I Want To Draft Like It’s 1999

An NBA draft where the #1 overall consensus is a power forward, and a ton of guards are to be had including an intriguing foreign guard? No I’m not talking about this Thursday’s NBA draft where Blake Griffin is likely to go #1, there is a lot of depth at guard, and everyone is wondering where Rickey Rubio will land. I’m talking about the 1999 draft where Elton Brand went first, guards were taken in 7 of the next 10 picks, and Manu Ginobili quietly landed to the Spurs in the second round.

Of the top 10 picks, 9 of them had solid to spectacular careers, but only one of those stayed long enough to be seen as a success for the team that drafted him: Shawn Marion. A lot of these players were traded to other teams before they could really help the team that drafted them like Brand, Francis (a draft day holdout), Odom, Hamilton, Andre Miller, and Jason Terry. Number 5 pick Jonathan Bender never lived up to his potential due to injury. Wally Szczerbiak stayed with Minnesota, but was taken too high at #6. Baron Davis stayed with the Hornets for 5 and a half seasons, but was traded midyear to Golden State where he engineered one of the biggest first round upsets in history.

Although there was plenty of value at the top 10, the next 10 was filled with busts. Only Ron Artest (#16), Corey Maggette (#13) and James Posey (#18) were worth noting. As for the rest of the draft, there were two European superstars taken late in Kirilenko (#24) and Manu Ginobili (#57), and a few fillers (Jeff Foster #21, Kenny Thomas #22, Devean George #23, and Gordon Giricek #40).

Knick fans remember this draft for grabbing Frederic Weis one pick before Ron Artest, but that may not have been the biggest bust of the draft. As I previously mentioned the top 10 all netted solid players except for Bender. If you want to excuse him for injury, then nearly every pick 11-14 (except for Maggette) could be seen as failures as well. Trajan Langdon at #11 is a candidate, although he’s had a good career overseas. Aleksandar Radojevic (from the powerhouse Barton County Community College) was taken 3 picks prior to Weis. And the Timberwolves struck out the pick before New York’s with Duke’s William Avery.

So how might this draft have turned out? Here’s my re-draft, not necessarily in order of how they should have been taken. But rather in how one alternate earth might have been for the first 16 picks.

#1 Chicago – Elton Brand
The Bulls made the right pick. Actually in our reality they made 2 right picks with Artest at #15. The problem was that they gave up on that team too early. Chicago could have been a mid-west powerhouse with Brand, Artest, and Brad Miller with a supporting cast of Jamal Crawford, Fred Hoiberg and Jake Voskuhl. The problem was the team was still young & surrounded with little else. Marcus Fizer? Khalid El-Amin? Corey Benjamin? Bryce Drew? Michael Ruffin? Dragan Tarlac? Dalibor Bagaric? No wonder they won 15 games in 2001.

#2 Vancouver – Lamar Odom
Vancouver didn’t deserve Steve Francis, but they didn’t really need him either. They had grabbed Mike Bibby in the draft before, and as New Yorkers learned Francis didn’t play well with other point guards. Instead they should have grabbed Odom. The Grizzlies had an awful team, but Bibby, Odom, and Shareef Abdur-Rahem would have been a respectable threesome. Looking at their history, they were doomed to failure by their poor drafts Reeves #6, Abdur Rahim #3, and Antonio Daniels #4 is hardly the core you want to build a franchise on.

#3 Charlotte – Baron Davis
Davis was the right pick here.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers – Steve Francis
Now these two deserved each other.

#5 Toronto – Ron Artest (traded to Indiana)
The Raptors originally drafted Bender and traded him for Antonio Davis. Why would Toronto do such a thing? They have Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Doug Christie. So there goes the shooting guards and small forwards. They could use a point guard, but that isn’t a priority with Carter & McGrady taking up a big share of the offense. They need a big man, but there really aren’t any in this draft (Jeff Foster?). I see why they traded this pick, they had two dynamic scorers and needed some front court depth (past Charles Oakley). So I have the Raptors trading this pick still, and Indiana selecting Ron Artest instead. The Pacers would end up with Ron after a few seasons later anyway. The Pacers would have Artest to defend Allan Houston in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals (which Indana won) but they could also use him to shut down Kobe Bryant in the Finals (which they lost in 6).

