|Smug bastard (pictured above)|
The day for Orlando Magic fans started with news that Arron Afflalo had been dealt. Awesome. Afflalo had a very good season last year, and I was surprised to see him finish it in Orlando. He had a legit argument to make the All Star game and I thought he'd be traded while his value was at its peak. Then the trade deadline came, no trade. Coo coo. Surely he'd move on draft day. There were rumors of him heading to Charlotte, Denver and Chicago for draft picks in tonights draft. When I heard he was heading for Denver, I assumed it was for the 11th overall pick. Boy was I wrong. It was for SG Evan Fournier and a second rounder that became SG Roy Devyn Marble (top/bottom 5 name all time. I haven't decided which). Fournier is a Frenchman that wears #94 despite playing shooting guard and not defensive end. I had decided I wasn't going to like him before I read anything else and that was that. In the effort of being fair, I decided to look up Fournier's scouting reports and was pleasantly surprised.
|I now have to root for this man. Send prayers up.|
|Note: Blue is bad|
And he hustles. Very scrappy. Coaches dream. All that stuff. I can't help but be reminded of the last time we took a freak athlete revered for his hustle. You know, last year when we took Victor Oladipo. That seems like it's working out well because those guys find a way to make themselves useful. Gordon is a very willing passer, and a solid ball handler. He doesn't turn 19 until the middle of September. At the absolute worst, he's going to be a great defender and once his body fills out, he's the type of guy you'll want guarding the LeBron/Durant/Melo types in the NBA. Though his block/steal numbers don't show it because of Sean Miller's conservative defensive system, I think he has potential to defend the rim from the 4 position like Josh Smith/Serge Ibaka/Andrei Kirilenko. Miller's system values guys being in the right position at all times, over going for steals and blocks explaining Gordon's pedestrian numbers (around a steal and block a piece per game). He also shot an encouraging 36% from 3P, which isn't great by any means but shows that there is hope for him. He shows that Hennigan is placing an emphasis on guys high motor guys that are known for their defense. I can't be mad at that. I reckon.
The #12 pick found us taking Dario Saric, Croatian star that just signed a deal overseas that will keep him there for at least two more years. We soon traded this pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to Elfrid Payton. Cool. I've been reading quite a bit on Payton and like what I've seen. Another great athlete that has shown an affinity for playing defense, like Gordon and Oladipo. Like Gordon and Oladipo, he also can't shoot. Like, at all. He hit 26% of his three pointers last year. He hit 26% of his jumpers inside the arc last year. He shot 61% of his free throws last year. He lead the nation in turnovers. But the recurring theme, between he, Gordon and Oladipo, is that they can all affect a game without scoring. Payton averaged 19 PPG, but also had 6 RPG, 6 APG and over 2 SPG. He was also third in the nation in free throw attempts. He's a rare mix of youth and experience. He played three years at UL Lafayette, but just turned 20 in February. He's three weeks older than Joel Embiid, who finished his freshman year at Kansas. There are questions about whether he can handle his own jumping from the Sun Belt conference to the NBA, but I feel like athleticism, hustle and a willingness to play defense will translate. He won the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year award as well as the Lefty Driesell Award as the nations best defensive player. My biggest gripe here is how we attained Payton.
|"Why DO we drive on parkways and park on driveways? Trippy shit when you think about it man."|
To recap, we turned an expiring Arron Afflalo into a swingman with some upside. Drafted arguably the best athlete/defender in the draft at #4 and ended up with a player being favorably compared to Rajon Rondo at #12. You could do a lot worse than that. I imagine our depth chart next season looks something like this:
PG: Payton/veteran PG signing. I'm hoping for Patty Mills here.
That's another likely trip to the lottery, but that's fine. There are some legit assets in that lineup, and I figure we will take one last visit to the lottery next season before we start shooting for playoff appearances in the following years. We've opened up plenty of cap space so if a team shooting for LeBron/Melo needs to dump a salary quick, we can take it on and pick up another asset for it. Ok, so maybe Hennigan's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day wasn't so bad after all. I guess.