The NBA draft is tonight and I couldn't think of a better way to make my entry into the world of blogging than giving my two cents about the draft and what tonight's happenings mean for the 2008-09 Fantasy season and beyond. Some of the guys here at CBSSports.com in the Fantasy group have told me for a while how much of a loser I am for not having one and I have to say they are right.
This seems like a lot of fun.
For one thing, I can use the word "I" all that I want to. If you're counting, that's six "I's" already in this blog. You may or may not have any idea how huge that is for writers. We are programmed to believe that every time you write in the first person, an orphan puppy dies.
Honestly, that's because people could usually care less what your personal opinions are even when you're the person writing a piece about something. 'Just give me the goods and leave yourself out of it, thank you very much.' But if you're reading this, my blog, there's a good chance you want to know what I think -- and that's awesome.
So let's get to the point. Draft day has already been pretty busy and it really all started last night with the news about Jermaine O'Neal being traded to the Pacers in exchange for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, the 17th pick in the draft and a player to be named later.
That figures to be a good deal for both sides as it will allow Jermaine O'Neal to play for a contender again, which will in turn re-energize him and turn into a prominent Fantasy option once again. Not to mention that O'Neal would likely play center for the Raptors and with his 20-and-10 potential he'd instantly become an elite No. 1 Fantasy pivot.
The Pacers get T.J. Ford, who is an assist machine that makes the players around him better. That's something that should make the young players around him more productive with a facilitator around to help them in their growth. Danny Granger becomes the No. 1 Fantasy option, a process that already began last season and Ford's presence also means the end for Jamaal Tinsley's nightmare in Indiana. He'll likely have to be dealt, but would become a candidate for a bounce-back season in a good situation. Perhaps a team like the Miami Heat could use him if they don't end up with Rose or O.J. Mayo tonight.
The Raptors now have perhaps the top offensive front court in the Eastern Conference in my opinion. Chris Bosh and an invigorated O'Neal will compete with Kevin Garnett/Kendrick Perkins, Dwight Howard/Rashard Lewis or even Al Horford/Josh Smith.
Another team that deserves some consideration now when it comes to considerable lineups in the Eastern Conference are the Milwaukee Bucks after the sweet deal they pulled off this afternoon. They snagged the best player off my favorite team, Richard Jefferson and all it cost them was an expiring contract (Bobby Simmons) and an over-hyped seven-footer (Yi Jianlian).
That means Milwaukee's starting lineup next season will be: Mo Williams (PG), Michael Redd (SG), Richard Jefferson (SF), Charlie Villanueva (PF) and Andrew Bogut (C). That's pretty solid 1-5 and they also boast a decent bench with revelation Ramon Sessions and swingman Charlie Bell. The one concern I have for Jefferson is that he'll be playing alongside more scorers in Milwaukee than he had been in New Jersey. But he'll be No. 2 in the Bucks' pecking order behind Redd and possibly even 1-A or 1-B in the long run. Charlie Villanueva's red-hot second half may have made it a lot easier for the Bucks to part ways with their first round pick of exactly a year ago. He'll have his Fantasy appeal re-adjusted to that of a promising young forward with 15-and-8 potential this season.
The Nets are clearly in rebuilding mode now, full speed ahead in the post-Jason Kidd era. Their starting lineup next season figures to be: Devin Harris (PG), Vince Carter (SG), Yi Jianlian (SF), Nenad Krstic (PF) and Josh Boone (C). Nets president Rod Thorn was on WFAN in New York this afternoon and said the move gives them size, something they have been lacking.
With all due respect to Mr. Thorn, who I think is one of the brightest minds in basketball, this move was made looking at the 2010 season and had nothing to do with Yi's size, something he was unable to use in his rookie season with the Bucks, where he was considered too much of a lightweight to play power forward. In 2010, the Nets hope to be moving into their new building in Brooklyn and that's the year Bobby Simmon's big contract comes off the books. Some big names the Nets will be able to go after in that offseason? LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The other big news of the day was the reported deal that had the Sonics trading the No. 4 pick tonight to the Clippers for their No. 7 pick and a protected 2009 first-rounder. That one is still in the works and really hinges on what the first four picks in the draft are. If the Sonics see something they like there, they'll hang on to their pick.
This should be fun. I'll chip in from time to time during the draft.