In the aftermath of the NBA deadline, I’m actually impressed and surprised that the Rick Sund was able to take their spare parts, malcontents and pending free agents in exchange for an above-the-rim power guy in Wilcox (he’s only 23??) AND a top-flight defensive point guard who will really push Ridnour!?!? I’m VERRRRY impressed with their core:
Ridnour – Watson
Lewis – Wilkins
Wilcox – Collison
Swift – Petro
Some random thoughts David Locke had yesterday:
Especially likes the idea of someone pushing Ridnour. Told some stories about Luke and about how incredibly stubborn he is, one example he was told he’d be out for 2 weeks with an injury, but that afternoon he was at shootaround, stuff like that. And he THRIVES when told he can’t do something, thrives when pushed, like Daniels pushing him to heights in the playoffs last year, but this year he’s been drifting until late. Watson makes them a lot better, immediately, on a lot of levels.
Loves the 4-man frontline of Wilcox, Collison, Swift and Petro. Young, improving, and all under contract through 2007. The only team in the NBA with two 7-foot centers under 20 years of age.
Wilcox is a huge get, a guy who was only getting about 10 minutes per game, if that, behind Brand, and didn’t fit their style. He’s already showed in limited minutes about what an explosive player he can be in an open offensive style. They will run, and he will thrive. This could be the best trade Sund ever makes, considering how miserable Radman was this year, a guy who wouldn’t even post up Earl Boykins a few weeks ago! True story. He chose to shoot a fadeaway 20-footer instead of backing down a guy 19 inches shorter. Talk about a soft 6-10.
I don’t think this year will bring any kind of Denver-style run like last year, where the Nuggets go so freakin’ hot that they nearly overtook the Sonics to win the division, but I really do believe they have achieved a ton in the last few weeks. You think about who the traded – Radman, who not only turned down $42 million guaranteed, but couldn’t wait to be a free agent; Vitaly, a guy who asked for a trade in early January; Evans, who has gone backwards in terms of offense and defense and was buried on the bench; and Flip, a guy who has plummeted to new lows and was also going to be a free agent, for youth and athleticism that will be part of the core going forward?? All 4 of those guys were pending free agents, and they turned them into Wilcox and Watson? Just a tremendous job.
Now if only the team will stay in town, they will be pretty interesting next year!
Cougs hired a new recruiting coordinator. He’s credited with some big names at K-State, probably a good fit considering Manhattan, KS vs. Pullman. It sounds good right now, but I guess the next few classes will really show what he’s made of.
I’ve also heard that there are some real academic risks with this ’06 class. Namely J.T. the running back, per a quote from Doba, supposedly has “a lot of work to do” before he can set foot on campus. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised. Doba also railed about the new academic levels that will be in place I believe in ’08, where the requirements are going up quite a bit for incoming high school players, and Doba said JC’s are going to be more important and more popular than ever. Things are certainly changing.
Finally, the Hawks tagged Hutch with the transition tag. Makes sense to me, really, now he can go out and shop himself around, get the best deal possible for him, and the Hawks will match. Hugh Millen said yesterday that offensive guard is widely considered the least important offensive line position, and maybe the least important position on offense, period, but when a guy like Hutch is just so much better than any other player at his position, you have to keep him, period. With the transition tag, they don’t play the holdout game, as the odds are quite strong that he’ll actually get a real offer, instead of a franchise label where players never get offers. It’s a good move, and on that will pay off when the Hawks match any offer.