Time to play ‘Be an NBA GM’

First off, I’ll welcome guest writer Steven Lampert to Two Guys and a Sports Blog. I pitched the idea to Steven that instead of coming up with a mock draft in which we predict where each player will land, we would pretend to be the GMs of each lottery team, alternate selections and make the decisions that we see best fit. Given our lack of media credentials and absurdly fanatical obsession with the NBA Draft, this was the best route to take. So we’ve been exchanging emails and pretending to be GMs in the lottery for the past day or so and this is what we’ve come to.

Steven won the lottery (a coin flip) and thus earned the right to put himself in the hate-filled shoes of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, while I earned the honour of putting myself into the mind of David Kahn and making a selection for the Timberwolves.

Remember, this isn’t who we think they will take but rather who we think they should take. 

Without further ado…the Cavaliers are now on the clock.

The Cleveland Cavaliers select G Kyrie Irving

Steven: Year 1 of post-Decision turned out just as expected for the Cavs- finishing at the bottom of the league. So, Dan Gilbert has his own decision to make with the first overall pick this Thursday in the 2011 NBA draft. All indications point to the Cavs selecting Kyrie Irving with that first overall pick. After the “Decision,” the Cavs were left without an identity and a big three consisting of Manny Harris, Christian Eyenga and Samardo Samuels. Intimidating, I know. Irving will help the Cavs establish a new identity and a new start of sorts. While he doesn’t project to have the same impact as previous top pick point guards Derrick Rose and John Wall, he is the best player in this draft. Barring any shockers, Dan Gilbert and his staff will be making the right “Decision.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves select F Derrick Williams

Alex: My first move as Timberwolves General Manager is to retract all over excessive hype around Ricky Rubio and create a new ad campaign entitled: “Let’s be realistic with Ricky”. My second move is to send Dan Gilbert a gift basket for taking Kyrie Irving. After hosting the Minnesota equivalent of the Heat “Yes We Did” party for Rubio (a bunch of cheerleaders at the airport), the last thing we needed to do was pick another point guard. Thank you!

If I can’t trade the pick, I’m sticking with Derrick Williams but Enes Kanter is getting a real look here. I really hate holding 3 tweeners on my team (Anthony Randolph, Michael Beasley and Williams) but Williams has star potential and I’m going to swing for the fences and hope he can keep Love in Minnesota. Kanter makes sense because he can bang inside and the Wolves need a true 5, but I’m afraid of the whole ‘I-haven’t-played-a-game-in-a-year’ thing going with Enes. Too much bust potential. And I recently listened on a podcast that Chad Ford saw some Darko in him. So yes, Derrick Williams. We don’t need two Darkos. I’m quivering at the thought.

The Utah Jazz select G Brandon Knight

Steven: The Sloan era is over, which means the years of drafting catch and shoot swingmen might finally be over too, Utah fans.
This pick was acquired in the Deron Williams trade, leaving the Jazz without a true franchise player. They have pieces in place, but need that extra push if they are to challenge giants of the West (Go Mavs!). Reports indicate that this pick is pretty much down to two players: Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight or Kentucky/Turkey/Nike Hoops Summit centre Enes Kanter. The Jazz have talent up front in Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, but neither is a true 5. Kanter brings that toughness inside, but what do we really know about him? He hasn’t played competitively in a year! The Jazz are also not known for their risky picks. Therefore, if I am Kevin O’Conner, I either trade the pick (to Washington for #6 + #18 ???) or draft Brandon Knight.
Knight is a big guard who can shoot the three and has loads of potential. He reminds many of Deron Williams, due to his size and toughness. While he has much to learn at the position, he fills Utah’s biggest need, as Devin Harris is only good for one step back buzzer beater a game.
With this pick, we can finally start the Tyrone Corbin era in Utah! The excitement is overwhelming.
The Cleveland Cavaliers select F/C Enes Kanter

