After the draft

It’s been suspected — and now pretty much confirmed — that Cole Aldrich is the second coming of Nick Collison, a Jayhawk with a smartaleck streak. It remains to be seen, however, if Aldrich is comparably sweaty.

Second-round pick Tibor Pleiss, who isn’t emerging from the German shadows any time this year, is getting some kind words from the pundits. For example:

“To get this guy with the 31st pick, and you don’t have to pay him the rookie salary scale, an absolute steal,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said immediately after the pick. “Sam Presti and his scouting staff I think have come up with a gem here, because in a draft with a lot of quality big guys this young guy has long term potential.”

Speaking of potential, former Hornets guard Morris Peterson, who was dealt to the Thunder in exchange for two first-round picks, is believed not to have any:

Hornets fans should pause momentarily to thank the Thunder for the benevolence. This will be the second time Oklahoma City has bailed out the Hornets. First, the city welcomed the franchise during the relocation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Now, the NBA franchise will take off New Orleans’ hands a player who, unfortunately, had linked with Peja Stojakovic and James Posey to symbolize the teams’ misses in free agency. With those salaries draped around the neck, the wonder was whether the Hornets would be able to find a taker. Whatever it was [New Orleans GM Jeff] Bower told the Thunder that got OKC to bite on Peterson, it must’ve been a whopper.

Granted, MoPete had a blah year, but it wasn’t as blah as the year before, and he’s now in the position of having something to prove. The only thing really standing in Peterson’s way is the fact that the Thunder have been stocking up on shooting guards of late: you have to figure that Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden and the newly-acquired Daequan Cook will be ahead of him on the depth chart. Maybe they’ll play him at small forward, current location of Kevin Durant and a large empty space. Or maybe they’ll just buy him out. If I were Kyle Weaver, I might be sweating a bit right about now.

That leaves Ryan Reid, an undersized (6-8) and overaged (24) power forward. If there’s a spot for him anywhere, it’s in Tulsa, perhaps alongside Latavious Williams.

If this seems like an awful lot of activity for one team out of thirty, well, this is the way Sam Presti plays it, and, as SI’s Chris Mannix quipped, “At some point in the next few years, Sam Presti is going to own all 30 picks in the draft.”







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