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Draft Views from all over the Wild West — part 2

Timlogo_mediumHere's the second installment of our review of internet fan journalism concerning the recently-completed NBA draft. Who's happy and who's sad? Who is stuck with Steve Kerr? Which teams did a good job and which teams are going down the toidy along with Steve Kerr's team? Who are the up-and-comers in the West, from whence the chief competition to the Lakers shall emerge — and who has a GM named Steve Kerr?

Lots of important questions to be answered here...

As was the case in the previous chapter of this little review, things will be listed up alphabetically by team and priority will be given to bloggers over professional media. I will add my own opinion at the end of each team's little section and then rank the drafts this group 1-7 at the very bottom — and then you get your chance to call me out on my stupidity in the comments section.

This group includes opinions on the draft night activies of the Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Timberwolves, and Warriors. 

Here we go...


Evaluating the Denver Draft

by Nate Timmons, Pickaxe and Roll (SBN)

1st Round, 18th Overall: Point Guard, Ty Lawson (UNC), 6', 195 lbs. (in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves)

Last night was a huge success for the Denver Nuggets. By trading into the first round to draft Ty Lawson out of, George Karl's alma-mater, the University of North Carolina, the Nuggets have essentially found their backup point guard. * * *

I didn't think the Nuggets had a realistic shot at landing one of the top point guards in this draft, but they went out and surprised a lot of people, myself included, and landed, in my opinion, the most NBA ready point guard in the draft. There is some concern about Lawson's toe injury that he suffered in college, but I don't think it will be an issue. * * *

2nd Round, 34th overall: Point Guard, Sergio Llull (Spain) 6'3'', 175 lbs, point guard*

*The Nuggets traded the rights to Llull to the Houston Rockets for cash 
Andrew from the Denver Stiffs is reporting the Nuggets received a record $2.25 million for Llull's rights (an NBA record for a 2nd Round Pick and the money the Nuggets are getting will go directly to help re-sign Chris Andersen.) * * *

So, the Nuggets reportedly received $2.25 million for their pick to go along with the $2 million to $3 million they received for being under the NBA's luxury tax at the end of the 2008-09 season...

That's an extra $4.25 million to $5.25 milion for Mr. Kroenke to spend on Birdman, Dahntay Jones, Johan Petro, A.C., and whoever else the Nuggets decide to add to the roster next season.

Not a bad days work for the Nuggets and a great draft for a team that hasn't had a first-round pick since the immortal Julius Hodge in 2005.

More Nuggets and stuff, too, after the jump...



Nuggets. (cont'd)

The First Ever Denver Stiffs Draft Recap...

by Andrew, Denver Stiffs

This blog isn't old enough to have had an NBA Draft Recap column. In fact, prior to tonight you'd have to go back to 2006 to even evaluate a Nuggets draft pick. That year, the Nuggets took Leon Powe 49th and promptly traded him to the Celtics for a future second round pick (which in a roundabout way turned into J.R. Smith via Chicago).

As a result of this prolonged absence from participating in the draft, the post-Kiki Vandeweghe Administration of Bret Bearup, Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman has been accused annually (by yours truly among others) of being lazy with the draft and not properly valuing it.

Having no first round pick in 2006 wasn't the present administration's fault as that pick was dealt to the Nets as part of the Kenyon Martin trade, foolishly orchestrated by Kiki. And having no pick in 2007 was understandable in that the pick had been traded to the Sixers in order for the Nuggets to acquire Allen Iverson (a trade most Nuggets fans — including this one — whole heartily agreed with at the time).

But last year, with the Nuggets having just been swept by the Lakers (who have benefited greatly from deft late round drafting) and sitting at 20th in a seemingly deep draft, reached a new level of disappointment when the Nuggets brass dealt the pick to the Bobcats for an overly protected future first round pick. By doing so, the Nuggets passed on Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Nicolas Batum, Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers.

I don't want to dwell on the past but rather give Thursday night's welcome acquisition of Ty Lawson some context. First off, by proactively inserting themselves into a draft that they didn't have their own first round pick in, the Nuggets brass dissuaded some of the fears that they're content to sit these drafts out each summer. The bottom line is that grabbing Lawson now for that overly protected Bobcats pick was a good move.

As noted in the initial recap of the trade, Lawson at 18th overall might be a steal. He's tough, he's a winner and he's thrived against the absolute best that college basketball has to offer. As a junior at the University of North Carolina, Lawson averaged 16.6 ppg on 53.2% shooting to go along with 6.6 apg and 2.1 spg. In fact, Lawson impressively never shot worse than 50% from the field in college.

Furthermore, he addresses one of the Nuggets most glaring needs - backup point guard (sorry, Anthony Carter, but your ultimate replacement has arrived).* * *

Scrambling online to find who the Nuggets picked during the unending commercial break, the Tweets and Virtual Chat posts came in fast and furious: the Nuggets had drafted an unknown Spaniard named Sergio Llull (kudos go to HoopsWorld who accurately predicted this earlier in the day).

