Pre-Draft Camp Mock and Draft Thoughts Part I: The Top 15

I thought it would be a good idea to put up an initial first round mock, along with a few thoughts about the draft overall, before we are fully into the throes of team workouts and the pre-draft camp.

Overall thoughts. I generally come down on the side of Hubie Brown about the draft. You can find good players in every draft. Some guys who are drafted early will eventually blossom. Others drafted late will really surprise. Nevertheless, this draft is probably typical or slightly below typical in terms of likely superstar talent. Once you get past Blake Griffin little consensus exists about who the 2nd best prospect. We don’t know for certain whether Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio will declare and stay in the draft. For that matter, if Blake Griffin measures under 6’9″ there may be no consensus on the top pick either. If there is any consensus on this draft it is that there are guards aplenty; the deepest position by far. It’s a tricky draft in that a lot of guys are upside-only players and just as many probably only fit certain schemes.

Mock Draft. I’ll try to get another mock up following the pre-draft camp and then a final one up just prior to draft night. The lottery obviously hasn’t been set as of this writing, so the order here is based on regular season record. This initial mock is to spell out what I think each team would do if the draft were held today, with no other roster changes other than expiring deal players allowed to walk.

1. Sacramento – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma: Barring something catastrophic, the top spot is Griffin’s to lose. The Kings have recently drafted Jason Thompson, but not much else at the position.

2. Washington – Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut: I expect Washington to throw the first curve. I think they’ll opt for pure fit–Thabeet’s shot-blocking and ability to run the floor–over the high upside youngster Rubio. They think they’re a contender with a healthy core and a defensive upgrade.

3. LA Clippers – Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain: There might not be a team for which Rubio could be more helpful. Is there a bigger collection of ballstoppers in the league than Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, and Andre Thornton?

4. Oklahoma City – Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy: OKC needs to add is a young PG that can remove some of the ball-handling burden from Durant and Westbrook and get them into the transition game.

5. Minnesota – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis: I think Minny opts for the highest upside player on the board regardless of position. It could be Evans, depending on workouts. It could be Jordan Hill, Brandon Jennings, or Demar DeRozan.

6. Memphis – Demar DeRozan, SF, USC: Memphis will similarly opt for highest upside player, and preferably best small forward available to provide some leverage with Rudy Gay (who is about to come off his rookie deal). At this point though, I think DeRozan is the biggest gamble on the board. It’s just not clear what he’s good at yet.

7. Golden State – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: Hill is an athletic PF who rebounds, runs the floor, and will block the occasional shot. He’s mostly an energy player in the NBA but a great fit for Nellieball.

8. New York – James Harden, SG, Arizona State: Concerns about Harden’s overall athleticism may push him down some teams’ boards. If so, NY would be lucky to find him available. Harden is athletic enough and has a high enough basketball IQ to play in any system, but he excels in the running game despite the slow pace his college team played. Harden is a slasher, and the Knicks haven’t had a slasher since Latrell Sprewell [insert bad joke here]. I will assume that NY does NOT have a promise out to Stephen Curry, as I think Harden is the better prospect. (Another guy I debated at this spot is UNC PG Ty Lawson, who I see as this year’s Russell Westbrook. By the end of the “draft season” Lawson will be comfortably in the top ten in most mocks, maybe even top five. His game is tailor-made for the post-season evaluation process.)

9. Toronto – Stephen Curry, G, Davidson: I LOVE Steph Curry’s game. He fits Toronto like a glove. This is a makes-too-much-sense-NOT-to-happen move if Curry is still on the board.

10. Milwaukee – Ty Lawson, PG, UNC: The Bucks really like Ramon Sessions the incumbent, but then so do a lot of other teams. At the least Lawson would provide them with an up tempo guard to bring off the bench who isn’t the complete defensive giveaway that is Luke Ridenour.

11. New Jersey – Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest: Teague is another candidate for a Russell Westbrook-style rise up the boards. An undersized SG, Teague was a high-usage player both years at Wake but improved his TS% from 59% to 62% almost exclusively by getting to the line more as a sophomore.

