Sunday, July 29, 2012

One Cherry Pickers Guide to Buying Warriors Tickets

By Justin Taylor


I'm as happy as anyone about the trade but that doesn't mean I won't be out there on Monta Ellis Night

In the coming weeks we’ll be flooded with commercials, emails, Facebook posts, banner ads, tweets, newspaper ads (for the over 40 crowd that still subscribe to one), mailers, billboards, and promotions at places like KFC begging that you buy Warriors season tickets.  It won’t be long after the initial onslaught that the attention will shift to mini plans of all shapes and sizes that will be tailored to “all” budgets.  Personally I’d rather get the seats I want to the games I want so the mini plans don’t fit my tastes.  I get about five games each year and I’m going to make the most of them.  

If you’re like me you’ll be on Ticketmaster ready to pay your convenience fee to cherry pick the games that you’ve strategically chosen to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.  Every season I tend to over think it and backload my game selections because if there’s going to be a playoff run I want to be there.  Needless to say I’ve wasted a lot of money over the last few years.  Last season I got the Lakers and two Spurs visits at the end of the season.  Out of those three games I got exactly one half of Tim Duncan, nothing from Kobe Bryant and only one appearance by Gregg Popovich (that's a slap in the face when the coach doesn't even feel like he needs to make the trip). 

I won’t be making that mistake this year (even if I do expect a playoff run) so my choices will be more evenly spread and will take advantage of “Dynamic Pricing” instead of suffering because of it.  As much as I’ve always gone for the Laker games they are just too expensive now.  Give me the Clippers and the Unibrow Hornets for the same price.  Instead of the Celtics I’ll take the Monta Ellis and Jason Richardson homecomings.  I’ve isolated the games I’d like to see and made some notes to have handy the day that single game tickets go on sale.  Thank god I don't have to wait till Christmas to go to my first game this year!

November 2
Memphis Grizzlies

The 2012-13 home opener will hopefully feature a healthy Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut.  It’s the first real look at the post-Monta Ellis Golden State Warriors.

November 21
Brooklyn Nets

There’s been so much hype surrounding this team that I’m just assuming it’s going to be a hot ticket.  Personally, I’ll be saving my money for teams I’d rather see even if Jay-Z announces he’ll be performing at halftime.

The only way I can like Dwight Howard less at this point is if he ends up in LA

December 3
Orlando Magic

I plan on being at this game for two reasons 1) To boo Dwight Howard so he knows he’s taken the mantle from LeBron James for Most Unlikable Player for Reasons That Have Nothing to do With Basketball. 2) For the annual Jason Richardson standing ovation.  If Howard gets traded along with J-Rich as I’ve heard in one of the 50,000 rumors I’ll switch this date for whatever team(s) they land on.

December 18
New Orleans UniBrows

Who doesn’t want to see the Bay Area premier of the UniBrow? They’ll be in town twice this season but you better catch this one before Eric Gordon gets hurt again.

December 21
Charlotte Bobcats

Just kidding…

December 22
Los Angeles Lakers

There will be no bigger game this season and I hope the Warriors faithful pack the place to keep fans of the Lakers out!  If they get Dwight Howard that may be impossible because the huge Lakers following in the Bay Area (sad but true) will be willing to pay much more then the already insane “dynamic” prices for this game.  For that reason I’ll probably be chanting Beat LA from my La Z Boy.  If you are willing to pay the price to see the Lake Show come to town I suggest you swoop up the first of their two trips.  I have a feeling that Kobe may be resting his bionic German knees at the end of the season and I’m worried about Steve Nash’s back without the Phoenix training staff.  I still think Lacob should make Robert Sarver a godfather offer for his medical crew.  It would go a long way towards keeping Curry and Bogut on the floor and wouldn’t count against the cap or luxury tax figures.

December 29
Boston Celtics

The C’s aren’t nearly the draw they were in years past but they’ll still be a top four team in the East and I’m a sucker for retirement tours.  KG might play another couple years after this but this visit will be that last relevant game he plays in Oakland.

January 2
Los Angeles Clippers

I might actually recommend getting tickets to see the Clips later in the month just to give Blake Griffin a little extra recovery time and increase the likelihood that this will be a Dubs vs. Lob City game.  Either way Chris Paul is worth the price of admission and if Curry and Bogut are still healthy at this point I expect the Warriors to give them an ass whoopin.  We can also have a good time laughing at all of the “Clippers fans” with the brand new hats and jerseys.

January 16
Miami Heat

If the Warriors can put up the fight they did last year this game will be worth the stupid high prices either way but there will be no more expensive ticket in town this year unless the Niners go to the NFC Championship again.

As much as I'd like to see the Thunder again I'm afraid I might be "Dynamically" priced out

January 23
Oklahoma City Thunder

I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be dynamically priced out of this game.  Last year the Lakers, Heat and Celtics were the three “platinum” priced teams.  I think the Durant and Westbrook will replace Boston on that list this year.  I’m glad I jumped on both games last year before the marketing department could gouge us to see the most exciting young team in the league.  That Ellis-Durant duel was amazing and Curry actually outplayed Westbrook in the first meeting.  Be prepared for the tables to turn on pricing and on Westbrook being out for blood this season.  If you’re going to pay the price to see them do it early in the season before OKC starts resting guys for the playoffs.

February 12
Houston Rockets

I wish the Rockets were coming to town earlier in the season because I’ve got a feeling that Linsanity will have died out by February.  He'll have a Bay Area following no matter what but New York and ESPN have a way of overhyping 25 points and 7 turnovers if it happens at Madison Square Garden.  This will be a good ticket to buy just in case he does go off because you’ll be able to cash this one in for two more games if that does happen.

February 22
San Antonio Spurs

I’m not taking any chances with a Spurs late season game this year.  If I’m paying it’s because I want to see the Warriors play against Duncan, Parker, Ginobili AND Popovich.  Those two late season games last year were insults to anyone who paid full price for them.

Monta will be getting some serious love on March 9th

March 9
Milwaukee Bucks

I will be in the building for Monta’s return in March.  You know why?  Because “I’m a Warriors, I’m always gonna be a Warriors!”  He made some of the worst Warriors teams fun to watch because you knew that he was going to do something nobody else on the court could do at some point.  The fact is those teams were going nowhere with or without him and he played his ass off at all times.  He deserves the extended standing ovation he’s going to get.  I feel bad that he ended up in a worse situation then the one he had here since Brandon Jennings is smaller then Steph and needs the ball more then him as well.  I wouldn’t be surprised if one one of them isn’t dealt by the deadline so keep an eye out for that, Milwaukee isn’t done dealing.

March 9
New York Knicks

We might as well call these guys the New York Ball Stoppers.  I predict that the Knicks will be a disaster this year.  Between Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith I don’t know that Tyson Chandler will touch the ball on offense unless he’s crashing the boards.  It’s bad enough as it is that we’ll have to see all of there games broken down on SportsCenter every night.  I won’t be paying to see it.

As you can see I’ve left off the April games because I’ve been burned too many times and I’m opting to see the games, players and teams I want without assuming that the games will get better as we get into the playoff chase.  I’ll be buying five games and will keep a little reserve for the month of April just in case.  So right now the plan is to catch opening night, a young UniBrow, Lob City, OKC and Monta Ellis Night.  If the new pricing scheme puts the Thunder game over my budget I think I’ll opt to show up to cheer J-Rich and boo Dwight Howard or put that money will go into the playoff hunt reserves.  I'll also be monitoring Stub Hub throughout the season because you never know when you're going to get a $15 lower bowl seat to see Chris Mullin's jersey retired and Joe Lacob get booed.  It was a terrible game but it was the best 20 buck's (after fees) I've ever spent.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top ten Warriors of the last ten years

Fellow Bay Area Blogger and friend of Trapped in Golden State Elijah Abramson from BasesAndBaskets.com has agreed to be an occasional contributor to this site. He is an established writer whose work is also featured on the Warriors page at bleacherreport.com where today's article is also published.  We want to thank Elijah for being a Trapped in Golden State reader and contributor!

 

Top ten Warriors of the last ten years

By Elijah Abramson

Warriors fans don’t need to be reminded of their sparing success since the new millennium.

Aside from the “We Believe” year in 2007 where the eighth-seeded Warriors beat the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, there have been numerous miserable seasons as few as 17 wins to complement six seasons of less than 30 wins. But, as players legacies are often defined by playoff success, half of this list is composed of members from the We Believe team.

B/R featured columnist Dave Leonardis ranks the Warriors as the fourth-best fan base in basketball in between perennial contenders like the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks.

Here is a list of the top-10 players to hit the court at Oracle Arena since 2000.

Note: Statistics include entire years when players also played for teams other than the Warriors (ie Monta Ellis playing for the Warriors and Bucks in 2011-12).

Honorable Mention

Erick Dampier • 12.3 PPG/12.0 RPG in 2003-04

Larry Hughes • 22.7 PPG/5.9 RPG/4.1 APG in 32 games for the Warriors in 2000

Gilbert Arenas • 15.6 PPG/4.0 RPG/5.3 APG in two seasons as a Warrior

Jamal Crawford • 19.7 PPG/3.3 RPG/4.4 APG in 2008-09

Dorell Wright • 16.4 PPG/5.3 RPG/3.0 APG in 2010-11, started all 82 games



10. Troy Murphy

Years: 6
Points per game: 11.2
Rebounds per game: 8.0
Assists per game: 1.3

Troy Murphy was never a particularly glamorous player but he got the job done. It always seemed like when the Warriors were in need of a three pointer to stop the bleeding , either Murphy or Mike Dunleavy was there to at least temporarily quell the onslaught.

