2011 NBA Draft -- 4 Winners, 4 Losers
My fingers are still recovering from the lengthy (eight printed pages!) live blog I did last night here on Hair Balls, but the day after the draft necessitates some post-draft analysis. I've now had a day to sleep on it, and without further ado, a few post-draft thoughts.
Tough night for Dick Vitale
Four winners, four losers for all of you to chew on this Friday afternoon:
1. Dallas Mavericks
In a draft where the really talented players stopped at pick two, and the mystery players and somewhat talented players stopped at about the end of the lottery, isn't coming away not having to guarantee any first round money to, say, the 26th pick a good thing? (Correct answer: "Well yes, Sean!") Okay, now what if I told you that not only do you come away without having to guarantee some slapnuts Euro or marginal college player a three-year deal, AND you come away with Rudy Fernandez? Would you think, "Hey, that's a pretty sweet deal!!" (Correct answer: "Good God Amighty, YES, SEAN!!") Well, that's exactly what the Mavericks did last night. The world champs basically added Rudy Fernandez and gave up the rights to draft a player at 26 who has no chance of helping them defend their title. The rich get richer.
2. Indiana Pacers
Just go ahead and mad-lib the Dallas entry, but replace all references of "26" with "15" and replace "Rudy Fernandez" with "George Hill." Also, replace "Mavericks" with "Pacers" and delete all references to "world champs" and "rich getting richer." There, done.
3. Isiah Thomas
With the seventeenth pick, the Knicks drafted Georgia Tech swingman Iman Shumpert about 15 picks too early, taking home the honor of drafting the first guy without a greenroom invite. On top of that, they drafted him for defense one pick before Washington drafted Chris Singleton, who is longer and better than Shumpert and also happened to win Defensive Player of the Year in the same conference. In the second round, they drafted Josh Harrelson, a blue-collar center from Kentucky whose nickname is "Big Jorts." My point with all of this? Clearly, Isiah Thomas is still in charge of the Knicks via some sort of puppet regime.
4. Houston Rockets
Okay, do I think the Rockets were one of the four biggest winners in the draft last night? No. But I need to fit them in here somewhere (it is the HOUSTON Press after all), and I think they had a typical "Rockets under Daryl Morey" night -- a few small steps forward. Marcus Morris has a chance to be a good player (even if the Rockets now have roughly fifteen players between 6-7 and 6-9 who are pretty good at three or four things), Donatas Montiejunas has a high ceiling (so I'm told by people who would know), and Chandler Parsons has a chachy look that would indicate he should singlehandedly keep Pub Fiction and Shot Bar in business throughout the offseason.
Beyond all of that, for the second time in a year, Morey has been able to undo a contractual mistake that he made in free agency by moving Brad Miller to Minnesota (Trevor Ariza was the other, much more egregious error.). Not really Miller's fault, he was brought in to back up Yao, and then Yao went out for the season after like six minutes. Miller wound up getting microfracture surgery on his knee this offseason, which technically makes him much more McGrady-like than Yao-like.
1. Boston Celtics The Celtics drafted JuJuan Johnson in the first round and E'Twaun Moore in the second round. Both of them are from Purdue, which means that Purdue graduate and Purdue player junkie Rick Smith (Texans GM) would approve of this draft class. That's not a good thing.