Friday, June 24, 2016

The Raven Report 6.24.16: The NBA Draft & Old Faces In New Places

By Raven Williams, @nevaRWilliams

Times.... they are changing.

Teams are retooling and rebuilding. Players are sharpening their skills. GM's are starting to reshape their teams and in turn, reshape the league. And of course...


But what happens when a new champion is crowned? The twenty-nine other teams try to get better to attempt to compete with, and dethrone the king of the league. It all began Wednesday with two of the biggest markets in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.

The Bulls traded star point guard Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday and a 2017 2nd-rounder to the Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon. Rose, 27, should be able to offer a boost to the 'always' struggling Knicks backcourt, while also providing some offensive punch to help support the Knicks star forward, Carmelo Anthony. After not playing at all in the 2012-13 season, Rose played in only 10 games in 2013-14, but he bounced back in 2014-15 playing 51 games and 66 games in 2015-16.

Another good thing for the Knicks, they reduced salary in dumping Lopez ($13.2M), Jose Calderon ($7.7M) and Jerian Grant ($1.6M) to pick up Rose's contract for 2016-17 at $21.3M.

The good thing? Rose will be a free agent at the end of this upcoming season. So if things do not fit well, the Knicks will not be handcuffed and can once again make a play for a major piece to build around Carmelo Anthony.

In a smaller deal that also went down Wednesday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks finally parted ways with point guard Jeff Teague, sending him to the Indiana Pacers in a three-way trade. Like Rose, Teague will also be a free agent in 2017, but this season in Indiana could help himself and star Pacers forward Paul George get better and create a solid team-up for the Pacers.

As part of the three-way deal, the Pacers sent guard George Hill to the Utah Jazz, while the Jazz sent the 12th overall pick of the 2016 draft to Atlanta.

And that brings us to Draft Night, where things got CRAZY!

First things first, the draft. As most know, LSU forward Ben Simmons and Duke guard/forward Brandon Ingram went to the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers at 1 and 2, respectively. After that, the Boston Celtics were on the clock for the first of what turned out to be their EIGHT draft picks, selecting small forward Jaylen Brown from California.

Earlier Thursday, it was rumored that the Celtics were very actively trying to shop the 3rd pick to many teams to attempt to bring in a veteran scorer to pair with point guard Isaiah Thomas. By the end of the night, the Celtics didn't pull off any miracle deals, or blockbuster trades. While they did draft some quality talent in Brown, Providence forward Ben Bentil among others, the majority of Celtic fans came away unhappy with GM Danny Ainge's haul for the night, considering all of the assets the team had at its disposal.

Where the Celtics failed to make a splash, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic did not. Just when you thought the core of the Thunder would return to take another shot at advancing to the NBA Finals, OKC GM Sam Presti had different ideas.

The Thunder traded 6 year veteran forward Serge Ibaka to Orlando for guard Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis, who was selected 11th overall. Ibaka, 26, averaged 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds last season for the Thunder, and should be able to create a much needed inside presence for the Magic once new Magic coach Frank Vogel gets him in practice. As for the Thunder and Oladipo, this is an obvious upgrade over last season's starting shooting guards, namely Dion Waiters and Andre Roberson, as the OKC shooting guards averaged 6 points and 0.8 assists per game, compared to Oladipo's 16 points and 3.9 assists in 33 minutes of play. This deal should see the end of Waiters time in OKC, as he is a free agent, and could entice superstar forward Kevin Durant to stick around for one more season, if not longer.

Or Durant could disagree with ridding the team of Ibaka who showed his value in the Western Conference Finals with his defending all areas of the court and outside shooting. We shall see when free agency begins next week.

Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017. It's said that the Toronto Raptors were also interested in Ibaka.

In other draft night deals, the Brooklyn Nets traded Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for the 20th pick, which turned out to be Michigan guard Caris Levert. Young re-signed with the Nets last season on a four year, $50M deal. The Pacers now project to have a starting five of Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, Paul George, Myles Turner and Young.

Not to be excluded from the draft night fun, the WORLD CHAMPION Cleveland Cavaliers (still feels great to say) made an acquisition. Entering the night without a draft pick, the Cavs bought the 54th overall pick from the Atlanta Hawks for $2.4M, selecting Oakland University point guard Kay Felder. Felder, 5'9", 177 lbs., led all of college basketball with 9.3 assists per game and was fourth in scoring with 24.4 points. That made Felder the only player in the past season to be in the top 5 of both points and assists. The 21 year old Felder was also 2016 Horizon League Player of the Year and was All-Horizon League First Team the past two seasons. Despite being just 5'9", Felder had the second highest max vertical at the NBA Draft Combine with 44 inches. Cavaliers scout and LeBron James friend, Brandon Weems, was an assistant coach at Oakland for two seasons, where he worked with Felder. Personally, I think Felder could make the team if backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova decides to go elsewhere in free agency. He's a good defender who plays well in the pick-and-roll, and has a good jump shot.

