3 Draft Picks to Watch

Summer league has passed and it is now that time for draft picks to get antsy if they haven’t signed a contract yet with their new teams. Of course there are many first round draft picks who have signed large contracts and will be players to watch shine the following years to come. However it is often exciting to keep tabs on those players who are unexpected to do well in the NBA.nbadraft2009

1) Chase Budinger- First mention goes to Chase Budinger. For those who know me well of course I’m going to talk about his recent multi-year agreement with the Houston Rockets. Here’s a player that came into Arizona recruited by Lute Olson himself who felt Budinger was the best high school recruit that Arizona had ever landed! That is a big deal coming from coach Olson who had recruited many current and past NBA players to Arizona. Budinger put up great overall numbers in his three years at U of A but never truly reached his potential. Perhaps it was due to having 3 different coaches in his 3 years with the program and off-the-court distractions. Either way he averaged 17 points a game with 5.8 rebounds in his 3 years in the desert. This resulted with him earning the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He went from a McDonalds All-American to the 44th overall pick in the NBA draft? The Houston rockets were quick to catch on that Budinger must have had his problems in college but that he was still an amazing player. That is why this past week he was signed to a multi-year contract with the organization after leading the club in scoring through out summer league play. Having watched Budinger at Arizona for 3 years I think he will surprise many with his offensive talent in the league.

2) Terrance Williams With the 1tth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft the New Jersey Nets grabbed Terrance Williams. Now williams did draft quickly and is expected to do well in the league but it seems his talent is still overlooked. Williams averaged 2.3 steals a game this past year at Louisville and is as quick as lighting for a 6’6″ wing. His average of 11 points per game in the 2008-2009 season was the result of playing amongst a team of all-stars in which he did not have to score excessively. With the exclusion of Blake Griffin in this discussion, Williams is my pick to win rookie of the year in the 2009-2010 NBA season. He will certainly have opportunities to shine on the court playing for New Jersey this year which is a huge part of winning the ROY award. Without the chance to play you can’t possibly win the award which is why I’m thinking he’s got the green light.

3) Eric MaynorSet all kinds of records for his college Virginia Commonwealth which might as well be a junior college? Maybe its just hard to keep track of all colleges these days because until the 2009 tourney I had not heard of it or of Maynor. Either way after some research and after watching his first round performance it’s easy to say that Maynor is an amazing point guard. I expect him to have a successful NBA career although I’m not sure if it will happen in Utah behind Deron Williams. Perhaps this first year he will grab some playing time when Williams needs a break and when he does, watch for him to put points on the board in a hurry. It will be fun to see how he does in his first year. Due to his circumstances in college (which was having to carry his team repeatedly against stronger and more talented teams), I  believe the adjustment to the NBA will be that much easier for him.

Who are your NBA rookies to watch for? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

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2009 NBA draft Summary

Blake Griffin was drafted one and Hasheem Thabeet second as predicted, but James Harden was drafted third which was a slight surprise. As soon as his first name rang into the microphone from the voice of David Stern, Harden bumped his chest. He’s off to Oklahoma City to play for one of the worst  franchises so he knows he will get playing time and as a direct result a larger contract. Here are some other notes from the first round:2009draftheader

  • Stephen Curry was the best pick in the draft besides Ricky Rubio and James Harden ( not including the consensus first overall pick Blake Griffin). Curry played on a mediocre Davidson team and put up huge numbers. It seems people forget how tough it is to play with terrible teammates. They rarely create easy opportunities for you and if you pass them the ball they rarely hook you up with an assist because they don’t finish.
  • Jordan Hill was booed when his name was called to become a New York Knick? How do you boo Hill who is the first player in the last 30 years from Arizona to average a double double?
  • Terance Williams– One of the most under-rated players in this draft, will kill it in the NBA. Williams has an amazing handle, a step back jumper, and an arsenal of moves in the lane that make him impossible to guard. Watch for him to dominate in New Jersey.
  • Jrue Holiday– Biggest gamble in the draft, picked at 17. Holiday only average 8.5 points a game and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman this past season at UCLA. Now he is young and could have potential but that is exactly why he is a gamble. His numbers don’t suggest he is currently a star so it seems Philly is chancing that he will become one?
  • Minnesota Timberwolves– draft 3 guards with three first round picks, two of which are six foot? They better have a trade lined up.
  • Jeff Teague– will be like a Michael Redd in the league, under the radar but extremely good. Teague is a thug and can score at will. He didn’t get any media the second half of this past season since Wake Forest dropped a series of games in a short period of time; which is why he is an amazing choice for the Atlanta Hawks as the 19th overall pick. He averaged 18 points a game this past season as a soph0more!
  • Eric Maynor– made a name for himself with impressive  play this year in the NCAA tourney. Set a school record for assists. Has a ton of upside and should have been drafted before Ty Lawson.

A Moment with Brandon Jennings

What happened to the best player to come out of high school last year? He failed academically to make it into the University of Arizona and charged over to Italy to grab some gourmet pasta, bread with butter, and a professional contract playing for Rome is what happened. That’s right, Brandon Jennings the number one high school prospect last year according to multiple sources, failed academically to make it into college. So instead he went with his family overseas and didn’t “waste” his time at a University. Time in a classroom without a projector showing highlights of a basketball game is considered wasteful to professional basketball players that pay their agents to think and act intelligently in their interests. So Jennings played ball in Italy this past year and with new eligibility has entered himself into the 2009 NBA draft. What exactly did life consist of for this star while he was away from home? “We” check in with Jennings below. P.S. Bring back that fade cut son!