Thursday, June 28, 2007

NBA DRAFT: Ramblings from a Clippers Fan (Not the kid from Malcom in the Middle)


This article was written by Michael J. Reiss from Agoura Hills, CA. (That's Mikey. I pulled the close up right off of my desktop background) Agoura Hills is a nice little perfectly shaped bubble (haha) about 45 minutes north of LA; depending on traffic of course.

Mr. Reiss is an old college friend and roommate. On fantasy draft days, he truly believes he's a general manager. Our sports arguments have ranged from the famous JJ Reddick vs. NBA's best shooter debate, to Mike Tyson vs. baseball bat to the head. (I'll never forgot how funny that was, and I'm sure you remember as well.) He's going to UCLA this fall to study law, but you wouldn't think it was possible if you knew the countless hours he dedicated to all things sports.

Enjoy reading an article written by a man who's almost as lazy as me, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Thanks Mikey!


Intro:

Few things in this world get my juices flowing like the NBA draft. Maybe this is because my favorite team, the Clippers, are always somehow involved and I convince myself that this single draft pick will turn around our 30 years of devastation into a championship caliber club. However far fetched this scenario may seem, we do have past drafts to back-up the notion that one pick can change a franchise: Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Lebron James and so on. And then there are the huge disappointments: Sam Bowie, Michael Olowakandi, Joe Smith...the list goes on again. This year though, is a little different from the years past. Due to the combination of a very strong and deep draft and the urgency of some teams to either rebuild now or build a contender now, superstars are being shopped at every corner. Draft picks are more valuable than ever. Teams outside the top 15 are eyeing players that will go much earlier and are looking to get into the top 10; but the price is steep.

The Big Trade Discussions:
Kevin Garnett - It would all start with Kobe if anyone thought the Lakers were crazy enough to actually honor his trade demand, but since they aren't it all starts with Garnett this year. It's time to move on. Everyone knows it. There is no player(s) the Timberwolves could bring in to make them a contender. There just isn't. They have no assets of any worth to anyone. Marko Jaric is under contract at 7 million a year for the next 4 years! Last year he averaged 5 points and 2 assists. Nice bang for your buck Kevin Mchale. It's mind-boggling that the only assets the Timberwolves have is their no. 7 pick, Randy Foye (who isn't going anywhere) and Ricky Davis's expiring contract at around 6.5 mill. However, by trading Garnett they could start a new path and actually have a decent team when it comes to the first year of rebuilding. The T'wolves tried to make a trade that would bring in Al Jefferson, the #5 pick, Gerald Green, and Ratliff's expiring contract. This would be great for the Wolves, but KG decided there is no way he'll go to Boston and since Mchale has a huge man-crush on KG, he won't do that to him. So they tried a 4-way deal involving the Lakers and Pacers with Boston getting Jermaine O'neal instead. But Boston balked at this because they weren't willing to give up Jefferson if it only nets them O'neal. I agree wholeheartedly. Jefferson averaged 22 and 11 in the 2nd half of the season last year. Would O'neal make the team that much better? I don't think so.
So where does KG go? The most perplexing deal sends KG to Phoenix, Amare to the Hawks, and the #s 3 and 11 picks to Minnesota....presumably with some more contracts. The reason for the Hawks being involved instead of a KG-Amare swap is that the T'wolves don't even want Amare! They want draft picks, a young player, and cap space. If you're the Hawks you do this deal in a heartbeat. Bringing in Amare would automatically make them a playoff team in the East; and, assuming they can keep Josh Smith, a nucleus of Smith, Joe Johnson (25 ppg), and Amare is not bad at all. Then, bring in a pg who just wants to dish (Steve Blake), and there's something cooking there. Also, they still have Marvin Williams, Josh Childress, and Shelden Williams for depth. The big question here is if the Suns should swap KG for Amare. Lets take a closer look. At first thought, I thought there is no way the Suns should do this. There is no reason. Amare fits perfectly in that system and he's 7 years younger. KG would maybe make them a little better at most, but that's not worth forfeiting your future. However, I now believe they should make the deal. The Suns would lose out on the unstoppable pick n' roll they had with Amare and Nash, with Amare rolling hard and usually dunking fairly hard in someones face. However, would they really score that many less points with KG on the team? I can't imagine them dropping too many points by adding a versatile big man who can pick and pop just as well as roll to the hoop. Also, as opposed to Amare, KG can catch the ball in the post and have a repertoire of moves. You're going to tell me that wouldn't come in handy at the end of a game in the Playoffs....especially if Nash is in foul trouble or out for any reason. But more importantly, KG will make the Suns one of the better defensive teams in the league. You see how they give up so many points, but what you don't realize is that they give up those points not because they're poor on defense, but rather because they shoot so quickly that there are simply more possessions in the game. With KG, they would improve their defense tremendously. Amare was completely over-matched by Duncan. Whenever the Spurs needed a bucket, they got one from him. Garnett would be much more effective. Overall, I hope this happens. It makes sense for all parties involved.