12. Charlotte – Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke: I anticipate that Larry Brown is making personnel decisions. So there is just no way to know what he’ll do. What I can probably write is “scrappy, hard-nosed defender, high basketball IQ” and just wait to fill in the name. I like Henderson as a sixth man.

13. Indiana – Earl Clark, F, Louisville: I am not a fan of Clark’s offensive game, particularly shot selection, but he’s a good defender.

14. Phoenix – Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: The rumor mill says that Phoenix likes him. We’ll take that as a baseline pick.

15. Detroit – Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC: Who knows what Detroit will do this offseason? My guess is that Dumars will break up his core, moving one or more of Wallace, Hamilton, Prince, and McDyess along with some role players. Ellington’s jump shot makes him a useful addition to almost any roster.

Up next: Picks 16-30

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Part-time blogger on the Knicks at and Seahawks at In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

41 thoughts to “Pre-Draft Camp Mock and Draft Thoughts Part I: The Top 15”

  1. Thanks Dave for getting us started — I agree that there is too much hand-wringing over how weak this draft is. I’m sure there will be a good player available at 8. Can Donnie Walsh pick the winner? This kind of thing separates the men from the boys.

    I will say it’s a little discouraging to see so many players drop out – you’d rather have more options than less. If there isn’t a player Donnie likes, I’d be fine just swapping it for a next year’s pick.

    I think you’re underselling Griffin a little bit – subjectively and objectively (#s), he looks like a pretty sure bet. I doubt there’s a single team that would pass on him.

    Not sure what to make of Thabeet — personally I think any team that takes him top-5 is a complete sucker, maybe even top-10. But I know a lot of GMs are in love.

    For a team in real need of backcourt help, there should be a lot of options left at #8. Although I still have a soft spot for DeJuan Blair. I’ll try and take a closer look soon…

  2. From Hahn’s chat

    [Comment From Joe]
    Do the Knicks use statistical analysis much in their player evaluation? Outside of an occasional reference to plus/minus by D’antoni, we don’t hear much from them in reference to the statistical work that is becoming the standard around the NBA?
    If you heard much, I’d be dead from press room suicide. No one wants to hear numbers. Even the plus-minus thing is arbitrary. The more you play for a losing team, the more you’re likely to be a minus player. But does that mean it’s all your fault?
    I know that the scouting staff uses the most common form of player evaluation: watching. Numbers do work, especially when you’re comparing contracts. I think there are statistics that support both sides of every story. But really when it comes down to it, you see a player and you know if he can play or not and if he can play for you or not.
    I mean, how do you use stats for a draftee who played in college? How does that translate to the NBA game? Apples and oranges.
    But for guys you may be targeting- let’s use Ramon Sessions as an example – you certainly start by seeing what he can do physically (tremendous athlete), watch his form and footwork (good shooter, great body control) and then decide if he has the smarts to play how you like to play. Then you go to the numbers to support your decision. Just bloggin.

    I’m sad, but not surprised, that the Knicks aren’t using stats.

  3. Oops, just got an email from Mr Hahn:

    I never said the Knicks DIDN’T use stats. I merely gave my opinion.

    It still doesn’t tell us if the front office uses stats, and if so, to what extent.

  4. I really <3 Curry — I would take him above either Harden or Lawson. Beyond his obvious skills (quick release, basketball IQ, etc.), I like the fact that he was able to do it, night in, night out, even though every opponent looked primarily to lock him down. I could see him turning into one hell of a screen-roll PG in the NBA.

    Harden’s March disappearing act brought my opinion of him down a notch. I’m also not quite as sold that Lawson’s game transitions to the NBA, but I admit I might be prejudiced against his UNC background. :-)

    Unless a miracle happens for us (e.g., we get 2-3 and can pick Rubio), I take Curry and let N8 walk this summer.

  5. Good start to the draft speculation. I assume in your Clipper entry that you’re talking about Al Thornton? The only Andre Thornton I could find plays for the University of Central Florida.

    I’m a bit surprised that you have Ellington that high, but I guess in a draft like this, who knows? Tend to agree with Caleb that Thabeet as a top 5 pick makes me cringe.