Alex: So, now I get to draft for the Cavs? Doesn’t this seems like a move out of the TrailBlazer handbook? With their history of GM mistreatment, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them fire their GM mid-draft.I think Valanciunas is actually the best prospect available but he’s not coming over from Europe until next year so I’m hesitant to pick him for the Cavs who need some immediate help in order to win a championship before the self-proclaimed King. Kanter gives them a nice 5 to pair up with Anderson Varejao and now the Cavs start to look like a real team…sorry Manny Harris. Irving-Baron Davis-Varejao-Kanter-Hickson-Jamison presents a solid core for the Cavs moving forward with a lot of intriguing tradeable assets. Dan Gilbert may use this selection to pick “F— YOU LEBRON”, but if I was GM, I’m running with the Turkish Bull.
The Toronto Raptors select G Kemba Walker
Steven: RaptorNation, don’t worry, Bismack is coming.
After Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter are taken off the board, Bryan Colangelo is forced to choose between Kemba Walker, Jonas Val…(not going to bother how to look up the spelling of his last name), Kawli Leonard, Jan Vesely and future fan favourite Bismack Biyombo. Take your choice.
New Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey was pretty clear in his news conference that he is going to stress toughness and defence. While Biyombo would bring defensive presence to the team, I don’t think that is the direction the Raps should go. Listen, I have no problem with Bismack. I do think he has the chance to become an impact defensive player in this league. But at the 5 spot, I think BC should target something concrete and sure. The surest player in this year’s draft is Kemba Walker. Walker led UConn, a team who wasn’t projected to make the tournament before the season, to the national championship. To quote a wise man, he simply “put da team on his back dough.” I think the Raps must bring in playmakers and guys with winning backgrounds. Kemba embodies those two traits.
With that said, knowing BC and the Raptors organization, look forward to another international “Star” in Toronto next season.
Is it too early to start the Harrison Barnes campaign?
(Editor’s note: Steven is a Connecticut Huskies fan…if you couldn’t tell)

The Washington Wizards select F Jan Vesely
Alex: If we did take Kemba I think it would be because Dwane Casey locks Colangelo in a small closet before the draft. Then with the Wizards up next and Colangelo already sobbing at the mere thought of, not just any top NCAA prospect, but one with heart and passion for the game, the Wiz grab Jan Vesely! Colangelo at that point begins to uncontrollably yell and scream. Vesely is exactly what Colangelo wants. A European with desire, intensity and athleticism so he can say “he’s not a prototypical European” 500 times.But in all seriousness, Wizards getting Vesely is a nice pick-up. No, he isn’t good enough to keep John Wall in Washington but he’ll make for a vicious alley-oop partner. Vesely loves to get up and the down the floor and if I’m in the Wizards’ front office, this matches very nicely with my franchise point guard.
The Sacramento Kings select G/Mormon Jimmer Fredette
Steven: At #7, the Anaheim, err, the Sacramento Kings have been primarily looking at two guys, BYU star Jimmer Fredette and San Diego St. forward Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is considered a Gerald Wallace type player, who will bring energy and defence to the 3 position. The Kings are lacking a true starting 3, so Leonard does make sense here. However, if I am calling the shots on draft night for the Kings, I have to go with that pure BYU boy, Jimmer. One of the most prolific scorers in NCAA history, Fredette gives the Kings a scoring punch and allows them to move Tyreke Evans to his true position at shooting guard. Plus, if the Kings do go with Fredette, they have a wicked set of names at the point guard spot (See: Beno Udrih, Pooh Jeter, and of course, Jimmer Fredette. Wow.)

Side Note: I’m hoping when Jimmer gets drafted, he shakes hands with David Stern and then proceeds to announce to the world that he slept with the entire BYU cheerleading team while attending BYU. Now that would be awesome. Mormons 4 lyfe.

The Detroit Pistons select C Jonas Valanciunas 

Alex: So…the guys who own a bunch of casinos have turned to the Mormon for help. Jimmer could allow the Maloofs to keep casinos in Vegas running–what a nice Mormon boy! I think the Maloofs are at Satanic levels in Provo, which, by their standards, would make Brandon Davies the much better fit in Sacramento.

David Stern approaches the podium, adjusts the mic and leans forward…”With the 8th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select–Jonas.. Val… Val…Valeci…from Lithuania”
If I’m Pistons GM I actually might spend most of my cap money on a time machine either to go back in time and never sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva…or give Rip Hamilton his extension or to fast forward when I no longer have this guys sitting on my cap.
Now, keep in mind, I’m running the Pistons and not Joe Dumars who would never dare take a player he’d have to stash over in Europe because his job is on line. But me? Jonas is the perfect fit. First off, I am 100% sure I am now the first NBA team to have two Jonas’ (Jerebko being the other) and second of all–why in the world do I want to bring in a talented prospect to the most toxic roster in the NBA. My team quit on my coach, laughed during the games and are a complete embarrassment because they’re not even good to begin with. My plan as Pistons GM is just to wait and wait until I can get out of the Villanueva-Gordon-Hamilton salary cap hell that Joe D has built for me. Why do I want to throw possibly the most talented big man prospect in this draft in the fiery inferno of mediocrity, mutiny and malcontent that plagues my roster? Jonas can stay in Europe until I can get rid of all these cap killing losers on my team and then we can bring him over and have a strong, legit and now-polished 5.

