Irrational Exuberance…For the NBA Draft!

I can’t believe how stoked I’m getting for the NBA draft tomorrow night. It’s amazing what having the number 3 pick will do for a fan’s enthusiasm, especially a fan that was deprived of many years of first-round picks due to the tragicomic ineptitude of the team’s front office. You’d rather have Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley (pleeeease let Beasley drop to #3), but there seem to be a lot of teams hot on OJ Mayo. The Wolves could take him or deal him to move down a few spots and get a legit starter to fill a need for their trouble. They seem to amour Kevin Love, and I sure liked him the couple times I watched him. I’ve never seen Mayo, very little Brook Lopez, etc.

It doesn’t really matter to me, though. They are going to get at least one good player tomorrow night, an asset. Even McHale couldn’t pull a McHale on that one. And this team is in bad need of assets.

And I’ll be there, live. Not at the actual NBA Draft, but at the Target Center, for the Wolves Draft Party. It’s an Exclusive Event, open only to season ticket holders and their dates. I’m Pipeline Person MikeB’s date. I hope peach corsages are still popular! Now, I’m not one to go to Draft Parties, at least not official ones. But how many more chances will I have in my lifetime to boo Kevin McHale in person after executing another draft Hindenburg? Answer: Twelve.

Hey, you! Yes, you, NBA fans in Portland! The Blazers now have picks 13 and 27. Who are you hoping falls to you at 13?

You, Warriors fans! Your starters don’t have any obvious holes that a 14 pick will likely solve. Do you just take the best player left?

As a Wolves fan, I’m concerned the Wolves will do something hideous like stay at 3, then draft Brook Lopez, who could probably be had as low as 9, then promptly enroll him at the Kevin McHale Big Man Camp. Fear that.  But believe this:

No matter who the Wolves come away with tomorrow, I’m going to find any available silver lining and cling to that like a lifeline for as long as it takes.  For example, Brook Lopez has legit NBA center size, is pretty skilled offensively, and is an aggressive, physical player at both ends of the floor.  The Wolves have a gaping need for all of those things.

Personally, I’m rooting for them to deal down, get a legit starter to fill a need (anything but a PF and SG), and then hopefully be able to grab Kevin Love.

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15 Responses to Irrational Exuberance…For the NBA Draft!

  1. MikeB says:

    Yes, the savvy and sophisticated local NBA fanatics will be well represented Thur night. The other 12 in the metro area may be there as well.

    It will be interesting to see how the Wolves present this, they need ticket buyers and local buzz in a bad way. Drafting well……can… ..actually… …..help… ..that

    Doug and I have e-sparred over the Wolves’ outlook and performance this season and last. What is Foye’s potential, can the coach develop talent, does their plan make sense on this planet, etc. But I can say except for our vast differences, we’re alike.

    It will be a good time.

  2. Paul says:

    I’m not a huge fan of either Love or B Lopez for the Wolves. Seems an athletic center with quick feet is the best match for Jefferson in the frontcourt. Everyone says Mayo goes #3. He duplicates what y’all have already, but talent is talent.

    Let’s see if Dumars can snag another late round steal. Don’t leave the party before pick #29!

  3. Doug Hennessee says:

    Can’t leave early…Wolves pick at #31 and #34, which these days are legit picks, and they certainly have spots to fill.

    Yeah, the more I read, the more I think they take Mayo if he falls to them, then either keep him or shop him. Or, you consider Beasley if he falls, play him at SF, or shop him. But don’t reach for a guy at #3 that you could get by moving down. There are 3 players people really want in this draft, and having the third pick lets you into the party, for once.

    Oh, and much to my chagrin I have learned that tonight’s function is NOT by invitation to season ticket holders only, meaning that it wasn’t necessary at all for me to commit to being Mike’s date to get into the party. But I’m a man who stands by my commitments, so it’s still on.

  4. David R says:

    I’m super psyched for the draft as well. I’ve been checking all the rumor websites for the past couple of weeks to keep tabs on possible moves, and the reason is there is almost no way we’ll end up drafting at #13 today.