#6 Minnesota – Manu Ginobili
I’m going to go out on a limb here. Before Garnett went to Boston and won a title, people argued how the league would have been if he had swapped teams with Tim Duncan. That the two were equally good, and Duncan won those championships because of his supporting cast. So let’s see how Garnett would have done with the Argentine at his side. Also in this Bizzaro universe Kevin McHale would be a genius.

#7 Washington – Rip Hamilton
Washington really sucked. It doesn’t matter who they draft here. The guy is going to be gone by the time Jordan arrives. Might as well be Rip so that the Pistons improbable championship still occurs.

#8 Cleveland – Shawn Marion
Cleveland took who they thought was the best guy on the board, Andre Miller. And normally I agree with such a signing, except the Cavs had two young (but undersized) guards on their roster already: Brevin Knight and Earl Boykins. Miller’s arrival meant that both would be gone within a year. Cleveland let Boykins go, but traded Brevin Knight for Jimmy Jackson, Anthony Johnson and Larry Robinson. All three would be off Cleveland’s roster by the next season. I hate it when a team overloads at one position and fails to net anything substantial from trades. If we’re not taking Andre Miller here, then you can have an up-tempo team with Knight/Boykins. So I think Shawn Marion is the right fit here.

#9 Phoenix – Corey Maggette
The Suns are probably crushed that they didn’t get Marion. They have Jason Kidd, and are about to offer Anfernee Hardaway to a huge contract. Maggette’s scoring and rebounding would be adequate in lieu of Marion’s energy game.

#10 Atlanta – Trajan Langdon
The Hawks have Mutombo and Rider and are in dire need of a point guard. So with Andre Miller on the board, they’re going to draft Trajan Langdon. This way by 2005 they’ll have learned their lesson and take Deron Williams or Chris Paul with the #2 pick instead of Marvin Williams.

#11 Cleveland – Jason Terry
With the Cavs comitting to an up-tempo offense with their #8 pick, they should take Terry here. Knight, Terry, Marion, and Donyell Marshall are undersized, but should make for a laser fast offense. With Zydrunas healthy in 2011, that’s not such a bad team.

#12 Toronto – Aleksandar Radojevic
As I said earlier, the Raptors really need front court depth, so this is why they reached for the 7-3 Euro. And this is why you don’t draft for need.

#13 Seattle – Wally Szczerbiak (traded to Orlando)
The Magic who acquire this pick in a trade have Darrell Armstrong, Bo Outlaw, and Ben Wallace. They need someone who can score, and don’t care about defense. Wally fits the bill here.

#14 Minnesota – James Posey
In this world, McHale is a genius, and the best player on the board is Andrei Kirilenko. But taking Kirilenko after reaching for an unknown in Ginobili would get him fired. Also having Kirilenko and Garnett on the court at the same time would be too weird. That’s like 60 combined feet of skinny arms & legs. Terrell Brandon, Manu Ginobili, James Posey, Kevin Garnett, and Rasho Nesterovic – that’s a nice team for 2000.

#15 New York – Andrei Kirilenko
Ahhh to dream. The Knicks dared to take a European, but clearly the wrong one. In 2000, Kirilenko would have fit in well with that Knicks team giving them so much depth. The starters would have been Ward, Houston, Sprewell, LJ and Ewing with Camby, Kurt Thomas, Childs and Kirilenko off the bench. That’s one scary team defensively. Additionally AK-47’s arrival might have prevented the team from trading Ewing for Glenn Rice, keeping the franchise from self destruction via salary cap. Perhaps the 2001 Knicks with Camby starting, Ewing coming off the bench, the addition of Mark Jackson, and Kirlenko instead of Rice could have given the team another title run.

#16 Chicago – Andre Miller
Here are your early aughts Bulls: Andre Miller, Jamal Crawford, Toni Kukoc, Elton Brand, and Brad Miller. Not a bad rebuild post-Jordan. Try not to break that team up this time.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

46 thoughts to “I Want To Draft Like It’s 1999”

  1. just heard on mike and mike that the Knicks are expected to buy the #28 from Minny…
    I think I smell Jack McClinton? Or foreign player to stash? Can’t imagine that it’s worth much in a trade to move up.

