The All-NBA Draft, Rounds 3-4
Stolen from Inspired by this episode of the B.S. Report, four of our writers decided to create an NBA draft, where all players from the current NBA season are available. The goal? To put together this best possible team. The draft was treated as the players’ health status is now (ex. Kevin Love out til mid-March) and if these would be the only four teams in the league, but would play it out over the course of the remainder of the rest of the season. The draft has already concluded, and will be presented in two round increments, with each writer giving their thoughts about their own and their opponents selections. Enjoy and feel free to comment!
To read comments about Rounds 1 and 2, click here.
Round Three: Mike Aurigemma – LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Kaplan – Zach Randolph, Vinny Ginardi – Steph Curry, Michael Cresci – Marc Gasol
MA: This was definitely a reach for me, but I wanted to be able to get a low post scorer on this team as well. I believe Aldridge is extremely underrated on the Trail Blazers and having Harden and James take a ton of pressure away from him will definitely open things up for Aldridge to go to work. One other thing I needed was rebounding and someone who can start the break with a good outlet pass and I know Aldridge would be able to fill that void. It seems like once you have your core two guys, you needed to try to get certain abilities on your team next.
GK: I got my scorers locked in. What I needed most now was a lot of rebounding, a lot of toughness and even more crazy. Z Bo has been an absolute monster inside this season and has become a virtual breathing double-double. As much as I like Aldridge and don’t have a problem with Mikey taking him to stabilize his inside, I think he gifted me the rights to Randolph. I have to say, I think I’m falling in love with my squad already.
VG: What really interests me here is that almost every selection could probably be seen as at least a little bit of a reach. Already having Paul and Howard on my team, I knew I needed a scorer. With Curry I am getting some one who can create his own shot but can also be used as a spot-up shooter (and a lethal one at that). I can already picture him getting open looks out of Paul penetrations and Howard kick outs. I like where this team is headed. I could have went with Wade here but I had a feeling Cresci would pass on him with his two picks.
MC: Gasol is an easy pick. He’s probably the best traditional, back to the basket, center in the game (especially with Dwight’s injury and so so post moves) and gives me a fierce rim protector. Beyond that he’s one of the best passing big men in recent memory and will fit great with Melo. I’m set with elite players at the 1, 3 and 5 and going forward I’m going to be focusing on versatility so I can tinker with lineups. Marc Gasol is still somehow underrated and this pick feels like a no brainer. Aldridge and Curry feel like reaches but they could turn out to be smart picks depending on the type of roster Mike and Vinny are assembling. I would have taken Gasol of Aldridge in a heartbeat so throw this round in the win column.
Round Four: Michael Cresci – Tim Duncan, Vinny Ginardi – Dwyane Wade, Greg Kaplan – Serge Ibaka, Mike Aurigemma – Joakim Noah
MC: Little did I know that when I selected the greatest power forward in the history of the NBA I’d be the target of major criticism from Greg. He’s quietly having a fantastic season, gives me a front court I’d want to go to war with and unparalleled leadership. I get a player who’s basically averaging a double double (9.8 rebounds, just round-up) and is a proven champion with an insanely high basketball IQ. Duncan is the sort of guy that raises the play of his teammates and will show up in a big game. My strategy is to get versatility out of my bigs, allowing for more lineup combos and this plays right into that. It’s no more of a reach than Serge Ibaka, a wonderful player who’s still developing, and Wade gives me scoring I don’t really need and an attitude I can’t stand.
GK: I thought for a long, hard while about taking Wade here. However, I have Kobe and Durant, so I didn’t need the scoring from the wings. I have Z Bo for inside toughness and rebounding. With Ibaka, I see myself getting an absolute stopper inside that is not going to require the slightest of looks on the offensive end, all while literally keep people from driving against me and teaming him up with Z Bo to fight off the likes of Dwight Howard. As for Cresci taking Duncan, yes, I had a massive problem with Cresci taking Duncan right now. Duncan is absolutely having a monster season, especially considering his age and legacy in the league. But, is he one of the best 16 players in the league right now? I don’t see how that’s possible. He’s definitely worthy of getting taken in this deep of a draft, even with only four teams. But, he’s probably not even top 25. He’s somewhere in the top 40. Not here, though. It’s fair to say we’ve all taken a reach at this point, and I’m probably reaching with Ibaka. But, I don’t see Duncan as this quality of player right now in his career. The dude is probably the greatest power forward of all-time, but he still isn’t the same player he was in his peak. Again, still amazing that he’s a top 40 player with his mileage and track record. That can’t be understated enough.
VG: With Wade I see someone who can be my sixth man/leader of my second unit. As we’ve seen in Miami, he needs to the ball to be most effective, so he would probably benefit most when Paul is off the court. A lot of controversy surrounded Cresci’s pick of Duncan. Yes, he’s old, but I kind of like the pick. He’s a great leader/team player who is still producing at a fairly high level, and that’s all Cresci needs from him for this team. Is it a little early? Maybe. But there’s no guarantee he would have made it all the way back to the end of the fifth round.
MA: Duncan, to me, was a great choice by Cresci. Not every pick is going to be a young superstar who is extremely talented and you do not want your whole team to be built that way. His experience will definitely help and it is not like he has completely fallen off the face of the earth from a talent level. With my pick, I knew I needed a defensive anchor. Harden is not the best defender when he needs to score a lot and I think that is the one weakness in Aldridge’s game. So Noah was the guy I wanted on my team. He is arguably the best help defender in the game, but also a great rebounder who has the ability to run the floor with players like James and Harden.
Teams So Far:
Mike Aurigemma – LeBron James, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joakim Noah
Greg Kaplan – Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Zach Randolph, Serge Ibaka
Vinny Ginardi- Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Steph Curry, Dwyane Wade
Michael Cresci- Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan