Can Danny: The House that Tyreke Built
What I'm going to say about the fifth pick in the NBA draft shouldn't come to a shock to anyone since it fits the current theme of the draft. The two best prospects available here are at a position that the team picking doesn't exactly need. Yes, Al-Farouq Aminu and Wesley Johnson are great prospects but I like the Kings' current small forwards, Omri Casspi and Donte Greene. They also have money invested in Andres Nocioni who is also best suited for the 3. Could Aminu and Johnson pan out to be better than all of those guys? Sure, but the Kings have other needs to fill and one person whom they need to fill around.
The Sacramento Kings got their franchise player in last year's draft when they landed Tyreke Evans. 'Reke was the rookie of the year and is a physical beast who runs over opposing point guards. The key for the Kings, IMO is finding a shooting guard who can work off the ball and maybe take over the reins now and then. Given the death of quality shooting guards out there, that's actually a harder role to fill.
So where is the answer? And where might that answer come from? And who will be left for the Warriors to take at #6?
One thing I've learned from looking over NBA rosters and trying to concoct trades is that we are in a dry period when it comes to the shooting guard position. There just aren't that many great shooting guards left and the ones that are out there are getting old. Before the season, I thought Ray Allen would be lucky to get 10 million dollars a year this offseason but the way things are shaping up, someone could be throwing a lot more money than that his way.
The shooting guard position being as weak as it is, the Kings might have to overpay in this deal but I think that the guy they should really look to grab is New Orleans' Marcus Thornton. He's no Eric Snow in terms of playmaking but he was able to handle spot duty at the point this season for the Hornets so I think he should be good enough with 'Reke. But the bigger issue is that he's a guy who can work without the ball. He can fill it up without having to dominate the rock or slow down the offense. He's the perfect guy to feed off of Evans. Also, his defense isn't too shabby.
I think the Kings overpay to make this deal happen and send Jason Thompson and the #5 to the Hornets for Thornton, Julian Wright (for salary purposes_, and the #11. I'd rather move Hawes instead of Thompson but I think the Hornets might demand Jason and I'd be willing to make that move, not only because Thornton is that good of a fit, but because the Kings should be able to find a solid enough big man with the 11th pick.
At #5, the Hornets select Wesley Thornton, an athletic swingman who should love running the court alongside Chris Paul. Honestly, running with Darren Collison will probably be a blast as well. New Orleans is a perfect fit for Thornton because he can focus on defense and filling his role on the offense as opposed to having a lot of pressure on him, like he might have in New Jersey or Minnesota.
The one person who could prevent this deal from happening, however, is Paul George. I'm not really that high on the other small forward prospects but George is the kind of player who should be available at the Hornets' 11th pick and could fill the hole at the SF spot. Still, I think the Hornets go with the deal and get the better prospect in Johnson and add a versatile big in Thompson.
That leaves the Minnesota Timberwolves with Al-Farouq Aminu at #6. Aminu needs to work on his range but with Maggette holding down the fort, the 19 year old can make his name on defense for the first couple of years in the NBA while he works on expanding his perimeter game. He should be a perfect complement to fellow tweener Ryan Gomes in the Wovles second unit. In two years, one would hope that Aminu would be ready to take over the starting spot, which is perfect because Maggette will be an expiring contract by that point.