Posted by: mdegeorge | June 25, 2010

75 musings on the NBA Draft

– John Wall went number one. I…am…so…surprised. Remember when there was some mystery to this? Me neither. I appreciate knowing the actions of NBA execs’ bowels today, but would a little surprise kill things?

– Hey, the Sixers didn’t mess that up…yet. I like Evan Turner. Don’t know how well his skills will translate to the NBA, or if losing the lottery to the Wizards will turn out to be a crucial turning point in the history of the Sixers and other franchises.

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– Does seeing John Calipari slink around in the shadows make you just feel dirty? He’s like a character from “Midnight Run”. Where’s Alonzo Mosley when you need him?

– The Derrick Favors pick has some interesting ramifications for the free agency sweepstakes in my mind. Do the Nets really go after Chris Bosh with Favors and Brook Lopez in place already? That’s a lot of meat in the lane.

– If the world was perfect, this is how the interview with DeMarcus Cousins would have gone after the Kings made him the fifth overall pick:

Mark Jones: “I see you’re wearing a purple shirt there. Did you know something ahead of time?”

Cousins: “Nah, I don’t dress myself. It’s too hard.”

Jones: “What’s the biggest misconception about you coming out of college?”

Cousins: “That I can’t read. I mean I can, sorta.”

– Ekpe Udoh’s father is a radiologist, but Udoh doesn’t let him read his x-rays. Just stunning analysis.– Greg Monroe is quite well-spoken. Too bad he and Roy Hibbert’s careers together won’t add up to Nene’s, though he’s in an advantageous position heading to Detroit where a cerebral player can thrive.

– Al-Farouq Aminu has to stop watching that Dwight Howard ESPN commercial with those glasses.

– Aminu looks like he just got a death sentence heading to the Clippers. Stand in line buddy.

– Stuart Scott vs. the English language, round 1. To Washington head coach Flip Saunders: “At what point in you all’s process did you decide he was the guy?” Yes, he’s been in broadcast journalism for the better part of two decades and I can’t find a job.

– This year’s draft has a palpable feeling of meaninglessness. With all the millions of dollars about to be pinned to max-deal free agents, anyone who thinks this draft will drastically sway the balance of power in the NBA next season is sadly mistaken. And as I look at Jay Bilas’ list of best available with the first ten picks off the board, it only reinforces the feeling.

– I’m sure the combination of Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver will help the Jazz take that next step in the Western Conference.

– Who the hell is Paul George? Did the Pacers just lose their heads after Hayward was gone? Or is this a swap deal with the Jazz in the making… I would love to see Hayward stay in Indiana, and I think Pacers’ fans were having visions of Rick Mount with Hayward.

– There may not be any Kwame Browns, Sam Bowies, or Michael Olowakandis, but I would bet there being at least one Ed O’Bannon and maybe even a Dajuan Wagner among this group (sorry Ed!). There will be an Adam Morrison and, if teams are lucky, maybe a Tim Thomas or two.

– Why would anyone draft a big man from Kansas ever? Raef LaFrentz was a bench player for nine years. Eric Chenowith went from McDonald’s All-American to playing professionally in Puerto Rico inside of a decade. Nick Collison is an expiring contract who’ll be lucky to leave the legacy of Malik Rose. Julian Wright is a benchwarmer. Wayne Simien is a minister. Darrell Arthur has had his disciplinary issues. If Cole Aldrich is a bust, it’s hardly his fault. And, thanks to a trade from New Orleans to Oklahoma City, he’ll be able to learn first hand from Collison just how to do it.

– ESPN decided to report that the Thunder moved the 18th and 21st picks to the Hornets for Aldrich and Morris Peterson. So I wrote, “What the hell is Oklahoma City doing? You can’t tell me they’re getting equal value for those two picks in Mo Pete and Aldrich. I like the addition of the veteran leader Peterson and the hopes that Aldrich and Serge Ibaka can combine to form one starting center, but it’s seems like a steep price.” Turns out it was the 21st and 26th, because no one would pay that much. Sports Doctor 1, ESPN 0

– Ed Davis is not 21 years old. He looks like the kid from “Role Models” who’s plugging PSP. He doesn’t look like Chris Bosh’s replacement.

