With the NBA Draft happening in just a few weeks, mocks are starting to fill the internet. There are mocks based on insider info, on need, talent, and production vs potential.
It's an exiting time to be a basketball fan, even on the days where there aren't any games.
With trading being such an important part of building a championship team, as well as drafting correctly, I decided it would be fun to put together a mock, where over the course of the first round, every team would be involved in a trade.
These trades would work according to the ESPN trade machine, but they also had to have a reasonable basis. The question "would this actually happen?" needed to be able to be answered with a logical and reasonable argument for why a GM would do this trade.
PS: The "It's Mike Dunleavy, he'd do anything" doesn't count.
Feel free to post your own trade ideas in the comments.
Just like every mock before it, the Clippers take NCAA superman Blake Griffin.
"So how do they trade him away and screw up the franchise?" I can already hear Clippers fans ask.
Well, in this world of make believe, the Clippers manage to keep Blake Griffin. But a trade is coming (starts to hear ominous music, along with dark clouds in the distance).
Then I remember I'm not Mike Dunleavy, though they are still the Clippers and even pretending to be their GM isn't really a good idea.
Memphis managed to get the worst possible position in the whole draft.
Either the draft is as week as they say and no one after the first pick is any good, or someone down the draft, like DeRozan or Jennings, lives up to their potential to be a Hall of Fame player and they were the team that passed on them because reaching for them seemed like a bad idea at the time.
The second pick probably has the most busts of any spot in the draft, or at least the most infamous. Here are some recent No. 2 picks:
Tyrus Thomas was traded for the second pick, Marvin Williams, Emeka Okafor, Darko Milicic, Jay Williams, Sam Bowie. These players are good, but often bettered by those taken later.
However, having said that, trading out of a top three pick doesn't normally work out well, but Chris Wallace is willing to try, trading the draft rights for Ricky Rubio to the Kings for picks four and 23.
Rubio didn't want to play in Memphis and he wasn't one of the Grizzlies' favorites, so both parties get what they want.
I have a theory that says when a franchise wins the lottery, the best player in the draft will probably be from an area close to where the pick was.
Obviously, this is taken out of the top players, and is not just any random from L.A. this year, or some high schooler from Cleveland in 2003, or Philly in 1996. Actually wait. Scratch that last part. Kobe and LeBron might disagree.
So with this pick, the Thunder hope to tap into the potential that is James Harden from L.A. and pray that it's not uber athlete DeRozan or Jennings. Cali via Europe.
With the fourth pick of the draft, the Grizzlies decide to trade down again, drafting Demar DeRozan, then trading him to the T'Wolves for picks six and 27.
Memphis is in a winning situation. They already have their shooting guard of the future thanks to the Wolves, and someone they are high on will still be on the board at six, whether it's PF Jordan Hill, C Hasheem Thabeet, or Memphis PG Tyreke Evans. They all would be a huge plus for the franchise.
And they now have two extra first round picks.
Washington are in a "win now" mode. they have a highly paid yet aging core. So do they keep the pick and use it on a rookie or trade it for a known commodity?
I personally believe that for a pick this high, you should always take the rookie. With a player who is as good as picks this high typically produce, they can contribute as a rookie and be a valuable part of the bench, eventually extending the championship window.
With this in mind, Washington select Tyreke Evans, who is a perfect compliment to Gilbert Arenas. Evans can distribute at PG and guard full-size NBA SGs—just look how effective Courtney Lee has been for the Magic.
If you are good enough you are old enough.
P.S. Since I am writing these posts like they were in a timeline and some other little trades have to happen first, I am holding off, but there will be some big trades involving these teams who have picked high.
The Grizzlies don't turn into the NBA Cleveland Browns by trading down then drafting people in positions that they don't really need—i.e. a center.
Memphis get the man they wanted all along in Jordan Hill, and now have a well-balanced exciting young roster unlike the T-wolves who have about 10 PFs. The Grizzlies can now focus on building depth with their later picks, and growing with their roster.
Memphis still has lots of needs, and needs way more people to fill out its roster. The great thing about rookie contracts is that they are cheap, just like their owners.
There are several NBA teams trying to rebuild on-the-fly, two of the most noticeable being the Suns and Pistons. I have mentioned this trade before, but it certainly fits the "this could be a good idea" qualifier.
For trades, I am just going to write who teams end up with.
Warriors (original holders of Pick No. 7):
Jason Richardson, Leandro Barbossa, and pick No. 14 all from the Suns.
Suns (Bringing new meaning to the no-defense lineup):
Jamal Crawford (after he takes his option) and Corey Maggette (both warriors) with Tayshaun Prince coming from Detroit.(somebody has to pretend to care on D) and pick No. 15.
Shaq. Is it any more fitting that the Big Diesel ends up in Detroit, if only for a year? Pick No. 7 and a leftover Warrior wing like Marco Belinelli or Kalina Azubuike.
