We here at ARoyalPain.com were approached by NBA.com to take part in a Q&A session with NBA reporter David Aldridge. Below, I have included the entire Q&A session. A Royal Pain’s question will be #6, in purple.
Thanks to the guys at NBA.com and David Aldridge for taking the time.
General Draft –
In any draft there is often a debate between filling a need and taking the best player available, where do you see most NBA teams resting on this argument?
(Hugging Harold Reynolds
DA: I think most of the time people take the best player available, I don’t think that changes much year to year. Sometimes, you have the perfect marriage of need and best player available, but I think most times talent wins out in this league. So, even though you may have a talented player at one position, if there’s somebody on the board that’s just head and shoulders better than anybody else; I think the feeling nowadays is you can always trade contracts. In this environment, especially with the economy the way it is, people are always looking to save money, so even a bad contract can be dealt if it’s an expiring one. I think that best player usually wins out.
Are there many teams that are looking to deal their draft picks due to the current financial climate? Or are they more likely to stash players overseas?
(A Stern Warning
I think you’ll see some teams maybe not even bother to get into the draft for that reason. I think Denver [Nuggets]
is an example of a team that did a lot of work to get under the [luxury] tax last year; I don’t think that they are all that fired up about getting back into the draft and paying guaranteed money to somebody that’s probably not going to play a lot for the them next year. So, that’s the kind of example of the economy impacting what teams do. Instead of being aggressive, I think some teams may be passive. No you know your Portland’s
and some of your other teams – Houston
is going to buy in at some point in the first round – they’ll find somebody to do business with. But, I do think that you’ll see some teams just not doing anything, as opposed to what they would normally do, which is be active at the end of the first round and try to get one of those late first round picks.
Why are prospects seeming to not want to play for Memphis? What is it about Memphis that is different from other small markets?
(3 Shades of Blue
I think that’s a bit overblown, you’re talking about one guy in [Ricky] Rubio
and the reason why Rubio is reluctant is because Pau Gasol
and Juan Carlos Navarro didn’t have great experiences there, so I’m sure that they’ve talked to him and probably did not give a glowing picture of Memphis, but I don’t think that there’s a grounds well of discontent for the City of Memphis or with the Grizzlies
. I think that’s the case of that particular player; because of his background has had a chance to talk to other players. But no, Memphis is still a place where people are going to want to go, and if it’s not Rubio somebody else very good is going to wind up going there.
Stephen Curry: Impact player (a la Eddie House) or simply the best shooter in the warm-up lines? Or both?
(Peter Robert Casey
I think he will be much like his father, a very good role player for a long time in the NBA
. He’s smart and knows how to play. I think he’s going to be a pretty solid point guard…I don’t expect spectacular from him, but I think he’s going to be a guy that is going to play for a long time in this league. A great demeanor and great character guy, a guy that’s willing to take big shots and make big shots. Whether he’s starting for you or he’s your sixth man, it doesn’t really matter; he’s going to wind up helping you win basketball games. I think he’s going to be an excellent role player. If he winds up on a good team somehow, he could really make a huge impact next year. But if not, more likely he ends up with a struggling team; it might take him a few years to really break in.
Patrick Mills was looking like a world-beater a year ago with St. Mary’s and then in the Olympics for Australia, but an injury certainly set him back. Do you think that with this draft being so deep with point guards that Mills’ stock will be severely set back by his injury-riddled season?
(A Stern Warning
Well he’ll get drafted; I was surprised he stayed in though, because this is a great point guard filled draft. It surprised me that Patty [Mills]
stayed in because he was never a guy that was going to be a top-half of the lottery guy and I thought this year would be a good year for point guards to pass if you weren’t assured of being a top-half of the lottery guy. I think you saw [Greivis] Vasquez
go back for example, and that made a lot of sense. Patty is going to get drafted, it could be late first [round], but there’s team that could look at him. Dallas [Mavericks]
certainly could take him with the 22nd
pick, and that wouldn’t surprise me at all, but it wouldn’t surprise if he lasted into the second round either.
What are your feelings towards the Kings draft and what they’ll do with the #4 selection? Do you think Ricky Rubio will fall to Sacramento? (A Royal Pain)
DA: If he’s there, and I’m not sure he’s going to be there, but if he is there I think that’s the guy they will take. I know that there are people in the organization that like Tyreke Evans, so I think that they’re having a discussion about that right now about which way they would go if those two were available on the board. But, my guess would be that Rubio would take the argument there. I think Ricky has got star potential, I think he could be a superstar in this league in terms of his ability and his personality. Sacramento certainly needs a little bit of a bump; they need some juice back in that organization. So if he’s there I think it’s Rubio, if not I think it’s Evans. Joe Ingles has not been exposed to American audiences much, coming from Australia. Has there been much positive feedback around the league after his workouts with teams?