Other Potential Moves and Rumors
:
- Word has it that Golden State is trying desperately to get into the top 6 where they'd have a shot at Yi. They're offering Jason Richardson and the no. 18 pick. I haven't heard that anyone is biting. Richardson has a huge contract. Also, Golden State, anticipating that Monte Ellis will want big money, is offering him and change for a pick. I think someone will bite at that. Ellis is young and dynamic. MIght be worth it for a team looking to go young.

-Also, besides the Garnett talks, Phoenix is looking to take the #8 pick off of Charlotte's hands and select Brewer. I don't think Marion would be part of this deal, although he has been mentioned in many trade offers. The Suns have a great asset in that they have the Hawks unconditional first round pick next year. That should sound very nice to a lot of teams....especially if the Hawks don't get Amare and are in for another weak season.

-A new rumor has Dallas offering Devin Harris in exchange for the #6 pick. I think the Bucks would have to pull the trigger on this. I also think that Dallas will not win the championship with this team. They'd pick Yi and market him all over the place. I don't think this makes sense for Dallas, but the Bucks should jump at it. He's be a great complement to Redd and Co.

-The Blazers are shopping Randolph and Jack in an attempt to pick up another young player, a high draft pick, or a solid pg. With Oden coming in and Aldridge developing, there isn't much room for Randolph. Personally, I think Randolph will end up in LA and Odom will go to the Blazers. The Blazers would definitely do that, but I don't know if the Lakers would. They're so fucked up right now it's incredible. Kobe has put them in a position where they have to do something. This might be the move. I think it makes them a little better to be honest, but they'd have to add another wing player for the mid-level exception.

Conclusions:


I hope the action tomorrow is at least as good as anticipated. Unfortunately, it's more realistic to think that these pussy GMs will back out of every trade on the table. Honestly, how is it possible that only 1 team (Nuggets) made a deal to improve themselves last year at the deadline? Why are these guys so scared? Everyone plays it safe, but they have been taking the heat for it recently. That pressure might make some GMs get off their asses and make some moves to better the ball club. Even if those moves are a little risky. I'd put up a mock draft, but there are already a million out there.

Predicitons:
I see Spencer Hawes falling come draft day. I just can't see anyone drafting a big white guy again unless they're European and play outside. He'll be serviceable at best. For the love of God I hope he doesn't fall to the Clips.

Brendan Wright, even though he has all the right key words for the draft (wingspan, potential, length, and young), will fall maybe to the T'wolves at 7 or whoever trades into the 8 spot. Might be a nice steal there.

Sleepers:
I can't understand why Julian Wright has been falling on draft boards. He has all the tools and will improve his jump shot as he gets in the gym more. Also, Nick Fazekas is a guy that I think would be a great late-first round pick for teams that already have a big man occupying the post and want to spread the floor. Word is that this guy has hit about 75% from 3-point range in workouts and is a heady player. Could be a nice player coming off the bench for an already good team looking for some outside shooting....even though he is big and white.

Anyways, good luck to all of you and your respective teams. I can only hope that David Stern walks to the microphone and says those words that send a chill down my spine "I have a trade to announce..." at least 5 times tomorrow. And, more importantly for me, I hope someone wakes up Elgin Baylor from nap time so the Clippers don't miss our pick. Godspeed.

15 Comments:

Buzzsaw said...

The Hawks would be top 3 in the East, easily if this deal happens ... I'm still holding out hope. Who can stop Amare in the East? I'm not sure, and he works harder than anyone in the NBA. I'm going to cry if this happens, haha.

BigLots said...

I think the T'Wolves are complete idiots for doing that trade. I don't understand why they just don't take Amare. Those two draft picks are not going to equal Stoudemire and if theyre reasoning is that they want to save money for a big free agent then they are even dumber. There is no chance in hell that a top free agent will want to play in Minnesota.

Daris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daris said...

I'll tell you why the t-wolves don't want Amare. Regardless of what people think or say, Amare isn't as good as he was pre-microfracture surgery. I know, I know, he was all-nba first team this year, but the man I saw in the 05' playoffs against a younger duncan and the spurs was litereally unstoppable, averaging something like 37-15 a game during the series. I remember thinking he was going to be the greatest power forward of all time. Too quick and explosive to be stopped by ANYONE!

He is still 10x better than everyone else, but his upside isn't nearly as great since that surgery, and more importantly his downside is scary especially if that knee starts to bother him again in the future. I personally wouldn't take him " to build around", and I think that's what a lot of other GM's are thinking around the league.

Two questions:

why would the Suns be shopping Amare for Garnett? Defense? No, the Suns understand why they give up so many points. It's their up and down style of play.

So, if thats the case it really makes no sense. KG has never won anything, so the idea that they have to get a championship this year and KG is the man to bring it to them fails as well.

