Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sham's unnecessarily long 2009 draft diary, part 3

Part One
Part Two

03.30: Discussion is taking place about why DeJuan Blair continues to fall, and about how not having any ACL's is no doubt the cause behind his falling draft stock. I've got news for you, analysts panel - intercourse his knees. He didn't have any ACL's last year, and he rebounded better than all but one other player in the draft. This isn't an ability he's going to lose any time soon. He might not have a very long career projection on thise pins, but it's not like DeMarre Carroll and Taj Gibson are going to have 10 year careers, is it? Just draft Blair and end the charade.

03.30: Also, before you go on about how he's merely a rebounding specialist, may I remind you that we just witnessed a shotblocking specialist get picked second overall. Teams need specialists. Teams don't need Taj Gibson. (I'm still a bit mad about this, as you might be able to tell.)

03.31: Adam Silver comes to the stage to a far bigger cheer than anyone before him. It's a beautiful thing. Incidentally, why does the number #31 pick get 5 minutes to decide and not the 2 minutes that second round picks should get?

03.32: At #31, Portland picks a power forward, and it's not DeJuan Blair. Despite needing a physical power forward after a season of LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye and Travis Outlaw, and despite their rebounding being almost solely reliant on the genius of Joel Przybilla (so says I), they pass on Blair for another finesse power forward in Jeff Pendergraph, who gives them nothing that they don't already have. In fairness, Portland were the best rebounding team in the league last year, so it's not like they need a prolific rebounder. But they could still use a physical power forward. And they could use one because I said so.

03.32: By the way, Sacramento were the worst rebounding team in the league last year, and they just traded away this pick when the second best rebounder in the draft would have been on the board. Duly noted.

03.33: Jay Bilas describes Pendergraph as "efficient", which I'm going to substitute for "ordinary". Pendergraph's graphic suggests that he needs to improve at "playing less mechanically", which doesn't seem like it's physically possible. That's like saying I need to "write more coherently and less wordily". Just can't do it.

03.34: Received the following text message: "Following Michael Jackson's death, his London dates have been cancelled. They were; Timothy, 12; Philip, 11; and Jack, 10." Paedophilia is funny, isn't it?

03.35: The Washington Wizards - who absolutely, completely and totally do not need a shooting guard - draft Jermaine Taylor at #32, a 6'4 shooting guard. The Wizards were 23rd in the NBA in rebounding last season, by the way. Mark Jackson uses the opportunity to talk about Caron Butler, and, in that inimitable way of his, he asks us to do the same.

03.37: Apparently the Grizzlies also received cash in the Quentin Richardson/Darko Milicic swap. Figures.

03.38: Portland pick again. They take another power forward. And it's still not DeJuan Blair. This time, they pick Dante Cunningham from Villanova, the next Malik Allen himself. Still, when paired with their 2006 draft pick Joel Freeland, Portland appaar to be developing a monopoly on British power forwards. And that's a good thing. Sign Pops Mensah-Bonsu this summer and I might have to rethink my allegiances. Or even better, Robert Archibald.

03.39: BTW, Portland has now passed on Blair at #22, #31 and #33. Their general manager must be some kind of idiot. I wonder if he's ever made a good move ever.

03.40: This draft is hard work. My ball soup right now is immense.

03.41: Off camera, the Nuggets draft Sergio Llull with the 34th pick. I effing love Sergio Llull, I really do. A short white guy with crazy athleticism, a jumpshot, some swagger and long enough arms to hug Jay Bilas. Whoever pries him away from the Nuggets is going to have themselves a fine player, because he'll be going to waste on a team already with Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson.

03.43: Things start to wind down at this point in the draft. ESPN has to make up for the fact that they went almost an hour without an advert break by ramming in as many as they physically can, and picks are getting missed as a result. We're also not getting the post-selection interviews any more, not the photographs, because almost all of the draftees aren't actually here. Bilas is taking all the analysis singlehandedly, the ticker seems to be getting larger with every passing minute, and the Stu-Scott-versus-anyone-else ratio is growing dangerously large. I wish ESPN valued the second half of the draft as much as I do. Give it the effort that you did the first round, and the comedy would never die.

03.45: Detroit picks Dajuan Summers at #35. That's the wrong Dajuan, dammit.

03.46: Stu Scott is now interviewing Rod Thorn, and pointlessly asks him "what's the mindset behind getting rid of one of the most exciting players in the world?". A crowd member can be heard to shout "BECAUSE HE SUCKS!!!". Good times. Perhaps the comedy isn't quite dead yet.

03.47: By the way, the reason I don't like Stu Scott is not because of his lack of humour, his jauntily angled glasses, or the way that he sounds like he's breathing in the bathtub at all times. None of those. It's because his eyebrows move independently and look like they're trying to escape from his face. It's freaky and offputting. Let's not talk about it any more.

03.48: I don't think Rod Thorn is Stu Scott's biggest fan either, because Scott just needlessly brought up some embarassing Thorn quotes about Michael Jordan. Oooooooh, Stu. You're so incisive. Always pushing the envelope, aren't you?

03.49: Memphis pick Sam Young at #36, a player who also isn't DeJuan Blair. Memphis has now passed on Blair at both #27 and #36, picking a small forward both times. Looks like another season of Darrell Arthur at power forward. Yippee.

03.50: That said, I do really like the Sam Young pick; a versatile and pretty complete player, who can shoot, slash, defend and rebound, and who may well be the next Bobby Simmons one day. The only slight disappointment is that he's not at the draft. I wanted to see him pump fake Adam Silver on the handshake. Never mind.

03.51: DeJuan Blair is finally put out of his misery. San Antonio pick him at #37, finding themselves a Kurt Thomas replacement within about 48 hours of even needing one. That's efficient stuff. If they can get Robertas Javtokas to turn up next year, they'll have largely rebuild their frontcourt with only minimal effort. The cheeky bastards.

03.51: By the way, as much as I like Sam Young, he should never have gone before DeJuan Blair. And if Blair turns out to me a complete failure in the NBA, then I'm deleting this post.

03.53: The fans are starting to grate on me now.

03.54: The 38th pick belongs to Sacramento after they traded down from #31, and they finally realise their urgent need for some rebounding. So they pick up Jonathan Brockman from Washington, an undrafted talent picked about 22 places too high. For those not aware, the 6'7 Brockman does two things well. He rebounds, and he takes charges. That's kind of it. His college career totalled 4 years, 131 games and 18 blocked shots. For averages fans, that's an average of 0.1 blocks per game. Also known as a Claxton.

03.55: Stu Scott informs us that Jonathan Brockman broke his nose five times in his college career. That's nothing. Meet the king of the broken nose, Steve Ogrizovic.

He broke that over 225,000 times, they reckon. It doesn't show.

03.57: Christian Eyenga's name finally appears on the draft board. It only took half an hour.

03.58: With the 39th pick, Detroit picks Jonas Jereb & Co, who incidentally plays the small forward position. With the 35th pick, they picked Dajuan Summers, who plays the small forward position. And with the 15th pick, they picked Austin Daye, who plays the small forward position. In last year's draft, they selected Walter Sharpe (who plays the small forward position) and Deron Washington (who plays the small forward position). On their roster at the moment. they have Sharpe (who plays the small forward position), Richard Hamilton (who can play the small forward position), and Tayshaun Prince (who plays the small forward position better than everyone else combined). Therefore, it was not without a hint of irony that the story broke that Walter Herrmann (who plays the small forward position) would be allowed to leave the team as a free agent. Makes sense.

