2010 NBA Draft: The Great Debate Part II

On Wednesday, my buddy Arjun Chandrasekhar engaged in an epic argument, debating over who we think should be the first five picks of Thursday night’s NBA Draft, in Part I of what we liked to call “The Great NBA Draft Debate.”

For those who missed, here are how the first five picks went down:

1. Washington Wizards- Aaron selected: John Wall, Kentucky

2. Philadelphia 76ers- Arjun selected: Evan Turner, Ohio State

3. New Jersey Nets- Aaron selected: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

4. Minnesota Timberwolves- Arjun selected: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

5. Sacramento Kings- Aaron selected: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

With the first five picks Aaron and Arjun return to debate picks 6-14, as we get you set for tonight’s NBA Draft..

No. 6 Golden State Warriors

Arjun selects…Greg Monroe, Georgetown

What I’m excited for in the next few months:

1.Re-watching Toy Story 3 right before heading off to college.  By far the best movie of the last five years, in my opinion the third best movie of the decade (behind Oceans Eleven and Million Dollar Baby).  I can’t wait to watch it one more time before I head off like Andy.

2.TBS’s “My Boys” triumphant return to TV.  By far the most underrated show of the decade, and Jordana Spiro, whose beautiful face graces my blog, is easily the most underrated TV actress of the decade (though I will admit she’s not quite as proficient in movies).

3. “Love Bites” series premiere in the fall, starring…that’s right, Jordana Spiro!!!  My girl’s finally getting a chance to star on a network that actually matters.  Glad that everyone will finally understand what they’ve been missing these last four years.

4. Sacramento Kings basketball – that’s right, number four.  I’m not even a Kings fan; I just think that a Favors/Evans future is scary good.  I just can’t wait to see those two and Omri Casspi running teams out of the gym for the next decade.  Tyreke Evans will become a top-20 player this year (and by the way why isn’t Sonics GM Sam Presti taking more heat for drafting James Harden at number 3?  Don’t you think Seattle could have made the West Finals with Evans in there?), and Favors should get there eventually. 

As for everything else, sorry, I was just as excited as you were to argue Cousins/Favors/Turner to the death, but we can’t seem disagree on any of these guys.  Don’t judge Favors by his deceptively low production – it’s not his fault that he played with such putrid guards, and that the only other good teammate was another power forward with his own lottery aspirations.  This guy is an amazing athlete and excellent defender – he’ll be awesome.  I love Greg Monroe, but no way in hell do you take him over Favors, who rounds out the list of guys with more than a 50/50 shot at making an all-star game.  If it’s between Monroe and Johnson then I’m willing to be talked into the Kings taking Monroe – but not over Favors.

(By the way, if Favors’ stock really is “slipping” and he drops out of the top five because of these dumb workouts, then I’ll go absolutely ballistic.  How does performance in a one-on-one workout supersede what he did in the actual games that matter?  These private workouts are so useless – what are they proving?  That he’s not as good as Cousins?  Didn’t we already know that?  Sometimes I will never understand what these GM’s are thinking!)

For the Warriors I think you take the best guy – and that’s Monroe. 

Every time I saw him I was really impressed with how skilled and cerebral he was – think of a poor man’s Chris Webber with a dash of Lamar Odom.  Other than John Wall, he might be the best passer in the entire draft!!!  He should fit perfectly with the Warriors up-tempo game.  I think that by staying an extra year, now everybody has too much tape on him and his game is being nitpicked.  His athleticism isn’t ideal but at least above average, and his inconsistency has been overrated – based on some of the opinions I’ve read you would think this guy was the next Derrick Coleman!

Overall I’m really excited about the Warriors potential.  Now they’re finally going to transfer ownership to someone that actually cares about winning and building the team the right way.  Let’s say they replace Don Nelson with a coach that actually cares – this roster has some serious upside in Stephen Curry (a bigger Mark Price), Monta Ellis (an all-star level talent who can absolutely carry an offense), Monroe, and Anthony Randolph (potentially Kevin Garnett 2.0, if he can get his head on straight). 

