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Tales from the Hood - NBA Draft Edition

Your faithful narrator here went a Nets draft party last night over in Brooklyn (hence the Hood section of the title), with much enthusiasm and excitement.  Yi!  On the Nets!  Frankly, I'm thrilled.  As a merchandise and jersey whore, I'm going to be buying his jersey as soon as it's available.  And probably pick up a RJ jersey once they go on clearance, because, again, I'm a merchandise and jersey whore.

(Note: No pictures, because I didn't bring my digital camera and didn't think anyone would want to see my 0.6 megapixel pictures taken from my Treo blown up.)

The night's festivities took place at the Brooklyn Brewery, which was more of an empty warehouse with bags of barley scattered about.  Really, that summarizes all you need to know about being a Nets fan.  Oh, and the buddy I brought with me won a raffle for a signed Devin Harris jersey.  I briefly thought about making him hand it over, until I remembered I'm getting a signed Devin Harris jersey for being a season ticket holder anyway.  I still thought about it before I remembered it was his birthday, so I let him keep it.

So the night started off with high hopes, free hamburgers, free hot dogs, free beer, and the knowledge that Ryan Anderson had been picked in more than a few mocks to be the Nets' pick at 21.  I was still somewhat skeptical, and thought he might be a better pick at 40...or if the Nets really felt like it, they could reach for Hardin instead at that spot. 



Would we be seeing either of these two men in a Nets uniform by the end of the night?

Yes.  But first we had to sit through Brook Lopez. 

Put me down as someone who thinks Lopez will be a good player in the pros, although the reaction was decidedly mixed.  You'd think I'd be against it because of the fact that he's not only from Stanford, but another Stanford twin center.  You know, like this guy.


Anyway, with Lopez out of the way, the place was buzzing.  People wanted Chris Douglas-Roberts at 21 because of the vacancy at small forward, and I have to admit that sounded pretty decent to me too.  So what happened?

I'll be honest, I didn't see that coming at all.  Even when Stern starting saying "Ryan And" I was lost until he got the whole name out.  Then, wait a minute, that sounds familiar...

To say that the gathered masses had no idea who Ryan Anderson is would be an understatement.  I was whooping and hollering, and no one else said anything, because they had no idea how to react.  Was this a good pick?  A bad one?  Who is this guy?  That's what they were asking.

I had been jawing with a guy in a DeMarcus Ware jersey about Brook Lopez and whether he would be bust.  His verdict: yes - but that's what you'd expect from a Cowboys fan.  He was busting on the Pac-10 the whole night, and while I didn't think to ask him which conference was any better because of the massive quantities of alcohol consumed, he came after me with a vengeance after Anderson's pick.

"Who the hell is Ryan Anderson?" 

"21.1 and 9.9," I answered.

"Yeah, in the Pac-10!"

"Yeah, in the Pac-10."

"Dude, look at me in my face and tell me he can play!"

"He can play."

BAM.  I win.  Well, not really.  Then he just went to go get another beer.  That's what it's like being a Nets fan.  Being able to take comfort in the knowledge that the blow of your team picking a guy you've never heard of can be cushioned by lots and lots of free alcohol.

So what kind of situations have the youngest Net in 25 years and Hardin found themselves in after last night?

The Nets are clearly rebuilding with an eye towards 2010, something that I'm fine with because I'm going to kill myself in two years if LeBron doesn't come to Brooklyn.  Here's a look at the team's current projected depth chart, courtesy Dave D'Alessandro:

PG Devin Harris Marcus Williams
SG Vince Carter Chris Douglas-Roberts Maurice Ager
SF Bobby Simmons Ryan Anderson Trenton Hassell
PF Nenad Krstic
Yi Jianlian Stromile Swift
C Brook Lopez Josh Boone Sean Williams

I'm pretty sure that the Nets didn't bring in Yi not to have him start - he probably wouldn't develop as quickly, they wouldn't have paid the price they did if that were the intention, and the Chinese Basketball Association would not be very happy.  But anyway, what about Anderson?

Since it's always fun to compare players to existing players, or to players who have just left the team, it's easy to believe that Anderson will be called on to fill the role that Bostjan Nachbar had on the team last year.  Nachbar was frequently the team's sixth man, coming in to play either forward position to help space the floor with his 3-point shooting and ability to drive on occasion.  There are also physical similarities there too, as Nachbar is 6'9", 221 pounds, with Anderson checking in at 6'10", 240.  But can Anderson match the 9.8 points and 3.5 rebounds that Nachbar had last year?

He'll probably be given every opportunity to do so.  Bobby Simmons is always injured, meaning there should be plenty of playing time available.  That aside, there aren't a lot of three point shooters on the team, and while there's some duplication of skills on the team with Krstic and Yi being more perimeter-oriented forwards, they're both still power forwards while Anderson is more of a small forward in a power forward's body, like Nachbar was.

It also seems as if the issues regarding Anderson's defense won't be as much of a problem on this year's Nets team as they would on other teams.  The team, as presently constituted, doesn't seem like one that would be great defensively even if they tried, so Anderson's defensive shortcomings may go overlooked more than they ordinarily would.

While the team will likely look to add a few more veterans (read: guys willing to play cheap), I think Anderson will get at least 15 minutes per game early in the season to prove himself.  And, hey, do you know which team's camp Rod Benson was at least year?

That's right, the Nets.  I'm looking forward to some more Boom Tho in New Jersey this summer.



So what about DeVon?  Projected to be a late lottery pick last year, he slid all the way to 50.  What happened?  Well, according to Chad Ford:

When you watch Hardin, you're wowed by his NBA body and athleticism. But does he really know how to play? Offensively he doesn't have much, but he should be able to play and defend in the league. Though I'm not sure the Sonics needed another big man prospect.

That pretty much sums it up.  So let's take a look at the Sonics depth chart before the draft, since no one's writing about next year because of this:

PG Earl Watson Luke Ridnour
SG Kevin Durant Damien Wilkins
SF Jeff Green Adrian Griffin Ronald Dupree
PF Nick Collison Donyell Marshall Chris Wilcox
C Johan Petro Francisco Elson Mouhamed Sene

Of course, Francisco Elson (former Cal Bear alongside Sean Lampley) is more famously known for this incident with KG (Wikipedia):

Elson gained notoriety during Denver's 2004 playoff series with Minnesota through his physical attempts to contain Kevin Garnett. Elson knocked Garnett into the seats behind the basket with a hard foul early in a game and later in the game was hit in the groin by Garnett. Elson caused controversy when he described Garnett as "gay" for the groin shot. Elson later apologized to the gay and lesbian community for his comments.


Anywho, how does Hardin fit in?  First, let's get one thing straight: Seattle's centers suck.  It's why I thought they would end up taking Brook Lopez instead of Russell Westbrook, but let's just say there's ample opportunity for upward movement on the depth chart if DeVon shows he has a pulse.  Does he? 

Well, he didn't show much of one last year.  Or rather, even when he did, he didn't produce.  He'll likely have the opportunity to play if he fully utilizes his athletic ability, but he didn't do that in college, so is that going to change now that he's getting paid?  It's hard to imagine that happening.



What did our Bears get into?  Likely a lot of losing, but they were drafted by teams that need them.  They'll have opportunities to show they can play, and that's all they can really ask for at the stages they were drafted.  Go Bears.