Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Sebastian, Mark, Devin, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.
Please note that Mark was not able to answer the inaugural questions because he decided to take a more active role and is SEARCHING for Godot. Yeah, NAS writers are smart and cultured like that, able to throw in literary references with the greatest of ease. SWAGGER!
1) If The Washington Wizards keep the first overall pick and draft John Wall, would Wall and Gilbert Arenas be able to co-exist? Or do the Wizards have a chance of moving Arenas and his big contract?
I think the Wizards are going to be keeping the first pick and draft John Wall. As for Wall playing together with Gilbert Arenas, I think it is possible. In my opinion, both Wall and Gilbert have the size to be a 2-guard in this league, but I think Gilbert will be the one moved while Wall stays at point. Gilbert Arenas has always been more of a scoring point guard, and sliding him to SG will allow the Wizards to to get Arenas the ball in scoring areas easier. Plus now Arenas won't have to chase around opposing point guards, and that is a good thing considering all the damage done to his knees in recent years.
Unfortunately for us, absolutely. Arenas and Wall are both great scorers and distributors, and Wall is long enough that he'd be able to guard twos on the defensive end. Arenas gives Wall someone with a good outside shot and team-running skills to defer to, and Wall gives Arenas an exciting slasher with some of the best court vision we've ever seen at the college level. However, if the Wizards have a chance to move Arenas, I don't think they pass it up solely because of financial reasons. They'd still take Wall though. I don't see how they pass on him.
The Wizards will probably do all they can to trade Arenas, not strictly for financial reasons, although that plays a big part, but for the sake of image. When Arenas got in trouble for his firearm shenanigans, the Wizards immediately took down every image or mention of Arenas in their building. Wall is a refreshing start in every sense and I can see the organization not wanting it tainted in any way. However, moving the contract will be difficult, so the question becomes, can both enigmatic and charismatic point guards with the ability to score be able to work together? No question. Arenas won't mind the attention taken away from him because of Wall, partly because the road to redemption for Arenas meets the road to stardom for Wall. If Arenas and Wall succeed as a backcourt, for the most part, people will point finger guns in true jest and not a symbol of disrespect to the Association, but most of all to a career.
2) Besides the seemingly consensus top five of Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, and Wesley Johnson, which draft prospect should we be paying attention to?
I really like Patrick Patterson. I know he dropped off this past year, but I think Coach Cal put him in a tough position. He was sharing the court with 3 fantastic freshmen who dominated the basketball and Patterson's opportunities really diminished, but he still worked hard all season. I think he is going to be a real good PF in this league because of that work ethic.
We'll never take him with the 3, but Donatas Motiejunas is very, very skilled. I know it's easy to look at Euro bigs and think Darko 2.0, but Motiejunas is not that guy. He can shoot, he can dribble, he's shown an ability to adapt to the American game (he played with the top American prospects at last year's Hoop Summit and was arguably the second-best player on the floor), and he's got excellent post moves. I think he can be an Andrea Bargnani-type player with a better inside game. While he's got a skinny frame and isn't exactly a lock-down defender, I think unless the Nets find a way to pick either Turner or (gulp) Wall, they'd have to consider packaging some higher picks and perhaps Yi (!!) to trade into the 10-14 range for Motiejunas.
On the cusp of the top five, I like Al-Farouq Aminu, the sophomore forward from Wake Forest. Despite being a year ahead of both Wall and Cousins, Aminu is only a couple of weeks older than both and possesses as much upside as the aforementioned. Aminu is a freak athlete with great physical tools (wingspan, lateral quickness, motor), the ability to attack the rim like it owed him money, handle, and what will keep him getting burn, defense. Aminu has the ability to play either forward spot and guard multiple positions. He's coachable and ready to put in the work, which will be the difference in his success because he already has all of the physical tools.
3) Being down 2-0 in their respective conference series, who has a better chance of coming back to win their match-up and head to the NBA Finals?
It has to be Orlando. In their first two games they have actually had stretches where they played better than the Celtics, which can't be said about the Suns in their games against the Lakers. The Magic are a few VC free throws and a J.J. Redick bonehead mistake from having the series all tied up.
This one hurts because I picked a Suns-Magic Finals. Along with the Nets losing the lottery, basketball these past few days has left me reeling. Right now I think both teams are cooked, but the Orlando Magic have a better shot at pulling off the (now) upset. Losing two at home seems insurmountable and right now Boston has all the juices flowing, but they are still an old team with a lot of pronounced weaknesses. Two missed free-throws last game aside (which everyone has done - LeBron, Kobe, you name it), Vince Carter is still a cold-blooded assassin in the last two minutes of close games. The scary thing about the Magic is that they have yet to have one game this entire postseason where everybody was on, and they were still blowing out opponents in the first two rounds. Phoenix, on the other hand, has just seemed completely outmatched against LA. Passes are getting deflected everywhere and they have no answer for the lethal Gasol+Kobe combo. I originally picked the Suns to pull off a shocker, but they've looked shellshocked this series. So much for my predictions.
Easily the Orlando Magic relative to this particular question and it has more to do with how the Los Angeles Lakers are just rolling right now. As mentioned, the Magic could have made it a tied series if not for a couple of free-throws and a poor man's version of a Chris Webber time-out. The Suns? They've only looked relatively good in one quarter out of the eight played. Plus, it seems that Lamar Odom is not just "lucky," but actually skilled. Sorry, Amar'e, but you're wrong in your assessment.
Next week, we'll be back with more questions and answers regarding the Association we all know and love. Until then, throw your finger guns in the air and wave them like you just don't care. (If your name is Gilbert Arenas, please refrain from following this suggestion).