This last part took a bit longer before I posted, due to some problems with the laptop where I stored it.
I have looked at the league rosters, and came up with some players which could become contributors. I have limited the scope to players no older than 25, and with current contracts of $3 million and under, with a few exceptions.
This is my last post on the subject, after the jump.
Orlando - J.J. Reddick (age 25, $ 2.8 million salary) and Ryan Anderson (21, 1.3). Reddick's big calling card is of course his outside shot, and he could complement Tyreke's play very well. I believe his defense is better than most people think, and he has a high basketball IQ. Anderson, a local guy, would be a fan favorite, but has also the tools to fit into this team. He can get out of the post to create room for Tyreke and Landry (or any other low post threat we may draft) and stretch team defenses with his long distance shots, and seems to be a decent rebounder. Although smaller than Spencer Hawes, he seems to be more consistent and even-keeled, with a more polished offensive game.
Philadelpia - Marreese Speights (22, 1.7) and Jason Smith (24, 1.4). Speights seems to have the potential to be a good rebounder (4.1 RPG in 16.4 minutes), and also potentially a good offensive player. However, shotblocking and defense are not his strengths, and he still needs some years to develop. Not one of my favorites. Smith is a bit similar, given the fact that he is projected as a good offensive player but very limited defensively and also as a rebounder. According to draftexpress, he has short arms, and doesn't show the desire to be a good rebounder and defensive player. There are other big men I would rather take.
Phoenix - Robin Lopez (22, 1.7) and Goran Dragic (23, 1.8). And here is one of my favorite bigs. The main problem is, Phoenix likes him as well. Robin is no Brook, but he can be a starting center on a competent NBA team soon. Unlike his brother, Robin does not have a very polished offensive game, but can score without demanding the ball. He is mainly an above average rebounder and defender, who is not afraid to bang underneath. He has the potential to become a good shotblocker as well. Dragic reminds me of Beno, but has better range, and could turn out to have a better NBA career. But given Beno's good report with tyreke, I would hesitate to make a move in which we ditch Beno and pick up Goran.
Portland - Nicolas Batum (21, 1.1.) Batum is a second year player, who received a lot of praise. This year, he played 24.8 mpg, with 10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, .519 fg%. If you compare him to Casspi, they put up numbers who were quite similar. Casspi rebounds a bit better, but Batum shoots at a higher percentage. The differences are that Batum is more athletic, and also a better defender. With Casspi and Greene here, there is little sense in bringing in Batum, unless it is a deal which involves other players, and you get rid of either Greene or Casspi, to avoid a logjam.
San Antonio - Ian Mahinmi (23, 1.0). A lot of people are high on Mahinmi, an upcoming FA. He is intriguing, especially as an athletic defending big, but still seems to need a few seasons to develop into a legitimate NBA player. The problem is that we have only seen a small sample of his worth in the NBA. According to draftexpress, his offensive game is extremely raw, once he is more than a few feet from the basket. As nice as he looks, he may get a lot of attention as a free agent, and may get more money than he is worth. I added George Hill (23, 1.1) to my list as well, but I suspect with his recent play in the postseason, he will be almost untouchable.
Toronto - Amir Johnson (22, 3.9). Another free agent, and also intriguing. His development continued this year at Toronto, after some promising seasons with Detroit. He scored 6.2 ppg and hauled down 4.8 rpg in only 17.7 minutes. His numbers are a bit erratic; some games he played a lot and put on very nice numbers, in other games he sort of disappeared. He's a superb athlete, and draftexpress typified his best case scenario as a poor man's Jermaine O'Neal. I don't know what that means, but I can see the comparison with O'Neal, who also went straight from highschool o the NBA and took some years to develop. Johnson earned almost 4 million this year, and I am not sure whether he is worth a whole lot more. But if we decide to ship out Hawes and try HT at center, this may be a guy who can provide good backup minutes as a PF and even undersized C, sometimes. He would be a significant upgrade over Brockman and May.
Utah - Wes Matthews (23, 0.4). The Kings had him, and let him go. That must hurt a bit. Matthews does not put up big numbers, but he plays strong defense and has been a valuable piece for a disciplined, smart-playing team with a lot of weapons. Sloan loves him, which speaks volumes in my book. A true glue guy, he needs to get a more consistent outside shot in order to help the Kings, but his ft % shows that he is a good shooter. I believe he will continue to develop into a very solid NBA player. I doubt the Jazz will let him go. Kyrylo Fesenko (23, 0.8) has been mentioned a lot in some recent posts. I cannot see why, to tell the truth. He is tall, and has a good frame as well as strength and speed for his size, but I do not see how those attributes translate into a competent basketball player. He has very bad hands, even worse than Kwame Brown's, and seems to lack the basketball IQ and/or instincts to become much more than a 15 minute backup who offers you some rebounds, a putback and six fouls.
Washington - Shaun Livingston (24, 2.2). One of my favorites, especially if we draft a big guy. Livingston was a big talent coming into the league, but unfortunately he got the Clipper curse and was often injured. This year, he played 36 games, with 22.1 mpg, scoring 6.9 ppg and dishing out 3.6 assists, with 2.2 rpg. His field goal percentage was .517 this year. However, he still lacks a consistent outside shot. That would be a compelling reason not to pick Livingston, given the fact that Tyreke has a similar weakness, but the guy is a very good distributor with decent size. I can see him as contributor in a 3-guard rotation with Beno and Tyreke.
After reviewing my posts again, this would be my wish list, while taking into account the Kings' needs (as I see them):
- Aron Afflalo; a strong wing player who defends and can hit the 3-ball
- Kevin Love; if the Wolves are really trying to trade him, I would love to have this guy. You want a good rebounder and defender, he fills those needs pretty well, together with a good offensive game.
- Courtney Lee; he would be an excellent backcourt mate to Tyreke, with a good shot and strong defense
- The Hornet rookies; Thornton would be the better fit, given his sharpshooting skills. But I think Collison has a very bright career ahead of him as well. With the change in ownership in New Orleans, it is hard to predict what will happen with their roster. I assume they will not be traded so easily.
- The Hornet Center; no, not Okafor. Aaron Gray. While other big men get a lot of attention, he slips under the radar while showing signs of promise.
- Serge Ibaka; Hey, I can wish, right? If the Thunder want to win now, they might make a deal.
- Ryan Anderson; A big who can hit the long ball and rebound, and he is from Sacramento. What's not to like?
- Robin Lopez; stranger things have happened. And more realistic than wishing for his brother.
- Shaun Livingston; if you need a true point guard with size, here you have one.