Los Angeles Clippers
Sure, the Clippers gave up a good amount to land Chris Paul, but in doing so, they have become a relevant NBA franchise for the first time in a long time and actually created a significant buzz, taking away some of the pub from their cotenant rival Lakers. The additions of veterans Chauncey Billups and Reggie Evans at bargain prices are great deals. Re-signing DeAndre Jordan was a must, and $10 million per year for a young, developing, impact center seems like a good deal. The team did overpay for Caron Butler's services, but all in all, the Clippers made a major step as a franchise this offseason and became a playoff-caliber club in the Western Conference.
New Orleans Hornets
I think the Hornets absolutely made the right decision by trading Chris Paul prior to the start of the season rather than finding themselves in a Denver Nuggets/Carmelo Anthony type of situation during the year. They got great value back in one of the top scoring guards in the NBA in Eric Gordon, a promising small forward in Al-Farouq Aminu, a solid big man in Chris Kaman, who is in the final year of his contract, and a likely top-five pick. New Orleans also didn't waste any of its cap space by overpaying an average player to a long-term, expensive deal. They now have assets for the future as well as a ton of cap space entering next summer that should make the post-CP3 re-building effort much smoother.
It started with the draft-day addition of George Hill and continued the past couple of weeks with the signing David West to an affordable 2-year, $20 million contract, and freeing themselves of James Posey's contract by using the amnesty clause on him. The Pacers entered the offseason with a ton of cap space and made smart moves by not wasting any of their money and still keeping themselves in good financial standing for next offseason when the free agent class will be much better. Suddenly, Indiana has become a sexy sleeper team in the Eastern Conference that definitely is on the up-and-up.
I have no problems with your mock draft for the Raiders. I'm sure you're aware of the need at MLB, but doubling up on defensive tackles would make as much sense given the lack of pass rush outside of Mack.
@jsemmens I've been to the Big Board in the past, but it's still an inefficient way of going about a mock. Not to mention, reports and the people writing them change, no? I come to Walt's site because I used to like his insight on every player. Now, it's simply team needs and a very limited amount of actual analysis. You definitely need SOME amount of explanation behind a pick with regards to team need, but you need much more of the player evaluation angle. Any dummy can write why a particular team "needs" a specific position; it takes a pretty good eye to understand what player needs to fill it. Again, just my 2 cents.
Here's my mock based on team need, prospect value and prevailing opinion as well as some ideas of my own. Please let me know about the team(s) that you follow more closely, and any picks that you agree or disagree with. Please comment, and feel free to rate.