A few quick thoughts on draft-day-minus-one (incidentally, I will be live-blogging throughout the first round tomorrow):
- I can’t decide if I was surprised to see Tyler Hansbrough stay in college for his senior season or not. On one hand, he was a guaranteed first rounder who would make a few million dollars over the next couple of years, and there is always the chance that he could be hurt or do something to fall out of favor. On the other hand, his game is clearly made more for college and he will be the runaway early favorite for Player of the Year next year, so the risk is going to be relatively low. Given that he decided to stay I was a bit surprised that Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington declared, though neither has an agent so anything could still happen. If I were betting I would say that Lawson will come back for another year because this is a guard-heavy draft and he isn’t going to be in the lottery. He easily could be with a strong year next year. If that happens then Ellington should return, too – he’s likely a second rounder as it is. And if all three guys come back then North Carolina will unfortunately be at least as good as this year. No matter what happens, Roy Williams is having a very good day.
- The Raptors and the Wizards earned much needed bug wins in the NBA playoffs last night. Unless I am missing something that means that in seven of the series only one road team – Philadelphia in game one against Detroit – has won a game so far. If only handicapping were always that easy. The only exception is the Utah-Houston series. In that one the home team has yet to win through three games. Other than that series the home team is at 13-3 ATS.
- Larry Brown has quit his gig with the 76ers to free himself up to take a coaching gig. In related news, Larry Brown really needs to go away.
- Another interesting reminder of how tough it is to draft players on the eve of this year’s edition: Five years agao the Jets picked DT Dewayne Robertson from Kentucky fourth overall. He was seen as a beast, and was the first defensive player off the board – ahead of guys like Terence Newman, Kevin Williams, Terrell Suggs, and Troy Polamalu. He was healthy but unimpressive in his first few years, and unhealthy and equally unimpressive more recently. The Jets tried to trade him to Cincinnati in March, but it fell through. Now they have sent him to Denver for a conditional draft pick that will fall somewhere in the mid rounds depending on how much he plays. Robertson was supposed to be a can’t miss prospect, but he missed pretty badly. We’ll be able to tell the same story about several of the can’t miss blue-chippers this year. It’s just a matter of which ones. My first bet is Vernon Gholston. I was also thinking today of another Big Ten offensive tackle now that Jake Long is locked in on top this year. Robert Gallery was the second pick in 2004 out of Iowa. He went behind only Eli Manning, and he was as close to a sure thing as anyone. Gallery was only okay as a right tackle his first two seasons, terrible as a left tackle in season three, and was moved inside to guard last year where he was adequate but not much more.