  2. It’s crickets in here today compared to yesterday so I might be talking to myself here but do you think there’s any way the Wolves would do something like this to save $$:

    We get – #6 and #28, + parts they don’t use (Mark Madsen, Brian Cardinal, Corey Brewer – all expiring after 09-10)
    They get – #8 and Mobley + $3MM + a trade exception to make the $$ work

    They would save the difference between #5 and #8 ($700K/year roughly x 3 = 2.1 MM), plus the #28 salary (800Kx3 years = 2.4MM). Mobley’s contract is worth the same as Madsen and Cardinal but would be a 7.2MM savings for Minny due to insurance. Brewer’s contract is another 2.7MM. And then they get $3MM for the #28. So salary wise it would work like this:

    Total savings of #8 vs. #5 –> 2.1 MM (probably more considering team option)
    Total savings of #28 –> 2.4 MM
    Total savings of Mobley vs. Madsen/Cardinal –> 7.2MM
    Total savings of Brewer –> 2.7MM
    Cash –> 3 MM
    Total = $17.7 MM in savings (+ possible luxury tax savings) for Minny to move back 2-3 spots in Round 1 and to give us #28, which probably is of minimal value.

    So basically we’d be paying them nearly $14MM to move back 2 spots without altering either team’s cap situation. We can even take Corey Brewer if they want and use one of our trade exceptions if necessary to make it essentially $16-17MM + possible luxury tax savings?

    Or better yet for Minny, they could draft Curry with the #5 and then trade him to us right after the pick — thereby removing the possibility we’d surprise them by picking someone other than Curry they want (ie. Evans).

    So all in all — Mark Madsen, Brian Cardinal, Corey Brewer, #5, #28
    #8 + $17-18 million dollars + luxury tax savings

    Sounds like a good deal for both sides.

  3. I think we are 1 Brian Cardinal away from a championship, so let’s do it…. (sorry Frank, couldn’t resist.)

    Yeah, I don’t think Minny wants to move back down now. If I’m Memphis, do I swap the 2 and maybe a 2010 1st for the 5 and 6? Conley, OJ, Gay, Hill and Gasol with S. Curry off the bench is a pretty nice team.

    At this point for the knicks, maybe you just stay put and take a home run swing with Jennings, or wait and see who falls through the cracks. Hill, Evans or even Curry could potentially slip to us. If we take a point guard, who do you take at 28? McClinton is too small to play the 2 (maybe you look at him as a Nate replacement.) A lot of choices there: Ellington, Budinger, Calathes, Sam Young….

  4. Alan Hahn twittered that the Knicks bought the #28 with the Balkman trade exception. Then he retracted it, saying it was being discussed, but not final. He also twittered that the Knicks were in talks with the Thunder for the 4th pick, which he’ll have to retract as well, since the Thunder don’t have the 4th pick.

    (For those who who are bored of your own thoughts and want to replace them with Alan Hahn’s thoughts, here is the link: http://twitter.com/AlanHahn)

  5. Another Rondo rumor floating around. Rondo/Scalabrine to Memphis for Conley/Gay. Doc Rivers reportedly has called Rondo uncoachable.

    Boston Globe: While there has been talk around the NBA from several scouts that the Celtics have been shopping guard Rajon Rondo, he isn’t expected to be dealt. While unlikely, one Eastern Conference executive said the latest trade rumor included Rondo and forward Brian Scalabrine going to Memphis for guard Mike Conley and swingman Rudy Gay. On the flip side, one NBA GM said that he asked Celtics president Danny Ainge about Rondo and Ainge said he didn’t want to trade him.

    ESPN: I’m more persuaded by what several league sources told me about Doc Rivers’ relationship with Rondo. They say Rivers has told them Rondo is “impossible to coach” and “stubborn.” The worry is that if the Celtics give him a big contract extension next year, he’ll be even more unmanageable in the future. So the Celtics are trying to trade him now, while his trade value is high, to avoid a very difficult decision a year from now.