(A Stern Warning
I think Joe [Ingles]
a couple of weeks ago, maybe right around Chicago [workouts] there was a lot of interest and buzz in him. He did ok in Chicago; he didn’t do badly in Chicago, but I think as it’s gone on and he’s done the individual workouts, I believe with Minnesota and New Jersey, it’s kind of cooled a little bit. I don’t get the sense that Joe is going to be a first round pick. I think he’s a possible second round pick, but I’m not sure. Athletically, I don’t think people see the explosion and quickness that a player would need at his position to play in the league. That doesn’t mean that nobody will take a look at him, but I certainly don’t think he’s a first round pick at this point.
[It’ll come down to] whoever gets to 5 [pick]
. Whoever trades with Washington is going to take Stephen Curry
, I’m convinced of that. I can’t tell you right now who it is, you have to read that on NBA.com or watch NBA TV later today. Whoever gets to that 5th
pick is going to take Curry.
Have you heard any rumblings at all about a possible Bulls deal that will be happening on Thursday? The Bulls have 2 first round picks which they can use to either move up, or bundle with a couple of nice young players to make a huge move.
DA: Well they’ve been trying, I don’t know if they’re going to be successful. I think that they would love to get a big at that position, but I’m not sure they’re going to be able to get it done. I’ve tried to check with everybody in the top 15, I haven’t gotten any sense, other than Washington, that anybody is really gung-ho about trading their pick. I don’t think that New York wants to move back, even if it involves getting two picks; I don’t get the sense that they would do that. I don’t think Minnesota wants to move back, they already have 18 and 25, so they don’t have any need to move back. I’m not sure Chicago is going to be able to get this done at this point.
With the Suns drafting 14th there’s a limited number of guys that are going to available. Which of these draft picks has the greatest potential to be an all star in 5 years? Earl Clark, James Johnson, Austin Daye, Ty Lawson or Terrence Williams.
(Bright Side of the Sun
Terrence Williams won’t be there. [James] Johnson
has been linked to them for a little while. I could see that or [Earl] Clark
. Johnson is a very physical guy, he’s not a great athlete but he’s got some toughness about him, so I could see that as a possibility. Clark is kind of an up and down guy. He’s got a lot of talent, but he’s very inconsistent, or at least he was inconsistent at Louisville…that has some people concerned. [Ty] Lawson
, I think that may be a pick or two too high for him, especially considering I think they going to resign Steve Nash
to an extension of some kind, so I’d be surprised if they took a point there. The more likely scenario is that they take some sort of frontcourt guy there.
DeJuan Blair and Tyler Hansbrough were two very dominant players in the college game, by NBA standards they may be undersized, how do you see them fitting in with potential NBA suitors?
(Hugging Harold Reynolds
With [Dejaun] Blair
, I believe that rebounding is one of the things that transfer from college to pros. If you can rebound in college, you’ll rebound in the pros. He obviously was a terrific rebounder at Pitt. With a wingspan at 7’2”, I think he’ll be able to rebound at the next level. Now will he be able to score at the next level? We’ll see, but I think he will be able to rebound and if you can rebound you can help a team. [Tyler] Hansbrough
I give a lot of credit to, because he’s worked really hard since the end of the season to make himself a better player. He’s worked really hard on his left hand, he’s really worked on his body I give him all the credit in the world, and he’s had some excellent workouts. What I would love to see with Tyler, and it sounds counterintuitive, but I wish that Tyler would slip a little in the draft. Not because I don’t like him, but I would love to see Tyler Hansbrough go to a really good team…a team that could use his skills and his passion and his energy in a system that would work best for him. He’d be great with the Lakers for example. I think that’s the kind of team where they play a system that requires movement, thinking and all those things. He’d be great in Utah; I’d love to see that for that reason. But I think they’re both going to go high, Blair there are questions about him physically right now, but I think some teams are satisfied some may not be so he could slip a little bit but I think both of them will be taken probably before 20.
The Bulls need a post player desperately. Which player in this draft can fill that need at the 16th and or 26th pick?
I don’t know that there is a post player in this draft that fills that need where they are. It’s going to be difficult for them to fill that need. [B.J.] Mullens
is not a post player; at least he didn’t show that at Ohio State last year. Maybe he becomes one at the next level, and he could be there at 16, but after that I’m not sure that they’re going to be able to fill that need at that position. Assuming they stay at 26, you’re talking about guys like [Josh] Heytvelt
as a post player who has some potential. I don’t know that that would fill that need for them. The good thing for Chicago is that they’ve got a lot of pieces, and Kirk Hinrich
is going to be very very very much in demand player this offseason, so I think they will move him at some point and they may be able to get the frontcourt piece that way.
