2011 NBA Draft -- 4 Winners, 4 Losers

My fingers are still recovering from the lengthy (eight printed pages!) live blog I did last night here on Hair Balls, but the day after the draft necessitates some post-draft analysis. I've now had a day to sleep on it, and without further ado, a few post-draft thoughts.

Four winners, four losers for all of you to chew on this Friday afternoon:

FOUR WINNERS 1. Dallas Mavericks In a draft where the really talented players stopped at pick two, and the mystery players and somewhat talented players stopped at about the end of the lottery, isn't coming away not having to guarantee any first round money to, say, the 26th pick a good thing? (Correct answer: "Well yes, Sean!") Okay, now what if I told you that not only do you come away without having to guarantee some slapnuts Euro or marginal college player a three-year deal, AND you come away with Rudy Fernandez? Would you think, "Hey, that's a pretty sweet deal!!" (Correct answer: "Good God Amighty, YES, SEAN!!") Well, that's exactly what the Mavericks did last night. The world champs basically added Rudy Fernandez and gave up the rights to draft a player at 26 who has no chance of helping them defend their title. The rich get richer.

2. Indiana Pacers Just go ahead and mad-lib the Dallas entry, but replace all references of "26" with "15" and replace "Rudy Fernandez" with "George Hill." Also, replace "Mavericks" with "Pacers" and delete all references to "world champs" and "rich getting richer." There, done.

3. Isiah Thomas With the seventeenth pick, the Knicks drafted Georgia Tech swingman Iman Shumpert about 15 picks too early, taking home the honor of drafting the first guy without a greenroom invite. On top of that, they drafted him for defense one pick before Washington drafted Chris Singleton, who is longer and better than Shumpert and also happened to win Defensive Player of the Year in the same conference. In the second round, they drafted Josh Harrelson, a blue-collar center from Kentucky whose nickname is "Big Jorts." My point with all of this? Clearly, Isiah Thomas is still in charge of the Knicks via some sort of puppet regime.

4. Houston Rockets Okay, do I think the Rockets were one of the four biggest winners in the draft last night? No. But I need to fit them in here somewhere (it is the HOUSTON Press after all), and I think they had a typical "Rockets under Daryl Morey" night -- a few small steps forward. Marcus Morris has a chance to be a good player (even if the Rockets now have roughly fifteen players between 6-7 and 6-9 who are pretty good at three or four things), Donatas Montiejunas has a high ceiling (so I'm told by people who would know), and Chandler Parsons has a chachy look that would indicate he should singlehandedly keep Pub Fiction and Shot Bar in business throughout the offseason.

Beyond all of that, for the second time in a year, Morey has been able to undo a contractual mistake that he made in free agency by moving Brad Miller to Minnesota (Trevor Ariza was the other, much more egregious error.). Not really Miller's fault, he was brought in to back up Yao, and then Yao went out for the season after like six minutes. Miller wound up getting microfracture surgery on his knee this offseason, which technically makes him much more McGrady-like than Yao-like.

FOUR LOSERS 1. Boston Celtics The Celtics drafted JuJuan Johnson in the first round and E'Twaun Moore in the second round. Both of them are from Purdue, which means that Purdue graduate and Purdue player junkie Rick Smith (Texans GM) would approve of this draft class. That's not a good thing.   2. Dick Vitale There were foreign players picked in this draft. LOTS of foreign players. One of the staples of the draft every year is when Dick Vitale overvalues players who played a few years in college by about 20 draft slots, and simultaneously acts like the European and worldwide players just started dribbling a ball a week ago. To wit, this excerpt from Dickie V's draft analysis today:

There was a foreign flavor early, as four of the top seven picks were Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo, Jonas Valanciunas and Kanter. I honestly feel that people look at the warts and negatives of a lot of college players, as opposed to the international guys.

I had kind of figured the four foreigners in the top seven damn near killed Dickie V. I feel vindicated.

3. Denver Nuggets media relations With the 56th pick in the draft, the Nuggets came away with something called a Chukwudiebere Maduabum. I sure hope the Nuggets media relations department's Christmas bonuses are not based on spelling player names correctly.

4. Los Angeles Clippers The Cavaliers' first overall pick was actually acquired from the Clippers in a deal that sent Mo Williams to Los Angeles in exchange for that pick and Baron Davis (and his ungodly contract). So if the Clips had a do-over, do you think that they'd rather have Irving and Davis's contract or Mo Williams? Yeah, me too. How very Clipper of them.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at

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