NBA Draft: The Illini Spin

The 2006 NBA Draft is over, and now it is time to analyze the picks by all the General Managers across the league. For the second consecutive season, the NBA Draft had an Illini flavor as Dee Brown and James Augustine were selected. In this look at the NBA Draft, will look at how Brown & Augustine might fit in with their new teams.

First, a whole hearted congratulations go out to Dee Brown and James Augustine. They became the third and fourth starters from the 2005 Final Four team to be drafted in the NBA. Now, let's look to see how each of these players fits in with the rosters of the Utah Jazz and the Orlando Magic.

Heading into next season, it looks like James Augustine has a very good chance to stick with the Orlando Magic. On the inside, the only players the Magic have under contract (per HoopsHype) for the 2006-2007 NBA season are: Dwight Howard, Tony Battie, Darko Milicic, and Pat Garrity.

With Dwight Howard (one of the most promising young players in the NBA today) on their roster, the Magic already know where about forty minutes a game are going to come from on the inside. That leaves about another 60 minutes to split between the other interior players Battie, Milicic, Garrity, Augustine and fellow second round draft pick Ryan Hollins from UCLA assuming the Magic do not sign any one in free agency, or re-sign Bo Outlaw.

The odds on James Augustine being signed to a contract this year and playing in Orlando are pretty high. In fact, I would not be surprised to see him play about ten minutes a game for the Magic.

Just look at the Hoops Fan Forum, and you will realize how many Illinois fans became instant diehard Utah Jazz fans on Wednesday night. Dee Brown and Deron Williams are reunited in a backcourt again, this time they are attempting to win an NBA Championship instead of an NCAA Championship. But how good of a situation is it for Dee Brown?

Last year, Utah was in desperate need of a point guard, and they drafted Deron Williams third overall. This year, Utah really wanted to get a shooting guard to help round out their backcourt. They ended up drafting Ronnie Brewer with the fourteenth pick overall, filling that key need at shooting guard. The good thing about Brewer for the Jazz is that he can play the point guard, the shooting guard, and the small forward in the NBA, so he is a mini-insurance policy in case Andrei Kirilenko gets hurt.

According to HoopsHype, the guards the Jazz have signed for the 2006-2007 season are: Gordan Giricek, Deron Williams, Devin Brown, and they have a team option on Keith McLeod. When you add Ronnie Brewer into the mix, the Jazz's depth chart in the backcourt will look something like this:

PG: Deron Williams
SG: Ronnie Brewer, Devin Brown, Gordan Giricek

The decision to pick up Keith McLeod's option will have a large impact on whether or not Dee Brown will make the Utah Jazz roster. The only point guard the Jazz definitely have on their roster for next season is Deron Williams, so they will probably still feel the need to have a veteran backup, and not rely on Williams and Brown as the only point guards on the roster.

If the Jazz pick up the option on Keith McLeod (or sign a veteran point guard in free agency) it will be much harder to find a roster spot for Dee (though they could sign him and send him down to the NBADL if needed). If the Jazz do not pick up McLeod's option (and do not sign a veteran point guard in free agency), Brown is almost assured to make the team.

Brown should make the Utah Jazz roster, and a good showing in the summer leagues will almost assure it, but there is a chance that the Jazz decide to go with a veteran backup at the point guard position for Deron Williams, and assign Dee to the NBADL, or just don't sign him to a contract.

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