As many of you, I was very disheartened to hear KP was fired just hours before the draft. I was even more put off when I heard that Paul Allen was firing him but ALSO expected him to perform his duties for the rest of draft day. That whole situation has been covered in other posts, but I have to say I really like what KP did yesterday. It was smart of him, he's going to get offers, and what shows better to his class and professionalism than concluding his time here with a couple of nice picks and a really good trade (I explain that standpoint later), all while knowing he was gone. To me, other teams should see that as a defining moment for him, and it should only bolster his resume as he seeks a new GM position.
On his parting day, I have to say I really like what he and the Blazers did yesterday. On the draft picks - Williams is someone they had targeted for quite a while, and Chad Ford suggested that the Blazers may have even helped propagate perception that he was injured to make sure he landed at #22. Regardless, Williams does something I really like and I think we need more of - he gets to the hoop. He is very adept at getting by defenders and attacking the rim. Too often last season, our 2nd unit wasn't able to get any offense going (outside of Bayless 1-on-1), and I think he helps with that. I also think that drafting him (and Johnson) suggests another move, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Johnson was also a nice pick for the 2nd round. He has size and explosiveness for the position - his build actually reminds me a lot of Andre Miller. He has a good feel and is a good pick and roll facilitator. He has some work to do - he needs to work on his shot amongst other things, but many NBA PGs come in needing to improve their shot and polish their game. I think in the 2nd round he was a good gamble - and if he sticks, great.
The big move of the day though was pretty polarizing for Blazers fans - as many loved Martell Webster. I liked him too, but the bottom line was that Batum had emerged as the starter for years to come, and Martell was going to be a permanent bench guy. I loved the energy, hustle, and defense he brought off the bench, but I don't feel like our team took a hit in talent as some have suggested.
Babbitt, while not being as good a defender as Martell, has a really nice offensive game, with range out to the NBA 3 and underrated athleticism. He actually tested much better athletically at the combine than scouts expected. He was in the conversation as high as the #9 pick to Utah, so getting him at #16 was a nice move for us. He'll bring more offensive punch to the 2nd unit. Bottom line - we took a bench role player making $5M/year who was a spot-up shooter and defensive specialist, and turned him into a lottery talent with a more developed offensive game at a fraction of the cost. Then you have to throw in Gomes, who while not being a star by any means, is a solid, versatile contributor. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Ime Udoka who played here and saw some success.
I think these moves imply some further maneuvering:
1) Rudy or Bayless will be traded
With Williams and Johnson in the backcourt (Williams largely replacing Rudy's game) - one of those guys is on the way out at some point
2) Gomes will likely be traded or waived
He duplicates a lot of what Dante Cunningham does. Considering his deal is not guaranteed - it's ideal to lump into a trade with JPEC. Or we might just waive him and save the cash
3) The Patty Mills experiment is likely over
By drafting Johnson, I think the idea of Patty Mills ever becoming a rotation PG for us is done
There may be more ramifications that I'm not including here. What do you all think, like/dislike the draft picks and the trade? Do they suggest any other future moves that I missed?