With pick No. 7, Detroit drafts Stephen Curry. He is a great shooter and underrated playmaker. He would be great in combination with Stuckey or Hamilton.
This pick reflects how high I am on Steph. I think he could be the next Chauncey Billups, something that's always good to find when you have just traded the last one away.
Since Stephen Curry is off the board, New York decides to take one of my favorites in this draft: Brandon Jennings.
While his stock appears to have fallen due to his time in Europe, Jennings showed that he will make it in the NBA.
He put his ego aside and concentrated on playing the right way, with defense and being part of a team. Though his numbers weren't great in limited minutes, he will be returning home to run-and-gun with Mike D'Antoni.
If this system can help Steve Nash earn two MVPs then Jennings' rookie campaign should be something special if he has some above-average wings.
The Toronto Raptors are another team that is trying to build a successful run-and-gun team. However, with all their first choices gone, they are given an offer they can't refuse.
The New Jersey Nets are looking toward 2010, and have there eye on a tough PF. They offer the Raptors Chris Douglas-Roberts, a super athletic wing taken in the second round last year, and pick 11 to move up two spots and leapfrog the Bucks.
So with pick nine, the New Jersey Nets select Dejuan Blair. As a tough, rebounding PF, could he play behind Boozer? What about Bosh or Amare in 2010?
After their success in getting Dejuan Blair, the Nets decide to try for something big, a massive 2010 expiring contract. The one belonging to Tracy McGrady.
Here's how it goes down
The Nets Get TMac.
The Wizards (that's right, Washington. I told you it was big) receive:
Vince Carter. Wow what a backcourt. Half agent/half amazing.
The Rocket fillers:
Mike James, Deshawn Stevenson, Yi Jianlian and Ethan Thomas.
The Rockets get valuable bench pieces, not to mention two more 7'0" players all with expiring contracts.
A win-win all round.
How do Milwaukee, the eastern standard for mediocrity, an injury or five away from the finals, respond?
By trading with the Clippers.
Heres how it goes down.
Clippers send in Zach Randolph and Al Thornton for Michael Red and Joe Alexander.
This is actually a good trade for both sides as the Bucks get a 20/10 PF who doesn't play D, as opposed to Charlie Villanueva. L.A. gets back a sharpshooter and can work on a three-guard lineup.
While Thornton is better then Alexander, some sacrifices are necessary and Joe will improve upon his rookie year.
With pick 10, the Bucks draft Jrue Holiday, someone who can play PG or SG, depending on what happens with Ramon Sessions.
After the success of finding CDR, Toronto convinces Marion to resign (he will; it's where the money is). The raptors take Dukie Gerald Henderson.
The 6'5" guard with 6'10" reach, a great finisher, willing defender, and another piece in the Keeping Chris Bosh puzzle.
With the Bobcats' management situation is uncertain, it's quite surprising that a trade of this magnitude gets pulled off. But luckily for MJ, the T'Wolves are always willing partners.
A.Ajinka the french center, pick 12, and PG Raymond Felton's new contract.
Sebastian Telfair, reserve combo guard. PF Brian Cardinal's expiring contract, oick 18, and a future first rounder, likely next year when there will be greater depth of big men.
with pick 18 Minnesota, selects wing Earl Clark to finish off a good draft for the Wolves, especially on the wings.
The Pacers get the ball rolling by trading Mike Dunleavy Jr. to the Spurs for the expiring Bruce Bowen and Fabio Oberto. This gives the Spurs the extra wing they desperately need at a reasonable price.
Cleveland trades young PF JJ Hickson or Darnell Jackson for pick 13, jumping in front of Golden State and selecting Austin Daye.
Daye may be thin, but so was a young LeBron, and Kevin Durant seems to do OK. The Cavs now gain the length they desperately need when playing the Magic.
When the Warriors look at the draft board, they are delighted to see Hasheem Thabeet still available.
This was a slight oversight on my part as he probably doesn't fall past 10, but I completely forgot and had BJ Mullins here till i realized my mistake. BJ now doesn’t make the first round.
However, since some of the trades after the top five can be considered questionable, I believe that there is a reasonable chance that he falls to pick seven, where the Warriors are slated to pick, so either way.
Also is 14 really too low for a 7'0" athlete who doesn't "LOVE" the game, someone who was dominated in college by a 6'6" Dejuan Blair, and projects to have limited offense?
I think 14 seems reasonable.
This halfway point seems like a good place to end Part I.
With pick 15, the Suns take a point for the future: Jonny Flynn. Fast, athletic, and good finisher at the rack.
Not to mention winning a six-overtime game. Very impressive. So how is the Suns' makeover going?
Let's look at the most conventional starting lineup:
PG Nash, SG Crawford, SF Prince, PF Amare, C Lopez
PG Flynn, SG/SF Maggette
With $10 million saved in the Shaq trade, this team would likely go somewhere in the playoffs with some more defensive players.