Last night, the NBA draft came and went. Many teams’ fans are left dreaming about what the future holds for their new superstars and fans of other teams are left scratching their head. Just like with any NBA draft, there were draft day trades that added excitement and rumors that ran rampant before the draft.
Many marquee players were mentioned in trade rumors. Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’neal, and Amare Stoudemire were players that many felt may be packing their bags. There was also that Bryant guy that plays for the Lakers that has been demanding a trade. As it turns out, Ray Allen was the biggest name to actually be moved. As usual, the hyped up trade rumors overshadowed the actual trades that took place on draft day.
The most intriguing aspect of the 2007 NBA draft was watching where the draft entrants will be making their homes next year. The 2007 draft class is considered one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant will see their careers forever linked much in the same way that Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade do. If you fast forward ten years and look back at this draft, the question people will be asking is ‘who was a better pick, Oden or Durant?’
At the end of the evening, the 2007 NBA draft was much like every other draft. A few no-brainer picks, a few picks that made you scratch your head, and a few sleepers. There were teams that won, teams that lost and teams that don’t know how they did yet. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Portland Trailblazers- They landed the crown jewel of the 2007 draft, Greg Oden. Oden figures to propel Portland to a legitimate playoff contender next year and championship contender in the future. The Blazers also unloaded Zach Randolph on the New York Knicks for Steve Francis, a move which will give Portland salary cap room within a couple of years. That salary cap room will enable them to keep their young core together and possibly add a veteran down the road.
2. Seattle Supersonics- Seattle landed one of the best consolation prizes in draft history. Kevin Durant is a long, athletic player that can score anyway and anywhere on the court. They also traded veteran guard Ray Allen to Boston for the fifth overall pick. Seattle is rebuilding their franchise and the 2007 draft was a major step in the right direction.
3. San Antonio Spurs- How do the Spurs do it? Talented, ready to contribute players fall into their laps late in the first round. This year it’s Tiaggo Splitter, a foreign diamond in the rough that should be a solid contributor within a year.
1. Boston Celtics- The Celtics had the fifth overall pick in such a deep draft and they dealt it away for Ray Allen? This move may make sense if the Celtics are able to acquire another veteran star to form a trio with the newly acquired Ray Allen and Celtic mainstay Paul Pierce (Jermaine O’neal, perhaps?). But unless that happens, the Celtics would have been better off keeping that fifth pick and adding to their stockpile of talented young players like Gerald Green and Al Jefferson.
2. Milwaukee Bucks- The Milwaukee Bucks landed one of the most intriguing and sought after players in the draft. They forgot, however, that Yi Jianlian has no interest in playing for Milwaukee. Players usually get their way in cases like this and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Jianlian never suits up for the Bucks. If they are planning on using him as trade bait, their leverage in any potential trade has been severely compromised. There were still plenty of great picks on the board and Milwaukee may have missed out.
Wait and See:
Los Angeles Lakers- The Lakers made some very interesting and risky picks last night. Javaris Crittenton has great upside, but is going to be a bit of a project. Their second round picks Sun Yue and Marc Gasol can be big hits or may never reach the NBA. The Lakers gambled pretty big with each pick, which has proven to be a good draft strategy. But that can’t make Kobe Bryant comfortable with staying in L.A.