– I’d love to see the NBA stats on guys who declared for the draft then went back to school and were eventually drafted in a subsequent year. For someone like Patrick Patterson, I think it imparted a maturity that with his tremendous physical ability puts him ahead of some the guys picked earlier.

– We’ve had really tame suits so far. No Joakim Noah jobs, thankfully, though Favors’ pants come dangerous close.

– First international player off the board with Kevin Seraphin from France via French Guiana going to the Bulls at number 17. The pick was answered by chants of “USA” by the classy fans in New York. Real nice. At least the Bulls got a guy they don’t have to pay until they need him when Bosh’s knees break down in three years. Put him on the Maciej Lampe plan and forget about.

– Fran Fraschilla’s job is to cover the Big 12 and international scouting (which makes no sense regardless of how foreign you believe some Texan value systems are). I don’t know what it would take for him to say something bad about a player he has basically sole authority to describe.

– A point guard an a half through the first 18 picks. Thank god Minnesota stockpiled them all last year. It really is remarkable how much the market fluctuates from year to year. Imagine the value of Jrue Holiday in this draft, especially if he developed a jump shot as a sophomore at UCLA. Although, he probably would have just ended up in Philadelphia again anyway.

– Don’t know why Kevin Durant is applauding the pick of Eric Bledsoe at pick number 18 since he’s on his way to the Clippers. Maybe he feels sorry.

– Ok, so Boston is unsure whether they are going to re-sign Ray Allen, have one more year on Paul Pierce and two on Kevin Garnett provided his legs and back survive that long. Plus Rasheed Wallace is likely retiring and there’s only one year each left on the deals for Kendrick Perkins and Glenn Davis. So they use their first pick on a point guard who can’t shoot, while they already have five years committed to Rajon Rondo, a guy who in no way fits that description. Has to be a trade.

– I miss Hubie Brown. I know it’s past his bedtime, but I need someone else there talking about how much he likes every pick. Someone prop him up for a few picks.

– Craig Brackins (who?) heads to the Bobcats in the Aldrich deal. Luke Babbitt heads to Portland with the lost soul that is Ryan Gomes from Minnesota for the illustrious Martell Webster. Wheeling and dealing.

– Portland’s general manager Kevin Pritchard, a guy who built a nice young nucleus with players like Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge and transformed the Jail-blazers from a group of thugs to a pere nnial playoff team, on Draft day? Sure, he didn’t do well with the Greg Oden pick, but no one saw these injuries coming. Kudos to Pritchard for still working through what must be a tough day and doing what I can only assume is his best for the team he built. Shame on Paul Allen and company.

– Elliott Williams, the 22nd overall pick, is called the best pro talent in Conference USA by draft “guru” Jay Bilas. That’s a stretch. Yeah, only because that guy from Rice blew out his knee.

– First senior comes off the board at number 23 in Trevor Booker as Minnesota’s 14th pick of the first round. He kind of reminds me of Al Thornton: ACC, four-year guy, similar numbers in college, similar skill set. And, he’ll get to play with Thornton in Washington along with the 56th pick for the 30th and 35th.

– Atlanta replaces Marcus Williams with Damion James. Sorry, wishful thinking for Hawks’ fans who are tired of early round exits.

– Minnesota just likes picking guys. They just pick guys to trade them for more picks so they can picks guys to trade them for more picks. They had six picks last year, two of which they traded and two of which were never signed, opting to stay in Europe. They entered with five tonight. So far, they’ve traded made three selections, trading two (Booker and Babbitt) for two more picks. I can only imagine their Draft room looks like a B.F. Skinner experiment with cheese coming out every time they press a lever (I’m a bio major and I’m sorry.)

– It takes a Memphis Grizzlies fan in the back row of the Theatre at Madison Square Garden to balance out everyone else’s floweriness. After the pick of Dominique Jones, out of basketball powerhouse and NCAA Tournament expansion proponent South Florida, the fan just shrugged at the camera and mouthed, “I don’t know who he is.” Me neither pal, me neither.