I love the Maggette trade for them – it’s addition by subtraction (you get rid of Maggette’s selfish and toxic attitude) and by addition (you give yourself cap flexibility to add more pieces later).  Trust me this is a good development – no fan base is more passionate than Oakland’s and no fans deserve a winner more.

No. 7 Detroit Pistons

Aaron selects…Ed Davis, North Carolina

Alright Arjun, that list up top was pretty strange, I can’t lie. Then again, I’m the same guy who DVR’s every episode of How I Met Your Mother (That Barney is just too funny!) and have already made one Sex and the City 2 reference in this debate, with surely more coming. So really, who am I to judge?

Anyway, I agree with you here on Monroe. Love his game. Love how he fits in with what Golden State already has. Now all the Warriors need to do is find someone besides the town drunk to coach them, and they’re a fringe playoff team (Although I will say that you comparing Anthony Randolph to Kevin Garnett did make me wildly uncomfortable. Fortunately I’m writing this about 10 minutes after Landon Donovan’s goal on Wednesday afternoon, so I’m way too excited to argue with you. USA! USA!)

Now, let’s look at Detroit, because this is where the draft gets interesting. To me, No. 7 is where the talent drain begins, big time. I don’t see even a potential All-Star left, with the exception of maybe X Henry (And yes I just called him X Henry. What can I say, “X,” just makes him sound about 63 percent cooler than Xavier does). Therefore, from this point on, the draft is about filling needs.

In regards to the Pistons, GM Joe Dumars has come out and said he wants toughness from this pick. Well, you’re not going to get Favors, Cousins or The Rock at No. 7, meaning that in the toughness category, Kansas’ Cole Aldrich is probably your best option. Hell, the guy must be tough, he’s missing his two front teeth!

The problem with Detroit is this: The Pistons ranked 29th out of 30 NBA teams in points per game last year. As much as you need toughness, you need someone who can put the ball in the basket even more. And you’ll see me modeling underwear for Calvin Klein before you see Cole Aldrich averaging double figures over an NBA season. So cross him off the list.

So without Aldrich, that leaves X Henry and Al Farouq-Aminu as your next best scorers, but I just don’t see how they fit in on your roster after you drafted Austin Daye last year. What kind of message does that send to the kid? Not to mention Tayshaun Prince and is still a Piston. And remember too, that even though Charlie Villanueva is built like a power forward, he plays more like a small forward.

Meaning, that in my eyes, your only real choice is North Carolina’s Ed Davis.

Now I want to make things clear, I’m not crazy about Davis at all. I think he’s overrated as an athlete and as an offensive player. His best post move is dunking the ball after a teammate misses, and really I’m not sure he’s any better than last year’s second round pick, Jonas Jerenkbo.

But with shooting guard and small forward already stacked in Detroit, what other option is there really?

Truthfully if I’m Joe Dumars I’d be glad to trade up here and try to get Cousins or Favors or trade down and pray that Aldrich is still around. But I really, really don’t want to pick at No. 7, unless somehow Cousins or Favors falls to me. Which they won’t.

The Pistons need help, and I just don’t see them finding it with this pick.

I’ll take Davis, but only because I have to.

(Follow both writers on Twitter @Aaron_Torres and @Arjunc12)

No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers

Arjun selects… Xavier Henry, Kansas

Defending myself:   first, Jordana Spiro is that good.  Totally worth the hype – just you watch.  Second, I said potentially Kevin Garnett.  Of course he’s a long, long, long way from that, I’m just pointing out the kind of talent that could be tapped out of Randolph.

Your first big mistake.  Ed Davis over Patterson?  Really?!!  Terrible pick. 

I simply don’t understand why everyone is underrating Patrick Patterson so much.  Great defender, great inside-out game, really improved playing a pro-style offense, superb athlete (people are really underrating this.  Patterson is gifted athletically – he’s exceptionally cut and runs the floor really well), great guy – and he’s dropping because he’s a bit undersized?  Come on.  Just because he returned to school doesn’t mean he’s not talented.  Every year there are guys like this.  It just drives me nuts.  The Pistons need a big man, and the best big man left also happens to be the best player left.  