Since drafting Llull for the purposes of him joining the Nuggets - with Blair and so many others still available - made absolutely no sense, I immediately did some calling, texting, emailing and digging and found out that the Nuggets were just drafting Llull for the Rockets, to whom they had sold the pick (and this no joke) for an NBA record $2.25 million for a second round pick. And from what I'm hearing, that $2.25 million will be applied directly to re-signing Chris "Birdman" Andersen. * * *

Draft Day Trade Sends Lawson to Rocky Mountains

by Brian, Nugg Love (Fansided)

Buried under a flurry of much bigger trades on the day, (Shaq going to the Cavs, Vince going to the Magic, Jefferson going to the Spurs, #5 overall going to the T-Wolves, and a ton of others dealing with draft prospects) the Nuggets made a very underrated move in picking up Ty Lawson from the Minnesota T-Wolves for a future 1st round pick. People thought the Wolves were crazy picking their 3rd PG in a row after Rubio and Flynn went 5 and 6, until it was found out that Lawson was shipped out.

Lawson is a perfect match for the Nuggets. He can learn from Chauncey Billups, one of the smartest in the game. Chauncey is getting old and Lawson could easily step in once Billups retires or leaves.

Lawson was the best college PG last year, leading his team to a national championship. He's a proven leader that doesn't need to score to be effective. He is a beast in the transition game, (which the Nugs love) handles the ball well without turning it over, and can play good pressure defense. He's 21 and is one of those players that doesn't need a lot of work to be productive in the L, unlike early picks such as Thabeet and Rubio. * * *

The Bottom Line:

Ty Lawson is gonna be a really, really good player. The Genius Timberwolves (their new official team name) drafted 3 PGs in a row and traded exactly the wrong guy. Par for their course... I'm not sure that selling an early 2nd Rounder is so smart, but Denver did get a record price for the pick and if that really does help bring Birdbrain back, it's hard to fault that thinking.


Quick Draft Tidbits: Rockets acquire Jermaine Taylor, Sergio Llull, and Chase Budinger

by Tom Martin, The Dream Shake (SBN)

Please welcome your newest Rockets:

Jermaine Taylor

Sergio Llull

Chase Budinger

Please waive goodbye to:

Cash. * * *

A few thoughts:

  • Exactly how much cash did we give up? A few years ago, cash deals may not have been a very intriguing subject, but we're in a recession here, people. As much money as we have to spend, it would be nice to see the Rockets active in free agency next season. And that's on top of having re-sign the majority of our entire roster.
  • I told you that Chase Budinger could happen. But I didn't think it would happen in the second round. It's a great value pick, and probably one of the best values in the draft. I still hate the fact that San Antonio took DeJaun Blair so late.
  • Why Sergio Llull over Patty Mills? Well, for one thing, Morey has said that he would like to keep some Euro talent overseas and see how they develop. Taking Mills would give us a third point guard under 25 years old. We'd like to add a point guard for the here and now, but we'd much rather have a veteran presence to surround Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry with.
  • Jermaine Taylor was always a possibility, but if we knew we could get Budinger, I'm not sure why we took Taylor. It's not like we gave up anyone important to get him, but again, unless we just have some insane amount of cash to spend, I would have liked to hold on to some of it to use later. Then again, bringing in both Taylor and Budinger allows us to evaluate and develop more talent, which is never a bad thing. This should also push James White to work even harder, as if he needed any more motivation. * * *

Rockets Draft Analysis

by Brody, Rockets Buzz (True Hoop)

Interpreting the Rockets draft is a challenge.

The first thing that came to mind was how little the Rockets actually risked. All three picks are second rounders and if they don't make it than no worries, they won't get signed-no long term financial commitment.

At the same time, each pick came with the vague description "cash considerations". Who pays it? And will it take away from real necessity of signing a backup center for Yao? * * *

All I wanted was a backup.

The Rockets have reached a point where their window at a championship with the current stable is beginning to close, if ever so slightly. After next season the team enters its most important offseason in a decade, an event the front office has undoubtedly already been preparing for.

These three picks fit that mentality. All three are proven players; they're leaders, they're mature, and it's not hard to see two or even three of them making the roster. Chase Budinger was a lottery pick one year ago. He's extremely athletic, has a decent shot and can play two or three positions.

I could easily see him spending a year in the developmental league before coming up next year to fill a spot left by any of the team's eight free agents.

