nba draft 2008
I missed last night’s NBA Draft but am catching up on the happenings:
The Nets traded Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. Simmons, who was a one year wonder, and Yi who… well… he’s a better marketing chip (to reach out to the Chinese market) than he is a baller. But both can play a little. I mean, a very little. And it’s a step away from the numerous attempts to “reload” and get to the bottom half of the NBA Playoffs, while dropping the 3 years and 42 mil that Jefferson has on his contract:
That contract, which has three years and $42.4 million to go on it, was another reason the Nets made this deal.
Yi is still on his rookie contract, and Simmons’ deal has only two years to run at salaries of $9.9 million and $10.5 million. That means prior to last night’s draft, the Nets technically had only $26.6 million earmarked for player salaries after the 2009-10 season, which gives them a virtual clean slate with which to rebuild a team that won only 33 games last year.
And while Thorn is loathe to admit it, he has sought to keep the payroll low for the summer of 2010, when — at least theoretically — players such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carlos Boozer become free agents, while others such as Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh could opt-out of their contracts.
RJ was my favorite Net, sad to see him go. Maybe I’ll catch a game in Milwaukee.
They also drafted Stanford center Brook Lopez, who dropped to 10. He’s tall. But any talk of him starting is crazy – over Krstic’s offense? Over Josh Boone’s rebounding? Over Sean Williams’ shot blocking (okay, he’s probably as good and doesn’t make Coach Lawrence Frank lose his hair)? Coupled with Brook’s stiffness – he plays hard, but doesn’t look fluid:
Brook’s measurements in Orlando revealed a massive 7-foot, 5.5-inch wingspan. Combine that with his frame and ability to add weight, and there’s no doubt he can play center in the NBA. (He was mostly a power forward at Stanford, with Robin rooted in the middle.)
Heck, Brook might not have a choice in terms of his position. I say that because his lane-agility time (12.77 seconds) in Orlando was the worst of all the prospects.
I don’t think he’s anything more than a rotation player.
Additionally: the Nets drafted Ryan Anderson and Chris Douglas Roberts. I love Anderson’s ability to shoot the ball. Chris Douglas-Roberts has some ability as a slashing scorer, but he’s not NBA quick, and he never struck me as that strong. But he’s gotten it done on one of the best teams in the country, so he gets a second round look.
The Knicks draft the Italian, the New York crowd boos, same as it ever was. Gallinari says he will earn the applause; (from the Italian media). His shooting impressed the Knicks.
David Lee, the most coveted Knick, will remain a potential chip, and there was talk that the Bobcats had offered point guard Raymond Felton for Lee. But a person with knowledge of the situation said there was nothing to that. Portland has shown an interest in Lee, and the Knicks would want Steve Blake to run the offense.
The 6-9 Gallinari’s arrival likely means farewell to Lee, a fan favorite who emerged as a solid rebounder and intangibles player the past two seasons. Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni envision Gallinari as a power forward. Lee is headed into the final year of his rookie contract and is seeking a long-term extension, and Walsh realizes he is his only tradable commodity.
Darrell Arthur was the last guy in the Green Room (article by Luke Winn); he was eventually traded twice, to the Rockets and then to the Memphis Grizzlies for… Donte Greene. Snicker away, please. Houston’s GM is supposed to be a statistics guy, but I can’t see anything, besides Greene’s block rate and ability to run agility drills, that endears him to an NBA team.
And then, Minnesota’s GM Kevin McHale trades OJ Mayo for Kevin Love, and Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, + Greg Buckner (three players who should think about other forms of employment besides the NBA) for Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins (the latter two should consider other employment).
The Minnesota media (Pioneer Press) (Star Tribune) know that McHale has most likely screwed up again, passing on a potential superstar who is better than the guards the Timberwolves have for a forward who seems redundant with the star they have in Al Jefferson. The lower part of this Basketball Prospectus post has some insight:
My initial reaction was incredulity. Talent for talent, this move doesn’t make any sense.
Minnesota now pairs Love with Al Jefferson. The Knicks proved how difficult it is in today’s game to operate a double-post. The middle gets clogged and the offense loses its rhythm. Jefferson will still be the main man in the low-post and, yes, Love can probably develop a face-up game, but what sense does it make to do that? …The Timberwolves also add Miller, who can provide some of what Mayo can at the two-guard, but the difference in upside is monumental. Instead of a dynamic young backcourt of Foye and Mayo to combine with a go-to big man in Jefferson, you end up with a maybe above-average backcourt in Foye and Miller, with Love trying to share space with Jefferson and a prayer that Corey Brewer can turn things around from his terrible rookie campaign….