NBA Mock Draft, TrueHoop-Style: The Spurs select…

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According to fellow TrueHoopers, the 2010 NBA Draft will play out this way:

1. Washington: John Wall

2. Philadelphia: Evan Turner

3. New Jersey: Derrick Favors

4. Minnesota: Wesley Johnson

5. Sacramento: DeMarcus Cousins

6. Golden State: Greg Monroe

7. Detroit: Epke Udoh

8. Los Angeles: Al-Farouq Aminu

9. Utah: Xavier Henry

10. Indiana: Paul George

11. New Orleans: Cole Aldrich

12. Memphis: Ed Davis

13. Toronto: Avery Bradley

14. Houston: Patrick Patterson

15. Milwaukee: Gordon Hayward

16. Minnesota: Hassan Whiteside

17. Chicago: Luke Babbitt

18. Miami: Eric Bledsoe

19. Boston: James Anderson

20. San Antonio: Damion James

Damion James to the Spurs

Honestly, I’m not completely enamored with Damion James. Not because he’s a poor player–he could step in and help the Spurs right away. But the Spurs need to upgrade their talent beyond what James brings to the table, and James represents a small step forward at a time when the Spurs need to take one or two big steps forward.

From where I sit, the Spurs need to add shooting and another big this offseason. Tiago Splitter would absolutely help, and acquiring Splitter is far more likely (some believe he is already committed to the Spurs) than the Spurs moving up in the draft to select Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins or Ed Davis. But if the Spurs have a decent opportunity to move up, they should do it, even if Tiago Splitter is already locked into the Spurs’ future. Trading Tony Parker for a pick somewhere between 2 and 6 is equitable, provided that George Hill continues to develop.

The Spurs’ Wing Situation

The Spurs lack proficient three point shooting wings. And since Brent Barry left the team, the Spurs sorely miss a third ball handler and playmaker. Damion James is none of these things.

The 2010 NBA Draft contains a few interesting players who could help the Spurs in this regard, especially Evan Turner (who is out of reach), Paul George and Luke Babbitt. But according to the TrueHoop Mock Draft, George and Babbitt are gone before the Spurs select.

In my opinion, this draft contains five players who could become NBA superstars: John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George. Babbitt doesn’t have that kind of potential, but he’s an impact player. And from a locker room standpoint, Babbitt is a Spur.

The Spurs’ wing situation is further complicated by Richard Jefferson, Alonzo Gee and Malik Hairston. Jefferson is now an expiring contract, and could be attractive to other teams come February. And his 2009-10 play was so underwhelming, I’m convinced the Spurs could equal his production if they simply turned his minutes over to Gee and Hairston.

Of Gee and Hairston, Gee is more intriguing. When he had opportunity to play NBA minutes last season, Gee shined. Our Andrew McNeill covered Toros home games, and often spoke of Gee as a legit NBA player. And from a small sample size, it appears he’s a competent three point shooter. Gee is a Spur who will receive plenty of offseason scrutiny from 48MoH.

Malik Hairston appears to be an NBA player, as well. But his two strongest deficiencies are shooting and ball-handling. In short stints, he’s shown an ability to defend and get to the rim, but unless he improves his catch and shoot game and ability to handle the ball in the half-court, it’s hard to imagine Hairston sticking in San Antonio. He’ll find a home in the NBA, no doubt. But his future in San Antonio is uncertain.

Mock Drafting Damion James

So we can see that the Spurs’ wing situation is thin. Jefferson will either be traded or wished-well when his contract expires. Gee and Hairston are interesting, but uncertain. And the Spurs need to upgrade their collective skill set at the 3.

What does Damion James does well is enough to justify the 20th pick. He can guard three positions, is a passable spot-up shooter, and can supply a brand of low-minute, high-energy hoops that necessarily enamores players to coaches. Beyond this, James receive high praise for his work ethic and professionalism, two things the Spurs value as basketball skills and not merely character traits.

