I was pretty nervous last night when the camera panned over to the Jazz as they awaited the unveiling of the #9 envelope, even after Danny Granger made me laugh with his reaction to the Pacers not getting a better pick than they were slated to receive. I just kept imagining Evan Turner alongside Deron Williams, Paul Millsap and maybe even Carlos Boozer if the Jazz got the #1 or #2 pick (though I still think they might have taken Wall and used him as trade bait if they landed the first overall pick).
And I don’t know why, but I had a feeling that the second our good announcer made the statement, “Everything going to form so far,” that there was no way the Sixers were going to have their name drawn for the 6th pick. Every announcer should know better than that.
You just don’t jinx that stuff, people. But even I could not have dreamed for what logo got pulled out of that #6 envelope…
1. Not one, but TWO teams jump into the Top 3 picks to equal an Eastern conference sweep of the lottery?! Fantastic!
That’s the best way I can utilize literature to show how I was feeling to know that NONE of the Top 3 picks were going to be from an Western conference team the second the T-Wolves were revealed to have the 4th pick.
Does this mean that a plethora of Western conference teams won’t be better next year? Of course not. I expect the Clippers with their 8th pick and a slew of cap space, not to mention a healthy and hungry #1 pick in Blake Griffin finally playing, to dramatically improve if their curse doesn’t somehow mess it up. I expect the Kings to improve with their 5th pick and another year of seasoning and I also expect the Grizzlies, Rockets and Hornets to improve enough in free agency and player development to make runs at the playoffs next year (Kings will make a weaker run, I’d imagine, than the other four).
But you know what, they won’t get getting John Wall, Evan Turner or Derrick Favors (barring some insane and horrendous twist of fate) now will they?
2. Oh the trade possibilities we will see…
One extremely underrated factor (and one I didn’t fully realize myself on Monday) regarding the Sixers moving into the Top 3 but not winning the lottery is that, well, they find themselves in something of a quandary given their cap situation, the best player available at pick number two and the way their roster is assembled.
First off, the second overall pick typically earns something like $5 million dollars. Secondly, the best player most individuals assume will be there at #2 is Evan Turner, who is pretty, almost absurdly, similar to Andre Iguodala, even though I think Turner could easily play the 3 and Iggy the 2, but perhaps the Sixers’ front office would prefer to just move Iggy like they were rumored to be trying to do before the deadline. But so far, none of this has anything to do with the Thunder, right?
Well, just follow me. Moving Iggy would make a lot of sense (especially if the Clippers don’t want to overpay Rudy Gay and make a brilliant move to trade for Iguodala, who would be a great SF for that squad) but there is another contract, one that is expiring in fact, that the Sixers would probably prefer moving to help alleviate some of their cap concerns without shipping out one of the cornerstone pieces of their franchise over the past few years and who could still be a part of the organization’s future.
So who would the Sixers prefer to try and trade away for a pretty good bargain so that they could actually afford the #2 pick without having to pay a luxury tax?
Try Samuel Dalembert.
And even though I’m not saying I’d personally want the deal to happen 100%, you know Presti and the Thunder organization would have to stop and think about the possibility of putting Dalembert on the squad in a contract year to get a feel for him and what he could bring for the next 3-4 years, right? Would Dalembert have helped the Thunder in the playoffs in the paint?
Then again, the Sixers could always try and trade down with this next team to get another piece if they’re particularly high on a post player more than Turner…
3. The T-Wolves did not grab the 2nd Pick
Which pretty much means two things: 1) Kahn can’t draft his third point guard with a Top 6 pick—okay, okay, that wasn’t the actual first thing but I had to put that in there because, well, I still remember last year’s draft. Ehem, 1) Barring a crazy trade-up from #4, the T-Wolves will not be able to draft the player they wanted to for their huge need on the wings and that means Kahn is staring at the possibility of using the fourth overall pick on either PF Derrick Favors, PF/C Demarcus Cousins, SF Wesley Johnson, or PG Eric Bledsoe. Okay, okay, I’ll stop…I just can’t help myself!
But the best player available at #4, unless the Nets inexplicably select Wesley Johnson, would probably be a PF or a PF/C for the T-Wolves. And they already have two stud post players in Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Do I really need to keep going? Isn’t the writing on the wall?
Al Jefferson or Kevin Love could theoretically become available on the trading market if the T-Wolves take the best player available instead of drafting for need in the person of Wesley Johnson.
My guess: Al Jefferson’s big contract, power post game and older knees become available way before Kevin Love’s rookie deal, finesse and passing oriented skills (not to mention sweet outside shot) and youth do.
But would Kahn trade a division rival a player of Al Jefferson’s caliber for a bouquet of point gua—er, wing players and complimentary veteran pieces?
So with all that in mind, with the draft theoretically being WIDE open after the first overall pick in terms of what could happen and the domino effect it could have league-wide, the biggest question really comes down to this, will this speculation be enough to tide us over during the Dark Ages of the summer after the NBA Finals?