Tag: NBA Draft
You always see articles grading each team’s draft picks immediately after the event ends. Of course, nobody really knows how good these guys are going to be until a few years from now, so these articles are mostly nonsense. I guarantee if you look hard enough, you’ll find a bunch of people who condemned the Mavs for getting Dirk Nowitzki for Tractor Traylor in a draft-day deal because they saw a European and thought soft. Similarly, there were articles exalting the Wizards for drafting the exciting potential of Kwame Brown.
The point is, it’s impossible to tell in most cases which players are the real deal and which ones are draft day pretenders. What if Blake Griffin somehow stinks? Are the Clippers still winners? He probably won’t stink, but did anyone expect Joe Smith to have a mediocre career? That said, there are some cases where we can look beyond an individually drafted player to make an educated guess on whether particular moves created winning or losing scenarios. Here are a few:
Winner: Spurs — Pretty safe bet here. Even if Dejuan Blair’s knees fall apart like "Heroes" after the first season, the trade for Richard Jefferson is a necessary reinvention for a very stale team. With Duncan, Parker, Jefferson and Ginobili on the floor at one time… well, they still probably won’t be better than the Lakers, but they’re better than they were before.
Loser: Syracuse early entrants — Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf came out with no buzz and predictably didn’t get taken. Harris was an underwhelming and disappointing college player, while Eric Devendorf was a poor man’s Gerry McNamara, except nobody likes him. If Dionte Christmas didn’t get drafted… these guys had no shot.
Winner: Shaq — He went from a Suns team on the way down to playing with LeBron. I don’t know if they get a championship out of it, but if he stays healthy, Shaq should go 20-10 easy and may be due one last All-Star berth with the King’s sweet passes finding him.
Loser: Magic — Losing Hedo and adding Vince Carter is a net loss to me. The versatile Turkoglu, who’s as good as gone, was flawless for this team and at this stage in the game is probably a better player than Vince overall. Vince needs his shots, needs to be the man. On a team with three other All-Star caliber players who are all good-to-great offensive players, will Vince start pouting? I get the point, it’s a proactive move anticipating that Turkoglu was going to bolt, but they should have just anted up to keep him. Plus, they lost Courtney Lee. Don’t sleep on Lee. Are they still Finals candidates? Sure. Would they be more so if they still had Turkoglu instead of Carter? Absolutely.
Winner: Jonny Flynn — Flynn’s a tough kid, got some skills, definitely well conditioned. But there’s no guarantee he’s better than any of the other point guards in this draft. Would you really take Flynn over Ty Lawson or Eric Maynor? Why? It was a deep draft in point guards for sure, but I think that means that there were a lot of point guards all on a similar level. Flynn was one of those, and somehow he killed it in workouts and worked his way to the No. 6 pick. Meanwhile, Patty Mills goes 55th.
Loser: Brandon Jennings and his choice in friends — First off, there’s nothing hypothetically wrong with the guy being friends with Joe Budden, who’s a respectable rapper from Jersey with a girlfriend who gets more buzz than he does. (Google her — that said, Slaughterhouse coming this summer, mark it down) But it seems like all Budden does when they talk is put Jennings down, to which Jennings responds by blasting Ramon Sessions, Chris Duhon, and particularly Ricky Rubio, which he has a tendency to do. Now Jennings didn’t know Budden would stream the entire conversation off his Web site — with friends like these, right? — but either way, you have to be responsible for the things you say. Jennings had better hope he’s good, because he’ll have to rely on himself an awful lot when he finds out he didn’t make any friends on his own team, or around the league.
Winner: Mike Dunleavy — Sometimes, good things happen to bad coaches/executives. Griffin is the one sure thing in the draft and is sorely needed by a franchise that hasn’t had a lot of good things happen to them. That said, they’re still the Clippers. You have to think they’ll botch it. And Griffin would have likely wanted to go anywhere else.
Loser: New Wolves mastermind David Kahn — So he traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye — two useful players — for the No. 5 pick, and took Ricky Rubio, who’d rather go back to Europe than live in the Minnesota tundra. Even if he took him because he had the most value at that spot, wouldn’t he have been better off just drafting a useable player at that spot? If Kahn truly wants to wait for Rubio, that’ll be a long two years. And the worst part of this whole thing is that the last thing you want to do when taking over is remove all confidence from your fan base that you truly know what you’re doing. Kahn will have his work cut out for him to change that.
Winner: TruthBegins.com NBA Draft Preview, picks 1-12 — We hit 8 of the first 12 here on the site and were flying high. I don’t think anyone else had Jennings going to the Bucks, but the way things work out, if you hit a few picks in a row, it’s like dominoes falling down.
Loser: TruthBegins.com NBA Draft Preview, picks 13-30 — …but if you miss a few picks in a row, you lose those guys for later in the draft and it mounts on you. The only pick we hit after No. 12 was Jeff Teague to the Hawks at No. 19, though we missed by one pick on Suns/Earl Clark and Kings/Omri Casspi. Still, 9 out of 30 is probably on the high end for an unpredictable (read: weak) draft. Next year, we’re aiming for at least 12.