Thursday, August 7, 2008
Generally, there's a consensus as to who the number one pick of a draft in any year should be. Most of the draft touts who write about the NBA, or the NFL, or even the WNBA are pretty much in agreement about who the first handful of picks should be in any given year. There's a general consensus as to who the #1 pick should be, a slightly smaller consensus as to who #2 should be, and everyone's draft list differs beyond that spot.
If it were just as simple as teams choosing the best players available when their turns come up, predicting a draft would be easy. What makes draft predictions so hard is that teams have needs beyond talent. A team might already have talent at one position, but be lacking in another. If a team has two strong forwards, they won't be looking for another forward; rather, they'll be looking at the best of the guards still on the draft board. A team has to fit specific needs when drafting. Necessity is the mother of the draft.
There is, however, an exception. The exception is when one of the remaining players is so head and shoulders in talent above the rest that you should draft that player regardless of position. In the case of the team with the two forwards above, a undrafted forward might be playing at a level above the undrafted guards. In which case you draft the forward, and then decide who is going to get traded for a guard down the line or who can shift positions to make place for the new player.
Making matters more complicated for the Atlanta Dream is that if the magic ping-pong balls bounce the right way, Atlanta will get the first pick in the 2009 WNBA draft. In which case they'll have to answer their ultimate question, "draft for talent or draft for necessity?"
Here's how I see the Atlanta Dream vis-a-vis positions:
guard: not much of a need
center: we might be able to make do with Bales and Feenstra
forward: a clear need.
Therefore, Coach Meadors has to be thinking: "go with the best forward in the draft". I've been doing my preliminary analysis (to be printed tomorrow) and right now, I have the best forward as being Angel McCoughtry out of Louisville. The problem is, McCoughtry is the best forward but not the best player. That player, according to preliminary analysis, is Courtney Paris, a center out of Oklahoma.
So who does Meadors take? Paris, or McCoughtry?
The answer to that question is, "is Paris substantially better than McCoughtry?" Right now, my answer is "yes", Paris is just enough better than McCoughtry for the Dream to take Paris as the #1 pick if they get the chance. That will probably mean that Bales will stay as backup and poor Katie Feenstra will have to pack up her bags and go.
Where, oh where, will poor Kit go? And what kind of a forward could we get for Feenstra? Any takers?