03.59: By the way, an entirely small forward lineup is not entirely unprecedented. The Bulls once fielded a lineup of Scottie Pippen, Eddie Robinson, Jalen Rose, Marcus Fizer and Donyell Marshall, which showed up on gamecasts across the country as being an all-small forward lineup. However, the Bulls of that season won all of 23 games. Can't see why you'd want to be emulating that.

04.00: Adam Silver has only two jobs to do tonight. He has to read names off of a card, and occasionally shake someone's hand. It can't be that hard, really. But Silver is somehow underqualified for the job; the NBA had managed to find the only man in the world other than Abu Hamza who can't handshake. Seriously. He just can't do it. Handshaking is predominantly an up-and-down motion, yet Silver persistently pumps his hand from the shoulder in a forward-and-back motion, like a man aggressively trying to fistf*** a Friesian cow. This is the only thing Adam Silver ever does in his role as deputy commissioner - he spends the rest of his time conjugating verbs and searching for faces in wallpaper patterns - yet he just can't do it properly. You would have thought that this would have cropped up in his interview. Apparently not.

04.01: Silver announces that the Houston Rockets have bought the rights to Jermaine Taylor, the 32nd pick, for cash only. No future picks, just cash. This I think is more emblematic of the economy's effect on roster moves; the #32 pick is normally a prized asset, where you get to pick the best of the overlooked first round talent without the burden of giving them a guaranteed contract. As a point of reference, last year, Minnesota gave up the #34 pick (Mario Chalmers) in exchange for two future second rounders and cash, and the Bulls gave up the #39 pick (Sonny Weems) plus two future picks merely to move up to #36 for the rights to Omer Asik. Picks in the thirties generally carry great value, and certainly did last year. But this year, the Wizards are giving it away without so much as a future pick in return. They get no basketball value from this asset, no players, no picks, no nothing. Just money. And that's because money's talking more than ever. It's a shame, but that's how it is. So kudos to the tax-adverse Rockets for buying in a seller's market.

(Quick break from pseudo-real time - we later learn that the amount of cash was $2.5 million. And that's a shedload of cash. Even more kudos awarded, and it makes far more sense for the Wizards now.)

04.01: Charlotte takes Derrick Brown from Xavier at #49, meaning that Derrick Brown, Shannon Brown and Andre Brown have all now been members of the Larry Brown-coached Bobcats in the last 8 months. These are the things that entertain me.

04.03: Chris Wallace is being interviewed, and talking about Memphis' pedigree as a basketball city. Hmmm. I see a town with no NCAA tournament championships and not a single NBA playoff game win, so I'm not sure I agree with him, really. But it's a start.

04.04: Jodie Meeks goes to Milwaukee at #41, which finally kicks this year's All-NBA Draftees With Porn Star Names starting five into gear. Last year's lineup of Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Dick Hendrix, Courtney Lee and Kevin Love will be hard to top, but James Harden and Jodie Meeks make for a good start......

04.06: .......and, if you take the name of the Lakers' #42 draft pick and turn it around, you get Beverley Patrick. That's three. We can still do this.

04.10: Dick Vitale comes on the screen (eww) for the third and final time of the night. As promised earlier, I counted; Vitale spoke for exactly 100 consecutive seconds, and made 79 hand gestures in that time. I'm not kidding, either. That's a proper count. Do I have better things to be doing with my time than counting the hand gestures of an empassioned old man enjoy his best two minutes of airtime of the year? To be honest with you, no.

04.12: He also said something about Stephen Curry being Rookie Of The Year, but to be honest I wasn't listening. Somewhere in amongst that, Miami drafted Marcus Thornton with the 43rd pick, which was a good move.

04.13: Silver announces that Houston bought the rights to Sergio Llull, the 34th pick from Denver, for yet more cash and still without giving up any future picks. I promise you that that is brilliant business. Partway through last season - and prompted in part by my say so...maybe - Houston gave up the 36th pick in this draft to dump Steve Francis onto Memphis, thereby saving themselves from being over the tax threshold. Tonight, they have used the money they saved in that deal to buy the 32nd and 34th picks. Now tell me that that's not extremely smoothly done. You just can't do it.

04.13: Also, in the 2007 draft, Houston gave up a future second round pick to Seattle for the rights to Carl Landry, the 31st pick, in one of Sam Presti's few crap deals so far. The pick wound up being the #56 pick in 2008, which Seattle used to draft Sasha Kaun and promptly sold to Cleveland. So once again, Houston stole a high 30's pick for nothing. These boys are good. Pay attention.

04.14: For the fourth time tonight, it's Detroit's turn to draft. For the fourth time tonight, they draft a small forward, picking Chase Budinger with the 44th pick. Pretty incredible stuff, but Budinger's a good pick that low, which justifies it a bit. Maybe they should just re-sign Herrmann anyway and really shoot for the moon.

04.16: Slightly overdue (which would be a foolish thing for me to criticise someone else for, considering), Stu Scott sends it over to Fran Fraschilla for insight on the number 42 pick, Patrick Beverley, who spent last season in the Ukraine. Fran pays off that decision instantly by announcing that he can't spell the word Ukraine. This ESPN broadcast is a well-oiled bitch, I tell you.

04.17: Heh. Minnesota picks their fourth point guard of the night, drafting Nick Calathes with the 45th pick. Genius. Nonetheless, like Budinger and Thornton before him, Calathes is good value at that draft slot, if not exactly fitting a team need. The fact that he's already signed in Greece for next season means that it won't matter for a while yet anyway. Stu Scott announces between heavy breathes that this was Minnesota's last pick of the draft. It isn't.

04.19: Supposedly, we're going to hear more talk about the Shaquille O'Neal trade after the break. Proof if ever it was needed that the draft is starting to get boring.

04.20: Cleveland picks Danny Green with the 46th pick, another good value pick of a player who could conceivably have gone 15 to 20 picks higher. (He could have gone at number 30, too. Just saying.) Proceedings are immediately revitalised when ESPN plays a clip of Green dancing on the sidelines during a game, moving rather well for a man who athletically tested rather badly. Clips of draftees dancing would be mandatory if I ran the broadcast, which is something that I'll hopefully be doing one day. Vote ShamBulls.

04.26: America, you have great burger adverts. Seriously. This one wasn't even the one with the brazen hussy in it.

04.27: During the advert break filled with brilliant burger ads, Minnesota drafted Henk Norel with the 47th pick. Henk's not a point guard, and he is 6'10 tall, but maybe he can learn to play that position one day. It just so happens that Norel plays for DKV Joventut Badalona, the team that Ricky Rubio plays for. What a fortuitous happenstance that is.

04.28: Oh wow, Taylor Griffin got drafted. I had no idea that that was ever going to happen. There's generally not much of a market for 6'7 interior defenders with scant little perimeter game, a 47% career shooting percentage in college and a bad rebounding rate. But the Suns picked him at #48 anyway, after picking Robin Lopez at #15 last year. Maybe they have a thing about inferior brothers. Kareem Rush, schedule a workout.

