Roster Spots

Recently there’s been some discussion in the comment section at KnickerBlogger about the Knicks roster needs. Coach D’Antoni is known to keep the rotation short, but a 7 man team seems to be small even for him. The problem seems to be the lack of quality at the end of the Knicks’ bench.

Malik Rose saw time early on, but D’Antoni probably got tired of seeing Rose end up with the ball under the hoop and unable to finish. (I sure was!) Roberson made a name for himself in the summer league, but played his way out of the rotation. Jared Jeffries, who was supposed to perform a cocoon act reborn as a D’Antoni center, has been more caterpillar than butterfly. Additionally the Knicks have Eddy Curry who is suffering from a knee injury, Danilo Gallinari who is suffering from a back injury, and Jerome James who is suffering from sucking. James actually saw some live court time in the Knicks blowout of the Kings, but even against Shaq, James and his valuable 6 fouls stayed rooted to the bench.

Obviously most of these guys are not good enough (or healthy enough) to help the team this year. With the retirement of Mobley and the possible buyout of Marbury, the Knicks may have two roster spots open. But the question remains what kind of player(s) do the Knicks need?

The most glaring need is guard, or more specifically point guard. Duhon takes the lion’s share of the duties, with Robinson giving him a breather for a few minutes a night. This works out when the pair are healthy, but recently Robinson’s injury exposed the lack of depth. The Knicks third (and last) guard on the roster, Roberson, was unable to run the point. Roberson is more of a undersized scorer, and D’Antoni was so reluctant to use him that the he prefered the Knicks to have 5 forwards on the court instead of Roberson guiding the offense.

New York needs a point guard, not to make the rotation but rather to provide insurance in case either Duhon or Robinson get hurt again. Even if an injury forces this guard into action, they would only see 5-10 minutes to give the starter some breathing time. The Knicks don’t even need to swing a deal to acquire a player of this type. Jared Jordan was just signed to a NBDL team, and former Knick Frank Williams is already one of that league’s better point guards.

As for the second roster spot, interior defense is an issue, but this is a hard need to fill. Players that can block shots, rebound, run the floor, and don’t embarrass themselves on offense are much more difficult to find. To borrow from David Berri, there’s a short supply of tall people. The Knicks wouldn’t be able to grab a player like this off the developmental league or waiver wire. They might be able to find a player that does two of these, but that player isn’t likely to break the rotation. A player like Joakim Noah might be a good fit, but the Knicks are low on resources to make a trade like that.

Instead the Knicks should concentrate on another weakness: small forward. Wilson Chandler has supplanted Quentin Richardson from the starting lineup, and has performed admirably for a 21 year old. However Chandler shows his age often. He settles for the jump shot too often, isn’t great at finishing around the hoop and doesn’t pass well. I can’t think of another player that hits the backboard on the corner three as often as Wilson. Although he’s the Knicks best shot blocker in the rotation, he’s not freakishly athletic like Prince or Marion.

On one hand I’m reluctant to suggest the Knicks grab another SF, since that may cut into Chandler’s time. And on a rebuilding team, giving minutes to your young small forward is a good thing. However in a Hermian world where teams play to win the game, getting a SF that can rebound, defend the paint, and score inside would help the team greatly. Of course the Knicks gave away just that type of player (Balkman) and it’s likely the Knicks will grab Ewing Jr. in an attempt to fill that role.

John Hollinger usually notes that when a team suffers from an injured player, it’s not the drop-off from the starter to the first reserve that hurts the team the most. But rather the team suffers because they have to dig deeper into the bench to replace the minutes that the reserve player used to fill. The Knicks started off the season with a decent rotation, but as injuries and trades have robbed them of quality players, the end of the bench has come back to haunt them. Even if players like James, Marbury, and Rose aren’t playing much, they’re taking up roster spots of players that could be contributing. By robbing the team of players that might prove useful even in spot minutes, these players are hurting the team just as much as if they were playing badly on the court.

2009 Game Thread: Knicks at Kings

Via Thomas B.’s Week in Advance…

The Kings are rebuilding around Kevin Martin, John Salmons, and uh…not much else. Sacramento is one of the worst defensive team in the NBA. They are 29th in defensive efficiency (112.9), tied for last in defensive eFG% with Golden State (52.8), and they don’t do well on the defensive glass giving up 29.5% of available defensive boards (29th). Only one team does it worse – you guessed it, the Warriors again. Their leading shot blocker is Hawes (1.8 per 36 minutes).