Here’s my take on Davis:  I like Ed – I’ve seen him have some really good games (like when he dominated Cousins earlier in the year), and I think he has the potential to be the next Emeka Okafor. 

I feel kinda bad for him because he’s never been fairly evaluated in his career.  After his freshman year in which he never even played people were projecting him to the top five.  He smartly returned to school, didn’t completely blow up, and now everybody is going to the other extreme and labeling him a bust in the making, despite the fact that he, like Favors, was also victimized by horrible guard play and playing for a team in which the only other good players (John Henson and Deon Thompson) play the same position and have lottery aspirations. 

This past season showed us that the top-5 hype was a little over-the-top and that’s it; at the same time he can definitely play in the league; he rebounds well and protects the paint, the two skills that transfer the best from college to the NBA.  Davis will be a very solid big man – nothing more and nothing less.  With all that said, no way you take him above Patterson.  No frickin way.

For my pick I’m taking Xavier Henry.  Right now the Clippers need a wing more than anything.  Perfect, because I think Henry is the best guy available.  He’s wildly underrated because he played for a loaded Kansas team.  Put him on any other team and he’s be getting 20 a game.  Worst case:  Martell Webster.  Best case:  Paul Pierce.  Most likely:  Michael Redd. 

In any case, other than Paul George he’s probably the only potential all-star among the players remaining.  That’s pretty good at number 8.

No. 9 Utah Jazz

Aaron selects…Ekpe Udoh, Baylor

The funniest thing about my pick at No. 7 is that it sounds to me like you actually like Ed Davis’ game more than I do, yet you don’t like the pick.

As for Patterson, here’s my take: If he had Ed Davis’ height with his game, I think he’d be a top 5 pick. The problem is that he plays like a power forward, but is only about 6’8, meaning that his size translates better to the wing. What a paradox huh? In a day and age where every center wants to play like a point guard, Patterson wants to play like an old school low post player, but is just an inch or two too short to do so effectively. I just don’t know how at his size, he’d fit in on the Pistons.

As for the Clippers, I’ve got to say, congratulations on being smarter than everyone running their team. Everything I’ve heard and read has them taking Gordon Hayward at No. 8, who is basically a right handed/less skilled/paler version of X Henry. I will bet the mortgage I don’t have that Henry has a better career than Hayward. I’ve never been certain of anything more in my life.

Now let’s get to Utah’s pick, which at one point belonged to the Knicks. What can we say, other than that the Isiah Thomas era really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s my take on Utah: Whether they re-sign Carlos Boozer or not is irrelevant to this pick, because even if he leaves, Paul Millsap will replace a good chunk of his production. The Jazz are clearly set at point guard with Deron Williams and small forward with Andrei Kirilenko. And on the wing they’ve got the Wes Matthews/C.J. Miles/Ronnie Prince ménage-a-tois going on, which killed roughly 26,000 fantasy teams in 2010, since you never knew which of the three was playing on any given night. Thanks for nothing Jerry Sloan!

Which leaves us at center, where Mehmet Okur can’t guard anyone, and ended up hurt in the playoffs, leaving the Jazz no choice but to play someone named Kyrylo Fesenko against the Lakers. Wait, wasn’t Kyrylo Fesenko a bad guy in one of the old James Bond movies? Whatever, let’s just move on.

Anyway, as good as the Jazz have been in the regular season, here’s my question on them: Why do they always get killed in the playoffs? Because they have no athleticism in the low post. None. Zip. Zero.

If you draft Udoh, it really doesn’t matter whether you play him in the regular season or not, Utah will still win 50 games. Keep him in the garage until April for all I care. But to beat the Lakers, Suns (As they’re currently constructed), Spurs and Mavericks, you just can’t expect the cement-footed Okur and 6’8 Boozer/Millsap combination to guard skilled big guys.