We’ll see. The Spurs have a history of surprising on draft night. And honestly, I’m open to a surprise during the 2010 NBA Draft. Although Damion James is a solid player, I’m hoping the Spurs uncover an unheralded diamond in the rough or unexpectedly move up in the draft. The gap between them and the Lakers is wide enough that one or two small improvements won’t get Tim Duncan back to the NBA Finals.

  • Hobson13

    Tyler
    June 24th, 2010 at 8:22 am
    “Apparently Detroit turned down a Jefferson for Prince/#7 pick”

    Minny would have also had to give Detroit the 23rd and 16th picks, though. They could keep those picks plus get the #20. Two big questions I have about this trade: How is Big Al’s knee? Would Peter Holt be willing to take on Al’s contract??

    Here is todays chat with Chad Ford:

    “Evan (St. Paul):
    What are the wolves hopeing for in a Big Al trade? what could they get realistically?

    Chad Ford:
    Not much anymore. They explored moving him to a number of teams and I think they’ve found that his value isn’t as high as they thought. Teams are concerned about his knee and his contract. When you have the Grizzlies refusing to do a Al Jefferson for Zach Randolph swap … his stock must be near rock bottom.”

    If Al’s knee is fine, then the Spurs could pick up a top 20 player for a rock bottom price of RJ (Think Pau Gasol trade). If his knee is not fine, then the Spurs are screwed with an albatross contract. Huge possible risk, huge possible reward.

  • Jacob

    Thanks, Hobson.

    I know that I’m more than likely setting myself up for heatbreak, but I can’t help but to hope that we might trade Jeffersons with the Twolves. If we did do a deal that would net in Sessions and Big Al for Jefferson and McDyess, we would have to draft a SF and probably look at bringing in a guy like Outlaw or Josh Childress. Childress is on his way back over from Greece, and is an EXCELLENT defender. I think that we would be able to swing him our direction.

    Duncan – Splitter – Mahinmi
    Jefferson – Blair –
    Childress – #20
    Ginobili – Hill – Hairston
    Parker – Sessions – Temple

  • Tyler

    @Hobson13

    You’re right. I guess an expiring is all they can get for him.

    Yeah, first the decision is on Holt – is he willing to pay the tax? If yes, then you look at AJ’s knee. This scenario makes me think of the Tyson Chandler trade to OKC.

    In the end though, I think the Spurs will opt not to take on that risk. That seems to fit more in line with the philosophy of the organization. We’ve never been one to take huge risks and I don’t see that changing.

    On a personal note, I’m not too high on Al Jefferson. First, the knee is a concern. Second, I think he’s overpaid. He’s got a pretty fat contract for someone who’s pretty terrible defensively. As good as he is on the block, I have a hard time paying someone star money when I don’t consider them a star. And last, he’s a black hole down low. AJ doesn’t pass out of the post well at all, and in our system, we need good interior passers to hit our shooters on the perimeter (even though those “shooters” were pretty much nonexistant this year).

  • http://www.operaforthemasses.com David G

    @ Tyler

    I agree with your assestment of Al Jefferson.

    1. He is a poor defender
    2. He is a poor at passing

    but he’s shown a great willingness and desire to get better and he’s always been on horrible teams and poorly run organization.

    If the Spurs (huge IF) got him this offseason I think they’d have him concentrate of defense and Popovich could design the defense around two big men again. I think he could at least go from liability to slight assest with the right system and coaching on the defensive end.

    About passing out of the post…most young big men are terrible at passing out of the post (probably because in previous levels of play they never had to pass out of the post no matter how many guys were thrown at them). Again I beleive Al Jefferson could get better at this skill and the Spurs offense doesn’t ask the post players to make passes like Walton or Divac used to. Its more wait for the double team and pass it to a guy on the perimter and then the perimiter guy swings it to the open player.

    About the Cost Anaylasis with Tony Parker.

    First trying to get cap space if fools gold and especially so in San Antonio.