What to watch for: The Knicks should take the same approach they took against the Warriors with one exception – play better defense. The Kings are not strong on offense coming in 21st in offensive efficiency (103.7) and 15th in eFG% (15th). The Kings frequently turn over the ball (17.2, 24th), so added defensive pressure should bring those numbers up.

What to watch for 2: The Knicks should run the high pick & roll with Lee and Duhon against the Kings’ slow frontcourt players.

What to watch for 3: Push the pace. This game is the second of a back to back for the Kings. The Knicks come into this game on two days rest. The Knicks should push the pace and try to wear the Kings down. Hopefully, Nate, JJ, and Mobley (I’m still holding out hope) will be able to give us around 20-25 a night and help us keep the pressure on the Kings.

Knicks’ Week in Advance 12/8/08

I’m toying with the idea of theme music for this weekly feature.

To the original theme from “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”

Hey, hey, hey…. it’s Thoooooomas B.
I’m gonna preview some games for you.
And Mike might add a word or two.
We’ll have some fun now, looking at these stats.
I’ll talk about what to watch for based on PERs and other facts.
Nah, nah, nah going to get some stats now.
Hey, hey, hey!
Hey it’s Thomas B. coming at you with four factors and fun.
And if you’re not careful, you might learn something before we’re done. Hey, hey, hey.
Nah, nah, nah going to get some stats now.

Now that I have that out my system, let’s get on with the fourth installment of Knicks’ Week in Advance. The Knicks start a five game road trip this week with games in Chicago, New Jersey, and Sacramento. While tough, road trips can be a good thing for a team. The team gets to pull together and that is just what the Knicks need as Harrington, Thomas, and Jeffries find their place in the rotation. Let hope the Knicks can improve on the 2-7 road record.

Tuesday, December 9 @ Chicago [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98 105.5 50.1 15.8 23.6 19.1
Rank
1
19
12
15
28
30
Chicago Bulls-Defense 94.8 106 48.4 16.5 29 25.6
Rank
5
15
8
12
26
23
New York Knicks-Defense 98 109.2 51.2 14.5 28.3 18.9
Rank
1
24
25
26
20
2
Chicago Bulls-Offense 94.8 103.4 47.1 16.5 27.6 24.1
Rank
5
23
24
20
9
16

Another Tuesday brings another tough game for the Knicks. The Knicks are 0-4 on Tuesdays so far this year. Let’s see if we can turn this thing around.

The Bulls come into this game with numbers very similar to those of the Knicks. Like the Knicks, the Bulls push the pace with 94.8 possessions per game (5th). The Bulls’ offensive efficiency (103.4, 22nd) trails the Knicks’ offensive efficiency (105.2, 19th). Furthermore, the Bulls’ eFG% of 47.1 (24th) is well behind the Knicks’ 49.8 (13th). One reason for this could be the Bulls’ lack of inside scoring.

The Bulls’ big men are not efficient scorers from close range. Aaron Gray leads the big men with an eFG% of 46.6 in 14 minutes per game. Behind Gray, the Bulls have Noah and Thomas with eFG% of 39.6 and 34.4 respectively. Compare that to David Lee’s 56.2 eFG%, and *gulp* Tim Thomas’ 51.8 (I know, but what other big man do we have?). The Bulls’ inside scoring troubles bode well for the Knicks as they struggle defending big men who can score inside.

What to watch for: Defense. The Knicks should focus on limiting penetration from Rose and open looks from Gordon (51.1 eFG%, 37.3 3p%) and Hughes (53.2 eFG%, 47.7 3p%).

What to watch for 2: Q. Richardson vs. Hughes/Gordon. Nate Robinson’s injury has moved Q to the shooting guard spot. What Q gives up in speed, he makes up for in strength. Q should take the same approach he took with Jamal Crawford defending him and take Hughes inside. When Thomas or Noah help, move the ball for a good shot.

What to watch for 3: More of the high pick & roll. Seven Seconds or Mess did a great job showing how the high pick & roll worked for the Knicks against the Blazers. New York should should employ the same approach in this game. Inexperienced players usually aren’t good at defending the pick & roll, so the Knicks should go at Rose and Noah/Gray/Thomas early with it.

What to watch for 4: Chi-town ties. Q and Chandler are from the area so they should be comfortable for this game. Meanwhile former Bulls Duhon and Thomas may feel they have scores to settle against their old team. You ever notice how nobody ever leaves the Bulls on good terms? When have you heard, “I really enjoyed my time with the Bulls organization and I look forward to returning some day.”