04.29: The Griffin pick also sees the Porno Five get within one pick of completion, and this year it'll have more girls than boys. And that's the way pornography should be, after all. Nobody likes to see a man naked.

04.30: The Hawks draft Sergiy Gladyr with the 49th pick. Sergiy Gladyr is perhaps the most Ukranian looking man ever. That's all I have to say about that.

04.32: After Taylor Griffin comes another "oh, really? I didn't think he was good enough personally" pick, when the Jazz select Goran Suton with the 50th pick. I like Suton, but the reason why he got drafted is perhaps obvious; if we generously count him as one, Suton is only the third centre to have been in the entire draft, behind Hasheem Thabeet and B.J. Mullens. Power forwards aren't doing much better, either; of this year's crop, most of them (Dante Cunningham, Taylor Griffin, Dejuan Blair, Jon Brockman, Taj Gibson) are undersized. Might have been a good year for Luke Harangody to declare, thinking about it.

04.33: Jack McClinton is taken 51st overall by the Spurs. All I know about Jack McClinton is this - he didn't lose to a girl in the NCAA 3 Point Shootout. Sorry, that's not a very useful thing to say, is it?

04.34: The draft rights to Marcus Thornton are traded by the Heat, who don't really need them, to the Hornets, who really do. In exchange for the rights, the Hornets gave up two future second round picks, and no cash. Compare that to Houston outright buying the 32nd and 34th picks, and the message remains just as loud and clear as it was before - money talks right now. And New Orleans don't have any.

04.36: Indiana select A.J. Price from Connecticut with the 52nd pick. This comes a couple of hours after they took Tyler Hansbrough from North Carolina with the 13th pick. Last year, they drafted Roy Hibbert from Georgetown and Brandon Rush from Kansas. All four of those players are four year seniors coming out of big programs. It is therefore clear that Larry Bird and David Morway watch the NCAA Tournament. This is the kind of observation that I couldn't have made last year. I really think I've advanced myself as a person.

04.37: Jay Bilas said that A.J. Price "had to be pulled off in some practices this year". That is all.

04.39: I can invest a lot of time and energy into a man named Nando De Colo. Whatever he sells, I'm buying. Crack? Yes please, Nando.

04.40: ........We'll talk later. The Audrina Partridge advert is on again.........

Congratulations, America.

04.41: Charlotte selects Robert Vaden with the 54th pick, like the filthy man-selecting harlot that she is. I have watched Robert Vaden play only once. It was a game in which he shot 0-17. Perhaps my views on him as a player aren't worth mentioning. They're not going to be particularly objective when that's the sum total of my ammunition.

04.44: Jay Bilas calls Robert Vaden "a shooter". You're right, he certainly was shooting.

04.45: Two running themes of this post have been Detroit's fascination with small forwards, and Houston's ability and desire to buy their way into the draft. Well, those two themes just united; the Pistons trade the rights to Chase Budinger to the Rockets, this time for cash (obviously) but in addition to a second round pick. You can rest assured that I'll be finding out and following which pick that is, and that, if it's used on another small forward, that I'm totally going to mention it about 80 times. That's just how I roll.

04.46: Also, Houston came into this draft with no picks, and potentially just bought three rotation players for nothing other than one future second. That, ladies and gentleman, is how you approach draft night. Take note, Orlando.

04.46: Patty Mills is picked 55th overall by the Trail Blazers, and the first comment that Stu Scott bestows upon us is "he plays the guitar". Just stop trying now, Stu. Mills's selection also rounds out the Porno Five, and, if you're not happy with the selection of Beverley Patrick for the team, feel free to draft in B.J. Mullens instead, You can go either way with that.

04.47: Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson haven't said a word for over half an hour. I think they might be dead.

04.47: Things get weirder when ESPN cut away from the riveting action to bring us an interview with David Khan, a man who just made six picks. Kahn wins me over almost immediately by being so spectacularly Jewish, even going as far as mentioning that he's Jewish without being asked. He also later calls Ricky Rubio "transformational", which will surpass "ridiculous upside" as the draft cliché of choice if I have any say in the matter, Great times. Unfortunately, Kahn then undoes all his good work with a frankly awful Dick Vitale joke, which was so poorly delivered that it didn't even draw a pity laugh from Stu Scott. And now I think I hate him.

04.49: Incidentally, I guess we can scrub Minnesota off of the Potential Kirk Hinrich Trade Partners list.

04.52: Dallas take Ahmad Nivins with the 56th pick. I am a fan of Ahmad Nivins. That guy knows how to get to the foul line, and that's an overlooked skill these days I feel. He also takes a good three or four minutes over every foul shot, which for some reason makes me like him more. Maybe I'm not thinking rationally.

04.53: Wait, wasn't Patty Mills the girl that Eric Clapton stole off of George Harrison, and about whom Clapton's seminal smash "Layla" was written?

04.54: The Phoenix Suns draft Emir Preldzic with the 57th pick. I have absolutely no idea who Emir Preldzic is. This excites me, because it means there's more to learn, but it doesn't make for a very good draft diary. Sorry about that. Hope you've enjoyed yourself so far, though. Not long now.

04.55: The walking Just For Men advert that is Jim O'Brien gives an interview that would easily have been the most awkward interview of the night, were it not for David Kahn's Dick Vitale joke. O'Brien, a veteran of the interview process, acts like he's never given one before in his life. On his second question, he randomly stops talking halfway through his answer, and ends his sentence with absolutely no cadence whatsoever. The broadcast is left hanging for an awkward few seconds as Stu Scott tries to figure out if O'Brien is going to finish what he was saying. He doesn't.

04.58: The Celtics, with their only pick of the night, draft Lester Hudson from Tennessee Martin with the 58th pick. Hudson is the only player in Divison 1 history to have recorded a quadruple double. With that on his resumé, he'll be all right for work for at least 5 years. Jay Bilas (who has spoken more tonight than the previous three draft night combined) handles the Hudson breakdown with aplomb. The man has stolen the show tonight, and he knows it.

05.01: Now the 59th pick of the L.A. Lakers, Junior Elonu is an NBA calibre talent, apparently. I never knew. Kewl. What's less cool is Stu Scott's accompanying gag, an obvious effort that went something to the effect of "someone tell Kobe Bryant about the new superstar joining his team". Thanks for that. Please wake up, Jeff Van Gundy. Stu Scott is killing comedy as we know it, and David Kahn's not helping.

05.02: We're one pick away from the end of the draft, but I think we just crescendoed into the high point. A new shot shows Hasheem Thabeet and Blake Griffin posing together photograph; Griffin is holding up 1 finger, to simulate his going first overall, and Hasheem is holding up two fingers for the same reason

05.04: The final pick sees Miami pick Robert Dozier out of Memphis. That's R as in "Robert Dozier", O as in "Oh my God, it's Robert Dozier", B as in "By God, that's Robert Dozier".........

........and that crap joke marks the end of a draft for another season. Hope you enjoyed the last hour of your life.

Now back to the real issue here; the death of Michael Jackson.