Sadly, Murphy left in the middle of the 2007 season and was a member of the Indiana Pacers when the Warriors defeated the Mavericks in the playoffs.

9. Al Harrington

Years: 3
Points per game: 16.6
Rebounds per game: 6.0
Assists per game: 1.7

Al Harrington is one of those in-between players that created excellent mismatches. Harrington was kind of a hybrid like Dirk Nowitzki and Lamar Odom, possessing the ability to succeed at the power forward position and occasionally the small forward if necessary.

A pivotal part of the 2007 team that made a playoff run for the first time since 1975, Harrington was a fan favorite who was known for draining three pointers.

8. Corey Maggette

Years: 2
Points per game: 19.3
Rebounds per game: 5.4
Assists per game: 2.2

Although Maggette was not a Warrior for as long as Al Harrington or Troy Murphy, he did make the most of his time in Golden State. Coming off a season averaging 22 points per game with the Clippers, the Warriors were excited to get the former Duke star.

Even though he started only 19 of his 51 games played in 2008-09, Maggette managed to still average 18.6 points per game—adding a much needed spark of offensive production.

7. Stephen Curry

Years: 3
Points per game: 17.5
Rebounds per game: 4.1
Assists per game: 5.8

Although hopefully his best years are ahead of him, Stephen Curry has already put together a couple of solid years as a Warrior. From earning All-Rookie first team honors to nearly grabbing a quadruple-double on April 7, 2010 with 27 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and seven steals, Curry gave the Warriors hope that their rebuilding effort was not futile.

Coming off an injury-shortened season, Curry will look to rebound and make his way up this list.

6. David Lee

Years: 2
Points per game: 18.1
Rebounds per game: 9.7
Assists per game: 3.0

Last season David Lee had nothing short of a spectacular season.

Even though he didn’t make the All-Star team, Lee put up the season worthy of such honors. 20 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game went largely unnoticed in a season that the Warriors ended up tanking in the hopes of getting a high draft pick.

His performance during the previous season (his first as a Warrior) wasn’t unimpressive, either. Lee’s 17 points and 10 rebounds per game were quite comparable to the following season.

The Warriors will definitely be more than happy if Lee can continue this type of production in 2012 and he may, like Curry, make his way up lists of top players to don the blue and gold.

5. Stephen Jackson

Years: 3+
Points per game: 19.2
Rebounds per game: 4.3
Assists per game: 4.4

It’s too bad that Stephen Jackson’s name will be forever attached to the Malice at the Palace because he was (and is) an excellent player.

But, I do believe it wasn’t in the Warriors best interest for Jackson to make a return to Golden State in the Monta Ellis trade—thankfully he ended up being traded nearly immediately (for Richard Jefferson).

That’s certainly not to say he didn’t make a significant contribution to the Warriors—especially in the “We Believe” run. His 33-point show in Game 6 clinched the series against the Mavs for the Dubs.

In the words of teammate Baron Davis: “He is the heart and soul of this team. He is a big-game performer.”

Enough said.

4. Jason Richardson

Years: 6
Points per game: 18.3
Rebounds per game: 5.4
Assists per game: 3.2

Let’s be real, you don’t remember J-Rich for his on-court performances. Well maybe aside from his nasty jams in those five-on-five opportunities, Richardson is famous for his incredible dunk contest shows.

If you need to be refreshed on how—with Vince Carter, of course—Richardson made the dunk contest relevant to the NBA again, look no further than this video.

His consistent effort in the regular season was hidden behind that between-the-legs reverse dunk.

3. Baron Davis

Years: 3+
Points per game: 20.0
Rebounds per game: 4.4
Assists per game: 8.1

Baron Davis was the Monta Ellis before Monta Ellis.

He would take shot after shot in transition but more often than not you had to keep your mouth shut because it went in.

Davis was another critical cog in the wheels that led the Warriors to their first playoff appearance in more than three decades.

If you get nothing else out of this list, check out the video. This dunk over Andrei Kirilenko never fails to give you chills, nostalgia and an uncanny desire to high-five the nearest Warrior fan.

2. Antawn Jamison

Years: 5
Points per game: 20.2
Rebounds per game: 7.5
Assists per game: 1.8

In the 2000-01 season, Antawn Jamison had his best season in Golden State, averaging 25 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He played in all 82 regular season games for the Warriors from 2001 to 2003 and led the team in scoring each of those years.

Before being traded to Dallas, Jamison scored over 50 points per game on two separate occasions and provided something for Warriors fans to cheer for in years when they won as few as 17 games and never reached a .500 record.

1. Monta Ellis

Years: 7
Points per game: 19.5
Rebounds per game: 3.7
Assists per game: 4.5

Love him or hate him, there is no disputing his place atop this list.

Monta was a blur heading to the rim and a well above average, if not elite, scorer. He played some high-risk defense that often led to easy baskets for opposing offenses rather than transition baskets for the Warriors but Monta was the undeniable heart and soul for the Warriors from the conclusion of the 2007 season until being traded to the Bucks last season.

The peak of his time as a Warrior was back-to-back seasons as a 24 PPG scorer in 2009-10 and the following season.

Logging unparalleled 48-minute games across his tenure (which occasionally led to injuries), Monta was a warrior among Warriors.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Annual Golden State Summer League Spectacular

By Justin Taylor

Klay Thompson's perfect stroke has been on full display

Once again Warrior fans are justifying their title as the best fans in the league whether the team deserves it or not.  I’m well aware that some other fan bases may take issue with that statement but I could care less.  When their teams bottom out for years at a time and their fans are still packing gyms in the desert in mid-July we’ll put their case in front of a judge.  It’s almost 115 degrees outside and the stands are packed every time the Warriors take the floor; it could just be that there is just really good AC in that building that gets shut off when the Kings team is playing.

The PR department may be very happy that we’re one of the top attractions in Las Vegas right now but having half of your roster in the summer league is nothing to be proud of.  It could be worse I guess, the Cavs and Bobcats have their entire starting line ups active; that is until Kyrie Irving pulled a Gus Frerotte and broke his hand punching a padded wall in practice.

The worst thing about summer league is that only the crappy teams care.  Lakers and Heat fans probably don’t even know the have representatives in Vegas right now.  The competition level is worse than D League basketball and more pointless then intrasquad spring training baseball games.  All I can hope for is that Bay Area basketball fans can approach summer ball like the fans of other good teams do in the coming years.  The fact that the Warriors dominate here every year is more embarrassing than encouraging and having standout players at this time of year is nothing to hang your hat on. 

Projecting anything based on a performance during the summer unless it’s for Team USA is absolutely useless.  Instead of making any bold statements or predictions based on two meaningless games I’ll post my observations from days one and two and our rookies “professional debuts.”

Klay Thompson:  From what I’ve seen so far there is no over player who is more out of place in these games.  He went from being a kid trying to earn his stripes against the best in the world playing for the USA Select squad to being an NBA player in a rec league game at the Y the next day.  I think that second game is the last we’ll see him until training camp begins in a few months and that’s a good thing because this teams catches injuries like the flu.

Barnes has shown he's got the J so now he just needs to show us some D

Harrison Barnes:  I was more impressed by his performance in the second game when he had a poor shooting night and still found ways to be effective with his defense and rebounding then I was with his game one shooting exhibition.  We all knew he could shoot coming in (I’m really excited to see the ball go into the post and come back out to Curry, Thompson and Barnes…That’s a murderers row of knock down shooters).  The questions are whether he can make plays for others and bring a consistent level of intensity in locking up his man and crashing the boards.  That’s all I’m looking for in the last few games later this week.

Pete Myers:  I’m assuming that he’s coaching this team because Mike Malone is busy getting turned down for head coaching positions left and right.  Maybe I’m the only one but I found it funny that Myers pulled Thompson and Barnes out of the blowout against the Lakers after three quarters.  Quick tip: You’re not coaching the score, this isn’t an NBA game here, this game was just as pointless at when it was 2-0 as it was when we were up by 40 coach.  If you don’t want to take any chances getting these guys hurt just send them home (which, like I mentioned, I’m happy they did with Klay).

Charles Jenkins:  What’s not to like about Mr. Mid Range? (Courtesy: Steph Curry)  Even when he wasn’t doing much during the first game he was still controlling the flow (he did have a +/- of +35).  He just looks like he belongs in the league and in the second game he was knocking down jumpers like he was playing Pop-A-Shot.  I felt from day one that keeping him over Jeremy Lin was the right thing to do and Lin’s $25+ million contract has only made me feel better about the move.

Festus Ezeli:  I have a feeling that this guy is going to be a fan favorite very soon.  He lives to rebound, defend and knock people on their asses.  We’ve needed that presence forever but we’ll probably have to be patient unless Andris Biedrins gets locked up for tax evasion in Latvia in the coming weeks.  He may be raw but he’s already better then Patrick O’Bryant ever was; who by the way, is on the Phoenix summer league team.  Just wanted to point that out since I’m sure no one will notice. Kind of like how no one will notice when he’s back playing in Eastern Europe somewhere next week.  Anyway, the kid is a true center and figures to anchor the second unit defense very soon.

Chris Wright:  I’m not sure if Wright has officially been cut but he did leave the team to play for the Raptors summer squad.  Either way it’s not a good sign when you can’t get minutes during the summer.  I hope he can latch on somewhere else but he’ll have to do more then bring energy and highlight reel dunks wherever he ends up.