With Udoh, at the very least you’ve got someone to step in right away and be an impactful shot blocker and rebounder. Not to mention that I firmly believe his offensive game is better than people realize. Honestly, if he had played at Kentucky or Duke instead of Baylor, we might be talking about him going a lot higher.

If the Jazz are going to get past the second round of the playoffs some time before Deron Williams retires in 2021, they’re going to need more size, toughness and athleticism in the paint. Udoh provides all three.

This was my easiest pick since John Wall at No. 1.

No. 10 Indiana Pacers

Arjun selects…Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky

You’re killing me Aaron.  Udoh is so overrated: don’t you think guys like Patterson and Davis would look like Hall of Famers if they were still playing college ball at 23?  And it’s not like he ever looked like a special talent.  Good shot blocker and rebounder, but it’s not like Udoh doesn’t have a dime a dozen skill set.  I think the Jazz would be better off with a wing like Aminu. 

To me there’s way more potential return on your investment if you take Aminu as opposed to Udoh.  With Andrei Kirilenko still more mentally unstable than Mel Gibson (I’m not sure how you can say they’re set with him at the 3), the Jazz don’t have any wing players with athleticism and/or the ability to create shots.  All those guys that you mentioned are backups in this league – why not take a long wing to run with Williams and who can relieve D-Will of ball-handling duties in pinch?

For the Pacers pick I’m giving them Eric Bledsoe.  The Pacers want to play really up and down, which is great when you have a real point guard.  Instead they have T.J. Ford.  You can’t play up and down if the guy running the show is selfish, fragile, and simply not that good. 

I would have liked to see Bledsoe return to school and get some experience running the team on his own, but I can’t fault him for coming out.  Unlike Orton, he actually played enough for me to have a real opinion on him, and I like what I saw.  Really athletic, competitive, I see elements of Raymond Felton and Russell Westbrook in him.  Even if he’s not a pure point guard, he’s absolutely good enough to be a 1 in the NBA – he’s a good enough ball-handler and passer.  Bledsoe might be a little raw, but to me he knows how to play and will stick in the league.  He’ll make Danny Granger’s life easier and allow them to actually execute Jim O’Brien’s offense.

No. 11 New Orleans Hornets

Aaron selects…Al Farouq-Aminu, Wake Forest

First off, let’s go back to my pick at No. 9. Because that first paragraph you just wrote was so off base that I actually needed to take a deep breath, go for a long walk and hit happy hour for a drink before I came back to continue this debate. Seriously.

With Udoh, it doesn’t matter whether he’s 23 or 43, his skill-set matches exactly what the Jazz need down low, toughness, size and strength. Patterson is a 6’8 power forward, and Utah already has two of those! There isn’t a guy in this entire draft that Utah needs LESS than Patrick Patterson. Jon Scheyer and my 11-year-old cousin make more sense in Utah than Patterson does. 23, 43 or 103. I don’t care.

But back to Udoh. You called his skill-set “A dime a dozen.” But let me ask you this, do you think he can block two shots a game next year in the right situation? Because I do. Now go ahead and guess how many players averaged two blocks a game in the NBA last year. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Four! Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka and the late Jermaine O’Neal (Rest in peace). That’s it.

Now let me ask you another question. Do you think Udoh can average six rebounds a game? Because playing in that Utah lineup, I think he can, which this year would have put him in the company of only Howard and Gasol. While I would never, EVER compare his talent to either of those two, he certainly doesn’t have “dime a dozen” talent. That’s a dime 100 talent the way the league is right now. Remember, Utah won 53 games last year. They don’t need the next Michael Jordan, just a guy that fills a role. And Udoh fills that in Utah perfectly.

As for Aminu, I think he fits in with New Orleans perfectly here, would be a disaster in the structured, disciplined style that Jazz coach Jerry Sloan likes to run. While I agree that the Matthews/Miles/Prince menagerie are all a group of backups, I don’t think Aminu helps, even if he is more skilled than the three guys they’ve already got. Aminu would fit in as well in Utah as Jenna Jameson at an Oprah book club meeting.

