It is difficult to turn around from one moment looking at the Thunder going down in the Finals and the next moment trying to figure out what they're going to do at the draft, so let's try to get a decent roundup of all the goings-on.
Florida guard Bradley Beal is becoming a hot commodity in this year's draft. Surprisingly, Sam Presti has been doing his homework on the kid and now people are wondering if he might have OKC vault up the draft board to take a shot at the guy. Here's the big question - would you trade 6th man of the year James Harden for a shot at an unproven rookie who would obviously fill Harden's role as the lead man off the bench?
Young believes the chatter is all smoke and mirrors, yet the fact that OKC did do its due diligence implies that maybe something is afoot. I think Young is right - if OKC is actually serious about swapping out Harden, who is due for a big payday, for an unproven rookie to slide in and take his place, the Thunder are essentially broadcasting the message, "Yep, we're poor."
I like the focus on power forwards here. The Thunder really could use a raw athletic talented kid who brings energy and rebounding to the 2nd unit, which is an area where OKC has struggled in the past.
Blott looks at each player grouped by position to see how they stack up. Given that OKC is drafting #28, I guess that means they don't get one of the 5 best at any position.
Weiland says that this draft has "journeyman depth." Ouch. How about a positive spin - the draft has a number of single talent interchangeable parts that a well-coached team like the Spurs could capitalize on.
I actually had an opportunity to attend this madhouse but ended up passing on it. Mason pretty much confirms my decision here.
These are all great, but my favorite has to be Latrell Spreewell:
Weaknesses: Accepting Constructive Criticism
This isn't what it seems. In a true labor of love, this writer examines the top 10 picks from the past 20 seasons. Kevin Durant is the best #2 pick of the past 20 seasons, and it's not even close.
This is one of those 'conversation' posts that becomes insufferably long, but there are some good nuggets in there worth gleaning.
Here is one explanation why we rarely see guys slip through the cracks in the NBA, even though there are only 2 rounds. Most teams actually get the analysis right, but are undone by irrational decision-making.
The Houston Rockets are making some waves. It doesn't look like they're chasing Pau Gasol anymore, but with a few moves in the past few days, they're looking to push themselves into the mid-tier of the west.
Lee Jenkins has been one of the best player profilers this past season (I'd argue Jonathan Abrams is the other) and he offers up a great story on LeBron James here.
Even so, losing one's trophy is arguably not as bad as breaking one's trophy.
Lots of aging centers are on the market and still getting the job done. Marcus Camby in particular looks like he's the same age as Bill Russell but is still one of the best in rebounding rate.
Mayberry reports that the reason why OKC lost the pick was not because of bad faith or intent to withhold information, but because the team's cardiologists had information that they did not share with team management and should have been disclosed to the Celtics. I still don't like this, because if the penalty was not due to bad faith or intent to withhold information, then that means that the Celtics' doctors are arguing that the Thunder's doctors just didn't file some paperwork properly, and it seems like a stiff penalty to remove a draft pick for such a thing.
This story is important to me for one reason, and I invite other lawyer-dudes out there to chime in. No, I don't think anything justifies what Amare Stoudemire said in the public space, but what concerns me here is the reach that the NBA's disciplinary committee seems to have over an NBA player's life. There is no indication that Stoudemire was using NBA-owned technology, that he was doing it on NBA-owned time, or that he was operating in any capacity at all as an employee of the league. And yet the NBA seems to think it has jurisdiction over his exercising his right to say something offensive on his own free time. This is my question - what gives the league that legal authority? And if it is something in the CBA that covers general player behavior, what is the limiting principle?