    Our GM Kevin Pritchard has pulled of 10 draft day trades in the past 2 YEARS ALONE, and because of the particulars of our cap picture, we desperately need to consolidate talent. We already were too deep last year, and this year we are already adding Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and the #13, #27, and three 2nd round picks. Somethings got to give. I’m not sure what it will be, but something will happen today and hopefully they’ll wait until I’m in front of a TV with a beer in my hand.

    My favorite rumor so far is swinging some pieces for Barbosa, who I think would be a great addition since B-Roy initiates most of the offense anyways.

    Regarding the wolves, I think you guys should take Mayo if Miami pulls their heads out of their ass and draft Beasley. By all account he would make a perfect addition to Foye in the backcourt for years to come.

  5. Doug Hennessee says:

    Yeah, they have a ton of flexibility. I keep hearing Travis Outlaw’s name in trade talks, along with picks, but that doesn’t seem like much of a kicker.

    Barbosa would be nice there. I also keep hearing DJ Augustine rumors, but they won’t get him at 13, I don’t think.

    Yes, Mayo and Foye, two combo guards together, might work. Still would love to see them get a legit PG somehow.

  6. Paul says:

    did you read that the Spurs sent an email to every team in the league this afternoon saying the were willing to move the 26th pick? that’s fantasy basketball style GMing right there

  7. David R says:

    Mayo! I think you are going to be very happy with him. He’s one of the few dudes in the draft who could be a multi-year allstar in this league. Al Jefferson’s life just got a lot easier.

  8. David R says:

    Bayless! Yes! I can’t believe we got him for Jarrett Jack and the #13! He’s been top #4 on almost every mock draft I’d seen thus far. He was my 3rd pick for us after Rose and Mayo, and frankly I thought all 3 were off limits for us.

    In Kevin Pritchard we trust!

  9. Pipeline says:

    And Mario Chalmers at #34 to boot. Very happy with that draft for the Wolves. The PF they drafted at #31 is supposed to be a pretty good player, but they’ll have to pay him to get him out of his contract overseas, something they may not choose to do for another year or so.

  10. Pipeline says:

    Doh! ESPN is reporting the Wolves were selecting Chalmers for Miami. No!

  11. david says:

    Year in, year out I’m astonished by what the T-wolves do on draft night. Mike Miller is a solid veteran and Kevin Love has some talent, but damn! third pick in the draft and this is what we are ending up with? Very disappointing. Having seen a little of Mayo in high school, the guy is absolutely phenomenal. He could be an all-star within two or three years. This will go down as another regrettable moment in a franchise overflowing with them.

    The chalmers deal is just icing. I really like the guy. Stockpiling second round picks? Why?

  12. Paul says:

    questionable call by the wolves last night. i only know what i read, but mayo is touted as having all star potential. he can defend and he can shoot. pair him with jefferson and foye, and you have a good core with great size at their positions. I liked love in memphis. pairing him with jefferson — they seem to duplicate each other and make for an undersized, rather slow footed frontcourt.

    but maybe mchale’s actually a genuis and we just don’t appreciate it.

  13. Doug Hennessee says:

    I don’t mind Mayo for Love and Miller. They need to fill holes, they get a great shooter at SF, a position of need, and they get a smart frontcourt player in Love. Yeah, I think their frontline will be small, but that’s not as big a deal as it used to be. I’m willing to give that part a chance.

    And, they unloaded some pretty bad deals, specifically the Jaric deal. But who gave him that deal? When you’re always making deals to get rid of bad contracts you gave guys, by definition that’s not a good deal. Or rather, not a good GM. But we already knew that.

    But why deal Mario Chalmers, who also fit a need and was a player they had no business drafting at #34, to Miami for more second round picks in the future? Why?

    FUCK! Can’t the Wolves just do the right, simple thing once in awhile and take the best player on the board when they draft? Is that so fucking hard?

  14. Paul says:

    if this was football, or the wolves were just a notch away from being a contender, i think i’d agree re love and miller being great value for mayo. but the wolves are in full rebuilding mode, and mayo seems a player you build around, while love and miller seem more like the types of players you put around guys like mayo. that said, i hope love turns out to be a great player in the wes unseld mold. but he’s short for a PF, doesn’t really get off the floor very well, and has slow feet. you don’t see many guys like that in the top ten at the PF position these days.

    i thought portland had a great draft, btw. i’d never heard of any of the guys the pistons took, except the first one, and not even his name, but just that fact that there was a guy in the draft that suffers from narcolepsy.

    is it offensive for me to say that i hope he turns out to be a sleeper?

