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6 posts from June 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ambassador of Dae-quan

So the more I think about this pick, the more it makes sense for the Heat. Cook is a shooter, first of all, which gives the Heat some protection in that area if it loses Jason Kapono in free agency.
He's also a former stud prep player who only had one year to play at OSU on a loaded team. So if he has any chance of developing his game and turning into a nice pro, then the Heat looks great for having the foresight to notice that. Regardless of what he turns out to be, you have to credit the Heat for not listening to all the negative press Cook got for his personality or his ego or his inability to play team basketball and trust their own assessment and ability to develop players.
Now comes the real part of the offseason, though, which is free agency/trades. And based on the Heat's limited flexibility as far as signing players, it looks like the team will make every attempt to be involved in a significant trade. Not quite the Kevin Garnett magnitude, but maybe a Ron Artest-level trade.
After watching some of the activity on draft night alone, it looks like there are several teams willing to make moves.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Trade Wade?

Just a thought as the draft approaches...
With all the talk about how great Kevin Durant will be and how much of an impact Oden will have, would you trade Dwyane Wade for either the No. 1 or No. 2 pick right now?
I would hesitate to trade a guy who you KNOW is one of the top three players in the league for Durant, who could just be a scorer who doesn't necessarily make people better. But Oden? If Shaq wasn't around, it would be worth thinking about, right? Maybe not.

Different pick

Since the newspaper and the blog are two different things, my blog pick for the Heat won't be Gabe Pruitt like it was in the paper, but Tiago Splitter, the big guy who's trying this whole draft thing for the fourth time (he pulled out in the previous three).
Why Splitter? If the Heat doesn't like any of the remaining players at 20 and can't trade the pick, then they'll take Splitter, who can't get out of his deal in Spain until 2008. That means the Heat won't have to keep another young player on the roster who likely won't play. And if he works out next year, he could be a replacement for Mourning, assuming Zo is playing his last year this season.
Of course, based on my history, this won't be right either.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Draft week

Was watching a draft special on TV Friday and realized a few things.
The first thing has nothing to do with the special, but was more of an annual realization I come to just before the Heat makes a first-round draft pick. Regardless of need, they're taking the best player on their draft board when they pick at No. 20. We saw them do it with Dwyane when they presumably had a good two-guard in Eddie Jones, they did it with Dorell when they needed a point guard desperately and they did it with Wayne when it seemed he was much like Udonis Haslem.
What that means is it's impossible to predict who the heck the Heat will draft on Thursday because, first, they're at the mercy of the teams making 19 selections before them, and second, because position of need really means nothing here. They'll fill those spots with veterans through free agency or trades.

So back to the special. After watching that and going through a handful of mock drafts, I've come to the conclusion that there will be at least one of these six guys available when the Heat picks at 20, and I think any one of them will be a solid pick-up for the Heat (I'm also convinced that I am among the 15 percent of basketball fans in the country who could do a better job with player personnel decisions than, say, Danny Ainge or Kevin McHale):
Rodney Stuckey, because he could be this year's Gilbert Arenas, a scorer who slips in the draft.
Josh McRoberts, because his back problems and conditioning (didn't look in the greatest of shape when I saw him in Orlando).
Javaris Crittendon, because he's raw and there are more polished point guards that will be taken ahead of him.
Thaddeus Young, because he just seems to be slipping.
Derrick Byars, just because.
And Petteri Kopponen, who's not really considered a top 20 pick, but I like what I've read about him and think he could be this year's foreign-born point guard steal (plus, if the Heat re-signs Kapono, it'll make for fun name games).

Two guys who I didn't think much of until I saw this special were Jason Smith, the Colorado State big man, and Morris Almond of Rice (heck, I didn't even realize Rice was in Conference USA these days). Don't think Almond's scoring can really translate to the NBA if he had to create for himself, but on a team with Dwyane and Shaq, he wouldn't be required to create much. And Smith is more athletic that I realized and knows how to play the game well enough that he can be a quality 7-footer in the league.

