Inside the NBA draft jerseys

Move over, or go away, Gilbert Arenas. There’s no doubt that University of Kentucky freshman John Wall goes No. 1 to the Washington Wizards, making him the point guard of the future for a franchise desperately needing a shot of good fortune. Beyond that, though, Thursday’s NBA Draft is nothing at all like last year’s, when points ruled the roost. After two big men (Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet) and two shooting guards (James Harden, Tyreke Evans) went, there was a run on points. Four went with the next six picks. Johnny Flynn, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings all were cheap jerseys
awfully good NBA rookies; Ricky Rubio stayed in Spain, but could be an NBA star before all’s done. Denver’s Ty Lawson, another dandy, went at No. 18. This time, no point besides Wall is likely to go in the top 10. This year’s next best two are Kentucky’s Eric Bledsoe, who often slid to shooting guard because of Wall’s presence in the Wildcat backcourt, and Texas’ Avery Bradley, really more of a combo guard. Both were one and done. But just one may go in the lottery, perhaps 13th to Toronto.

USA Basketball/Olympic point Deron Williams is the man in Utah. The 2005 draft’s No. 3 overall pick appeared in his first NBA All Star Game this year, and barring injury should play many more. The Jazz drafted Virginia Commonwealth point Eric Maynor 20th in last year’s first round, then traded him before Christmas to lessen their luxury tax hit. Williams was backed up thereafter mostly by undrafted combo guard Ronnie Price. The Utah Valley product has one year left on his contract. The Jazz’s No. 3 point late last season was undrafted rookie Sundiata Gaines, plucked from Idaho of the NBA Development League. He didn’t play much, but will be remembered for a buzzer beating 3 pointer against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers perhaps Utah’s top regular season highlight. The Jazz have a not fully guaranteed option on Gaines’ contract for next season, but he may have to win his roster spot with a strong showing during summer league play next month.


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