  6. Yowza
    Various sources reporting #28 pick is ours for cash (via TKB via 1050 radio), also QRich for Darko post-draft unless a better trade that includes Darko comes up around draft time…


    Love this move. We know what QRich’s ceiling is (better known as the basement), and certainly it can’t hurt to give Darko a look. He’s probably a better project that BJ Mullens at this point and is still only 24.

  7. I wouldn’t exactly say “exciting” about that move, but QRich is decrepit, and Darko… he deserves a lot of the mockery, but he’s somehow averaged 10 boards and more than 2 blocks per 40, the last few years. His offensive numbers are awful, but on a team with Jared Jeffries in the center mix he’s a big upgrade. He’s immediately our best interior defender, and I imagine his best is still ahead of him, given his age and D’Antoni’s coaching.

  8. From an ESPN chat, in-progress:

    I know the Knicks want to move up for Rubio, but how conceivably could they do that? They seem to have nothing to give. What could get them the number 2 pick?

    Chad Ford
    I don’t think they can. They just don’t have the assets to do it. What they can try to do, in July, is offer David Lee in a sign-and-trade to the Thunder (if they draft Rubio) .. that might be enough to convince the Thunder to let him go. But it’s highly unlikely Rubio will be wearing a Knicks hat on draft night. Sorry

  9. Does the possible Darko trade show that we are leaning away from Hill at the 8 spot?

  10. I like the Q-Rich/Darko deal, but it does take away from showcasing Jeffries and Curry…

    #28 is also a solid move. While the #5 trade is a disappointment, the Knicks just have to make the most of what they can control. Two solid deals so far, and anything netting Mike Miller would be great from my perspective.

    Can the Knicks do anything to get Rondo? Maybe after the draft with something involving at least one of Lee/Robinson/Chandler… BTW, if you had to choose between keeping Rondo or Doc Rivers, which would you pick?

  11. Rondo or Doc Rivers? Very easy. Rondo. I don’t see where Boston is going with this. Would be a real triumph of “chemistry” over production if they jettison him…

  12. Ted,

    Rondo is the guy playing basketball, so I’d keep him :)

    Don’t know WTF the Celtics are thinking. Rondo is a pretty amazing player. A little inconsistent, perhaps, but when he’s on, he can be utterly dominant. And given the age of the “Big 3” .. do you really want to move one of your young stars? On the flip side, I suppose his value may never be higher than it is today, but if that’s the case, the Celtics need a heck of a lot more than Conley and Gay in return (I mean, really?).

    In Darko, we get a guy who blocks shots. When was the last time we had one of those? Bye, Q. Thanks for the memories.

  13. At #8 I would put Teague on equal footing with Holiday or Jennings (Assuming Griffin, Rubio, Thabeet, Harden, Curry, Evans, and one unknown player are taken). Of course you want a high ceiling guy and “PG of the future” with a lottery pick, but I feel like Teague is more of a sure thing as an efficient scoring 3rd guard.
    Lawson would also be right there with those three, if not a little bit above them. Lawson to Indiana at #13 is starting to make a lot of sense to me, so I wouldn’t trade down too far, if at all.
    Flynn would be the pick most likely to make me puke… at least he could replace Nate as one of the few “rootable” Knicks. Hill would be #2. Then there’s the Henderson rumor… haven’t paid too much attention to his prospects but man that would be hard to stomach.

    Maybe it’s his size and age, but mock drafts have Jack McClinton going in the mid-2nd, if at all. I hope the Knicks buy a 2nd rounder rather than making another Anthony Roberson mistake by giving McClinton a guaranteed 1st round contract. If he’s your guy then you should draft him, but don’t pull a Balkman…

    Walshtoni’s loose lips throughout the process have seemed a little odd. Either they just play an open hand or they’re actually involved in all sorts of calculated misdirection…
    Last year, in fairness, the D’Antoni-Gallinari connection was pretty easy for the media to establish.

  14. I would go with Rondo, too. Just think it’s interesting that Ainge seems to be leaning in the other direction. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t listen to offers for Rondo, especially if he’s stubborn and “uncoachable.” Now that the “uncoachable” rumors have leaked the Celtics have tied their hands to some extent.
    If Boston can pick up Andre Miller at the MLE, maybe Nate (sign-and-trade) and Chandler for Rondo, Scalabrine, and Tony Allen? I suppose Gay and Conley is more attractive… would probably take a sign-and-trade of Lee plus Nate and/or Chandler and/or #8 for the Knicks to have a shot.
    If Boston’s high on Chandler, then maybe Chandler and #8 (Holiday, Jennings, whoever Boston wants) for Rondo?

