Blog Question

“Marcus, I’m probably the first to point this out. If we do keep Wright, it still makes a whole lot of sense. We’re going to be seeing a lot of Kevin Durant over the next 10 years or so (4 times a season). Wright matches up with Durant in terms of length and athleticism and could be a good match up on defense. If Marion gets moved, the Suns have no one who can guard Durant. Lakers? No. Kings? No. Clippers? No. Nuggets? No. Do you think acquiring Wright was influenced by Durant being in the same conference?”
– EJ

I think you are the first to point that out, I’m just not sure how much that factored in. Sure, Durant will be a hard match-up. But Seattle isn’t good enough yet to be acquire players specifically for them. Phoenix got Kurt Thomas to match-up against San Antonio, but they knew they had to get through the Spurs to get to where they need to go. The Sonics aren’t that.
Plus, I like Jax chances of guarding Durant. He did a great job on Dirk, and as good as Durant is, he’s going to have to learn some tricks and veteran insight before he just becomes unstoppable. Jax is pretty cagey and he’s long like Durant, plus stronger then Durant. Assuredly, Wright figures to be a good match-up with Durant, but that’s more of a bi-product than a reason for taken him. If Durant headed East, I think Mullin would’ve still taken Wright.


Draft Observations

*Durant-Oden Debate
I would’ve taken Kevin Durant.
I like Ohio State center Greg Oden. I do. And I don’t think Portland general manager made a mistake by selecting Oden. It was the safe move, if not the smart move.
But how do you pass up Kevin Durant? How do you pass up a chance to get a player with that much talent?
That’s like taking Hakeem Olajuwon over Michael Jordan. Sure, the Dream got two titles, but Jordan got six and he turned the Chicago Bulls franchise into household name.
Durant is a star in every sense. He’s an amazing basketball player, who can do things with the rock 90 percent of players can’t do. He’s also got an aura about him. He knows he’s all that, and the fans of the team he plays for will know it, opponents will know it. He gives a franchise a face and a personality, and he’s going to win.
Oden will win, too, and he’ll certainly be a talented player. But the things that are working against him – offensive immaturity, possible injury problems, needs talent around him – is enough to make me take Durant.
They’re both as sure a bet as you’re going to get in the draft. But it’s the difference between getting a Honda Accord and a Dodge Charger. Both are going to get you from A to B. The Honda is reliable and sure to get the job done. But a Charger, with some nice rims and tinted windows, can get the job done and turn some heads while doing it.

*The Yi Movement
Is now headed to Milwaukee. The Bucks totally ignored Yi’s disinterest in going to Wisconsin – he wanted to go to teams in a city with a strong Asian presence – and drafted the 7-foot, 242-pound rookie.
I can already see the clip of Yi sharing brats with Bob Uecker at Miller Park. You just know Yi, Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut will be the leading vote-getters for next year’s All-Star Game.
Apparently, the Bucks are saying they will keep Yi (pronounced EE), that is until NBA Commissioner David Stern steps in a makes it happen for the league’s sake.
The amount of money to be grabbed from China’s loyal fans is too great. Yi being with the Bucks forfeits the opportunity for the NBA to tap into a huge, relatively untapped Asian markets of the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York. That’s a lot of money on tickets and jerseys, a lot of unique sponsorships and business partnerships, going unexercised.
Don’t get it twisted, the Bucks will ship Yi. It will take one sweet offer from a team, and maybe a threat by Yi not to report, and maybe a little urging from Stern. But my money is on Yi never play for Milwaukee. And the Bucks will be a better team for it.

*First-round surprises
There were several guys who were expected to go in the second round that slipped into the first. Jared Dudley. Aaron Brooks. Aaron Afflalo. Alando Tucker.
Of course that meant Gabe Pruitt, Josh McRoberts, Nick Fazekas, Glen Davis, and Derrick Byars slipped into the second round. Those could be some pretty nice steals. One steal the Warriors missed? Dominic McGuire from Fresno State. They could’ve gotten him at 46.


Say Goodbye to J-Rich?

Apparently the Warriors are moving Jason Richardson to Charlotte. For Brandan Wright.
This is a total salary move. Wright is younger, cheaper and more athletic. But Richardson is proven, productive and reasonably priced. Do you like this move? Do you hate it?


Whoa Beli-NELLIE!

I must admit, this Italian dude was way out of left field. I had no idea. I would’ve never thought the Warriors would get a shooting guard.
But he does fit right in — he’s athletic, he’s thin, a poor defender and rebounder, good-but-streaky shooter.
This could spell the end for Mickael Pietrus, who will probably sign an offer sheet with another team that the Warriors don’t match. Belinelli is supposed to be a better overall player than Pietrus, and he’s cheaper.
This is not a bad pick, from what I’ve read about Marco. It is pretty high. But if the Warriors couldn’t get a big, they might as well have picked a player who would make them a better perimeter team. I guess.


PG Time for Atlanta

The Hawks final get a floor general, and they chose the wrong one — Acie Law.
How do they not take Javaris Crittenton. Since they’re keeping Speedy, it looks like, they might as well ahve gotten the PG with the most upside, someone who can back up Speedy and eventually take over. Crittenton has much more upside, much more potential than Law.
Law is a solid PG. He’ll be a nice player. He’s a great floor general and leader. But that’s not what Atlanta needs. They need a playmaker, a creator, someone dynamic. The “must improve” item for Law was “ball handling.” That’s not a good sign.
Law is too unathletic for the Hawks. They have some special athletes — Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Al Horford. What do they do? They go and get the most unathletic PG in the draft, passing up Conley Jr. and Crittenton.
They should’ve taken Crittenton. At the very least, Crittenton had higher value and would’ve been easier to trade for a veteran PG. But whose surprised the Hawks didn’t get it right?


Jordan Passes on Overrated Noah

And rightfully so. I’m not a Joakim Noah fan. He’s an energy and hustle player. He’s Andris Biedrins, but maybe not as good with finishing.
I’m with Nellie, I want skill, big man or no. Noah is Anderson Varejao with a little bit more length. I don’t see him creating his own shot, creating shots for other, facing the basket and making something happen, putting in work with his back to the basket. He’ll play defense, and not that great defending big strong post guys (but a great shot blocker) and he’ll bring energy.
The Bulls just bit on the Noah hype. He’s a personality. He’s pretty good and athletic. He’ll be nice in the right situation. Not the Bulls, they have two guys already who are useless on offense (Tyrus Thomas — he’s functional and improving on offense — and Ben Wallace). Maybe a team that’s starved for defense and hustle, like Sacramento.
Let’s just say I’m glad he’s not a Warrior. I’d rather have Biedrins.


The Yi Movement Heading to the Midwest

Or not. The Bucks will likely trade the unhappy Chinese PF to the highest bidder. Andy Katz is reporting that Milwaukee wants to keep him in Beertown. I don’t see it. I do see David Stern stepping and making the Bucks move him.
There is just too much for the league to gain if he Yi was in a city where the NBA can take advantage of the Asian spending power. The NBA thinks globally, and I’m Stern has a hard time seeing fans in China rockin’ Bucks jerseys.
Look for Yi to be moved. Dan Fegan is his agent, one of the noted beasts in the business. There might be hold-outs and threats and everything. This could get ugly.