Thursday, June 26, 2008

Initial Draft Reactions

Since people don't come here for anything but Kansas perspective, we'll keep my thoughts (almost) entirely focused on the ex-Jayhawks. But just to lead you into thought #1, my only real question mark in this draft so far is Augustin to Charlotte a #9. So I guess they're giving up on 2005 top 5 pick, Ray Felton? Also, if I'm the nets I would have taken Arthur over Lopez, but that's entirely understandable.

Reaction # 1 - Brandon Rush is taken 13th by the Trail Blazers. You have top be happy for Brandon going to Portland as an absolutely PERFECT fit. He can come in and not be expected to do to much, but will be an outstanding 6 man for a team that's ready to win, if not now, soon. Couldn't be happier.

-Reaction # 2 - Not so thrilled about Rush's trade to Indiana. Aside from feeling bad for him going to a worse team, I just don't understand the move. Indiana got Bayless, someone thought to be a possible top 5 pick and needed a guard anyway. So they give up exactly what they wanted just to get a worse PG (Jack) and Rush, even though they already have Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy and Brandon's brother, Kareem. But like I said, even more than that it just sucks that he has to leave a team that's poised to become a serious contender for the lowly Pacers.

Reaction # 3 - I might dislike Stu Scott even more than Stephen A Smith.

Reaction # 4 - Why in the hell has Darrell Arthur not been drafted? Others could have taken him, but these are the ones I truly don't understand:

- Golden State (14): You're ready to win now and you run an offense that needs athletic bigs that can run the floor and shoot it - arguably Arthur's best attributes. Instead, you take Anthony Randolph - a guy who could do those things if he happens to develop. But first things first, he needs to reach 200 pounds...

(Side Note: Phoenix (15): I understand not taking Arthur as they already have Stoudemire, but how do they pass on Chalmers for Robin Lopez? Could there be a better fit for their offense as a backup to Steve Nash or even playing with Nash if Barbosa is out? Phoenix is another team that needs to win now and all they did was improve their post defense for 15 minutes or so a game. Chalmers would have GREATLY improved their perimeter defense and given them a lot of offense, as well as much-needed depth for a point guard in his mid-thirties and with back problems.)

- Washington (18): Again, a playoff ready team that needs inside scoring and they take JaVale McGee?! Clearly he's an athlete with potential, but Arthur can already do most of the things they hope McGee will someday be able to. Then again, I guess McGee does have longer arms, so I guess it makes perfect sense...

- Cleveland (19): Your entire offense is giving LeBron the ball and setting screens for him. And let's see, what's the perfect way to help free LeBron off those picks? Guess 1: Have a threat to pick and pop. Guess 2 : Have a threat to pick and roll. For some reason I think Darrell Arthur can do both of these things better than JJ Hickson. Again, a team that needs to win now (if they have any hope of keeping LeBron) and they take a project. Unreal.

- New Jersey (21): I understand the Ryan Anderson pick. I didn't understand why all of these people were projecting him as a second round player, but he still doesn't make more sense than Arthur as he is the exact same player as Yi Jianlin, who they just acquired. Arthur, on the other hand, would make a perfect 4 to compliment Lopez at the 5 - that's a front court that could score a bit.

(Side thought: Okay so the Stu Scott/Screamin A thing is more like a wash. But they both continue to achieve new levels of douchetitude.)

- Orlando (22): Again, I don't dislike the Courtney Lee pick. They need a shooting guard. But how much better do they get if they can plug in Arthur at the 4 so that Lewis and Turkoglu can quit playing so out of position? I say it semi-eliminates their need for a shooting guard and ho is to say that they couldn't get a serviceable one later when you have the chance to take a lottery talent as opposed to a guy many thought was a second round pick.

-Seattle (24): Serge Ibaka could be a great player. I really have no idea. But he won't even be in the country for a few years. Why not pay a player that you know is already great and be able to coach him yourself?

Houston (25): Same story with Nicolas Batum. I'm sure they've heard goo things and he'll likely become a NBA player some day. You know, once he actually moves to the U.S.

FINALLY - New Orleans (27) takes Arthur. Unfortunately he's heading to Portland, per the proposed trade. Let me first say that he would be a great pick for New Orleans to run the floor with CP3. And honestly I don't think he fits Portland as well as they already have LaMarcus Aldridge as a somewhat skinny, scoring 4. But since Kevin Pritchard is one of only a few competent GMs in the league, he probably figured that at pick 27 you can't pass up someone who could (would) have been a top-10 pick if not for some kidney test. And let me also say that if the test he took in Washington truly came back fine and they didn't tell anyone, that is more than fucked up. If they were doing it for selfish reasons to take him themselves I would understand, but since they passed on him for JaVale "only Nevada recruited me" McGee, then it's just fucked up. Then again, that's on him (and moreso his agent) to get that information out there...

Reaction # 5 - Is there any way Danny Ainge is smart enough to take Chalmers #30? As I argued in my draft profile, I'd say he's every bit as good as Rondo, but even though they have similarities, they could make a great combo and Chalmers would be a big upgrade over the House/Cassell backup tandem.

Reaction # 6 - WHOA! Ex-Jayhawk JR Giddens is the pick of the Boston Celtics. To be honest, I like the pick as a team looking to the future since Ray Allen likely doesn't have many more years on those ankles.

