Friday, June 26, 2009

NBA Draft Debriefing 2009 Part 2: How Did They Do?

Now that we've addressed how those of us who don't get paid anything did in their draft day projections, let's look at how those who get paid millions did. We'll split this business into a couple of Top 5 lists, since that's how I like to look at things.

Top 5 Picks (quality and value)
  1. Blake Griffin, Clippers, #1 overall. Sometimes, the best pick you can make is the one everyone knows you're going to do anyways. I don't want to repeat myself too much, but suffice it to say that I think he'll be a big time player in the NBA.
  2. DeJuan Blair, Spurs, #37 overall. I stand by my statement that Blair was worth taking in the top 10. Getting a top 10 guy in the second round is awesome.
  3. Ty Lawson, Nuggets (from Timberwolves), #18 overall. Lawson is a gamer, and it looks like he'll have plenty of teams to show up. In Denver, he can be a star, a perfect transition piece from Chauncey Billups.
  4. Brandon Jennings, Bucks, #10 overall. The more I've seen of Jennings, and after seeing a brief interview with him last night, I'm sold. There's no doubt in my mind he can be as good as any point guard in this draft.
  5. Jordan Hill, Knicks, #8 overall. The Knicks were undoubtedly disappointed that Stephen Curry got swiped one pick ahead of them, but I think I've got Hill ahead of Curry in terms of potential. People worry about Hill's commitment, but I think the Knicks got a guy who could a good way.
Top 5 Trades (quality and value)
  1. Spurs acquire Richard Jefferson from Bucks for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto. The Spurs basically traded two crummy big men and Bowen for a dramatic improvement over Bowen. Lots of teams will cite "financial flexibility" when they make trades; I prefer to look at "getting better" as the main factor.
  2. Wizards acquire Randy Foye and Mike Miller from Timberwolves for the #5 pick (Ricky Rubio), Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, and Oleksiy Pecherov. I like Songaila as bench depth, but the other two guys were just bodies. Rubio might make this deal look silly later, but by adding Foye and Miller, Washington now has five proven scorers. Do something, Flip.
  3. Magic acquire Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson from Nets for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, and Tony Battie. Lee was a solid producer for Orlando last year, but Alston is a constant headache. Carter, for all his flashiness, is a reliable scorer who can also fill up the rest of the stat sheet.
  4. Knicks acquire Darko Milicic from Grizzlies for Quentin Richardson and cash. Richardson had become an overpaid underperformer in a crowded backcourt. Milicic gives the Knicks a solid defender with decent hands who can start fast breaks in Mike D'Antoni's high-powered offense.
  5. Cavaliers acquire Shaquille O'Neal from Suns for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, Cavs' 2010 second round pick, and $500,000. I'm not in the camp that thinks Shaq is going to be the difference in Cleveland, but he's certainly better than Ben Wallace. Moreover, he's got a $20 million contract that ends after this upcoming season, so even if he's a total bust, he'll have value for teams like Memphis, who'll undoubtedly be looking to shed more payroll, just as soon as they find any.
I'd like to write a section about the Wizards, and perhaps I'll get an article together in the future, but if I were to write it now, it'd basically just be re-hashing the Mike Miller trade and the passing on DeJuan Blair. Let's wait a little while for some new news. See you next year, NBA draft.

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