In examining the picks from last night's draft some of them are pretty simple to evaluate. Greg Oden to the Blazers. Good. Kevin Durant to the Sonics. Good. There were a number of intriguing picks and stories that developed during draft night, so here is a look at some of the most intriguing picks, whether they be steals, terrible picks, or just plain great picks:
The Pick: The Milwaukee Bucks selecting Yi Jianlian with the #6 pick
The Scoop: Leading up to the draft myself and many others pointed out the rather odd choice by Yi Jianlian and his representation not to let Milwaukee see Yi work out. Speculation was that Yi's camp wanted him to play in a large market with a big Chinese population, a description that did not exactly fit Milwaukee. Some even believed that if the Bucks were to select Yi that he would either try to force a trade or go back to China. The truth behind those beliefs is set to be revealed as there are already rumblings that Yi might not only miss the team's training camp later this year, but that he may not even show up for Milwaukee's post draft press conference tomorrow. Something tells me this pick may not have been worth the trouble. By the way, check out this picture of Yi from Time Magazine in 2003 when he was *15* years old. Yeah right, my left foot he is 15 in that picture.
The Pick: The Chicago Bulls selecting Joakim Noah with the #9 pick
The Scoop: I don't often agree with Stephen A. Smith, but I am completely with his analysis on this pick. To put it simply, The Bulls already have what Noah is selling. Isn't Tyrus Thomas the same player except with a slightly better offensive game? The Bulls did not need another high energy rebounder, what they needed was a scorer in the low post. The most distressing aspect of this pick was that there was indeed such a player available in Spencer Hawes who went to the Kings at #10. It isn't that Noah is a bad player, he just does not seem to be what the Bulls needed with that pick.
The Pick: The Washington Wizards selecting Nick Young with the #16 pick
The Scoop: Young fell a bit lower than where many people had projected him to go, but ending up in Washington may well be the perfect spot for him. The Wizards started DeShawn Stevenson at SG this past season essentially on a one year rental. Young is a major upgrade at that spot, and at worst will be the Wizard's 6th man headed into the season. His offensive skills combined with the Wizards up tempo style and hole at the SG spot will make Young an impact player sooner rather than later.
The Pick: Everything the Portland Trailblazers did
The Scoop: The Blazers had an unbelievable evening. Putting aside the Zach Randolph trade, here is a quick rundown of the moves and picks they made: Drafted Greg Oden with the #1 pick, traded cash to the Suns for the #24 pick which they used on Rudy Fernandez, traded cash and the #42 pick to the 76ers for the #30 pick Peteri Koponen, drafted Josh McRoberts with the #37 pick, drafted Taurean Green with the #52 pick, and finally they drafted Demetris Nichols with the #53 pick. It goes without saying that Oden is a great pick. The other five selections however, are what make this draft truly special. Fernandez and Koponen are great talents that can take the time to develop overseas and then come to Portland a few years down the road to contribute. The three second round picks of McRoberts, Green, and Nichols are complete and utter steals. McRoberts is a lottery talent that came out too early, Green was the floor general and leading scorer of the two time national champions, and Nichols was arguably the best three point shooter in the entire draft. To put it bluntly the Blazers' draft picks tonight, the $30 million in contracts that they have coming off the books in two seasons, and the fact that they already have Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge makes this team a championship contender sooner rather than later.