Draymond Green:  We have heard more about Green then we’ve seen out of him so far but that isn’t too concerning.  The Matt Steinetz article on him pretty much sums up the intelligence, work ethic and skills that will help him carve out a niche in this league regardless of his height.  He is going to work his ass off to take advantage of the opportunity that this next guy just might be (literally) fumbling away.
Jeremy Tyler:  Maybe I’m just too hard on the kid but I feel like he has done nothing to take advantage of a golden opportunity to make a case for the spot behind David Lee.  Tyler looked to be equal parts wild, lost and ineffective against the Lakers rec league team in game one and had no business being on the same floor as Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried in the Denver contest.  I wasn’t a fan to begin with but he’s not helping his case with his stupid fouls, lack of rebounds, fade away jump shots and of course, his Pennzoil hands.  

In a Rusty Simmons interview he said, “I came in believing that I was already all-everything. Now I know that there are a lot of guys who are better than me. Once you start respecting the skill in this league, you start getting a lot better."  I stretched that out of context a little but my first reaction to the complete statement was, “Dude, you haven’t been the best player on the floor since your junior year of high school!”  If you want to see him play this season I think your going to have make the trip out to Santa Cruz.

This is the best "Bench Mob" in the history of summer league

Rest of the team: It’s too bad no long shots are going to make the opening day roster because this team has a lot of candidates to fill the “chemist” role.  That is Bill Simmons’ name for the guy the doles out the best high fives, waives his towel the hardest and spends the most time on his feet deliriously cheering on teammates from his 12th man spot on the bench.  It’s amazing how enthusiastic the bench has been considering that they all know they’ll be searching for a job next week.  Klay’s shooting clinic seems to have some of these guys thinking they might get a contract by cheering the hardest.  As Bob Fitzgerald likes to point out no matter how bad the team looks or how bad their record is, “These guys genuinely like each other.”  I guess being 2-0 in any league is a pretty cool thing, I just never thought we’d see this much energy from a group of people that are about to be unemployed.

Marco Bellinelli set Vegas on fire in his debut but no one would take him over Klay Thompson.  Anthony Randolph set a record with 42 points a few years ago that was broken a few days later when Anthony Morrow dropped 47; Festus Ezeli might not shatter any records but he has a position and Charles Jenkins might not be able to shoot from half court but he can get his deadly mid range shot off whenever he wants.  These kids aren’t just wingspans, twigs, tweeners and specialists; they’re all basketball players that can be expected to fill a role, not save the franchise.

There is no way around the fact that the level of basketball sucks in summer league but I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.  Following good kids like these from their first steps as NBA players until the day the Warriors trade them unceremoniously is what makes being a fan so much fun, for me at least.  I don’t think I’d be such a fan of Monta Ellis or Jason Richardson if I hadn’t followed them from quiet teenagers in the summer league all the way through to the true professionals they’ve become.  I used to love going down to the Pyramid in Long Beach in the summer and being able to say, “I was there from the beginning.”  As with this team, it’s what makes the end result (hopefully winning this time around) so much more meaningful.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It is the NBA silly season but not in Golden State

By Justin Taylor

The Dorrell Wright Era in Golden State is over

This week got a whole lot more interesting for armchair GMs like me when Dorrell Wright finally got traded. I don’t care if they got a sack of rocks for him; the deal leaves the tax evading Andris Biedrins and the check cashing Richard Jefferson as the only dead weight left on the payroll.  GM Bob Myers already said in an interview following the trade that they plan on being real players in free agency when those contracts come off the books in 2014.  I don’t think I’ve been this excited for such a minor move in a long time.  They went from less than $4 million to use in free agency to almost $8 million dollars to spend.  That doesn’t mean we will spend that money or that we should but this is a clear sign to the rest of the league that says, “Back Off Assholes! We’ve got the money to match your offer for Brandon Rush!” (UPDATE: News has now come out that we actually got Jarrett Jack in a three way swap with this trade. This is a great move that really shores up the back up PG spot.  The only question now is what it does to my previous statement about having money to match all offers for Rush...more on that later)

In a span of two years Wright went from a steal of a free agent signing to a player who was soft and indecisive.  When we got him and he hit all of those open threes a couple years ago we all cheered and looked forward to seeing him grow with the core of the team as our starting small forward.  Then the 2011-12 season rolled around and he got soft, he got tight, he got indecisive and suddenly he wasn’t much of a steal.  By the time he got traded on July 10th the only thing about him that was considered an asset was his reasonably priced and expiring contract.  Now that he’s gone we have the money we need to sign Rush, Dominic McGuire and a back up point guard like D.J. Augustine, Jarryd Bayless or Leandro Barbosa; maybe in a worst case scenario, Nate Robinson.   At the end of the day it doesn’t even matter that we got a player who will never play in the NBA for him, on top of the extra financial flexibility it also freed up some minutes for Harrison Barnes at the crowded 3 spot.

This is not Sloth from the Goonies, it is the guy we almost got in return for Dorrell Wright

Myers also said that they were being “aggressive but prudent” at the post trade conference call and it’s hard to argue with the logic in that.   He went on to say that they would even consider paying the luxury tax if they had a shot at a real “difference maker” and you don’t hear anyone saying we’ve missed out on one of those.  The young exec is saying and doing all of the right things in my mind.  While he waits to sign a role player to a discounted one or two year deal other teams are locking up similar players to big long term deals.  While Myers is watching his cap for 2014 there are many teams around the league are going buck wild while throwing caution to the wind.

Here are a handful of examples of deals I’m glad that we have no hand in:

Roy Hibbert turned one good season and two good playoff series into a max contract offer from Portland that is being matched by Indiana. It’s funny how fast a 7 footer who can walk and chew gum can go from a bust to a $15 million per year player isn’t it?  Provided he’s healthy I’ll take Andrew Bogut at $13.5 million a year over him any day.

Speaking of overpaid 7 footers, Brook Lopez will get a similar deal whether it’s from Brooklyn or Orlando in the coming days.  He may be a pretty good scorer but a guy that size that only averages six rebounds per game has no business cashing a $15 million paycheck.  He’s walking but I’m not sure how much gum he’s chewing.  Just one more guy that I’m glad the Warriors aren’t paying.

When it was first reported that the Celtics had a 4 year $40 million offer for Jeff Green and the heart condition that sidelined him this year I was floored.  Those won’t be the numbers when the ink dries on the contract but if it is anywhere near those figures you have to wonder who they were bidding against.  They must have been competing against Chris Mullin’s 1996 4 year $36 million offer to Derek Fisher or maybe the $42 million deal he gave Adonal Foyle. 

Jeremy Lin had a storybook run for a few minutes before getting hurt this season but I think Jalen Rose summed it up best when he said, “you can’t make more millions then games played.”  That’s exactly what the Knicks and Rockets are lining up to do right now.  The numbers in the media are $28.8 million over 4 years for the 25 starts and 126 turnovers he accumulated this season.  He’s a wet dream from a marketing perspective and I’m glad the local kid has made it but I’d still rather have Klay Thompson as my two guard.  I may be alone (with the Warriors front office) on this one but if we had to choose all over again I’d still want Charles Jenkins over him.

Goran Dragic has always been a nice player but that distinction shouldn’t earn you $8.5 million annually.  All this contract really did was make me very nervous about how much we’re going to owe Stephen Curry once he’s healthy and eligible for an extension.

The Clippers are signing Jamal Crawford for somewhere between 3-4 years and in the range of $15-$25 million dollars depending on who your “sources” are.  Even though I’ve been pining for a point guard I’m not going to be the one to pay a guy who’s going to be 33 and is coming off of his worst year for another four. 

Steve Novak has one NBA skill.  One!  We’ll call it two if you count his ridiculous discount double check after every made three.  He just signed a 4 year $15 million dollar offer because he’s a really good spot up 3 point shooter and his signing immediately made me think two things: 1) Is Isiah Thomas secretly running the Knicks again?  2) This isn’t good for our chances to resign Brandon Rush to a reasonable contract.  Rush shot 45% from three to Novak’s 47% but I’m pretty sure Rush destroys him in every other measure imaginable.  There will be offers coming that are going to bump up our qualifying offer for Rush.

Is Landry Fields really worth $7 million a year?  He is either riding the New York hype machine or his unbelievably nerdy handshake with Jeremy Lin to a majorly overinflated contract.  I guess we’ll find out this year in Toronto.  They are in a similar position to where we’ve been in the past where we have to overpay someone just for them to want to talk to us.  Once again, please give me Brandon Rush for almost $3 million less per year.

The big question is whether Dominic McGuire is coming back or not

As the free agent period has developed I have been more and more impressed with the team’s commitment to sanity.  There’s so much money being thrown at players that don’t deserve them right now it seems like last season’s lockout was even more pointless then previously thought.  It’s not just the moronic contracts being doled out but also the fact that the biggest names in the game can still force a teams hand to not only trade them but to move them to their preferred destinations.  Obviously Dorrell Wright doesn’t have the clout to fall into that category but Dwight Howard and Steve Nash do.

I’ve been rooting for the Orlando Magic to stick it to Howard by doing what is best for the team regardless of his demands.  It would be such a sweet victory for the league if they could send him somewhere that would make him miserable while still getting the best deal possible.  As much as I hate the Howard-Orlando hostage crisis, as a Warriors fan I’m much more disturbed by Steve Nash (one of the most likable guys in the league) teaming up with Kobe in LA.  The only silver lining to this move is knowing that neither of these guys have more than two years left, unless Kobe’s German Doctors make even more advances in “biologic medicine”.  The Wright trade makes me feel great but Steve Nash playing Los Angeles is still a tough pill to swallow.