Wednesday, December 10 @ New Jersey [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98 105.5 50.1 15.8 23.6 19.1
Rank
1
19
12
15
28
30
New Jersey Nets-Defense 91 111.3 51.3 15.3 26 29
Rank
22
27
27
20
11
29
New York Knicks-Defense 98 109.2 51.2 14.5 28.3 18.9
Rank
1
24
25
26
20
2
New Jersey Nets-Offense 91 110.2 50 14.4 26.8 26.8
Rank
22
5
13
3
15
4

The Nets are a team of contrast. New Jersey is bad on defense, and their efficiency (111.3, 27th), and eFG% (51.3 %, 26th) are among the worst in the NBA. On the other hand, the Nets are strong on offense (110.2, 5th) and they take care of the ball (14.4 Turnovers, 2nd).

What to watch for: The Nets are over .500 due to the great play they are getting from Devin Harris. Harris leads all Eastern Conference PGs in PER (27.6), and scoring (24.5/36 min, 5th overall). He averages 0.8 3PM/36, which means he does most of his damage on the inside and at the free throw line (9.2 ftm/36). I have not seen him play this year, but those numbers indicate that Harris drives a lot. The Knicks need to give Harris room to take the jumper rather than let him get into his comfort zone of driving.

What to watch for 2: Defense. I have said this every week, but the Knicks need a strong defensive effort against teams that are efficient on offense. The Knicks’ defensive focus has to start with Harris. Duhon will need to play smart (stay out of foul trouble) as he may not have Nate to back him up.

Saturday, December 13 @ Sacramento [First meeting of the teams this year]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98 105.5 50.1 15.8 23.6 19.1
Rank
1
19
12
15
28
30
Sacramento Kings-Defense 92.7 112.9 52.8 15.9 29.5 25.8
Rank
10
29
29.5
13
29
25
New York Knicks-Defense 98 109.2 51.2 14.5 28.3 18.9
Rank
1
24
25
26
20
2
Sacramento Kings-Offense 92.7 103.7 49 17.2 26.7 21.7
Rank
10
21
16
25
16
21.5

The Kings are rebuilding around Kevin Martin, John Salmons, and uh…not much else. Sacramento is one of the worst defensive team in the NBA. They are 29th in defensive efficiency (112.9), tied for last in defensive eFG% with Golden State (52.8), and they don’t do well on the defensive glass giving up 29.5% of available defensive boards (29th). Only one team does it worse – you guessed it, the Warriors again. Their leading shot blocker is Hawes (1.8 per 36 minutes).

What to watch for: The Knicks should take the same approach they took against the Warriors with one exception – play better defense. The Kings are not strong on offense coming in 21st in offensive efficiency (103.7) and 15th in eFG% (15th). The Kings frequently turn over the ball (17.2, 24th), so added defensive pressure should bring those numbers up.

What to watch for 2: The Knicks should run the high pick & roll with Lee and Duhon against the Kings’ slow frontcourt players.

What to watch for 3: Push the pace. This game is the second of a back to back for the Kings. The Knicks come into this game on two days rest. The Knicks should push the pace and try to wear the Kings down. Hopefully, Nate, JJ, and Mobley (I’m still holding out hope) will be able to give us around 20-25 a night and help us keep the pressure on the Kings.

One 2009 Fantasy Tidbit

With the season still a month off there isn’t all that much action going on for NBA fans. Unless of course you’re one of those fans that plans on participating in a fantasy league this year. In that case now is the time to start thinking about your fantasy draft.

My first fantasy draft was for a football league back in the mid-90s. To date myself, the stats were done by hand, and there was no web page for the league. In fact I was the only person in the league that used the web at that time. There was one building on campus that had computers with internet access, and I’m pretty sure the other guys in the league never set foot into the Math/Physics building. Well except maybe on those cold and windy days to cut across campus.

As most people in their first fantasy league, I didn’t do very well. Today I have many fantasy rules that I adhere to, most of which I broke that first year. For instance don’t let home team biases affect your draft (especially if you’re a Jets fan). Also don’t let video games warp your judgment (especially if you’re kicking butt in an old version of Madden with Randall Cunningham). And remember that a player’s real value is not equal to their fantasy value.

