Heading into the draft and free agency, the Front Office has some difficult decisions to make. Will they make all the right decisions? Probably not. Can they make us playoff contenders next season? Absolutely. Here's our current roster and what type of moves we can make:
PG - Nash/Brooks/Dowdell
SG - Dudley/Pietrus
SF - Hill/Childress
PF - Frye/Warrick/Lawal
C - Gortat/Lopez
Now if we consider who our core players are, and taking out the expendables, it looks something like this:
PG - Nash/Brooks
SG - Dudley
SF - Hill/Childress
PF - Frye
C - Gortat
This leaves us with a thin front court and a hole at SG. No surprise there.
NOTE: I realize I left Childress and Brooks in with our 'core' players because of a couple reasons. One, Josh Childress is going to be very hard to trade because of his contract. Also, I feel he can be a key player once Hill retires, whenever that is. Secondly, Brooks never got a real chance with us. Injuries and a role change derailed the whole season for the former Most Improved Player, and if he showed he can improve before, he can do it again. This time, he can have a full off-season and regular season with a defined role: scorer off the bench. We know he can score, and he led the NBA in 3's just a season ago. By keeping him at a reasonable price, it eliminates the need to get another PG, one less thing to worry about.
Now on to the draft. Barring a big trade, we will be sitting at pick 13. This isn't the ideal spot to be in such a weak draft. Going off of Mock Drafts and word around the NBA, it seems our realistic targets are:
PG Jimmer, SG's Burks, Brooks, Klay Thompson, SF Singleton, PF's Morris Twin, Tristan Thompson, Faried, and PF/C Biyombo.
It seems that most people are torn between Jimmer Fredette or Bismack Biyombo. In my opinion, we already have a Jimmer sitting on our roster, his name is Aaron Brooks. The only case for Jimmer I actually support is that he might one day be a better option than Brooks to take over for Nash after a couple years of grooming. However, Jimmer has not proven to be a great passer, so its a little premature to say he can be our next Nash. I would rather take our chances on a free agent PG in 2012, like CP3, for example. Also, the draft next season will be much stronger, so we could look for Nash's replacement then. For the time being, Brooks will be fine. We have bigger needs. Moving on.
The selection of Bismack Biyombo seems to be a no-brainer. We need size and rebounding in the paint, simple as that. He has lower potential for BUST like Thabeet because his motor is always in overdrive, and is a very intelligent human being. We all know his measurables (7'-6" wingspan, 4.3% body fat) and his triple double at the Nike Hoops Summit, but its his intangibles that make him stand out to me. We need someone who can come in and defend the basket. Too many teams had layup drills against us because Lopez is the opposite of athletic. Every championship caliber team needs a rim protector (see: Tyson Chandler), and no one in the draft will be better than Biyombo at doing this. It doesn't matter how good your offense is, if you don't have a stopper in the middle, you can't win the title (see: 2004-2009 Suns). Plus his name gives infinite possibilities for fans to have fun with. Something Sarver would like to see, butts in the seats cheering on Bismack rejections.
Yes, his offense is a big question mark right now, but he has the smarts and motor to improve every day. Plus, Nash can make things even easier for him. Either way, Biyombo or Jimmer, we still need a PF who can score. At least the Front Office can scratch off "Improve Defense and Rebounding" from the offseason priorities. What we are left with is a SG and PF who can create their own shots. Jimmer doesn't scratch off any priorities, just makes our PG situation more crowded, and limits our trade chips. One last nail in the coffin, Bismack Biyombo is 3.5 years younger than Jimmer.
Here's the bad news: If both of these prospects are taken before our turn at 13, we are in trouble. The PF's in this class will most likely be nothing more than role players, exactly what we don't need. The SG's have more talent that the remaining PF's, but unfortunately, SG is the deepest position in this years Free Agency class. Go figure. At this point, its just a crapshoot who we pick, and they most likely won't make a difference for us. I say just go for the SG with the highest potential, Brooks. By selecting him (or Burks), that eliminates our financial ability to sign another SG in Free Agency, putting the FO's full attention on trading for a PF like Beasley, Milsap, or Josh Smith. I say focus on trading because the Free Agent PF's are nothing but role players with low potential for more. We don't need to sign any more of those after the slurry of them in Summer 2010.
If we get lucky and land Biyombo, our roster will look something like this:
PG - Nash/Brooks/Dowdell
SG - FA (Redd?) / Dudley
SF - Hill/Chill
PF - Trade / Frye / Lawal
C - Gortat / Biyombo
This leaves us with Lopez, Pietrus, Warrick, Carter's contract, Amare's Trade Exception, next years draft picks, and the magic in Babby's hands to land us a quality PF. I think that is about as good as we can get. If Biyombo blossoms quicker that expected, than we can throw Gortat on that list too.
With this lineup, we'll have balance in both the starting unit and the bench. In fact, our bench would be one the best in the league. Brooks will score, Dudley will D and 3, Chill will D and hussle, Frye will hit 3s, and Bismack will protect the paint (covering for Brooks and Frye's D).
What do you guys think we should do? Sorry for the 1000 words. Here's a poll with some options, please leave comments providing your thoughts.