The new front office rotation has shown great fiscal responsibility mixed in with just the right amount of risk taking in the midst .  If we chalk up David Lee’s contract to the old regime the only mistake they’ve really made was the Charlie Bell/Biedrins amnesty fumble.  Last year’s big money pursuit of Tyson Chandler was the right shot to take and one year later there are no big deals that make sense so the front office isn’t trying to force anything.  In this current landscape of big deals for mediocre talent there is no shame in waiting for another Dominic McGuire type deal to fall to them once the money has dried up everywhere else.  I've been driving the Anti Antawn Jamison Bandwagon and I really hope the bring back McGuire before they entertain the thought of Jamison.  I won't boycott the move but I will openly mock it.

In two short years the new management group in Golden State has shown that the days of overpaying inferior talent and biding against themselves for the likes of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy are over (my apologies to Chris Mullin for calling out almost every one of his signings in this column).  They may have gotten lucky in missing out on Jordan but it’s hard not to agree with the talent and cap evaluations going on in Oakland these days.  As long as they continue to clean up the cap and the roster they can proclaim, “big things are coming” all they want (in all fairness, they caught a lot of flack for that line but it was an NBA slogan, not Golden State original bullshit) and I won’t have any gripes.  Things be changin’ in the Bay Area and for once it’s actually the Warriors.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Good Draft Review and the Bad Free Agency Preview


By Justin Taylor

The last few months provided us with a competition to bottom out, a nerve racking coin flip and our annual Golden State Superbowl (the lottery).  Knowing we had all four draft picks since May 30th gave media members, bloggers and fans an entire month for speculating, mock drafting and fake trading.  I spent most of my time over the last 30 days making fun of the process and all the pundits trying to sound smarter and more important than the next.  

The Draft

This is a good looking draft class

There was so much at stake, so many possible scenarios and so many ways to screw it up.  My years of being a tortured Warriors fan were taking over my nerves even though there is nothing more comforting then knowing that the Logo, Jerry West, is the loudest voice in the war room.  It’s kind of like someone who is quitting smoking or trying to break any bad habit.  One minute you’re going to kick the addictions ass and the next you’re making excuses and talking yourself out of the whole thing.  Just when the draft was over and I had talked myself of the ledge, free agency started and I’m sweating bullets again!  Lets look at the good news first.

7th pick overall Harrison Barnes / 6-8” Small Forward / North Carolina

Anyone who read my columns leading up to the draft probably thought I’d hate this pick.  My problems with Barnes at UNC mirrored my problems with Warriors management this season.  It wasn’t what happened on the court but what was said off of it.  An 18 year old kid should never be talking about his “brand” but he literally cited that as a motivating factor in choosing North Carolina and in returning for his sophomore season (instead of being a top 5 pick).  Barnes and our management group should be forced take a “Reading the Room 101 course” the way my company sends me to take sexual harassment training every two years.  Barnes had some unreasonably high expectations in college but he didn’t help himself when he spoke as if he had met them; even worse, that was after he shit the bed in the NCAA tournament.

After everything I’ve said I still love the pick.  He had more skills, potential and value then anyone left on the board at our pick.  The only players who were better long term fits were Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who went one and two overall.  I don’t think he’ll ever be an all star but he should be a solid starter for years to come.  If you want comparisons I’d say Dorrell Wright is the drought level low water mark while Paul Pierce would be an apex to strive for.  Averaging those two out I’ll project him as a more skilled Rashard Lewis (I think he made one all star team) before he got overpaid and died.

30th pick overall / Festus Ezeli / 6-11” Center / Vanderbilt

He was the best available and had the most potential at a position with a long term need at number 30.  That rarely happens that low even in a deep draft.  He may not make an instant impact but Andris Biedrins should be a third stringer by the time this article is published and I think he’s already better than Andre Drummond.  When I saw this guy play I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and when I saw Drummond’s games it was hard to find him.

35th pick overall / Draymond Green / 6-7” Power Forward / Michigan

Make it three for three with Green, a natural basketball player (or linebacker) who’s an undersized power forward but was a first round talent in my mind.  After four years of seasoning under Tom Izzo (with his emphasis on defense and rebounding) he will probably take Chris Wright’s roster spot right off the bat. 

52nd pick overall / Ognjen Kuzmic / 7-0” Center / Bosnia

Missing: Has anyone seen this young man? Didn't think so


I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know anything about this guy.  It was funny to watch the ESPN crew try to speak about this pick.  All they did was take someone who would be easy to stash overseas (and Spain’s B League is great place to do it).  Sometime soon I expect the NBA TV ticker (because it won’t make ESPN’s Bottom Line) to read: The Golden State Warriors trade Dorrell Wright (or Biedrins or Jefferson if we’re lucky) and the draft rights to the unknown overgrown Bosnian kid to (insert team here) for about as close to nothing as you can possibly get.

Free Agency

I hate relying on rookies, who are going to be inconsistent by nature, but that’s why we can’t stop yet.  Free Agency has started and we need a slashing guard and a big forward/center to come here on his own free will.  Joe Lacob has already cut Bob Myers off at the knees by saying he can’t even spend the entire mid-level exception (approx. $5 million) but I’m going to throw some names out there anyway.

Guards:

Brandon Roy:  All I know is that Myers needs to convince Lacob that this opportunity is worth paying for.  He needs to find a way to take out the trash (Dorrell Wright, Andris Biedrins and/or Richard Jefferson) and make us serious players for Roy.  He may not be an all star anymore but he has superior basketball IQ, can play three positions and is still only 27 years old; his knees may be closer to 35 but he did make a trip to Kobe’s doctor in Germany. 

Jason Kidd: I’ve been calling out for months to bring the Kidd home to the Bay before he retires but he personally stomped out any talk of that on 95.7 The GAME on Tuesday.

Raymond Felton: Considering I’ve spent the last couple of months cracking Krispy Kreme jokes at his expense it would serve me right to have Felton in the mix next season.  The fact is that he is a true veteran point guard that will probably fall into our price range once all the top free agents have gone elsewhere.

Andre Miller: His crafty body control game that allows him to operate in the lane is exactly what we need but now it’s off the table.  There was no better fit for the roster on the market and we weren’t even in the conversation.  What’s worse, he resigned with Denver for $3 million a year?  For that price he could have gone damn near anywhere (including here) and I have to admit I’m a little bitter about it.

Forwards:

Could Kwame Brown really our best free agent option at forward/center?


Dominic McGuire: We all know what he brings to the table and that we have a logjam of Small Forwards but I still think he is the most important piece that needs to be brought back.  I actually think that with the addition of Barnes it's McGuire who is more important to this roster over Brandon Rush.


Jordan Hill: After looking like a bust for a few years he started looking like much less of a bust with the Lakers last season.  Then he choked a family member somewhere in Texas and it makes no difference to me.  What’s the risk to us?  You know damn well he’ll pay off the relative and what are the chances he pulls a Sprewell on Mark Jackson?  He’d be a solid back up four and he’s still developing so there’s a chance he outplays his contract because we’ll only be in the running for his services if he comes cheap.

JJ Hickson: Since three or four teams have already given up on him I’m assuming he should be affordable.  He must be an undercover knucklehead or something no?  He’s young, versatile and cheap.  That hits the Bob Myers trifecta for potential signees.  I expect to see him under contract soon unless he signs with the Bobcats first.

Kris Humphries:  Over the course of 12 months I went from “I could care less about this guy,” to “I can’t stand this guy,” to “I think this guy would be a great fit in Oakland.”  The problem for us is that we basically have nothing to offer; no money and no starters minutes.  Unpopular Opinion Alert: We’d be better off financially, defensively and on the glass if we could somehow trade David Lee and sign him to a deal similar to the one he played on last year.

Reggie Evans: His rebounding and toughness would help but does he bring anything else to the table?  All I see is six of the hardest fouls anywhere and a guy who will make Andris Biedrins feel better about his free throw shooting.  We can do better for less.

Kenyon Martin: A second team that included him and Dominic McGuire would be great but if I could only have one it would be Big Dom by a mile.  Martin was never a great player but now he is a shell of his former self and the Clippers had no problem letting him walk.  That is enough for me to stay away.

Kwame Brown: I can’t believe I’m about to say this but here it goes…Kwame Brown is the best possible option for our frontcourt needs.  He brings the size, power and versatility needed to play power forward without being an undersized center.  He still has hands of stone but it’s his defense and rebounding that make him the right fit.  He’d have to be wiling to take a pay cut to fit his massive frame into our payroll so lets just hope the market puts him in our range.

For as well as the draft went we still haven’t guaranteed anything.  I’m hoping for the sake of the fans, the team and the Lacober Management Group that they haven’t put too many chips Pier 30/32 (and especially the Los Angeles Dodgers). The roster still has some glaring weaknesses and we were told (over and over) that winning would be priority number one.  We may have just found the limit of their commitment to that promise.  The unwillingness to pay any kind of luxury tax shows they don’t have total faith in this current roster (and I can't really blame them for that). The fact is that we didn’t ask for a new stadium and we surely didn’t ask to amnesty Charlie Bell or trade for Richard Jefferson, we asked for a contender.  It’s looking like it’s going to be a year of getting healthy and developing young guys while they sell us the same old dream of better days (or maybe I'm just falling off the wagon again). 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Draft grades for all 30 teams


I was recently invited by Rohit Ghosh from the sports website Metta Chronicles to take part in grading each team's 2012 draft on Bleacher Report.  It was no small task but what you see below is the marathon grading session that resulted.  Rohit graded each team with his straight laced, in depth analysis and you already know what you're getting from me...the Trapped in Golden State approach.  Check it out below or hit Bleacher Report to see each team with its own slide and photo.