But let’s talk about Aminu in New Orleans for a second.

For starters, like Davis four picks ago, I’m not crazy about him as a pure basketball player. He looks good in warm-ups and dunk contests, and fills up the stat sheet, but for all the athleticism he has, I just don’t think he’s that smart of a basketball player. Sure he got a double-double every night at Wake Forest, but if you watched them, it was actually Ish Smith that Wake ran plays for down the stretch, not Aminu. And by the way, yes, that’s the same Ish Smith who’ll be playing in Danish Super League next year.

What Aminu is, is someone who runs the court well, can hit an open jumper, and will finish in transition. With Chris Paul running the point and Darren Collison running your second team, the Hornets want to play up-tempo, and with the 13th pick, I actually think Aminu is quite a nice fit.

Unlike teams like the Clippers and Pistons who’ve been linked to Aminu in real life, New Orleans wouldn’t need him to step in and be an impact player, but allow him to just do what he does: Play hard, fill the stat sheet and be more valuable to your fantasy team than he is to his real team.

Aminu doesn’t get the Hornets any closer to the playoffs than they were this year, but he’s the best player, and the best fit left at this point.

(By the way, I have no beef with your Indiana pick. Indiana needs a point guard and is rumored to be looking at trading for Jonny Flynn. I firmly believe that Bledsoe today is no better or worse than Flynn is, with a year of NBA experience under his belt)

No. 12 Memphis Grizzlies

Arjun selects…Paul George, Fresno State

I’m fine with the Jazz passing up Patterson; but I’m not crazy about Udoh, and I feel like taking the best wing available would be a better.  Whatev. 

(By the way, you really think that he’s gonna step in an get 2 blocks a game?!!  Really?!!  Look I get that he’s an athletic big can block shots, rebound, do the dirty work, etc.  That gives him something in common with Samuel Dalembert,  Robin Lopez, Nene, Chris “Birdman” Anderson, Kenyon Martin, Serge Ibaka, Emeka Okafor, Tyson Chandler, Marcin Gortat, Hammed Hadadi, Marc Gasol, Sean Williams, Anderson Varejao, and hell even Erick Dampier in a contract year (not to mention potentially Sanders and Davis from this year’s class).  It’s not that hard to find these guys.)

We’re approaching the point where there really isn’t much difference between the top picks.  I can’t fault your pick.  You add a wing player to run with Chris Paul (who, by the way everyone, isn’t being traded.  You don’t trade CP3 for cap relief – the whole point of getting cap relief is to be able to get players like CP!!!!!) and inject some much-needed offensive firepower. 

I find Aminu intriguing – he’s got a great body for a 3, excellent handles, rebounds – I think he could be a cross between Thaddeus Young and Lamar Odom.  Defensively he’s lost, and that outside shot needs to improve, but I think at this point he’s the right pick, with the best combination of upside and production.  You could make a case for Paul George at the 11th pick or Cole Aldrich (Center is probably a bigger need for them, but I just feel that his talent doesn’t justify taking him this high).

The Grizzlies have basically the same need, and I’m taking Paul George.  Even if Rudy Gay stays (and for the record I think he’ll get overpaid and their owner Michael Heisley won’t match) they could use some wing depth.  I only saw this guy play a couple of times, but I was amazed by his raw talent.  He’s 6-9 with handles, finishing ability, AND range out to the 3-point line.  Of course there’s the whole problem about him being really passive aggressive and rarely actually making the most out of those skills….sigh. 

Still if you’re the Grizzlies, you need to take the chance on someone becoming a star.  Right now they’re good enough that just adding another limited role player isn’t going to magically push them up a level.  They’re a playoff team for sure, but to take the next step they need another blue chipper.  Paul George may very well just be another Jamario Moon, but at the same time he could be special, and it’s worth it to take that risk.

