Draft week is finally here. And it has brought me out of hibernation to actually publish a Grizzly blog post on Shades of Blue. I'm going to try to quickly cover a number of topics.
First...I want to outline the worst case scenario on draft night:
Why is that the worst case scenario? Because I think the race for who we draft at #5 is down to Love and Mayo. Gallinari and Gordon are 3rd and 4th on the list at #5, but I just don't see them as realistic picks for the Griz.
What should we do if the draft goes Rose-Beasley-Love-Mayo? Do we pick between Gordon and Gallinari? Maybe, but I personally don't like the way either fits on the current team and have my doubts about either earning quality minutes in the rotation (Gallinari can get Rudy's leftover minutes at SF or force someone out of position or force Rudy to his inevitable future SG position a little earlier than I expected...Gordon will fight with JavarisKinseyton - thanks matt - for minutes at backup SG).
So, my first reaction on Thursday if the draft does indeed go Rose-Beasley-Love-Mayo will be to puke up my free Jason's Deli sandwich.
(BTW, members of Shades of Blue will likely be downtown at the official draft party and at Verno's draft party at Jason's Deli...personally, I'm going to Jason's Deli to see Verno dressed up as a Love-train conductor and to possibly see his reaction to the slim possibility we draft Brooke Lopez.)
My next reaction to the nightmare of the draft going Rose-Beasley-Love-Mayo will be to start up a chant of "Trade-Trade-Trade-Trade". Wallace was sure to remind Griz fans via Beyond the Arc that a trade with the #5 pick for a current player is possible. Although I, and the whole Griz Nation, hope that they trade isn't one that only rids us of BC's contract (allow me to speak for Griz fans everywhere, screw you Chad Ford). What kind of trade is possible that isn't centered on cost-cutting? Here are a few options:
--Trade with Phoenix for Barbosa and/or Diaw. Personally, I think this is not only a good idea, but quite likely. Kerr allegedly doesn't like either player and wants to infuse the Suns with some youth. On the other hand, Iavaroni is very familiar with both players. Toronto and NY are likely to be chasing a similar trade. It could involve getting back the #15 from Phoenix, which could net us the workout wonder Courtney Lee.
--Trade with Seattle for their lottery pick next year (I came up with this over the weekend and thought it was way off-the-wall, but have received a warm reception by some, so I wanted to include it). Chris Wilcox (and maybe BC) could be included too. An added benefit of swapping our lottery pick this year for Seattle's lottery pick next year is the cap room it nets us in case Chris Wallace surprises us all and wants to sign Josh Smith to a large contract. I love Josh Smith's game.
--Trade with Toronto for TJ Ford (ha ha, just kidding, hopefully another PG isn't on the menu).
--Trade with Detroit for Tayshaun Prince and move Rudy to SG. The Pistons may then use the #5 to overhaul their roster later this summer.
--Trade down with a team wanting a specific player. Like the Bucks (could maybe get their pick and CharlieV) or the Nets or the Pacers or the Blazers. Trading down instead of out altogether is probably the most likely option if we do trade the #5. The Blazers option is intriguing, since it could land us Outlaw, who some report is high on Chris Wallace's wish list, and the 13th pick. I do like Outlaw. And he has a reasonable contract.
I think right now I am in the trade the #5 for Barbosa camp if the nightmare scenario of Love and Mayo being off the board happens. And I can't believe I'm saying it would suck if Love is gone. I'm not sure if he fits our style, but I do think he can make an impact. Maybe. I don't know. I really just don't like this draft for us at #5. Thanks lottery gods, all we needed was more repeated punching in the groin.