By Rohit Ghosh and Justin Taylor

Metta: We saw picks go exactly where they were predicted to, talent fall well below the lottery, and teams reaching on players who might not even last in the league. With the way the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is set up, teams are going to be forced, much more than before, to improve their teams through the draft as opposed to free agency. As a result, most of the players picked this year are going to be key pieces to their teams, regardless of how high or low they were picked in two rounds.

On behalf of Metta Chronicles, I got a chance to discuss the draft with Trapped in Golden State. Since everybody else is pretending to know exactly how these picks are going to turn out for the teams, we thought we would do exactly the same.

Trapped in Golden State: I felt this draft was a huge disappointment, except for the Warriors picks of course. Where was the entertainment value that we've always been able to count on?  There were no ridiculous fashion statements from prospects, and there weren't nearly enough flat out stupid picks.  To be fair, David Kahn in Minnesota didn't have a first round pick and Billy King already made his moronic move by trading his pick. Plus, the only legitimately memorable moment from the draft that we can hang our hats on were Andy Katz and Jared Sullinger's "bulging dicks".

Take a look ...
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Atlanta Hawks- (23) John Jenkins, SG; (43) Mike Scott, PF

Metta Chronicles: The Hawks got the best pure perimeter shooter at pick No. 23 with John Jenkins. Jenkins shot 43.9 percent on 3-pointers last season while making nearly four per game. Although Jenkins makes some sense for Atlanta since they need a back-up to Joe Johnson, neither selection of Jenkins and Mike Scott (No. 43) fit the “youth” model Danny Ferry was hoping to build for long-term success. Rather, they get some cheap players who can help now.
My issue with Jenkins is that he’s extremely one-dimensional, and isn’t a great ball-handler or defender. Sure, he can shoot lights out but it’s not like the Hawks are known for their extra-passes to find the open man. He’ll get some open shots in the wing and corner playing with Horford, Smith, and Johnson, but I doubt  he sees the ball enough to make an impact with his shot.
With Mike Scott, they get a solid back-up Forward who had a nice season at Virginia last year. He’s a good rebounder who can be used in pick-and-pop plays, and I can see him getting some run as a back-up big, a position the Hawks have been notoriously weak in. Unless, of course, you’re a big fan of Zaza Pachulia. Remember, Mike Scott just wants 100 kids so he can have 100 friends.
(C-) Atlanta played it safe in the draft, especially with Jenkins at No. 23. I would have liked to see them gamble on any of the Baylor wings as long-term projects. Plus, no Josh Smith trade equals a bad draft day.

Trapped in Golden State: It seems like the Hawks hired Danny Ferry who showed up 20 minutes before the draft, just in time to keep his record of marginal to terrible streak of draft picks alive.  He got the best shooter in the draft (John Jenkins) at the position the best player on the team already fills.  Over his five years in Cleveland his best pick was Daniel Gibson (42) but his real strength is trading for and signing marginal talent, good luck in the upcoming Josh Smith deal ATL.
(D-) You really can’t fail when you’ve got a couple of low picks to begin with, but they should have taken a boom or bust guy like Perry Jones III instead of taking guys who will barely play anyways.
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Boston Celtics- (21) Jared Sullinger, PF; (22) Fab Melo, C; (51) Kris Joseph, SF
Metta: The Celtics added some nice depth with all three of their picks. With Kevin Garnett coming back for the next few years, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, picks No. 21 and No. 22 respectively, will be groomed into solid defensive players. Most importantly, these picks immediately help the C’s out in their biggest weakness: rebounding.
Sullinger fell out of the top ten range because of his back issues, but I trust his camp when they say that it’s more of a flexibility issue stemming from his hamstrings, and not an actual back injury. Sullinger is a high-IQ guy, has some skill around the rim, and will instantly be part of the rotation. Fab Melo is more of a reach at No. 22, but is already an upgrade over playing guys like Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins at the 5.
With pick No. 51, Celtics took SF Kris Joseph, also out of Syracuse who could get some back-up minutes behind Paul Pierce. He’s got some length and a nice outside shot, a couple things that work quite well when running the floor with Rondo.
(B/B-) I was surprised Boston took Sullinger and Melo back-to-back, especially with Perry Jones was still available. If they had taken PJ3, I would have given them an A.  Main goal now: Bring Ray Allen back, and I think the team definitely has upgraded over this past season.

Trapped: I know I wasn’t the only one hoping they’d take PJIII and Jared Sullinger back to back but that would have been too many red flags on a that’s already full of them.  Instead they took Sullinger’s bulging dicks (Trademark: Andy Katz) and Fab Melo right after to replace Kendrick Perkins.
So after carelessly trading Perkins to the shady OKC Thunder for Jeff Green (their failure to disclose his heart condition cost them a 2nd round pick in 2013) they drafted a smaller Big Baby Davis and a poor man’s Kendrick Perkins.  I think Danny Ainge is going about recreating 2008 the wrong way.
(C+) Melo only partially fills a big hole in the middle but it’s probably too little too late.  I don’t think he’s NBA starter material right now and probably won’t be till KG, Allen and Pierce are gone.  Hopefully Sullinger can overcome his bulging dick problem so he can compete with JaJuan Johnson for back up minutes.
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Brooklyn Nets- (41) Tyshawn Taylor, PG; (54) Shengelia, SF; (57) Karaman, PF

Metta: The Nets could have had the No. 6 pick, but traded it. They don’t even deserve to be analyzed by any writer out there. They did buy into the second round where they took Tyshawn Taylor and a couple names that sound made up by smashing down on the keyboard (Tornike Shengalia, Ilkan Karaman).
Taylor is fast, plays solid defense, and will compete for back-up minutes. Their other two picks are solid forwards, who really shouldn’t get any run in this league.
(D/D-) I gave them an F at first, but I like the Taylor pick. The more important problem is if they end up losing Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace. “What you want me to do? I'm sorry” (Jay-Z voice).

Trapped: Getting Tyshawn Taylor at number 41 was a pretty good get for them.  I think they got an NBA player, which is no small feat at that point even in a deep draft.  They also got what looks like a pretty good Euro who might contribute down the road but they failed this draft months ago.
As a Warriors fan I’m happy they made one of the dumbest trades in forever.  Do you know what kind of indictment that is coming from a Warriors fan?  They basically traded Harrison Barnes or Damian Lillard along with Mehmet Okur’s carcass for the right to overpay Gerald Wallace for six months or if they’re lucky, four more years.
(F) Guys like Billy King make me feel just a little better about the Warriors track record.
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Charlotte Bobcats- (2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF; (31) Jeffery Taylor, SF

Metta: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just became the best player Jordan has ever drafted. Well done MJ, you’re finally improving at this whole front-office thing. MKG will bring tons of energy and defense to the team, but I’m not too sure that’s exactly what the team needed.
Well, okay, they need a bit of everything on that roster, but now they have seven guards and small forwards, with just three post players—Bismack Biyombo, Tyrus Thomas and Byron Mullens. Don’t worry, none of those names have us jumping out of our seats either. Jeffrey Taylor adds more depth and talent to the team, but in the same role as MKG.
(C+) I’m a big fan of MKG, don’t get me wrong, I just think he would have been more useful for a team that already has some offensive weapons (Wizards, for example). Thomas Robinson would have been a better option for the Bobcats. Nonetheless, let’s hope MKG becomes a Pippen-like player. Pippen ain’t easy though.

Trapped: I’m amazed that Michael Jordan took what I consider the second best player in the draft with the second pick.  Even I might have taken Thomas Robinson for that team but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to be Gerald Wallace at the very worst and has a ceiling somewhere around the Scottie Pippen level.
MKG has to take a couple of elevators just to get to the one that drops you off at Pippen’s floor, but he is widely regarded as the hardest worker in the draft. Plues, he’s only eighteen which is nothing but good news.
(B) I also like small forward Jeff Taylor who they got at number 31 but why take two guys at the same position when you have holes everywhere?
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Chicago Bulls- (29) Marquis Teague, PG

Metta: The Bulls only had one pick in the draft (No. 29), and did as much with it as they possibly could. They take Kentucky PG Marquis Teague who will help the team immediately, especially with Rose being out most of next year. If Rose was healthy, I’d be even more impressed with this pick as it would have bolstered their bench a great deal.
Teague gives them speed and athleticism off the bench, and the second Calipari PG on their roster. Once Rose is back, this could mean the end of CJ Watson’s run as a Bull.
(A-) They still need a shooter, but Teague will hold it down until Rose returns.

Trapped: I think this pick was tweeted out sometime on Wednesday.  I’m not sure whether I’m a fan of knowing every pick before they happen or not but I am a fan of this pick.  Teague will grow into a starting point guard someday but for now he is already better than C.J. Watson while Derrick Rose recovers.
(A) I don’t know what else they could have done better.  They got the best available player and filled a giant need at the 29th pick.
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Cleveland Cavaliers- (4) Dion Waiters, SG; (17) Tyler Zeller, C

Metta: Draft day for the Cavs was an interesting one. I’m having a tough time deciding if I like their picks or if they are too much of a gamble for my liking. Well, let me rephrase- Dion Waiters at No. 4 is a gamble, Tyler Zeller at No. 17 is not.
Again, I would have preferred the Cavs to go with Thomas Robinson but they were looking for someone to pair with Kyrie Irving in their backcourt. It seems like they’re willing to work with Tristan Thompson and Varejao down low. Waiters will probably work out just fine, but he’s not as polished of a player as I’d like to see running alongside Uncle Drew.
Zeller's height is a plus, and this is a great value pick at 17. He’ll help the team right away, and adds some depth down low.
(C/C-) The Cavs still don’t have much core to work with, and they’ll probably continue to keep Dan Gilbert on suicide watch. I’m a big fan of Irving, though, and I’m hoping he’s able to incorporate Waiters and Zeller well as the season moves on.