For years after I joined fantasy leagues of all types. I remember walking into my first baseball draft with a laptop and being laughed at by everyone in the room. Today most drafts are done online with people sitting at their PC. Anyone walking into a draft only with a magazine they picked up along the way is probably in for a losing season.

Being that I’m at a unique position to have a basketball database at my hands, I usually take the time to put together a nice excel sheet for my draft, ranking players based on z-scores customized for my league. I also add a column for the player’s Yahoo rank, so I know approximately where each player should be drafted. Because my draft isn’t until the end of October and some of my opponents might be readers, I can’t reveal too much about my sheet or rankings.

However I’ll throw out one tidbit for my faithful KnickerBlogger readers in 9 category leagues (FG%, FT%, 3PTM, PTS, REB, AST, ST, BLK, TO). There’s a top 10 player whose ranking in my system is considerably worse: Dwyane Wade. In Yahoo’s ranking Wade is #9, and that does seem reasonable considering he’s one of the best players in the game. Wade averaged just under 25 points, 7 assists, 4 boards, 2 steals, and a block last year. So why should you avoid him in your league’s draft this year?

Wade averaged 4.4 turnovers per game last year, by far the worst in that category. To put this in perspective, Wade committed double the amount of turnovers as Chauncey Billups (Yahoo ranking #15). The closest person to Wade’s 4.4 in the top 100 is Steve Nash with 3.6, but the differences between the two punctuates Wade’s other weaknesses. Nash is fantastic in regards to FG%, FT%, and 3PM, while Wade is poor in all three categories. Wade is not a three point shooter, as his 0.4 3PM/G shows. His FT% (75.8%) and FG% (46.9%) were their lowest since his rookie season. Because of these four categories, Wade drops to 89th in my rankings.

A legitimate question to ask might be: what would Wade be ranked if he bounces back to his career averages? I plugged in his career per game averages for FG%, FT%, and TO, and Wade’s ranking only went up to 57. You may have high hopes for Dwyane because with the additions of Marion and Beasley to the offense Wade might be able to cut down on his turnovers. However you have to consider that he has missed a total of 62 games over the last 2 seasons.

Like most category killers (Dwight Howard, Okafor, Shaq), there is a special strategy to using them. You can treat them like a hot potato, closely monitoring the stat they kill (FT%, TO, FG%, etc.) and trading them at the right moment. Or you can punt that category and trade for players with the same weaknesses. Once you’ve given up on free throw percentage, players like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Tracy McGrady become more valuable to your team.

Category killers worthy of a fantasy team usually offer something of great value to your team. For instance Howard will help your team with FG%, REB, and BLK. Steve Nash will give you FG%, FT%, 3PM, and is second in the league in AST. LeBron James will help in just about every category other than FT% and TO. Unfortunately Wade will hurt your team in turnovers, without offering any great help. You can make up PTS, AST, and STL elsewhere. Caron Butler (Yahoo #10), Baron Davis (Yahoo #12), and Allen Iverson (Yahoo #14) are comparable in those categories, and better overall. Wade is one of those players where his fantasy value differs greatly from his true value, and there’s no reason to grab him in as early as Yahoo suggests.

Rockets Grab Artest

The Houston Rockets acquired Ron Artest from the Kings for Donte Green, Bobby Jackson, and next year’s first round pick. So far the move is receiving positive reviews. Hollinger likes the move, as does the Dream Shake blog (who is extra sure the move is a winner, because Richard Justice hates it). Hell even King fans like the deal (“The Kings will do more than just survive — they will thrive without Ron-Ron… Wins for everybody.”)

{democracy:23}

2008 Dog Days of Summer – The Rise of the East?

So it appears the dog days of the offseason are upon us. While there’s a possibility of some roster movement before the Knicks preseason starts, it’s likely that on most days there will be no changes. So until there’s serious NBA news, each week I’d like to come up with a topic for everyone to discuss. This week I’ll stick with the NBA, but as the summer moves on, I promise nothing.

The rise of the East?

It seems that since Jordan’s second retirement, the NBA has been dominated by the West. For years the NBA’s biggest matchups involved the Lakers, Spurs, Kings, Mavs, or Suns depending on the year. Although the two conferences have split the last 6 championships, it’s generally thought that the West has more teams of championship caliber. For instance if the West’s 6th best team by record, the Utah Jazz, won the title it would be more plausible than the East’s 6th best team (Toronto).

Eventually imbalances like this even out. For most of the 80s & early 90s, the NFL was dominated by the NFC as the AFC would go 14 years without winning a Super Bowl. But since then an NFC team has been crowned champion only 3 times in an 11 year span. So it’s not a question of if the East will catch up, it’s a question of when.

