Remind Me Why Russell Westbrook Is Even In The Conversation?
We're two days away from the draft, which means it's about time for GM's to start intentionally seeding the media with ridiculous rumors. For instance, we've got word that Kevin McHale is infatuated with Kevin Love and might take him at No. 3. Then again, that's fairly believable.
It's hard to decipher what's fact or fiction, but either way, it's fun attempting to predict the names David Stern will be calling first. Make sure you enter the FanIQ NBA Mock Draft Challenge where you'll be attempting to predict each of the first round picks.
Let's just focus in on the first five, more specifically picks 3, 4 and 5 where there remains considerable doubt. I think we can safely assume that Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley will go first and second, although Pat Riley could be feeling the effects from all that grease and opt for OJ Mayo.
Assuming it goes that way, Minnesota would be hard pressed to pass on Mayo, who will bring his ceiling-less talent along with a game that would surely fill seats at the Target Center. Randy Foye and Marko Jaric is a backcourt that I would rank dead last in the Western Conference. Mayo can play the one or two, and makes things in paint much easier for Al Jefferson. Another option that could clear some space for the Timberwolves is Brook Lopez or Kevin Love, the latter is apparently a serious consideration for Kevin McHale. I'm a big, big fan of Love's game but number three is a stretch. Since Jefferson is technically a PF, I think Lopez is worth the investment as a true seven-footer. In the end, Mayo provides more instant value for a team that needs more than just a few wins.
Seattle picks fourth and is providing me with the greatest amount of skepticism. They can't really be considering Russell Westbrook this high, can they? That's what Chad Ford is trying to tell us with his latest mock draft. Even if he reminds some of Rajon Rondo, does that really make his value any higher? I'm of the opinion that Westbrook is being used as a fake out for hiding strong interest in the other solid point guard, Jerryd Bayless. At least the Supersonics are aware of their primary need: a quarterback on the court. While Westbrook is exciting and can certainly dunk, I like Bayless and his ability to stretch the court with half court range. I'll continue to stick with the Arizona freshman as the pick.
At this point, Memphis could draft anybody but Westbrook and I'd call it a success. Mike Conley Jr. needs more playing time to develop as their point guard of the future, so I don't think they need to go that route. Eric Gordon will enter the conversation here, since he wouldn't need to be the primary ball handler. If the Grizzlies choose to join the rest of the Western Conference with an uptempo pace, then he's the obvious pick as far as I'm concerned, but remember, this is the organization who sent Pau Gasol away in exchange for nothing. Lopez would also be a fine choice seeing as how the current front court consists of Hakim Warrick, Darko Milicic, Jason Collins and Kwame Brown. I go with Gordon.
If you're in each of these draft rooms, who are you taking with picks 3, 4 and 5?