Trapped: The Cavs got the top 6th man in the country and a marginal center instead of Thomas Robinson, Jared Cunningham, Bernard James (who got an awesome U.S.A. chant when he was taken for whatever that’s worth) and Jae Crowder when they traded for Tyler Zeller’s rights in exchange for the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks with Dallas.
I don’t care if you already have Tristan Thompson and Sideshow Bob, that’s unacceptable.  I’d be surprised if it were a team other than Cleveland.
(D-) A core of Irving, Waiters and Thompson means they’ll be competing for another top pick next season.
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Dallas Mavs- (24) J. Cunningham, SG; (33) Bernard James, C; (34) Jae Crowder, F

Metta: I really am not sure what to make of the players they took. In Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, and Jae Crowder, they get a bunch of high-energy, defensive guys who can fill out the rotation. They’re also in the process of clearing cap space for free agency, so it does make sense that they weren’t going for any home-runs in the draft.
Cunningham won’t be able to play PG in the NBA, and will probably spend some time in the D-league to learn the position. James and Crowder are both rebounder/junkyard-type players. They should make the team though, since every team needs players like that.
(C-) I would have taken Perry Jones III at 24. Cunningham is a good player, but just don’t see him having a defined position.

Trapped: I can’t really fault the Mavs for the choices they made.  They are basically clearing cap space which is why they traded down in the first and picked up a couple of non guaranteed 2nd round contracts to remain flexible for the Deron Williams/Dwight Howard sweepstakes.  If nothing else, Cunningham and James are already better then Dominique Jones and Brendan Haywood.
(C+) Not because they made shrewd picks but because they stuck to their plan.  The grade would have been much lower if I didn’t see their ulterior motives.
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Denver Nuggets- (20) Evan Fournier, SG; (38) Q. Miller, SF; (50) I. Turkyilmaz, C

Metta: The Nuggets already have a squad with plenty of talent and depth at each position, so nothing they did on draft night was going to be a big positive or a negative. Fournier is considered the best international player in this draft, but he joins a rotation of Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Jordan Hamilton. There’s not enough playing time for Fournier, at least not right now.
I’m hoping he can move to the 2 spot, and open some more playing time for himself. Either way, he’s not worth the No. 20 pick. With Quincy Miller, they add a nice piece of talent, but it’s just another SF. Seven-footer Izzet Turkyilmaz could be something serviceable in a few years.
(C+) Nothing spectacular, nothing horrible. It’s time to trade some of this depth for a superstar talent.

Trapped: I don’t know much about Evan Fournier other than he’s from France and people say the pick was a reach but I’m not one to split hairs by saying they picked him four slots too early.  Who cares?  If you like a guy you grab him, it’s not like they passed on a star to fill their need for a scorer.
The better pick by them was Quincy Miller at number 38 who might be a better NBA player then his Baylor teammate PJIII.
(C+) If Al Harrington is taking most of the big shots for you in the playoffs that’s a good sign you need some more shooters and it seems like they saw the writing on the wall.
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Detroit Pistons- (9) A. Drummond, C; (39) K. Middelton, SF; (44) K. English, SG

Metta: Solid draft for the Pistons- (9) Andre Drummond, C; (39) Khris Middelton, SF; (44) Kim English, SG. I’m like a little kid on Christmas morning anticipating the duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
While they work on Drummond’s offensive game, he’ll protect the paint and rebound well immediately. Monroe is one of the most underrated players in the league, and this front-court duo is a nice start to work with for Dumars. It’ll take a few years for Drummond to develop, but Detroit fans can look forward to an intimidating frontline with those two.
Middleton adds some outside shooting for the team, and Kim English can be a nice backup guard for the team.
(A-) Let’s hope Drummond ends up having the same defensive presence Ben Wallace once had.

Trapped: With each pick that Andre Drummond slipped in the draft, he became less and less of a bust. I don’t know anyone who thinks he has the skills to be anything more then a defensive specialist.  Even that distinction is questionable since defense and rebounding is mostly desire and that was one attribute nobody attached to him during the pre draft process.
(B) Even if I hate Drummond it was a good value pick at number nine because there is always a team that thinks it can be the one to redeem a guy with that kind of body.
Another plus is second round pick Khris Middleton who might be a Richard Hamilton type player down the road.
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GSW- (7) H. Barnes, SF; (30) F. Ezeli, C; (35) D. Green, SF; (52) O. Kuzmic, C

Metta: Honestly, no matter how much I want to hate on anything this team does, they couldn’t have had a better draft night. They brought in a haul that immediately fills holes and minimizes weaknesses on their current squad- (7) Harrison Barnes, SF; (30) Festus Ezeli, C; (35) Draymond Green, SF; (52) Ognjen Kuzmic, C.
Barnes will be their starting SF, and trust me, he’ll score and score often. He can hit the outside shot, will have more space with an extended three-point line when compared to the college game, and has a great ball-handler in Curry to set him up. I’d like Coach Jackson to work with Barnes on his footwork, and that’s something that will take years to develop.
For now though, he the right guy to fill out their starting lineup. Ezeli will be a solid backup center, and Draymond Green was an absolute steal in the second round. I guess tanking does pay off.
(A) Nothing better they could have done. GSW fans should be excited for next year- another season of promises most likely ruined by injuries and a lack of defense.

Trapped: The Warriors nailed their first three of their four selections this year.  Harrison Barnes may never be an all star but he should be a ten year starting caliber player at a position with a long term need.
Festus Ezeli also gives them a defensive presence off the bench and that is more then Andris Biedrins has given them in years and he was starting!  I bet he hits more free throws than Biedrins and Drummond combined this year, any takers?
(A+) Is this a homer grade here? Maybe, but getting Draymond Green with the 35th pick was just icing on a very good looking cake.  I wouldn’t have given them better than a D had they drafted Drummond.
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Houston Rockets- (12) Jeremy Lamb, SF; (16) Royce White, PF; (18) T. Jones, PF

Metta: Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, and Terrence Jones are all good pieces, but I think they will regret not moving up further to get Drummond. It’s tough to grade the Rockets right now, since GM Daryl Morey is probably up to something with some trades this summer. They add plenty of talent through the draft, which most likely means some of their current roster (ex. Kevin Martin) is on his way out.
(B-) They still have no inside presence and as a result, I can’t see them being too much better than they were last season. It’s time to trade some of this depth on the wings for someone to help Scola down low.

Trapped: GM Daryl Morey may not have been able to put together enough assets to land Franchise-Hostage-Taker Dwight Howard but he’s probably better off.  Don’t think for a second that Dwight won’t hold Houston over the ledge all season if they do figure this thing out.
Instead, Morey dumped Sam Dalembert and his inflated contract and picked up Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrance Jones without giving up on Kyle Lowry.
(A) I can’t fault any of the picks or the maneuvers that led to them.  Good job, good effort!
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Indiana Paceres- (26) Miles Plumlee, PF; (36) Orlando Johnson, SG

Metta: Another white, below-average big man for Indiana? You would think history would teach them a lesson. Miles Plumlee wasn’t even the best Plumlee on his college team. He’s athletic, but definitely a reach even in the late first-round.
Honestly, I think Plumlee will out of the league in less than five years. Being a California guy, I’ve seen Orlando Johnson plenty and I think he’ll end up getting some time off the bench for of his offense.
(D) Underwhelming night for Indiana. I’m disappointed.

Trapped: Miles Plumlee? Really? If they think he has more NBA potential then Arnett Moultrie, PJIII, Teague or Ezeli (the four picks that followed) I’ve got some Todd Fuller rookie cards to sell them (this may just be for Warrior fans).
(F+) Maybe they just wanted a practice player or something?  I know they didn’t think that he would help them in their series against the Heat for even a minute.
What they got was a homeless man’s version of Roy Hibbert, only more inconsistent and pastier than that.
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L.A. Clippers- (53) Furkan Aldemir, PF

Metta: Furkan Aldemir can rebound the ball, and that’s pretty much it. We’ll never see him.
(N/A) Doesn’t even count as a pick.

Trapped: They got a Turkish forward (if I mentioned his name would any of you know who the hell it was?) that I’m pretty sure real estate tycoon and racist Clippers owner Donald Sterling wouldn’t let live in any of his apartment complexes.  He better stay overseas until they trade him. Update: Before this article went to press the Clippers moved Aldemir in a deal that will bring Lamar Odom-Kardashian and his reality show back to the Clippers.  One thing that hasn’t changed is that he won’t be allowed in a Sterling owned property unless Khloe signs the lease.
(F) Other than Clipper Darryl are there any real Clipper fans to dispute this grade? Or would they?
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L.A. Lakers- (55) Darius Johnson-Odom, SF; (60) Robert Sacre, C

Metta: There’s not too much you can do in the late second-round, but the Lakers did just about as well as they could with pick No. 55 (Darius Johnon-Odom).
He can play backup to Kobe, due to his ability to score the ball and his toughness. He’s a hard-worker and we know how much Kobe like that. Center Robert Sacre was taken with the last pick of the second round, but he won’t make the team. Let’s not waste time on him.
(B) LA wasn’t going to make a splash in the draft unless they made a huge draft-day deal with Pau Gasol. DJO has a good chance of making the team, and adds some depth to a team lacking exactly that.