Update: After a conversation with someone whose opinion I respect, I have changed my opinion altogether on Josh McRoberts. Charmin has no place in the NBA.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thanks, Stan

Always was a fan of Stan Van Gundy, and I'm happy that he landed in the place he wanted after, ahem, resigning from his head coaching post with the Heat two years ago.
I don't know what they're doing in free agency, but the Magic have pretty much guaranteed themselves a playoff spot and a pretty darn competitive team. If the front office there does a decent job this offseason, that could catapult Orlando into the top four in the conference next year.

Meanwhile, the Heat got the No. 39 pick in the draft out of the deal. And in this draft, that's almost like a first-round pick.
Interesting names that have been mentioned near No. 39 in a few mock drafts: Pitt big man Aaron Gray, Oregon point guard Aaron Brooks, Nevada post man Nick Fazekas, UF point guard Taurean Green, Syracuse scorer Demetris Nichols and Marc Gasol, brother of Pau.
Gray would just be big man insurance for a few years down the road, but he doesn't do much for me. Brooks, I have said this before, is intriguing. Fazekas is an unathletic but polished big man. Green is solid and could play right away. Nichols is somehow related to Rasual Butler because he plays just like him, and I like him. Gasol is big, but he's no Pau.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Draft PGs

It's pretty obvious the Heat needs a point guard or two to join Jason Williams, and one of those could come from the draft. I've heard differing thoughts from folks in the pre-draft camp as to what the Heat is looking for, though, so it's no guarantee the team will take one at No. 20.
If Miami does, though, there are a handful to choose from (on an aside, I wonder if Jason Williams suddenly wants to be traded to Orlando now that Billy D is there. Jason lives in Orlando also).

The guys that figure to be gone by 20 are Mike Conley Jr. and Acie Law, who will probably go either 10 to the Kings, 11 to the Hawks or 14 to the Clippers (he said he's not even going to work out for teams in the 20s).

That leaves some interesting names. I've mentioned Crittendon from GTech, and I heard the Heat would be interested in him if he's there. But that might mean getting another veteran in free agency because Crit might need a couple years to be ready.

Rodney Stuckey from Eastern Washington is intriguing. He wasn't at pre-draft, but he's 6-4 and just a natural scorer. He averaged better than 24 points a game in his two years in school and shot 49 percent his freshman year. It's not ideal to have a tweener at the point guard spot, but if you envision him coming off the bench initially, he can be very much like Ben Gordon was to the Bulls before he become a starter. Plus, if Stuckey's in the game with Wade, he can play off the ball and give the defense something else to think about. For everyone saying the Heat needs to have more offensive threats and matchup with teams like the Bulls better, this guy could be one of the answers. I've seen him projected all over the bottom of the first round. I suspect that if he has a good workout with Miami, he could sway Riles to take him.

Zabian Dowdell from VTech is supposed to be a possible first-rounder because he's 6-3 with a long wing span and that gives him potential. He doesn't do much for me, though, after having watched him play in Orlando. He's definitely not worth a reach at No. 20.

Taurean Green isn't either at No. 20, but if the Heat doesn't get itself a PG with No. 20, they could trade for a second-round pick and take Green. The former Gator was absolutely solid at the pre-draft camp and, other than his tendency to get caught up in screens defensively, is capable of stepping right in and playing some minutes as a rookie. He definitely did well for himself in Orlando. He might have even pulled himself ahead of guys like Dominic James of Marquette, who looked bad and helped explain to me, at least, how he shot 38 percent from the floor last season.

Another couple of intriguing guys for a team with a second-round pick (by the way, the Blazers have a ridiculous four second-round picks, so it might not be hard for Miami to get one if they wanted to) are Aaron Brooks and Jared Jordan. Brooks is so quick that he can break down an NBA defense right now. His problem is his size (probably 5-10) would make him more of an Earl Boykins type and could get exposed defensively. I like him, though.
Jordan is the kid from Marist who led the NCAA in assists for two years in a row (first time since Avery Johnson did it). He's best suited for a wide-open offense out west, but this kid is such a gifted passer with the type of floor vision you only see from guys like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson. He's maybe 6-0 and could get pushed around defensively, but if he's on an offensive-minded team he will absolutely be an impact player, in my opinion. Every pass he makes is productive.



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