The world champion Miami Heat will be spectators this Wednesday’s for the NBA Draft, one the New York Knicks brass figure to botch again.
The best case scenario for the mess in New York is to finish last and hope the lottery produces the top pick in 2007. Then the Knicks could pick the 7-foot-1, 255-pound Greg Oden from Ohio State, who will be pressured to bolt after his freshman year in Columbus.
Oden is the best college big man since Patrick Ewing, who fell to the Knicks some 20 years ago. Ewing was unfairly cast in the role of savior and to his credit did carry New York to the final before losing to San Antonio.
That’s ancient history. As for the Heat, not having a first or second round pick in this draft especially hurts because they are not a young team except for Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem. Even with Shaq and Alonzo Mourning coming back, health issues undoubtedly will be a concern all next season.
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas don’t carry much weight in the draft, but chances are far greater that an NBA team, with five starters and a roster of 11, will find an impact player more easily than a NFL franchise, with 22 starters and a 45-player roster.
Toronto has the first pick, and the Raptors already have one of the league’s top young forwards in Chris Bosh. They should improve immediately. Other NBA teams also in very good draft shape are Chicago at No. 2 and 17, Charlotte (3), Portland (4 and 30), Atlanta (5) and Phoenix (21 and 27).
New Orleans/Oklahoma City along with Minnesota and New Jersey have three picks in the two-round draft, with the Hornets owning picks 12 and 15 in the first round. The Nets also have first round picks at 22 and 23
At No. 20 and 29, the Knicks will have plenty of point guards available. They only have four on the roster! At 300-1 to win the NBA title next year, don’t waste your money. Bet this nag to finish under the posted win total when available.
Who’s the best player available? This certainly looks like a draft based on need.
Maybe Toronto will go with an outside shooter like J.J. Redick, or a Dirk Novitzki type in Adam Morrison. Europeans are again all over the map in an overall draft that figures to be a snoozer compared to next year when Oden is available.
ESPN will be televising the festivities live from New York at 4 p.m. PT. Give it a look between breaks in baseball.