Deron Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday, stunning an NBA still cleaning up the mess caused by the Carmelo Anthony saga. The Utah Jazz agreed to send their All-Star point guard to the Nets in exchange for rookie Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris and two first-round picks. Favors, who was long targeted by the Denver Nuggets during the 'Melo talks, looks like the prize of the deal on first blush.
But the real value for Utah may lie in those picks. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the picks the Jazz will receive are New Jersey's own 2011 first-round pick and the Golden State Warrior's 2012 first-round pick. The Nets picked up the Warrior's 2012 pick in an otherwise non-notable 2009 trade for out-of-the-league Marcus Williams.
The Nets are currently deep in the lottery, and even the Williams trade, as huge as it is, may not be able to save New Jersey's season. Only four teams have fewer wins than New Jersey right now, meaning that the chances the Nets' pick lands in the top 10 are quite strong, unless Williams leads New Jersey on a masterful run to glory over the next two months.
The Warriors' 2012 pick won't be a top-seven choice, because Golden State will keep it if it's that high. In that case, it would become a 2013 first-round pick, protected through the top seven choices. If it still hasn't transfered, it would be protected through top six choices in 2014. If the Warriors haven't crawled out of the deep lottery by then, it would, unfortunately for the Jazz, turn into a pair of second-round picks. Chances are the Warriors will land in the teens in 2012 or 2013, and the pick will transfer.
The 2011 draft is expected to be of poor quality at all levels. Things currently look up for 2012, however.