Ziller grades the Thunder a B+: “After myriad moves, the Thunder pulled away with Cole Aldrich, a future Clippers first-round pick, the rights to Tibor Pleiss, the last season of Morris Peterson’s NBA career, and, for some reason, Ryan Reid. A fine night, indeed.”
Chad Ford: “The Aldrich pick is a solid choice for the Thunder. They don’t have a lot of depth in the middle and Aldrich should be able to block shots and rebound right away. He’s a decent offensive player with a good chance to improve. This is basically a need pick for the Thunder. While there may be better talent on the board, Aldrich can step right in and play.”
Ford gives OKC a B+: “The Thunder have, the past several years, deftly used their salary cap space to make deals and collect assets. They did it two more times this week when they acquired a future first-round pick from Miami for practically nothing except agreeing to absorb Daequan Cook’s contract (and then turned the pick from Miami into a future first-round pick from the Clippers). Then on Thursday, they got the No. 11 pick from the Hornets by agreeing to send them two picks and to take back Morris Peterson into their cap space. The Thunder’s target at No. 11 was Aldrich, a true rebounding, shot-blocking center. Aldrich fits a need for the Thunder in the middle, where he could provide some of the kind of defense that Joel Przybilla has given the Blazers.”
John Hollinger on the Daequan Cook deal and the Aldrich trade: “[On Cook] This was some clever shopping by Oklahoma City, though. The Thunder move up 14 spots in the draft, get an inexpensive player who can fill out their wing depth, and don’t greatly compromise their own cap hoard for this summer. (Oklahoma City wasn’t going to be a player for a max free agent anyway, so they’re shopping in the second tier.) … The big one was a trade with New Orleans that sent the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, and guard Morris Peterson to the Thunder for picks 21 and 26. This was effectively a purchase by the Thunder, as they took on a $6.6 million obligation to Peterson this year in order to move up. This was a good sign if you’re a Thunder fan that they’re not just going to hoard cash and draft picks ad infinitum — they made this move for a particular need to get the best big center they could. Oklahoma City was a trend-setter here, as the Aldrich choice exemplified a run on size in the middle of the draft once all the star talent was gone. Oklahoma City knows Aldrich won’t be a star but he filled a need.”
Scott Howard-Cooper: “The guy’s going to be a big hit in Oklahoma City before he plays a game. The first time he drops an opposing guard driving the lane, he’ll either get marriage proposals or be adopted. If he makes a difference, an actual difference, not just the occasional showy move, and the Thunder continue to advance, he will get a lot of credit as a meaningful piece who helped make it happen. They already have the well-respected Jeff Green starting at power forward, a glue guy and a quiet leader at age 23. There’s another Kansas product, Nick Collison, and the emerging Serge Ibaka as the backup bigs. Aldrich provides more depth for now and, depending how quick he develops, the opportunity to help push the Thunder forward again in the greatest statement of all.”
Berry Tramel: “So put me down as a doubter for Sam Presti’s 2010 NBA Draft. The Thunder general manager has made few wrong moves in turning Oklahoma City into one of basketball’s hot spots. And Aldrich won’t be a wrong move if he turns out to be like Collison, that other Jayhawk in Thunder blue. But Collison is a hard-hat any team can use and the Thunder does, to great success.”
John Rohde: “Entering the draft, where were the Thunder’s biggest needs? A defensive inside presence and an outside shooter, right? Kansas center Cole Aldrich arguably was the most dominant defensive presence in college basketball last season. Check. Daequan Cook of the Miami Heat won the Three-point Shootout during the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend. Check.”
Darnell Mayberry thinks OKC should’ve “gambled” and used all three first rounders: “I, for one, would have liked to see the Thunder take a bigger gamble in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. Roll the dice on potential. Shoot for the stars with three of the top 30 selections. Instead, OKC played it safe, trading away two of its three first-round picks to move up and take arguably the most low-maintenance player available in Kansas’ Cole Aldrich.” I’ll let you guys handle that one.
KD’s reaction to Aldrich: “Excited about the new guys we got…I think the rook @colea45 is gonna be n charge of gettin food for everybody on the team plane!!”
Mayberry had a good Q&A with Durant: “Q: How important is it for Jeff Green’s contract to get ironed out this summer without complication? A: It’s going to be important. Jeff is a real key part to our team. I really want him to stay. That’s like my brother. I don’t want him to leave. We’ve been so good together, everybody, me, him, Russ, James, Nenad, Thabo. I don’t want to see anything break up over non-basketball-related things. It’s going to be a tough summer for everybody, not just our team but everybody. But I think we’ll stick together.”
Nick Collison on adding a fellow Jayhawk: “Congrats @colea45. I’m excited to have u on the squad. Even more excited for you to bring me my newspaper & eggwhite omelet every morning rookie.”
Mark Haubs of the Painted Area with some info on Tibor Pleiss: “Tibor is definitely a few years away from being NBA-ready and have to imagine he will be a stash pick. Not sure he’s starting-caliber center in the NBA but has the skills to be at least a quality reserve. If he works on his post game and his body, a starting spot could be in his future because his shooting, rebounding, shot-blocking and hands are already quality.”
If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced Tee-bore Plice.
Reader Ryan sent in this nice note: “I’m in Vancouver for vacation and went up to Whistler ski resort for the day. My mom and I did a zipline tour in the afternoon, and in passing the tour guide asked us where we were from. We non-chalantly responded with “Oklahoma,” not really expecting much of a reaction – considering the other members of our group were from Switzerland. But to our surprise, he looked at us and said, “Oh yeah, I’m a fan of Oklahoma. I love your basketball team.” It’s not a conversation that we continued, since we were pre-occupied with other activities, but never in my life have I had such a positive reaction to telling someone I was from the Sooner State, and thought I’d pass it along, for what it’s worth.”
Sholas had a draft diary and mentions this: “The consensus in this room is that Kevin Durant is beyond awesome for going to the draft and sitting in the stands. And shout out to Brandon Jennings, live-blogging this thing with my man Lang Whitaker. But Durant’s just there for fun. Reminds of the time Spencer Hawes told me that for fun, Durant … plays basketball.”
Chapter 1 is up of JG Marking’s novel. It’s good stuff, I’m telling you.