It is time for us all to start looking toward the 2012 NBA Draft, which goes down this coming Thursday evening. I actually have the opportunity to attend this event, so I'm trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to write about when OKC trades its 28th pick. Any ideas?
Young takes a look at what exactly OKC needs and can get with the 28th pick. From my perspective, I'd just really like a player like Kenneth Faried, a raw but athletic young player who just wants to rebound and provide hustle plays.
With Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed, and Royal Ivey, the Thunder have 3 veterans whose contracts expire at the end of this season. Mayberry argues that veteran leadership should not be overrated, but I think in OKC's case they really don't need any more of it. Their team leaders in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook now how 3 consecutive seasons of playoff games to look to where they were tested in all manners possible. They've seen just about everything there is to see; now all that matters is building on those steps.
Smith writes that sacrifice is the only way that the Thunder will be able to keep their core together. This is one of those cases where I really hope that the players' respective agents take the long term perspective. All of the Thunder's key players are 22 and 23 years old, which means that their current (Durant, Westbrook) or next contract (Ibaka, Maynor, Harden) will take them to around age 27 or 28. This means that there are still some huge paydays out there for all of them if they continue on their current trajectories. The question is, is it worth it now to take a little less up front knowing that a future championship could greatly bolster their future earnings down the road?
One of the themes on this site is the metaphorical question, "what is a thing worth?" Draft picks are worth something, whether it is the 1st or last pick. Good front offices know how to assign the right value to the assets at hand.
Aldridge's piece should be read in full, but here's the stat that he drops that is pretty amazing - with the Heat's championship, the fact that Juwon Howard is now a champion marks the first and only title that Michigan's "Fab Five" will collect.
We've been doing our own grading here (and will have season-ending grades in the near future), so compare our assessment to this writer's and see how we stack up.
1970 beats out 1985. Check it out, very compelling arguments are made.
Prada writes a great piece here on how the new CBA is going to be impacting teams in 2013, which in turn is fueling the speculation about drafting and trades in the current season.
Larry Bird will be stepping down from his executive position with the Pacers Wade writes that he is leaving the Pacers in a very good pace where they are clearly one of the top 3 teams in the East now, and with some improvement could soon be challenging the Bulls and Heat in the post-season.