NBA PM: Milwaukee Bucks Moving Up Too?
All of the action leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft seems to be circling around picks two through seven.
The New Orleans Hornets are locked into Anthony Davis with the first-overall pick and from there everything else is negotiable. As Steve Kyler discussed in the NBA AM, the Charlotte Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers are considering swapping the second pick for the fourth and 24th picks. And, as Bill Ingram discussed in the NBA@2, the Houston Rockets are hunting for a top-five pick and the Sacramento Kings might oblige.
Adding fuel to the early-lottery fire was Racine Journal-Times columnist Gery Woelfel, who reported that the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to move up from the 12th overall pick.
Now, it’s widely assumed that Illinois center Meyers Leonard would still be available when the Bucks pick at 12, but even though Milwaukee needs a center after dealing Andrew Bogut last season, general manager John Hammond might have his sights set higher.
So what can Hammond do to improve his situation?
According to Woelfel, the Golden State Warriors are desperate for a small forward and because Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are likely to be off the board in the first six picks, the Warriors are in a jam at No. 7. This goes along with what I wrote about in HOOPSWORLD’s latest consensus mock draft; Golden State already has long-term and/or expensive solutions at point guard (Stephen Curry), shooting guard (Klay Thompson), power forward (David Lee) and center (Bogut), which leaves small forward as the major position of need. General manager Bob Myers doesn’t want to reach on a small forward that he could get further down the line, so why not trade down and pick up some assets in the process?
Not only can the Bucks offer the 12th pick to the Warriors, but they can also throw in Luc Mbah a Moute, a small forward who would assuredly improve Golden State’s miserable defense (they ranked 26th in defensive efficiency in 2011-2012).
Now, the seventh pick might not be enough to garner center Andre Drummond, who should be among the top-six picks, but as Woelful is reporting, the Bucks could target North Carolina power forward John Henson as well.
Henson is the Detroit Pistons’ presumptive pick at No. 9, which means there’s very little chance he would reach the Bucks unless they moved up from No. 12.
Unfortunately for Milwaukee, other teams might have better offers for the seventh overall pick. Woelfel suggested Chicago’ Luol Deng, who has been mentioned in many trade rumors, as well as Philadelphia swingman Andre Iguodala. Both would provide Golden State with the defense the team needs while offering some punch on the offensive end as well. And since Mbah a Moute offers little offense, the Bucks could be at a disadvantage.
It’s not clear what the team plans to do quite yet, but any interest in Henson has to be an indication that Hammond doesn’t expect soon-to-be free agent Ersan Ilyasova to re-sign as he and Henson are both power forwards.
Metta World Peace Wants Continuity in Los Angeles
Everyone on earth seems ready to disassemble the Los Angeles Lakers. Rumors involving big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have been popping up for over a year and after failing to reach the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive season, it seems a trade has to be made.
One of the presumptive trade chips is small forward Metta World Peace, who hasn’t posted a Player Efficiency Rating of over 15 (the league average) since 2008-2009. Now, PER doesn’t account for a player’s defensive ability, but even that aspect of his game seems to be declining.
But to ask him, World Peace doesn’t think the Lakers need to make any big moves.
“We are the best team in the NBA,” he told Dan Patrick on Monday, as quoted by Chris Fedor of SportsRadioInterviews.com. “We don’t need no changes. I think we have the best team and even the time when we had Sasha (Vujacic) and Jordan Farmar and Josh Powell I thought we didn’t have to make changes and the same thing right now. Obviously everybody is really intrigued to see what up with this Lamar Odom situation but we have the best team in the NBA. We just have to play together on a more consistent basis and we just have to play with some confidence out there so we can help Kobe (Bryant). You know Kobe is going to play with confidence and I think everyone playing with confidence is going to give Kobe confidence to trust his teammates and things like that.”
Patrick pressed World Peace and asked him if he’d like Odom, who is still under contract with the Dallas Mavericks to return, but Artest didn’t seem to lobby for his friend and fellow Queens native (although he did give coach Mike Brown some support)
“I love the team that we have now,” Artest said. “I love Troy Murphy, I love Josh (McRoberts), I love Jordan Hill, who is amazing. The team we had this year we like. Obviously if Lamar wants to come back that’s like my brother so I will always welcome that but I like the team we have right now. There’s a couple of adjustments we have to make within ourselves like Andrew Bynum dominating the whole season, dominating every second whether it is with the pass or the score, and really staying involved and engaged. Different little things like that help out a team. Just another year under Coach (Mike) Brown. He wasn’t out there turning the ball over, he wasn’t out there out of shape, that wasn’t Coach Brown. So it was a little bit of everything and I think it’s an easy adjustment for us to make.”
Could Parker Skip Olympics?
Tony Parker was set to lead his French squad into the London Olympics this summer, but now that he caught a bottle to the face during fight between Chris Brown and Drake, everything is up in the air.
Parker suffered a scratched cornea during the fight in New York City last week, according to the Associated Press, and later did an interview on his website in which he confessed that he “almost lost” his eye.
“I’m seeing a specialist in New York with the hope of being given the all clear to play in the Olympic Games,” Parker said in the interview. “Spurs are very worried.
“Anything can happen, including me being out of the Olympics,” he continued. “The decision doesn’t belong to me anymore. It’s in the hands of the doctor and San Antonio.”
It goes without saying that the Spurs would prefer he sit out of the Olympics (and not travel near Chris Brown, which is good advice for everyone), so the French team could be at a major disadvantage in London.
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