This NBA offseason seems to have benefited the East. Lost in the Baron Davis/Elton Brand/Clippers story was that the Sixers were the big winners. Between Dalembert, Iguodala, and Brand Philadelphia might have one of the league’s best defenses. If Brand is healthy, the Sixers go from a middle of the road team to an Eastern powerhouse. The Chicago Bulls were a 49 win team two seasons ago and ended up with the #1 overall pick this year. Derrick Rose should give them production at the point guard position where Kirk Hinrich regressed heavily. Similarly the Miami Heat added the #2 pick, and Michael Beasley combined with a full season from All Stars Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion could make them a strong rebound candidate in 2009. Meanwhile there are a few Eastern teams led by young stars that could take a step forward next year, like Orlando, Cleveland, and Toronto.

Last year the league’s two best teams were in the East. The Celtics won 66 games and the Pistons won 59. Although Boston has already lost a key role player (Posey), Detroit’s roster remains largely unchanged. If one or two of the other Eastern teams can break the 55 win barrier, then it’s likely that the gap between conferences may no longer exist.

NBA Mock Draft, v 2.0

If you missed my last mock prior to the Orlando pre-draft camp you can see picks 1-14 here and picks 15-30 here .

The ground rules: this mock is less a prediction about what I think teams will do and more about what I would do as GM for each team. Although I anticipate that trades will change the draft order, perhaps radically, my interest is in matching players and teams. Therefore I keep the teams in their given draft order but highlight spots where I expect trades. (In other words, I’m notoriously bad at this so I’m trying to hedge as best I can.)

Note: ESPN.com is reporting a deal involving New Orleans trading its 27th overall selection to Portland for cash considerations. So I will insert Portland into the 27th spot.

1. Chicago Michael Beasley, Kansas State, PF (Version 1.0: Derrick Rose)
The statheads have convinced me that Beasley is the better prospect. No matter who Chicago selects it’ll be interesting to see what Paxson does with the roster this off-season.

2. Miami Derrick Rose, Memphis, PG (Version 1.0: Michael Beasley)
I think the Mayo talk is mostly smoke screen, but I think Miami would much rather be in a position to choose between Rose, Mayo, and an offer that sweeps them off their feet than simply choosing between Rose and Mayo.

3. Minnesota O.J. Mayo, USC, G (Version 1.0: O.J. Mayo)
Mayo seems to be the consensus #3 talent in the draft and easily its most polarizing. A basketball mercenary since middle school, his much anticipated but mediocre “one-and-done” at SoCal has pit statheads against the traditional scouting types who love him. An oversimplification? Yes, but not an entirely inaccurate one.

4. Seattle Jerryd Bayless, Arizona, G (Version 1.0: Jerryd Bayless)
Keep moving people; nothing to see here.

5. Memphis Kevin Love, UCLA, PF (Version 1.0: Brook Lopez)
Love may be the next most polarizing player in the draft after Mayo. Statheads and scouting types both agree that he’s super skilled and hyper-productive, but is he athletic enough? The Grizz are likely to move if things don’t fall just right for them. One rumored deal involves the Knicks trading David Lee for this pick.

6. New York Russell Westbrook, UCLA, G (Version 1.0: Russell Westbrook)
I am going to stick with Westbrook should NY stay at six. To me, he’s the right kind of gamble on upside. He uses his athleticism on defense and doesn’t try to play outside his limitations. All he really lacks is experience. Although I wouldn’t be incensed about Westbrook, I’d rather see a trade down in search of some low-cost gems in the late teens (e.g., Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers) or 20s (e.g., Ryan Anderson, DeVon Hardin, Richard Hendrix), especially if we can dump a bad contract in the process.

7. LA Clippers Danilo Gallinari, Armani Jeans Milan, SF (Version 1.0: Kevin Love)
The Clips are another team that may be looking to deal. One rumor has Maggette going to Phoenix for Barbosa. Either way LA needs shooting in the worst way.

8. Milwaukee Joe Alexander, W. Virginia, SF (Version 1.0: Danilo Gallinari)
Alexander is a late bloomer with athleticism and a nice stroke, but lacks some skills and experience. He’s a solid gamble for Milwaukee, but too big a risk for the Knicks at six I think, though this is Hollinger’s pick.

