capital but any problems this time round will see some sort of deal to get rid of him. Someone will be stupid enough to take him on. Memphis anyone?
If Philadelphia do not take Evan Turner with the number two pick there will be a riot.
He will fit nicely with Andre Igoudala on the wings and he will in all likelihood have plenty of opportunity to bring the ball up for the 76ers who lack a solid point guard.
Picking third overall, the New Jersey Nets will be the first team with anything even mildly resembling a dilemma.
Cousins or Favors.
The safe money would be on Favors who would be the perfect foil to Brook Lopez in the Nets’ front court.
Favors is a power forward in the 99th percentile in terms of his athleticism and that makes him the perfect compliment to Lopez’s more crafty post up game.
Two years down the line the Nets will have one of the most intimidating front courts, regardless of what happens with free agency this summer.
Minnesota again find themselves at the sharp end of the lottery and the question this year will be whether or not David Kahn is capable of an even more perverse Draft performance than last year.
If sanity prevails the answer should be no. Cousins is almost a perfect fit. The man is enormous and character issues are beginning to seem more smoke than fire.
Taking Cousins fourth would allow the Wolves to move Al Jefferson who has proved to be an extremely efficient low post scorer, but a tendency to sit large amounts of time on the injured list and the inability to play with Kevin Love should see him gone.
Love is one of the games best big man passers and a body like Cousins to take care of the banging would allow him to use more of his skills which have been stymied by playing with Jefferson.
In fairness taking Cousins probably doesn’t get the team too far away from the Lottery next year, but any improvement must be a good thing, right?
The top four effectively picks itself and those four players are best positioned to have the impact their prospective new employers desire.
However, it is worth remembering that Brandon Jennings went 10th overall last year.
There will be bargains to be had.
I like Stanley Robinson, Xavier Henry and Eric Bledsoe as this year’s mid to late sleepers.