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Rebound & Rant: On the Road to the NBA

Ken Crites

Ken Crites

Ken was an early RotoWire contributor back in the 90ís. He now returns with the grace of Gheorghe Muresan and the wisdom of Joe Gibbs. Tweet him at @KenCrites or e-mail him at ken@rotowire.com.

Welcome to the first 2014-15 season version of the Rebound & Rant.

Holy guacamole, is there a more amazing 24 hours in the NBA than Draft Day mixed with a high colonic of cap-space trades? General managers are glistening with the prospect of signing a big-name free agent that they will be trying to bribe other teams to take off their hands in two years.

Since our NBA editor (generally a good guy) was hogging the 2014 NBA Draft "live chat" on RotoWire Thursday night, I recorded my thoughts "live" in a fancy program called Microsoft Word.

Here we go, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET...

Oh, Canada

Cleveland gambled on yet another Canadian pick. Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett (yeesh!), and now Andrew Wiggins. (Side bar: Jay Williams, are you really asking Wiggins, "Is this velvet?") The day's early talk of Cleveland moving the No. 1 pick to Orlando for No. 4, No. 12 and Arron Afflalo sure sounded pretty darn good for northern Ohio, but that fell apart when Orlando moved Afflalo to Denver for Evan Fournier and a second round pick. Clearly the press was over-valuing that No. 1 pick and Afflalo.

Nervous

It's 7:52 p.m. ET, and the Bucks just took Jabari Parker (a no-duh pick). The Sixers are on the board. Do they take Joel Embiid and phone in yet another year? I'm sweating like a southern sow. Ack, they took Embiid! Joel does not look happy. Why is he so bummed out? Did Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie break Embiid's foot? Oh sure, after the ESPN criticism, Embiid starts the fist pumps? Odd. How does he play with Nerlens Noel? Are either of them healthy next year? Will I ever stop asking questions!?!

The clearly-planned ESPN video interview was interesting. Embiid said, "I'm excited." in the least excited manner I've ever heard. My wife had the same tone in her voice when I asked if she wanted to see The Hangover 2.

I will say this: Do not waste a fantasy draft pick on Embiid this upcoming season, unless it's your last pick. There isn't just a foot issue. His back is shaky too. And Philly will not risk rushing him back (see Noel, Nerlens). That Greg Oden graphic after the Embiid interview didn't make anyone happy. Somewhere, Sam Bowie is smiling.

Take That Saucy Aussie!

Aaron Gordon went No. 4. Did anyone learn anything from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? If you can't shoot, you can't shoot. Gordon may be a great NBA talent, but he is not a fantasy talent. Avoid him next year. Avoid. Don't blame me if he kills your field goal percentage next year. Is Exum going to fall to the Celtics!?! Now I'm glistening.

OK, forget the Draft, I just soiled myself over "the baddest" Kevin Durant Nike ad. These kids are all child's play. They must bow down before those who have already proven themselves.

I like Fran Fraschilla's point that Dante Exum is only 19 years old, and that's 19 without much basketball playing experience. There was no AAU ball for Exum. I love the upside here. Fantasy wise, he's a keeper league dream. Exum's lawyers may want to apply now for my restraining order, but next year, like Gordon, Exum could tank your field goal percentage. I love his long-term potential, but I worry about him next year. Plus, Exum should keep making those cool Adidas ads.

Unluck of the Irish

With Embiid and Gordon gone, the Celtic's pick isn't so obvious. Marcus Smart!?! He's super competitive, but what the heck does that mean for Rondo? Somebody is getting traded, which puts the fantasy value of anyone the Celtics draft in question (both high potential and high risk). Do the Celtics really need yet another guard who can't shoot from outside? I'm thinking the C's didn't want an even bigger log jam at power forward by taking Julius Randle.

Then, of course, Randle goes to the Lakers, as expected. I think he's my third favorite rookie for fantasy next season. Who else is going to rebound in Los Angeles?

Ugly

Who put Nik Stauskus' suit in a waffle iron? What's justifying the Canadian slant? So, now what happens with Ben McLemore in Sacramento, or is a trade afoot? (My period-to-question-mark ratio is getting absurd.) The Hornets can not be happy that the best shooter (sorry, McBuckets) just went off the board.

Pre-Draft Trades

For fantasy ballers, what might be more important than next year's rookies are the pre-draft trades that just mixed up playing time. I will confess right now, I love Evan Fournier in Orlando, but I still can't figure out why Denver gave Randy Foye (Randy Foye!) more minutes than the up-and-coming Fournier last season. By the way, Fournier is only 21 years old. I love, love, love the upside of Fournier for next season, fantasy fans. Check out these highlights from his 27-point game from last February:



Me likey Tyson Chandler back in Dallas. You know he just didn't care last year in New York. Seriously, would you? He's only 31 years old. Really, just 31. Chandler was 10 years old when drafted by Chicago. Here are Chandler's per-game numbers in Dallas from the 2010-11 season:

10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds (another hello!), 1.1 blocks, 0.5 steals and only 1.2 turnovers.

Don't underestimate the medical team in Dallas. If Chandler can play 72+ games anywhere, it's in Dallas. He played 74 games in Dallas in 2010-11. I will draft Chandler too early this season. Freak up, fantasy land!

Whoops, International Interruption

When will Orlando be able to lure Dario Saric to the USA? Don't they need talent now? Yikes, wait, scratch that. Saric is off to Philly, who can wait on his return from Turkey. Now that makes sense. Philly fans, I'd wait yet another year to buy season tickets.

Back to Trades

Oh, and you can not overlook Omer Asik getting traded to the Pelicans. He has "underrated, fantasy value pick" written all over him. Asik's only a year removed from these 2012-13 per-game numbers:

10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds (hello!), 1.1 blocks and 54 percent from the field.

After drafting Chandler too early, I will then pick Asik too early.

I love taking a flyer on the gun-toting Raymond Felton as a last-round upside guy. Who else will play point in Dallas? He's got a lot of guys to pass to if he can stay away from the Texas barbecue.

Boom, McGary!

OK, I might smoke weed too if it put me on the Thunder. Mitch McGary and Steven Adams make for a fearsome frontcourt, defense-wise, off the bench. Fantasy wise? Look elsewhere. Basketball wise, I like the move for Oklahoma City. How is Shabazz Napier still out there? Wait, really, the Heat!?!?! Argh.

Let's end this like I always like to end things, with horrible Heat fans leaving early. Preach it, Crystal. Peace out!!!