Leave it up to the Spurs to get great value even out of their ultra late second-round picks. The Spurs managed to squeeze the better of Milwaukee's two second round selections next year (Houston's or Milwaukee's), getting a better spot in a deeper draft. This move was a no-brainer for the Spurs.
* Traded Damir Markota (59) to the Bucks for the better of their two second-round picks
The last few picks of the first round are considered some of the least valuable to have in a draft like this, but the Mavs got themselves a player who could certainly be a rotation type by the end of his rookie deal. Ager fits in with Avery Johnson's tough and hardworking mentality. Ager's attitude on and off the court will never clash with Dallas' stars. With Jerry Stackhouse becoming a free agent next summer and Marquis Daniels clearly on the block, Ager could even get some playing time in the near future if he manages to beat out Rawle Marshall and Adrian Griffin.
The Mavs converted their extremely late second rounder into a much more valuable 2007 pick. That was a smart move by a team that doesn't have many roster spots to spare. The Mavs could certainly get a player that is just as talented in the undrafted free agent pool.
After a trade between the Rockets and Timberwolves fell through (thanks to the shrewdness of the Portland Trailblazers) just as the clock started ticking on the No. 8 pick, the Grizzlies stepped in and made a risky trade. They sent consummate glue guy Shane Battier to Houston for Stromile Swift and the rights to the No. 8 pick.
After a few exits in the first round of the playoffs, the Grizzlies appear to be intent on taking the proper risk needed to make it to the next round. Gay is more of a long-term project that will develop alongside Pau Gasol. If the Grizzlies can parlay Stromile Swift into some kind of value - preferably a point guard - they could very well be on their way.
With their pick the Grizzlies drafted Lowry ? a player the team never worked out. Lowry's size and outside shooting skills will always be a hindrance, but he is the type of tenacious lead guard that could eventually grow on Mike Fratello.
In the second round the Grizzlies traded a future pick to Portland to land Alexander Johnson. The Grizzlies told Johnson just a few nights before the draft that they would take him at No. 24. But as is the case with many commitments we see every year, the Grizzlies reneged and sent his stock into a tailspin. Memphis got to have its cake and eat it too by landing him in the second round.
* acquired, Stromile Swift; acquired Alexander Johnson (45)
New Orleans Hornets
Size is always at a premium in free agency, so they did well in drafting two athletic big men with good size and length.
Both are high-character individuals off the court who will play their role and relish the tutelage of a steady veteran like PJ Brown. Simmons has the most upside of the two. Armstrong is a young senior who just started to come into his own. He has the potential to continue to grow both physically and skill-wise on the offensive end.
If Marquinhos can knock down 3-pointers and improve his perimeter defense he will stick in the league. He could give the Hornets a viable option to bring off the bench. The only question is whether Byron Scott will play him.
None of their picks will be immediate stars in the NBA, but the Hornets should be in no rush considering how bright their future looks.
Houston tried to trade up to get Brandon Roy. Rather than select a player they really didn't want, the Rockets went out and got the perfect player for Stan Van Gundy's system. Shane Battier's contributions don't show up on the stat sheet, but his terrific perimeter defense, timely outside shooting and ability to do all the little things make the Rockets a much more dangerous team.
With two all-stars reaching their prime in Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, the Rockets went for the sure-fire starter who will guard the opposition's best perimeter player, get the ball inside to Yao, and knock down open shots that are created for him by his teammates.
Stromile Swift was never going to be able to play under Stan Van Gundy, so cutting their losses and dumping Swift's contract wasn't a bad move.
At No. 32, the Rockets got another player who will play a valuable role sooner rather than later. Novak is the perfect player to have next to Yao and McGrady, and should also flourish from the shots they create for him.
The Rockets also went out and secured the rights to a player they covet (Eliyahu ) for down the road. Whether he pans out or prices himself out of a rookie NBA contract (like Vassilis Spanoulis) is anyone's guess, but in the middle of the second round it's not a bad gamble to make.