Having seen Jermaine Taylor play first hand in his final season at UCF, I'm slightly biased. I'm also convinced that all signs are pointing toward the impending departure of Von Wafer. The two are almost interchangeable, except I would venture to say that Taylor may have the better outside shot. Both are adept at penetrating, but what impressed me most about Taylor's game was his passing. * * *

Sergio Llull is the biggest wild card. Drafting college seniors isn't sexy, but what it lacks in spice it makes up for in instant productivity. Llull plays in Europe and that means I'm not holding my breath until he makes the jump across the pond. Additionally, he hasn't faced the same competition so it's nearly impossible to compare stats, styles and NBA "readiness". Assuming he stays, at the very least Llull gives the team another option in the 2010 offseason.

Rockets management gambled, but at least it was calculated. * * *

Daryl Morey's New Rockets

posted by TManiaAC to Clutch Fans message board

PG: Aaron Brooks | Kyle Lowry
SG: Jermaine Taylor | Von Wafer
SF: Chase Budinger | James White
PF: Luis Scola | Carl Landry
CN: Amare Stoudemire | Joey Dorsey

Aaron Brooks has already proven his mettle while JT and Chase Budinger are two of the most efficient and ready to contribute players in this years draft.

Jermaine plays larger than he looks with his impressive 6'8.25 wingspan, and managed to put up shooting numbers just decimal places under those of Stephen Curry's. [stats] Although he didn't play in the strongest of programs, he was definitely making these shots while draped in first rate defense as he was no doubt getting all the attention whenever the ball was in his hands. Draftexpress also reports he is one of the most efficient players, turning the ball over just 0.13 times per possession (and he gets A LOT of usage at UCF). While he shows good court vision, his passing game is a work in progress, since it's apparent he wasn't working on, or progressing, in that department while at UCF. Whose to say he couldn't develop a more polished passing game like another 6'4 guard selected in the 2nd round, Gilbert Arenas (Arenas averaged just 2.3 assists in college).

Chase Budinger is a jack of all trades. A young Brent Barry would be a very good comparison, which might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the way you see it. If his defense is less than bearable, we still have James White and Von Wafer, who capable defenders in their own rights. What we can't deny is that Morey is targeting athletes who understand their limitations and know how to play within their means. Any athlete can try mightily to attack the rim only to fail because they don't fully understand how to utilize their natural abilities a la Stromile Swift. James White could be like Desmond Mason and Von Wafer like Tony Allen.

I know I'm rendering best case scenario's, but for the little that Les paid, it costs us very little to be hopeful. The focus is clearly on the near-term... still, it's nice to know that Daryl Morey is also prudently building the Rockets future.

The Bottom Line:

Daryl Morey is brilliant, one of the top GMs in the NBA — a master builder of the stats-driven post-Moneyball New School of sports managers. This is a fantastic draft given what Houston had to work with. Taylor and Budinger are both gonna stick and if Llull ever amounts to anything this will be a major masterpiece of making something out of nothing. This draft is very nearly as good as that turned in by Kevin Pritchard of the Blazers, who had a 1st and four 2nd rounders to spend and a backup PG to sacrifice... Ya gotta give Morey a solid A for exceeding all reasonable expectations.


The San Antonio Spurs front office is smarter than you. And smarter than Kevin Pritchard.

by Rikiddo, Pounding the Rock (SBN)

So the draft just happened, and RC Buford probably thinks he hit the lottery with the 37th pick. If you're looking for an unbiased opinion, you've come to the wrong place - all we've got is praise and worship for the best front office in the league. We've been seeing a lot of RC lately, for good reason.

I know what you're thinking: A 6'7" Power Forward with bad knees? Why are you so high on this guy? Come on down, see what life is like when you block out all the bad thoughts.

Well, for starters, DeJuan Blair was projected to be a mid-first round pick. Since he fell right into the Spurs' laps in the second round, they don't have to guarantee him any money, so the knees aren't really a big concern. Also, he's a tough, Malik Rose type(thanks to spurchief for the comparison), but with a little more size and offensive ability, and great hands.

He even owned overall #2 Thabeet (who is 7'3") repeatedly in their head-to-head matchup last year. And did I mention the 7'2" wingspan, perfect for offensive rebounding? Or that he was pulling down 12.3 RPG last year for Pitt? What a steal for the Spurs. Even our resident negative nancy Stampler agreed this is a great deal for us. * * *

But wait, there's more: The Spurs picked again at #51, and picked up Jack McClinton, a great combo guard prospect from Miami. He's short, but those stats from last season at Miami are pretty impressive. * * *

The Spurs had one last pick at #53, and used it on Nando De Colo, another combo guard, this time from France. Apparently, he was the best player at the 2009 Reebok Eurocamp. Draft Express loves his passing and court vision, as does our benevolent overlord ATS. * * *

Recapping The Draft

by Shawn Kirsch, Project Spurs (MVN)

It was an exciting night, as San Antonio seems to have had of their better drafts in recent memory. It all started while we watched DeJuan Blair slip into the second round.

