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

Advertisements

General Commotion

Reports surfaced yesterday that Ron Artest is close to signing a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.  I guess that playoff friction between Kobe and Ron is a thing of the past.  Artest will likely take the starting spot vacated by Trevor Ariza, who is reportedly very close to becoming a Houston Rocket.  The Cavs will now have to look elsewhere to upgrade their backcourt size, as both Artest and Ariza were primary targets.  How this affects Lamar Odom is, as of yet, unclear; details of his negotiations have been sparse.  What is clear though, is that Lamar is seeking a contract in the $10 million a year range.  The Cavs could be looking in that direction, but Lamar’s salary would be more than what the Cavs would’ve likely paid either Artest or Ariza.mmmm grub

Hedo is no longer an option for the Cavs either.  Reports today claim that Hedo in Portland is a done deal. (Portland Dominos Pizza locations get ready.) Terms of the contract are unknown since the league has yet to announce the salary cap for the upcoming season.  Keep tabs on the situation in Portland, where rumors suggest Rudy Fernandez is unhappy with the possibility of diminished playing time.  The minutes were thin at the shooting guard and small forward positions last year, and that’s bound to be exacerbated by the addition of Turkoglu and return of Martell Webster.  Stay tuned.

The Lakers lose an A only to get an A+

10-year veteran Ron Artest is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he will surely be paying some fees for his extra baggage. The move comes after Trevor Ariza, an important part of the Lakers championship run, turned down the team’s multi-year offer. In basically performing a trade without the trade, the two free agents will swap jerseys as Ariza has agreed in principle to a deal with Houston worth $5.8 million for next season, with long term talks on the table. So what does the Artest move mean for the defending champions, and which Artest will they be paying those millions to?

Coming to Hollywood with a shady and checkered past, Artest unfortunately will always be rememkobe_artest_400bered by his participation in the Auburn Hills brawl on November 19, 2004 when he played for the Indiana Pacers. However, I would like to argue that last year with the Rockets was a huge step forward in the maturation process of the forward, who meshed well with his teammates and showed leadership qualities as Houston pushed the Lakers to a game seven in the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers are not only getting the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year who, for his career, has averaged 2.1 steals per game, they are getting the “I have learned from my past mistakes Artest”.

In an interview with ESPN, Artest was asked about why he decided to take less money and play for the Lakers. His response: “I am playing to win; I am not playing for the money anymore”. If you just had a Karl Malone and Gary Payton flashback, you are not alone. However the difference here is that Artest is only 29 and coming off a stellar season. The next big question is what will happen to Lamar Odom? In an ESPN interview, expert NBA Analyst Ric Bucher reported the chances of Odom signing with the Lakers is “good”, stating that the two sides can focus on the contract now that Ariza is out, and that there are limited suitors for Odom around the league. If Odom stays on board, I’m putting my money on the Lakers for a repeat.

An article by David Peterson- our most recent addition to our committee will be found under the writing name: Davepete starting tomorrow