  15. Scott says:

    Doug, you may want to check out what an author at Basketball Prospectus said about the wolves trade:

    Lo and behold, perhaps the most troubling move of the entire draft came after ESPN turned off the lights and I collapsed into a lifeless lump on the futon in the attic, where I was banished for the night because I’d spent the entire evening watching the NBA draft. The Timberwolves traded O.J. Mayo, Antoine Walker, Greg Buckner and Marko Jaric to Memphis for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins. My initial reaction was incredulity. Talent for talent, this move doesn’t make any sense.

    Minnesota now pairs Love with Al Jefferson. The Knicks proved how difficult it is in today’s game to operate a double-post. The middle gets clogged and the offense loses its rhythm. Jefferson will still be the main man in the low-post and, yes, Love can probably develop a face-up game, but what sense does it make to do that? Not when you have already landed a dynamic talent like Mayo, the third-best player in the draft at least, and maybe better than that. I had Love as the fourth-best, but there was a considerable gap between three and four. The Timberwolves also add Miller, who can provide some of what Mayo can at the two-guard, but the difference in upside is monumental. Instead of a dynamic young backcourt of Foye and Mayo to combine with a go-to big man in Jefferson, you end up with a maybe above-average backcourt in Foye and Miller, with Love trying to share space with Jefferson and a prayer that Corey Brewer can turn things around from his terrible rookie campaign. I’d have preferred a combo of Mayo/Foye/Jefferson/Brewer/Chris Richard, which doesn’t roll off the tongue as well but instead of having a pair of possibly elite feature talents in Mayo and Jefferson, you end up with Jefferson and two second-tier threats in Miller and Love. That doesn’t work for me.

    On the Memphis end, the trade destroys what I thought was a really nice lineup in Mike Conley/Miller/Rudy Gay/Love/Darko Milicic. Still, the Grizzlies win this trade because of the acquisition of Mayo. Now Memphis, which plays at a very fast pace, has perhaps the most exciting young backcourt in the league in Conley and Mayo, with Rudy Gay running alongside them. That combination will put up a lot of points, but it’s not going to stop anybody. Milicic will again be on his own in defending the middle–we saw how well that worked last season. The Grizzlies will have no post scoring to speak of, although the hope would be to fill that hole down the line.

    The other factor in the trade is the respective cap situations of each franchise. This is what likely motivated Kevin McHale to make this deal, not that he accomplished anything. Minnesota’s cap situation was pretty grim, with McHale on the hook for bad contracts to Walker, Jaric and Buckner (all Memphis’ problems now). The Wolves also have about $11.4 million cap dollars going to former Wolves Troy Hudson, Juwan Howard and Mark Blount. By my crude ciphering, this deal actually raises Minnesota’s cap figure to $67.1 million in the coming season. However, that number falls to $44.4 on the books for the season after and only $24.5 million for the summer of 2010. That’s supposed to be a banner free-agent season, which is all well and good. However, several teams–the Nets, Knicks and Heat among them–are gearing up for that talent crop and the premium talents aren’t going to Minnesota. Or Memphis, for that matter. These are two franchises that should not be making choices based on making a run at premium free agents–it’s just too big of a gamble.

    The trade doesn’t significantly alter the Grizzlies’ salary structure for the next two seasons but their contract obligations for the 2010-11 season balloon from $18.5 million to $41.6 million. Of that, $22.4 million is tied up to those terrible contracts Chris Wallace just acquired from Minnesota; two years down the line, those will be expiring contracts, which are always valuable assets. The same would have held true for Minnesota. So all in all, the salary cap situations of both of these teams are not much different than they were before the trade. The deal can be evaluated on a talent-for-talent basis. The old adage is that the team that got the best player in an NBA trade wins the trade. I agree with that truism with the addendum that the move also has to be looked at through the salary cap prism. That doesn’t matter here so the end result is that Minnesota got fleeced. Again.

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