Post Lotto reaction: Five Quick Thoughts

Published: May 18, 2011

In case you didn’t hear, the NBA held its draft lottery last night and the Cleveland Cavs were the big winners, walking away with the first pick and the fourth pick in the upcoming draft. Utah also moved up, while Washington, Toronto, Detroit, and Sacramento all moved down. Here are some quick thoughts on how last night affected the Hornets, the NBA, and me personally (which, of course, is the most important factor).

1. Oh, to be a Clippers fan

When the Clippers traded away this year’s first round pick to the Cavs, they did so because they assumed they would be picking 8-10 and their scouts told them there were only 2-3 top level talents in this draft. Because they are the Clippers, they didn’t put any protection on the pick, and now history will show that the Clippers gave up the #1 pick, just so they could unload Baron Davis a year before the NBA gives everybody an Amnesty Clause to right their past mistakes. As Sam Beckett would say, “Oh boy.”

If it makes Clippers fans feel any better, they probably wouldn’t have gotten the #1 pick if they didn’t make the trade. The Clippers were playing good ball and developing a chemistry prior to dealing B Diddy and likely would have finished ahead of Charlotte, Milwaukee, and/or Golden State. But although we can speculate on that, we will never truly know. All we know for sure is that the Clippers are cursed and they will be as long as that racist Donald Sterling is the owner. And because of that, I feel no pity for them.

2. Kyrie Irving might just save a friendship

The Best Man at my upcoming wedding works for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and because of that the last year has been tough on me. For the last seven years we would meet up in different NBA cities when the Cavs were on the road and catch up. Then, while he worked, I would take in the Cavs game. There was nothing like having great seats to a Lebron game, but let me tell you, it is brutal to have to watch that team without him.

I started to dread the trips, because I knew that at the end of them I would be forced to watch Cleveland get massacred by Orlando or Atlanta, or even Charlotte. It brought me back to the days when my ex-girlfriend would make me go to the opera with her and her family. I resented her for it, and I began to resent him for making me watch that crap. But now I have Kyrie Irving to look forward to, and who knows, maybe they will add another piece at #4. This team might be exciting to watch next year, and that means that I won’t have to come up with another lie this year about why I can’t make it up to Milwaukee for the weekend.

3. Another shoot first guard for the Kings?

Nearly every “expert” has Kemba Walker as a lock to go to Sacramento, but I just don’t see it. Do they want DeMarcus Cousins to be the first player committed while still in uniform? The Kings, like the Grizzlies, are so much better when they work inside-out, but instead they are going to draft another chucker and re-sign Thornton? I will believe it when I see it.

Or perhaps they do pick Walker and set their sights on a small forward with their free agent dollars, meaning that they will not match any offers thrown at Marcus Thornton. That would mean a team who has a need at shooting guard might be able to get him for a reasonable price. Anybody know a team that might be in the market?

4. Minnesota needs to start working the phones

The T’Wolves are starting to put together a nice little nucleus, especially if they can get Rubio to come over, but they need to start adding some veterans to this team before the mix of young personalities start creating schisms in the locker room. If I am David Kahn, my core is Love, Rubio, and Wesley Johnson. After that, anything can go. I don’t have the time to wait on a guy like Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter, because I want to show Love that he can be a winner here before his contract is up. In order to do that, I move this pick to get veteran help.

Tons of options out there, but one jumps out at me immediately; Portland. Michael Beasley, Luke Ridnour, and the #2 pick for Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Nic Batum. Portland uses the pick to finally get the young point guard they have been searching for (B.Knight), while getting Ridnoir to hold down the fort for now and Beasley to be a 6th man of the year candidate off the bench. The Wolves take a huge risk on Oden, but if he hits, that could be the most dominant front line in basketball. Batum and Johnson compliment each other beautifully, and Rubio comes over because his good friend Rudy Fernandez is on the squad.

5. What will the Jazz become?

After this draft is over, the Jazz will have four combined lottery picks from the last two drafts on their roster. The consensus seems to be that they will take Brandon Knight with the third pick and either a foreign player or Jimmer Fredette at 12. In essence, they will have gotten Derrick Favors, Knight, and a couple of years out of Devin Harris for their superstar Deron Williams. Because I do not see Favors or Knight ever becoming All-Star caliber players, it is likely that the Jazz are doomed to live in NBA mediocrity for the next few years, unless they can move Milsap or Al Jefferson for something of quality.

Having all of these players under rookie contracts should help the Jazz as the NBA hammers down a hard cap, or something similar, so financially they will have their ducks in a row. The problem is, however, that free agents simply do not want to go to Utah unless they are vastly overpaid, and that will be hard to manage under the new system. Utah will have a collection of quality players on their roster, but no true superstar to give the ball to in the final minutes. We saw this year, with Denver, just how far that can take you.


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