It's something that's still kind of hard to fathom. Michael Jackson's not supposed to be dead; he was supposed to always be a part of our lives so that we could point and laugh at him. Those were the rules, be they tough but fair. Yet now he's dead, the most famous man in the world gone without any prior warning. It's weird. I guess this is my generation's version of the Elvis death. And it's eerie.

It could have happened to a nicer person, yet it's still a tragedy. I don't put too much stock into the "his kids just lost a father" argument, because I'm not convinced that they ever had one in the first place, but it's a tragedy nonetheless. However, whether it's right to do so or not, I take some solace in his death. At least the saga is over now. His life was so bad that I can't imagine death is much worse. That's a positive from a negative, at least.

So let's forget all the drama for a minute. Let's forget the child molestation accusations, the insane amount of surgeries, the high pitched voice and the really weird way that he lived his life. Let's forget the drugs, the alcohol abuse, the sham marriages and the totally bizarre way that he changed his skin colour. (That's the one that gets me the most. The other stuff is comparatively commonplace, but he's the most famous man in the world, and he changed his skin colour. Name five other people to have done it. You just can't. Anyway.) Let's forget all that, and focus on the positives of Michael Jackson; his amazing back catalogue, and the fact that he was the best dancer ever.

Of all the hurriedly compiled Youtube montages in the hours after his death, this one is my favourite. This is the bit of Michael Jackson that we get to keep. It's also the bit that we need to keep.

Screw the rest.

Sham's unnecessarily long 2009 draft diary, part 2

Part One
Part Three

All times are BST, by the way.

01.27: To the surprise of literally nobody, Toronto takes DeMar Derozan with the 9th pick. As unimpressed as I am by a shooting guard with little offensive skill, no range outside of 16 feet, inconsistent defense and thoroughly unimpressive production, it's still the right pick here, because he has a chance to be something, and the Raptors definitely need something. Their shooting guard depth chart was also to being Quincy Douby and Quincy Douby only, which is even worse than Minnesota's was. Derozan has completely butchered the knot on his tie, though, which is never a good first impression to make.

01.28: Jay Bilas tells us that Derozan penetrates easily enough, but can't shoot. There's pills you can take for that.

01.29: An advert comes on that says "Kia - Official Automotive Partner Of The NBA". Yes, NBA players are often to be seen in Kia's, rolling on dubs, checking out them tight whips, and hooking up their Sorento's with fat chrome. They're the new Maybach's. They really are.

01.30: (They're not.)

01.31: Mark Jackson - whose first initial and surname are quite chilling considering the night's events - says that Milwaukee's biggest need in this draft is a point guard. They need a backup, sure, because Luke Ridnour is no good and everyone else is a free agent. But there aren't a great many young point guards in the NBA better than Ramon Sessions, who just put up 12.4/3.4/5.7 in only 28 minutes per game, while also making strides with his defense. There's not a point guard left in this draft better than him, and so no, Mark Jackson, I do not agree that Milwaukee need a point guard.

01.32: Apparently it doesn't matter what I think, because Milwaukee just picked Brandon Jennings (a point guard) with the 10th pick. I might as well just not bother, really. Jennings chose not to attend the draft, because he figured he'd slide right out of the top 10 and be embarassed with how late he was drafted. I guess that him being picked earlier than he thought means this was a somewhat last-minute pick. Nice to know that at least some war rooms have activity in them.

01.33: The panel credits Jennings' "major physical ability". This lavish description is often used as a synonym for "he can't play". And if you watch Jennings in Italy last year - and I did - then you'll know that that's true. Admittedly the odds were stacked against him in a European game that absolutely does not suit his style of play, and his coach seemed to use him off the ball more than was advisable, but Jennings threw up an absolute stinker and murdered his own draft stock, which was once that of a top 5 pick. I don't see this ending well, but I do see it ending quickly.

01.34: By the way, even if Milwaukee did need a point guard, this wasn't the best one left. Also, nothing grinds Scott Skiles' more than mistake prone rookies (see also: Joe Alexander and Tyrus Thomas), so Jennings is in for an equally rough season next year too. Especially if Ridnour isn't traded. Go easy on him, Scott.

01.35: New Jersey picks next, and Stu Scott drops this bombshell of a stat: Lawrence Frank is the longest tenured coach in the Eastern Conference. Wow. Hadn't noticed that before. I guess they just don't want to pay someone else. It was not a very well kept secret that the Bulls have been trying to trade up for this 11th pick for quite a while, and so if the pick here is James Johnson, then I think we'll know that they did it.

01.37: Nope, they didn't. The Nets picked Terrence Williams out of Louisville instead, and that means they're keeping the pick. Probably best. Jay Bilas immediately announces that Williams is not a very good shooter, and Stu Scott's obligatory trivia informs us that Williams used to carry his books around at Louisville in a Barbie-emblazoned backpack. Hmmmm. Barbie backpack and shooting problems. Good thing he's in the NBA now, or Terrence might have some problems with the ladies. (Proud of this joke.)

01.38: What I think about Terrence Williams; a decent player, but probably picked too high. Can be a very disruptive defender when he asserts himself on that end, but the offense is going to suffer at the NBA level. There's no shot that you can call "his" shot, and his passing ability, while nice, will be negated somewhat by the fact that he won't have the ball in his hands much. Thabo Sefolosha seems like a good comparison, but the fact that Thabo Sefolosha is still only a backup calibre player three years down the road probably isn't a good omen. In a good defensive system, however, Williams could be a good player to have alongside Devin Harris and Brook Lopez; he doesn't have the complimentary jumpshot yet, but as a part of a faster paced offense, and a defense that relies on aggressive perimeter defense and quick close-outs, he could be a solid contributor.

What I would have thought about Terrence Williams last year: "Nice suit."

01.40: The revelation about Williams' Barbie backpack leads to a discussion between me and Luke about homosexuality in the NBA. It doesn't last long, though, because a highly distracting advert appears on the telly. I missed the opening, but it featured someone called A. Partridge ("A-HAAAAAAA!!!!!!!") eating a burger while writhing around in a bikini. And they were staggeringly hot to boot. I need to see this again before the night is over. Simply. There's some things I need to know, and this is one of them.

01.44: Charlotte picks Gerald Henderson with the 12th pick, which seems to be about 5 picks too high. Then again, you could say that about the last 11 picks. It's just one of them drafts. Gerald Henderson fact: he and his dad (Gerald Henderson Sr) are both actually called "Jerome". How did they get Gerald out of Jerome. I don't know. And I only want to know if it's interesting.

01.45: Jay Bilas points out that Henderson can't shoot. There's a lot of impotent men being drafted tonight, it appears. He then congratulates Henderson on his penetration, and his "middle game", which I consider to be my weak point. Talking her into bed is easy and fun, and so's the foreplay, but after the penetration begins, I'd rather just hurry things along and cut out the middle game. Oh, and I realise it's childish and predictable to turn everything into a bad sex joke, but when one man talks about another man's "penetration" and "ball handling" in the same sentence.....well, I feel like they're making me do it. Cut me some slack.

01.47: Two things about Gerald Henderson that I didn't know before draft night:

1) Gerald and his dad sound exactly the same, and give exactly the same interviews.
2) He once participated in the World Junionr Golf Championships.

