Friday, June 29, 2007

Disappointed in Seattle (And Portland)

Both NBA franchises had nearly perfect draft experiences last night.


Let's start with who gets to suit up for the Trailblazers:

1-Greg Oden
24-Rudy Fernandez (from Phoenix)
30-Petteri Koponen (from Philly)
37-Josh McRoberts
52-Taurean Green ((from Toronto)
Steve Francis and Channing Frye (from the trade with the Knicks)

They also traded away:

42-Derrick Byars (to Philly)
53-Demetrius Nichols (to NY)
Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau and Fred Jones (in the trade with the Knicks)

Oden. Obviously. Fernandez is supposed to be a good shooter. McRoberts makes sense from a chemistry standpoint 'cause he's high-energy and friendly with Oden. But they came up a lil bit short in the PG department. Green is a steal at that spot. And the Finnish kid is supposed to have loads of potential. But there was a guy on the board who could well be the next Steve Nash: Jared Jordan.

I've only seen him play at the NBA draft camp on ESPNU. But this kid was clearly the most astute basketball player on the floor. He made virtually no mistakes. Has incredible court vision. And a serious gift for finding spaces--either for himself or anticipating where his teammates will be. Like I said, maybe the next Steve Nash.

Imagine paring him up with Oden. The next Steve Nash with the next Bill Russell? That would have been a perfect draft. As it were, two-time champ PG Taurean Green is the ideal consolation prize. Yet, even with whatever chip sits on his shoulder coming into training camp, he's stil not as tantalizing as Jordan.

Dumping Randolph? Not a bad move, but I'm not sure they got exactly the right pieces in return. Francis is still a pseudo-nasty talent. But dumping his nasty contract might be the better move.

As for Seattle, I'm flummoxed. Here's who we know will be a Supersonic:

2-Kevin Durant
5-Jeff Green (from Boston)
31-Carl Landry
Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak (from the Boston trade)

And here's who they gave up:

35-Glen Davis (to Boston)
Ray Allen (to Boston)

Durant. Not enough words to praise his game. But, Green? He's possibly the best all-around player in the draft. Yet it's hard to picture him alongside Durant. It's feels like a redundant pairing. If I were making that trade, I'd have chosen Joakim Noah with the fifth pick.

Noah would make total sense as he would be the yang to Durant's yin. Dump all of the dirty work on him and leave Durant to showcase his transcendant talent. Not to mention that Noah would be able to guard all the 4s and most of the 5s that Durant shouldn't have to focus on in the NBA. Green...he's not gonna be able to do that leaving Seattle to be really creative about their front-line defensive assignments with the two ridiculously talented rookies joining Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox (and Danny Fortson if he's re-signed).

I don't mid them shipping Allen eastward. And I figure Lewis will be on the next plane to Orlando. But it's hard to gauge how well they did with all these moves having replaced perimeter players with perimter players. Meanwhile, Durant will be left searching for a muscle guy(s) to run with him in the NBA. He's much more Michael than Lebron. Green will need to be every bit of Pippen for that choice to be deemed the right one.

Not bad for the teams with the top two picks in a historic draft. But both Seattle and Portland could have done (a lil) better.

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