Now forget all that – that’s boring.  Another trade offer: Kirk Hinrich for Jason Thompson.  Straight up.  It works because the Kings have enough cap room to absorb the extra salary.  Obviously that’s a huge mismatch on paper, but you can’t just look at it in those terms. 

The Bulls aren’t really interested in making Hinrich a part of their long term plans, and by trading him away they shed some salary that could be valuable in the free agent sweepstakes while picking up a young big man for their 9-man rotation. 

The Kings don’t really need Thompson now that they’ve got Favors (at least in our mock), and Hinrich is the perfect guard to play with Tyreke Evans – great shooter and defender, pure point  that would let Evans play off the ball.  His contract only runs for two more years, so it doesn’t totally damage their cap flexibility.  To me it seems like a mutually beneficial deal since the Bulls aren’t really interested in Hinrich.

No. 13 Toronto Raptors

Aaron selects…Patrick Patterson

Alright, I’ll just very quickly gloss over my thoughts on the Memphis pick by saying that I agree that they need Rudy Gay insurance. However, how dare you say that they need a center! They just drafted Hasheem Thabeet last year! UConn!!! Anyone?

Onto the trade. I definitely like it for Chicago. As you said, Hinrich is no skin off their back, and they’ll pick up a nice backup in Thompson for Chris Bosh…Umm, I mean Joakim Noah. Sorry.

With Sacramento, I’m not so sure. I know you love the Kings, so I don’t want to undermine your opinion (Wait a second, isn’t that what this whole debate is about?) but I think you’re underestimating how much Tyreke Evans needs the ball in his hands to be effective. Make no mistake, even though he’s built like a shooting guard, he’s most definitely a point. He won’t get his points by coming off screens, he’ll get them by overpowering his man off the dribble. Luckily Kirk Hinrich seems like a “go with the flow,” kind of guy, so if Sacramento just wants him to stand in the corner and take 3’s, I don’t think he’ll object. Your trade gets the AT (Aaron Torres for you first time readers) Stamp of Approval.

Ok, onto the pick. First off, 80 percent of the reason I made it was just so you’d get off my back about Patterson I don’t know if he was your prom date or what, but you seem to love him about as much as any man can platonically love another. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But here’s why I like Patterson in Toronto: I have a buddy who will remain nameless that covers the Raptors. He sits in press row for all 41 home games. Nobody knows this team better than him.

And by the end of 2010 he couldn’t wait for the season to get over. Not to enjoy the lovely 40 degree Toronto spring, but because he was sick of covering a team a team with no heart. Sick of covering a team that didn’t like each other. Sick of covering a team that didn’t care. He was sick of the Toronto Raptors as they’re currently constructed.

With Patterson-no matter what you think of his game- at the very least, you know he’s going to come out and play hard all 82 nights of the season. He’s going to play defense. He’s going to be unselfish, especially considering he sacrificed stats to John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins this year in an attempt to win a National Championship. Patrick Patterson is the exact kind of person that the Raptors need, more than a specific type of player.

Not that it matters what type of player he is anyway since we have no idea what Toronto will look like next year. Chris Bosh is probably gone as a free agent. Hedo Turkoglu wants out. So why bother drafting for need when you’re not even sure what your needs are?

Instead, the Raptors have to get a good basketball player, and someone who’ll just come in, play hard, and do the dirty work. Because we know Andrea Bargnani (Who spends more time on his hair in the morning than my sister does) sure isn’t going to be diving on the floor for loose balls.

Make that four Kentucky Wildcats drafted in this lottery.

No. 14 Houston Rockets

Arjun selects…Larry Sanders, VCU

1.    Finally you took Patterson!!!  A legit starting power forward should not last this far into the draft.  I’m sorry I like guys who can actually play.  Yeesh.  Unfortunately all the teams I was selecting for had such gaping holes elsewhere that I couldn’t justify taking Patterson – but you’ve got some explaining to do.