It is because of things like this that draft night makes for unmissable television. Well, these and all the transactions.

01.50: Bilas is having a great night. There's only been two foreigners picked so far, and even one of them is American. This is Jay's night to shine.He'll shine even more now that the Indiana Pacers have picked NCAA mainstay Tyler Hansbrough with the 13th pick. Before the Pacers pick, the analysts had talked about how the Pacers needed an upgrade at the point guard spot, and an overall upgrade to their defense. I don't think Hansbrough counts as either of those. As Hansbrough makes his way to the stage, the crowd shout at him that he's overrated. That doesn't seem like his fault, somehow.

01.51: Thinking about it, Rasho Nesterovic and Josh McRoberts are free agents this summer. This would have left the Pacers with only two white big men. Now it makes sense.

01.52: Hansbrough's 'Must Improve' graphic says that he needs to improve "finishing above the rim". Basically Tyler, we're saying that you need to suddenly get really athletic. Do you think you can do that for us? Do you think you can somehow reverse-engineer your body into that of Josh Smith, and then we can start afresh? No? Why not? Because it's impossible? Oh. Right.

01.53: The man with the nickname Psycho T just informed us that he's a "hard worker." Phewph. Also, Ric Bucher just announed that Amare Stoudemire is not being traded tonight. More phewph.

01.55: With the 14th pick, Phoenix takes the other Louisville standout, Earl Clark. However, it takes Clark all of about 4 seconds to become yesterday's news; like Jennings before him, Clark didn't show up to the draft, but in a dramatic turn of events, Jennings made his way to the draft after being picked 10th, and saunters through the mythical "Stern's Door" to join big Dave out on the stage. The New York public, scared of a change in routine, boo him vociferously. For about the fourth time this month, Brandon Jennings has set himself up to fail in the public's eyes, and he hasn't even played a game yet. His time in Milwaukee is going to go much the same way, I reckon.

01.56: The following joke is stolen without permission from Kelly Dwyer: "Earl Clark's nickname is "E5?" I thought that was Aramis Ramirez's nickname?"

01.57: You know who Earl Clark reminds me of slightly? Boris Diaw. Just firing it out there.

01.58: The last few picks have seen Jay Bilas' mock draft fall apart, and the faintest hint of a sulk can be seen to be spreading across his face. In contrast, my draft board is now doing rather well; with the last two picks, it is guaranteed that the Bulls will be able to pick one of James Johnson, Ty Lawson and Dejuan Blair should they so wish. Despite them having no need for Lawson barring a Kirk Hinrich trade, those are my three. And even though it's inevitably going to be Johnson, it's going to happen.

01.59: I'm telling you what you already know here, but one in every three Mark Jackson sentences starts with the opening gambit "You talk about". It makes me wants to kill him. That is all.

02.00: I kind of miss Stephen A. Smith, actually.

02.01: The Pistons pick Austin Daye with the 15th pick, taking a flyer on an athletic player with a fine jump shot who hasn't done much yet to suggest that he's not just the next Darius Rice. Daye brings to the table potential, if scant little production to show for it, and the Pistons could use some genuine potential if they're ever going to start this rebuild. More importantly, though, Daye brings to the table a frankly rakish turquoise V-neck sweater, a pioneering fashion choice that puts him on a pedestal from which it'll be hard to fall. I don't think much of the pick with multiple more skilled players on board, but I do like the sweater. And that counts for a lot.

02.03: Dick Vitale is dusted down and fired up for his second airing of the night, a 65 second outburst interspersed with Tyler Hansbrough clips and mercifully cadence-free. However, I can't help but noticed how much he moves his hands when he's talking. Next time he comes on, I'm counting the hand gestures.

02.05: Excited for the Bulls pick. Truly. Even though I know it's going to be James Johnson, I'm excited anyway, because this is the first draft handled by our new de facto GM, Gar Forman. I want to see if he makes a splash in some exciting and dynamic way, by buying some picks, trading up, making a blockbuster deal....anything, really.

Jeff Van Gundy wants the Bulls to "bridge that gap". I don't know what he's asking for.

02.07: Sure enough, the Bulls pick Johnson, just like we knew they were going to. It's kind of typical, really - this is the first year that I've been watching the NCAA, and my team manages to pick the first guy so far that I haven't seen play. How inevitable.

Still, that's not all bad. That means I can get to evaluate someone based off of the 25 seconds of clips that accompany their drafting. Just like old times. It's nice not to know something. An oft-heard comparison that I've heard for Johnson is that of Ryan Gomes, and the clips seem to verify that. Ryan Gomes, I've heard. Ryan Gomes, I see. Ryan Gomes, I like. Therefore, James Johnson, I like. Good times.

(Kelly Dwyer is less pleased. He likes James Johnson to "a kickboxing Rodney Buford." I don't think that statement's desired effect was to make me like Johnson more, but it did.)

02.10: Despite still having two picks to make, Steve Kerr finds time to pop in for an interview. He is his usual overly candid self, talking at willl about how he's talking about trading Amare Stoudemire with many teams, mercifully stopping short of mentioning any specifics. This would appear to be a downside of hiring a General Manager straight out of a frontline media position.

02.12: Next up, the Philadelphia 76ers, the worst outside shooting team in the NBA. Last year's starter at point guard, Andre Miller, is an unrestricted free agent who made clear his stance on potentially re-signing by refusing to turn up for his exit interview. His backup, Louis Williams, just had a really terrible year and isn't even a proper point guard in the first place. And the third stringer, Royal Ivey, just opted out of a guaranteed contract and will be another unrestricted free agent. Therefore, regardless of Jeff Van Gundy's redundant theory about whether Elton Brand can play center, I'm leaving if the Sixers don't take a point guard. It has to be done.

02.13: Fortunately, I'm staying. The Sixers take Jrue Holiday with the 17th pick, and Jay Bilas is pleased that the man he had down as being the 8th best player in the draft is finally off the board. Relieved, Bilas calls Holiday "a point guard for a long time", which is comforting information to anyone who feared that Holiday might try and reinvent himself as a power forward at any point. The Holiday pick also signifies the departure of the last of the 'green room' invitees (by the way, for those who have never watched the draft, the green room is neither green nor a room), which means we can avoid any embarassing Darrell Arthur-like situations this season. That's good news.

02..14: (EDIT - Luke asked me to point out that this is when he went to bed. Happy now, flowerpetal?)

02:15: The NBA is a weird entity. Holiday came off the bench all of last year, behind starting point guard Darren Collison. Collison is also draft eligible, and will be drafted at some point in this first round no doubt. Yet now, wherever he's picked, he will be picked behind Holiday. Holiday came off the bench behind Collison because the UCLA coach felt that Collison was more likely to help the team win, and yet now he's going to be drafted behind Holiday because the Philadelphia 76ers think that Holiday is going to be more of a help in the NBA. The games aren't significantly different, yet the assessment of who will help more is. It's odd. I don't necessarily disagree with it - in fact, I agree with it, as will any fan of "tremendeous upside potential" - but it's still pretty weird. Epiphany over, let's move on.

