June 5, 2008

Coffee On My Mind

In a perfect world, trades and drafts are easy to do. Of course, in reality, they’re extremely difficult to pull off. In the vacuum of a perfect world, this is what I try to do as the Wolves GM.

Step 1: Movin on up, err down.

Marko, McCants, #3, #31, #34 to New Jersey for: Richard Jefferson, #10, #21.

We dump Marko
He whines, he complains, he still thinks he’s a PG
We dump Buckets 2.0
He can shoot, but that’s about all he cares about
We turn two second round picks into another first round pick
We’ve got a lot of 2nd round picks signed from the past couple years, so the available roster spots are somewhat of a concern.
We get a proven NBA player with star ability and marketability
Jefferson can get his own shot, shoot the three, and isn’t a complete liability on defense. That and any way we can use the show The Jefferson’s to market this franchise is a good thing. Moooovin’ on up!
We take care of a glaring need
RJ gives us a true SF so we don’t have to rely on Brewer to play a ton of minutes

We take on a bigger contract
Instead of 3 years 21 million, it’s 3 years 42 million
We take on an injury concern
Jefferson suffered a pretty severe ankle injury that took him a year and a half to come back to 100% from. When it comes to feet and ankles, all I think about is Terrell Brandon and Michael Williams.
We give up a really high draft pick
#3 is a guaranteed star, #10 may not be.

Where does that leave us?

Well, for starters….

G Foye
F Jefferson
F Jefferson

So we still need a C and either a PG or a SG. Okay, so let’s move on.

Step 2: The Draft

#10 options

D.J. Augustin - he’s a true, pass first PG. He’s small, but makes up for that with his quickness. He’s like a more controlled, slightly slower, version of TJ Ford. He’s a good leader and a solid character. Oh, and he beat cancer, so both of our starting guards will have overcome something physical.

Brook Lopez - Word is, he’s slipping down the draft, which may make it more paletable for us fans if the braintrust loves him as much as everyone thinks. He’s a true NBA-ready body who can score in the post and step out and hit some mid-range jumpers. He’s an underachiever on the glass but an underrated defender.

DeAndre Jordan – He’s big, strong, and physically gifted. He’s a true center and, when he wants to, can rebound and play defense with anyone. But that’s the question mark with him – will he work hard all the time? Tough to say, but at #10, he may be worth the risk.

Chase Budinger – He’s an Arizona grad in the mold of Luke Walton. He can score, he can pass, he can shoot, he can rebound. He doesn’t do anything spectacularly, but he’s a fairly skilled all around player. He is seen as a defensive liability, but so is every rookie 2-guard coming into the NBA. He also has a tendency to disappear for stretches in games, which could be a concern. He’s a prototypical NBA SG though. 10 might be a stretch, but he’d make up for Foye’s lack of size in the backcourt.

#21 options

Ty Lawson – He’s regarded as the #2 PG available in the draft. He’s a proven floor leader who knows how to run a team. He can score and has the ability to take over games and would be a good fit for the system the Wolves claim they’re trying to run. He’s also a little undersized and he’s not as quick as Augustin, but he’s crafty in the mold of Sam Cassell, just without the killer mid-range game. Yet.

Chris Douglas-Roberts – He can score. It’s not always pretty or conventional, but he knows how to put the ball in the basket. He likes to go to the basket and gets to the free throw line, something the Wolves have ALWAYS lacked. He’d be a nice fit next to Foye if they didn’t draft Augustin with #10, and he’d be a great 6th man if they did.

Brandon Rush – He’s probably one of my favorite players in the draft. He’s a long 2-guard who can shoot, slash, and defend. Sound like someone else in recent Wolves lore? Think Latrell Sprewell, just not crazy. He’s not as developed offensively as Spree was, but he’s got the potential to be a very similar player. If he hadn’t had the knee injury he’d probably be a top-10 pick.

Robin Lopez – Yes, I’m sad to include BOTH the Lopez twins in this post, but it’s unavoidable. Unlike his brother, Robin has been rumored to be moving up the draft boards. He’s the defensive, hustle version of Brook. He’s a very active defender, with a true NBA body, and he can rebound. The guy he’s mostly compared to is Anderson Varajao from Clevelend. He’s even got the hair.

What I Would Do:

I’d grab Lopez if he’s still there, otherwise I’d take Augustin at #10. I put Lopez ahead of Augustin only because quality bigs are hard to come by in free agency and there’s still an outside shot the Wolves bring back Bassy. I would then take Rush with #21 if he’s still there. CDR if he’s not. Ty Lawson if CDR’s not.

Here’s what we’d be left with.

PG Randy Foye
SG Brandon Rush
SF Richard Jefferson
PF Al Jefferson
C Brook Lopez

The bench is a total crap shoot at this point, what with all the free agents we’ve got outstanding. Corey Brewer, Mark Madsen, and Greg Buckner are the only guys with contracts. Kirk Snyder and Sebastian Telfair both have the option of taking a qualifying offer from the Wolves but Gomes, Smith, and Richard are all restricted free agents.

Clearly I’m just a blog-rube with an annoying tendency to overanalyze these things, but that’s why you keep reading, right? Good luck, and enjoy watching the Braintrust drowns in coffee beans up to, and after, June 26

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