Not long after, we grabbed Jack McClinton, a shooting guard with a lot of potential, but will need to work hard to achieve it. He could be a solid shooter off the bench, or grow into the next Gilbert Arenas, hopefully without the attitude.

Finally, we drafted another french PG, Nando De Colo. I'm not sure he's something we needed right now, but depending on our off season, he could turn out to be essential. De Colo is another guy with a lot of upside.

After the draft, we still have a big need for help in the post. This is where Josh Heytvelt comes in. Undrafted, there will certainly be a lot of teams going after him. Jeff is big on him, and I agree that he could be a valuable player off the bench for us. * * *

San Antonio Pick Up Three in Draft

by Mikesatx, Air Alamo (Fansided)

The San Antonio Spurs did not have a pick in the first round of Thursday night's draft so like all of us they had to wait for their shot of getting a player to help what has already come to be a pretty good team with the pick-up of Richard Jefferson in the trade later this week with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Spurs front office has been praised as being the best, and I feel we all will agree that it is the best. I feel they proved how good they are with the three picks we came through with.

Pick Number One (37th Overall):

With the 37th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft the San Antonio Spurs select, DeJuan Blair from the University of Pittsburgh. First thing that came to my head and I turned to my wife and told her, he has a big time wingspan but I know that he has some problems with his knee. Yeah I said knee but later was corrected by good ole ESPN when they stated he has problems in both knees.

Blair was supposed to be first rounder but given his knee status he dropped in the draft. Hell the front office sees something, that must be that 7′2″ wingspan Blair has and his ability to rebound on the offensive end and score.

Last season he was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press, the Co-Big East Player of the Year and earned First Team All-Conference honors. Blair led the nation in offensive rebounding (5.6 rpg), ranked fourth in total rebounding (12.3 rpg) and 19th in field goal percentage (.593). * * *

A steal in my eyes for the Spurs at 37. He fills our needs of needing a big man. He has size (6′7″) and is an aggressive player.

Pick Number Two (#51 Overall)

McClinton is a good combo guard.

With their second pick in the second round of the draft the Spurs drafted Jack McClinton a 6′1″ guard out of the University of Miami. McClinton is a great combo guard for San Antonio. Though he is short, he still can score the ball and make things happen.

McClinton averaged 19.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32 games. What is more impressive is the way he played last year against number one ranked teams... * * *

The Final Pick (#53 Overall)

With their final pick in the draft the Spurs selected Nando Del Colo from France. Now you knew that we were not going to come out of this draft without taking an international player did you? Draft Express raves about this kid and his ability for passing and court vision. He is another combo guard and not knowing about his contract situation in France, I feel we won't see him on the floor this year. But from what it sounds like he is worth the wait. * * *

The Bottom Line:

I don't like the Spurs, but I do appreciate the fact that this is the franchise from which Western Conference GM genius flows — the model for the Blazers and the Rockets. The team goes into the draft with no 1st Round pick and comes out with DeJuan Blair. Given that situation, it only remains to be seen what sort of an A-grade R.C. Buford is getting. The picks of McClinton and DeColo generate................... an A-minus, not an A-plus. But don't forget that the Spurs ripped the ironically named Bucks blind in the Richard Jefferson deal, so you put that together and you're in straight-A country at a minimum. A big step has been taken to retooling to squeeze one more title run through Timmy's window — but the entire exercise is one or two (highly-likely) injuries away from catastrophe.


Suns Draft / Trade Day a Dizzying Mess

by Phoenix Stan, Bright Side of the Sun (SBN)

* * *

After being rumored all day, it seem virtually confirmed that Amare Stoudemire will go to the Warriors for Steph Curry, Andres Biedrins and some combo of Kelenna Azubuike, Brandon Wright and/or Marco Belinelli. This can't be announced until Wednesday July 1st because Beans is a base year contract guy which basically means this can't be announced until Wednesday.

It is not clear if Amare has a say in this in the form of a sign and trade or some sort of indication to the Warriors that he will extend and stay there. So basically, all of this trade Amare stuff could be blown out of the water by Amare.

Assuming it happens, I like the deal. Beans is a 23 y/o stud 7fter who can defend and rebound on both ends. He can't shot for crap though so you can't play him with Chandler so where does that leave the the deal with the Hornets for Chandler? * * *


Suns Draft Day Grades

by Mike Schmitz, Valley of the Suns

The talk in Phoenix this week has revolved around the Shaq trade and all the questions about a possible Amar'e trade to Golden State that may or may not happen at this point, but remember or not there was something called the NBA Draft Thursday night on top of all the Amare and Shaq fun.

The Suns, of course, selected Louisville forward Earl Clark at No. 14 and Oklahoma forward Taylor Griffin at No. 48. Here's our grades on the pick:

14th Pick - Earl Clark

Grade: A

The Suns are in dire need of an athletic hybrid SF/PF, and Earl Clark fits that mold. He rebounds, defends, scores and handles; he is the complete package. He does need some fine tuning in the shooting and strength categories, but that will come with time.