02.16: In his post-selection interview, Holiday thanks God for him being alive. I don't think this needs a follow-up comment.

02.17: Upon closer inspection, it's not just Mark Jones' table; the whole draft night studio is decked out in jigsaw motifs. I still don't get it. Presumably it's something about "missing pieces". Ha bloody ha.

02.17: Just read that the Blazers are trading Sergio Rodriguez, cash and the 38th pick to Sacramento for the 31st pick, filling a Sacramento roster spot on the cheap at one of their positions of need while opening up more cap room for themselves. Figures. This deal, though, does mean that Rodriguez isn't going to the Knicks, as was previously reported by Yahoo Eurosport. The lesson, as ever; Europeans don't know a damn thing about NBA basketball and they should be roundly denounced accordingly.

02.18: The Michael Jackson jokes have started to flood in: "Jackson 5 tickets!! 20% off!!!"

02.19: Minnesota are certainly enjoying themselves tonight. They just picked their third point guard in three picks, this time taking Ty Lawson at #18. At this point, it seems like a good time to mention that the Wolves traded Rashad McCants at the deadline to Sacramento in exchange for Bobby Brown, a solid second-and-a-half-string point guard, a move which further opened up the shooting guard whole that they still haven't filled. Brown now stands to be a fifth stringer next season. I wonder what they would have done if they'd kept Mario Chalmers like they meant to.

I do like the pick, though. Lawson is a good player for an 18th pick, and personally, I'm not even sure that he's any worse than Jonny Flynn, the cat murdering bastard that Flynn is. Flynn has the upside advantage with his athleticism, but Lawson is a solid all around player with quite a hefty defensive advantage over Flynn, who doesn't seem to understand defense or to want to try to. Drafting for need with #18 picks when you suck is usually a flawed premise anyway, so drafting another point guard is fine by me as long as that player is the best player left on the board. And Lawson could well have been that.

02.21: No, wait, scratch that; Ric Bucher's hair is informing us that Lawson is being traded to Denver in exchange for the Bobcats' protected 2010 first round pick, one which they gave to Denver last season in exchange for the draft rights to the thoroughly uninspiring Alexis Ajinca. There's some logic in there for Denver, given that they've just suffered through yet another season of big minutes for Anthony Carter, but wouldn't you want to keep onto any Bobcats first rounders right now? They still haven't ever made the playoffs, and despite the protection on the pick (top 12 protected in 2010, top 10 protected in 2011, top 8 protected in 2012, top 3 protected in 2013, unprotected in 2014), it might still be a lucrative down the road. Do you really want to give it up for a number 18 pick in a weak draft? I wouldn't. But then again, I'm European, so I'm to be denounced accordingly.

02.21: By the way, the Nuggets once traded away the draft rights to Jameer Nelson for a future first round draft pick. It all comes full circle in the end.

02.22: Bilas is agreeing with me about Lawson and his virtues. I'm both honoured and worried.

02.24: The now Jamal Crawford-lead Hawks add Jeff Teague with the 19th pick, making it three point guards in a row and seemingly spelling the end of the Mike Bibby regime. This may or may not be a bad move; having not seen a Wake Forest game (see also; James Johnson) it's hard for me to say. Also, I'm European. But what I do know is that Teague's post-draft graphic shows him rocking a well-groomed moustache that makes him look a little bit like a sex criminal. I like him already.

02.28: I wonder what Michael Jackson's penis and scrotum looked like. How far did he really take that skin bleaching thing? Isn't bleach a bad thing to have in close proximity to your penis?

02.29: It would be a little bit hilarious if Utah picked B.J. Mullens right here. Him and Jerry Slaon are made for each other.

02.30: Sadly, it didn't happen. The Jazz draft Eric Maynor with the 20th pick, doing the sensible thing of filling their gaping backup point guard whole with the best available point guard. Good teams drafting for need. It's the future. Maynor now gets to play for the coach who once waived his dad, which should give Jerry an instant reason to dislike him.

Jay Bilas is a big fan of this pick, and credits Maynor for his "athleticism", "speed", "pace", "agility", "understanding of the game" and "ability to hit big shots", stopping just short of crediting his charm, grace, penache and unselfish lovemaking technique. It's basically the exact same speech that he gave over Ty Lawson.

02.31: ESPN cut to an interview with Larry Brown, whose very presence on the screen makes Knicks fans boo. Brown then name drops Michael Jordan, who illicits even more boos from the crowd. This is still funny.

02.32: Within a thirty second span, I was told by two different people that actor Jeff Goldblum had died, and from a third person that said that the story was merely a hoax. It was definitely a strange thirty seconds. By the way, you can safely assume right now that all semi-famous celebrities are wrapped up in a mountain of cushions, avoiding all dangerous activities and mildly unhealthy fatty foods. This is not the time to be dying. (He's really not dead, by the way.)

02.32: If Dejuan Blair gets beyond the Hornets pick at #21, he might fall to #26. He could still be a Bull. Fingers crossed. New Orleans are also in the unenviable situation of needing help at all five positions, which means that they can't really go wrong just as long as they draft a good player. Every hole's a goal. Any depth at all would be a bonus for a team that featured Devin Brown, Hilton Armstrong, Antonio Daniels and Sean Marks way too heavily in its rotation last year. But a decent wing player wouldn't be a bad start, and nor would an extra big man.

02.33: Naturally, they take Darren Collison, a point guard. Ah well. T's the season.

02.34: The 22nd pick belongs to Portland, after they traded up from the 24th pick on the day before draft night. Presumably they have someone in mind for the 22nd pick, someone whom they figured Sacramento (who picked 23rd) would want rather badly. Given that Sacramento is a poor rebounding team, and one of the best rebounders in the draft (Dejuan Blair) remains on the board, maybe that trade will actually matter. Or maybe it has nothing to do with Blair at all. Either way, Mark Jackson's assessment of the Blazers roster says that they "need [the] best available player". The fact that this needs to be mentioned at all is evidence of how the draft plays out these days.

02.36: Not to be outdone, Jeff Van Gundy uses his moment of analysis to name as many Blazers players as he could think of. It's a noble effort that sees him stopping just short of saying Michael Ruffin and Shavlik Randolph. Jeff's earning his paycheck tonight, let me tell you. Not to be outdone, though, Jackson counters with a classic opening gambit, exclaiming how "you talk about LaMarcus Aldridge". Actually, Mark, I don't really. Not much. Not since the 2006 draft.

02.38: It turns out that Blair was irrelevant; Portland drafts Victor Claver, a forward out of Valencia, who won't be joining the team for a while. The funny thing is that I watched roughly five Valencia games last season, and yet I still couldn't tell you a single thing about Victor Claver. This might be because I spent so long trying to follow Albert Miralles' every move, yet it may also suggest something about Claver's minimal impact upon a game. More accurately, though, it's symptomatic of two key factors when watching European basketball:

1) Almost every team uses 10 man rotations in a 40 minute game, meaning no one ever stays on the court for all that long.

2) It's really hard to tell the players apart because the numbers are so small. (Seriously. When watching Valencia, I could only tell the difference between Shammond Williams and Kenny Gregory, because I knew that Shammond was the black guy with the headband on, and Gregory went without one. But when Gregory and Florent Pietrus were on the court at the same time.....well, then it was just downright difficult.)