At the end of the first round, my main reaction is pretty much what it is every year and that is that agents and possibly even NBA GMs should be shot for lying to these kids. Personally, I never understood how Chalmers could go from a fringe first round pick to landing in the lottery, but clearly that's what he, and even Chad Ford, was told. In their defense though, this is just more proof that this draft is done worse than any of the others. First, they exploit the kids my making them go to college for one year, no matter how little interest they have in school. And secondly, why in the shit are these guys given two months to decide if they want to be in the draft. That's 60 plus days after the season of agents and GMs lying to them, eventually causing several to seriously damage their future. If you can't tell, I think the whole thing makes even less sense than the BCS.

Reaction # 7 - In looking at the next five picks (Portland, Minnesota, LA Clippers, Charlotte, and Chicago), I really don't see where Mario is going. The Blazers really don't need one, Minny already took Mayo (and has Foye/McCants), Charlotte already has Felton and now Augustin, and the Bulls already took Rose even though they had Hinrich, Duhon and Gordon. Yikes.

Reaction # 8 - Well, I guess the T-Wolves didn't care that they already had Mayo, Foye, & McCants, because they just took Chalmers. Well, if he had to go in the 2nd, at least it was early. I won't say "I told you so," but to be honest, he has to be wondering if he made the right choice. I always got the feeling from Bill that he didn't agree with the decision, but it's hard to argue when he's being told possible lottery. Too bad...

Reaction # 9 - And there goes DeAndre Jordan. Now there's a guy who went from lottery lock to second round. Fortunately, it was no one's fault but his own. I feel bad for the kid, but honestly, he never looked like he gave a damn in college and that was the basic report from his workouts as well. It'll be interesting to see if he ever pans out.

Well, that'll wrap it up for the time being. We'll check back in at the end of the draft to see if either Jackson or Kaun is selected. I'll also be curious to see where CDR ends up going. That guy can play and if he doesn't get taken because he's a little unorthodox, that's crazy. All in all, it hasn't been a great night for the ex-Jayhawks. As recently as Wednesday, Ford/Simmons had all three in the lottery and in the end, only Brandon was so fortunate. Darnell getting taken would lessen the blow a bit for fans, but likely won't help DA or Mario much. I mean, they did everything right by not signing agents at first so they could gauge their value - they got told they were possible lottery and then end up falling to 27 and 34.

**Post-edit** Jail-Blazers return as they take Joey Dorsey. Good to see CDR go. He should grab a roster spot there with the Nets. Also, it's worth mentioning that Pee Pants Walker has yet to be drafted as of pick 43. Never been a huge fan of the guy, but I hate to see this...

Reaction #10 - Proposed trade of Mario to the Heat. Love this trade for him. I'm not sure if he'll start right away, but I can see him being a perfect point guard to play alongside Dwyane Wade. Not to mention, Beasley and the Matrix. Good spot to land for Mario and I fully expect him to get a guaranteed contract.

Reaction #11 - Darnell Jackson goes #52 to Miami and this is the happiest I've been all night. I can't tell you how much he deserves this and how hard I'll be rooting for him to make it. I know this much, that's a guy I'd want on my team. My gut instinct is that he'll be the last Jayhawk taken as Kaun has such a large contract in Russia that no NBA team will be able to match. We'll see though...

Reaction #12 - And I'm wrong again. Sasha Kaun goes #56 to the Sonics. We probably won't see him in OKC for a few years, given his recently signed 3 year contract, but still good to see. That makes 5 Jayhawks taken, tying the record set by UCONN two years ago and matched by Florida last year. (Note: If you count Giddens, that's 6. But we won't, because he is now a Lobo.)

So I guess the final thoughts on tonight is that it ended up pretty good. Brandon obviously had the best night of anyone. Mario and (hopefully) Darnell will likely be on the best team. Sasha will have a chance to develop before coming back to play with Durant in OKC. And then there's DA. You have to feel for DA right now, both because of how far he fell and that he has to play in Portland where they already have Aldridge. But if he can find a way to contribute and get himself ready for that second contract, that's where the money is anyhow. Best of luck to all. And Rock Chalk!

**Second Edit** So I just woke up to the news that Darrell was traded twice more last night, effectively making him a member of 4 different teams last night. The best thing about it is that he got out of Portland, where he really didn't fit a need. The worst is that he ended up in Memphis. But even though they're likely to lose, whereas Portland may have won, I think this works out better for him in the long term. So now he'll team with the also newly traded OJ Mayo to join Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and Mike Conley to form a decent nucleus. I think all five of those guys are pretty decent, but a long story short, that team isn't winning any time soon.

Also reported this morning was that both Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun were traded to the Cavaliers, making it so that all five drafted Jayhawks were traded at least once last night. And of course, Arthur was involved in three of them on his own. The final tally (as of this morning, at least):

Brandon Rush - Indiana Pacers
Darrell Arthur - Memphis Grizzlies
Mario Chalmers - Miami Heat
Darnell Jackson - Cleveland Cavaliers
Sasha Kaun - Cleveland Cavaliers (after Russia)

The best thing about where all of these guys ended up is that all should be able to make the roster, and Rush, Arthur and Chalmers should be competing for big time minutes as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wayne Simien: From the where-have-they-gone department, the Cleveland Cavaliers have given former Miami HEAT first round pick Wayne Simien an invite to play on their summer league team. Simien was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves last summer and then waived so the Wolves could comply with the 15-man roster limitation. Simien did not play last season as he recovered from knee surgery.