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Sonics Draft Primer

So now that the lottery frenzy has died down it is time to take a good solid look at the various rumors and how they affect the Sonics in general.

Right now I’m predicting a whole ton of chaos in the first 5 picks or so. If you look at the poker game going on between Toronto, Chicago, and Portland it is hard to tell how much of the Andrea Bargani/Toronto love fest is real and how much of it is a smokescreen. I believe that it is very likely that Portland will trade up to #1 and draft the player of their choice (conceivably Adam Morrison). Toronto would make this move with the knowledge that Bargani will be available at #4, only to have Chicago select him at #2. If this happens we have sheer chaos at the top of the first round with teams falling over themselves to trade up with Charlotte, Atlanta, and maybe even Boston to land potentially falling players Tyrus Thomas, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay. That should be fun.

The Sonics, as expected have given no indication of where they are leaning in the draft. They have also indicated that they have not yet brought in any players for workouts. If they choose to bring in any players at the small forward position expect them to be measured up against last year’s second round pick Mickael Gelebale and late season signee Noel Felix. Felix is due to arrive in Seattle Monday for individual work with coaches and I would expect that he will directly match up against potential draft choices as they work out with the team.

As I see things some of the biggest choices and players affecting the Sonics are as follows:

1) Patrick O’Bryant and Sheldon Williams:
I’ve never seen a draft where a 7 footer didn’t go in the top 10 and this year it looks like O’Bryant is the guy who will be snapped up a bit earlier than his talent indicates. Since the Sonics have Johan Petro and Robert Swift in the fold along with Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox a reach for either O’Bryant or Williams probably drops a swing player or point guard down to the #10 spot. Word on Williams is that he’s really impressive in workouts and could go top 10, but that sounds a lot like the reports I heard last year regarding Wayne Simien. Simien wound up going #27 to Miami and making a relatively small impact this year. Suddenly Boston looks like a potential stop for O’Bryant if the T-Wolves don’t draft the Minnesota native. If he makes it past those two he won’t fall past Golden State at #9. If neither Williams or O’Bryant is selected top 9 it is probably a worst case scenario for the Sups who then probably draft and trade O’Bryant.

2) The Atlanta Hawks:
Rumors have them infatuated with point guards, looking at either Randy Foye or Marcus Williams. This could be a smoke screen but the Sonics probably like both those players. Atlanta looks like a prime trade candidate as a team, like the Sonics, could jump up to draft potential studs Tyrus Thomas or Rudy Gay ahead of Minnesotta.

3) Rudy Gay
He’s the guy I’m becoming infatuated with. His star potential reminds me of Dwayne Wade as we approached the draft two years ago. Some mocks had Wade falling all the way to the Sonics at #12 but in the end the pedigree and athleticism made him a much higher pick. I expect Wade to go pretty high on draft day but if he falls past #4 I think he’s a player that teams will simply have to look at trading up for given the Hawks dearth of swingmen.

4) The Bulls and the Hawks
In a recent Hoopsworld article I speculated that the draft positions and selections of the Hawks and the Bulls would have the potential to wipe out either as a potential suitor for Chris Wilcox. The Bulls high selection gives them the chance to pick up Aldridge or Thomas but Atlanta’s situation remains too murky to give me much insight. Probably a worst case scenario involves Chicago selecting a perimeter player, Morrison or Bargani and Atlanta a PG. In that scenario you could see the Bulls sign free agent Al Harrington to play their PF position(with Tyson Chandler at center and maybe Adam Morrison at SF) and Atlanta in the market for an athletic big to team with their new playmaker. We’ll see what happens come draft day.