Fredette stands with NBA Commissioner Stern after being selected by the Bucks as the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark

NBA Draft day trade wrap-up… because we all got confused


There was a point while putting up PBT’s pick-by-pick updates through the draft that I thought every pick on the board started with “He was selected for Team X as part of a trade…”

To help sort it all out, here is a breakdown of all the draft day trades.

• Bobcats, Bucks, Kings big three-team deal. This was the trade of the day, the one that totally reshaped the draft. In the end, here’s how it works out:

The Charlotte Bobcats gave up their leading scorer in Stephen Jackson and end up with Bismack Biyombo and Corey Maggette out of this trade. How this pans out really comes down to how good Biyombo turns out to be, high ceiling but he could be Joel Anthony Part II. (They also ended the day with Kemba Walker, but not as part of this deal.)

The Milwaukee Bucks end up with Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, No. 19 pick Tobias Harris of Tennessee and reserve point guard Shaun Livingston. This is a team that needed more creativity on offense. They got that… and a lot more technical fouls.

The Sacramento Kings gets John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette (which is who the owner Maloof brothers had pushed for, and in the end owners get what they want). Not sure all these moves makes them a better team, but it does make them more marketable.

• Portland, Denver swap point guards. Portland gets Raymond Felton, a younger, better shooting from three version of Andre Miller, Denver gets in Miller a guy that works for them with a much shorter contract. I’m not sure either team really got better in this deal.

• Indiana and San Antonio take some risks. Indiana is bringing home combo guard George Hill. He’s a solid, smart player going to a team that needs more of that and fewer projects. But they gave up potentially good players to the Spurs to do it — No. 15 Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State (very athletic and the best small forward on the board), No. 42 pick Davis Bertrans of Latvia (considered a first round pick talent) and 2005 No. 46 pick Erazem Lorbek of Slovenia (yea, I got no idea either). I understand why Indiana made the move, but they have good guards already. How this trade is viewed down the road depends on how Leonard pans out. It could be another big Spurs win.

• The Mavericks get older still. Dallas acquired Rudy Fernandez (and the rights to Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen) from Portland for Jordan Hamilton. I think Fernandez is a fit in Dallas, if they can dip him in the fountain of youth like they seem to all their veterans. Fernandez has seen his game slip in recent years, if it rebounds this is a great pick up for more scoring off the bench. For Portland, they get a good young prospect at forward for a guy they don’t care about, so a win.

• Houston and Minnesota swap picks. Houston really wanted No. 20 pick Donatas Motiejunas, because no team is complete without a 7-foot Lithuanian project. To get him they also took on Jonny Flynn, who they are shopping again already, plus the Rockets will save about $10 million over the course of this deal.

The Timberwolves end up with No. 23 pick Nikola Mirotic (Serbia), No. 38 pick Chandler Parsons of Florida, a future first-round pick, and whatever is left in the tank of Brad Miller. I’m not a Parson’s fan, maybe he proves me wrong, so it’s about Mirotic. Really, the winner of this trade is whoever ends up with the better of the European project players, so ask again in three years.

• Celtics and Nets swap picks. Boston made the kind of move you see from Patriots coach Bill Belichick — they traded down two spots to get a future second rounder. They end up with No. 27 pick JaJuan Johnson of Purdue. They gave over to New Jersey No. 25 pick MarShon Brooks of Providence — a volume scorer in college but a guy with a potentially higher ceiling in the NBA. Good deal for the rebuilding Nets, they need guys like that.

• Orlando and Cleveland swap picks. The Magic get No. 32 pick Justin Harper of Richmond — a guy who can hit threes and fits their system — and the Cavaliers get two future second-round picks. Yawn.

• Golden State buys a player. Charlotte drafted big man project Jeremy Tyler at No. 39. Golden State needs a big man that doesn’t suck, and they have an owner with a lot of cash. The Bobcats are a tiny market team that needs cash. So, everybody wins a little something.

• New York buys a player. At No. 45 the Hornets drafted likely NBA stiff Josh Harrellson of Kentucky, but the Knicks are so desperate for size they paid cash to get him and give him a shot.

51 Questions: Is Mike Malone the key to bringing Denver back?

Michael Malone
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PBT is previewing the 2015-16 NBA season by tackling 51 big questions that we can’t wait to see answered once play tips off. We will answer one a day right up to the start of the season Oct. 27. Today’s question:

Is Mike Malone the key to bringing Denver back?

One incident sums up how bad things had gotten in Denver under the Brian Shaw regime — breaking a fourth-quarter huddle in the final game of February, Nuggets players chanted “1-2-3-six weeks!”

