Friday, June 29, 2007

Ouch! and rating the NBA draft

United States gets waxed by the Argentines, 4-1. But they kept it tied for 64 minutes, and this was a game exactly noone expected them to win. I was hoping for 2-1 or 3-2 loss rather than a blowout, but oh well. Neither Nguyen nor Moor saw anytime, but there's plenty of opportunities coming up, and probably better for them to get a crack at someone other than Argentina. For the US, Justin Mapp & Ben Olsen did pretty well. I would expect Olsen to be the team's MVP, but stopper Jay DeMerit may be the one who lands a starting job on the national team out of this tourney.

The NBA draft happened last night, along with a ton of trades. Here's my thoughts on how the teams fared:

Boston Celtics: A
Landed Ray Allen without losing Paul Pierce or Al Jefferson, and they should be looking at a postseason berth next spring. They also snagged Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, who I think was underrated this year and should be a solid bench presence.

New York Knicks: A
Also put themselves on the cusp on a postseason berth by snagging Zach Randolph by ditching Steve Francis, who they frankly didn't need. Randolph and Curry have to learn to play together, but there's now more to work with in the paint than before.

Chicago: A
Joakim Noah should be ready to play, and play the way that Scott Skiles wants his guys to play. He and Tyrus Thomas could fill PJ Brown's minutes nicely. Filling out the roster with Aaron Gray and JamesOn Curry in the second round knocked this grade up to a solid A.

San Antonio: A
The World champs keep winning because of their ability to use Europe as their personal farm system. Getting lottery-level talent in Tiago Splitter, but still being able to keep him overseas for a year or so while they bring in guys like 2nd rounder Marcus Williams and previously drafted Luis Scola next season should keep them in the hunt every year for a championship.

Charlotte: A-
I must be one of the few that liked what Charlotte did, which is to give themselves a chance to win now. Jason Richardson gives the Bobcats a veteran with explosive playoff capability. I think it's better to get known quantities than to be in a constant state of rebuilding from the ground up. Having watched the big-market Bulls & Knicks try that, it's not pretty and is not guaranteed to lead anywhere good.

Portland: A-
I'm not a huge fan of the big trade, but they do walk away with Greg Oden and more playing time for Lamarcus Aldridge. The presence of Steve Francis might pose problems, but it looks like they might buy him out anyway. Channing Frye also will be good insurance in the paint in case of injuries.

Washington: A-
When a guy like Nick Young falls in your lap, it's best just to go ahead and grab him. Dominic McGuire will also be able to contribute next season.

Los Angeles Lakers: B+
The Lakers did well, despite all of the name-calling Kobe has been doing lately. Crittenton should be a reliable point for years to come, and they rolled the dice on foreign players in the second round, which pay off magnificently, or could get them what you expect out of the second-round, which is very little indeed.

Atlanta: B+
Al Horford will probably be the best power forward out of this draft (Durant's a small forward), and Acie Law has always been dramatically underrated in my opinion. They got what they could expect, although I'm still not sure it'll get them to the playoffs anytime soon.

Dallas: B+
Getting Nick Fazekas and Reshawn Terry was a draft job that squeezed all the potential out for the position Dallas had going in. Fazekas should be a part-time starter for years, and Terry should be able to contribute off the bench as well.

Memphis: B+
Getting Mike Conley Jr. was the right move. This will be the best point guard out of the draft this year, and there's no point not getting him right away rather than taking a risk on a big man who might take years to develop and then leave.

Seattle: B
I don't see the point in losing a game-changer like Ray Allen, but they still walk away with Kevin Durant and a handful of wings. Seems like they could've gotten some better than Jeff Green at #5 tho.

Golden State: B
Picking Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson was a solid move, but it's way too soon to tell if that will be a really good trade or a bust.

Utah: B
Morris Almond should the backcourt depth, but I wouldn't look at Kyrylo Fesenko ever taking any PT from Mehmet Okur. An uninspiring draft for the Jazz.

New Orleans: B
Julian Wright should be a solid pro for years. Nothing to criticize, but nothing to brag about either.

Minnesota: B
Solid pick-ups of gators Corey Brewer and Chris Richard, no matter what happens with KG.

Detroit: B-
They picked up a solid guard in Rodney Stuckey, but will he be better than Nick Young? Nothing here that's going to get them back to the Finals at this point.

Phoenix: B-
Alando Tucker found a club that could actually use his talents, but otherwise, I don't understand sending off a first-rounder for only cash when you are so close to a championship. You need help now.

Los Angeles Clippers: C+
I'm not a big fan of the Al Thornton pick, but I would keep on eye on Jared Jordan. I think he's kinda diamond in the rough that Jerry West used to be so good at finding.

Houston: C
Not that Aaron Brooks won't be a fine player, the pick just underwhelms me.

New Jersey: C-
Oh, that's what New Jersey needs- another headcase. Sean Williams may be shot-blocking presence NJ wants, but it's hard to see him having the intangibles needed to earn his minutes on the floor.

Miami: D+
On one hand, they managed to get some cash and a second round pick out of the 76'ers for free, but on the other, Daequan Cook's going to be a few years away -if ever- from helping.

Orlando: D
I don't know what Orlando was doing, giving away everything and only getting Milovan Rakovic, and I think they didn't know what they were doing either.

Indiana: F
Nothing to redeem a losing season and no help on the way here. Sometimes, you just fail, and it's the Pacers turn this year.


Yeah, these guys didn't pick up anything really, but they also are young teams already making hay in the playoffs. No need to worry about draft picks right now.


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