As I scour the draft order of selection, I am struck by some interesting anomalies. Some NBA teams are loaded with picks, and some are bereft. To be specific, the Philadelphia 76ers have no fewer than five second-round picks. In addition, they are certain to enjoy one first-round lottery pick (likely a juicy one, given their dismal record) AND they will probably receive New Orleans’ first-rounder, currently projected at #10. The Milwaukee Bucks, the league’s worst team, may well get the first overall selection, and have three second-rounders. The New York Knicks, true to their win-now mindset, have traded all their picks. (As Dr. Phil used to say “How’s that working out for you?”) With all that as backdrop, let’s see how we can help our favourite team.
The Toronto Raptors have picks 20, 37, & 59. What if GM Masai Ujiri offers his counterpart in Philly, Sam Hinkie, our #20 for their #s 32 & 39? If we accept the idea that the vast majority of draft picks following the lottery selections have little impact, what’s our risk? I’d prefer to bring four second-rounders to camp, in the hope that one will be a pleasant surprise, rather than three. It’s a numbers game. From Philly’s perspective, they have overplayed their hand. A total of seven draft picks is too much, and I suspect Hinkie would be secretly relieved to have to cope with “only” six new faces, three of whom are first-rounders. Even Philly’s notoriously cantankerous fans and press would be OK with this deal.
Here’s Plan B. Milwaukee’s GM, currently John Hammond (the winds of change are swirling all around that franchise), would probably be happy to take our pick in exchange for any two of his numbers 31, 36 & 48. For both teams it’s the same principle I’ve just espoused.
What about the Knicks? Would new GM Phil Jackson like to have a draft pick? The cupboard is pretty bare for those guys, which doesn’t break my heart in the slightest. Masai should call Phil, let him know our pick is available, then end the conversation. If nothing else, Phil can go to his boss, the serial interferer James Dolan, and tell him he wants to make a deal with Toronto. Dolan will say No on principle, as he feels like he gets hosed when trading with Masai. Phil will threaten to quit because he was promised a free hand in the team’s rebuild, the New York press will get hold of the story, and much fun will result.
There’s my food for thought, which I’ll likely return to once the lottery is complete and the order of selection finalized. I’ve constructed a couple of deals which strictly involve draft choice numbers, so avoiding any CBA issues. What do you think, Rapture Nation? Do you dis/like the principle of dealing our first-rounder for two seconds? I’d like to hear from you, and I’d welcome any deals you can contruct with the Knicks.