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News » Taking top talent in draft doesn't always work out 2008-05-23

Taking top talent in draft doesn't always work out 2008-05-23

Taking top talent in draft doesn't always work out 2008-05-23
With the NBA Draft lottery only a couple days old, it didn't take long for buzz out of South Beach from Miami Heat president Pat Riley.

Nobody likes to stir the pot more than Riles, and the steam is already rising.

The Heat have the second pick of the draft and will likely select one of the consensus top two picks — Memphis point guard Derrick Rose or Kansas State forward Michael Beasley — whomever the lottery-winning Chicago Bulls don't take.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers were on both sides of the coin, coming out with a great move in 1986 and then dealing away a key component to their championship-caliber team in 1990. In 1986, Cavs president Wayne Embry coaxed the Philadelphia 76ers into dealing the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for forward Roy Hinson and $800,000. He drafted Brad Daugherty, who quickly became an All-Star center. Strangely enough, the Sixers got that No. 1 pick by trading Kobe Bryant's father "Jelly Bean" Joe Bryant to the Clippers. The Cavs also got high-flying Ron Harper in that 1986 draft, and had a great group to make a championship run.

But they followed that up with a major blunder, again including the Clippers for the rights of the second overall pick of the 1989 draft, Danny Ferry. Actually, Ferry forced them into a deal when he refused to sign and went to Europe. So the Clippers dealt his rights to Cleveland for Harper, an All-Star caliber shooting guard just a tad below the Michael Jordan level at the time.

Cleveland had a misinformed concern about Harper's off-court activities and the deal was a total flop for the Cavs, who had a better overall team than the Bulls with Harper, and Ferry spent a career as a role player. Unfortunately, Harper suffered a near career-ending knee injury that changed his game, but it was certainly the right move for the Clippers and a terrible deal for the Cavs. Harper, despite losing his hops and quickness, still had a great career and was part of five championship teams with the Bulls and Lakers.

All of the draft uncertainty is why Riley isn't ruling out anything. Granted, this may be nothing more than an exercise of thinking out loud, which he is prone to do to test the waters.

Already there are conflicting reports what the Bulls are going to do at No. 1. Some say they'll take Rose, if only because dominant point guards have taken control of the NBA these days and Rose has the look of young Utah Jazz leader Deron Williams — with size, speed and scoring ability as a playmaker.

But the Bulls also have young Kirk Hinrich, who just signed a big contract, is a poison-pill player, and is nearly impossible to move at this point. Adding to the circumstance is Rose being a native Chicagoan.

Plus, the Bulls have also been dying for a player that can score in the post for years. Beasley, at 6-foot-9, is a natural scorer inside and out with a sweet left-handed touch. They could go either way and we'll probably be hearing just that over the next six weeks leading into the draft.

Of course, the Heat will look at parlaying that second pick. They're dying for a point guard and can use a big body as well. The Seattle Sonics have two point guards that are available — Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour — plus the fourth and 24th picks and four second-round picks. Would the Heat take Watson or Ridnour, the fourth and 24th picks for No. 2? There the Heat could get any number of outstanding players as well, from O.J. Mayo to Kevin Love to Eric Gordon or Jeryd Bayless.

And that's why Riley is open for business.

The Heat and Sonics have been talking for a long time and some variation of that deal wouldn't be shocking, with the Sonics happy with either Beasley or Rose to grow with their two All-Rookie first-teamers from this season, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

That's not to say the Heat will make that deal or any deal, but like Riley says, it's all worth considering. They need to do something after tying the franchise record for futility with a 15-67 record, so anything goes at this point.

In other words, it's time to dust off that cock-and-bull detector — the rumors, lies and half-truths are just beginning. The lying season has begun.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 23, 2008


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