The players didn’t like the coach, some of them didn’t like each other, and with six weeks and 24 games left in the season they had checked out. The young players (and some of the veterans) partied so much Shaw canceled shootarounds because guys couldn’t roll in for them in the morning. Shaw had lost the team long before when he’d tried to fit square pegs into the triangle holes of his offense, and it spiraled out of control from there. The culture in Denver was broken.

Mike Malone was brought in to repair that culture.

The Jeff Van Gundy disciple has shown he can do that before. Malone was starting to build something in Sacramento (they started last season 9-6 before DeMarcus Cousins got sick), where he was asked to repair a franchise culture that by the end of the Maloof era was something akin to the Lord of the Flies. Malone also turned out to be the one coach who had gotten through to Cousins. Even with his defensive mindset and Cousins in the paint, Malone had the Kings playing at the eighth-fastest pace in the league in pace, but the Kings’ owner wanted to play faster (and maybe didn’t want to miss out on the chance to hire George Karl), so Malone got sacked.

The question becomes, is Malone alone going to turn things around in Denver and bring them back to relevance?

Not alone, and not just in one season, but he will get them on the right track.

The first step to show management was behind Malone was the trading of Ty Lawson. No doubt when focused Lawson is a quality point guard (as Houston likely benefits from this season), but he was part of the problem in the end in Denver, to the point of picking up two DUIs in six months (he checked into a rehab facility after the second one). He had mentally checked out and his example was an issue the Nuggets needed to change.

That turns the keys for the offense over to rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who impressed a lot of people at Summer League after bailing on SMU to play in China last season. But he’s still a rookie with a long way to go — as the 15 turnovers in his first two preseason games attest. Things that worked in China and Summer League don’t fly against an NBA defense.

With Mudiay at the point and a team that plays half its games at high altitude, Monroe wants to take advantage of that and get out and run. Expect the Nuggets to get back to their traditional up-tempo games, but with some things Malone loves to run (such as the Rick Adelman corner action).

But for Malone, all things — including good transition basketball — starts with defense. You have to get stops and steals to run well, and the Nuggets were 26th in the league in defensive rating last season (105.5 points allowed per 100 possessions). In the first two Nuggets preseason games, that was the Nuggets focus (with mixed results).

Malone’s challenge starts with getting Kenneth Faried to buy in and play as hard on defense as he does on offense — something Faried has never done. Faried has been a defensive minus since he entered the NBA and that becomes one of Malone’s first major projects (even if it’s just to boost Faried’s trade value). Faried, who clashed with Shaw over his role, has said he’s felt energized under Malone, now the coach just has to steer that energy to the defensive end of the court.

Malone will be searching for the right center to put next to Faried, and I expect that will mean a lot of Jusuf Nurkic (who is young and shows it at times). But also expect to see some small-ball lineups with Faried at the five. Something like Mudiay, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Faried. A lineup with some athleticism and shooting that could put up points, but would they get any stops? If Gary Harris slots in for Foye, does that help the defense (Harris is guy Nuggets fans may see more and more of as the season goes on).

The roster is a work in progress, and if you were to bet on the Nuggets doing one thing this season, it should be making trades. Things are going to change.

There are nice pieces on the Nuggets, but not enough of them and with some real questions about how it all fits together. This is not a playoff team this season, not in the West.

But it’s a team that Malone could have playing a lot better late in the season than at the beginning, once some of those questions start to be answered, and the young players gain experience. That should be the goal in Denver. Begin to change the culture, get buy-in on the system, get guys playing hard again rather than dreaming of Cancun vacations by February. Change can be incremental, but Malone will start the change.

Then in a couple of years, you’ve got the team you want.

Well, so long as the Nuggets ownership doesn’t get impatient and decide it needs to change directions again.

Another Pelicans center down: Omer Asik out three weeks

Omer Asik, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver
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The Pelicans will have to play Anthony Davis at center now.

With backup center Alexis Ajinca already sidelined, starting center Omer Asik suffered his own injury.

Pelicans release:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that center Omer Asik is expected to miss the next three weeks with a right calf strain. The injury occurred during Wednesday’s practice.

If that three-week timeline is firm, Asik would miss two regular season games – at Warriors and at Trail Blazers.

Davis figured to be the most natural fit at center in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo scheme. What happens if the Pelicans excel with him there and then stumble once Asik and Ajinca return? Because New Orleans had Bird Rights for Asik and Ajinca, re-signing them made some sense. And once they’re re-signed, Gentry must find a role for them. But that could get harder if it becomes obvious the team is best with Davis at center.

As long as Asik and Ajinca are out, Kendrick Perkins probably moves into the rotation. Jeff Adrien could also see minutes at center. Suddenly, Adrien, on an unguaranteed contract, has a much better chance of making the regular-season roster. Ryan Anderson probably plays more at power forward, too, with Davis logging more time at center.