  15. I’ve been looking through Lawson’s college numbers and quite frankly, they are just amazing. From a statistical standpoint, I’m not sure that Chris Paul was any better a prospect than Lawson is – in fact, Lawson’s Assists/TO ratio is much better, his TS% is better, although Paul averaged 1.5 more RPG and 0.7 SPG more his senior year.

    Physically, they’re the same height, Paul had 4 inches greater wingspan and 2 inches of better vertical, but Lawson’s agility and sprint scores were slightly better. Granted, Lawson had a much better team than CP3 but why again is Lawson considered a late-lottery to high-teens pick?

  16. Ainge is a weird GM. He looked like a historically awful GM in the pre-KG era. Then his team went from basement to championship faster than I’ve ever witnessed. Amazing what getting a guy like KG can do for your perception of the guys around him, but over the last few years, he’s looked very smart with his picks and by being able to pull in the right supporting cast.

    So maybe it does make sense to move Rondo at the peak of his value, before you have to give him the monster deal. If you can turn him into a high pick or two plus a couple of quality vets, looking down the road to the Big 3 falling off .. maybe it’s a good opportunity to stay relevant. But only for the right parts. I doubt anyone will offer them quite enough to pull the trigger.

  17. “Does the possible Darko trade show that we are leaning away from Hill at the 8 spot?”

    And that the Grizz are set on taking Thabeet #2?

    And maybe that they’re looking for some depth on the wing if they move Gay for Rondo? If Gay is dealt the Knicks would have some more leverage to offer Jeffries instead of Q-Rich…

  18. It would be unbelievable to get in on the Rondo sweepstakes, but the only way I see it happening is if someone the Celtics loooove falls to #8. Like, supposedly, Tyreke Evans.

    I guess if we were able to wangle a deal like #8 and #28 for #6… then swap that pick (Evans) and Chandler for Rondo… it would be well worth it, but seems like a long, long, longshot.

    I don’t think Memphis’ Darko moves mean anything about their plans. If they even have a plan. You gotta figure he’s gone in a year, anyway, and they’re just sick of looking at him. Chris Wallace is the kind of GM, like Don Nelson, who shuffles guys around instead of figuring out how to get the best value, or get the most out of any given player.

    re: Lawson, I’d dock him a few points for durability, considering he’s been injured two of the past three years. But even then he deserves to be a top-5 pick. Incredibly efficient (65+ TS% and 47% on 3s), and he runs the point better than anyone in the draft – awesome assist and A/TO ratios. But it’s not like he’s just a savvy veteran – he’s only a year older than Jonny Flynn, and for my money he’s quicker than any of the other PGs except Jennings and maybe Flynn. He was a blue-chip prospect out of high school – I think he was rated in the top 10 recruits by all the big services – and I don’t know what he’s done to change that perception. I’d be very happy to see him running the Knicks.

  19. While I’m thinking about random Knicks-Celtics trade possibilities… If the Knicks decide they can’t/won’t keep Lee and Nate plus Boston decides Ray Allen is done, maybe sign-and-trade Lee, Nate, and Jeffries for Ray Allen?

    How about Mobley and Chandler for a Tayshaun Prince, Loul Deng, or Josh Howard? My first inclination is to preserve and create 2010 cap space above all else, but with the right Prince/Deng/Howard deal, a deal that nets Mike Miller from Washington, retaining Lee & Nate, a good MLE signing (Gortat? Andre Miller?), an under the radar vet’s min signing (Grant Hill?), and a good draft maybe the Knicks can be a playoff team this season…

  20. Well I do hope we go ahead and get Darko. The other thing we should consider is moving Mobley’s contract back to the Clips for Camby (can we trade someone back to the same team in the same year?). I know everyone wants to play Curry and JJ to get their value up, but it’d also be nice to avoid giving the Jazz the #5 pick next year. Assuming we draft one of the guards, we’d go into the season with:

    Guards: Duhon, Hughes, Curry/Holiday/Jennings/Lawson
    Forwards: Chandler, Gallinari, Harrington, JJ
    Centers: Camby, Darko, Curry

    (assuming we don’t sign Nate)

    It’s not that horrible. I mean, it’s not good, but it’s not so horrible.