In case you'd like to see Kay Felder in action, look below:

There were other deals like the Hornets acquiring Marco Belinelli from the Sacramento Kings for the draft rights to Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson.

The Kings weren't done though. They sent Washington's Marquese Chriss, whom they selected with the 8th pick, to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the 13th overall (Greek center Georgics Papagiannis) and 28th overall (Kentucky center Skal Labissiere), a second-round pick in 2020 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Labissiere joins star big man DeMarcus Cousins and second year center Willie Cauley-Stein on Sacramento's roster who also went to the University of Kentucky. Labissiere was a potential top 10 pick, but fell due to his 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds as a freshman for the Wildcats.

In other deals:

- The draft rights to Cheick Diallo was acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for the draft rights to David Michineau and the draft rights to Diamond Stone.
- The draft rights to Daniel Hamilton was acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for cash.
- The draft rights to Isaiah Whitehead was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets from the Utah Jazz in exchange for the draft rights to Marcus Paige and cash.

Here are the full draft results for Thursday's 2016 NBA Draft:

Round 1

1) Philadelphia: Ben Simmons, F (LSU)
2) LA Lakers: Brandon Ingram, F (Duke)
3) Boston: Jaylen Brown, F (California)
4) Phoenix: Dragan Bender, F (Croatia)
5) Minnesota: Kris Dunn, PG (Providence)
6) New Orleans: Buddy Hield, SG (Oklahoma)
7) Denver: Jamal Murray, G (Kentucky)
8) Phoenix: Marquese Chriss, F (Washington)
9) Toronto: Jakob Poeltl, C (Utah)
10) Milwaukee: Thon Maker, PF (Canada)
11) Oklahoma City: Domantas Sabonis, C (Gonzaga)
12) Atlanta: Taurean Prince, SF (Baylor)
13) Sacramento: Georgios Papagiannis, C (Greece)
14) Chicago: Denzel Valentine, SG (Michigan State)
15) Denver: Juan Hernangomez, F (Spain)
16) Boston: Guerschon Yabusele, PF (France)
17) Memphis: Wade Baldwin, G (Vanderbilt)
18) Detroit: Henry Ellenson, PF (Marquette)
19) Denver: Malik Beasley, SG (Florida State)
20) Brooklyn: Caris LeVert, G (Michigan)
21) Atlanta: DeAndre Bembry, F (St. Joseph's)
22) Sacramento: Malachi Richardson, SG (Syracuse)
23) Boston: Ante Zizic, C (Croatia)
24) Philadelphia: Timothé Luwawu, SG (France)
25) LA Clippers: Brice Johnson, F (North Carolina)
26) Philadelphia: Furkan Korkmaz, F (Turkey)
27) Toronto: Pascal Siakam, PF (New Mexico State)
28) Sacramento: Skal Labissiere, PF (Kentucky)
29) San Antonio: Dejounte Murray, PG (Washington)
30) Golden State: Damian Jones, C (Vanderbilt)

Round 2

31) Memphis: Deyonta Davis, C (Michigan State)
32) LA Lakers: Ivica Zubac, C (Croatia)
33) New Orleans: Cheick Diallo, PF (Kansas)
34) Phoenix: Tyler Ulis, PG (Kentucky)
35) Memphis: Rade Zagorac, (Serbia)
36) Milwaukee: Malcolm Brogdon, SG (Virginia)
37) Houston: Chinanu Onuaku, C (Louisville)
38) Golden State: Patrick McCaw, SG (UNLV)
39) LA Clippers: David Michineau, PG (France)
40) LA Clippers: Diamond Stone, C (Maryland)
41) Orlando: Stephen Zimmerman, PF (UNLV)
42) Brooklyn: Isaiah Whitehead, SG (Seton Hall)
43) Houston: Zhou Qi, C (China)
44) Atlanta: Isaia Cordinier, SG (France)
45) Boston: Demetrius Jackson, PG (Notre Dame)
46) Dallas: A.J. Hammons, C (Purdue)
47) Portland: Jake Layman, SF (Maryland)
48) Chicago: Paul Zipser, SF (Germany)
49) Detroit: Michael Gbinije, SF (Syracuse)
50) Indiana: Georges Niang, PF (Iowa State)
51) Boston: Ben Bentil, PF (Providence)
52) Utah: Joel Bolomboy, PF (Weber State)
53) Denver: Petr Cornelie, PF (France)
54) Atlanta: Kay Felder, PG (Oakland)
55) Utah: Marcus Paige, PG (North Carolina)
56) Denver: Daniel Hamilton, SF (Connecticut)
57) Memphis: Wang Shelin, C (China)
58) Boston: Abdel Nader, PF (Iowa State)
59) Sacramento: Isaiah Cousins, SG (Oklahoma)
60) Utah: Tyrone Wallace, PG (California)

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