Second...While I'm talking trades, what is the chance that Lowry is moved on draft night? I'd say a good 85%. We can go ahead and say the old Trade Alert Status is at full and bright Red regarding Lowry right now. Rumors continue that the coaching staff doesn't like him and think his close relationship with Rudy could cause locker-room trouble if he is again the backup to Conley (especially if he arguably is outplaying Conley on the court for a 2nd year in a row...nothing like getting traded because you are playing too well relative to the hand picked starter). The time of being optimistic about having both Conley and Lowry is likely done. Chances are one of them is gone, and that someone is likely the player most Griz fans think is the 2nd coming of Earl Watson. I will say that I see no way Denver gives up Linas Kleiza for him (let alone drop 8 spots in the draft too). But Wallace will likely be motivated to move Lowry, for probably about 75 cents on the dollar.
I'll move on from here before I shed another tear for my 2nd favorite Griz. See ya later, Lowry. Good luck on your next team.
Third...Let's talk about cap space. The impending signing of Marc Gasol (and assuming we only draft the #5 and #28 picks without any trades), puts our total salary at ~49 million, according to my calculation. That would leave something like 6-9 million free depending on the cap number. Which isn't likely to get us anyone special. Air France maybe. But not any top notch RFA's. This kind of sucks, but I think signing an RFA like Josh Smith was just a pipe dream anyway.
Fourth...What to do at #28? Courtney Lee, who I think is only a workout wonder, will not be available. And it seems having Ty Lawson and Chase Buddinger pullout of the draft has hurt the value of the 28th pick. I say we need to set our sights on CDR at #28 and do whatever we have to in order to get him, even if that means moving up a few spots. I think the 2nd half of the 1st round will be littered with big men, and assuming we draft the Love Train, we probably aren't interested in any of them, so let's get CDR. I was afraid the Hornets would take him before us, but rumor is they promised Tiger-killer Mario Chalmers that spot. Good. Chalmers can go to hell. But CDR is for real. He has the length. I love his attitude. I love his mid-range game. Everyone is sleeping on CDR, he will be one of the top 10 players from this draft and getting him at #28 would be a steal. And yes, I am a Tiger Homer.
This leads me to the next question. Do we buy a 2nd round pick for Dorsey? I say yes. But then again, buying 2nd round picks has really hurt us in the past, so maybe we don't want to repeat the Lawrence Roberts or Alexander Johnson or Antonio Burks mistakes.
Fifth...I debated whether to put this on the blog, because Chip and Josh have really built an up-beat, positive blog here, but I decided I would.
This offseason, for me anyways, is the least optimistic one since I moved to Memphis 5 years ago. Sorry guys. I hope the sunshine patrol doesn't throw too many salmonella tomatoes at me. Some reasons why:
--Back to back 22 win season.
--I foolishly bought into the optimism last year. Stupid me. As Dubya says, "There is a saying - probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again"
--I have no faith the coaching staff will realize the mistakes they made last year when it comes to philosophy (uh, not hedging on the pick-and-roll is a bad idea...and the high post hand off is a turnover waiting to happen).
--Back to back kicks in the groin in the draft.
--Heisley likely keeping the salary low and restricting Wallace from making bold moves to improve the team.
--Kevin O'Neil being hired (I'm in the minority that think he will be the interim head coach by the all-star break).
--Darko, the black hole of good karma, still being on the team.
--About half the top draft picks treating us like we have the plague.
--Did I mention we got screwed again in the lottery and draft?
--Kevin Love genuinely being our best option to improve the team this year at #5. Sheesh.
--Counting on another Gasol to help the team win some games
But as Josh told me, and I think it is wise, this season is likely just a good time to have some realistic expectations. That way if we do better, we feel good, and if we do bad, we expected it. That is why I'm expecting us to make it a 3-peat of 22 win seasons. Please basketball gods, forgive us for having Darko on our team still (we did get rid of Swift and Kwame at least!), and install some good luck to the franchise.
(Darko fans, please, I beg you, I'm just kidding. I love Darko. I genuinely think he plays great defense when denying the ball into the post. I am trying to replicate his lefty jump hook in my own basketball game. And I don't want anyone's sisters, daughters or wives hurt over my jokes).