Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lottery Madness!

I have to say, that lottery lived up to the hype. Even with some wooden personalities on hand, a butcher MC job by Mark Jones (including his interview with "Brenden Roy"), and a very short running time, the Draft Lottery special managed to pack a punch. This is because the events that transpired were INSANE.

Here are the highlights:

1. Blazers Get Top Pick. Duh. The Blazers have been doing an amazing job of revamping this team, they fleeced everyone last year, and now they have the top pick with which to work. The assumption is Oden, but Durant would be a perfect fit at the 3. Portland has Roy, Aldridge, and Randolph right now and slotting in Durant would make them an immediate threat to win the division. There has also been some talk that they might move the pick, but that is lunacy. Portland would be better off trading Zach Randolph to a team like Chicago or Dallas, in exchange for something of need or perhaps future picks. I suggested this in a previous post, but a Ben Gordon/Andres Nocioni for Zach Randolph trade would seemingly help both Chicago and Portland. The Blazers with Roy at the point, Gordon at the 2, Nocioni at the 3, Aldridge at the 4, and Oden at the 5 would be a ridiculous squad. Cap friendly, young, skilled, defensively sound (Gordon could guard point guards, Roy could guard 2's), and with great character and work ethic. No matter how you slice it, this was a magical night for the Blazers.

(And I really can't do it justice, but this has been building. The Roy/Aldridge draft last year dramatically altered the course of this franchise. They also saw Randolph come back from microfracture surgery and play well, experienced a great story in Ime Udoku, and then watched their young guys grow up down the stretch last year. Blazers fans were VERY excited for next season. And now this. Portland is back on the NBA scene in a big way and the excitement is palpable; I can feel it coming through my inbox. Plus, it works out nice for me that this is my hometown team. The only bit of bad news for Blazers fans is that any sort of sign-and-trade with Rashard Lewis is probably off the table now that the Sonics got the #2 pick, unless Portland can entice them with Randolph.)

[Update: just talked shop with some big Blazers fans and they all feel that the Sonics getting the #2 was actually great luck. Now Seattle can replace Lewis with Durant at the 3 and move Rashard in a sign and trade, maybe for Randolph. It seems plausible that Portland could roll into camp with Jack, Roy, Lewis, Aldridge, and Oden as their starting lineup. Wow.]

2. Suns Get Shut Out. Lost in the drama surrounding the top pick was Phoenix missing out on the most valuable #4 pick in years. The Suns needed the Hawks to stay out of the top three in order to get a shot at Al Horford or Corey Brewer. Now they have to be content with their pair of late first rounders. Safe to say it has been a tough week for Phoenix.

3. Hawks Roller Coaster. Wild night for Atlanta. They go in assuming they are going to lose their pick, then suddenly see Nique standing up in the top three. Going to commercial break, Hawks fans had to know that they had better odds than either Seattle or Portland and were no doubt thinking, "wait, we are going to get Oden or Durant!" Nope. Even when the Hawks win, they lose. (At least with the #3 and #11 they should be able to add Mike Conley Jr. and a big, or a big and Acie Law IV. So that is good news.)

4. Tankers Get No Love. Other than the Hawks, who clearly tanked down the stretch and yet still managed to sneak into the top three, the big tanking teams all got absolutely punished. The Bucks and Celtics were the most obvious of this group and found themselves in the 6 and 5 spots, respectively. I'm sure Boston fans are going ballistic tonight, considering the way they missed out on Duncan in 1997, but they sort of deserve it for openly rooting for their team to tank games. I admired Portland because they played hard to the very end, with Brandon Roy fighting through injuries to stay on the floor. As for Memphis, they did a more subtle form of tanking, but did it much earlier when they fired Fratello, put in Tony Barone, and basically ran pickup basketball the rest of the year. I don't feel bad at all for the teams that tanked to improve draft position, only to find themselves out of the top three.

5. Seattle Basketball Might Be Saved. What a moment for Seattle fans. Just when it looked like all hope would be lost, they landed a top 2 pick and might have a shot at salvaging this whole thing. The interesting thing is that Portland could probably do just as well to draft Durant, but Seattle desperately needs Oden. Adding KD to Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis is a bit of overkill, whereas Oden would anchor an offense-first team. I wonder if the two Northwest teams might talk trade over the next coupe of weeks. Portland could probably exact a significant payment from Seattle in order to swap picks.


Jeff said...

What about a trade that sends Zach Randolph to Dallas for Devin Harris? That would give Portland a great young lineup, and Dallas some stronger inside presence. However, the only way I could see for the salaries to match up would be for Portland to take Erick Dampier and his contract, and and I can't see them taking on that albatross.

Jack Wang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Wang said...

Great night for Portland. There is some serious karma action going on tonight. I had a similar reaction to Boston slipping out of the running for Oden or Durant, as well as the other two of the Tanking Trio (Memphis and Milwaukee). But especially Boston, since Simmons has been talking about Durant for months now and making Celtic fans feel like they deserve one of the top two picks. Now they can get back to focusing on what a terrible job Danny Ainge has done with that franchise. Meanwhile, Portland sets out ridding its roster of malcontents and troublemakers, and they come away with Roy, Aldridge, and now the No. 1 pick. And they still have Dan Dickau.

Adam Hoff said...

I love the Harris trade for Portland, but I don't see Dallas doing that. They seem to value him appropriately and are probably unlikely to let him go. Portland could probably get Terry, but I imagine they could get more than that. I think Seattle is the natural trade partner. Portland has everything the Sonics want and should be able to name their price. Randolph-for-Lewis seems feasible. Or demanding a few players to swap picks. Does anyone remember what Lewis' relationship with Nate McMillon was like? That could be a big factor in any possible sign-and-trade.

Ignacio said...

rashard lewis and nate are reportedly very tight.

Josh Stump said...

Nate and KP both want Rashard bad. They will make a huge run at him and shop Zach to get it done.

I'll pass on Harris, though he would be a nice addition.

Pritchard has already said he will not trade the pick. And who would you have to get back to make it worth it? KG? Dwight Howard? Amare? Lebron? that trade won't happen unless it is with Seattle to get Durant who many say Pritchard prefers.