Trapped: With their only pick in the draft the Lakers selected Mr. Irrelevant.  Enough said.  I don’t know anyone that was upset about the Lake Show trading two first round picks to get Ramon Sessions and to send Derek Fisher out to pasture (but I don’t know many Lakers fans).
(A+) I love what they’ve done with their draft picks for the next two years. For a Laker hater's money, Ramon Sessions is way more valuable than next year's first round pick.  Next season I expect them to use their second round pick on a German doctor so Kobe can stop flying back and forth.
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Memphis Grizzlies- (25) Tony Wroten Jr., PG

Metta: The Grizzlies have a nice squad all the way through, but have been missing a quality backup to Conley. They get that with Tony Wroten. He’s a PG with some size (6’6), handles the ball well, get to the basket, and can pass well enough. He’s not a great outside-shooter, but will get playing time immediately.
(B) He fills an immediate need, and maybe even more important, Wroten can play the SG spot too. With OJ Mayo probably heading out, that will come in handy.

Trapped: You could sway me either way on the Grizz picking Tony Wroten.  He’s kind of like O.J. Mayo 2.0 but this model couldn’t throw a rock into the ocean.  It’s not good when a guy who commands the ball and loves to shoot really sucks at it.
However, if he continues that mess in Memphis, he’ll probably find himself on the wrong end of a Z-Bo elbow.  Other than that, I hear he’s really good.
(B-) The value of this pick will really be determined after we know whether Mayo will be returning and whether or not Wroten ever learns how to shoot.
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Miami Heat- (57) Justin Hamilton, C

Metta: The Heat traded down from the first-round to save cap-space, and took Justin Hamilton in the second round. Maybe Hamilton and Dexter Pittman can compete to see who knocks out Lance Stephenson again next season?
(C-) I was a bit surprised they didn’t take someone like Ezeli in the first-round, someone who would have helped their big-man rotation immediately.

Trapped: After LeBron finally earned his crown, the Heat traded their pick because 1) they can barely afford a first round pick with the Big 3 and not one, not two, not three, not four, but pretty much the rest of their worthless roster have them capped out for years to come, and 2) some other veteran who wants to get dragged to a title will take a severe pay cut to join their crew of corpses next season.
(N/A) Does it really matter?  James is like Magneto from the X-Men after he learned how to control his powers and started destroying everyone who ever slighted him at this point.
Mike Miller might get to limp to three more NBA Finals because the Heat will be paying him over $6 million a year till 2014-15 to do it. Hopefully he just retires.
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Milwaukee Bucks- (14) John Henson, PF; (42) Doron Lamb, SG

Metta: I’m impressed with what the Bucks have been doing lately. Earlier in the week, they brought in Samuel Dalembert for their C position. On draft night, they got the guy they wanted (Henson) and picked up a shooter who will get playing time next year in Lamb.
The main issue I have with their pick is their excess of average Forwards/Centers (Sanders, Udoh, Gooden). Henson is a great defensive player, but Skiles will have some work ahead of him finding enough playing time for all these projects they have. Doron Lamb can shoot so he’ll definitely get some run behind Ellis.
(B-) They picked up some good players, but as stated, they have too many post players for my liking. One important note- teams will have a tough time scoring in the paint on Milwaukee.

Trapped: They needed a big because Andrew Bogut is a Warrior now and their other serviceable big guy (Ersan Ilysova) will probably make like Usain Bolt as soon as the free agency gun goes off.
They ended up with a guy (John Henson) who could probably fit three of himself in Brandan Wright’s shadow.
(B) This grade gets bumped up a little bit because it’s hard not to like their selection of Doron Lamb in the second round. I just can’t help but think his talents will be wasted carrying Brandon Jennings’ Xbox and Monta Ellis’ jock strap for the next couple years.
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Minnesota Timberwolves- (58) Robbie Hummel, SF

Metta: There were a lot of rumors that the Timberwolves were trying to get into the top-5, dangling last years No. 2 pick Derrick Williams in the trade. No one bit, most likely because Williams just isn’t that good. They probably would have traded that pick to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, but nothing spectacular like that ended up happening, and the Wolves took SF Robbie Hummel late in the second round.
He’s already had two ACL injuries, and he is not going to be good pro player at all. He can shoot the ball, and his ability to play some defense might help him stay on the roster.
(C+) Not much else you can do at the No. 58 pick.

Trapped: The T-wolves made the most of their only selection at number 58 by selecting Boilermaker Robbie Hummel.  I love this pick, they’ve been trying to fill the void that was left at the end of the bench when Mark Madsen retired in 2009.
I expect him to be a world class towel waver/butt slapper and if they’re lucky, a comically bad dancer.
(A) I told you I love this pick.  He’s got big shoes to fill but I think he’s up to the challenge!  I think he’ll make fans in Minnesota forget all about Mark Madsen.
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NO Hornets: (1) Anthony Davis, PF; (10) Austin Rivers, G; (46) Darius Miller, SF

Metta: They added Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, and got a steal with Darius Miller in the second round. Rivers is going to have to learn to be more of a true PG with Eric Gordon at the 2 spot, but right now, NOLA needs talent and that’s what they drafted. Coach Monty Williams is a great coach, and he’ll be able to contain Rivers’ tendency of over-shooting.
Rivers at the 1, Gordon on the Wing, and Anthony Davis down low- things are looking bright for the Hornets. Kentucky's Darius Miller fell to the middle of the second round, but he will be a solid role player due to his ability to hit the mid-range jumper and defend.
(A-/B+) Rivers will need to pass the ball more than he wants to if NOLA wants to keep improving.

Trapped: Nobody in the league showed the kind of dedication that Hornets management did what it took to rig the lottery for the rights to the most dynamic eyebrow in NBA history.  The Unibrow (Trademark: Anthony Davis, seriously, he trademarked “Fear the Brow”) is the best big man prospect since Dwight Howard and will be a big help when Doc Rivers’ kid is getting destroyed on a nightly basis.
(D) First of all, you get no credit for rigging the lottery and making the pick that a three year old could have made.  On top of that, I hate the Austin Rivers pick because he’s really a poor man’s Eric Gordon.  Maybe they’re anticipating a slow recovery or a fast exit from Gordon and if that’s the case, I’ll revise my grade of this pick.
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New York Knicks- (48) Kostas Papanikolaou, SF

Metta: The Knicks only had one pick (No. 48), and there’s not much you can do with that pick. They took SF Kostas Papanikolaou, who will probably spend some more time in Europe before coming here.
(C-) They should have tried to take someone who can make the roster this up-coming season, not a project for years down the road.
Trapped: The Knicks executed their single second round pick to perfection.  Instead of taking someone who could help plug some holes on a team that’s full of them they took a Greek guy (who’s name I will never be able to pronounce) who can’t comes to the States for another two years.
Why is that you ask?  Because for the next two seasons when they get bounced in the first round of the playoffs they say “just wait, we’re going to win it all when Papanikolaou gets here!”
(B) The only disappointment here is that ESPN hasn’t run any stories about this guy being the final piece of the puzzle yet.
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Oklahoma City Thunder- (28) Perry Jones III

Metta: The rich get richer. The Thunder got Perry Jones III at pick No. 28, and in my opinion, this was the steal of the draft. He’ll have zero responsibility in OKC and can learn a ton from Kevin Durant. Jones is a 6’11 Forward who can handle the ball, pass, rebound, and slash.  He’s not a bad shooter either. Sound familiar?
They get someone who can play some minutes behind KD giving the scoring leader some much needed rest he often doesn’t get, and in a few years, could be a big part of the rotation. Very fortunate for OKC that he fell to them. Shame on the other GMs.
(A) Lottery talent at the end of the first round? Yes please.

Trapped: I’m sure the Thunder went into the draft thinking, “All we need to do is to get more athletic.”  As impossible as it is to fathom one of the youngest, most athletic teams in the league just got younger and faster.  I still can’t believe the ripcord on PJIII’s free fall didn’t get pulled until the 28th pick.
(B+) This was another no brainer that I have a hard time giving full credit for.  All I know is that this guy is going to be electric to watch in pre game warm ups before he takes his spot on the bench until Scotty Brooks can get a fire lit under him.
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Orlando Magic- (19) Andrew Nicholson, PF; (49) Kyle O’Quinn, C

Metta: The Magic took Andrew Nicholson at pick No. 19, pretty much to have some insurance if and when Dwight Howard skips town. He could be a good pick if Howard leaves, but if he doesn’t, then Nicholson will get buried on the bench behind guys like Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis.
He’s a good rebounder, protects the paint well, but has a very limited offensive game. Fun fact- the last player picked from St. Bonaventure in the first round was Bob Lanier. In case you’re reading this, and don’t know who Lanier is, look him up. He was good, very good.
At No. 49, the Magic took C Kyle O’Quinn. It’s a solid pick, and not much else they could have done at that point.
(C) Much depends on what Howard does, but picking two big men seemed a bit odd.

Trapped: I like the pick but I don’t think this was exactly what Dwight “Franchise Stick Up Man” Howard when he demanded a point guard to take him to the conference finals or else.  In the end, it really doesn’t matter what they do because he’d rather get to Brooklyn before Jay-Z cuts his next record, and then to get back to the NBA Finals.
(C) Andrew Nicholson should be a very good stretch four but isn’t that what Ryan Anderson is?
When the Howard leaves over $30 million on the table just to get away from them next season, I guess they feel they’ll have plenty of cap space (and a top draft pick) to fill the other four positions on the floor.
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Philadelphia 76ers- (15) Maurice Harkless, F; (29) Arnett Moultrie, PF

Metta: The Sixers added Maurice Harkless (previously known as Moe) and Arnett Moultrie in the first round. I don’t understand the Harkless pick since they already have Iguodala and Thaddeus Young already in their rotation.
Harkless will take some time to develop but his length and rebounding skills will be used, one way or another. He slashes to the basket well on the offensive end. He’ll be a project for Philly but they can afford that with their current roster pretty much set.
Their Arnett Moultrie pick was solid- he’s strong and rebounds the ball extremely well. Philly needs some of that down low. Also, he plays well into a left-hand jumphook when he sets up on the right block. Nice addition for Doug Collins.
(B/B-) Had them around a C initially, but I like the Moultrie pick too much.

