JEFF PEARLMAN

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NBA Draft: Weird

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I’m obviously a little late to the table with this, but wanted to share my quick thoughts on the NBA Draft …

• Is there no sense of history? Can’t fault the Clips for taking Blake Griffin, but what in the world are the Grizzlies doing? I know … I know—it’s a weak field, etc. But you use the No. 2 pick to take Hasheem Thabeet, a “shot-blocking rebounder with limited offensive potential”!? In other words, Memphis, meet Tony Battie. This won’t go well.

• The T-Wolves draft Ricky Rubio, who has made it clear he has no interest in moving to Minneapolis. Then, to entice him, they use their next first-round pick on Jonny Flynn, another point guard!? And then—even more egregious—they try selling the fans on a speedy backcourt featuring two PGs. Please. when does this sort of thing ever work? (Note: In 1993, while I was at the University of Delaware, the Hens shifted point guard Brian Pearl to the two in order to make room for a Texas transfer, Rob Garner. The team ended up sucking pretty bad, and Pearl was never the same). Had the Wolves been wise, they would have ignored the 18-year-old Rubio and drafted Flynn and Stephen Curry. Now that’s a backcourt.

• This whole “The Wizards will challenge in the East” talk is a joke. Randy Foye and Mike Miller are nice players, but that’s about all—nice. The Wiz are still thin on the bench, and lack any sort of post dominance.

• Vince Carter? Really? The Magic think Vince Carter is the answer to getting past Cleveland? Crazy. There are two problems when it comes to Vince: A. He’s shown no ability in the clutch; B. He’s gone from being an attacker to lofting 18-foot fade-away jumpers. I don’t care if the Nets received the rights to Terry Catledge and Jerry (Ice) Reynolds—they gained by subtracting.

• The Knicks are, after a lengthy hiatus, intelligent again. They wanted to move up and get Stephen Curry. I mean, they really wanted him. But the price would have been Wilson Chandler, an impressive player who has already reached a level Curry might never attain. Should fans be excited about the additions of Darko Milicic, Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas? Probably not. But at least they didn’t do anything Ike-esque—like trading every young player and picks for Bruce Bowen and a can of soda.

• This has clearly been said before, but the Spurs adding Richard Jefferson, then drafting Pitt forward DeJuan Blair in the second round, was brilliant. I spent several years watching Jefferson here in the New York/New Jersey area, and they guy is a stud. Not a carry-a-team stud, but an unselfish slasher who plays D, can pass, rebound and get to the hole. Best of all, if he averages, oh, 15 ppg, there will be no whining. He’s the anti-Vince—and a much better all-around player.

As for Blair, even if he turns into, oh, Malik Rose, it’s a steal.

• I like Cleveland getting Shaq. Yeah, it might backfire, as it sorta did in Phoenix. But it’s worth the risk Time is short in life, and it’s even shorter in the NBA, when a prime lasts for, at best, eight or nine years. LeBron is peaking. Why not give him some help?