Why wouldn't the T'Wolves want him? T'Wolves management is retarted, but they wouldn't pass on Amare if they thought he was going to be the best power forward in the league when Duncan is gone in a few years.

My point is, two years ago, any GM would have jumped at any trade involving Amare, (other than the Suns of course), and thats just not the case anymore. He isn't as valued on the market, and I can see it.

He's been grounded by the injury. You can show me anyone of Amare's ridiculous dunks from this year (he had a few), but he's lost a step. youtube some highlights of him pre injury and you'll see what I mean. I've always made this claim, and itt seems the GM's feel the same was as they seemingly should be jumping at the chance to take him.

Guy said...

We can only hope that Yi falls to the Bucks and they actually take him. Milwaukee isn't on his "approved teams" list AND wasn't invited to his spring workout in LA.

BigLots said...

Amare may not be the same as he was a couple years ago but he's still young and talented. Are you telling me you'd rather have Al Horford and Javarris Crittendon or whoever the Wolves would take at eleven? Plus, Stoudemire will sell tickets and isn't that all that anyone cares about in the NBA anyway?

Daris said...

No, im not saying that. I would take Amare in a heatbeat, but his injury has to be the reason. Nothing else makes any sense. Everyone seems completely baffled by the fact that the T'Wolves won't take him and I think thats the only semi-legitimate explanation.

Michael said...

The Wolves can't take him. It doesn't make sense for them, to be honest. They'd only have him and Foye and their next draft pick that's out of the top 10 goes to the clippers AND their 2009 pick is going to the celtics. that means they won't be able to build thru the draft. they would be stuck with Amare and Foye and nothing. So, their best option is get the picks.

My question though, is why don't the T'wolves just deal directly with Atlanta? Have Garnett go there. Everyone talks about Garnett threatening to opt out after on year. But I think after the Hawks went to the playoffs he'd sing a different tune. Also, is he really willing to leave over 10 million on the table? remember, his contract gets a 15% kick if he's traded. Also, because of the new CBA he'd have to sign a max deal for much less than his old one. Thus, instead of making about 27 mill....yes 27 million dollars...he'd make close to 10 million less than that. With Garnett on the Hawks, they're a top 4 team in the East with a chance to advance in the postseason and the Wolves still get their picks.

Michael said...

The Wolves can't take him. It doesn't make sense for them, to be honest. They'd only have him and Foye and their next draft pick that's out of the top 10 goes to the clippers AND their 2009 pick is going to the celtics. that means they won't be able to build thru the draft. they would be stuck with Amare and Foye and nothing. So, their best option is get the picks.

My question though, is why don't the T'wolves just deal directly with Atlanta? Have Garnett go there. Everyone talks about Garnett threatening to opt out after on year. But I think after the Hawks went to the playoffs he'd sing a different tune. Also, is he really willing to leave over 10 million on the table? remember, his contract gets a 15% kick if he's traded. Also, because of the new CBA he'd have to sign a max deal for much less than his old one. Thus, instead of making about 27 mill....yes 27 million dollars...he'd make close to 10 million less than that. With Garnett on the Hawks, they're a top 4 team in the East with a chance to advance in the postseason and the Wolves still get their picks.

BigLots said...

What you're suggesting is that the Wolves build around three young guys instead of two, that isn't really that big of a difference. Basically, their gamble is that these two guys will end up being more productive than Amare which i really doubt.

Michael said...

No, what I'm saying is that in this scenario, the Wolves would probably get the #3, #11, and Josh Smith....Plus whatever expiring contracts the Hawks have. This would allow the wolves to have more mobility. Amare would be a max contract which would not allow them the flexibility to make other deals. Putting out a lineup consisting of Foye, Josh Smith, Horford, Brewer, and Acie Law with McCants off the bench would be better than just having Amare, Foye, and Brewer with no opportunities to really improve your team down the road. However, I think the problem is really that Atlanta doesn't have the right amount of expiring contracts to make the deal work. They have to play facilitator to make it happen.

Daris said...

i agree with biglots, especially since Kevin Mchale has shown no ability to build through the draft, or even think rationally for that matter.

garnett isn't going to the Hawks. Being a top 4 seed in the east??? Mikey thats like being 2/3 spots out of playoffs in the west and garnett knows that.

Garnett wants to win championships and knows his window is closing. He might be the one player in the NBA that I could say for sure would give up 10 million dollars to have a legitimate shot at winning a title.

Did anyone else see his interview with John "Biscuits and Gravey" Thompson at the all-star game two years ago? He cried like a baby and said all he wanted to do was win. It was painful to watch. Money is not the issue with KG, winning championships is.

BigLots said...

Wow, i didnt realize that they got Josh Smith as well. You're right, minnesota should definitely do that. It works out for all three teams.

Guy said...

Yi to the Bucks-- a dream come true.

Dr. Health said...

He's going to UCLA this fall to study law, but you wouldn't think it was possible if you knew the countless hours he dedicated to all things sports.