The Celtics have no picks this year thanks to trades – but need to get younger. Would you package Rondo for a lottery pick (as the rumors suggest)?
No. They only way they’ll make a trade…and I don’t think anybody is untouchable on that team other than [Paul] Pierce
and [Kevin] Garnett
…I think they’d trade Ray [Allen]
, I think they’d trade Rondo but it’s got to be for something legitimate. They won 62 games and got to the second round of the playoffs without their best player for the second half of the season and then they lost Powe in the first round. They’re a championship contending team, they’re not going to just start breaking the thing up for lottery picks. Now if New Orleans said lets talk about Chris Paul
for those two, yeah I’m sure they’d listen to that, but they’re not going to just give away their starting point guard and their starting two guard unless they’re getting something really good in return.
How much do you feel Brandon Jennings may have increased or decreased his draft stock by playing a year overseas as opposed to attending Arizona and then leaving early?
(Hugging Harold Reynolds
DA: I don’t know, I think that teams that are inclined to go overseas and do a lot of scouting probably were pleased with him. He played in a very high league in Italy, he got some very good experience there but I think there are people who would make the argument that he could have gotten just as much experience playing for Arizona last year in the Pac-10. I think that’s kind of 6 of one, half dozen of the other things. If you’re asking me my personal opinion I always believe kids should go to school, but I would never tell somebody not to make money if they could make it at 18 doing something that they love doing. So me personally I would have gone to school, but that’s me.
How is David Kahn is being viewed by other GMs in the league?
DA: No I don’t think so. David’s a very smart guy that’s been around a long time. He was in Indiana under Donnie Walsh, he owned four teams in the D-League. You’re not going to put one over on him, he’s not some 22 year old kid that’s never done anything before and he’s got really smart people around him like Freddy Hoiberg. He’s going to do fine. They’re going to be very aggressive I think in terms of making a couple of big splashes between now and draft night maybe even right after the draft.
David, in my opinion the Nets are deciding to choose between Earl Clark and Terrence Williams. Who do you think has the highest potential ceiling? Who do you think would have the biggest impact their rookie year?
(Nets Are Scorching
I think they’re going to take Terrence Williams
. He’s a guy that fills a couple of needs for them. I think he’s an excellent defender, I think he will become a very very good offensive player for them. I think playing for Rick [Pitino], Rick does a pretty good job of developing guys, getting them ready to be pros. Not that Earl couldn’t become a very good pro, but I think right now Terrence’s consistently level is a little higher than Earl’s
Oh boy, sleeper that’s always kind of a loaded question. I’ll give an example, DaJuan Summers
had what most people would say kind of an average, below average year for Georgetown, but I think he’s going to wind up being a pretty good pro. He’s has a lot of physical skills and gifts and might wind up showing you more in the pros than he did in college. If you’re talking about a guy that nobody’s heard of, that nobody knows anything about…I’ll give you a couple guys that I think might have a chance to surprise some people. One of them is DeMarre Carroll
out of Missouri, just a great effort player a lot like Renaldo Balkman
that was drafted by the Knicks a couple of years ago. High motor, great kid, really active and became a much better player the last couple of years at Missouri. They only question I have about DeMarre, one of the college coaches brought up that Missouri trapped a lot last year and they got a lot of production out of it. Obviously you don’t see NBA teams doing that very much, the question is can he score in this league, can he do some things in this league in kind of more regular sets. The other guy is Courtney Fells out of NC State, a guy that was kind of up and down the last couple years at NC State. He’s an incredible, freakish athlete that may be one of those guys that comes out as a free agent or a second round pick. He’s going to be one of those highlight reel guys that people are going to like seeing. Those are two guys that if they get with the right team that might be able to surprise a little bit.
DA: Honestly I don’t know. I thought San Antonio was a destination, but that’s obviously changed today, so I don’t know at this point.
Probably [James] Harden
. There were a lot of questions about him around the tournament, he didn’t have a very good Pac-10 tournament and there were some questions about him, but he’s kind of answered a lot of those questions. He’s a pure scorer, he knows how to score, how to use his body to score. I would say Harden’s probably the closest thing to a sure thing at the two spot coming out of the draft right now.
Well again, I think that Terrence Williams has a chance to be an excellent two guard defensively. I think he’s got some real lock up ability at that position. Among the points…I think Eric Maynor
may have a chance to be an excellent defender in this league. He’s got great lateral quickness, he can move his feet very well. I think he has a chance among the all of the point guards that are coming out to be a really solid defensive guard because he’s got very good quickness and good size. So he should be able to guard most of the points in the league. Although DeRozan, because of his athletic ability…you know anybody who’s a great athlete can be a great defensive player. He’s very young right now, but if he ever makes a commitment to that end of the floor he could be a terrific defensive player.