Steve Kerr said it himself, if Clark didn't drop to the Suns, we would have seen yet another Suns traded draft pick. So clearly, Clark was the man from day one. * * *

48th Pick - Taylor Griffin

Grade: D

This pick was extremely interesting to me. Taylor Griffin may bring a lot of hustle and aggression, but the guy is not an NBA player. He has an NBA body, but outside of that has almost zero skill-set. * * *

Another pick in the mix?

7th Pick - Stephen Curry? *  *  *

If there is truth to the Suns-Warriors trade rumors, than it was the Suns who decided on Stephen Curry with the seventh pick. Curry was an absolute steal at seven and could develop into one of the league's best point guards very quickly, especially learning from Steve Nash. His basketball IQ, court vision, lights out shooting, and work ethic will make him an All-Star in the NBA for years to come.

If indeed the Suns do acquire Curry, I would have to give this draft pick an A+.

Overall draft grade: B+

The Bottom Line:

At one end of the spectrum you have the Spurs, the Rockets, and the Blazers. Then you have the Suns... The Earl Clark pick is probably a good one — even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while... As for Taylor Griffin, I have a hunch that Kerr heard the last name somewhere and decided go for it when he had a chance. Lucky for Suns fans that the dumbest GM  in the NBA (working for the worst owner in the NBA) didn't go off the board for Barney Rubio, unheralded PG from the Juventud Maulers of the Madrid Saturday recreational league... Ricky's big brother needs NBA employment, too, and Kerr is only too willing to oblige.

Kerr will get pennies on the dollar when he finally does deal Amar'e. Book it. 



James Harden "Dope Sheet" — All The Info For Thunder Fans

by Dishingoutdimes, Welcome to Loud City (SBN)

With the third pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected James Harden a 6'5" 222 pound shooting guard from Arizona State.

For months here at Welcome To Loud City we have pinned down Harden as the main target for the Thunder with the third pick, among other potential picks. The Thunder desperately needed a shooting guard and a complimentary shooter and scorer with some range to play alongside Kevin Durant. * * *

The Thunder avoided any drama by passing on Ricky Rubio, who was available at #3 for Sam Presti to take. Apparently, Rubio is not even certain he'll play in the NBA next season after he was drafted by the Timberwolves. If he plays another year in Spain, his buyout will be substantially reduced. And if he plays two more seasons in Spain, then he is free to go whereever he pleases. Also, Hasheem Thabeet was off the board already, as Memphis selected him at #2. * * *

Harden ranked 21st in the NCAA (14th of draft eligible players) at 24.5 points per 40 minutes. He was among the statistical leaders in player efficiency rating in the college ranks, and he also had some of the highest usage rates in the NCAA. It's a testament to Harden's scoring prowess that he is able to put up such efficient and gaudy offensive numbers despite using a high percentage of his team's possessions. * * *


So, Who Did We Get?

by Zorgon, Blue Blitz (Bloguin)

Well, the Draft has come and gone, and the Thunder now have 3 new players on their roster. Who are they? Here's a detailed breakdown their style of play, and what to expect from them going forward.

Picked #3 - James Harden

As predicted by our very own Okluschen, James Harden went to Oklahoma City at #3. If there was a safe pick to make, this was it. If Thabeet was available, I might have argued for him to be picked, but at three, the choice was generally between this guy, Stephen Curry, and Ricky Rubio. Rubio had a bunch of baggage, such as whether he would whine about playing in a small market (as Yi Jianlian did) and just how much it would take to buy him out from his club in Spain.

Curry was a solid option, but he would be pretty small for a shooting guard, and it's questionable how well he could distribute the ball. So, the Thunder went with James Harden, the safe pick. Personally, I thought the Thunder might have taken a shot at Rubio, seeing as how they hired a Spanish law firm to deal with his contract. * * *

I'd expect James Harden to start off by backing up Sefolosha, with Weaver either buried on the bench or on another team. Then, it would be a matter of time before a slight injury or a couple bad performances would slide Harden into a starting role mid to late season. He'll be on the All-Rookie team, but I wouldn't expect him to be Rookie of the Year. He'll probably slide in as a fourth piece on a very good team, and while he might not be as good as Curry, Rubio, or Griffin, he could help us out here and now, and that's what's important.

