Here we are in the relative calm after the twisting winds of the 2008 draft. What a frenzied night (yet again)! As someone who has lived in the
That’s exactly where we are right now. It seems peaceful, but hold onto your hats…there’s more coming.
First let’s look at the moves we did make, at least according to our best knowledge. The NBA, in a bid to kill ratings in order to justify moving the entire league to Oklahoma City, has adopted a strict policy against announcing any trades that actually matter to any human being on the face of the earth (besides the mamas of the players involved). Therefore while we are well aware that Splurd McHenry from
Here’s the expanded version of the moves:
Move #1: Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush (Pick #13) to the
Move #2: Darrell Arthur (Pick #27) and Joey Dorsey (Pick #33) to the
Move #3: Omer Asik drafted (Pick #36) (Update: and then traded to Chicago for three second-round picks.)
Move #4: Mike Taylor (Pick #55) traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a second-round pick in 2009.
Here’s the compacted version:
Blazers acquire: Jerryd Bayless (Pick #11), Ike Diogu, Nicolas Batum (Pick #25), three second-round picks from the Chicago Bulls, and a second-round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Blazers give up: Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, Brandon Rush (Pick #13), Darrell Arthur (Pick #27), Joey Dorsey (Pick #33), and Mike Taylor (Pick #55)
Here’s the practical version:
The Blazers netted Bayless, Diogu, Batum and four second-rounders and only gave up Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts.
Obviously the Diogu/Bayless for Jack/Rush and the Batum for Arthur and Dorsey moves are the major ones. Before we get into specifics, a word on methodology. In both cases Kevin Pritchard used a time-tested strategy known in draft circles as the “Yoink!” maneuver. With D.J. Augustin and Russell Westbrook off the board
I don’t think it’s worth writing much about the players we gave up. Jarrett Jack was a nice player but he probably wasn’t going to fit here or be happy here long-term. He was unlikely to start and since he was at his best while scoring he would probably never have a chance to flourish. Josh McRoberts could bang a little and pass the ball but he wasn’t terribly significant. I don’t consider any of the players we drafted as assets we gave up since all of this happened in the context of the same draft. We never really “had” Brandon Rush, we drafted him to trade him. You could say we lost the opportunity to play him but then you’d have to say we “lost” every player drafted 13th or later, as we theoretically could have taken any of them. So basically this was a cost-free draft. We didn’t give up anybody we weren’t going to trade anyway.
Now on to the players we got…
Jerryd Bayless 6’3 199lbs PG, 19 years old: JB was rated very highly in this draft, widely considered the second best point guard behind Derrick Rose. He’s quick, explosive, can shoot, can hit threes, can shoot free throws, can create for himself, and even plays a little bit of defense. He’s got good size for the point position. The knock on him is that he’s not a “pure” point guard like a D.J. Augustin. Much like Jarrett Jack he likes to score as much as distribute. He also needs to handle the ball to be effective. These things seem to indicate a shooting guard, but he’s small for that position and would have trouble defending NBA twos. Even if he’s basically a scorer, though, he’s still a serious step up in scoring from any point guard we have on the roster. If he ends up starting eventually he will benefit from playing beside Brandon Roy, as
Bayless looked somewhat disappointed when interviewed on ESPN after news of the trade came out. I would suggest that his disappointment was less about coming to
The long and short of it is we got a guy who very well could have gone fourth or fifth (and that’s legitimate, not one of those “this second-rounder really had first-round talent” statements) at number thirteen. That’s a value move you don’t sneeze at.
You can see Jerryd’s draft preparation video diary courtesy of our friends at Dime Magazine.
Ike Diogu 6’8” 255lb PF, 24 years old: Diogu is something of an underrated player as his stats have not been impressive in his first three years. He started out well in
Diogu is in his third year, and thus is due a qualifying offer or restricted free agency next season just as Jarrett Jack was. If we retain him through the summer of 2009 he will either cost $3.95 million for the qualifying offer, $8.7 million in a cap hold, or whatever we can renegotiate his contract for. This is actually slightly more than Jack would have cost.
Nicolas Batum 6’8” 214lb SF, 19 years old: Batum was coveted for his athleticism and potential. He’s long for a small forward, can slash like crazy, and can defend. He’s a runner and a finisher, which his highlight clips make abundantly clear. He’s a team player as well, which distinguishes him from many scorers his age. On the other hand he may be too much of a team player, as he is reputed to slip into a stupor at times. He’s not a great shooter, not a ball-handler, and may have some trouble creating his own shot at this level. He’s the type of player the Blazers will let simmer for a while, a la Travis Outlaw. If he pans out he could be an amazing, seamless addition to either the starting lineup or the second unit. In fact he could be exactly the kind of guy who makes opponents consider the Blazer lineup patently unfair. The Blazers will probably have to wait a while for that potential to develop. But it’s a good bet the fans just got a new cult favorite anyway.
Omer Asik 6’11” 230lb C, 21 years old: I was going to go all blogger-ninja on you and pretend like I knew all about 7-footers from
Update: Asik has been traded to the Bulls for three second-round picks. Link
Analysis and Notes:
Jerryd Bayless is the centerpiece here. If he becomes a key player this draft will have been a huge success. If not the other guys probably won’t make up for it. All indications are that Bayless will excel in some role, it just remains to be seen what role that is and how much the Blazers have to shift in order to accommodate him.
You will not see the Rush/Jack/McRoberts-Bayless/Diogu trade made official until after July 1st because the salaries don’t match until next season kicks in.
Salary-wise we traded away around $4.2 million of 2008-09 salary between the Jack, McRoberts, and the #13 pick. We took on roughly $5.5 million between Diogu and the #11 and #25 picks. For the summer of 2009 we are on the hook for approximately $1.1 million more for Bayless and Batum than we would have been for Rush. Diogu’s salary impact vis-a-vis Jack is impossible to determine without knowing what the Blazers would have done with each, but his base salary and potential cap hold are higher than Jack’s would have been, as described above.
In any case it’s far too early to give a final analysis of these moves, as they are not the last to be made. Lamarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye, and Ike Diogu probably do not stay on the same team together. If Petteri Koponen ends up signing with us then he, Steve Blake, Jerryd Bayless, and Sergio Rodriguez don’t stay on the same team either. If Batum were ready to play then we’d have a problem with Outlaw, Webster, and Nicolas as well, but that’s unlikely to be an issue. This means James Jones will not be back though, if there were a chance of that in the first place. The truth is we don’t know which of these players we acquired to keep and which to trade. We also don’t know which of our pre-existing players are on the block. All we know is that the consolidation is not complete yet. The back end of that storm is likely to hit soon…probably after July but sooner if salaries mandate it. Stay tuned.
Overall Draft Grade: A
Even if you don’t believe in the players entirely you have to admire any draft that nets this much potential with little cost.