02.39: Chicago pick in 4 picks time, and I really want Dejuan Blair to fall to them now. It looks pretty possible, too. Dallas pick 24th, and they intend to re-sign Brandon Bass, who is better than Blair and takes his spot in the rotation. Oklahoma City pick 25th, and they have D.J. White, who is also not entirely dissimilar and takes up their backup power forward spot. The only possible problem here is with Sacramento, who pick next at #23 and who sorely need some big men that don't suck. This is the team that finished last season with Calvin Booth, Ike Diogu, Kenny Thomas and Cedric Simmons on their roster. They're a real threat here.

02.40: An interview with Shaquille O'Neal goes a bit weird when Shaq mentions that he has had "mental conversations" with his new-fangled team mate, LeBron James. I have absolutely no idea what he meant by that. Maybe he was just trying to be quotabl, as per usual. And since I just quoted him, it worked.

Shaq is also quick to point out that Suns GM Steve Kerr was honest and up front with him about trade discussions from the start, and that he would be willing to come off the bench in Cleveland if need be, both of which are rather noble things for him to have said. Although I only believe one of them. Jeff Van Gundy also doesn't believe Shaq's sincerity in his statement about coming off the bench, but then gets ahead of himself when he congratulates Zydrunas Ilgauskas for the humility that he's shown in giving up his starting spot to O'Neal. Steady on there, Jeff. Z might not even know that there's been a trade yet.

02.41: Shaq also calls both Jeff Van Gundy and Stanley Roberts "the great" in that interview. I'm not sure whom that does the biggest disservice to.

02.45: The Kings throw me a bone by picking Isreli small forward Omri Casspi with the 23rd pick, despite having Andres Nocioni, Francisco Garcia, Donte Greene and even a helping of Jason Thompson already at the position. Meanwhile, the incapacitated Kenny Thomas remains their only backup power forward under contract. I really don't understand a good 75% of the moves that Geoff Petrie makes, but I'm sure some overly defensive Kings fans will set me straight on that in short order.

02.46: The Kings selecting Casspi means that, at the very least, one of Dejuan Blair, Sam Young and Wayne Ellington will be on the board when the Bulls pick. Good times. Blair at #26 will be the steal of the draft, I tell you.

02.47: There's an advert break seemingly after every pick now, but Audrina Partridge is not appearing in any of them. This isn't good enough.

02.50: Dallas picks B.J. Mullens with the 24th pick, moving the Bulls one step closer to my dream. Mullens always claimed that he could be compared to Dirk Nowitzki, and now he's going to join Dirk's team and realise how wrong he was. Sounds like karma to me.

By the way, B.J. Mullens sucks, and here's why:

1) He needs to improve both his overall offensive play and his overall defense play. He has good touch around the rim (as well as away from it, supposedly), but he has absolutely no moves or footwork with which to get these shots of. He gets tripped by little guys, blocked by big guys, outmuscled by sronger guys and confused by two guys at once. (Giggidy.) And his defensive instincts are about as intelligent as those of a hedgehog when confronted by a speeding car. It's not pretty, and he makes no effort to hide it either.

2) He rebounds worse than Jason Kidd.

3) He's been stuck by Jay Bilas with the slightly unfortunate tag of "he needs to learn how to play", which is always a worrying thing to find in a player when you're wondering whether they're worthy of joining the best basketball league in the world.

4) He came off the bench behind Dallas Lauderdale for a whole season. This is the same Dallas Lauderdale who boasts no offensive talent, a free throw stroke that borders on the criminally reckless, who averaged only 3.6 rebounds in 21 minutes per game and whose hefty blocked shots numbers stemmed largely from Ohio State's out-of-conference schedule. Yet in spite of all that, he was better for them than Mullens.

But maybe it's not a bad pick anyway. That's how starved for size we are this year; Mullens is only the second centre picked in the entire draft. Bad times.

Just one to more to go now.

02.57: Good news! Oklahoma City picks someone called Rodrigue Beaubois with the 25th pick, and Blair is now free to be a Bull. Stern stumbles over Beaubois' surname, and eventually manages a half hearted attempt that sounds a little bit like "boob war". This is what I'm calling Rod from now on. Ric Bucher quickly informs us that Boob War and B.J. are being swapped for one another (and, hopefully, jointly lending their names to one of the finest pornographic movie titles in the Western world), which undermines by Nowitzki joke of earlier a bit.

But, to the real issue here. The Thunder passed up on Dejuan Blair. And that means only one thing. We got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair we got Blair. Yeahhhhhhhhhh boy. This is a good thing. The Bulls seriously need some interior muscle and rebounding, and the best player for that outside of the number 1 overall pick just fell into our laps. Inside, I'm dancing. Outside, I'm yodelling. Good times.

02.58: Can I just point out at this stage how much better it's going to be to have Dejuan Blair than it is Thabo Sefolosha. Thabo would have been earning $2.8 million next season just to be the 10th man, money which the Bulls can ill afford to spend on a surplus player if they are going to be able to re-sign Ben Gordon. Yet instead of Thabo, we're going to be paying a third of that price to a superior player, who plays a position of greater need and whose skillset fills this team's weaknesses almost perfectly. It's going to be bloody fantastic. What could possibly g.......

02.59: ........oh, clunge.

03.00 - 03.04: (Sulking.)

03.04: Taj Gibson??? Taj Gibson??? Why the hell would you pick Taj Gibson there? What does Taj Gibson do, exactly? He blocks shots. That's pretty much it. He's not a rebounder, he's not a scorer, he's too thin for his position and he doesn't have first round talent. He also somewhat duplicates the skillset of incumbent starting power forward Tyrus Thomas, and we're supposed to be UPGRADING Tyrus, NOT DUPLICATING HIM. Oh, and better still, Taj Gibson is already 24, severly limiting any upside his athleticism may otherwise have given him. To put that into some context, Taj Gibson is all of four days younger than Darko Milicic. And everyone knows that Darko Milicic ran out of potential three years ago.

Spiffing. Absolutely spiffing.

03.05: Memphis are up next, and I can only hope for some grave misjudgement on their part to cheer me up, still reeling as I am from the Taj Gibson selection. (It's not even about Dejuan Blair, really. Blair was the obvious pick, but there are others who would have done, others with first round talent and who fit the team needs. But Gibson? What good is he going to do us?) Jeff Van Gundy is straight back on the horse after a slight wobble, and launches into a meaningful and poignant diatribe about how the draw of having a team play an exciting brand of basketball is always going to be nullified if that team doesn't win games, and that "anything is exciting when you win". This point is way too salient for a draft night broadcast.

03.06: With big point guard and power forward holes still to fill, Memphis pick a backup small forward in DeMarre Carroll, who has long term health concerns about his liver and an underdeveloped perimeter game so depressingly consistent with a college power forward trying to make the switch to the perimeter. Groovy. I guess Hakim Warrick is walking, then.

03.07: Stu Scott really needs either a pop guard, or some basic presenting lessons. Just move the bloody microphone further away from your face for God's sake. This is day 1 stuff, surely.