Picked #24- B.J. Mullens

The Mavericks are sly ones, oh yes they are. They knew that the Thunder wanted B.J. Mullens, so they picked him at #24 and forced the Thunder to pony up a future 2nd Rounder, Cash, and the pick of Rodrigue Beaubois in order to get him. So, the Thunder obliged. So, who, exactly, did we give up a 2nd rounder and cash for? * * *

...[I]f B.J. Mullens gets time, we should be able to see him whip out Birdman-like dunks and bring a whole new shotblocking element to the Thunders' game that has not been see before. But, he will probably really hurt our rebounding totals (which is killer when Kevin Durant is playing Power Foward), and it remains to be seen whether his scoring ability will translate to the NBA. I'd say he'll get Malik Rose type minutes behind Krstic and Collison for most of this season. Next season might be a different story, depending on how well his rookie season goes.

Picked #54- Robert Vaden

This pick was, literally, purchased from the Charlotte Bobcats for cash. This guy is one of those big fish in small pond colleges, hoping to make the pros on merit from destroying small-time competition. * * *

n all reality, this guy is still a tail-end draft pick. It's very unlikely he'll make the roster, and will most likely either be cut or sit on the tail end of our roster and play in the D-League. If he shows his stuff there, then he could be called up and utilized as a specialist 3 point shooter at the end of the bench. But, in the end, he's got his work cut out for him, and 66ers fans can look forward to seeing him soon.


First Round Fun

by Gforce, After the Lightning

This Draft will go down in history and not just because it was the first. The Thunder did have to trade up for their guy, but B.J. Mullens comes quite a bit cheaper than first thought. As with most things, the hype surrounding the legit 7-foot center nearly made Oklahoma City pay a premium price if you believed the rumors.

Mock drafts everywhere had Mullens, an Ohio State product, going at the end of the lottery or just after. The same 'experts' had Thunder GM Sam Presti looking to trade up in hopes of taking the big man for D-League Tulsa. I do not expect Mullens to play much this season, but he is definitely the type of player that can help in 2-3 years when OKC is battling in the Western Conference playoffs. * * *

My take on the third overall pick, James Harden, can be summed up in one word — perfect. I was not a Rubio fan and honestly hoped Memphis took Thabeet. The one thing missing from OKC's core was a legit shooter from the outside, and they not only accomplished that but also took a guy familiar with his backcourt mate.

According to the Thunder Official site, Harden and Russell Westbrook have known each other since their early teen years. They played together growing up and now have a chance to form a potent duo to the front court pair of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. * * *

The Bottom Line:

Drafting #3 overall assures ya of at least a decent grab at the brass ring. James Harden seems like a better pick than Ricky "Maybe I Play for You, Maybe I Not Play for You" Rubio or Stringbeen Thabeet. We'll see how it works out. Mullens is one of only 2 Centers picked in the 1st Round — it's a fairly long shot but also a premium position. OKC will need to be patient and lucky. Not a bad draft by Sam Presti, another one of the SA/HOU/PDX-type New School GMs.



Draft Wrap-Up

by Stop-n-Pop, Canis Hoopus (SBN)

* * *
Getting around to the elephant in the room, the Wolves selected 4 guards, 3 of them points. The bottom line here, for me, is that a 24-win team with a starting back court of Bobby Brown and Sebastian Telfair (yes, that's what they were looking at before the draft) took the 2 top players on their draft board (who were guards) and they didn't have to move anything to do so. That's it.

If they had traded 5 and 6 for Rubio we'd all be sitting here excited about the young Spaniard. They got the kid at 5 and their BPA at 6. Even if the Wolves were a loaded team (and they're not), how can you possibly argue against a draft where a team with two top 10 picks gets their top 2 guys? You'd take that every year if you could.

Since most of us are Minnesotans, we are imbued with a deep lack of self worth and we must consciously resist the knee-jerk reaction of looking too much into Rubio's body language after the pick, his dad's comments about staying in Europe, or tall tales of the big city Knicks doing everything they can to get what the Wolves have in hand: the most exciting player in the draft.

Right now, enjoy the moment. Instead of worrying about it, think of all of those times you dialed up Rubio on YouTube hoping he'd land at the Target Center. Think of waking up early to watch the Spain/USA Gold Medal game. If Rubio is going to play in Minny, the only way he was going to do so was to land in the Wolves' laps with the 5th pick. It happened. Enjoy it. Let's worry about the buyout, trades, and staying in Europe later. The main thing I'm worried about right now is when I can get my hands on a pair of Rubio shirts for my girls.

Getting around to what we will see on the court, who here thinks that Rubio can run the point better than Randy Foye? OK, good. Now, who here thinks that Jonny Flynn is an upgrade over Sebastian Telfair or Bobby Brown? OK, good. Keep in mind that David Kahn just traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye--two players who would have been gone after the season--for Ricky Rubio. Keep in mind that had the Thunder went with Rubio we would be talking about Harden and Flynn. Could the Wolves have made out better with Curry? I think so but it's hardly a lopsided set of circumstances.

