The first real wave of NBA mock drafts hit this week, and there’s no consensus regarding the Hawks’ Round 1 selection. Chad Ford of ESPN.com has them taking point guard Jeff Teague of Wake Forest at No. 19. Sean Deveney of Sporting News Today opts for Jonny Flynn, a point guard from Syracuse. Ian Thomsen of SI.com goes with yet another point guard — Eric Maynor of VCU. And NBAdraft.net, which last week had the Hawks taking Teague, has changed its mind and now has them choosing center B.J. Mullens of Ohio State.
For those keeping score, that’s three point guards against one center. In yesterday’s lengthy Q&A with GM Rick Sund, he said: “I pretty much lean, when you’re picking 19th, to take the best player with the most potential.” Of the four, Mullens might well have the most potential. He’s a skinny big man — he’s 7-foot, 275 pounds — with good hands, and he was considered one of the top five prospects for 2009 five months ago. But he had a tepid freshman season at Ohio State, averaging 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Of the point guards, I don’t much like Teague, but I like Maynor and Flynn very much. If I were drafting at No. 19 and I had the choice of those four, I’d take Maynor. But there’s no guarantee that any of these, particularly Flynn and Maynor, will be around when the Hawks pick.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
On Ford’s overall ranking of prospects, he has Maynor No. 14, Flynn No. 15, Teague No. 18 and Mullens No. 21. And who, just for the heck of it, does Ford rate as the 19th-best prospect? Terrence Williams of Louisville, whom I like a lot. But I don’t know where he’d play. Is he a point forward? A shooting guard? Or just a basketball player? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Gani Lawal of Georgia Tech can still remove his name from the 2009 draft, but the guess here is that he won’t. All four mocks have him going in Round 1, if barely: Ford has him at No. 25, Deveney at No. 30, Thomsen at No. 22 and NBAdraft.net at No. 21.
Ford ranks Lawal the 28th-best prospect on the board, and ESPN.com says this in its player file (link requires registration): “Lawal has had the biggest stock swing of anyone in the draft. He started the season as a second rounder, got off to a red hot start and moved all the way into the late lottery and then fell off in ACC play to the point that he slipped back into the second round … He’s probably better off returning to Georgia Tech for his junior season.”
Writing about the ascendant Rangers, Tom Verducci of SI.com mentions not one, not two, not three, but all four players the Braves sent to Texas for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay in July 2007. (Their names: Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.) The Rangers are leading their division. The Braves are not. Folks, this one just gets worse and worse.
Pretty much everybody has said pretty much everything about the former No. 7 by now — here was my take — and you can read eighty dozen stories about him if you’re so inclined. But I’ll mostly leave that to you and Google. What I will pass along are Peter King’s list on SI.com of five possible NFL homes for Vick and Chris Chase’s similar list on Yahoo! Sports.
Meanwhile, Clark Judge of CBSsports.com believes Vick won’t play in the NFL in 2009 but will suit up in the start-up UFL instead. Me, I’m more inclined to go along with what an unnamed league official told Thomas George of NFL.com: That Vick won’t be on an NFL roster at the start of the season but will before the end.
One thing more: Writing for Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Sullivan — once the White House communications director under George W. Bush — outlines a four-point PR plan for Vick. His bullet points: Be genuine, be humble, be accountable and be generous. And I’m thinking: This is genius public relations? I could write that stuff!
Ladies and gentlemen, I am hereby contemplating a new career in an exciting field where you say nothing new and get paid big bucks for it. (Oh, wait. I do that already. Never mind.)