    Mike, I had a hard time determining from Hahn’s chat whether he was talking about the Knicks being wary of stats, or the beat reporters. D’Antoni himself doesn’t use numbers much when he talks about players or his team (which McCallum indicated was a function of his personality, rather than any inherent aversion to statistical analysis), but I thought his staff definitely valued some analysis. In a pre-season interview, Phil Weber talked about Phoenix’s defense in terms of points per possession allowed.

    Now, whether the Knicks have a Morey-level staff or a Dean Oliver that’s brought in a culture of advanced analysis, that’s more questionable.

  6. Just to play devil’s advocate and generate some discussion, what separates Curry from a guy like Eddie House? House has one of the quickest releases in the NBA and is deadly from 3, but that’s all he does. Are we willing to use a #8 pick for that? See JJ Redick for worst case scenario.

  7. And for those of you new to this site, a year ago at this time (pre-combine) David almost nailed the lottery.

    The only guys that fell out of his predicted lottery were Arther and Green (and Budinger stayed in college). Let’s see if he can top himself this year!

  8. @ d-mar

    It’s a valid concern, no doubt. Curry could very well be a bust at the next level, but something tells me he won’t be. And he’s got some peripherals I like in his junior year: 2.5 steals, 5.6 assists, 7.38 FTA. Best of all on those peripherals, he showed solid improvement in all those categories last year even as he went from 25.9 to 28.6 scoring.

    The only thing that troubles me is his high TOs. There were some games where he showed a glimmer like the WVU game where he got stifled by the defense (only scored 27 heh), but he showed the smarts to help his team to a W with 10 assists and 4 steals. But at the same time, his 8 TOs were pretty ugly.

    His demeanor and pedigree count for something in the intangibles column though. Net/Net — I wouldn’t be crestfallen if the Knicks took Lawson ahead of him, but I’d personally opt for Curry.

  9. d-mar, if all Curry can do is catch and shoot, then yes, he’s Eddie House, but I think there are higher expectations for him. It’s hard to project from college performance (especially given the quality of his teammates and his competition), but he strikes me as a more creative scorer than House ever was. (also, I suspect Curry’s work ethic will top House, who has a bit of a checkered reputation in that area)

    If JJ Redick is a worst case scenario, I’ll take that over a much worse case scenario like Adam Morrison. Redick is actually one of the hardest working players on the Magic, and he’s earned time in Van Gundy’s rotation, not a small thing given SVG’s emphasis on being able to defend your position. Redick may never be more than an energy reserve, because he simply isn’t athletic enough (doesn’t get blocks, steals or rebounds in notable numbers), but he’s an underrated passer and is able to keep opposing guards in front of him in most cases. (wish the same could be said of Nate, but that’s another discussion)

    If Curry has the work ethic of Redick and not that of House, I think we’ll be in good shape if we land him.

  10. I think the measureables will really affect Curry’s draft status, since his main knock is ‘athleticism’. Look how it affected Brook Lopez (he finished last in the entire pool in the timed 40) who went from a top 5 lock to dropping to New Jersey at 10.
    If Curry does really well, he could go as high as 5. He obviously has the smarts and I attribute the turnovers to constant double-teams. But if he’s 6 feet in socks and runs the 40 in 5.3 forty, it becomes a scary pick.
    On the other side you have Evans with elite athleticism and questionable shot selection. But he seems to be a great competitor too and is listed as 6’6″ 220 AND can play the point… and he’s a freshman.
    I like Harden for the same reasons as Curry, but he’s a year younger and better fg %. He had a lot more help at AZ though. But he also played better teams nightly.
    I would be happy with any of these 3 but I would prefer to take a 2 guard and then steal Sessions to play the point and let Nate walk.
    And if we get the #2 I want Rubio, but if we get the #3 I would have to take Thabeet… he’s too tall to pass up.

  11. Man , I love the draft!! Now that I got that out of the way. I would like to see the Knicks take Curry or Evans at 8. I think Curry will come in and work hard and do what he does and make us a fundamentally better team and up our character level. He shooting is magic and clutch. He plays D. Passes the ball well and even gets some steals. I would says his turnovers came from mostly trying to do too much. He had nothing to work with at Davidson so im sure that he felt it was his responsibility to create for his team and force the issue at times. In the NBA he wont have to do this. I really think this kid is special but im just hoping he’ll be special for us.