Moving down the draft, the Wolves picked up a serviceable shooting guard at 28 (Ellington) and they will hopefully hang on to Nick Calathes with their top 2nd round pick. Again, going back to the bottom line: a team that was looking at a starting back court of Bobby Brown and Sebastian Telfair at the start of the day walked away with 4 solid guards. They did so in a draft nearly completely void of shooting guards.

Could they have reached for DeRozan at 6? Sure, but let's not forget that this draft was beyond thin at that position. It was thin at center. What it did have is a bunch of decent power forwards and a bunch of decent point guards. * * *


Don't Know Where, Don't Know When

by Drew Boatman, Timberwolves Den

* * *
...[L]et's assume that Rubio doesn't want to come to the Wolves this season, or even next. Well, if anything, that puts his value HIGHER, because New York would then think they could convince him to play there, and they would give up pieces accordingly. In their minds, he is not coming to the NBA strictly because it's Minnesota... not because he has to go into his own pocket for damn near 6 million dollars.



(this is going to feel really good to type)


You could not make that statement about our previous GM, "AssHead" McHale. He would look at the situation and be like "OH NO! Rubio won't sign here! I better trade him for Charles Oakley, because he's a ballplayer and I used to be a ballplayer so HEY SOMETHING SHINEY I WILL NOW DRINK OUT OF THE DOG BOWL."

Kahn is playing this like a smooth smoothey. Draft rights are a hell of a thing, and ol' Rick's about to figure that out. Remember Danny Ferry? Drafted by the Clip Ship and fled the country to play in Italy instead... Hey how'd that career turn out? You gonna be remembered for your game, or for surrounding LeBron with a team full of pranksters? I'm sayin, this isn't the NFL, where you can hold a team hostage.

And like that TrueHoop article says... so what if he doesn't play this year? The Wolves are looking at just over 20 wins, as is, and if he plays, he might get them to 30. But let's not kid ourselves AT ALL. The kid is 18. His overall impact on the team this season would be low. It would definitely be nice to have him, just to teach him and get used to playing in the TC and all that, but if he wants to play in Spain, hey, go for it. Between Flynn and Telfair, I think we're going to be ok. At least we didn't pay out the ass for Rafer Alston. * * *

The Bottom Line:

Nobody had more swings at the piñata than the Timberwolves. They netted: (1) A prima dona 18 year old that won't even be here for a year or two; (2) the wrong PG (Jonny Flynn) after trading the right PG (Ty Lawson); (3) a promising SG with a nice stroke (Wayne Ellington) but having given up in this draft to move up a proven quality SG (Randy Foye); (4) Another Euro guard who won't even play this year (Nick Calathes). This Minnesota draft leaves the franchise looking like the living room of a crazy woman with a morbid fetish for collecting cats — shit all over the carpet as a result of completely unbalanced blind and fanatic acquisition. The Foye trade is a catastrophe. Meanwhile, the smart teams who actually did their homework and concentrated on other positions — San Antonio, Houston, Portland — did  much better, despite holding fewer and inferior picks. This draft is a D-minus for David Kahn dodging a F only because he had so many swings of the bat that he was bound to get one through the infield. The Wolvers were loaded with picks but not clever enough to use them efficiently...



Warriors' 2009 NBA Draft Day - Stephen Curry & Amar'e?

by Fantasy Junkie, Golden State of Mind (SBN)

What a day! What a day!

If you haven't been around a computer, television, radio, or friends in the last 24 hours, here's a quick recap. At #7 in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Warriors drafted Davidson guard, Stephen Curry, son of Dell Curry. They had no 2nd round pick. Also, the Dubs are heavily rumored to be involved in a trade of Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, and Marco Belinelli for Amare Stoudemire. Some rumors have Kelenna Azubuike and Stephen Curry included.

Even if you don't agree with the moves, you at least had a little fun watching, waiting, anticipating the what the Warriors would do. * * *

1) Stephen Curry

I had gone back and forth on my desire to draft Brandon Jennings or Stephen Curry. In yesterday's poll, Who do you want the Warriors to draft in the 2009 NBA draft?, I chose Jennings. I had buyer's remorse as I lay my head to pillow last night. I wanted Curry instead. I even went so far as trying to figure out how I could change my vote since I figured an admin could do it, no luck. I didn't want Jordan Hill either, I just don't think he's going to be that great - 2nd best PF in the draft but it's a weak PF class, strong G class. Jennings is too raw. How many more projects do we need? A PG who might be good in 3 years? Naw, give me the guy who's proven he can deliver on college's biggest stage, the NCAA tournament. One of the better passers amongst all guards in the draft. Best shooter in the draft. Knows how to run a team as he did at Davidson.

So as Minnesota took Jonny Flynn with the 6th pick, there was Curry sitting in the green room and me hoping the Warriors would take him. We got the guy I wanted. Feels good since that hasn't happened in a long time. It was even more satisfying that we screwed over the Knicks. The boos from the Knick fans made the pick that much more sweet.

