Now that the NBA Draft has passed, and the LeBron, D Wade and Chris Bosh free agent party is about to begin, lets examine who I think were winners and losers during the NBA Draft week. On the bizarre front, Portland GM Kevin Pritchard had a solid draft after being relieved on his duties effective after the draft. If Portland didn’t fire him, they would have been on the winner list. Overall, it was a night full of boredom until the trades began to roll in towards the middle of the first round. Then, teams decided to reach on big men in the second round because everyone else was doing.
Anyways, the winners on the night were:
Cap room, cap room, cap room. Moving Kirk Hinrich to the Wizards, gets the Bulls far enough under the cap for two max deals. So for now they are winners, if the room fails to net them James and/or Bosh, then they have likely failed.
Cap room, cap room, cap room. Miami has nearly $45 million in cap room for Wade and potentially 2 more max deals. The Heat wound up with three second-rounders; the most notable picks being Jarvis Varnado (the all-time NCAA shot blocker) and Da’Sean Butler (who if he can rehab his knee from that brutal Final Four injury will be a steal). It seems as though Wade re-signing is a formality, how they use the rest of their cap room will determine if they were winners tonight.
The Bucks who were the surprise team in the playoff party this year, have added some nice pieces to a solid nucleus of Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut. They picked up Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts for basically nothing, and those two should make up for the likely loss of John Salmons and bring much needed scoring on the perimeter. I also loved the pick of Larry Sanders at 15 as they needed a defensive-minded, big body down low to play with Bogut. Tiny Gallon in the second round could be similar to “Big Baby” Davis and a solid rotation player. These additions should help Milwaukee return to the playoffs for the second straight year, despite the current uncertainty regarding the balance of power in the East.
Initially appeared like they needed some size, but word came out this week that 2007 first round pick Tiago Splitter is coming over from Europe, which should help ease the load on Tim Duncan. One of the best scorers in the draft fell to them in James Anderson. Gives them tremendous backcourt depth with Tony Parker, Many Ginobili, George Hill and Anderson. I fully expect San Antonio to be better than they were this year and Anderson will be a piece that helps them not miss a bit if someone is out (Parker and Ginobili are usually good to miss 15 games apiece.)
Loved their deal for two back half first-rounders from Oklahoma City to add depth. Moving Cole Aldrich at 11 and Morris Peterson’s contract to get out of luxury tax was solid and getting two guys who can help off the bench was even better. Craig Brackins is a solid backup power forward who can effectively spell David West and Quincy Pondexter will be a nice running mate for Chris Paul and Darrin Collison. These additions help fortify a suspect bench (minus Collison) and will help New Orleans return to the playoffs under first-year head coach Monty Williams.
And the losers on this night were:
They are here because they lost the draft lottery even though they had the worst record in the NBA, and that because of the teams with cap room adding additional cap space, they are even less likely to get a free agent better than David Lee. Favors was not a bad pick but is a bit of a project, and will need time and patience, two things I am not sure new owner Mikhail Prokhorov has. Trading picks 27 and 31 for Damion James (a player I like) doesn’t seem smart for a team that needs a lot of help and not another non-shooter.
I have been a big fan of how Sam Presti has built this club around Kevin Durant, letting the pieces grow and mature with him, making it tough for him to leave as a free agent in a few years when the team should be at the top of the West. However, I was not a fan of the deal with New Orleans mainly because I think there were bigs available with more upside (Larry Sanders, Ed Davis) than Cole Aldrich, who was not worth giving up two picks for. They appeared to pick up a future first rounder from the Clippers, which was a nice move. Morris Peterson and Daequan Cook give Durant and Russell Westbrook more shooters to find but who is going to take the pressure off them in the paint?
How does a team without a first round pick make the list? Well, when Miami and Chicago are creating cap space to skip past New York as the destination of choice for the Free Agent class of 2010, blowing their plan sky high, that’s how. Miami is likely to retain Wade; Chicago has Rose, Deng and Noah, and what does New York have again? Spike Lee and Donald Trump don’t cut it on the court. They had two second-round choices and neither were particularly inspiring, although in the D’Antoni seven seconds or less system, Andy Rautins might be effective.
Yes, they got John Wall, but their other moves were puzzling. Frenchman Kevin Seraphin is a bit of an overseas project and is not ready to come over to the states. Adding Hinrich’s contract to a crowded backcourt with Wall, Gilbert Arenas, Randy Foye and Nick Young makes no sense and was a heavy price to pay for the Chicago pick. And trading a high second and the last pick of the first round for the rights to Trevor Booker was very questionable, considering most believed he was a mid-second rounder.
I wanted David Kahn to be on this list and he didn’t disappoint me with his draft. Minnesota acquired three small forwards in Wes Johnson, Lazar Heyward and Martell Webster (in a trade from Portland). What is the obsession with loading up on a position? He did it last year with point guards and he did it again, as I correct stated in the mock draft, that he would. He turned the second round over to his foreign experts so only time will tell on those, maybe they will beat Ricky Rubio over to the States.
For those scoring at home, we went 9 out of 30 on the mock for a 30% score; in baseball that puts you in Hall of Fame; in academia, you get kicked out. You be the judge.
Even Flow-Pearl Jam