    Evans is a great prospect. 6’5 handling the point. Athletic , nice handle and still very young. He has tons of room to grow and learn the different aspects of the game. I think he would be a very exciting pick for us but i want Curry to wear that Knicks Jersy the most!

  12. Solid analysis to get the draft debate started. Sadly the best part of the year for Knicks fans, but at least better than watching Chicago use our lottery picks…

    -A big difference between Lawson and Westbrook is size: 5-10 vs. 6-3. Westbrook was regarded by some as the best perimeter defender in the draft and his combination of athleticism/quickness is pretty ridiculous. Lawson helped his NBA prospects a lot by developing a 3 pt shot, but I can’t see him climbing too high once measured. Maybe #10, but I doubt too much higher.

    -I’m also not too impressed with Earl Clark’s offense, but as a defender, distributor, and low- to medium-volume scorer he could resemble Boris Diaw in his better years. That’s something the Knicks could use.

    -I’d be happy with either Harden or Curry. Both have question marks, but they were great basketball players at the college level and they both have identifiable NBA skills.

    -My gut is still that I like Thabeet as a top 3 pick–based on interior defense being an important skill and his apparent willingness to work on his game–but he’s not a sure thing by any means.

  13. I can’t catch the Jordan Hill craze. Every time I look at him I see Channing Frye. Probably totally irrelevant… What do people think of him?

  14. I still am still intrigued by DeJuan Blair, mainly as insurance in case we lose or trade David Lee. His game is a lot like Big Baby and he probably has more upside.

  15. First, thanks for the comments so far folks. I HATE it when I’m away from the site as long as I have been. When I’m back I realize how much I miss it. But, grades are turned in as of tonight! Wooo hah! I’m hoping to be around a bit more this spring.

    Second, on Curry… let it be known. I LOVE Steph Curry’s game. He’s going to play in the league, though I think he tops out at just-below-All Star if everything breaks right for him (e.g., gets to pair with a bigger guard, plays for a coach who gets him, etc.). At the same time he could easily be basically a journeyman combo guard his entire career. I have tried to see him in NY and I can’t — at least not easily — given our current backcourt construction. I wouldn’t be upset if Donnie pulls the trigger, but I’d be a tad surprised.

    Third, I bet Harden “drops” a bit once the workout season kicks into full gear. He can play. I’ve watched him since he was a junior at Artesia. I see him as a small guy version of Paul Pierce. He doesn’t pass the eyeball test with flying colors — he’s not exactly cut — but he’s more “country strong” than explosive. That’s the sort of thing that shows up on game day but not so much at a workout.

    Fourth, I’m intrigued by the Thabeet situation. I don’t see offensive greatness for sure, but will he become useful? The probability goes up if he plays for a team the runs. Not many bigs run the floor like him. Will he be an exceptional all-around defender? We know he’ll alter and block shots. Those translate from college to pro. But, will he continue to improve his rebounding?

    Fifth, on Jordan Hill. I have to stick up for the Arizona guys. I wrote up a season retrospective on Hill:
    After Griffin he has arguably the highest floor among the bigs in this draft (as the Blair backers clear their collective throats).

  16. Blair intrigues me as well. I like the idea of grabbing another David Lee and trading the first one. Obviously there are a lot of teams around the league that covet Lee, so moving him shouldn’t be a problem. It would probably net us another young player (or draft pick), and save us around $5-7M over the next few years. More if we can package Jeffries or Curry with him.

    As for Thabeet, what kind of rebounder is he? His pace adjusted numbers for lat year were much improved over the last 2. What caused this change? Did he actually get better?

  17. DC makes a good point about Curry — I heard some exec say that Curry’s success will depend upon his situation. If he’s expected to be the go-to guy somewhere, he will fail. It makes him less attractive for the Knicks, although that release and shot play well in the D’Antoni system.

    I would definitely take a flyer on Thabeet despite the weaknesses — just too much ceiling not to. But he won’t be on the board at #8, and if we were to luck out and get #2 I think I would take Rubio over him.

    Blair is intriguing but I have these Sweetney / Eddy visions swimming around in my head…

  18. “Obviously there are a lot of teams around the league that covet Lee, so moving him shouldn’t be a problem.”

