So the draft is a week from today and this promises to be one of the most interesting in recent memory. It is a draft class that offers on surface no franchise players. In fact it may even offer few starters when you get down to it. In the back drop of a bad economy some teams may just be searching for a way out of this first round at all cost. When you consider, you are forced to offer a guaranteed contract and a cap that is heading down and not up, you may not want to offer that. To have a rookie that is a bust in this time in the history of the league may cost more than ever. Not just the fact that you may miss on a good player but the fact that your stuck paying the bad one. The higher the pick the more the risk with a higher contract number.
As I mentioned earlier in the week, I think the whole concept of cap space and what it will mean for teams is changing. If you believe in that concept and the fact that cap room and cap management are going to become vital over the next few years, than the draft and how you spend cap on rookie contracts becomes important. Those mistakes made by teams picking in lottery positions are the most costly. Just like individuals in this tough economy can not afford to waste money. Same applies for your favourite NBA team.
This makes those people teams have in the area of scouting all the more important as well. Someone(on Twitter) brought up the point of Jim Kelly and his being with the Raptors for a long time. Kelly has remained through a number of changes in management and still been part of the scouting department. You can make the case that the Raptors success in the draft has been limited at best. So for Kelly and people around the league in similar positions it is white knuckle time. I am not convinced that teams can afford to make mistakes and not make changes if they are not getting results. Especially with those first round picks. Raptors have never had a great deal of success in round 2. Roko Ukic and Nathan Jawai are second round picks that are on the roster that still have yet to determine if they can change that poor track record. Teams that can find diamonds in the rough in that 2nd round will be even more important as well in terms cap management. Picking in the draft is not a science and it is hard to project what anyone will be in 5 years. I mean we have all heard that job interview question where do you see your self in 5 years or 10 years. Well imagine if it was your job to answer that question for others that you do not know to any great degree. Sure you can do research and homework but still. That is in some respect what scouts and teams are asked to do. It is there job to be right on these projections. Not an easy way to make a living.
It will be all of those people like Jim Kelly, huddled in that draft war room trying to advise their G.M's what his best move is. As hard as this process may be some teams do it very well. The San Antonio Spurs have had some major success with late picks in the first round. They also had some fantastic luck at the right time winning the draft lottery to draft Tim Ducan a can't miss first pick. Do the Clippers feel that Blake Griffin is that? A week from now we will find out if they do. The one thing that you can almost be certain if a team has a bad history like the Clippers you can trace that lack of success back to the draft. When you look at the Raptors draft history it is pretty ugly. Despite having 2 rookie of the year winners and a 4 time all-star in Bosh beyond that there has not been many success stories. Marcus Camby was a decent pick but did his best work was done once leaving the Raptors. Tracy McGrady was an excellent pick he just never stuck around in the organization. In fact for all of the bashing that Isiah Thomas has taken he had a pretty solid draft record and even after leaving the Raptors did o.k in that regard. Andrea Bargnani the team's only ever number 1 pick is still to be determined. But he has a long road to ever be considered better than Brandon Roy and others in that draft class. The only other good pick for the Raptors was Morris Peterson. He was never a star in the league but has always been a productive pro. But the ones people will always remember is Haffa and the other misses like Micheal Bradley and others.
As speculation hits an overload heading into this last week all questions or statements will have answers in 7 days.It promises to be one of the more interesting drafts in front of what should be one of the most interesting off-seasons in NBA history. I have 7 days to make my pick. Last year I was pushing Roy Hibbert to be the pick and he was. O.K technically he was Larry Bird's pick but I did get it right. This year I am thinking about 2 guys at this point Jonny Flynn or Demar DeRozan. A dark horse at this point for me would be Gearld Henderson. I will decide eventually. You can vote in our poll and have your say.