At the trade deadline, Los Angeles Clippers traded Baron Davis, the 2 years and $17 million dollars left on his contract and an unprotected 2011 1st Round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.
Yesterday was the NBA Draft lottery. For those of you that don't know, every year, in order to stop teams from "tanking" (intentionally losing games to get a higher pick in the draft), there is a lottery to determine the order of draft picks. Thus, even with the worst record in the league, you might not have the number one pick (in fact, the team with the worst record in the league rarely gets the number 1 pick).
The Clippers had a 2.8% chance of getting the top pick after finishing with the 8th worst record in the league. This is nothing new to the Clips – they’ve finished with a top 14 pick every year but 3 in their 27 year tenure in Los Angeles. Do the math here kids; that means they’ve made the playoffs 3 times in their glorious run befouling the name of Los Angeles professional athletics.
The Cavaliers were an absolutely decimated squad this year – LeBron fled to South Beach and took with him the fortunes of the franchise. They finished with the second-worst record in the league which gave them the second best odds of the number one picks – a roughly 20% chance. But that wasn’t the pick that gave them the top spot for the draft in June.
Of course, as is the norm for the Clippers and their accursed history, it was LA’s pick that turned out to be number one.
“Adding Mo Williams and $8.5 m in cap room gives us better odds of improving than a 2.8% chance of winning the lottery.”
The Clippers have been terrible almost every single year of their existence. They’ve won 1 playoff series in Los Angeles. They’ve faced injury after injury and hit every single bad break imaginable. GM Neil Olshey, how did you possibly think that this time would be different than the 27 years preceding this one?
How do you not give that pick top-3 protection? How do you not even give it top-1 protection? I imagine the Cavaliers still would have made that trade with that type of protection on it, considering that they only had a 3% chance of being wrong. They Cavalier needed more talent and they needed to do something to prove to their fan base that they were still working.
The Clippers took a gamble here, and they lost. Obviously they were prepared for that small possibility that the pick could be in the top three. But as a GM, you have to make decisions that eliminate those type of (potentially) franchise changing misfires.
I mentioned at the time that I thought this was a dumb move for the Clips to give up a first rounder. You just don't give up a pick like that when you're ALREADY a terrible team. Neil Olshey is an idiot.
“We had a 97% chance of sitting here tonight with Baron Davis, the 8th pick in a bad draft and no cap flexibility.” - Today
This is such a display of arrogance. Even with a top-10 pick in a draft "you hate", that is such a stupid statement to make. When have the Clippers ever made a free agent signing that improved the team? Baron Davis’ contract was and is abhorrent. Cuttino Mobley gave them a couple good years before heart problems ended his career (yes, heart problems for a guy who was in peak physical condition – only on the Clippers could this happen). But other than that, the Clippers have had next to no notable free agent additions in their history. Every good player that has come to them has been through THE DRAFT and through trades (with picks from THE DRAFT).
Point to any good Clippers player EVER. Danny Manning, Blake Griffin, Lamar Odom, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Danny Ferry? Draft picks. Sam Cassel, Elton Brand, Dominique Wilkins, Marcus Camby, Corey Maggette, Andre Miller and Ron Harper? Got all of those guys by trading DRAFT PICKS. Tell me honestly, am I leaving anyone of significance out?
The draft has been the only legitimate source of success (either by keeping the player or trading his rights for another player) for a franchise that has been completely bereft of it in their long history of ineptitude. No one will sign there. Ever. For multiple reasons going beyond just the curse.
Neil Olshey is an idiot.
"Said a Clippers source after the team sent its first-round pick to Cleveland, 'This just shows you how much we hate this draft.'" – Feb 24th, 2011
As the Cavs now have the number 1 (and 4) pick, most people expect them to pick Duke guard Kyrie Irving with the top spot and whoever else is the best on the board with number 4, with the exception of Brandon Knight (another point guard). The Cavs can’t really discriminate with that number 4 pick – they need help at every spot.
Many scouts have favorably compared Irving to Chris Paul, specifically naming similarities their quickness, passing and ability to penetrate.
I hope and pray that Irving turns into CP3 2.0. It would be the only justice appropriate for a franchise that turned it’s back on the only source of success they’ve ever known. The Clippers absolutely deserve to be haunted by their decision making and for disregarding the pathway to rebuilding that every other bad team in the league uses. I cannot wait to watch the Cavs next year as they make the number 8 spot in the playoffs, led by Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, as the Clippers finish with 38 wins and a tee time at 8 am on April 16th, 2012. I hope Blake Griffin signs with the Thunder in 4 years.
As I told this to my GREAT MAMBINO cohort BockerKnocker today, he noted that most of my rage may stem from hangover Lakers pain. He’s not wrong. But I’m not either. Neil Olshey is an idiot.