The Charlotte Bobcats select C Bismack Biyombo

Well, we now have the Jonas brother front court in Detroit. Too many lulz to follow with that duo.We shift our focus to Charlotte. Our roster has very few pieces and no real identity. Heck, all we have going for us is that we can say MJ is running our team. Is that even something to be proud of? Many have pegged Kawhi Leonard at this spot, simply because he projects to be very similar to Gerald Wallace. However, the Bobkittens most striking need is inside, where none other than KWA-ME Brown resides. I think its pretty self-explanatory why a replacement is needed. Reports indicate that Charlotte may be looking to take an established college vet who is NBA ready, such as Marcus Morris. But, as the Mavs proved this playoffs, the key to any defence is to protect the rim. Enter Bismack Biyombo.
There is no question that Biyombo is a project and is extremely raw offensively. However, he is only 18 years old, still growing and has a very good chance of becoming a defensive presence in the paint. Plus, with DJ Augustin and Stephen Jackson on the roster, there won’t be many shots to go around and Biyombo doesn’t need shots to be effective.
All we need is Marv Albert to move to Charlotte and announce every Bobcats game. “OH MY GOODNESS, BIS-MACK BI-YOM-BO!!!!!”

The Milwaukee Bucks select G Klay Thompson

I think you had a typo in your last email. You said: “Biyombo doesn’t need shots to be effective”. I think you meant: “Biyombo should never ever ever ever shoot the ball”. One of the best lines after the Biyombo’s solo Euro workout was that “Biyombo played one-on-none…and lost”.

You realize if MJ makes this pick that Biyombo is an auto-bust, right? It’s amazing how the greatest player ever can’t find a good player himself (Adam Morrison, Kwame Brown). It’s like he picks good players and destroys their confidence and ability in order to preserve his greatness. Over/under 4.5 Kwame Brown mentions at the draft?

As you can see, I’d rather not talk about the Bucks and was rather upset when I lost the coin toss and had to deal with this mess. To do this shortly–the Bucks had an absolutely atrocious offence this year. Klay Thompson shoots the ball nicely from where it is worth 3 points. This fits an immediate need for the Bucks as they need more baskets to get in the hoop and is an added bonus that these baskets are worth an extra point!(Yes, we need to dumb it down this much for the Bucks offence. I’m looking at you Jon Brockman and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute)
The Golden State Warriors select F Kawhi Leonard

(Editor’s note: MAMMA, THERE GOES THAT MAN!)

Steven: So let me get this straight, John Hammond adds Klay Thompson to a group that includes Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette, John Salmons and Chris Douglas-Roberts. And don’t forget Michael Redd! Pure U-G-L-Y.Golden State we go, where Mark Jackson takes over a defensively challenged Warriors team. Steph Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee on the same team? No, not surprising they can’t guard a pylon. Jerry West and crew should aim to find a tough, defensive minded player who will help the team on that end of the court. They will gladly grab Kawhi Leonard, who gives them exactly what they are lacking. A bit of a slide for Leonard, maybe due to his unflashy game, which is perfect for this GSW team.
Just remember Kawhi, hand down man down.
The Utah Jazz select F Chris Singleton
Michael Redd’s contract is about to expire. Yay John Hammond! Go sign more Drew Goodens and Corey Maggettes to further cement yourselves as absurdly mediocre. OK–I’ll admit Klay Thompson was a bit of reach. Should have gone with Tristan Thompson. I’m regretting it already. It was a Thompson nonetheless so I’ll take 0.5 points if the pick works out.No Jimmer? What? That was the only reason I was happy I lost the coin toss. This is absolutely pointless. There is nothing else interesting to write about the Jazz. I need a Mormon angle! You stole my Mormon angle!Singleton is a big all-D, no-O small forward with NBA size. I like all-D guys. They have a way of sticking around in the league. The Jazz are depending on C.J. Miles, Gordon Hayward and Raja Bell on the wings. That’s a recipe for disaster. Knight-Singleton is a nice pull for the Jazz. But without Jimmer, this is a Fredette-ful draft for Mormons/Jazz fans.

