Extended Draft Analysis and the Start of Free Agency

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 29: Chase Budinger #10 of the Houston Rockets drives the basket over Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat in the second half at Toyota Center on December 29 2010 in Houston Texas. Miami won 125-119. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Wow. Ok seriously. Maybe it's because of the compacted season running nearly over the draft week, but this feels like the busiest last week of NBA June....ever.

Above the fold are things we know about free agency so far. Below it are pick-by-pick commentary on the first round of the draft. Below that is space for you to comment. Below that....is copyright info. Fun stuff. Wheee.

Free Agency Update:

The Timberwolves declined to make qualifying offers to Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. They are unrestricted free agents now. The team also extended the deadline for making a decision on the contracts of Martell Webster and Brad Miller to keep their deals available for a trade. As far as I know, the team has basically one trade focus: Pau Gasol. Which would probably require both Miller and Webster to make the finances match up.

Dwight Howard has officially requested a trade to the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets. The Magic lose after all (and so does Dallas) Howard in New York means Deron Williams is probably reconsidering the Mavericks being his preferred team now as well. Williams will meet with both the Nets and Mavericks on Monday.

Blake Griffin intends to sign an extension with the LA Clippers.

Kevin Garnett will return to the Celtics on a reported 3 year deal. I highly doubt he actually plays three more years, but the playoffs proved he's still got it in him now. The Heat meanwhile are expected to try and sign Ray Allen, but there's no indication of what Allen's plans might be right now.

Eric Gordon's version of testing free agency seems to be talking to every team he possibly can. Meetings are set up now with the Suns, Rockets, and Pacers, with the Trailblazers working to schedule something as well. But the Hornets already extended a qualifying offer to him, meaning that he's 99% certain to be staying in New Orleans unless he gets an outrageous offer.

Steve Nash is likely on the move. Despite all the has happened, he still said that he had pictured himself staying with the Suns until very recently (basically yesterday). He specifically mentioned Toronto (he is Canadian, after all) and Dallas as two teams that he's had on his mind, but strongly states he has no preferred destination right now.

Me, I of course have my checklist of things I think the Wolves should do. One is sign Alexey Shved. It won't take much (he's reportedly looking for about $10 mil over three years) and he'd combine with Budinger and Rubio to give us something approximating a legitimate NBA starting wing rotation.....and an all-white starting line-up.....yeah.....

I'd also like to see a Pau Gasol trade happen. I realize he'd cost a lot, but the fact is, he's a hell of a player and a perfect fit for Adelman's corner flex offense.

If that doesn't happen, I think it'd be worth seeing what the market is on JaVale McGee. I also think it's worth making a run at Nic Batum, talking to Eric Gordon (hell, he's talking to everyone else anyway...), and exploring trades for Rudy Gay and Danilo Gallinari.

So that's that. Keep reading for some commentary on the draft.

First, let me say that it was incredibly amusing to see the Wolves do nothing but pick 58th this year. After making roughly 1,976 trades the last three drafts, Kahn made 0 in this one. The league set out to stop GMs from trading for cash, and they succeeded. The Kahn rule stopped Kahn.

And while that made the draft incredibly boring from a Timberpuppy perspective, it ended up being about a best case scenario for us. Ok, sure, we could have bought that 36th pick and gotten Will Barton or Quincy Miller. But the bottom line is, we got Chase Budinger out of this draft. A guy who's already spent three very solid and productive seasons in the NBA and has a mutual love-fest with coach Adelman. Budinger is better than anyone we could have gotten with that 18th pick. That makes this a win for the team.

As for everyone else:

1. Hornets - Anthony Davis (PF, Kentucky)

Yeah. This guy will have a Kevin Garnett/Dwight Howard type of impact on defense, and could very well have their impact on offense in the near future too. No one else in this draft is anywhere close to his level.

