Deconstructing the Draft - Blair is a Double Cheeseburger

Two hours before the draft was set to start, I had an opportunity to go and play some pick up basketball. The game started at 5:30 and my plan was to play for an hour, get home by 6:30, shower and be ready in time for the pre draft show coverage and the draft. Well, that didn’t work out so well.

A game had finished at 6:19 so I thought I had time to squeeze in one more. On the last game the score was 10-9 (We were playing to 12) and I had the ball on a wing. I was able to beat my man going middle and was looking to throw up a righty layup over someone when…I came down on somone’s foot rolling my ankle. I heard a pop and all and thought the worst. Well after some obscenities and a trip to the hospital I was able to make it back home in time to see Jeff Teague get drafted by the Hawks. I had a friend updating me with the picks and I had my Blackberry for internet so I was managing. As for my ankle, it turned out it was a bad sprain, so I’m good to go.

Anyways..on to the draft and I’m sure at this point you’re wondering why the title is suggesting that DeJuan Blair is a double cheeseburger, but, I’ll explain.

There are plenty of draft recaps out there. They all generally do the same thing. Provide their analysis on who the so called “winners” and “losers” are in each draft. Another popular way to recap a draft is to “grade” the teams based on their draft picks. Each of these are effective but as I’ve said they’ve been done, so no need to add another one into the mix.

So I was looking for some inspiration into how I could write about the draft in a unique way. When, my mom came home with McDonald’s. (I know I know, feeds right into the whole, “blogger living in his mother’s basement” cliche, but remember the sprained ankle and I was in my own room afterall not the basement.) While I was eating my delicious medium fry with barbeque sauce it hit me.

McDonald’s takes a lot of heat from different people for an assortment of different reasons. Being that it was my first job and that I do enjoy the food I’ve always held a soft spot for the joint. Though it does have its detractors and you can probably not like for a number of different reasons, from its unhealthiness to its lack of quality..there is one area which you cannot deny..McDonald’s, or any fast food restaurant for that matter, provides value. If you only have $5 on you and you’re looking to maximize the amount of food you can get, McDonald’s is probably your best bet.

Linking this to the draft its pretty simple. When drafting players in any league, real or fantasy, ultimately you’re looking for the best value picks. So with that, I bring you the McDonald’s menu of the 2009 NBA Draft. (Prices are an estimation).

#2 Hasheem Thabeet, #4 Tyreke Evans, #10 Brandon Jennings – Small Shamrock Shake $3.18

When working at McDonald’s we had three standard year round shake flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry. Every so often though we would get seasonal flavors and during St. Patricks day time, we would get in a mint flavored shake called Shamrock. The customers who came in and normally ordered our standard flavor were now offered an interesting dilemma – Do they go with the low risk chocolate, or do they take a chance on the Shamrock shake which could be good, and probably will be good..but it could stink? Well, the Grizzlies, Kings and Bucks all went for that Shamrock Shake with their picks. Thabeet, Evans and Jennings all are high risk albeit high reward picks. Thabeet and Jennings are for obvious reasons (blurring athleticism, questions about overall talent and decision making etc.) but I threw Evans into this mix because at #4 the Kings could have went with some other proven point guards, if thats the position they were looking for. Picks #5, 6, and 7 all were point guards who have a longer track record of playing and succeeding at that position, however, the Kings went with Evans. Evans will probably turn out to be a good NBA player, but I’m just not sure if he’s going to be the point guard the Kings needed.

 #7 Stephen Curry, #12 Gerald Henderson, #20 Eric Maynor – Two Cheeseburger Meal $5.23

More times than not when people came into McDonald’s who could be classified as “newbies” (believe me after working there for about a month it was easy to tell) they’d all do the same thing: Look at the huge menu filled with graphics, pictures, etc. in complete bewilderment. They’d often be looking for a “safe bet”. Something they could tolerate and know that if they spend their five dollars, they’re going to be getting something good. Believe it or not, they’d usually settle on the two cheeseburger meal. Curry, Henderson and Maynor all are the two cheeseburger meal. They all were picked right about where they were being projected. The teams that picked these guys pretty much know what they are getting. Curry will provide shooting, Henderson defense and athleticism and Maynor playmaking. In terms of upside Curry and Maynor I’d say have slightly more, they have the potential of being All-Stars while I think Henderson’s ceiling is being just a starter. The thing about them though and just like the two cheeseburger meal is, frankly, they won’t suck.

#9 DeMar DeRozan, #15 Austin Daye, #17 Jrue Holliday, #24 B.J. Mullens – Big ‘N’ Tasty $4.33

When the Big ‘N’ Tasty debuted on the McDonald’s menu and I was told what’s in it my first reaction was, “Thats basically all our toppings.” Because it literally was nearly all of our toppings, mayo, ketchup, tomatoes, onions, pickles, lettuce, and cheese. It was brand new on the menu and customers saw that loaded sandwich and thought, “Hmm, that has to be good.” In my opinion the Big ‘N Tasty is a lot like DeRozan, Daye, Holliday and Mullens. Drafters of these players really couldn’t be drafting based off their numbers in college, because most of them weren’t that good. These guys got drafted almost purely on potential. They have gifts that make them appealing. Height, strength, athleticism, length/wingspan, speed. Looking at these players, most GM’s probably had the exact same thought as the customers who saw the Big ‘N Tasty…”Hmm, these guys have to be good.” Only thing is the Big ‘N Tasty had a short stint on the McDonald’s menu and ultimately was scrapped. Let’s hope the futures of these pros looks a little different.

#1 Blake Griffin, #5 Ricky Rubio, #14 Earl Clark, #37 DeJuan Blair, #45 Nick Calathes – Double Cheeseburger $1.00

When I worked at McDonald’s if anyone ever through the annoying question of “What do you suggest?” at me, I’d always give the answer of the double cheeseburger. At the time when I worked there it was on the dollar menu, though now it’s off, at least at the McDonald’s by me. The double cheeseburger for a dollar was simply the best value item on the menu. It was a no brainer in my opinion. With each of these guys I think you could attach the phrase “no brainer” behind them. Griffin at #1 is a no brainer. Rare combination of size, athleticism and skill. The next set of guys is where “value” truly comes into play. Ricky Rubio drafted at #2 is a semi-risk but at #5 it’s a no brainer and good value for him. A team drafting at 5 has a chance to pick a guard who can truly transcend the game and is only 18 years old. Earl Clark if he was drafted at #7 would be a little high, but Earl Clark at #14…a no brainer. Clark potentially has the most gifts of any player in the draft. Can shoot, is athletic, can handle the ball, and he’s long enough to make him a good defender. Clark drafted at #14 is great value. DeJuan Blair drafted in the lottery would be slightly risky because of the questions about his body, but Blair chosen at #37, brainer. Blair basically beasted for two straight years in college. Huge wingspan (7-2), strong powerful body, a great motor and a great rebounder. At worst I think Blair has averages of 8 ppg, and 10 rgp, at best? 15 ppg and 11 rpg I think are attainable numbers for him. Finally, Calathes. Calathes taken anywhere in the first round could be risky, but as a stash pick at #45, I think its a no brainer. Calathes is a player who excites me a great deal. He’s compared to Steve Nash in terms of his shooting and play making. He’s going over to Europe for at least a year to polish his game up and get more experience playing, which I think will make his weaknesses (athleticism, quickness) stronger, and allow for an easier transition to the NBA game.

So there you have it, thats the 2009 edition of the McDonald’s NBA Draft. Hopefully your teams were drafting off the dollar menu and not going for those bad value picks.

Tags: 2009 NBA Draft Blake Griffin Ricky Rubio

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