Posted: Thursday June 29, 2006 1:20PM; Updated: Friday June 30, 2006 10:58AM
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Marcus Williams, at his best, probably won't turn into the sort of contributor that Battier already is. But for a team like the Rockets, who seem just a few parts removed from winning the best division in basketball, shouldn't it have tried to draft for need? Or, at least, secure some new blood beyond a player who will be 28 on opening night?
We know all about the fact that Danny Ainge is stockpiling potential parts for a trade, whether he ends up with Allen Iverson or not. Still, Randy Foye (taken seventh overall and shipped to Portland) might be a better prospect than Telfair at this point -- he's two years older and seems ready to contribute now. If anything, Telfair has disappointed in his two seasons with the Trail Blazers, so how can 2004's 13th overall pick have improved enough to be traded for the seventh overall pick -- even if this is a weaker draft? Trading LaFrentz will help the bottom line, but not until '08-09, and though Raef has been a disappointment, he still can hit shots, play 30 minutes a night and provide great help-side defense. Ratliff (who is three years older than LaFrentz) can only provide the latter of those three, at about the same price for the next two years.
As I mentioned here (when I guaranteed satisfying outcomes for Houston and Boston, yikes), Ainge is at his best drafting youngsters, and we can't help but regard this as a bit of a miss.
We know you're strapped for cash. We know you're trying to avoid the luxury tax. We know Shawn Marion (in your eyes, at least) makes too much, Steve Nash will make too much in a few years, Tim Thomas is a free agent and Boris Diaw is ready for a bigger payday -- but it doesn't matter. How long will this team's morale stay high given that it has seen its GM (Bryan Colangelo) jet off to Toronto in search of a paycheck commensurate with his skills, heard rumors about dumping Marion for cheaper parts, and watched as the owner traded two first-round picks for nothing but financial relief?
Both selections (the 21st could have nailed you Marcus Williams, the second would have brought in Sergio Rodriguez) should have given Nash his backup of the future -- and you couldn't keep just one of them? Odd.
With Marcus Williams free-falling and Jamaal Tinsley somewhere treating his sore wrist with a room-temperature bag of frozen peas, the Pacers instead went for underachieving Memphis wing Shawne Williams. A John Calipari one-year special playing for Rick Carlisle? This can't miss!