  21. Frank,

    I don’t know the specifics, but a player can’t be traded back to the team that traded him for a year.

    The 2010 pick is water under the bridge, you can’t let a sunk cost cloud your decision making going forward. You wouldn’t play Curry/Jeffries if doing so would only expose them and lower their value further, you’d have to be confident they could at least contribute something of value (scoring for Curry, defense for Jeffries).
    You also don’t need to move both, one would be great. With only Darko and maybe Saer Sene as other legitimate 5s on the roster (assuming no Gortat signing or Hill/Mullens/Thabeet drafting) Curry could actually help the Knicks for 20, 25 mpg if he’s in shape and scores 20+ pts/36 on 60%+ TS within the flow of the offense (especially if the Knicks lose Lee’s scoring efficiency). If Jeffries can be a solid defender than I also think he can help the Knicks.
    The rotation wouldn’t change that significantly from what you’re proposing, which looks like a 30 win team to me anyway.

  22. Maybe I’m in predraft burnout mode but I’m starting to get this funny feeling that maybe Curry will drop to us.

    Griffin is clearly going #1. Given the scuttlebutt about the Darko trade, I think that means Thabeet is going #2. I still sort of doubt that OKC really wants to pick Rubio and then move Westbrook to the 2, so that means probably they will pick Harden, who fits perfectly there anyway. Then at #4, all the rumors out of Sac-Town are that they are not thrilled with picking Rubio there — DX has them picking Johnny Flynn. Minny is then ecstatic at 5 and 6, getting Rubio and Evans. GS just traded for two point guards and maybe will go for Jordan Hill — leaving us Curry.

    I think for us, the draft hinges on Sacramento —
    what sucks in retrospect is that Donnie really should have pulled the trigger on Nate + JJ for whatever expiring. That would have made life much easier. I was against it at the time but I get it now.

  23. #4 Los Angeles Clippers – Steve Francis
    Now these two deserved each other.

    Ha! Way better than anything I could have come up with. Good show.

  24. I am baffled by all this, but one thing Walsh has been pretty effective at is not telegraphing his moves. His moves of Crawford and Randolph were pretty well guarded, as was the move to get Hughes.
    I have a suspicion we might see some things not anticipated, or at least not contemplated with much urgency or weight by those watching. I know that is hard to believe given that almost every Knicks-watcher with a computer has floated a theory.

    What I feel good about is I trust Walsh’s judgment and I have a reasonable degree of confidence the Knicks will come out of this draft feeling pretty good.
    I haven’t felt that way in years.

  25. More trade action not involving the Knicks. From ESPN:

    The Portland Trail Blazers acquired the 22nd pick in Thursday’s NBA draft from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the 24th and 56th picks in this year’s draft, and worst of their second round picks in 2010.

    The JCraw deal is strange. Allegedly, GS management promised Monta Ellis that they would not be taking a pg, leading me to think maybe they have their sights on DeRozan or Hill. But now, they just traded for two undersized pg, neither of which can play the 2.

  26. I am in support of Q for Darko as we need Curry insurance in the middle. Wow, Curry is so bad that Darko is his insurance. Wow.

  27. I think this was a straight salary dump for GS. The Warriors could draft Harden, Evans, Curry, Hill, Holiday, or DeRozan and Monta Ellis would still be their starting PG. If they did tell him they weren’t drafting a PG it was a safe move if they’re not high on Jennings or Lawson.

  28. It’s perplexing on Atlanta’s side – they’re very budget conscious and now they’re going to pay Crawford $2O million over two years? They could bring back Childress for a lot less, probably. Now they’ve screwed themselves on 2010 FAs and they’re even squeezed on re-signing Bibby. I guess they figure they can draft a PG, but this is just a stupid way to do business. Safe to say that Rick Sund is worse than Billy Knight. Of course this is the guy who drafted Sene, Swift, Petro and another stiff in four consecutive years…. so is anyone surprised? Except that he ever got another job?