Will he be Rookie of the Year as Dick Vitale suggests? I don't think so. Either Dicky V was factoring in the curse of the Clippers for Blake Griffin or he's out of his mind by picking anyone over BG. * * *

2) Amar'e Stoudamire

* * *
The Amar'e trade talks aren't dying down.

Amar'e Stoudemire


Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli and might include Kelenna Azubuike and Stephen Curry.

I still don't know how I feel about this trade especially including Kelenna and Curry since it affects the depth of the bench. If it's just the first 3 guys, I think I do it. This league is made up of stars. None of the Warrior guys is or will ever be a star. Amar'e has superstar potential and even showed it 2 years ago when he averaged 25-9 along with 59% from the field and 80% from the line in 34 minutes per game. He was considered a top 10 player.

The Inspired and injury free Amar'e I'll take any day over Biedrins and some role players. Which Amar'e will show up makes this a risk. Sometimes you have to take some calculated risks. Marco is addition by subtraction, he gets way too much love for having done nothing. Brandan showed some flashes last year, but has been injured and Randolph will eat up the majority of his minutes anyways. Andris is clearly the centerpiece in this deal, you have to give up something to get something. * * *


Warriors Pick Curry at #7

by Jim Del Favero, Warriors World

Warriors pick Stephen Curry at #7 . Good pick by the W's, they need someone they can pair with Ellis in the back court. They know they have a glut of 2's and 3's but GM Riley says they are moving some out. Just on the face of it, Crawford out, and Curry in, you get a pure shooter with excellent court vision, that can pass. Chances are Curry is a much better pro in 2-3 years than Crawford ever was.

Although Riley says he will come off the bench and back up Ellis, in a Don Nelson run offense, you know he would have no problem running both of these guys out on the court at the same time. Curry averaged over 28 ppg on a team where he was the #1, 2, 3 option, so you know he can get his shot off. The W's should be able to spread the floor more, with Ellis's ability to get to the hoop creating opportunities for outside shooters like Curry. * * *


Warriors Get Curry at 7

by Trevor, The Warriors Rundown

The NBA draft finally arrived Thursday, and in the midst of trades happening left and right, the Warriors actually stayed put at 7, and grabbed a guy who plenty of experts thought they'd end up with.

The only question going forward, is whether or not Stephen Curry will actually ever suit up for the Golden State Warriors. Apparently, Curry wasn't too excited at the prospects of going to Golden State and the Warriors could be trying to move him as the draft goes on.

One potential partner could be the New York Knicks, who grabbed big man Jordan Hill at pick 8, one pick after the Warriors took the guy they wanted in Stephen Curry. The W's may have grabbed Curry, knowing that the Knicks wanted him, and planning to make a move to get more from New York than just Hill.

With all the talk going on about Ellis wanting the point-guard job and to ultimately control the ball, it didn't make much sense for the Warriors to grab another guard, if they are indeed planning on having Ellis run the offense. Though Curry and Ellis could theoretically play in the same back-court together, both are more offensive minded ballplayers, while playing them together at the same time could make for an amazingly up-tempo offense, it would likely be a kiss of death on the defensive end.

All that being said, I fully expect the Warriors to deal Curry within the next few days, and I really think that the New York Knicks are the team that's going to pay the biggest price for the lean combo-guard out of Davidson. After trading Jamal Crawford for a couple of point guards in Acie Law and Speedy Claxton, it would seem like the Warriors now have bit of a log jam in the back-court. The first round pick was the Warriors only selection in the 2009 draft, so they could look to attain another pick in the second round before this things all said and done. Stay tuned, much more draft coverage to come!

The Bottom Line:

This one was plain old Pass/Fail for the Warriors... Pick Brandon Jennings with the #7 pick? That's a FAIL for the ages. Score Stephen Curry with the #7? That's an A+ on the test. Warriors did what they needed to do. Now we see if they screw up by trading him away. They have a real logjam at the 2/3, but they're young enough and cheap enough that it shouldn't be too big a rip clearing a few people away, as needed.


How I Rank the Drafts of these 7 Teams:

1. Warriors. They got Steph Curry out of this draft. That's all you need.

2. Nuggets. Same principle as the Warriors — Ty Lawson is a really good get, no matter how the rest turns out.

3. Rockets. Something for nothing in the 2nd Round, masterfully executed by the genius Morey.

4. Spurs. Getting Blair for the #37 was comically great value if he doesn't break. The RJ deal was 3 parts larceny, 1 part luck.

5. Thunder. Harden is a good pick, Mullens is sketchy but a worthwhile roll of the dice, Centers being rare.

6. Suns. The idiot Shaq giveaway has tainted anything Kerr can do for the next year or two. He's in over his head.

7. Timberwolves. Drafting "Best Player Available" is idiotic if you have four 1st Round picks and no clue about who is actually the best player available.

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