NBA PM: 2013 Draft Obligations
It’s never too early to look ahead to the NBA Draft. Of course, the 2012-13 NBA season is about to start, but it’s the job of each and every general manager to plan for the future.
Draft picks are often used as currency in the NBA, especially when it comes to superstar dealings (Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, etc.).
HOOPSWORLD has broken down in detail the NBA Draft Obligations for 2013, listing where each team stands with their own pick and potential swaps.
Oftentimes, picks come with protections.
The Houston Rockets may owe the Atlanta Hawks a first-rounder, but it’s lottery protected and the Rockets do not project to be a playoff team this coming season.
The Charlotte Bobcats may lose their own first to the Chicago Bulls (top-12 protected), but also gain firsts from the Portland Trail Blazers (also top-12 protected) and Detroit Pistons (lottery protected).
Scenarios complicate quickly. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the right to swap first-rounders with the Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, the Cavaliers may have three firsts (Miami’s, Sacramento’s and their own). Cleveland can swap the lowest of the three if none of the protections are met.
Very few teams simply have their own first and second-round picks. The Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs represent 10 percent of the league. The other 90 percent has something coming in or going out (based on protections).
HOOPSWORLD will shortly follow up with obligations through 2017. Additionally, restrictions will be added to the 2013 list to indicate which teams cannot move their firsts without adding on another first in either 2013 or 2014 to avoid the Stepien Rule of trading future consecutive first-round picks.
Why Darius Johnson-Odom May Have the Edge: The Los Angeles Lakers sent $500k to the Dallas Mavericks for the opportunity to draft Darius Johnson-Odom with the 55th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
The move to acquire Johnson-Odom was made early in the offseason, when the Lakers weren’t sure if their starting point guard would be Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, an unknown free agent or the ultimate surprise that was Steve Nash.
Additionally, the team acquired Chris Duhon and retained second-round guard Darius Morris, giving the Lakers four point guards heading into the 2012-13 NBA season.
Johnson-Odom is listed at just 6’2, but he comes from Marquette as an undersized two-guard. To say he’s “undersized” may be a misnomer as Johnson-Odom carries a hefty frame at 215 pounds.
He has a reputation as an aggressive, feisty defender with a capable, if streaky, outside shot.
Teams may have been turned off by his lack of height, and it remains to be seen if he can defend in the NBA at shooting guard, but according to the DraftExpress.com “Athletic Testing Composite Rankings” via the Chicago Combine, Johnson-Odom was ranked the top athlete in entire 2012 draft.
Johnson-Odom was signed to a one-year partial/non-guaranteed contract which means he still has a lot to prove to make the roster. The Lakers have 13 guaranteed players and, under normal circumstances, teams can carry a maximum of 15 players.
The Lakers have five players on partial/non-guaranteed contracts including returning guard Andrew Goudelock and rookies Robert Sacre (60th pick in the draft), Reeves Nelson, Greg Somogyi and Johnson-Odom.
In theory, the Lakers may only carry 13 players, which would mean no Goudelock, Sacre or Johnson-Odom.
The more likely outcome will be a full roster of 15, with the final two spots hired on a trial basis until the standard cut-down date in early January. According to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, the Lakers have had their eye on Sacre for some time.
With Dwight Howard’s status still in flux (back), a reasonable camp showing should be enough for Sacre to make it to opening night.
That would leave one remaining opening. Unless the Lakers are blown away by Nelson or Somogyi, or sign another veteran (which is not expected despite various so-called “rumors” linking the team to Leandro Barbosa and/or Gilbert Arenas), the camp battle will likely come down to Goudelock vs. Johnson Odom.
Goudelock had impressive stretches last year, but his best run was when Steve Blake was injured and Goudelock was asked to play back up one.
The difficulty is that Goudelock has minimal point guard skills, noting during the season he had “never” played the position through college (Charleston). His play in the Las Vegas Summer League didn’t suggest any improvement at the one and, as already noted, the Lakers already have four players at the position.
Goudelock is a capable shooter and can be crafty with his floater but with the ball in his hands, he’s primarily looking to score. At 6’3, he’s slightly taller than Johnson-Odom, but not nearly as athletic. Goudelock has struggled defensively at the two.
That’s where Johnson-Odom can earn a spot. If he can prove to Lakers head coach Mike Brown that he can manage minutes at two with a different, athletic look defensively, Johnson-Odom may have a sizable edge over Goudelock.
The Lakers are clearly a skilled team. They have great size with Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. Steve Nash and reserve Jodie Meeks aren’t known as defenders, although Meeks insists he can bring more than he’s shown throughout his career.
L.A. simply doesn’t have an athlete in the backcourt, not a young, explosive one (Kobe Bryant is 34 years old).
Size and skill can win championships, but sometimes the difference between a ring and an also-run is a touch of athleticism.
Devin Ebanks may be able to provide some of that as a swingman, but Johnson-Odom may be a unique and necessary fit for the Lakers in the backcourt.
Dwight Howard Progressing, Anecdotally: In addition to the footage released recently by Mike Trudell (Laker Blog), which showed Howard working on post moves against assistant coaches Darvin Ham and Chuck Person, Howard revealed enough mobility to both “Gangnam Style” and “Dougie” on “Ellen.”
Does that mean he’ll be ready for the season opener? Questionable taste in dance moves does not a recovery make.
Sources remain conservative on Howard’s actual return from back surgery, but insist he hasn’t had any setbacks throughout the entire recovery process.
While he’ll definitely miss the preseason opener on October 7 against the Golden State Warriors, it’s not beyond the pale that he’ll be ready for the actual season opener on October 30 against the Dallas Mavericks.
Simply put, the Lakers want to have Howard at full strength for the coming season. Starting on time is not a priority. If he can make it back before November, the team will celebrate.
If it takes until November, December or even January, championships are won in June.
The best guess is that Howard is on the court in mid-November but again, that’s only a guess.
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