Linking you up before the Finals, while exploring Felton trade scenarios in the process

Though this is strictly a Denver Nuggets-themed blog, I don’t think I’d be going to far as to say most of the our readers are likely going to be watching the Mavericks and Heat go at it in the 2011 NBA Finals this year. So, Roundball Mining Company has dug up an assortment of different links to help you further get acquainted with the nuances of this historic series.

Kurt Helin of NBC Sports mentions a few keys to the series for each team.

Helin also touches on the unconventional practice methods of NBA superstar, Dirk Nowitzki.

Michael McCarthy of USA Today details the unfortunate timing of a potential lockout, as the NBA’s popularity is once again surging.

Tom Ziller of SBNation makes a case for hating the Mavericks, instead of the popularly despised Heat.

SI.com’s calls upon an array of different writers to break down the keys to the NBA Finals in true roundtable form.

Yahoo! Sports’ blog, BallDon’tLie, offers up a unique perspective on the Finals.

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com asks fellow Heat players how exactly one should go about trying to defend Dirk Nowitzki.

Jim Cavan of TrueHoop Network blog Knickerblogger.net, serves up his 2011 season grade of Chauncey Billups’ performance as a New York Knick.

Must Reads:

BallDon’tLie details J.R. Smith’s deadly (literally… sadly) driving record. His most recent offense: driving a scooter in South Beach without a valid license.

This 2010-11 highlight video of Marshon Brooks is a great example of the type abilities Brooks possesses. I’ve been careful with the Kobe Bryant comparisons, but after watching this… wow… it’s like watching a Kobe clone — that’s really all I can say.

Apparently spurned Cavaliers fans really, really, really want Lebron James and the Miami Heat to lose in the Finals, even going so far as to create a Cavs-Mavs logo to protest their disdain for the South Beat “Heatles.”

The link that inspired me to create this plethora of link-infused content today, courtesy of The Basketball Jones. Lets just say Lebron James’ receding hairline meets investigative journalism for the first time.

A quick note:

The Denver Nuggets have revealed to Roundball its first series of workouts prior to the draft, and this year’s participants include Iman Shumpert, guard out of Georgia Tech; Nolan Smith, guard out of Duke; Jordan Williams, forward out of Maryland; Cory Higgins, guard out of Colorado; Charles Jenkins, guard out of Hofstra; and Travis Leslie, guard out of Georgia. It’s too bad I’m not stationed in Denver over the summer as I’d love to attend this event, if at all possible of course. Nonetheless, it’s interesting how five of the six prospects are guards, and of the five, four received heavy minutes at point guard for their respective college teams this past year.

So what does this this pattern of potential point guard prospects (how’s that for alliteration?) mean for the Nuggets? Not much to be completely honest. Between now and the NBA Draft on June 23, many different types of players will pass between the Nuggets’ realm of player-analysis, and it just so happens that guards appear to be first on the list. That said, it would be interesting to see management explore trade options in the form of a late first-round, or early second-round draft pick for Raymond Felton, as there will likely be a copious amount of point guards in this slot that could immediately step in and contribute back-up minutes for the Nuggets behind Ty Lawson. The big picture is this: Felton only has one more year left on his contract, wants to be a starter and with Lawson ready to assume full-time duties, it really makes keeping Felton around all the more illogical. Therefore, why not trade him to a team like the Heat for its second round pick (first selection of the second round, No. 31 overall), then draft somebody like a Nolan Smith, Josh Selby, Iman Shumpert, Charles Jenkins, Norris Cole, Shelvin Mack, Isaiah Thomas, Andrew Goudelock to backup Lawson and grow with the team similar to a Eric Maynor in Oklahoma City or Eric Bledsoe in L.A.? Though we wouldn’t be getting the proper amount of value out of Raymond Felton — the player — that we should, we have to realize that he does only have one year left on his contract, so unless we package him with another valuable asset (i.e. Wilson Chandler) or sign him to an extension — which can’t be done until the Collective Bargaining negotiations are complete — we simply can’t get the amount of value we desire out of him. Why not just resolve this potentially disastrous locker-room situation by dealing Felton to another team, giving him the opportunity he wants to start, and then drafting a backup point guard that will be here for years behind Lawson? This would save us money and leave us set at the point guard position for years to come. Just imagine an off-season in which we draft Marshon Brooks at 22 to replace J.R. and Josh Selby at 31 to replace Felton, then re-sign Nene , Afflalo (likely) and Chandler. That means we’d legitimately be two deep — once again — at every position (PG: Lawson and Selby; SG: Afflalo and Brooks; SF: Gallinari and Chandler; PF: Nene and Birdman) except maybe center (Mozgov and Koufos), for a long time into the future.