2.    I meant center was a bigger need for the Hornets, not the Grizzlies.  The Grizzlies are set at Center with Marc Gasol and Hadadi (and I guess Thabeet is an OK 3rd string center – sorry Aaron), while the Hornets could use a true 5 that would let Okafor play at his natural power forward position.  Sorry for the confusion.

3.    Evans sure handled it a lot last year, but trust me he’s better playing off the ball – Hinrich can still get him the ball in the spots where he needs it while also getting everyone else involved (I LOVE Evans, but his playmaking skills are at best a work in progress), and Evans will still be able to handle the rock in crunch time – it’ll be kind of like Andre Miller/Brandon Roy in Portland.

4.    Total tangent: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but David Kahn is even dumber than I thought.  Two nuggets that I just learned today after submitting my 4th pick write-up yesterday:  first he apparently offered the 4th pick (overall, not 4th pick of round 2) for Nic Batum; straight up; I’m not sure how my Blazers did not accept in a heartbeat (Batum is one of my five fave players in the league – seriously?), but Kahn also deserves to be blasted for even coming up with that idea. 

Then he apparently offered Kevin Love for Zach Randolph; again straight up.  Apparently he jumped at the chance to pay 10 million for a downgrade – this coming from the same guy that drafted 50 million point guards last year. 

One day I’ll take over the Timberwolves.  Here’s my plan: first I’m firing Kahn and getting a real GM.  Ditto for coach Kurt Rambis.  Next I’m offering Kevin Love and the 4th pick for OJ Mayo, Marc Gasol, and the 12th pick – don’t put it past the ever parsimonious Heisley and the ever clueless Chris Wallace to accept.  I’ve solved all my frontcourt problems while keeping my cap flexibility for when I have to bid for Ricky Rubio.  See what happens when you’re GM actually watches basketball games?

Now on to the last pick.  To me Larry Sanders is the perfect guy for the Rockets to take.  They want to play similar to Walton’s Blazers, i.e. the first option is to utilize Yao’s awesome outlet passing to ignite the fast break, and if that doesn’t work then they’ll run an old-fashioned motion offense around Yao’s unique skills as a low post scorer. 

In that case, the big man playing alongside Yao doesn’t necessarily need to be super skilled, but rather needs to be able to

1. Block shots to help create transition opportunities

2. Rebound the ball and outlet it to the guards and

3. Run the floor in transition and be the trailer on the break. 

Larry Sanders is a dream pick for them – the perfect guy to play with Yao Ming.  I saw him play, trust me he’s so much better than guys like Udoh and Ed Davis – he’s loaded with upside and talent.  Aldrich doesn’t have nearly as much potential and definitely isn’t as good of a fit alongside Ming (and to be honest I think if Sanders had played for a big time program he’d get as much hype ad Cole).  I think Gordon Hayward is kind of overrated – too passive at times, needs to get stronger, not a great defender, disappointing championship game performance.

Here are some of the other guys I like: Avery Bradley (great defender, could be Russell Westbrook 2.0), Stanley Robinson (worst case: Stromile Swift; best case: Shawn Marion), and Omar Samhan (I can count the number of guys with that good of a back-to-the-basket game on my right hand).

Gotta say Aaron, it was great doing this draft debate – the NBA draft is one of my favorite nights of the year.  It annually shatters Simmons unintentional comedy scale, and I love trying to predict the guys that will matter in future years.  Thanks for hosting me, and remember everyone make sure to check out for candid and insightful analysis.  On the eve of July 1 I plan to unveil my breakdown of the free agent class and talk about Lebron’s legacy/place in history.  Should be very interesting, and at the very least controversial.  Obviously we’re fixated on where he’ll go and where he fits best, but at the same time we’re at the point where we can start discussing his true value on big-picture terms.  Should be fun; make sure to check it out. 

Again, thanks a lot for letting me do this Aaron, it was a pleasure!!!

(Love the article? Hate it? Let Aaron know by commenting below or e-mailing him at

Also be sure to follow both Aaron and Arjun on Twitter @Aaron_Torres and Arjunc12)

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.