Where will John Wall fit in?
Barring some unforeseen circumstance, it appears Kentucky freshman point guard
But Wall will be entering the NBA a season after many of the 12 point guards taken in the first round of the 2009 draft have already made an impact.
Combine that with a look at the projected lottery teams, and, with a few exceptions, a personnel shuffling will be needed no matter where Wall goes.
"You are getting a very valuable asset," one NBA executive said of Wall. "So regardless of what happens, you are going to come out ahead. Either you keep Wall and trade your existing point guard, or you keep what you have and you fill in your roster with what you can get by trading Wall."
Sure, a team could do that. But since the draft lottery began in 1985, only twice has a team traded away the top pick. (Cleveland chose
Holding the top pick in the draft brings an emotional attachment, for both the organization and its fans. For teams whose previous season was bad enough to land them in the lottery, the draft is their hope for the future. Their selections do not always turn out to be the saviors they had hoped for, but the draft is nonetheless a transformative moment, when the thought of acquiring one talented player is enough to rejuvenate a team's outlook and eventual climb back to respectability. (Think
In Wall's situation, however, there likely will have to be some sort of maneuvering by the team that drafts him in order to make things work.
Start at the top, or as the case may be, the bottom of the standings: the Nets. Forget the fact that the worst team in the league rarely gets the top pick. (In the 25-year history of the draft lottery, the worst team has received the top pick only four times, the last coming in 2004, when Orlando took
Across the river, the Knicks could use Wall, but they sent their first-round pick to Utah. If the Jazz get No. 1, would they select Wall to play ahead of
Minnesota (14-49), the worst team in the Western Conference, will have a good chance to land the top pick. However, the Timberwolves took
At Golden State (17-45), Curry has earned the adulation of fans and management -- and for good reason -- while playing alongside the high-scoring
The Kings (21-42) have Evans, the likely Rookie of the Year, playing the point. At 6-6, Evans could conceivably play shooting guard, except for one small problem: He can't shoot from outside effectively. Plus, he has made a name for himself this year playing with the ball in his hands at point, which is why the Kings just dealt
Detroit (22-41) seems enamored with
Philadelphia (23-39) has two young prospects at point in
The Clippers (25-38) have point guard
The Hornets (31-32) have a guy named
The Rockets (31-31) have
Charlotte could be a match for Wall because
As of now, it seems the best fit for Wall would be the free-falling Pacers (20-43), though coach
It's not that Wall would not be a great addition to any of the teams in the lottery -- there is a reason they are there, after all -- but because of a variety of factors, some GM will have to make serious decisions about where exactly Wall will fit in or what that team can get in return for the top pick in the draft.
As a player, Jordan tended to shy away from the masses. He would rather take a large fine from the league than participate in media day at All-Star weekend. But a man who tends to be above the fray is not one who can run an organization.
Yes, there are owners who are not hands-on. But that is because their expertise lies elsewhere. Let's face it: Jordan's expertise is basketball and being the face of his namesake brand. And if he is not willing to invest time in one of those activities because the other is more important, that is a recipe for disaster.
But there is another aspect of Jordan's personality that could make his new role difficult: He is legendarily frugal, somebody who would rather capitalize on his name and popularity than pay for anything, whether that is a round of golf or purchasing an NBA team.
It is not yet known what percentage of the reported $260 million Jordan's group paid
But how is a guy who does not like paying for anything going to handle having to cut a check for several million dollars when the team has its first cash call? Or second? Or third?
Johnson reportedly was losing upwards of $30 million a year, and sold the organization to Jordan's group for a $40 million loss. In that market, regardless of how many times Jordan sits courtside, it won't be easy to make the Bobcats profitable.
Brown, according to sources, was concerned that
Brown did not return several calls seeking comment.
One source indicated Brown was seeking complete control, including the ability to make personnel decisions. Sterling is said to still be enamored with the idea of getting Brown, who coached the Clippers to the playoffs in 1992 and '93. Brown also has a home in Malibu and his wife is said to want to move back there. GM
If that is the case, expect Sterling to have at least one substantive conversation with Brown.
Smith also wrote that Iverson is in no shape to deal with a world that does not involve him being a star player in the NBA, particularly now that his wife has filed for divorce, has custody of their five kids and is seeking both alimony and child support.
It is no secret in NBA circles that Smith and Iverson are close, a result of their time together when Smith covered the Sixers as a beat writer. This may have felt like a public intervention on Iverson's behalf, but it also paints a bleak future for the former MVP.
And do the professional basketball leagues in those countries play a lot of defense?