Now I realize that I just told you to pretty much not believe anything while I’m trying to get you to believe something but that is precisely my point: everything is a smoke screen behind the curtain of an enigma wrapped inside a question that’s tucked away in a riddle of fog–or is it smoke again?
This is the Thunder’s second trip through the perilous puzzle that is the world of NBA Draft rumors and if we’ve learned anything from last year’s maiden voyage it’s that we really don’t learn anything in the weeks leading up to the big shindig in Madison Square Garden because Presti and the Thunder organization employ Jedi mind tricks to try and keep the front office locked up tighter than Fort Knox regarding their plans and who they may or may not draft (or if they will or will not move up/down/all around).
But there are three very distinct things that you must not, at all costs, put stock in over the next three weeks (ish) regarding what you hear about the Thunder’s “plans” because, I can assure you, no one in the media or the NBA has any better clue than you do about what Sam Presti, Scott Brooks, and the rest of the Thunder’s secret keepers will do on the night of the draft because everyone admits to having no clue as to what the Thunder will do.
So just trust me when I tell you not to trust anyone. I work for a Spanish Law Firm.
#1. – The Thunder are going to trade ______ to move up in the draft and/or acquire ______
Really, trade rumors being unreliable should come as no shock to you, loyal reader, because even though the Thunder have only been here for two seasons, we’ve heard (and maybe even contributed) to a boatload of trade rumors that never materialized. But rest assured that if you hear a rumor of a key piece of the Thunder’s franchise being traded away to get that “missing piece,” it’s not going to happen.
Unless of course that key piece is Jeff Green. Because apparently trading Jeff Green cures all ails. Your arthritic knee acting up again? Trade Jeff Green. Can’t get that stain out of your favorite shirt? Trade Jeff Green.
Your team is in desperate need of a stellar big man with offensive and defensive skillsets unmatched in the NBA, who is all that’s missing from making your squad a championship contender? Well then what are you waiting for? Hurry up and trade Jeff Green!
But seriously, you really think Presti and Co. are going to tip their hand in one of the most volatile drafts/free agency signings in recent memory when there are a large number of players that could significantly help the Thunder and ones that this franchise would love to/need to get for a solid value?
If you believe that, I’ve got a time share that’s just a steal at half a million dollars…
#2. – Mock Drafts…emphasis on the mock
No offense to Draft Express or Chad Ford because everyone here knows I gobble up their new content like a Hungry, Hungry Hibbert (shout out to Dante and Galante!), but seriously, even they realize their entire life’s work is pretty much a highly calculated and informed…shot-in-the-dark, because of the vastness of potential scenarios that could reshape an entire draft are almost ridiculously incalculable.
Now on the flipside of that, their mocks are very informative regarding the players and how NBA GM’s perceive their strengths and weaknesses, but come on, a million things could happen that would completely change the landscape of who would take whom with what pick if, let’s say, the Sixers trade down with the Pistons and the Thunder moves up to #11 by taking on Peja’s contract and giving up the #21 and #26 pick (you can believe that one, remember, Spanish-Law-Firm).
Just the Sixers move would completely alter the draft, let alone the seemingly 15,000 other possibilities of players being traded, picks being traded, teams moving up or down, etc.
So while mocks are a great source of information and are a lot of fun to discuss and digest…they’re about as accurate in terms of each successive pick as Punxsutawney Phil is come Groundhog Day.
Know how many Mock Drafts Chad Ford released last year before the draft actually took place?
7.3 — which is really more like 10. And out of those ten, I’ll let you figure out how many were exactly the same as the one before without any changes or indiscrepancies at all.
Oh yeah, and it was only that very, very last version (7.3, the ones before that had Ricky Rubio) that had the Thunder taking James Harden and…Chase Budinger!
Ah, mock drafts.
#3 – Anything and everything you hear from another team’s GM via an interview, a workout summary, how a player did or how valued they are to that organization…unless it’s David Kahn and it involves a PG because in that case, it’s probably true, he really did love them and thinks they are a Top 5 pick
They’re trying to mess with your head and every other person’s head about who they value, how good or bad said player is and, unless they’re a very bad GM (which could actually include over half of the league), it usually means they’re trying to keep you as far away from the player they want or the deal they want to pull over on you or someone else in the association.
Why? Because it’s their job and if they don’t do it, someone else will. It’d kind of be insulting if they didn’t try to pull a fast one over you and everyone else. They’re supposed to get the best deal possible for their franchise at any cost.
Which is why if they fail they’re on television five months later talking about their latest mock draft, who they expect to be traded for so-and-so and whatever pick and how everything would have been different if it hadn’t been for that one smokescreen that they just didn’t see before it was too late. That’s right, they got Spanish Law Firmed.
Don’t let it happen to you.
You can trust me.