– First Atlantic 10 guy off the board, with Jordan Crawford heading to the Nets. But that pick will go to Atlanta along with the 31st pick for Damion James. I liked James in Atlanta, but Crawford’s a contingency to replace Joe Johnson, I assume. Plus he and Jamal Crawford can inspire nicknames galore. And the Hawks get the extra pick.

– So far we’ve had Zav-i-a Henry and Crawford from Ex-a-vier University. Nothing from Xavier yet though.

– Stuart Scott vs. the English language, round 2. “The Grizzlies had the biggest wincrease…win increase in their history last year.” You just know someone had to explain to him like 15 times why he couldn’t use that.

– General Greivis Vazquez goes to the Grizz. See comment on Patrick Patterson about guys withdrawing from draft.

– Memphis apparently doing its best Minnesota impression, taking three guards in the first round (Vazquez, Dominique Jones, and Henry). It could get crowded back there with Sam Young and O.J. Mayo already in the backcourt. Unless one shifts to the three in place of Rudy Gay.

– Daniel Orton goes to the Magic as the record-setting fifth Kentucky Wildcat taken in the first round, the most for any school in a single draft. Sad day for Marcin Gortat. He’s 6-foot-9, has 14 percent body fat, and can’t read according to his draft day promo. We call that upside.

– Nice thoughtful pause by David Stern before the Wizards’ 30th overall pick. Then, he consigns good Jesuit boy Lazar Hayward to the pit of sin that is the Wiz (only until the trade with Minnesota goes through). Then he peaced out and handed the second round over to people less important that he.

– Wow, Stan Van Gundy was quick to distance himself from the thought process behind the Orton pick. Hello accountability.

– Nice five-minute pause to start the second round so that ESPN could catch up on their ads. No one caught that.

– Europeans coming fast and furious with German Tibor Pleiss at 31 by the Nets for Atlanta and Serbian Nemanja Bjelica at 35 by Washington for Minnesota. Still only three through the first 35 picks, the fewest since 1995.

– Three straight centers are picked to open the second round. It’s just a stunning lack of guard talent.

– Marshall has a basketball team? Apparently so, as Hassan Whiteside, a 7-footer, goes 33rd overall. (Apologies to Mike D’Antoni and Hal Greer, who are both former members of the Thundering Herd.)

– I envy the public address announcer who gets to announce Armon Johnson’s name. Just play it in your head.

– This is my favorite time of the draft: college players who stayed more than two years and are household names with skills that don’t translate to the next level and will end up in Europe in four years. I’m always one for nostalgia.

– Knicks fans wait four hours to boo their first pick, Andy Potatoes au Rautins. Good player, not the 39th overall pick. He’s a good passer and a heck of a shooter, but the Knicks already have a guy in Danilo Gallinari who can’t create his own shot or step inside the three-point line.

– The Knicks’ fans, hoping for local product Lance Stephenson, get faked out by Deputy Commish Adam Silver in the pick of Lan-dry Fields with the 40th pick. He’s a player I like, a cerebral possible role player our of Stanford who’s a solid member of the bench on a winning team (not the Knicks). Or he’s a poor man Kyle Weaver. And for sure, he’s no Renaldo Balkman.

– Memphis just traded one of their three guards, Dominique Jones, to Dallas for cash. So they sold him. Is that politically correct?

– Oh Lance Stephenson. Don’t worry, Denny’s will be hiring in no time.

– Stuart Scott vs. the English language, round 3. “The Miami Heat traded out of the first round on yesterday.”

– ESPN shows that the Heat has $43 million under the salary cap with just Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers under contract and rumors that they will more Beasley. It’s kind of putting all their eggs in the “ability to sign three max-deal guys” basket. If they can’t land them, I guess we’ll see if Pat Riley has anything left in those legs.

– Pleiss just moved to Oklahoma City for “financial considerations”. They’re really stockpiling bigs in Sooner country. I wonder how bouncing around from team to team on Draft day like a beach ball at a Red Hot Chili Peppers’ concert does to a players psyche. Oh well, he’ll never leave Europe anyway.

– Haven’t mentioned Lebron James’ name yet. He’s a free agent. His Cavs have no picks. Let’s move on.

