1. New Jersey Nets– Sweet sassy molassy did they do an amazing job. The best way to think about what they did is to put it in the context of their twin goals.
(1) Clear money so they can sign Lebron in the 2010 offseason.
(2) Get talent
They did both of those, and did them astonishigly well. Brook Lopez is a starting-caliber NBA Center, which is astonishingly valuable in today’s NBA, especially in the Eastern Conference. To complement him, the Nets grabbed Yi and the underrated Bobby Simmons in the trade, which accomplishes both goals. To add to that, they added in a guy in Ryan Anderson who can be a great contributor off the bench and the criminally underdrafted Chris Douglas-Roberts, who may end up being a prototypical wingman next to King James. Also, one of my good friends who knows Ryan Anderson and used to smoke out with Dominic McGuire wants Odds on whether he’ll smoke out with Sean Williams now that Ryan is on the team and my friend is in NYC. I’m putting it at 45% right now.
2. Milwaukee Bucks– It is genuinely amazing to see two teams that traded with each other at #1 and #2, but it’s well-deserved. The Bucks weren’t going to get out of salary purgatory any time soon, and they added a bevvy of talented players who should fit in fairly well with their squad. Jefferson will bring excitement and a presence that opens up the floor more for Redd, Bogut, and Mo Williams. Also, adding in the gritty (and talented) Joe Alexander along with one of the true glue guys in this draft in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute provides them with a SF/PF rotation that is actually somewhat formidable if they go up-tempo, since they can throw so many bodies at their opponents.
3. Boston Celtics– One way to have a great draft is to do more with less. Well, no one did better at that than Danny Ainge. He didn’t even need McHale to bail him out with buying Bill Walker- Grunfeld was more than happy to help. JR Giddens should make the team and his potential is pretty potent if he can ever get his head on straight, and Bill Walker is a stud who should be a consistent presence on the C’s for a long, long time.
4. Portland Trailblazers– They would be one spot higher, but it bothers me a little that they dumped some of their 2nd rounders like Omar Asik who could end up being a valuable member of the Blazers Euro farm team. That said, I was never keen on Jerryd Bayless, but they got him for almost nothing and he will be a fantastic fit next to Brandon Roy. All he has to do is score, which is fortunate for him. Also, adding Nicolas Batum makes the SF spot much more stable in the long-term, so they primarily need to focus on getting a starting SF, which should be cake given the appalling amount of talent they have. It warrants mentioning that they also stole one of my favorite players in all of NBA backup-dom in Ike Diogu- he is skilled and a hard worker who will fit very well with the Blazers’ Centers for however long they want him around.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves– They couldn’t sniff this level earlier tonight. You can call me a UCLA homer all you like, but Kevin Love will be a great complement for Al Jefferson. The amount of balls that it took to draft Mayo and then extort the Grizzlies the way they did shows me alot about McHale and Mr. Hoiberg. Marko Jaric’s contract is as long as Gasol’s and half of the cost, and the T-Wolves got Mike Miller in the deal too, who can be a good player or a valuable trading piece close to the deadline. The Mario Chalmers trade wasn’t their finest hour, but the rest of the draft has enough merit to put them here.
6. Chicago Bulls– Taking the best player in the draft makes this a great draft, and adding a big for the future in Omar Asik puts them right here. I wish they’d have added some size that could contribute in the nearer future (they’re Anthony Randolph-thin at C right now), but they have such a strong foundation for the future. Continue reading