  29. “#4 Los Angeles Clippers – Steve Francis
    Now these two deserved each other.

    Ha! Way better than anything I could have come up with. Good show.”

    Now I know at least one person read the article.

    “Griffin is clearly going #1. Given the scuttlebutt about the Darko trade, I think that means Thabeet is going #2. I still sort of doubt that OKC really wants to pick Rubio and then move Westbrook to the 2, so that means probably they will pick Harden, who fits perfectly there anyway. Then at #4, all the rumors out of Sac-Town are that they are not thrilled with picking Rubio there — DX has them picking Johnny Flynn. Minny is then ecstatic at 5 and 6, getting Rubio and Evans. GS just traded for two point guards and maybe will go for Jordan Hill — leaving us Curry.”

    If this is correct, except Rubio goes 4th, then we have our choice between Flynn and Curry. (Or more preferably Lawson, Jennings, etc.)

  30. Is this a real rumor or a Hahn suggestion that grew legs?:

    Another rumor that is making the rounds is that Oklahoma City may be working on a deal with the New York Knicks that would involve drafting Rubio and then shipping him to the Knicks in July in a sign and trade for David Lee. The tricky part would be coming to terms with Lee on an appropriate contract figure before the pick is made, since technically they are not allowed to negotiate, and Lee likely does not yet know what his true value on the open market.

    Still, considering his restricted status, and the fact that there are precious few teams with substantial cap space this summer, Oklahoma City could be a very attractive destination for Lee if his agent can reach a handshake agreement with their front office.

    In this scenario, the Knicks would likely select Mike D’Antoni’s favorite, Jordan Hill, with the #8 pick. More on that later.

  31. Good deal for OKC if it happens.

    As for us .. I love me some D Lee .. but maybe it’s time to swing for the fences. And it saves us a ton of 2010 cap room, not having to resign the big fella. We’ll be awfully thin up front, that’s for sure ..

  32. If there’s any truth to it I would be pretty happy with Rubio. Bittersweet to lose Lee, but he might be out the door either way.
    Jordan Hill, on the other hand, no thanks. He’s got some intrigue and probably won’t be a total bust, but I’d rather just trade out of the draft and move Jeffries or Curry. Or just take Lawson and deal with the potential glut of PGs if and when it happens.
    On another note, Walsh has succeeded in getting Chandler linked to the #5 pick, Lee to the #3 pick, and Jeffries mentioned in trade talks period. I don’t know if it actually drives up their values, but it at least lets other teams know that Donnie isn’t selling low or settling.

    “Now I know at least one person read the article.” I like the piece. My alternative world would have had Andre Miller going higher, though, at least to Cleveland (11) or Toronto (12). Probably to Washington (7). I might have sent Marion to Toronto/Indiana at #5… after all he ended up playing in the frontourt (Toronto’s need, imagine Andre Miller, VC, T-Mac, Marion, and Oakley/center to be named) and if Indiana was looking for the highest upside young player they should have pulled Marion instead of Bender.

  33. Hollinger’s European draft prospects article just came out. Lets just say the stats dont bode well at all for Rubio and Jennings. Didnt realize how truly awful Rubio’s shooting percentages are. Also he mentioned that Cabezas, the Spanish PG the Knicks were rumored to be looking at to sign (not draft) isnt that good either.

  34. I liked the bit about Manu. In general I love to contemplate how things could have gone differently. My main fantasy is, what if Kobe had never been traded from Charlotte to the Lakers the year Shaq arrived in LA. But it’s a fun game to play with almost any player….

  35. “Hollinger’s European draft prospects article just came out. Lets just say the stats dont bode well at all for Rubio and Jennings.”

    I have to admit that article did cool my enthusiasm for Rubio, but just a bit. His projection doesn’t take age into account, and Rubio is the youngest player in the draft. No one, at least not I, ever thought he’d be a star right off the bat. But it’s true, he has a long way to go as a scorer.

    I’d say some of the same things about Jennings – he’s only 19, and playing a totally different system than he ever had. But no, he wasn’t good at all this year.

