The NBA Draft: Digging Deeper



By Jim Hurley:

In yesterday's edition of Jim Sez we brought you the NBA Draft's biggest "Winners" and "Losers" - and today we'll dig a little deeper into the goings-on of this past Thursday night in Newark and get you three more specific categories:

The Most Curious First-Round Picks, The Most Underrated Draft Choices and The Best/Worst Trade on Draft Night.

We'll get to them all shortly - along with the weekend's Major-League Baseball News & Notes - but first this important reminder:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be releasing loads of Major-League Baseball Winners each and every day and you can be part of all the action -- just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for a summer filled with all our MLB winners! The calling/check-in times are as follows: After 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; after 11 a.m. ET for weekday Baseball and anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action in the world of Major-League Baseball.



CLEVELAND: Tristan Thompson, F, Texas - No doubt his selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the fourth overall pick in this year's NBA Draft really turned some heads at "The Rock" in New Jersey and all throughout the ESPN viewing audience but it's said that the Cavs believe he was the best offensive rebounder in college basketball last year and they were looking for someone to impose his will in the paint and someone who could score a slew of "garbage" baskets (considering all the misses Cleveland experienced from the floor last year). Still, Thompson is considered one of those so-called "tweeners" at 6-foot-8 - he's quite possibly not big enough to handle those 6-foot-10 power forwards and possibly is a step too slow to handle the "3's" or small forwards in this league. Stay tuned.

PHOENIX: Markieff Morris, F, Kansas - It came as a quite a shocker to Markieff's twin brother Marcus (the more heralded of the two former Jayhawks' stars) that the Phoenix Suns grabbed this 6-foot-10 forward who generally was considered a "sure thing" somewhere in the #19-thru-#23 pick range. Markieff Morris is a blue-collar guy who can spot up and hit the triple (see 25-of-59 trifectas this past season) but he can be careless with the ball and may not be a great fit with pick-and-roll point guard Steve Nash. Count us among the folks who thought the Suns should have tabbed Florida State forward Chris Singleton here (instead he went #18 to Washington).


PORTLAND: Nolan Smith, G, Duke - There weren't a whole lot of noisemakers going off inside "The Rock" when this one-time national champion player was announced as the Trail Blazers selection at #21 but consider that he can swing back and forth between the point and shooting guard plus his defensive/ball-handling skills are merely wonderful - and best of all he makes his teammates better all the time. Put Smith with newly-minted T-Blazer Raymond Felton and we like what we see in Portland's backcourt future.

MINNESOTA: Chandler Parsons, F, Florida - Anytime you believe a guy is first-round talent and he falls on your lap in Round II than it was a good night and so the Timberwolves have reason to be giddy this weekend after acquiring this do-it-all 6-foot-10 SEC star from the Houston Rockets who merely drafted Parsons for Minny. No question this kid was underrated on the college level and then one of our Jim Sez most underrated draft choices. In fact, don't be shocked if Parsons is right in the thick of this year's NBA Rookie of the Year balloting when all the dust finally settles.


The best trade made we highlighted in yesterday's Jim Sez as the San Antonio Spurs - still the model franchise of the NBA even if they now have not won a title since 2007 - dealt away guard George Hill to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for the draft rights to San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard (#15) along with international players Davis Bertans (at #42) and Erazem Lorbek (at #46). The Spurs have a way of making things work with their foreign-born players plus Leonard was a legit top 10 talent that fell simply because the teams picking #8-thru-#14 had other more high-priority needs. Hill will be an immediate impact player for the Pacers - the former IUPUI star could be a 20 ppg scorer for his new team - but San Ant hit the jackpot with this swap.

The worst trade consummated on Draft Night was made by Boston who swapped first-rounders with the New Jersey Nets - hey, the Celts tabbed Providence guard MarShon Brooks at pick #25 and then moved him to New Jersey but, folks, Boston should have held tight that 6-foot-5 guard instead of dealing for lanky Purdue F JaJuan Johnson. Nobody's knocking this former Big 10 star but Brooks was major value at #25 and Johnson likely would have dropped into the second round had the C's not swept him up him in the trade. Go figure!


Just wanted to drop in a couple of items regarding Friday night's games ...If you want to find out one reason why the Pittsburgh Pirates (38-37) are hanging around the National League Central these days, than consider a bullpen that's vastly improved and one that allowed no runs and three hits in 3 2/3 innings of relief in the 3-1 home win against the Boston Red Sox. No question we sung the praises of Bucs closer Joel Hanrahan (21 saves) in a recent Jim Sez column but don't sleep on reliever Jose Veras who now has 15 holds ...

Is New York Mets SS Jose Reyes starting to feel the pressure of someone playing for a big contract?

Okay, so that might sound a bit silly considering Reyes is at or near the top of several offensive categories in the senior circuit but in Friday's 8-1 loss in Texas there was Reyes committing his 10th error of the year (a misplayed ground ball, if you must know!) and there's been some real sloppiness seeping into his game in recent weeks. Reyes is generally a whiz in the field with a rifle arm but he's staggered a bit in the past couple of weeks and his concentration in the field has become worrisome to Mets first-year manager Terry Collins.

NOTE: More MLB News/Notes in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.


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