9. Charlotte Brook Lopez, Stanford, C (Version 1.0: Anthony Randolph)

10. New Jersey Eric Gordon, Indiana, SG (Version 1.0: Donte Green)
It’s hard to anticipate what NJ is going to do with its roster overall. I doubt they’ll really know until the off-season starts to heat up. So if I were Rod Thorn I’d go best available. (I feel like I’m penciling Gordon in here because that’s what I’m supposed to do but I really don’t understand what I’m missing that other people are seeing in him.)

11. Indiana Marreese Speights, Florida, PF (Version 1.0: Eric Gordon)
For my money Speights, not Anthony Randolph, is the high upside forward out of the SEC mid-lottery teams should be gambling on in this draft.

12. Sacramento Alexis Ajinca, Heyeres-Toulon (France), C (Version 1.0: Darrell Arthur)
Ajinca likely won’t play immediately, but may be ready just as Kenny Thomas and Shareef Abdur-Rahim are coming off the books after 2009-10.

13. Portland Anthony Randolph, LSU, SF/PF (Version 1.0: Chase Budinger)
The Blazers are one of the few teams with the patience to wait on youngsters to develop. However, after acquiring the #27 pick from New Orleans I won’t be surprised to see Portland go international and look to stash yet another youngster overseas.

14. Golden St. DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M, C (Version 1.0: Joe Alexander)
Mine may be the only mock where Jordan actually improves to #14 from the previous version. Although I maintain serious doubts about his work ethic, he may be best suited to play on a running team where he’s only asked to block shots and rebound.

15. Phoenix Brandon Rush, Kansas, SG/SF (Version 1.0: Brandon Rush)

16. Philadelphia Donte Green, Syracuse, SF (Version 1.0: Marreese Speights)

17. Indiana (f/ Toronto) Robin Lopez, Stanford, C (Version 1.0: D.J. Augustin)
The rumored deal sends this pick to Indiana as part of the Jermaine O’Neal for T.J. Ford swap.

18. Washington Darrell Arthur, Kansas, PF (Version 1.0: Nicolas Batum)

19. Cleveland Roy Hibbert, Georgetown, C (Version 1.0: Chris Douglas-Roberts)
Cleveland could use a center with more offensive skill than Varajao, who could be moved this off-season, to eventually take over for Big Z.

20. Charlotte (f/ Denver) Kosta Koufos, Ohio State, C (Version 1.0: Courtney Lee)
Denver dealt this pick to Charlotte for a future first (protected through 2014). DraftExpress is saying that Larry Brown made this deal for Roy Hibbert. So if he’s still on the board that may be where he goes.

21. New Jersey Mario Chalmers, Kansas, PG (Version 1.0: DeAndre Jordan)
I understand that NJ is not happy with Marcus Williams’ development. Chalmers would provide some flexibility. His shooting makes him a better backup to Devin Harris than Williams. (Yeah. I do think Chalmers is better than D.J. Augustin.)

22. Orlando D.J. Augustin, Texas, PG (Version 1.0: JaVale McGee)

23. Utah Courtney Lee, W. Kentucky, SG (Version 1.0: Roy Hibbert)

24. Seattle J.J. Hickson, N.C. State, PF (Version 1.0: Davon Jefferson)

25. Houston Richard Hendrix, Alabama, PF (Version 1.0: Kosta Koufos)

26. San Antonio Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis, SG (Version 1.0: Alexis Ajinca)
His body of work and workouts say mid-first, but virtually no one is projecting him there. I think his game fits San Antonio really well.

27. Portland (f/ NO) Ryan Anderson, California, PF (Version 1.0: Ty Lawson)
I am curious about why Portland acquired this pick. I wonder if they’ll keep it.

28. Memphis JaVale McGee, Nevada, PF/C (Version 1.0: Ryan Anderson)

29. Detroit DeVon Hardin, California, C (Version 1.0: DeVon Hardin)

30. Boston Jason Thompson, Rider, PF/C (Version 1.0: Robin Lopez)
Almost whomever Boston drafts will have a shot to get some burn as a rookie, especially if PJ Brown retires.

Final thoughts: I’ll repeat from Version 1.0 that I expect to see a fair amount of wheeling and dealing in this draft. If you are in the market for a rebounding big man this is the draft for you, even into the second round. If you’re in the market for a G, as are the Knicks, the pickings are much slimmer. If Donnie Basketball thinks he needs another guard—and he does, if not to contribute this year then down the road—he may be forced to look to the trade or free agency market.