– Cue college stars whose skills don’t translate to the NBA: Jarvis Varnado, Da’Sean Butler, and Devin Ebanks go 41, 42, and 43.

– Tall guy from Tulsa and tall guy from Brazil go with the next two. Shocking, more tall guys.

-Apparently Gani Lawal is a “two-handed rebounder”, according to Bilas. Don’t know what the other options are. I guess some use a hand and a foot, or some trap it between their thighs. I guess you can only say, “He’s athletic but unpolished” so many times before you go nuts.

– Adam Silver looks like the illegitimate child of Brent Barry and James Carville.

– I hate ironic nicknames. So I’m not going to mention that 6-foot-10, 302 pounder Keith “Tiny” Gallon went 47th overall to the Bucks.

– Latavious Williams becomes the first ever player drafted straight out of the D-League when he goes 48th overall to the Heat. So now, if you don’t want to go to college, you have to spend a year in the flea-ridden motel purgatory that is the D-League. That’ll get them into class.

– Sherron Collins and Luke Harangody still on the board. The stocks, they fall.

– San Antonio takes 7-footer Ryan Richards, who played in the equivalent of European mid-majors in Switzerland, according to Fraschilla. He’s a can’t-miss.

– So tired of 7-footers. Another giant with Nigerian ties via Florida State in Solomon Alabi joins Lawal as a second rounder.

– Dear ESPN producers: I don’t care about any of the draft pick’s families’ athletic backgrounds or day jobs. Move along.

– If Magnum Rolle averages more than eight points per game, he has to score a deal as a condom spokeman.

– Harangody goes to the Celtics in what can only be described as an attempt to re-whiten the team with players more skilled than Brian Scalabrine. Bilas informs the audience that he can score, but doesn’t guard or contest shots well. So basically he’s a wuss. Tell it like it is: he’ll be a bench player for four years before he heads to Europe because he’s a soft as wet toilet paper in the low post.

– The coolest named pick of the draft, Pape Sy out of Senegal, goes to the Hawks. I’d rather have him than Pleiss based on names alone. He’s in New York, but such an obscure name that he brings ESPN’s Drafttracker to a halt.

– Hey, Willie Warren, how’s your junior year looking now? At least he’s reunited with Blake Griffin with the Clippers, who clearly was responsible for the majority of his talent. His two biggest problems, according to ESPN: He doesn’t have much of a left hand (Bilas) and he’s afraid of spiders (Scott). At the five hour mark, the telecast apparently devolves into “The Replacements”.

– A guy from Senegal via Rutgers gets drafted with the 56th pick. I can’t spell it, so I won’t announce it here. Last year, that pick was used by the Dallas Mavericks on Saint Joseph’s Hawk Ahmad Nivins. No such luck for the Hawks this year.

– The World Champion Lakers take Derrick Caracter with the 58th pick. Cool name for the Scotch Plains, New Jersey native via UTEP.

– Stanley Robinson and the Miracles head to Orlando with the next-to-last pick.

– And the night closes with Dwayne Collins, giving Scott one less irritating throw of the dice by yelling, “The U”. Done and done!

– Only a handful of international players taken, with just six in total and only one in the first round. I wonder if any of that has to deal with how difficult they have been to get across the pond…

– Here’s the positional breakdown: 17 power forwards, 17 small forwards, 11 centers, 11 shooting guards, and just four point guards. I love the amount of bigs picked, considering the lack or really dominant centers in the league. The low-post scorer, someone who can pick up points with their back to basket a la Tim Duncan, David Robinson, and young Shaq are a dying breed. Hopefully this draft will help revive that.

– Apparently, there’s a fine line between player of the year candidate and undrafted free agent. Right, Sherron Collins? Other notables not hearing their names called tonight: Manny Harris, Brian Zoubek, Matt Bouldin, John Scheyer, Samardo Samuels, Tyler Smith, Raymar Morgan, Deon Thompson, Scottie Reynolds, and Wayne Chism. Get your passports ready, boys!

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Responses

  1. […] In an efficient four-plus hour spurt of ESPN broadcast excellence, the entire Draft can be digested in a single-sitting. So in that vein, allow me to burp out the little nuggets that the Draft provides us in what is quickly becoming a yearly tradition. […]


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