I've spent way too much time looking into this years draft, which can be attributed mostly because my band of about five years looks to be done with. So free time = Clipperdom = Prepping for Draft Night, and here's what i'll be anticipating, and paying extra attention to on draft night.
#1 Big Men Falling - Cousins: A big story from the beginning of this years draft class has been DeMarcus Cousins and his character issues. Honestly, for a guy who's had this much ink about character, he actually comes off as pretty decent in interviews and the like, but nonetheless, the stigma persists. He's not really a factor for us at #8, because from all reports, the Pistons are drooling over the possibility of stealing this guy at #7, and how can you blame them. Despite the Clips not really having a shot at Cousins, but it's an intruiging situation to follow and it how far he falls may affect who's left when we pick.
The first team likely to look Cousins in the eye are the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the potential to do some major damage in the front court, already with Love & Jefferson. Their 1st option, Wesley Johnson is now likely to be plucked by New Jersey. The Kings had questions about Tyreke Evans last year, and he's worked out well for them to say the least, but do they double down on character issues w/ Cousins? If both teams pass, then that leaves Golden State the "Golden" opportunity to take him, but then again they may already be set with Biedrens at the 5. No doubt, Golden State is the most unpredictable team to track in the lottery. If Cousins does drop beyond this point, have little doubt that Detroit will jump all over the big man out of Kentucky.
Favors: Derrick Favors to New Jersey appeared to be one of the most likely draft locks, just behind Wall at #1, and Turner at #2. That could be over and done with now that the Nets are leaning towards Wesley Johnson, who would be a great fit at the 3 for the Nets, and especially when considering the inventory of (gettable) quality 4's on the free agent market are higher than the 3's, a situation we're all too familiar with. Add in that Carlos Boozer has the same agent as Wesley Johnson & that the new owner is likely to be too impatient to wait on Favors to blossom, and i'm a believer that Johnson will be drafted by the Nets. Now, looking at Minnesota's situation here. BPA could be Favors, but do they really draft a third power forward? They did it last year at PG, but with all of the backlash that caused, I can't really see it. Another factor is that Kahn recently ripped Favors after a work out, perhaps causing Favors value to drop or at the very least, for it to be uncomfortable to draft him. Not sure why he would do that if he wanted Wesley Johnson, but in the end I can see them just manning up and taking Cousins, or doing something totally unpredictable...if Minny does take Cousins, i'm not sure how hot Sacramento is on Favors, and likewise for Golden State and Detroit. But with out of all those three teams, one of the teams will surely take him, though with a little bit more doubt than Cousins going to DET at seven. Might as well say it, Favors available to LAC at #8, even though a likely 50-1 long shot or more, could actually happen.
#2 Al Farouq Aminu: With his unfamiliar sounding name, low profile personality, and questionable jump shot, it's taken Clipper Nation a while to get on board with the idea of AFA. What he does bring to the table, namely size and speed (defense & rebounding) at the Small Forward spot would be more than welcome addition, and perhaps something the Clippers have never had the luxury of having at the 3. Someone who can actually match up with the Carmelo's, LeBron's, and Artests of the world. Other positives are his work ethic, his abilities on the fast break, and his liklihood of fitting in on our team.
The problem is, now that we have warmed up to this prospect, how many other teams are seeing the same things? It's hard to really handicap what chance he has of falling to us at #8, but I see it right now as maybe a little north of 60%. With that, let's look at who could potentially steal AFA from us. First possible spot, is once again, Minnesota, with everyone's favorite GM David Kahn. He and Minnesota would be going well against the grain to take AFA here, but we know they're not crazy about Cousins, and Favors again would be triple their stock at PF, and if they were really dead set on Wesley Johnson, a Small Forward, wouldn't they at least think about the younger SF prospect with arguably more upside? The Kings could be more realistic if Cousins is off the board. Yeah, they're more likely to take Favors, but they already have a PF they like, and AFA isn't as much of a stretch at 5 as he is at #8. Also, keep in mind reports of the Kings actually liking Gordon Hayward. GSW, despite the reports remain unpredictable, and if they really are building around Curry, they have Biedrens at the 5, have Curry at 1, Ellis for the time being at 2, so why not get a guy that could play both the 3 and 4? I do believe the hype on DET taking a big man, so running the AFA gauntlet is likely to consist of just SAC & GSW, with Minnesota a big wild card and Detroit without much of a pulse, but still with a pick.
#3 Where the Clippers Come Out: After a lot of questions, I think we have a pretty good understanding of what we'll do at this point. Other than Cousins or Favors dropping, which we've already talked about how unlikely that really is, it appears that Aminu is our guy. For that 30-40% chance that Aminu isn't available, although anything can happen I have a hard time believing that we'll draft Monroe, Davis, Aldrich, or Udoh ahead of Hayward or Babbit. Monroe's name has been out there as a more prominent pick with the chance to go higher, but reports of that workout for GSW going wrong and for his rep of being a little bit indifferent to work ethic, and the game itself I have to think it's a big red flag for us or any other team. Out of the two wings, I think we'll take Hayward as he's been linked to us from early on and his stock hasn't fallen off much, other than AFA being our clear cut first option now.