Friday, June 29, 2007

Mizzou Links, 6-29-07

Okay, I probably shouldn't call these Mizzou Links, really...

  • Well, Kevin Pritchard didn't quite live up to my expectations, making only four trades last night instead of the six he pulled off last year. And he appeared to get taken pretty badly by the Knicks. But instead of complaining about the one trade (and why they had to give up Fred Jones and a 2nd-round pick along with Randolph for a backup PF and one of the Knicks' 12 shoot-first PG's), let's look at the big picture:

    What the Blazers got on draft night:
    #1 pick: Greg Oden (C) - maybe you've heard of him?
    #24 pick: Rudy Fernandez (SG) - Spanish guard who's been highly regarded for a few years now...will be overseas at least one more season
    #30 pick: Petteri Koponen (PG/SG) - Finnish guard who apparently wowed the Blazers in individual workouts
    #37 pick: Josh McRoberts (PF/C) - apparently Oden's best friend outside of Ohio State
    #52 pick: Taurean Green (PG) - pretty decent late pick...can't tell whether he'll stick on the team or not, but it's worth a 2nd round pick to find out
    Channing Frye (PF) - will be a strong backup to Aldridge/Oden
    Stevie Franchise (PG/SG) - BLEH
    James Jones (SF) - not bad since they had to just give up cash for him

    What the Blazers gave up on draft night:
    Zach Randolph (PF) - the biased fan in me thought they'd get more for him
    Dan Dickau (PG) - never seemed to fit with Nate McMillan
    Fred Jones (SG) - I was looking forward to him being a decent backup
    #42 pick: Derrick Byars - eh
    #53 pick: Demetris Nichols - eh
    Cash - make it rain!
    In all, that's not bad. I actually wanted them to take Fernandez in last year's draft, and apparently Koponen had an unbelievable workout for them recently, so it didn't surprise me to see them trade for him (though I expected them to have to give up more than cash). I absolutely loved Fernandez's game film--he makes pull-up 3's like a mid-range jumper--but I guess he has an insane buyout clause that will probably keep him overseas another year. Frye will be a lovely backup for Aldridge/Oden (though I'd have obviously preferred David Lee), and James Jones is a sharp-shooting small forward--Oden's presence should give Jones and Martell Webster lots of open looks, which is a lovely thought.

    I do like that they got a couple of European risks (can you tell that Pritchard cut his teeth with the Spurs?) and balanced them with a couple of steady college players in McRoberts and Green. McRoberts does not in any way light my fire--and I thought all the NCAA hoops experts ESPN insists on trotting out there had him significantly overrated--but a) I like him much better as a 2nd-round pick than a late lottery pick like he was being projected for a while, and b) he and Oden are really, really tight. I could see him doing decent things in the 10-15 mpg that could probably be allotted to him backing up Oden/Aldridge and Frye/Przybilla. Green's got a lot of decent skills--and the Blazers loved him during workouts--but I still can't tell if he'll stick. There are lots of guys out there with his skill set.

    Now...they still appeared to give up way too much to the Knicks. I don't like the thought of Stevie Franchise sitting at the end of the bench with Darius Miles, grousing and poisoning the clubhouse, but maybe they'll just buy out his contract or something. And I expected the Blazers to be in possession of a better SF than James Jones at the end of the night. But in the end, though, there's no doubting that the Blazers are infinitely better today than they were yesterday morning, so I won't complain. Yet. Pritchard has earned an infinite amount of good will from me in the last 12 months, so I'll cut him some slack for what appears to be one bad trade among many decent ones.

  • Note to Stephen A. Smith: talking louder does not make you smarter. Just so you know.
  • Note to ESPN: you're not scoring points with me by putting him on my television more and more each day. Lucky for you, Mike Tirico is fantastic.
  • Note to Sprite: your new commercials really creep me out.
  • Note to the Sonics: next time you're planning on moving your team out of town, try to make it a little less obvious.
  • Note to TNT: I really really really miss your draft coverage.
  • I must say, I did enjoy Jay Bilas comparing Big Baby Davis to Oprah. That one caught Tirico a bit off-guard.
That's all for now. Will probably post a link to Simmons' annual draft diary when it's posted...

UPDATE, 9:15am: As promised. And here's his note on the Randolph/Francis trade:

6:14: Good God, Isiah finally made a good trade! It happened! Somehow, he just landed Zach Randolph for Channing Frye and Stevie Francis! I'm shocked! What's happening to this league? Even Isiah is doing the right thing! I can't stop using exclamation points! How was that the best Portland could do for Randolph??? He's good for a 25-10 in the East! And if it doesn't work out, who cares? They gave up a bad contract and a half-decent forward to take a $50 million flier on a dominant low-post player. Great move. I stand by these thoughts even if Zach starts an international incident at Scores within the next nine months.

(Follow-up note: I think Portland GM Kevin Pritchard spent an hour thinking about it and decided, "You know what? Just to be safe, maybe it's best that Oden and Randolph never, ever, ever meet. Call Isiah and tell him we say yes to the crappy Francis-Frye offer. We can't mess around.")
Makes as much sense as anything else.

Oh, and a bonus note. Note to Joakim Noah: next time you're getting drafted on national TV, don't hire Bone Thugs 'N Harmony as your personal fashion consultants. Thanks.