    I can’t say I really agree with this Mike. I haven’t heard a lot of appealing trade scenarios leaked re: David Lee. I think we Knick fans tend to overrate him. A high end trade scenario for Lee would maybe be Tyrus Thomas and another contract? If we’re really lucky.
    I like the idea of building around Lee, who at least can start, more than Nate who is a 6th man for life in my opinion.
    That being said, I would love Blair mainly for his ‘enforcer’ status. Good teams need one player (not necessarily a starter) that can beat down anyone on the other team – fiercly. Thin Kenyon Martin or KG. Or even dirty ‘ol Kurt Thomas.
    But I really think we are going to stick at 8,9 and grab a guard. Although it is conceivable that if we drop to 9, Curry, Evans, Harden, Derozan, and Jennings will all be gone by our pick.
    If that’s the case, do you go best player available? Hill? I’ll kill myself if we take Gerald Henderson. Maybe we nab Jonny Flynn? He has a lot of upside. Teague? Ellington? Blair?

  19. Oh yeah,
    I hear Stephen Curry on espn radio last night. He was practically begging coach D to draft him during the interview. He said he’s reading “7 seconds” right now, compared himself to Nash, and kind of danced around the rumor that the Knicks had made him a draft promise.
    I like him and think he would be a great pick up for us. Players like DeRozan and Evans have more ‘upside’ but often that upside goes unfulfilled. I think D.C. is right calling him a future borderline all-star like a mo williams or a ben gordon. He needs to work on his athleticism, but I think the tradeoff is court IQ and clutch ability and leadership. I don’t see him and Nate coexisting though.

  20. “A high end trade scenario for Lee would maybe be Tyrus Thomas and another contract?”

    How about David Lee for Noah and Tim Thomas? I believe the team can reacquire him after July 1st, which is about when they can trade David Lee (RFA can’t be traded until ~ July 9th). Shores up that hole at center. And if you don’t like Noah’s lack of an offensive game, then you better be hoping the Knicks don’t draft Thabeet.

  21. The David Lee value question: it’s like the riddle of the Sphinx. No one will ever guess the answer…
    I like Noah, but getting Fugazi back AGAIN might force me to become a Nets fan.
    Really when you compare Noah and Thabeet head to head, Thabeet seems to at least be of equal value to Noah. And Noah was a #10 pick if I remember correctly, in a deeper draft. So Thabeet going 3-7 is not really bad value in this draft.
    The question I have is, do we go after Ramon Sessions in free agency and how does he stack up against the available point guards at our spot in the draft?

  22. I like Session because he is young and hungry. He the type of guy to go out there and work hard and make you proud of the team. I just dont know if we can afford to spend the money on him now considering our long term goals. Maybe I should say our 2010 goals. As i said before im all for Curry. If we get him at the draft Id be extremely happy. This guy would knock down so many open shots and all the pressure he had on him in college to score to win would be off. We would have another great shooter next to Danillo. Im also wondering if we have a second rounder this year. I think we could defintely add some depth in the second round. If the Nets could pick up CDR in the 2nd surely we could get a capable type too. A shot blocker or an upside guy . As for Blair…he does kind of make me think of Sweetney and Curry. He just seems like so much more of a hard worker though. If hes lazy in the NBA hes going to get FAT! If he works hard and comes with the same desire he going to be DeJuan Blair and rack up rebounds. I did post an article about him earlier maybe in a different post but he really seems like a guy that has the definite knack for rebounding. It only a matter of if HIS game will translate to the next level? We have lots of expiring contracts dont we? I would love if we could dump some of those contracts for some picks. Steal one from Portland..or New Orleans…something. Get something for next years draft. We just need to continue to build up that good young talent.

  23. Watching the Rockets last night, was thinking about the draft. They are out Yao and Mcgrady and competing against the Lakers with Hayes, Brooks, Scola, Lowry, and perhaps most importantly Landry, none of whom were top draft picks.

    I love Landry. Have since the numbers he posted last year. Do you think anyone in Orlando is wishing they had tendered him a contract?