Something to think about fellow Nuggets fans, something to think about…

(Follow me on Twitter @24kGoldenChild)

  • GK4Prez

    What is the love affair with Brooks all about? If he was so great, wouldn’t he be projected to go a lot higher in this draft then where he typically gets slotted? I just don’t see where all of the love comes from when I watch his youtube highlights.

    In the 52 point game he had against Notre Dame, you can see him forcing several shots over two defenders instead of passing to an open teammate for a much better attempt.

    • Kalen

      On that game against Notre Dame where he scored 52, he hit 20 of his 28 shots from the field, AND his team was still behind the entire game, so I think it’s fair to say that his teammates likely welcomed him taking as many shots as he could since he was seemingly the only one keeping them in the game. His senior season he averaged 2.5 assists per game, which pretty good for a shooting guard asked to carry the scoring load for the team.

      Asking why he’s not slated to go higher is a question that’s haunted certain players, teams, scouts, general managers, owners, etc. throughout the history of sports. Why did Landry Fields drop to the second round last year when he was worthy of a top-ten pick? Why did Jordan Crawford drop all the way to 27? Why did Marcus Thorton drop all the way to No. 43 the year before that? If you want to go all time, why did Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, Mark Price, Rashard Lewis, etc. all get drafted in the second round? And why in the WORLD did Manu Ginobili drop all the way to the 57th pick, almost going undrafted?

      It’s hard to tell why certain guys aren’t ranked higher, other than the simple fact that evaluating talent is much harder than it looks. If NBA general managers knew, I’m sure they wouldn’t be missing on so many picks every year, costing their franchise success, money and everything else along the way. With Brooks, my guess is there are two things diminishing his value in the scouts eyes: his age and school. At 22, he doesn’t offer that extremely high-ceiling talent that raw freshmen do; basically you know what you’re getting. Then of course, the fact that he attended Providence instead of North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, etc. probably takes a bit away from the pure luster of his value.

      The bottom line with Brooks is that he set Big East records in scoring (very impressive considering all the great players that have passed through that conference), measured out as one of the best athletes at the Combine and can likely contribute right away at the NBA level. For where the Nuggets are selecting, that’s perfect. I know there are teams in the lottery as high as the Cavs that are working Brooks out so, in theory, he could potentially go much higher than expected, which kind of answers your question. I think he’s the second best shooting guard behind Burks in the draft, and NBA teams know this as well.

  • DHinNYC

    Damn. Brooks looks good. He looks a little undersized for a shooting guard though, no? He certainly doesn’t have Kobe or even JR’s length, does he?

    • Kalen

      In terms of pure height, he measured out at a little over 6-foot-4, so yes, he’s a bit undersized in that aspect. But… he also measured in with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, which is insane for a shooting guard. When you couple this with the fact that he tested out as one of the most athletic guys at the combine (second highest vertical) and he stands at 6-foot-5 with shoes on, then size shouldn’t be a worry for him in the NBA; he’ll be fine.

  • Andrew

    I would like Marshon Brooks and Faried or one of the other bigs discussed previously, so I really like the idea of trading Felton for a first rounder plus a guy who can grab a few rebounds…I’m so glad the Nuggs are not interested in Jimmer. Scoring wiz + no D = 1/2 a player.

  • GK4Prez

    Good lord, the guy almost names off every guy who has ever slipped out of the first round or dropped to a late first as a comparison.

    Nobody even had their eyes on Landry Fields, so he was a steal. Howver, once the Knicks changed his role, his game suffered (dropped off significantly).

    Several scouts have seen Brooks workout now and he still gets slotted as a late first in a weak draft. But, but, but, he scored 52 points in a game.

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    We have to get more for felton than the 31st pick in the next draft. I understand he only has a year to go on his deal, but if a team likes him and knows he will resign with them then they have to give us more than that. On the other hand, a struggling team may gamble and give us a better offer hoping he turns their franchise around and choses to stay.

    If we really can’t get anything better than a second round pick, then we need to sign him to a longer term deal as you have previously suggested, then look to trade him once we are allowed to hopefully for much better value.

    • Kalen

      Yeah good point Aussie, and I agree. The only thing is, I think Felton would be hesitant to sign a long-term deal with the Nuggets knowing that we could then deal him to whichever team offered the most in return. With only one year left on his contract I would think he’d be extremely eager to choose his next destination on his own.

      • Wilson

        I’m a Blazer fan and have been floating this idea:

        Felton and Harrington
        for
        Miller, Babbitt, Elliot Williams, Joel Freeland, 2011 20th pick (from MN for Rudy Fernandez and cash)

        Freeland is one of the best big men in Europe at 6’11” 225
        Elliot Williams is a freak athlete with 42in vert at SG
        Babbitt is just to make the salaries work, altho the man can shoot

        I know its rough to help out a division rival but we take your worst contract and you get a young front-court prospect, a young SG prospect and a draft pick.

        Thoughts?