...still wondering about the smartest draft philosophy? Well, I'm here to help. Ready? Here you go, it's simple: select quality players that played four years at quality colleges. They'll produce for you. If you gamble on some high-schooler with freakish numbers, be prepared for the possibility that nothing will come of them. (Yes, I do realize that players such as Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James came straight from high school. But for every one of these stars, there are countless Kwame Browns and Jonathan Benders.)
I'm certain that one team has figured this philosophy out--the Phoenix Suns. Look at their last draft. The Suns selected two non-trendy and non-scout beloved players: Wisconsin's Alando Tucker and Maryland's D.J. Strawberry. And what has come of these picks? From early indications, they are already solid and competent pros that are able to help, not hurt, their team.
Thursday, October 25 - Denver v. Phoenix. D.J. Strawberry hit a game winning 3-pointer to sink Allan Iverson and Carmello Anthony's team. Alando Tucker kicked in 12 points in the winning effort.
Tucker and D.J. Strawberry scored all of Phoenix's points during a 12-5 spurt that extended the Suns' margin to 11 at 87-76 with 4:41 to play. Strawberry, the son of former baseball star Darryl Strawberry, contributed a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. Tucker had also drained a three, along with a 19-footer and layup.
Also of note: All 14 of Tucker's points were scored in the key fourth quarter.
Yes, I do realize that the year is incredibly young. But even at this early juncture, on a team overloaded with All-Stars (Nash, Hill, Stoudemire, Barbosa, etc), these two draft selections have already made solid contributions to their new team. It's time to recognize that being a star throughout four years in college should have more merit than being 18 years old and 6'10".