Last year, our management decided its main goal was getting our team to the playoffs. While most teams are either competing for a championship or rebuilding, we wanted to try and do both at the same time. History shows that no small market team has been able to do it so far, but we thought we might be able to considering the haul we got back in the D-Will trade. I understand the logic. Why tank when we already have four lottery picks with which to build on?
While our management was hell bent on getting us back to the playoffs, there were a lot of us fans that thought there was some merit in going into "rebuild mode". The decisions presenting our FO were to either keep our veteran players and make a run at the playoffs, or trade a few of them for future draft picks/assets. We all know their decision, and there were some pretty big consequences that stemmed from it.
1-We made the playoffs. I'm not going to pretend that the end of last year wasn't tons of fun to watch. I loved winning a bunch of games at the end of the year to just squeak in the playoffs. It was really entertaining basketball. Unfortunately, that all ended with a first round ass kicking by the spurs.
2-By deciding to keep our veterans ahead of our young guys on the depth chart, we potentially delayed some important progression in their games. I don't know if they would be better now if they had played more, but it seems reasonable to assume they would be.
3-By keeping Al/Millsap (and maybe Harris), we won a lot more games than we would have had we gone with the youth movement. I'm specifically thinking of one game against Golden State where had we not had Al blowing it up for 30 points, we would have lost. Had we lost that one game, we would have ended up with the 8th and 14th picks this last draft.
Which brings me to the final point of this post. Tonight James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and two future first rounders. I have to believe that we were at least in discussions with the thunder, but in the felt that giving up two draft picks and one of our young guys was too steep a price. But what if we had more young players on our team. What if we also had Harrison Barnes and maybe Royce White, or even Jeremy Lamb on our team as well as our core four. Wouldn't it have made our front office more willing to make a deal for Harden? Wouldn't we gladly give up Barnes and maybe Burks if in the end we had hayward/harden as a back court along with our bigs?
This deal tonight just reaffirmed my belief that we should have gone into full rebuild mode like Houston did this off season. While our future is still bright, it could have been a little brighter.....