I believe that the Heat and OKC will dominate the finals until 2016. LA and Wes' last year is 2015. 2017 is wide open. If Paul has given the team a 5-year window, how might that affect this draft?
If we suppose that Paul has basically given the team a 4-5 year window to win it once for the Gipper, then I could see us trying to get better and get close the next year or three, but acknowledge that our best window may be a few years out. I believe this has implications for our draft strategy for Thursday.
1) OKC has contracts for key players expiring throughout the next 4 years: Harden, 2013, Sefalosha 2014, Perkins, a lodestone retiring in 2015, and Westbrook and Durant through 2016. OKC should peak in 2013 -2014 and hopefully begin to decline in 2015. (Teams that are close will sacrifice long term assets for a shot at the title, so it is reasonable to assume that OKC could be slowing down in 2015... We want to catch them as we are going up, while they are waning.)
2) DWade, Bosh, and LeBr*n, as much as we all (and have every right to) despise them, have contracts until 2016. As much as we hate the idea, they are the team to beat for the next four years. Not that we can't. And they are in the East, so the most important team to concentrate on is OKC.
Getting to the Finals, as the Heat found out this year, is really a pre-requisite to winning it. The Heat's loss last year enabled them to break thru and win this year. So, with that in mind, here's my Balzers Long Rang Plan.
2013 Build a new core for the future. Keep the picks. Use them wisely.
2014 Consolidate and add key piece, gain valuable playoff experience
2015: Grow and mesh as a team in LA and Wes's last year, epic battle with OKC, lose in 7 in the Conf Finals (first year of championship window opening)
2016: After re-signing LMA, Get to the Finals and contend very strongly to disrupt the Heat's last glory year parade...
Win it all in 2017.
So. what does that mean? That we use our picks. We get younger. Let LMA lead our offensive attack while we build a core around him. Whoever the brass thinks are the #6 and #11 guys on the board, go get 'em, and don;t be tempted for a short term fix.
The fans will join you as you climb the championship mountain. But you must stay focused on that long-term goal and execute all short-term moves accordingly.
Keep the picks. Sign them to 2017. Do it again next year. Hope it all works out.
Good luck, Blazer staff!