What better way to begin an entry than bestowing upon it the title of a great Beatles song?
Frivolities aside, I've decided to dispense with the draft-day grades for the time being and instead focus on some of the rather shocking trades that took place yesterday. Why? Every columnist from Alaska to Moscow has a 'Draft Grade' piece up today. So I'm going to add a necessary and unexplored dissection to the afternoon browsers. However, readers, do not fear! You'll get your draft grades here... It'll most likely just have to wait until tomorrow.
Let's start right at the top, with the trade that not only took place before all others, but was the most significant. Rumors had been circulating about Ray Allen, but most, myself included, just labeled them as random baseless scuttlebutt, throwing them back in the Kobe for Maurice Ager and Big Damp pile. However, when Boston's #5 pick came along, the shocker thundered into Times Square and left me thunderstruck for the remainder of the night. Seattle traded their superstar, their franchise, the only reliable player on the squad-for the #5 pick in the draft (Small forward Jeff Green), a future second rounder, Wally Sczerbiak, and Delonte West. For lack of a better term, this trade... perplexes me. Boston's made the move that should shut Paul Pierce's yap up for a while. They will go from the second worst record in the league to contending for a playoff spot. My question:Why?
The way sports work, you try to be the best. Either you reach for the top, or you do your best to rebuild. Boston's held off the inevitable and thus condemned themselves to mediocrity. Congratulations. You've dealt a large piece of the future and likely won't get this big a piece of that valuable pie for quite a while. You'll settle for mid-round picks for a period, trying your best to rebuild around mediocre college talents whose games don't translate to the show and obscure foreigners whose faces you won't glimpse for several years.
Seattle: You had an incredible draft. Problem: You chose 3 terrific college players- and all of them in the 6'8-6'10 range. Essentially, Kevin Durant will need to play out of position for Jeff Green to even dream about being successful. Durant's pre-draft workouts don't lie, he's not very strong. Matching him up against NBA 4s would be a massive mistake. Either he gets physically dominated and comes out of every game bruised, battered, and bitter, or he wills himself to do nothing but lift weights, and therefore his overall game suffers. Putting your new cornerstone in jeopardy is a foolish, foolish venture. Another facet of the deal which people don't seem to want to consider is the fact that this seals the deal on Rashard Lewis. He's yet another 3, and Seattle obviously can't keep him. They've added a tremendous amount of young talent, but lost any semblance of veteran presence they had.
The next deal is one that worries me greatly as an ardent Maverick supporter. Golden State dealt the talented Jason Richardson to Charlotte for the rights to North Carolina wing Brandan Wright. The Warriors have set themselves back... temporarily. Richardson was the second option offensively, and losing him will hurt. However, in Wright they've brought in one of the draft's most skilled players. Give him a year or two to develop, and he could truly become a force. Another mistake by Michael Jordan, who joins the list of sports legends who fail in the management game. He feels that Charlotte is ready to win, and frankly I don't see it. They should make the playoffs... but what when?
The third major trade of the night involved Portland and New York. I like this move for both sides. The troubled Zach Randolph was dealt out of the newly rebuilt Blazers and to New York, for Stevie the fallen franchise and Channing Frye. New York dropped Steve's contract, and word has it that Portland will buy him out and let him go. (How's that for the list of potential free agents? Hrmm, interesting...) Portland released a character they desperately wanted and needed to get rid of despite his terrific post scoring skills and added a promising backup to young Oden in Channing Frye. This should make both teams better in the long term; a change of landscapes may be what Randolph needed.
And for the sake of giggles...
The Dallas Mavericks dealt the last pick in the draft to Orlando for North Carolina's Reyshawn Terry. At this point I expelled a sigh of relief- how could I possibly explain coming into a draft with 3 picks and spending all three on underdeveloped white guys who can't defend named Fazekas, Seibutis, and Rakovic? I thank you, Donnie Nelson, for feeling compassion for my woes. Reyshawn Terry may not play a single minute in this league, but you have spared Mavericks fans some agony.
By the way, what the hell is up with Orlando? They picked Terry at 44, then traded him for the rights to 60? Straight up? Sounds like a team that's doing everything possible to save cash...