Thursday, June 23, 2011

NBA Draft Preview: Beware of Kahn Bearing Draft Picks

Much like a loyal fan of a mediocre small-market franchise, I hunt draft articles voraciously for Derrick Williams speculation. It's rare that an NBA team with a top 3 draft pick so obviously invites trade offers. And even more tempting, the Timberwolves GM is supposedly one of the weakest in the NBA. The temptation of trading overrated big-name veterans for Williams must be overwhelming. But that's not as safe a bet as you may think.

However, before you become convinced that your team needs Derrick, the NBA draft of 25 years ago offers a sobering reminder of how such trades can pan out. And no, I don't mean Len Bias. The 76'ers thought they were giving Julius Erving one last chance at a championship by acquiring Roy Hinson from the Cavaliers in exchange for the #1 pick. Please do read this 1986 article on the deal. Cleveland was in total disarray, and had a part-time scout (Gregory) playing general manager because the GM had been fired. Half the NBA was trying to fool Cleveland into giving away Hinson. Gregory was so out of his league, he freely admits to the paper that "It was like when a sergeant gets killed in a war, and the private takes over." His reasoning about why he traded Hinson is extremely simplistic, as he randomly babbles about Daughtery's hands as a major reason for acquiring Brad Daughtery.

Hinson as well sounds like the perfect opportunity for the 76'ers to reload and take down Boston. He was willing to defer to the established stars on the Sixers. Imagine the pairing that Hinson (20 and 8 in Cleveland the year before) could have been with Barkley. George Karl, Roy Hinson's former coach, was so sure of Hinson's skill that he said
"Someday, he will play in an All-Star game. I've been wrong about other things in the past, but I don't think I'm wrong about that."

That said, I still think a team we haven't heard of yet will swoop in and trade for Derrick Williams at the last moment. Also, what kind of draft piece is this if I'm leaving out baseless, uninformed speculation? I apologize. The opportunity to balance out a team that has its best players all at about the same age is too tempting to pass up. It's complicated because many of the teams with depth have it at the point guard spot (San Antonio, Oklahoma City, etc.). However, I thought of a few candidates.

Think, for example, of the Memphis Grizzlies, who have the Conley-Gay-Mayo-Gasol group all closely linked together in terms of resign dates. Memphis has steadfastly promised they would not trade Gay, but how can they avoid doing so if they want to keep Gasol? Or even, believe it or not, the Dallas Mavericks, although they have very few real assets under their control long-term other than Dirk. Mark Cuban does adore his veterans, but there's a sort of simple logic in one of the oldest teams in the league making a deal with one of the youngest teams in the league. I think the Lakers are a terrible fit, but what about (wince) the Los Angeles Clippers? The Clippers offer of Kaman for Beasley and Flynn was rejected, but I wonder if Eric Gordon could be available. (He would have to be signed to an extension, however). The matchup problems that a Williams-Griffin combination would present are quite tempting. Finally, I realized that the New York Knicks are...oh please don't tell me you thought I was serious. Your thoughts?

1 comment:

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