NBA Draft: Winners & losers
Winners and losers in the NBA Draft.
Winner: Dallas. The Mavericks got 26-year-old Spaniard Rudy Fernandez in a trade from Portland. It cost Dallas its two draft picks, including Texas’ Jordan Hamilton, but Fernandez is a ready-made shooting guard who has averaged 9.1 points over three NBA seasons.
Loser: Cleveland. How can you have the first and fourth picks and screw it up? The Cavaliers did. ESPN’s Tim Legler explained it well. The Cavs picked Duke point guard Kyrie Irving first and Texas power forward Tristan Thompson fourth. Is that a better combo than if the Cavs had taken Arizona’s Derrick Williams No. 1, then whichever point guard Cleveland liked the most at No. 4. Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, UConn’s Kemba Walker, whoever, supposing that Irving was gone. Clearly, the second scenario is better. Williams figures to be a star. Thompson is an intriguing defensive prospect, but he’s just 6-foot-8 and has limited offense.
Winner: Portland. The Blazers went from an old point guard, Andre Miller, to a young point guard, Raymond Felton. And really all it cost them was Fernandez, who was disgruntled in Portland anyway. Felton is an excellent player, even if he has now been with four franchises in 14 months.
Loser: Sacramento. The Kings traded down to get Jimmer Fredette, who might sell tickets but won’t guard anyone, plus they had to take on John Salmons, who is in his 30s and has three years left on a contract that pays him more than $8 million a year. Sacramento is a woebegone franchise.
Winner: Charlotte. Rich Cho wasted little time remaking the Bobcat franchise. He traded up to get Serge Ibaka Jr., the Congo’s Bismack Biyambo, at No. 7, then drafted Walker at No. 9. And shed some cap space. Cho, fired in Portland after the Blazers’ playoff demise, was hired on as Charlotte general manager and did a masterful job. We’ve got another Sam Presti on our hands.
Loser: Phoenix. I didn’t mind the drafting of Markieff Morris over his twin brother, Marcus, even though Big 12 people clearly saw that Marcus was a better player than Markieff. The Suns need some defense, and Markieff is the better defender. But the Suns are an old team built around a 37-year-old superstar (Steve Nash) and did nothing to address their impending implosion. Bad times loom for the Suns.
Winner: Utah. Wow. Talk about remaking your franchise. The Jazz had two lottery picks and got Turkish center Enes Kanter at No. 3 and Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks at No. 12. Kanter could prove to be the best player in the draft. Since January, the Jazz has added Kanter, Burks and the No. 3 pick in the 2010 draft, Derrick Favors, to go with some young building blocks like Paul Millsap, C.J. Miles and Devin Harris. If Utah keeps its veteran core of Andrei Kirilenko, Al Jefferson and Mehmet Okur, that’s not a bad rebuilding job for a franchise wrecked by all-star point guard Deron Williams.
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