Trapped: The Sixers got a fat haul of skinny forwards this year with Maurice “Don’t Call Me Mo” Harkless and 6-11”, 230 lbs power forward Arnett Moultrie.  If nothing else, they got more wingspan than any other team in the league. That has to count for something right?
(B-) Philly is obviously stocking themselves with long, light and cheap alternatives in anticipation of cutting ties with their highest paid player (Elton Brand) and their best player (Andre Igoudala).
Brand will probably just play out his last big money year ($18 million+) and walk when his contract expires.
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Phoenix Suns- (13) Kendall Marshall, PG

Metta: The Suns took Kendall Marshall at No. 13. This is a tough one to figure out-it’s a good fit, but it might not be enough to help the team. It seems that Nash is on his way out from Phoenix, and Marshall replaces him nicely, especially with his passing.
He was the best passing guard in this draft, but the issue is that there aren’t too many people on the Suns to pass to. He’ll run the pick-and-roll well with Gortat, distribute the rock to some outside shooters, but there isn’t any one player on that team the offense can rely on. Just not enough talent on the team for Marshall to maximize his passing skills.
(B-) Unlucky for them that guys like Rivers, Terrence Ross, and lamb were off the board already.

Trapped: Kendall Marshall was no doubt the right guy to take with the 13th pick but Phoenix is screwed, plain and simple.  They are losing Steve Nash, and have a roster full of marginal talent. Now they’ve got a guy who can’t shoot like Nash (that’s the understatement of the year) but he can pass and play defenselike him.
(B) I can't be too upset about the pick, but that roster needs help, some major help.
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Portland Blazers (6) Damian Lillard, PG; (11) M. Leonard, C; (40) W. Barton, SG

Metta: The Blazers brought in a nice group of players on draft night- (6) Damian Lillard, PG; (11) Meyers Leonard, C; (40) Will Barton, SG. I already wrote about Lillard before the draft, and he would have been a stud anywhere he landed. In Portland, he’ll be in an up-tempo environment where his range and quickness will be useful.
I’m not a big fan of Leonard’s game, but with Aldridge at the 4, all Leonard needs to do is rebound the ball and protect the paint. Good fit for him. They get a steal with Barton in the second round, he’ll bring good energy for them whenever he gets playing time.
(A-) They get players who fit well with their current roster. Lillard-Matthews-Batum-Aldridge-Leonard is not too shabby.

Trapped: I love their pick of Damian Lillard (full disclosure: I’m biased towards Oakland born and raised point guards) and am indifferent about the Myers Leonard pick.  Lillard probably won’t be Gary Payton but I see Leonard falling somewhere between Todd Fuller, Patrick O’Bryant and Adonal Foyle (my apologies for the terrible Warriors comparisons to everyone in Portland).
(C+) When you need a point guard you need a point guard and they got the best one in the draft even if they did have to overspend a little on one.
Lillard has a supreme work ethic and you don’t have to worry about him spending his paychecks on Krispy Kreme donuts like you do with Raymond Felton.
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Sacramento Kings- (5) Thomas Robinson, PF

Metta: The Kings hit gold when Thomas Robinson fell to them at No. 5. The Robinson-Cousins combo up front is going be brutal for the opposition. Good luck trying to rebound while these two are on the floor. He does need to polish things up a bit, and I’ve heard scouts mention he should elevate his release a bit more. But he’s not just an inside scorer,  he’s got a great face-up game and can hit the mid-range jumper.
He will be a double-figure rebounder instantly; Robinson averaged nearly a dozen rebounds in his one full-time college season. College rebounding success almost always translates to the NBA game.
(A) So excited to see the T-Rob/DMC combo on the floor.

Trapped: Did the Kings get lucky or what?  They got a top two or three prospect in the draft at number five and the cheaper then cheap Maloofs were able to turn their second round pick into a pile of free money!
They probably could have gotten more for the pick if they held it for ransom and made the people of Sacramento pay for it like everything else they’ve done that last few years.
(B+) I feel like I’m giving them a good grade for getting lucky but I love Robinson’s motor and maturity.  How many of their guys that actually play can you say that about?
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San Antonio Spurs- (59) Marcus Denmon, SG

Metta: They took SG Marcus Denmon at pick No. 59. He’s a quick, athletic guard who plays efficiently. If any other team took Denmon, I’d probably say he’ll end up with a career in Europe. But it’s the Spurs! Everything they do somehow seems to work out.
Denmon will end up being a solid back-up guard for the Spurs. Just saying, Popovich will find a way. He always does.
(C) The Spurs never do anything that’s “below average”. They’ll find a way to make Denmon maximize his potential.

Trapped: The biggest surprises about San Antonio’s pick at number 59 was that he is American (6-3” point guard Marcus Denmon) and that he will be on the roster this coming season.
They must be getting desperate with Timmy on his last legs.
(C+) How do you grade the 59th pick?  Were they supposed to do better? Would their fans rather have seen them draft and stash a Spaniard?
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Toronto Raptors- (8) Terrence Ross, SG; (37) Q. Acy, SF; (56) Tom Zubcic, SF

Metta: At No. 8, the Raptors took Terrence Ross, a shooting guard out of Washington. He’s got some nice size, and can shoot the ball, but I’m not sure if this is what the Raptors needed on their roster. The Raptors were 28th in scoring in the league last year, so his ability to score will be a plus for the team.
He’ll be a good wing alongside DeRozan, but the team still lacks a true starting SF. If they were going with a SG, I would have taken Rivers or Lamb, but Ross should be solid enough. The team is hoping Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who joins the team this year after being drafted in 2011, will move Bargnani to the 4 spot and give the team more options on offense.
In the second round, the Raptors took Baylor Forward Quincy Acy, who adds length and some strength on defense. Solid second round pickup.
(B) If they start Ross, they’ll have to move DeRozan to the 3. They lack some size at that spot as a result, but get the perimeter help they’ve needed. Will be interesting to see if Calderon sticks around, and if Colangelo is successful in bringing Steve Nash in.

Trapped: I give the Raptors credit for resisting the urge to take Drummond.  I also give them props for getting Quincy Acy in the second round.
At the same time I’ll be subtracting a couple points for taking Terrance Ross at number eight.
Didn’t they know that when the Logo said he liked him it was a total ruse?
(C-) Personally I would have traded that pick to a team that was dumb enough to move in front of Detroit to get Drummond.  They also got a 6-11’ guy from Croatia (Tomislav Zubcic) who is too soft to even play small forward but I guess he fits their style.
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Utah Jazz- (47) Kevin Murphy, SF

Metta: At No. 47, they took SF Kevin Murphy. That’s a generic name if I’ve ever heard one. He was a big time scorer at Tennessee Tech (20.6 pts per game in his senior year), but I doubt he finds much playing time on that Utah roster.
(N/A) Insignificant pick.

Trapped: I’m sure the Jazz were thrilled that the Warriors ended up with Harrison Barnes with the seventh pick.  Since they didn’t have a first round pick they had to watch our selection and let 40 picks go by before selecting a nice little scoring guard from Tennessee Tech named Kevin Murphy.
You haven’t heard of him? Or the school either? You’re not alone.
(C) Another pick that elicits a screaming yawn get a mediocre grade.  On the bright side, someone informed the Jazz that they need players at a position other than power forward/center and they got the message loud and clear.
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Washington Wizards- (3) Bradley Beal, SG; (32) Tomas Satoransky, SG

Metta: Maybe I’m just being overly optimistic, but I think Washington could sneak into the playoffs next year. The East is weak after Miami, and the Wizards have some talent on their roster to make the eighth spot.
Bradley Beal fills their hole at the SG spot, and he’ll be a great fit next to John Wall. I don’t think too many people know this, but Wall shot 7% from the three-point line last season. Let’s hope that Beal takes over the outside-shooting responsibilities, and Wall can stick to driving the ball and getting his teammates open.
Beal did have one poor shooting year at Florida, so he’ll need to prove that his new shooting touch will be consistant, but he’s only 19 and there’s plenty of time to improve. Promising back-court duo for the Wizards with veteran talent across the board (Nene, Ariza, Okafor).
They also got Jan Vesely’s old friend in Tomas Satoransky,  a combo guard with size and athleticism. The team doesn’t have much cap-space left over after their recent trade, but they have enough talent on their roster to be much-improved from last season.
(A-) They get Beal and some depth in the draft. Nice work by GM Ernie Gunfeld.

Trapped: After turning Rashard Lewis’ dead body into Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, the Wiz didn’t care that MKG didn’t fall or that Thomas Robinson did.  They just stuck to the game plan and took 19 year old (as of draft night) Bradley Beal and didn’t look back.
I think Beal is going to be a very good pro but am I the only one that got tired of hearing the Ray Allen comparisons?  As long as he isn’t Nick Young they will be ecstatic.
(A-) They did very well to fill their vacancy in the backcourt while still keeping an eye on next season’s tanking efforts.
The Wizards achieved this by using their second round pick on a big and talented guard from the Czech Republic (Tomas Satoransky) who probably won’t touch down on U.S. soil for another couple of years.
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