    Even with Tony Parker at 10 million per vs a rookie at 3 million the Spurs are much better off with Tony Parker. He’s a star player and that’s what wins in the NBA. You don’t win with sub-standard replacement level players like TJ Ford or Roy Hibbert. (a tell tell sign about how a player is viewed around the league is can the player’s current team give him away…in TJ Ford’s case, that’s a NO)

    It will also be very easy to say in three years player X was drafted number 19 and has produced at nearly the same level as Tony Parker has and then say the Spurs would have drafted him 10th plus saved money if they would have shipped Parker to Indiana, but we don’t have any idea who the Spurs would pick at number 10…

    To have a true cost anaylais, whoever thinks Parker for the 10th pick is ideal then choose a player right now for the Spurs and compare their contributions going foward.

  • Jim Henderson

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ys-draftbuzz062410

    Warriors looking to move Biedrins

    “League sources said the Golden State Warriors are trying to move center Andris Biedrins(notes). The Warriors already shipped the remaining three years and $31 million of Corey Maggette’s(notes) contract to the Milwaukee Bucks and wouldn’t mind moving Biedrins’ deal, which has four years and $36 million left.”

    Marc J. Spears, 12:26 p.m. ET, June 24

  • Jim Henderson

    Lenneezz
    June 24th, 2010 at 5:27 am

    This is what I said:

    “I’ll take TP’s next four years against the BEST four-year consecutive stretch (their highest paid years) of any of those 37 picks.”

    Do you see where it says, “THEIR HIGHEST PAID YEARS”?!

    Please be more specific on how you think it’s LOGICAL to use a “cost analysis”. For example, it is NOT logical to employ a cost analysis using just their rookie contract when they’re 19-24 years old on average. You need to project what they will command in salary during their BEST 4-year stretch, and compare it to TP’s next 4 years & likely salary. And by the way, you ALWAYS pay a premium for PROVEN stars, and with good reason, obviously, unless you don’t like having a shot at a title.

  • Jim Henderson

    Okay, I’ll take a shot at a “mock draft” for the first ten spots:

    Wiz – Wall
    76er’s – Turner
    Nets – Favors
    Wolves – Cousins
    Kings – Monroe
    Warriors – Aminu
    Pistons – Udoh
    Clips – Johnson
    Jazz – Davis
    Pacers – Henry

    As you can see, it’s fairly similar to other mock drafts, with one major exception. The consensus of all mock drafts I’ve seen is for Johnson to go in the top five. I have him slipping to number 8. While Johnson is a polished, talented prospect, as one of the oldest players in the draft, I don’t see as much upside with him. Also, he’s kind of skinny for a small forward. Not a deal killer, but in general, I like size. Also, “filling needs” as well as taking the “best player/athlete” available are important considerations when drafting a player. This year, I think the need for “bigs” by the top ten teams is significant, thus the tilt toward the top by the top four “bigs” in this draft.

    Obviously, I’m going against the grain on the Johnson pick, and will probably be wrong. But that’s how I would draft if I were those teams.

    Also, Cousins going to the Wolves is not a popular pick in almost all of the mock drafts. However, with Cousins potential, I can’t see the Wolves passing him up for Johnson. Cousins would fit very well with Love, and would help with protecting the rim in the paint (among other things), while Love can do his thing out off the block. Also, this deal happens to make AJ even more expendable. We should be able to get him & Sessions for RJ and McDyess, and the Wolves could sign a free agent SF either this year (R. Gay?), or next. Sessions has a good deal of talent, and in the right system, he could be pretty good. And he’s an important part of the trade, because if we did this deal we are most likely saying good-bye to TP in 2011. By the way, financially it’s not really that bad because we lose RJ & Dice in year one, TP in year two, and TD’s contract expires in year three. Also, I don’t think AJ’s a “poor” defender, just not a particularly good one. That said, he would give us a boost in shot-blocking, because like TD, he’s probably good for about 1.5 per game. Perhaps his knee is an issue, but he’s still just 25 years old, and managed to put up 17 & 9 in the 32 mpg. last season.

