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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James Harden and Jordan Hill Sign

Arizona’s Jordan Hill and Arizona State’s James Harden have inked contracts for their respected NBA teams. Hnba_logo_2_z-thumbill was the 8th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft for the New York Knicks while James Harden was the 3rd overall pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Details of Harden’s contract were not released yet however it is rumored that Hill’s contract looks something like 4.3 million over the next 2 years. Personally I’m still waiting to hear news about Chase Budinger, another former ex-zona player and Jeff Teague, my underdog pick to turn up huge in the league.

Arizona sets a record with 31 draft picks since 1989

When Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill were called into the NBA this year they made the 30th and 31st players from Arizona to be drafted into the league since 1989. You see in 1989 the NBA draft was shortened into 2 rounds and since then only a few elite programs can say they have had over 20 of their players selected in the NBA draft. Those programs would be: Duke with 29, UCLA with 28, North Carolina with 25, Connecticut with 23, ancatsd Kansas with 22.

Arizona also has the longest current consecutive streak with an invitation to the NCAA tournament with 25. North Carolina holds the record with 27 straight appearances which began in 1975 and ended in 2001. Only 3 more years to go for the Cats which should be easier now considering Arizona’s new coach, Sean Miller, did a remarkable job recruiting this offseason and has the program commanding the 12th best recruiting class of 2009.

While we are on the subject of records and or awards, Playboy came out with their 2008- 2009 College Party School of the year award where Arizona ranked 5th. No wonder Sean Miller had such an easy time signing recruits, it’s a fun place to go to school.

Better yet, which college team lost the most in the 2009 NBA draft?

It’s fun to discuss the NBA draft in terms of which NBA team will benefit the most from their picks as well as which players were drafted too soon or too late. However it is rare that a rookie comes into the league and dominates right away. They may snatch a starting position and put up impressive numbers in their first year, but they almost never make a huge impact right away. They have to develop first. That is why after the NBA draft it is more fun to discuss the NCAA. Imagine losing an NBA quality player at the college level? Now that makes an impact on your team. So instead of further dissecting where the draft picks are headed, were taking you back to where these players came from to see which programs have gaping holes to fill next season. The rules of this evaluation are simple: Two NBA players that leave the NCAA affect the college they attended more than if just one player left. So below are all the colleges that lost 2 or more players this year to the 2009 NBA draft.Louisville Media Day Basketball

  • Arizona – Jordan Hill (8) and Chase Budinger (44)
  • Arizona State- James Harden (3) and Jeff Pendergraph (31)
  • Uconn- Hasheem Thabeet (2) and A.J. Price (52)
  • Louisville- Terrance Williams (11) and Earl Clark (14)
  • Memphis- Tyreke Evans (4) and Robert Dozier (60)
  • North Carolina- Tyler Hansbrough (13)/ Ty Lawson (18)/ Wayne Ellington (28)/ Danny Green (46)
  • Oklahoma- Blake Griffin (1) and Taylor Griffin (48)
  • Pittsburgh- Sam Young (36) and Dejuan Blair (37)
  • UCLA- Jrue Holiday (17) and Darren Collison (21)
  • USC- DeMar DeRozan (9) and Taj Gibson (26)
  • Wake Forest– James Johnson (16) and Jeff Teague (19)
  1. North Carolina wins or technically loses this contest. Four players from their team left the Baby Blue behind. They have by far the most work to do if they are to match the caliber of their championship team this past year.
  2. Louisville loses the second most.  Terrance Willams and Earl Clark closed business deals for them on the court and losing them hurts.
  3. Arizona State and Wake Forest tie for third. ASU will have a tough time in the Pac-10 without Harden’s scoring and Pendergraph rebounding and blocking shots. Wake Forest finished poorly this last season but will be hard to recognize without James Johnson and Jeff Teague.