  24. I respect the hell out of the Rockets. They all play tough, hard-nosed basketgall, never back down and do exactly what is needed given their skill sets. The fact that they are still playing basketball on May 15th is a real testament to the team and its coach after all they’ve been through. I don’t think they have a chance in game 7, but they’ve really exposed the Lakers as being soft and I think the Cavs are licking their chops.

    On a side note, very sad news about Waymon Tisdale passing after battling cancer. He was always a class guy (I know that’s overused, but he was) and was an outstanding jazz guitarist a la Bernie Williams. It does seem like the good ones die young.

  25. Lee would be very easy to move, but of course there is going to be a range of opinions as far as what he’s worth both in terms of his next contract and trade value. I don’t think any GM in the league doesn’t want Lee on his roster, but–like in most if not all cases–it’s a matter of fit and cost.

    The Noah trade might be a perfect example. Lee’s defensive short-comings (especially at the 5) mean that he’s a better fit in some situations than others, maybe more so than some other bigmen in the $8-12 mill per range. So if you’re the Bulls you might want to keep your defensive center, even if you really value Lee.

    That said, I think the Knicks can get great value for Lee if a sign-and-trade or in-season trade is the course they end up taking. There are so many options that can add value: a. draft pick(s), b. young player(s) with upside, c. cap-space, and/or d. veteran(s). Whether or not it’s an exciting offseason (should be), it will definitely be a crucial one from a strategical point of view for the Knicks: Year 2 of laying the groundwork for the Walshtoni Knicks…

    Owen, great comment about the Rockets. Morey is a genius and Adelman is one of my favorite coaches. Just amazing what they’ve done there.

  26. OK, 3 way trade:

    Phoenix gets:
    David Lee 9mil, Rudy Gay 2.5mil, Jeffries 6mil

    Memphis gets:
    Amare Stoudamire 15mil, Wilson Chandler 1.1mil

    Knicks get:
    Memphis 1st round pick, Darko 7mil, Buckner 4mil, Hakeem Warrick 3 mil, Robin Lopez 1.6mil, Phoenix 2010 1st round pick

    We get the worst short term deal, but we shed some salary, end up with 2 high draft picks this year, and a first rounder next year.
    Phoenix and Memphis both get the change they’re looking for.

  27. Ess-dog – You are the leader of the get rid of Lee brigade aren’t you….

    This is an interesting wrap up of what most of the different statistical models thought of NBA players this year. Lee rated out 20th, although that’s just a synthesis of all the different ratings.

  28. Ooh sorry Owen-
    I actually prefer we keep Lee, but if we cannot afford him or are set on trading him, I just want to get the most we can from him.
    Surprised to see Bosh so high up on this list. Maybe he would be a good complement for Lee after all in 2010.
    It also says something that Chris Anderson is so high. I would love to nab him. He’ll easily get 5 or 6 mil this offseason, no?

  29. Chris Anderson, now that’s an idea….

    But I don’t see how Denver let’s him go…

  30. Would a decision by the NBA to raise the salary cap change the Knicks’ draft strategy?

    The NFL just announced that its salary cap is increasing $12M. []. I wonder how that will affect the NBA’s cap — will the NBA still be considering a reduction in the cap? If the NBA raises its cap, what effect will this have on the Knick’s hopes of retaining Lee? Does that change the Knick’s draft strategy?

    I know the Knicks need to take the best player available. If Lee leaves however, its seems as if a player like Jordan Hill or Blair would get the tie-breaker over a player like Ty Lawson or some other position seen as a bigger need.

    Raising the NBA cap seems like a double-edged sword in that the Knicks (Dolan) are not cash-strapped like some other franchises (Sacramento), but it also probably creates more of a market for Lee.

  31. I think Nate is as good as gone but if Donnie can swing a sign and trade for him so that we get some assets in return that would be great. Im thinking this is what he has in mind. Same goes for Lee. If we were to lose Lee than we would have a big hole in our rebounding that i think no one that we have can fill. I just wish i knew what his plans are.

    Also, If Danillo turns into a Hedo Turk. type of player that would be great! I think this is what he can become. Same height and shooting ability. Its just a matter of confidence. He needs those minutes to see that he can compete at the NBA level and contribute to wins. At 8 we can get a solid guy that can come in and contribute now. I think Curry or Lawson are solid picks for us.

