Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Fallout

First things first: The ESPN video embedded below may have stopped working, so for future reference, here was Eric Gordon BEFORE he disappointed me:


The only significant draft fashion-related comment I have other than my disappointment in Eric Gordon is that I feel uncertain about O.J. Mayo:


It's like he's trying to draw attention to the fact that he's so much older than the other draftees. And the glasses? They look smart and all, but doesn't it send a bad message if you're a professional basketball player? Like the first thing you need is LASIK? Otherwise, nice colors, decent fit (the whole thing looks a bit too small for him though, doesn't it?). I don't know, though, something just feels off about it.

Also, here's a more detailed fashion review of the draft. (Link via Truehoop)

As for the great Green Room watch? He didn't go last, but Brook Lopez seemed a little too distraught that he dropped to #10. Remember, I've interpreted that sort of reaction as a very bad sign for a prospect's future. As for the guy who actually went last, Darrel Arthur slipped all the way to 27th (Green Room invitees are expected to go in the top 14) amid unseemly rumors about a kidney ailment (hint to ESPN: if you talk about it on TV, it's no longer "undisclosed!"). It's hard to draw much of a conclusion about him based on that, due to the circumstances, but he didn't cry at least. He seemed disappointed, but that could have just been the disappointment of losing about $600k a year for the next four years and having a bunch of strangers talk about your kidneys when they don't know anything about them. And he wasn't fidgety either, he patiently waited for his moment. This bodes well for his career.

A breakdown of important events that happened around the draft:
  • Pacers make moves: first, the Pacers made a giant deal with Toronto, sending Jermaine O'Neal and Nathan Jawaii (pick #41) to the Raptors and receiving T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Boston, and Roy Hibbert. Here are some thoughts about it. My feeling - Toronto makes room for Jose Calderon at point (who should be in the running for an All-Star selection next year) while greatly improving their defense. Offensively, O'neal will inefficiently shoot mid-range jumpers, which is kind of a step down from Nesterovic . . . I guess this also means that Bargnani is not currently the answer inside for them. As for the Pacers, they get the point guard they've needed, and for a team that played ultra-fast last year, he should only speed things up (don't know how Hibbert fits into that picture). As for Hibbert, I thought he'd fit better in Toronto or Sacramento, but either way I have high hopes for him.
  • Next, the Pacers went and traded Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless to the Trailblazers for Jarret Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush. So next year, the Pacers will shatter all previous records for three-pointers attempted? Anyways, I don't really understand -- Bayless was supposed to be a top-5 or top-10 talent, and Ike Diogu is a guy who's been putting up really solid per-minute numbers throughout his career but never gets many minutes anywhere (bad defense? I dunno, I haven't watched him too much). If Bayless can play the point, then the Blazers pick up exactly what they've been needing. Their team looks stacked for several years, especially considering that Rudy Fernandez shows up to join Oden, Bayless, Aldridge, and Roy. For the time being, the Pacers now have two Rush brothers on the same team. That should be fun to follow.
  • The Nets traded Richard Jefferson to the Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. Simmons' contract expires in 2010 while Jefferson's goes through 2011, so the Nets put themselves in better position to sign a free-agent from the great 2003 draft class that will be free agents in 2010 (Lebron, Bosh, Wade, et al). Yi moves to a bigger market as he's been wanting since before he was drafted and the Nets get the revenue bump that comes with having a Chinese star on the team (ever notice the ads in Chinese along the sidelines of Bucks games last year?). While I'm sure Jefferson will help the Bucks achieve mediocrity, is that really a goal? Here are some more thoughts on the matter. Also, the Bucks drafted Joe Alexander, who was born in Taiwan and speaks Chinese, but now he won't have Yi to practice with. Sigh.
  • HUGE trade between Memphis and Minnesota. Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner, and O.J. Mayo to Memphis and Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins, and Kevin Love to Minnesota. Gay-Love in Memphis just wasn't meant to be I guess. Anyways, Kevin McHale and the Timberwolves sent out three black players and one white and received three white players and one black. Hmmn. There's some weird bonding thing going on with Love and McHale, with Love saying that his dad had him study tapes of McHale when he was younger. As for the players, Hollinger (and everyone else who's analyzed it statistically) seems to think that Minnesota made out like bandits. Britt Robson has a really well thought-out take on it -- he's a fan (from Minnesota's perspective) but he is clear about pointing out potential problems (defense, turnovers, Mayo having a higher ceiling than Love/Miller). 3shadesofblue, meanwhile, approves of the trade for Memphis, and thinks that the next move should be to trade Mike Conley and start OJ at the point (an opinion he shares with Nate Jones from jonesonthenba). My thoughts: financially, Marko Jaric might be the worst part of this deal for the Grizzlies, since he's getting paid around $7 million through 2011 (Cardinal's contract expires in 2010), but with all the other moves they've made they'll still have a lot of cap-flexibility in the coming years so that should be OK. Mike Miller, despite being an all-star level 2/3, wasn't helping them win a lot of games, but they'll probably be even worse off this year without him, while in Minnesota he'll help keep the doubles off of Al Jefferson. Love and Jefferson, along with Miller, should make for a solid offensive team, but Minnesota is screwed defensively, a la Randolph/Curry, and (Collins notwithstanding) they're still in the market for a defensive big and a perimeter defender (like Mayo!). It seems like Memphis could have gotten more out of trading Miller, but if Mayo is as solid as he's supposed to be defensively then they automatically improve their D and they open up some playing time for young guards like Crittenton and Mayo himself (not to mention Conley and Lowry). Still, for Memphis, this deal is only good if OJ Mayo turns into a superstar. Even then, this has to have been the first of a series of moves for them, because currently they have 200 or so players who can play point guard, and they're still in the market for an offensive big (like Love!). So let's see what happens . . ..
  • Seattle takes Westbrook at #4, higher than expected. Is that evidence of the Rondo-bump?
  • Steve Kerr continues the process of destroying all remnants of D'antoni in Phoenix by drafting an unskilled Defense/Rebounding big (Robin Lopez) with the highest pick that the Suns have had in quite a while.
  • In Pau Gasol-related news: So far, the Grizzlies have turned Pau Gasol into Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, Darrell Arthur, and about $9-$10 million in cap space.
  • The Warriors drafted Anthony Randolph, who appears to be an even more anorexic version of Brandon Wright. I don't know if he'll get to play at all, but it would be funny to watch him, Wright, and Biedrins at the same time -- all arms with no bodies:
Randolph:


Wright:



Biedrins:


Seeing as I know nothing about most of the players involved, I'll hold off of any systematic evaluations of the draft and who did well and who didn't and so forth. There are a million places online to get that kind of info. However, I will go out on a limb and make random predictions based on very little knowledge: I like Hibbert and think he'll make an impact, I think Brook Lopez is a bust, Chalmers and Speights are steals, and George Hill will become a solid contributor.

If you're wondering (as I have been) about who the hell Lakers pick Joe Crawford is, here's a couple of links with some information. A summary of the relevant info from those two links follows.

He's a 6-4 shooting guard who can shoot the spot-up:

Crawford’s spot-up jump shot has very good form, boasting a fairly deliberate release (but not in a bad way), with near textbook mechanics and a high and consistent release point. It’s important to note, though, that this is only talking about his spot-up jumper, as his mechanics don’t stay quite so great when he’s pulling up off the dribble, contested, or coming around a screen.

Also, he "
does a good job finishing off cuts and in transition using his leaping ability and ability to adjust in traffic." Sounds like there's a place for him in the triangle offense, doesn't it?

Defensively,

Defensively, Crawford plays a fundamentally sound, focused, and aggressive game, doing a good job with both on and off ball defense. Off the ball, he doesn’t give up and always contests shots, though he has some trouble getting around screens, as most college players do. On the ball, he has good lateral quickness and reflexes, while doing a very good job moving his feet and pressuring his man, rarely getting beat off the dribble or giving up an open shot. At 6’4, he could have some trouble guarding 2’s at the next level.

He played for a team in Kentucky that had a pretty good defense, particularly when it came to holding the opposition to a low shooting %, which I guess is a good sign. Crawford himself wasn't a very good rebounder, though (his teammates were alright, so perhaps rebounding wasn't a big part of his role). Kentucky's offense ran a lot through its shooting guard (Crawford), and he shot 36% from 3 and turned the ball over a bit too much. Presumably in the pros he'd be responsible for a lot less on the offensive end, which would help his efficiency.

If you're looking for more info on the draft, check out Ridiculous Upside or Draftexpress, or check kenpom for college stats. Kevin Pelton wrote an article that looks at how those stats might translate to the NBA.

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