  36. I like the Darko rumor. OBviously he would come here and try to prove himself in the New York market. DO it here and he could be a star but hes coming up on a contract year so theres money to be made there. Its all up to him. We’d be rid of an aging Q Rich who never panned out for us anyway. Im afraid of us making some kind of strange selection and having to wait for July for some sort of sign and trade to be done. In essence leaving us all in limbo for a couple of more days until we can hammer out a contract with D. Lee. Also, if we dont get a guard does that mean we keep Nate. I dont really think thats a bad thing. How many games did he keep us in this year. Knowing what Nate can do were would he be drafted in this years draft. Its a different perspective to look at things. Getting Rubio would be great. Getting Curry would be spectacular for the fans. Getting Evans would be very interesting too because hes crazy athletic and i think he going to be a star. OKC needs to take Thabeet. With him blocking shots they will become a stronger team. All these rumors are crazy.!! Im really hoping the Knicks lock up the 28th pick and get a shot blocker instead of another guard. Is McClinton our only option? What about Dionte Christmas who was great at Temple. Patty Mills? Are there any shot blockers for us at 28? Maybe Jennings might slip really far……who knows? ALso on a side note…i would be nice to see the Nets take Hansborough and line him up with Brook Lopez.

  37. According to Adrian Woj at Yahoo! the Shaq trade is pretty much official now. Ben Wallace, Pavlovic and a late second rounder.

  38. Shaq is the young running mate Lebron needed to win the title. Yeah right. Although they did get him for literally nothing since the Suns arent even planning on keeping either Ben or Pavlovic.

    Gonna be interesting to see what the Cavs do with Big Z now that they have Shaq. At least Shaq only has 1 year left on his contract.

  39. Can’t read Hollinger’s article, but yeah Rubio definitely needs serious work on scoring efficiency. He draws fouls well, but his shooting is a work in progress.

    Rubio’s Euroleague stats seem pretty irrelevant though, not sure whether Hollinger mentions this. He played a grand total of 66 minutes over 5 games this season, recovering from a wrist injury. His previous 302 minutes in the Euroleague came at 16 years old… Ginobili was 23 before appearing and played again at 24. Calderon played in the Euroleague at 21, 22, and 23. Jaric at 22 and 23. Is there really a comparison to be made?

    In the ULEB Cup (best teams who don’t qualify for Euroleague) in 2007-2008 Rubio had a TS% of .633 in 335 minutes of action… so who knows what he’ll do in the NBA.

    Rubio Euroleague:

    Rubio Spain:

    Jennings Euroleague:

    Jennings put up the same TS% last season as Rubio did at 16, so his claim of being a better scorer doesn’t seem too valid.

    Cabezas is a very efficient scorer but subjectively not someone you’d think of as NBA material. Not a great playmaker, but solid. He’s sort of the defensive specialist in the backcourt for Spain’s national team, whatever that’s worth. I suppose he could be a backup PG in the NBA.

  40. http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/o/onealsh01.html

    Shaq’s not washed up — at least not yet. Last season he posted his best statistical season since ’04-’05. I wouldn’t necessarily contribute it to pace, either, as his ORB% and TRB% are slightly under his career averages (which, of course, are bolstered by his ridiculous seasons near the turn of the century). His TS% is more likely to be affected by Nash and the Phoenix offense, but guess what? At .623, it’s .018 higher than his career best. Surprised? Me too.

    Cleveland gives up an offensive liability in Wallace and … who the **** is Pavlovic? I’m tempted to make a Gravity’s Rainbow joke, but this isn’t the appropriate forum. Aside from money (and really, who cares outside of that front-office) this may turn the Cavs into a 68-70 win team. Is it wrong to entertain the thought?

  41. Can someone remind me how the Bird Rights work again? Specifically — let’s say we traded for Amare and his currently 15MM/year contract with ETO after 2009-2010. Let’s also say that we somehow clear enough post-2009-10 cap room to sign another max free agent if Amare opts out. Can we then sign Lebron/Wade/whoever and then go above the cap to sign Amare?

  42. Amare is applied to the 10-11 cap at a certain “cap hold” salary. A sort of “phantom salary.”

    If that takes the Knicks over the cap, they’d have to renounce his rights (or sign him cheaper) to get another free agent.

    That’s the problem the Knicks will have next year with Duhon (only obviously a less significant problem).

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