In the midst of a week when Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson all past away. I’ve had to take a step back. Not to go into seclusion, but to just think about the important things and really appreciate life and what it brings. Ed was a pioneer and an American patriot. Farrah was an icon and battled through a terminal illness. Michael was and will always be the “King of Pop.” You can say what you want about the non-musical side of him, but you can’t diminish the impact on music and entertainment he had and always will have.
The NBA Draft usually has more trades happening and a better talent pool. This year was different and instead of the Draft being the headline, it was what happened before the Draft. Four trades happened that will change the balance of power and bring new contenders to the forefront.
The Spurs made the first move by getting Jefferson from Milwaukee for Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas and Bruce Bowen. Now Milwaukee will most likely not keep Thomas or Bowen and San Antonio will probably get them back. It’s a win-win for the Spurs which now are legitimately the second best team in the West. Yes, it’s early, but San Antonio needed to get a little younger and have someone else who can attack the basket other than Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. This makes the Spurs a threat even when some thought this past season was their last shot to win again with this group.
Now Cleveland had to make a trade or sign a big man before next season, no, before the July 4th weekend. The rumor was that Shaq would be heading to C-town, but it was still in the beginning stages a few weeks ago. How time flies. Cleveland got the Diesel by giving Phoenix Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic and a second round pick in this year’s draft. This looks awfully similar to the deal that would’ve brought Shaq back in February. Actually, it is the same deal. Why it didn’t happen then will be a mystery, but it will be interesting to see how this works. Cleveland better not think their done. They still need a scoring Power Forward to take pressure off of Shaq and LeBron. A good start, but not a championship move.
The Magic pulled off a trade that many didn’t see coming until Draft day. Orlando acquired Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson from New Jersey while giving the Nets Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie. This sent signals all over the league that Hedo Turkoglu was not going to return to the Magic. Orlando will not be able to stay under a reasonable payroll level with Carter and resigning Turkoglu. Will this hurt or help Orlando going into next season? Won’t know until they make more moves if there are any left to make. Right now I would say this does help them, but Vince needs to shake the label of “it’s about me.” That’s just the impression a lot of people in the league have of him. This will definitely motivate him now that he is playing for a contender and this should help Dwight Howard knowing that there is somebody who can score 20+ points a game every game. The Magic are still the favorites, but Cleveland and Washington made moves before this one. Seems to be a reactionary move by Orlando.
My winners for the NBA Draft 2009 are San Antonio, Indiana, and the Clippers. The Spurs, not counting the Jefferson trade, got great value in the second round getting Pittsburgh forward DeJuan Blair. This guy was a potential lottery pick at the beginning of this and fell all the way to the 37th pick. The Spurs didn’t care at that point and gladly nabbed him. The Pacers some say reached getting Tyler Hansbrough at 13 overall. I on the other hand think that was a great pick. As was their second round pick of A.J. Price from UConn. Hansbrough brings that toughness executive Larry Bird and coach Jim O’Brien are looking for and Price brings scoring and energy off the bench. The Clippers really had no choice in taking Blake Griffin. He really is the only sure thing in this draft. They will probably find a way to screw this up, but in the meantime, Blake will be a great player in this league wherever he plays.
My losers on Draft day are Cleveland, Minnesota, and Sacramento. The Cavaliers passed on DeJuan Blair and took an unknown in Christian Eyenga from the Republic of Congo. No help right now and instead a player that will not be here for a year or two. Minnesota made great picks in Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington in the first round. Ricky Rubio on the other hand was not a great pick. Memphis, Oklahoma and Sacramento passed on him because of his unwillingness to play in a small market. That didn’t stop the Wolves who took him and Flynn back to back with the thinking of playing them together. Not a wise move in my book. Two point guards who can’t hit a shot from the outside doesn’t equal championship. The Kings passed on a point guard that they sorely needed and took a shooting guard who played the point in college. Tyreke Evans is a great player and will become a great player in the NBA. It just doesn’t fit the need for the Kings. They already have Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia as their shooting guards. Evans is not a shooter, but can get to the basket. The problem is size. Too small to be the small forward and not quick enough to play the point. Questionable picks for these three.