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News » Hawks turn out to be winners


Hawks turn out to be winners


Hawks turn out to be winners
The standard line teams use after the NBA draft is that you need to wait two or three years to grade the winners and losers.

Forget that. You need about two or three seconds in the age of Twitter.

And when there is as much trade movement as there was before and during Thursday night's draft, the big winners and the biggest losers tend to reveal themselves before the night is out.

The winners and losers from the draft and trades:

Winners

San Antonio

Key additions: Richard Jefferson (via trade with Milwaukee), No. 37 pick overall DeJuan Blair, No. 51 Jack McClinton and No. 53 Nando De Colo.

The skinny: The Spurs have a history of making the rest of the league look like amateurs with draft picks and in trades. They did it again. Not only did they acquire Jefferson for spare parts in a deal with Milwaukee. They grabbed the steal of the draft and an unquestioned first-round talent in Blair. They grabbed one of the draft's most underrated players and shooters in the second round in McClinton, and De Colo was most everyone's pick as the top player at the Reebok Eurocamp. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have all the youth and reinforcements for at least one final title run, and the Spurs didn't sacrifice any major assets.

Memphis

Key additions: No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet, No. 27 DeMarre Carroll and No. 36 Sam Young

The skinny: Knocked for never spending money and giving away Pau Gasol for nothing last year, Grizzlies rose to the occasion Thursday. Thabeet was the best defensive presence in the draft and could be a star. The Grizzlies, however, did their best work later in the draft. Carroll is the kind of no-nonsense worker bee the Grizzlies need with Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo playing the roles of wanna-be-All-Stars. Young was a rip-off in the second round. He's already older (24) and more mature than most of his teammates. He's also a gritty defender and arguably the most versatile player on the roster. This could be a culture-changing draft.

Oklahoma City

Key additions: No. 3 pick James Harden, No. 24 B.J. Mullens, No. 54 Robert Vaden

The skinny: Shrewd work late in the draft provided the Thunder with even more quality depth on what is rapidly becoming the most intriguing young team in the league (move over Trail Blazers and Hawks ). Harden was an excellent choice with the third pick, giving Russell Westbrook an elite running mate in the backcourt. Mullens could potentially be the long-term solution at center. And Vaden will be a valuable asset off the bench as a shooter.

Hawks

Key additions: Jamal Crawford (via trade with Golden State), No. 19 pick Jeff Teague

The skinny: After years of swinging and missing in the draft, trade and free-agent point-guard sweepstakes, the Hawks finally got it right. They grabbed a fabulous insurance policy in Crawford if things don't work out in free agency with Mike Bibby. They sent Acie Law IV and Speedy Claxton's expiring contract to the Warriors for a 20-point scorer capable of playing both guard spots, a deal completed just hours before the draft. Then they stayed patient as point guard after point guard went off the board, and they grabbed the talented Teague at 19, solidifying the future.

Losers

Minnesota

Key additions: No. 5 pick Ricky Rubio, No. 6 Jonny Flynn and No. 28 Wayne Ellington

Key losses: Mike Miller and Randy Foye (both via trade with Washington)

The skinny: New Timberwolves general manager David Kahn tried to explain the point guard-apalooza his team went on during the draft (they also selected Ty Lawson but traded him to Denver for a future draft pick). Kahn's explanation for taking back-to-back point guards: "I think when you are picking that high in the daft you need to pick players that you believe have a chance to be great, and I believe [Rubio and Flynn] do. Ricky Rubio has been great for several years. I also think they both can play well together." Good luck with that one.

Orlando

Key additions: Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson (both via trade with New Jersey)

Key losses: Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston (both traded to New Jersey) and potentially Hedo Turkoglu (who opted out of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent).

The skinny: The Magic didn't have a draft pick, but they made arguably the biggest noise on draft night with this deal. And it's as risky a move as any team that was as close to a title as the Magic were could make. The Magic was a missed layup by Lee away from taking control of the NBA Finals against the Lakers, and they're gambling on an aged Vince Carter pushing them over the hump? If they whiff on re-signing Turkoglu, their chemistry could take a major hit. If the Magic don't win a title, this could end up a colossal disaster.

Cleveland

Key additions: Shaquille O'Neal (via trade with Phoenix), No. 30 pick Christian Eyenga, No. 46 Danny Green, No. 57 Emir Preldzic

Key losses: Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic (both traded to Phoenix)

The skinny: Fine. The Cavaliers didn't really lose a whole lot, but they've still put themselves on the hot seat with this one. In their quest to satisfy the King's (government name LeBron James) NBA title thirst, the Cavaliers have taken the Shaq plunge. It worked in Miami with Dwayne Wade a few years ago, but Shaq was a lot younger and there wasn't the pressure of impending free agency for Wade as there is for James. If there's any player who shouldn't be counted out, it's Shaq, who has reinvented himself time after time. That said, anything short of a title makes a mockery of the end of Shaq's Hall of Fame career and could stain the potential end of the King James era in Cleveland.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 29, 2009

 

 
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