The enigma that is the NBA Draft has come and gone leaving a few teams in good shape, a few teams in bad shape, and a few teams that…well, we don’t know where they are!
Let’s take a look at the teams that did well in last night’s draft, shall we?
1.) Portland Trailblazers: The Blazers have become known for their “draft day deals,” and they certainly didn’t disappoint us Thursday night. Picking up Nicolas Batum from the Houston Rockets will be a move that helps them a few years from now, but stealing Jerryd Bayless out of Indiana was simply amazing. They did, however, have to give up former Duke standout Josh McRoberts…good luck with that Pacers.
2.) New Jersey Nets: The Nets have managed to almost completely revamp their roster in a matter of two days. Shipping Richard Jefferson off to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons was just a start. With their first pick Thursday night, they found themselves in the “right place at the right time” as Brook Lopez fell into their laps with the No. 10 pick. Add in Ryan Anderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the Nets had a heck of a draft this season. The future is starting to look a little better in New Jersey.
3.) Houston Rockets: Well, little did anyone know at the time, the 2008 NBA Draft turned out to be a good one for the Houston Rockets. Selecting Nicolas Batum left many “experts” scratching their head, but everything was sorted out later that evening. The Rockets shipped Batum out in exchange for Donte Greene and Joey Dorsey. Donte will give the Rockets another slashing/scoring threat, and Dorsey brings them a little bit of attitude that the team desperately needs.
Now, on the flip side of the coin, let’s look at the teams that didn’t fare so well.
1.) Charlotte Bobcats: Maybe Michael Jordan should stick to what he knows, playing basketball. The man that extremely overvalued Kwame Brown with the Wizards showed once again that he has very questionable judgment when it comes to talent. The Bobcats need a lot of help in a number of areas, yet they chose a small PG in DJ Augustin (while Jerryd Bayless was still available) and then took project Alexis Ajinca with the No. 20 pick. Charlotte is a franchise that seems to be stuck in neutral, and they did nothing to move forward in this year’s draft.
2.) Sacramento Kings: The Kings are in desperate need of a frontcourt player that can step in and give them big minutes immediately. With Brad Miller’s act starting to wear thin in Sac-Town, they decided to take Jason Thompson with the No. 12 pick of the draft. Jason Thompson…really? This one is a head-scratcher to say the least. Thompson could develop into a great player down the road, but the Kings do not really have the time to wait.
3.) Indiana Pacers: Trading Jermaine O’Neal was something this franchise had to do, that’s a given. Getting oft-injured guard T.J. Ford and the 17th pick in this year’s draft in return makes you wonder just how far O’Neal’s fallen in the last few years! The Pacers did the right thing in selecting Jerryd Bayless with the 11th pick, but immediately trading him to Portland (along with Ike Diogu) for Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack was a little strange. The Pacers also receive the draft rights of the slow but talented Roy Hibbert from the trade with the Raptors, which may not be all that bad. What is bad, however, is now Indiana has T.J. Ford, Jamaal Tinsley, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Marquis Daniels, Travis Diener, Ronald Murray, and Kareem Rush all at the guard position next season. If this was a 6-foot-6 and under league, they may dominate…unfortunately, it’s not.
Ok, so we’ve seen who has “won” and who “lost” in this draft, now let us look at the teams that made us go…huh?
1.) Seattle Supersonics: The confusion with Seattle began with their first pick of the night. It was widely rumored that they were high on Brook Lopez but may want to go with a true point guard to help run the offense along for Kevin Durant. They decided to grab that PG with their first selection, and to everyone’s surprise, it was Russell Westbrook, not Jerryd Bayless. If that wasn’t enough, the Sonics then selected a HUGE prospect in Serbe Ibaka who they may not even have on their team for a few years. This team does not have the depth to take that sort of risk in my opinion, but that’s why the GM’s make the big bucks.
2.) Memphis Grizzlies: Color me completely confused about what’s going on in Memphis. Drafting Kevin Love seemed like the right move with their first pick of the draft. The fact that they traded him (along with Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins) to the T’Wolves for OJ Mayo and some expiring contracts was a tad confusing. They also pulled the trigger on another trade in which they acquired Donte Greene and Joey Dorsey for a future second round pick. Now that trade makes some sense as Greene gives them a young athletic scorer and Dorsey gives them someone to battle under the ….wait…they traded them already too? Well, in this trade, they acquired Darrell Arthur, who was the “darling” of the draft as he received a standing ovation when his name was finally announced with the No. 27 pick of the evening. Arthur could be a very nice pick up for the Grizz if he turns out to be healthy, but all of this movement still leaves me thinking…”huh?”