NetsDaily: "Make no mistake about it, tonight's moves were as critical to the Nets' future as those at the trade deadline when Jason Kidd was traded. In one aspect, this was opening night for the Brooklyn Nets...the team started making real plans for the 2010-11 season in the Barclays Center, a building yet to rise above the Atlantic Yards. The Nets went young, they went big, they went with skill over athleticism but most of all, they divorced themselves from the recent (New Jersey) past and started to get way under the cap. Ryan Anderson becomes the youngest Net in a quarter century. Brook Lopez is the second youngest since Clifford Robinson (the USC Robinson, not Uncle Cliffy) played at age 19 in 1979. The roster now has three 20-year-olds (Anderson, Lopez and Yi Jianlian), two 21-year-olds (Chris Douglas Roberts and Sean Williams), a 22-year-old (Marcus Williams), a 23-year-old (Josh Boone), a 24-year-old (Nenad Krstic), a 25-year-old (Devin Harris) and a 26-year-old (DeSagana Diop)∨ 11 players 26 or younger. Unless you count Darrell Armstrong and Keith Van Horn, you can only find one Net who's over 30."
Vegan Fish Tacos on the Nets' approach: "Sweet sassy molassy did they do an amazing job. The best way to think about what they did is to put it in the context of their twin goals. (1) Clear money so they can sign Lebron in the 2010 offseason. (2) Get talent They did both of those, and did them astonishigly well."
Jeffrey Ma of ProTrade, whose advanced analysis is a part of Portland's draft strategy: "Mark my words: Kevin love will be the best player in this draft."
Brian McCormick: "Well, everyone thought Memphis might be a little gun shy after the criticism of the Pau Gasol trade. Then they decided to give away Mike Miller. I understand trading to get O.J. Mayo because he is the player that you covet, even though your interior is a weakness. However, I do not understand giving up Mike Miller to make the trade happen, not to mention acquiring more bad contracts than they gave away. Minnesota instantly upgraded its team with this trade, as Love can play inside with Jefferson (though, defensively they have nobody to protect the rim, which is never good) and Miller can play on the wing with Foye, McCants and Brewer. I think Memphis severely undervalued Miller -- I thought the Lakers should make a run at Miller with Lamar Odom, though I figure Memphis may never make a deal with the Lakers again. Memphis did manage to salvage something by trading Donte Green to acquire Darrell Arthur, potentially the draft's biggest steal at #27. Arthur now becomes the inside player the Grizzlies desperately need, while Mayo fills the two-guard spot vacated by Miller. The Grizzlies still have an extra PG to deal if anyone (Sacramento? Denver?) is interested, but adding Arthur and Mayo certainly upgrades the talent level, even though I am not sure it was worth losing Miller."
A lot of NBA people clucked happily at the Jason Thompson pick. Did you see where Donnie Walsh was quoted saying he'd go pretty high, because he can play? Kings fans aren't feeling it. Here Dave from BlazersEdge describes how Sacramento fans reacted online last night to the Kings' selection of Jason Thompson: "You need to read the following Sacramento Kings open thread from our good friends at SacTown Royalty. You know how we have the Greg Oden lottery thread permalinked in our sidebar because of all of the excitement and good feelings it evokes, even a year later? This is like the antithesis of that thread. There's a show on National Geographic called 'Seconds from Disaster' where they chronicle, minute by minute, the events that led up to a famous, tragic event like an airline crash or a gas pipe explosion. This feels like one of those shows. It's all right there, beginning with the moment when the Bobcats took D.J. Augustin and they knew something was going wrong, continuing through Jersey's Lopez pick when they got the wild surge of hope that they'd pull out of it, then plunging into the inevitable moment when you can literally feel the energy being sucked out of the entire fanbase. ...Obligatory warning: This thread is SOOOOO not safe for work because of the language. Well, maybe if you work in a porno shop with drunken sailors who have gone off of their Tourette's meds. No...even they would blush. But in this context all of that seems vaguely appropriate." UPDATE: That site came around, and Thompson did end up getting plenty of love and respect. For instance, here.