2. Bobcats - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF, Kentucky)

So the Wildcats make history thanks to the Bobcats. I honestly don't get this selection. MKG wasn't the best available of the best fit. Thomas Robinson was. The Cats' new coach said MKG was the pick because of his great work ethic and they're trying to build a culture and blah blah blah and...well, it sounds an awful lot like "working hard" and "smiles"....

3. Wizards - Bradley Beal (SG, Florida)

Now this is a team that really could have used MKG's professional behavior and work ethic. But yeah....with Nene and Okafor and Blatche under contract, Robinson didn't make sense for them. Beal should be able to step in for the departed Nick Young, and do a far less erratic job of it.

4. Cavaliers - Dion Waiters (SG, Syracuse)

Ummm....it's not that Waiters is bad, but....well, this is more a commentary on the state of this draft class, isn't it? The #4 pick is a 25mpg bench player. Hmmm.

5. Kings - Thomas Robinson (PF, Kansas)

An athletic, energetic, face-up 4 to go with their gigantic, traditional back-to-the-basket 5? The Kings are doing their happy dance right now.

6. Trailblazers - Damien Lillard (PG, Weber)

I predicted the Blazers would gamble on a center here and pick a point guard later. They did the opposite. Well, ok. Hopefully just because Lillard plays like Raymond Felton doesn't mean his time with the Blazers will go like Raymond Felton's.

7. Warriors - Harrison Barnes (F/G, UNC)

Warriors GM Bob Meyers had a difficult time explaining what the team liked in Barnes. Something about proven at a high level and versatile. Granted the question was just a formality to the ESPN team could mic him up and grill him about coach Mark Jackson's alleged affair and extortion story, but still....feels an awful lot like "everyone expected us to take him so we did, but we're not sure why".

8. Raptors - Terrence Ross (SF, Washington)

Feels like a big reach here. Granted this class isn't particularly strong but Lamb and Rivers were still on the board at the wing spots, and they could have done just as well picking a center here too. Not sure what made them think so highly of Ross.

9. Pistons - Andre Drummond (C, UCONN)

I have a hard time seeing Drummond as a functional NBA player. He's got a debilitating fear of the free throw line and doesn't even seem to enjoy playing basketball that much. That said, even if he gets over all that, I also don't see him as a power forward in the new, smaller, faster NBA. Not sure how he pairs with Greg Monroe. I suppose there is a potentially huge reward here, but I feel that Detroit should have taken Henson and left Drummond and his demons to someone else.

10. Hornets - Austin Rivers (SG, Duke)

I really don't get this. If they intend to match any offer Eric Gordon gets, why are they drafting at his position? Get a point guard. Anthony Davis is a dynamite finisher. Kendall Marshall is a dynamite initiator. Instead you pick a guy who doesn't seem to know assists exist. Something tells me...based mostly on coach Monty Williams' draft day comments...that there's something personal in this selection.

11. Trailblazers - Meyers Leonard (C, Illinois)

They decided to go PG first, C second, and used their second pick on the best center on the board.

12. Rockets - Jeremy Lamb (SG, UCONN)

Ahh, good ol' McHale. Jeremy Lamb is a solid SG prospect. You need a SG. And your comment about the pick is "I wish we could have made a trade to really help the team"?? I get that you sometimes have semi-irrational man-crushes on big men, but c'mon....

13. Suns - Kendall Marshall (PG, UNC)

Steve Nash is probably leaving. You could do a lot worse replacing him than drafting a guy who's the best passing PG in college in the last decade, if not longer. Maybe ever.

14. Bucks - John Henson (F/C, UNC)

I sure wish the Wolves had traded Derrick Williams for this pick.

15. 76ers - Mo Harkless (SF, St Johns)

Another wing, sure. The Sixers don't necessarily need another wing. But they do need someone who can shoot. Mo Harkless can shoot.

16. Rockets - Royce White (G/F/C, Iowa St)

Surprising. But pleasing. White is a unique player, and playing for McHale is a good situation for him. And anyone else find it weird that Mac was way more excited about drafting White than Lamb?

