Thursday, June 7, 2007
The Specter of Brandon Roy
There's been some controversy over a statement I made in the previous post, namely my hypothesizing that the seventh pick in the draft "arguably could have landed us Brandon Roy." Roy, as most reading this know, was this past season's Rookie of the Year, and even more recently was the amiable good-luck charm that gleefully accepted the opportunity to draft Greg Oden and crush the hearts of Celtics (and Grizzlies, and Bucks, and Hawks, etc.) fans. It has been correctly pointed out that Roy was in fact picked with the sixth overall pick in the draft, as opposed to the seventh, which would appear to directly contradict my assertion that the C's could have had him with the pick that became Bassy "Tonz-o-Gunz" Telfair.
I stand by my assertion, though wish to further emphasize my use of the qualifier "arguably." On draft day last year the Portland Trailblazers managed to land both LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy with the fourth and seventh picks in the draft (nice fucking haul, by the way). They drafted Tyrus Thomas fourth, then sent him to Chicago along with Victor Khryapa for Aldridge, who the Bulls had drafted second. Reasonable enough. The Roy acquisition is considerably more strange. After drafting Randy Foye with the seventh pick, one pick after Minnesota had drafted Brandon Roy, the Blazers flipped Foye to Minnesota for Brandon Roy, straight up. Basically the Blazers traded the seventh pick in the draft for the sixth. Bizarre, but you can read the details on NBA.com here.
Now, I'm not sure why exactly they did this and lack the will to thoroughly research it, but I'm fairly certain it has something to do with money. See, if the Wolves really wanted Randy Foye over Brandon Roy all along (which apparently they did, further burnishing Kevin McHale's mantle of suckiness), if he's drafted sixth then they have to pay him a little bit more than if he's drafted seventh. Portland, not adverse to acquiring a guy that many people were already predicting would be the most effective rookie in the draft, made the deal. Randy Foye is a very nice player but it's hard not to wonder if the Wolves would have been better off with Roy, a hypothetical I'll save for the Wolves bloggers.
So the "arguably" that precedes that the C's could have had Roy assumes that McHale would have made the same deal with Ainge if the C's had kept the pick. This might not be true, which is why it's arguable. Many have casually thrown around the "we traded Roy for Telfair" summation-- Simmons himself has done this numerous times--which is simplistic and irresponsible and needs qualification. However, it's also not at all unreasonable to think that we could have had Brandon Roy with minimal effort if we'd held on to the seventh pick, and for myself and others, Roy haunts me like Faulkner's "ghosts" in Absalom, Absalom. Too much?
For a wildly hypothetical take on the Celtics-Roy "what might have been" that will nonetheless make you claw your eyes out in agony, check out this article by Ian Thomsen, published right after the Lottery. Thomsen goes so far as to note that if the C's don't trade the seventh pick to Portland for Telfair, Portland doesn't get Brandon Roy, Brandon Roy doesn't help lead the Blazers to exactly the 32 wins which would provide them with the Oden-winning ping pong ball. So if you want to get hypothetical and bitter to the point of near-insanity (and who doesn't) you might wonder aloud if Ainge's ill-conceived desire for Telfair resulted in what may now be 10-15 years of championship-caliber basketball in Portland. Nice.