Sam Amico of Pro Basketball News: "A few guys who weren't drafted but could be coming to an NBA city near you soon: Duke guard DeMarcus Nelson; Mississippi State guard Jamont Gordon; Tennessee guard Chris Lofton; Xavier forward Josh Duncan; and Massachusetts forward Gary Forbes. I also really like Virginia Military guard Reggie Williams, who led the NCAA in scoring this past season (27.8 points per game). Williams has been called non-athletic and a liability on defense, but the young man knows how to put the ball in the basket. Someone, please, give him a long look."
A fashion roundup from last night. Many years ago I was a waiter at a golf club. The money was not bad, and is a key reason I have a college education today. So I'm thankful for that. The worst thing about that job was that we had to dress pretty much like Eric Gordon dressed last night. The only obvious difference was that, although it was hard to tell from a distance, I suspect his get-up was not, like my waiter outfit, made of flame retardant, easy to clean polyester. (Via SLAM.)
Joe Dumars is acting like a guy who thinks he got another steal in Walter Sharpe.
Britt Robson of the Rake likes Minnesota's draft day, but has concerns, including defense: "The Wolves brass seem convinced that Love and Jefferson on the front line is perfectly sufficient--no, even better, part of the new vogue--for the long term future of the franchise. But almost all the raving I've heard about Love is about his passing, his midrange and long range shooting, his savvy box-outs--not a lot about his defense. On top of that, there are some questions about his physicality in the paint. Now I know Jefferson's game, and his offense is light years ahead of his defense. So going with a pair of legit power forwards who don't excel at D sounds like a recipe for disaster in the paint against large lineups. True, large lineups don't happen even a majority of the time anymore, but, funny, the really good teams seem to be able to defend them, mostly by having one themselves. Not to put too fine a point on it: Minnesota's interior defense could be in trouble if Jefferson and Love are your frontcourt. Maybe it will be better than Jefferson-Gomes, simply because Love is larger, but let's not forget that Gomes is pretty big (250 pounds) and smart too. What's more, you no longer have Mayo in the back
court and by most accounts, Mayo can be very good with perimeter defense. Stopping penetration was one of the team's biggest bugaboos last year, and Mike Miller doesn't seem like the answer. In fact a quintet of Jefferson-Love-Gomes-Miller-Foye, as marvelous as it might be on offense, sounds like a disaster on D. The Wolves would win and lose a lot of game by scores like 115-111, and that's not the way to build a winning culture in the NBA."
I have linked many times to the work of Jason Friedman of the Houston Press. Guess what: Now he's working for the Rockets! Congrats on the job, Jason. He has Daryl Morey's insights into Joey Dorsey, a player that not all stat geeks loved, but apparently showed up well in Houston's analysis. Morey tells Friedman: "He's, in our opinion, the best defensive big in the country. He anchored the best defense in the country in Memphis, and he was the player on that team who made the largest impact; through steals, through shot blocking, through his ability to guard nearly every position on the floor with his speed and athleticism. He's someone who can make an impact right away. He's ready to play right now. He can run the floor. He can anchor a transition line-up. We feel like he's a top-five rebounder in the country on both ends. So he's creating extra possessions on the offensive end, and he's getting steals. He is 6' 7'' but he's long. He makes up for any sort of size limitation with his wide body, and athleticism and speed.
The Clippers now have guard 6-2 jumping bean Mike Taylor, who is the first player ever to play in the D-League and then get drafted. He won a title in the D-League, but I suspect most people remember him for darn near winning the D-League dunk contest. If he sticks in the NBA, he'd be a natural candidate for that event next year. Before the draft, Taylor said he's happy to show up for that contest: "Haha, if I can that would be something I would look forward to. I think that the shorter guys have the upper hand in the Dunk Contest, so I'd love to if the chance presents itself."
Wyc Grousbeck, the most visible of the Celtics' owners, is starting a fund to invest in various sports opportunities. I wonder that means.
More than ever, it appears David Lee is not long for New York.