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NBA Draft Post-Mortem

Posted: Jun 29, 2008

It was an interesting NBA Draft night with Miami and Memphis from our region making big headlines. Before I take a look at some of the specifics, the question has to be asked: Does the NBA have to make the Draft so complicated for the fans? It’s amazing how many picks are made by one team for another, or how many picks in just 60 are seen as just throw-away selections (especially foreign players who won’t be in the league next season). Additionally, how many times is ESPN interviewing a kid wearing one franchise’s cap while reporting simultaneously that he is going somewhere else? It just seems like the NBA (an organization always battling image problems) could simplify the process to let their fans actually follow where the new players are going.

Miami – It still seems like Pat Riley had reservations about taking Michael Beasley with the #2 pick, but it was the right move on what I consider a great night for the Heat. They get a productive workhorse in Beasley, but also trade for an undervalued point guard in Mario Chalmers. If you couple them with a healthy Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion, the worst offensive team in the NBA last season will now be able to score. I believe it’s important to have some firepower and ‘flash’ in a market like Miami. The Beasley pick also works because it gives the Heat the flexibility to trade Marion, a solid veteran who they don’t seem to want to lock up long-term. Either way, Miami looks to be a team that has added scoring and won’t be in this draft position next year.

Memphis – It was a wild night for the Grizzlies as they drafted for Kevin Love and Donte Greene but ended up trading both, as well as Mike Miller, for O.J. Mayo and Darrell Arthur. The local media seems to like the Mayo deal since the Grizzlies made news on Draft night, but I still don’t see what path this team is trying to take. They are overloaded with guards, so you know more trades are coming this summer. I think Mayo will be a solid NBA player, but he just seems like a guy who will have one eye focused towards New York or L.A. while playing in small-market Memphis. Love would have given this team some much needed toughness and leadership, but Mayo may provide some excitement to bring in a few more fans.

Owner Michael Heisley recently said that the 2008 draft is part of his "3 year plan" of building the Grizzlies through the draft, making little bones about trying to follow the path of the Hornets down in New Orleans.

We'll see if the fans in Memphis can hold out that long.

Orlando – The Magic look to be on the verge of being a real contender, and they decided to make a ‘need pick’ in shooting guard Courtney Lee. With the exception of #1 overall picks Shaq and Dwight Howard, Orlando has had a horrible draft history, but Lee is a solid player who will bring a mid-range game to a club who bombs too many three pointers. That being said, I thought the Magic might have looked at a power forward to give Howard some much needed help inside. This club seems to have two great scorers at small forward in Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu, but neither one is a true NBA power forward. Solving that issue may be the key to getting Orlando to the next level.

Charlotte – The Bobcats always seem to raise more questions with the Draft than they answer. While one local writer applauds the pick of D.J. Augustin, my question is how much better does he make the team. I love Augustin’s game, but Ray Felton averaged over 14 points and 7 assists a game last year. So if Augustin comes in and gets those same numbers, how much better are you? Bobcats’ management still claims Felton is their starter, but I believe they will be looking at trade scenarios all summer for some help inside. Brook Lopez would have given them that help as he would have formed a solid duo with Emeka Okafor. Charlotte may try to claim they got their big man with their second 1st round pick, but 7-footer Alexis Anjica only averaged 5 points a game in the French league last year. To me, Michael Jordan is putting way too much faith in Larry Brown to make this team better.

Texas teams – All three of these clubs just added depth, but all of them are already Playoff caliber. The Mavericks could have used the #21 pick, so you have to wonder how the Jason Kidd acquisition is going to play next season in the “what have you done for me lately” Dallas market. Houston got some inside help in Donte Greene and Joey Dorsey, the latter being able to add some much-needed toughness. The Spurs added guard depth with IUPUI’s George Hill, an interesting choice with Mario Chalmers still on the board.

New Orleans and Atlanta - They didn’t make any picks, but both organizations have to be encouraged by their Playoff seasons. The Hawks’ roster should look about the same next year while the Hornets will look to use the $3 million they received for selling their first round pick to lure a veteran free agent.

- Patrick Snow

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