NEW YORK — Before somersaulting into some of the specifics and subtitles of Wednesday’s draft, Knicks president Isiah Thomas asked if I would be so kind as to accentuate the Detroit Shock’s WNBA record comeback Sunday, reducing a 25-point deficit to beat the L.A. Sparks.
“That’s what I’m talking about! I want someone who can get out of a hole like that,” he exclaimed in narrowing his Knicks’ coaching choice down to Bill Laimbeer or Saddam Hussein.
That is, unless Larry Brown proves he’s capable of burrowing his way out of the drama he created for himself involving the Pistons and the Cavaliers.
By turning over Cleveland’s personnel decisions to Spurs’ exec Danny Ferry and committing to him for five years at roughly $10 million, owner Dan Gilbert brusquely deleted Next Town Brown from his team’s front office equation.
What’s next is anybody’s guess.
Will Brown return to the Pistons’ sidelines next season, or will the Knicks look to acquire him as their “franchise coach” for satisfactory compensation?
His third option is to retire due to his supposedly irreversible bladder condition.
I can’t visualize that happening. His problem didn’t seem to have an effect on his coaching or his team’s performance in the playoffs, that’s for sure.
Who knows, I’m now hearing Brown’s lifetime dream is to coach the Mayo Clinic.
By all accounts, this is a very deep draft. So deep that teams (even those with two first-round choices) are rejecting trades (if it means giving up two for one) for established players with non-prohibitive contracts.
So deep that teams once leaning toward selling their position (Grizzlies, No. 19) for the $3 million league maximum are now looking to invest in a second No. 1 (middle round) selection.
So deep that teams (Nuggets, No. 20, for instance) are attempting to purchase or acquire another first-rounder.
Management isn’t nearly as nervous as it was in the past about taking a chance with untested youth because the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows players to be sent down to the minors (Developmental League) their first two pro seasons.
So deep that numerous teams are offering to buy second-round places (from, say, 35 to 45) for anywhere from $750,000 to a half-million dollars.
So deep that teams drafting that low on the second round enthusiastically believe their picks will make their (14-man) rosters.
What makes this draft so deep?
College, the NBA’s primary farm system, is providing a ton of established (the operative word) talent, notably North Carolina’s NCAA title team; four lottery picks.
Additionally, high school is furnishing four or five elite prospects and Europe is supplying about the same.
So deep is the draft’s skill stratum, Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Danny Granger, Channing Frye, Raymond Felton, Hakim Warrick, Charlie Villanueva, Scott May, Rashad McCants, Joey Graham, Francisco Garcia, Ike Diogu, Yaroslav Korolev and Jarrett Jack are projected as starters next season, claim several of the league’s most successful scouts, regardless who drafts them.
Is there a franchise player among them?
Not from what our panel of judicious judges have seen.
Is there an immediate impact player among them?
In their estimation, no (meaning it’s not all that great to own a top 10 spot), nor is there anyone of star quality; Gerald Green (not near ready for prime time) and Marvin Williams appear to come closest.
So why are the Trail Blazers still indecisive about what to do at No. 3 which is muddling up the rear very nicely?
Green doesn’t flaunt Tracy McGrady’s handle, otherwise he’s a clone at a similar raw age, able to run, soar, shoot from the shoreline and get his own shot.
Various reasons: Sources confirm Portland is hoping to swap its prime real estate to the bobbin’ and weavin’ Bobcats for Nos. 5 & 13, who prefer to substitute someone for their second pick; talking to the Jazz about Nos. 6, & 27 and other considerations; and discussing with Toronto an exchange of Nos. 7 & 16.
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