On March 15, 2012, Billy King traded Shawne Williams, Mehmet Okur, and a conditional first round draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace.
That conditional first round draft pick became the sixth overall selection in this year’s draft after the NBA Draft Lottery process.
When asked if King regretted the deal in hindsight, he nonchalantly said, “No.”
That leaves King and the Nets only the 57th selection in the draft to upgrade the team’s talent level.
Can King find the next Manu Ginobili with this year’s 57th pick? That remains to be seen.
“We’re still trying to figure it out. Looking at the possibility if we want to get another pick or not. I think we’ve got it pretty much ranked how we want it, probably tweak it some more. Then you start looking to see if there are certain guys you want to get in the draft or not to get higher,” said King. “I’d be shocked if it was someone that will have an impact next season.”
According to King, there are offers on the table to improve the team’s draft position and land an impact player for the right price.
“If we wanted to, we could get into the first round,” said King. “I don’t know. I didn’t know that we were going to move up for MarShon the day before the draft, it just happened.”
Despite only four players under a guaranteed contract, King still has financial flexibility to help him facilitate a deal.
“We still have $3 million to spend," said King. "That was a conscious effort during the deadline not to use that because you want to have it available at this time of the year. The July 1st you have another $3 million."
King has had success in the past drafting players such as Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Andre Iguodala, and Samuel Dalembert as Philadelphia’s general manager.
“That’s why we focus so hard on getting our rankings how we would take guys, not how we think it’s going to go. Then if guys start falling, you sort of have things lined up. I’ll talk to teams and have things lined up so if I need a pick I know what it takes to get there,” said King. “If you look at tradition stats that carry over, rebounding carries over from college. Guys that get assists in college are going to get assists in the pros.”
King contends the key is doing your homework and focusing on what your team needs in the draft.
“There’s some good talent in there. I think there’s going to be some guys taken in the second round, could be at 57, or that could be in the forties, that could project to be better than some of the guys taken in the lottery,” said King.
While some in the media and scouts have called this a deep draft, King is skeptical of what “deep” really means.
“I think the draft became hyped as a great draft because a lot of people knew the names because Harrison Barnes was supposed to come out the year before, stayed. Jared Sullinger stayed. So now there are more names in it that they media and fans knew,” said King. “I think it’s a good draft. Is it a great draft? I don’t think so.”
Whether it’s with a trade into the first round, the 57th overall pick, or in free agency, King’s goal is to build a competitive team as quickly as possible before the franchise begins a new chapter in Brooklyn.
“The one thing I’ve been focusing on with the staff and Avery (Johnson) is building a team. Not trying to get the so-called “sexy” name,” said King. “I think we’ve just got to get a better basketball IQ as a team.”