    The deal would give us the following line-up:

    TP, Sessions, Temple
    Manu, Hill, Gee
    (FA – Butler?), Hairston,(#20 pick – Pondexter)
    Duncan, Blair
    Jefferson, Splitter

    Reserves: 2nd round pick (Jerome Jordan…?), relatively cheap FA pick ups (SF/SG – shooter, defensive-minded wing)

  • Jim Henderson

    If the Wolve’s deal doesn’t work out, how about this one with the Warriors:

    RJ & McDyess to the Warriors for Biedrins, Azubuike, & Reggie Williams

    Warriors looking to move Biedrins:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ys-draftbuzz062410

    Biedrins gives us the ability to over the long-term employ a twin-tower effect as Duncan sooner or later rides off into the sunset. Azubuike is a sweet “swingman”, and Reggie Williams is a SF that “can play”, for cheap (under contract for 118k next year).

    Granted, Biedrins has a nasty contract, but he gives us youth, size, defense, and rebounding in the paint. Negatives: not a very good shot-blocker, or shooter. He’d do a lot better on a real team, instead of those jokers in GS. Coming of some injuries, but nothing serious, is my understanding. I’m not sure he’s the best fit with Splitter though. Any thoughts on this proposed deal?

    Projected line-up:

    TP, Hill
    Manu, Gee, Azubuike
    Azubuike, Williams, Hairston
    Duncan, Blair, (#20 pick – Sanders?)
    Biedrins, Splitter

    Reserves: 2nd round pick (best PG available…?), relatively cheap FA pick ups (best player we can afford at PG and/or shooter, defensive-minded player).

  • sandman

    If Splitter is coming over then the there will be no major moves being made by the Spurs. Trading TP then would make no sense cos then we loose the depth at guard and lose an All Star caliber player. They will sign a 3 point shooter in FA but no other moves ‘cos big men rotation of TD, Splitter, Mcdyess and Blair may not be the best but will be very versatile with decent mid range shooters, bruisers, and scoring in the post too. At wings with RJ( who will be lot better this year), Ginobli , 20th pick and FA will have scoring, defence and 3 point threat. The point being handled by TP and Hill.

  • Jacob

    I like this last lineup too, but I think we could do better than Butler at the 3

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    June 24th, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    “RJ & McDyess to the Warriors for Biedrins, Azubuike, & Reggie Williams”

    It’s obvious by now that the Warriors are willing to give away players for cap space. The Bucks were stupid enough to take Corey Maggette’s bad contract for free. However, if the W’s are willing to pay us to take Biedrins (by giving us Azebuike and Williams) then it would definitely be worth looking at. When healthy, Biedrins is a 10/10/2 kind of guy. I’m not sure he has the bulk to play against the Bynums of the world, but should do ok against a Gasol type player.

    I like our Twolves trade you proposed a bit better than this one. With that said, the W’s trade would have less risk and good upside potential with Azebuike. Let’s hope the Spurs FO does something soon. Adding Splitter (unless he’s the second coming of #50)and the #20 pick is not going to have us competing with the Lakers. Period.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    June 24th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    “Let’s hope the Spurs FO does something soon. Adding Splitter (unless he’s the second coming of #50)and the #20 pick is not going to have us competing with the Lakers. Period.”

    Amen.

    By the way, let me ask any of you guys a question: Draft Express has Johnson going #3 to the Nets. Why would NJ draft Johnson when they have the #11 pick from last year, Terrence Williams, who is going to be a player……..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYtCETJVoXk

    ……….instead for drafting Favors to go along side of Lopez? If they want another small forward, why not take Pondexter (if we don’t take him first) or some other SF with their 23rd pick? I think it’s a ruse NJ’s using to try to get concessions from the Wolves, and it appears the Wolves are smartly not biting. In fact, in my opinion the Wolves should take Cousins at #4 anyway even if NJ takes Favors OR Johnson.

  • Jim Henderson

    sandman
    June 24th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “If Splitter is coming over then the there will be no major moves being made by the Spurs.”

    “…….They will sign a 3 point shooter in FA but no other moves……”

    Maybe so, but that team’s NOT going to even get to the WCF’s, let alone win a title.

  • Jim Henderson

    ldhl89
    June 23rd, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Nice video on Blair, by the way!