Saturday, June 28, 2008

2009 NBA Draft Winners and Losers


Milwaukee Bucks: Traded Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons to New Jersey for Richard Jefferson, drafted Joe Alexander (No. 8), drafted Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (No.37)
I want to start with my favorite NBA team. Milwaukee upgraded its talent level. The Bucks know what they are getting in Jefferson, and Alexander has a chance to be an absolute star in this league. The problem is, they both play the same position, although there's some notion that Alexander can play some 4. They needed help at forward and they definitely got it. Their starting lineup now looks pretty good with Mo Williams at PG, Michael Redd at SG, Andrew Bogut at C, Charlie Villanueva at PF, and Richard Jefferson at SF. They also created some cap space and freed up a bit of a logjam down low. I wasn't crazy about the Mbah a Moute pick when they could have had Bil lWalker or Chris Douglas-Roberts but overall I really liked this trade for the Bucks and I think they got a lot better last night!

Portland Trail Blazers: Traded Jarrett Jack and draft rights of Brandon Rush (No. 13) to Indiana for Ike Diogu and draft rights to Jerryd Bayless (No. 11), traded draft rights of Darrell Arthur (No. 27) and the draft rights to Joey Dorsey (No. 33) to Houston for draft rights to Nicolas Batum (No. 25)
For the second straight year, the Blazers came away the big winners. Last year Portland added its franchise center in Greg Oden, and this year it added a potential franchise lead guard in Bayless. He's going to complement Brandon Roy beautifully in the backcourt. Batum is an upside pick who may not play right away, but has great athleticism and slashing ability. A squad of Bayless, Roy, Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw, Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye and Oden will compete for a low playoff spot next season and for an NBA championship within three years. The Blazers have had 2 great drafts in a row.

New Jersey Nets: Traded Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons, drafted Brook Lopez (No. 10), Ryan Anderson (No. 21) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (No. 40)
I think the Nets also got better from their trade with the Bucks. Yi makes sense from a marketing standpoint, even if he never lives up to the hype and Bobby simmons gives them good depth at guard along with Devin Harris. Aside from the tradethe Nets finally added a low post scorer in Lopez to complement defensive-specialists Josh Boone and Sean Williams. Anderson should be a match-up problem who can stretch defenses, and Douglas-Roberts, a first-team All-American, was probably the steal of the draft in the second round.

Memphis Grizzlies: In an eight-player deal, Memphis acquired O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins. Also acquired Darrell Arthur for Donte Greene and a future second-rounder
Memphis is the winner in the deal. I personally think Mayo is the most NBA-ready player in this year's draft and he will be electric when paired with Rudy Gay and Mike Conley Jr. . Memphis also did well adding Darrell Arthur, a lottery-level talent whose representation apparently dropped the ball on notifying teams about his physical condition causing him to slip hard.

Miami Heat: Drafted Michael Beasley (No. 2), traded two future second-round picks to Minnesota for Mario Chalmers (No. 34)
O.J. Mayo came up in discussions, but ultimately the Heat made the right choice. I think you can expect Beasley to step in and help turn this franchise around. If Beasley isn't a good fit, the Heat can always showcase his talents for a year or two and unload him, his value will be substantial as he's sure to tear it up right from the start. Chalmers was considered a possible mid-first rounder who slid. He gives Miami some much-needed depth in the backcourt and may even end up starting alongside Dwyane Wade if he improves his playmaking skills.


Indiana Pacers: Traded Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford and draft rights to Roy Hibbert (No. 17); traded Ike Diogu and draft rights of Jerryd Bayless (No. 12) to Portland for draft rights to Brandon Rush (No. 12) and Jarrett Jack
It's unclear exactly what the Pacers are doing. They added a point guard in Ford, but traded away their franchise big man and replaced him with Hibbert who is a skilled offensive player who is too slow and lethargic to excel at the NBA level. It was time to rebuild, but Indiana looks like it will be competing for a high lottery pick next season. Giving up Jerryd Bayless for Brandon Rush and change was retarded.

Charlotte Bobcats: Drafted D.J. Augustin (No. 9) and Alexis Ajinca (No. 20)
The Bobcats have a young point guard in Ray Felton and an obvious need at center. Drafting Augustin, a good college player who's lack of size and athleticism will hurt him in the NBA, was a mistake considering Jerryd Bayless was on the board. They compounded that error by using the 20th pick on Ajinca, a very long, very unpolished prospect who averaged just five points and five rebounds per game last year in France. Oops...

Cleveland Cavaliers: Drafted J.J. Hickson (No. 19)
The Cavs had a number of options at 19 but a 6-8 project power forward was not what the doctor ordered. Since losing Carlos Boozer in free agency, this team has failed miserably to surround LeBron with proper talent, and this pick is more of the same.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Acquired Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins for O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner
Basically, it's a Love for Mayo swap with a lot of bad contracts. Minnesota did well unloading some terrible contacts (Jaric and Walker) while taking on Cardinal's terrible contract. Minnesota gave up a potential All-Star guard. Even more puzzling is the decision to move Al Jefferson to center and make Love a top 5 pick. On the positive side, Miller can step in and help this team win games next year and gives them great outside shooting. They also got a lot of cap room in the deal, I just think that Mayo is going to be great and I think he is basically NBA ready right now. Just seems like a big mistake to me.

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