  32. “How about David Lee for Noah and Tim Thomas?”

    Tim Thomas? No way. I would hold out for Jerome James instead!

  33. “Also, If Danillo turns into a Hedo Turk. type of player that would be great! I think this is what he can become. Same height and shooting ability.”

    I for one hope that Gallo becomes AT LEAST a Turkoglu but expect that he becomes a poor man’s Nowitzki. I know that’s a lot to expect out of a guy out of whom we’ve seen very little, but we know the shooting ability in there, we know the ball-handling is there, and we know the defensive effort, at least, is there. Even with a back injury that made him play at probably 60% of his normal athletic ability he posted a TS of 62% as opposed to Hedo’s career ~54-55%. The other thing with Gallo that I was so impressed with last year is how smart he is on the floor as opposed to Hedo, who always seemed like sort of a knucklehead out there. With Danilo– no stupid shots, always makes the right pass, gets the ball to the guy with the mismatch. And he’s a better shooter. And still growing. And still only 20.

    RE: our prospects for next year — I think we’ll end up signing Lee to a long-term deal at about 9MM per, then signing Nate to a 1 year deal a la Ben Gordon and then letting him walk after 09-10 as an UFA. Actually what I’d like to do is sign them both to 1 year contracts, see what we get in the draft, see how Chandler and Gallinari develop, then decide. I think if I were a free agent this year I might take a 1 year deal, take out some serious injury insurance, then wait for all the teams with tons of 2010 cap space (and a recovering economy) to swing and miss at Lebron, Wade, Bosh, etc., then settle on me, get a much bigger long term deal.

  34. As it stands there are five teams with multiple first round picks in the draft: Sac (Houston’s); Chi (Denver’s); Mem (Orlando’s); Min (Boston’s); and OKC (San Antonio’s). All those teams are early in the building except for Chicago, so maybe one of their picks could be available.

    How about an offer of Lee and Jeffries for Brad Miller and one of Chicago picks?

    Or maybe there is a complicated 3 way deal that lands McGrady in NY while we dump all sorts of junk on others. Gotta figure the Rockets are willing to move on without him, and if we can jettison JJ or Curry in the trade he’d be a pretty benign stop-gap until July 2010.

  35. Frank, I pretty much agree with you assessment of Danilo. The back injury is pretty scary, though, so it’s really a question of if he ever recovers…

    Z, I like the thinking in McGrady. Any thoughts on how the deal would look?
    If the decision is not to resign Lee, then moving Jeffries’ contract and getting the 16 pick (plus the Knicks’ best true C since… probably Camby) would be a solid deal.

  36. It’s hard to put package like that together because it involves sign and trades with unrestricted free-agents. Here’s a try:

    Chicago gets Lee and Nate
    Houston gets Ben Gordon, Jeffries, Harrington
    Knicks get McGrady, Ty Thomas, #16 pick


    Chicago gets Lee, JJ
    Houston gets Brad Miller, Q, Ty Thomas
    Knicks get McGrady, #16

    Rockets need insurance for when Yao goes down and a physical SG who can play D. They could also use anybody who can put the ball in the basket, if game 7 was any indication of need. Miller can be insurance for when Yao goes down. Q may not be useless to them. Yao can erase some of Harrington’s flaws if they play next to each other.

    The Bulls need to decide what to do with Gordon before all else. Then they need a scoring big man. Not sure if Lee fits that need, but they showed interest at the deadline. He’d be a nice PF next to Noah with Rose running the point. Then they can keep Gordon as a scorer. Don’t know if they could do much better with the #16 pick this year.

  37. Z, that trade give us a mind-bogglingly hideous team next year. Imagine this lineup:

    1. Nate 2. McGrady 3. Chandler 4. Harrington 5. Curry

    I would almost like this trade to happen just so we could put this team on the floor. It should somewhat resemble Cirque de Soliel combined with the Washington Generals. I think it might cause time to invert itself.

  38. “Z, that trade give us a mind-bogglingly hideous team next year.”

    Sure, but haven’t we’ve had a mind-bogglingly hideous team for almost a decade now?! What’s another year? (Especially if it makes the team better in the future!)

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