Friday, June 29, 2007

NBA draft

Not even sure on where to start, so I'll just keep with the Wolves.

I give 'em a final grade of B. We got the player we wanted (though yes, I still wanted Green, but Brewer is a solid second choice), we didn't trade KG, and we didn't get hosed in any way, assuming our second round pick pans out...don't know too much about him, aside from the fact that he's from Florida and warmed the bench on those last 2 championship seasons. At least he'll have a winner's mentality, right?

Most importantly, this move gives the Wolves a bit of flexibility at the 2/3 spot, and we also don't waste a pick on a big man, though I would've been fine if we had taken Noah too. Noah plays solid position defense and is a hard worker and I think would've fit in nicely here.

Anyway, I'd like the Wolves to ship out some guys, namely Ricky and hopefully Troy, and see what we can get in return...too bad we don't have any 1st rounders to sweeten the pot, but such is life.

The REAL story of last night though, was how much two of our division rivals, Portland and Seattle, have improved. Obviously, having the #1 and #2 picks overall make a huge difference, but it seems like each team is completely committed to re-building from the ground up, as they each traded their existing marquee players last night as well.

Let's start with Portland, who held the #1 overall pick and used it on Greg Oden...I think Durant is the choice here due to upside, but having a great center can keep you in ballgames. I just think Oden lacks that killer instinct, but whatever...still a great player. Portland already has Joel Pryzbilla in the middle, who is a solid pro and I expect him to be moved somewhere where he can get minutes, hwile he still has value.

The other thing the Blazers have going for them is Brandon Roy, last year's Rookie of the Year. They got rid of their star, Zach Randolph, for Channing Frye and Stevie Franchise, who I don't believe will play for the Blazers. Frye is a good pickup, as the Blazers are lacking at the SF position...Frye gives them some length and insurance against Darius Miles going out with another injury. The Blazers are also stacked at the PG position (in terms of personnel, not necessarily talent). Right now, they're looking at Jarrett Jack (whom they are trying to trade), Sergio Rodriguez, Petteri Koponen (whom they traded for last night), and Francis. I probably forgot someone in there as well.

Blazers are also pretty stacked at the SF spot...the addition of Frye could make for some interesting lineups, as they already have Travis Outlaw, who had a good season last year, and Martell Webster, a prep-to-pro guy who is only 20 years old. Great night overall for the Blazers, getting much any team with so many young guys though, I expect them to struggle for the next couple of years...hopefully they can weather the storm without losing any key pieces.

Seattle did many of the same things the Blazers did, except did them much better. First of all, they drafted Kevin Durant, the best talent in the draft. Next, they unloaded their own superstar, Ray Allen, to the Celtics for the #5 overall pick, Delonte West, and Wally World. They used the pick to grab Jeff Green, a 6'9" combo forward who doesn't do anything especially well, but is very versatile. He's unselfish and will get the ball to Durant when he needs to.

Wally fills in immediately at the SF spot, and is pretty much a clone of Rashard Lewis, who is departing. Wally was really only included for $ purposes, but he'll find a role while he's healthy (about 15 games per season). Delonte gives the Sonics a warm body at the combo guard spot - he will potentially get a lot of minutes as the Sonics are now really lacking at the SG.

Seattle also has some good existing pieces, with Luke Ridnour at the point, Collison at the PF spot, and a trio of unproven centers (they've drafted a center in the first round the last 3 years). Hopefully one of the centers will emerge as decent, and the Sonics can rebuild and start what could be a great team, led by Durant. Either way, it's going to be an interesting division...

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