Jerry Colangelo was once asked the difference between the Los Angeles Lakers and his Phoenix Suns. Colangelo's answer was, "21 Feet." 21 feet represents the combined height of the of the Lakers 2 previous centers at the time, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as well as the then current , Shaquille O'neal. The point was that to be successful in the NBA, you must have a low post threat. What do Dallas, Golden State, Minnesota, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Sacramento all have in common? Right! No man in the middle. These aren't the only ones, but you get the point. Where was Atlanta before Horford? Do you think the Lakers would be playing in the Western Conference Finals without Gasol? I'd say their success grew exponentially by another 7 feet.
Tuesday's draft lottery has created a complex chess match between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. With the prospect of acquiring Memphis' point guard Derrick Rose or Kansas' forward Michael Beasley, both teams look to improve significantly. For these 2 teams, I say either would be a mistake. No point guard is going to turn around a franchise unless the pieces around him, are already in place. Rose will be a fine player in the league. Mike D'Antoni called him Jason Kidd with a jumpshot. But the Heat are not a point guard away from playoff contention. Who is he suppose to dish to? Beasley could very well be a 20-10 guy, but with the Heat, what would it accomplish? They will be a lottery team again next year, with the Rookie of the Year. Does Kevin Durrant sound familiar? Chicago would be somewhat better off with Beasley, but not as much as you might think. Drew Gooden is still the closest thing to a low post threat. They were a playoff team last year and could return in the East, but the results would be the same--a sub .500 record, and an early exit from the playoffs.
In 1995 the Golden State Warriors used the number 1 pick in the draft to take Maryland's Joe Smith, leaving on the board Kevin Garnett, and Rasheed Wallace. Golden State is watching the playoffs on ESPN and has been looking for a big man every since. Does "small ball" ring a bell?
This brings me to the point of this blog. The impact player of the 2008 NBA draft is Stanfords' Brook Lopez. Now before you call the men in the white jackets, check him out. Lopez is a legitimate 7 feet. He averages 19 and 8. A good shot blocker. Good mid-range jumper. Moves well around the basket. Plays hard and smart. Probably would compare favorably to Chris Kaman. In Miami with Haslem and Marion, Lopez immediately shores up your non-existent front line. Miami would have a low post presence that makes life a lot easier for D Wade. I would go as far as saying Lopez combined with Drew Gooden completely changes Chicago's whole game on both ends of the floor. Now, none of what I have to say is going to influence Paxon or Riley, and they're going ahead with their plan. Lopez will team up with Kevin Durrant in Seattle and write history. I'll be here writing blogs free, instead of being paid the big bucks to make these decisions. That's alright though, I have the personal satisfaction of being right. Riley and Paxon won't be able to say that.
If your basketball IQ is above single digits, let me know what you think. As always, I appreciate your stopping by.