The Phoenix Suns select F Tristan Thompson
Steven: Really like Singleton too. I think he’d make a nice replacement for AK-47. One more thought or question about the Bucks (absurd we’re giving them this much attention): How did John Hammond named the 2009-2010 Executive of the Year? Yes, they had a solid 12 win improvement, but really? Maybe my standards are higher now that we are post-decision, but something just doesn’t seem right with Hammond winning that award.
Anyhow, at #13, Phoenix is in an iffy spot. Do they continue to flirt with mediocrity or should they completely blowup (mainly trade Nash to a contender. Gotta get this man a ring)? Well, if I am in the Suns front office, I think I want a player who improves our interior toughness, rebounds the basketball and still has potential to grow. Tristan Thompson fits this mold. Thompson, a Toronto native, will surely move past Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye on the depth chart and give Nash another big man to make look 2000x better than he actually happens to be.
It must be relieving knowing that any player you take will be made instantly better playing with Nash. I don’t know how Steve Kerr didn’t succeed…
The Houston Rockets select F Kenneth Faried
Alex: Tristan’s a great pick for the Suns. They need interior help and he’s perfect for them. I’m giving you an A+ on that one. And now, I get to make my most irrational pick of the night. Yes, Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried.I know he doesn’t fit on the depth chart with Scola but I don’t care. I need to get my Faried argument out there.

Of all the players that we’ve been blabbering about there is one stone cold lock of this draft. Irving? Nope. Derrick Williams? Try again. Kenneth Faried.

All I hear about this draft is uncertainty, busts and long-term projects. Faried has everything you want in an energy role player. Insane rebound numbers? He beat Tim Duncan’s NCAA rebounding records. Great motor? Did you watch Morehead State and Louisville…Faried looks like a man on a mission! His hair flops around so people will think he hustles even more than he does. Not only that but he’s got an amazing attitude. Down to earth, hard-working, wants to play a role kind of player. The epitome of blue collar. Can’t you envision in Faried in a playoff game playing 18 minutes and grabbing 5 offensive rebounds and absolutely crushing the other team’s morale with a non-stop energy assault?

For Houston, I’m not sure it’s a great fit. But you know what? I’m all about collecting assets and in a draft that looks like there aren’t very many assets I’m picking a sure thing and getting something of value at 14.

Alex: Alright, so you’ve got Irving, Knight, Walker, Jimmer, Biyombo, Leonard and Tristan. I have Williams, Kanter, Vesely, Jonas, Klay Thompson and Kenneth Faried. Looks like I got smoked. Got suckered into the Colangelo trap and grabbed all the Euros.

I want the Klay Thompson pick back. That’s really it. And I wish I would have won the coin flip so I could take Derrick Williams and force you to pick Irving. Well there’s always next year…

Steven: Take note RaptorNation, NEXT YEAR. While this draft does have some depth, overall, it is quite abysmal with few stars, many risks and euros galore. So yes, it seems logical to choose a sure thing such as Kemba Walker or Kenneth Faried, but what do we know. I guess hitting the big risk is just too enticing, but it is also the reason why many teams struggle to improve. Let’s just hope BC has his thinking cap on Thursday night.

We’ll meet up again around this time again next year to look back at our picks and likely wonder how we missed out on Donatas Motiejunas and his stellar Rookie of the Year campaign.I’m sure this will be jammed with comedy in 12 months from now.Thanks Steven, hope to see you on TGSB more often in the future.

Steven: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Harrison Barnes, here we come.

Well, I think this wraps up my blogging run until September. I just want to give my thanks to Myles Dichter and Norm Yallen for asking me to join TGSB (and the rest of our never-ending list of writers). Also, a thank you to Dustin Pollack at Beating The Buzzer sports for allowing me to syndicate my NBA content on his website. Lastly, thanks to all the readers–I know you’re out there somewhere and I apologize for my sometimes long and never-ending columns but we made it! It’s been a blast writing these and I hope everyone stays tuned for when TGSB re-launches in September.
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