17. Cavaliers (from Mavericks) - Tyler Zeller (C, UNC)

I get the Mavs not wanting to rely on a rookie like this. For some teams, the center spot isn't all that important. For the Mavs, the center spot is everything. Zeller can help the Cavs as a big body, a productive player, and insurance against further injury to Verajao.

18. Rockets - Terrence Jones (PF, Kentucky)

Tough spot for the Rockets to be in. Obviously they stockpiled picks with the intent of trading for #5 or Dwight Howard. That didn't happen. So...they already drafted a PF in White, but can't be sure of his stability. They also will need a point guard (because Kyle Lowry hates McHale) but there weren't any worthwhile ones on the board. Jones is a good player. But not sure how he fits into the plan.

19. Magic - Andrew Nicholson (PF, Southwest Babtist)

No disrespect to Nicholson, but this should have been Jared Sullinger or Perry Jones III.

20. Nuggets - Evan Fournier (SG, France)

He really wants to play in the NBA this year, but he was picked because the Nuggets can send him back to Europe, not have to have his guaranteed contract on their books, and spend money to re-sign Andre Miller and JaVale McGee.

21. Celtics - Jared Sullinger (PF, Ohio St.)

The medical red flag is legit. It's reportedly a bad disc in his spine that will likely require surgery. But he's also been the best post scorer in college ball for the past two years, and a top 5 talent in this draft. The Celtics need talent, size, toughness, and scoring in the post.

Very similar to DeJuan Blair a couple years ago. Teams freak because of a medical issue. Since then, he's averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds on 52% shooting, with an average PER of 17.5 and average WS/48 of .140. So....yeah....

22. Celtics - Fab Melo (C, Syracuse)

Another pick made for the need for size and toughness in the post. He's also got some great potential as a defensive anchor. And he's also insurance against Garnett going down or retiring.

23. Hawks - John Jenkins (SG, Vanderbilt)

Strange draft selection is strange. Makes no sense to me. If you're stuck with Joe Johnson and trying to move Josh Smith, shouldn't you be drafting a forward? Perry Jones III....?

24. Mavericks (from Cavaliers) - Jared Cunningham (Oregon St.)

If you're so sure Dion Waiters is a big time shooting guard in the making, why draft another one? Broken record. Perry Jones III

25. Grizzlies - Tony Wroten (PG, Washington)

Yeah, they need a backup PG. But they also need outside shooting, and Wroten is possibly the worst outside shooter they could have selected.

26. Pacers - Miles Plumlee (PF, Duke)

Hmmm. They have David West and Tyler Hansbrough. Depth isn't an altogether terrible things, but....Perry Jones III

27. 76ers (from Heat) - Arnett Moultrie (PF, MSU)

Perry Jones III. I mean, c'mon....regardless if the fit is right, at least draft the most talented guy at the position....

28. Thunder - Perry Jones III (PF, Baylor)

Sam Presti is just the most ridiculous combination of skill and luck. Russell Westbrook and James Harden? Mad skills. But that #2 pick turning into Durant was luck. And now he got a top 10 talent at pick #28.

I get Jones underperformed. I get that he has some baggage, and possibly a knee problem. But look, the Thunder went to the Finals and are now getting Lamar Odom 2.0 for their next run. A guy who's 6'11" and athletic (meaning he won't get run out of the building like Kendrick Perkins) who can score in the post (aka fills a need) and doesn't mind sharing the basketball. The rich get richer.

29. Bulls - Marquis Teague (PG, Kentucky)

I did not like Teague at Kentucky. At all. He was not good. But I suppose with Rose out, the Bulls do need a point guard, and Teague was part of a championship team.

30. Warriors - Festus Ezeli (F/C, Vanderbilt)

A big body for a team that....well, I don't really know what they're trying to do. Yeah...

We'll keep updating as news breaks. In the meantime, have at it.

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