03.08: No matter how bad Dejuan Blair's knees are, they aren't as old as Taj Gibson's. Just saying.

03.10: Minnesota are on the clock for their fourth first round pick of the night, and it is said that they wanted James Johnson with the 18th pick had the Bulls not taken him. This seems a little bit weird considering that Minnesota are the current owners of Ryan Gomes, the man to whom Johnson apparently projects so accurately. Not sure what to make of that.

When it's their turn to draft, however, they don't disappoint, and after a brief flirtation with David Stern's playful side (more of this, please), the Wolves select Wayne Ellington with the 28th pick. Wayne Ellington is the next Voshon Lenard. You heard it here first. Unless I'm wrong. In which case, you heard it from someone else, so laugh at them instead.

03.12: I'm the same age as Taj Gibson, fackricesakes. This isn't on. I need some Doris Burke or something to get me through this. Or Audrina Partridge. Or anything, really.

03.14: Lisa Salters interviews North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, who is at the drafting watching three (and soon to be four) of his players getting drafted. Williams clearly hasn't been paying too much attention, as he didn't know about Ty Lawson being traded to Denver. Gotta love those interviews with coaches. They're really the driving force behind the drama tonight.

03.15: New York will be picking 29th instead of the Lakers - even though it will be announced as a Lakers pick - after agreeing to buy the pick before the draft started. The Bulls could have bought this just as easily. I'm just saying.

Speaking of New York and of Darko Milicic, a long rumoured trade has officially been announced that sees Darko being sent to the Knicks in exchange for Quentin Richardson. Both contracts are expiring, but Richardson is to earn more than Milicic next season. The Grizzlies just took on some money. I'm shocked.

The Knicks then pick Toney Douglas with the 29th pick, who is sort of a little bit like Stephen Curry if you try to be really optimistic about things. Either way, it looks like it might be goodnight Nate.

03.25: Stern takes forever to appear for the 30th pick, leaving Stu Scott having to think up some spontaneous comedy magic. You may as well have asked Brandon Jennings. When Stern does finally appear, he somehow manages to balls up a simple speech that he's made hundreds of times before ("'with the ____th pick in the ____ NBA draft, the ________ select........."), and has to talk his way out of it. He finally does so in a painfully awkward fashion, and then manages to bugger up the draftees name. I guess he got on the piss a few minutes too early. Somewhere in there, the Cavaliers drafted Christian Eyenga with the last pick of the first round.

The Eyenga selection stuns literally everyone. The crowd do not discernibly cheer nor boo, his name is not placed on the draft board because there's no board available with his name on, and there's over a minute of dead air as ESPN frantically scramble for something to say about him and someone to say it. The broadcast is literally silent as Andy Katz is hurriedly contacted for insight, and for some Eyenga clips to be fashioned out of his ass. The silence is hectic.

The only person who knew that Christian Eyenga was going to be drafted was Christian Eyenga himself, who flew mercurially to the stage like an oversized lapwing and got in his photo with a still-drunk Stern. Then again, maybe not even Christian Eyenga knew he was going to be drafted. I'd instead like to believe that Danny Ferry was at the draft, panicking slightly, not knowing who to draft, and asking all the non-English speakers if they've ever played ball before, then just drafting the best one.

"Hey, you any good at basketball?"
"I play Spain three division?"
"Mint. Congratulations. You're now a Cav."

That's my fantasy, you choose you own.

03.28: I'd never heard of Christian Eyenga before tonight, and neither had you, probably. So here's what I've just read up about him: Eyenga is from the Congo, and turned 20 last week. He is the property of DKV Joventut Badalona - the team that won't let Ricky Rubio leave - and spent the last two seasons at their feeder club, CB Prat Juventud, in the LEB Silver (which is the Spanish third division). Last year he averaged 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, and was also fourth in the league in blocks with 1.6 per game. Not bad defensive numbers from a 6'5 shooting guard. But also a throoughly mediocre scoring output from a low standard of basketball.

03.29: The clips of Eyenga's play all come from the same game, where he makes a dunk and a step-back three in a gym full to the brim with about 18 people in it. If only they knew they were watching future NBA first round talent they'd have turned up in droves. Eyenga still doesn't have the dignity of his name being put on the draft board.

03.29: Stern announces that he's off to get drunk, and that Adam Silver will handle the difficult job of talking for the second round. The following people are going to be second round steals: Dejuan Blair, Sam Young, Nick Calathes, Patrick Mills, Danny Green, Marcus Thornton and Chase Budinger. Book it. Book it all.

03.29: By the way, this draft is not sufficiently weak that we have to resort to the Spanish third division in the first round. Danny Ferry, I think you may have shot your bolt prematurely. Giggidy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sham's unnecessarily long 2009 draft diary, part 1

Last year's draft night was arguably the best day of my life. The 2007 draft night before that is its only competitor. I mean that, too. For reasons I have never figured out, I find draft nights to be better than sex. Maybe I've only ever had crap sex, but that's how I feel about it.

It never makes for especially brilliant television, but to know that dozens of executives all over the country are making more news in a 12 hour period than in the previous 12 months combined is kind of pulsating. In the course of a day and a night, rosters, directions and allegiances will change. We spend weeks and months in advance predicting what's going to happen on this one night, only to find that, sure as hell, we're all more wrong than a Myra Hindley Christmas album. It's great fun.

I'm a bit apprehensive of this draft, though. This draft will be unlike any other for me, for this is the first draft I'll have watched in which I know anything about the players involved. Before this season, I had not watched the NCAA before outside of a handful of games, for the simple reason that it wasn't on the telly. However, this year, for whatever reason, it was. And so in keeping with my usual approach (take note ladies), I went at it hardcore, gave it my all, didn't want to miss a single inch of skin/minute of action, and strove to be better at it than everyone else in the world (particularly that inferior man you're currently with).

Because of that, I'm going to miss out on what I've always considered to be the highlight of draft night; the ability to judge people for life based off of a few short clips, what kind of suit they're wearing, their post-selection interview, a short speech by Jay Bilas and the timeless "Must Improve" captions that so effortlessly make the work of drafting websites utterly redundant.

I don't yet know if this is a good thing.

As was the case with last year's draft, due to my social life full of partying, hard living, sexual deviance and explosive excitement at all times, I missed the whole day of build-up to the event. I missed out on the moves that were made, not least the Shaq and Vince Carter trades. (Speaking of, a: did Cleveland need to get slower and less athletic? and b: even as a fan of his, I'm far from overwhelmed by a trade that sees Courtney Lee be the best returning player in a Vince Carter deal. Hope the sale of the Nets goes well, Bruce Ratner.)

I also had to scramble to even watch the draft in the first place, stuck as I am on an internet connection with speed that rivals an arthritic Pavel Podkolzin in a game of musical statues. So I went to my friend Luke's house, to stay up all night and watch the draft downstairs as he slept upstairs, with him perhaps a little freaked out by the whole thing. Or that was the plan, at least. Gallantly, despite not knowing or caring a little bit about basketball, he watched a bit of it with me. He's a good sport. It's a good sport.

I got there at 11pm, 90 minutes before the start of the draft, and started to pick through the bones of all the news that I had missed out on. But this was soon sabotaged by the shock relevation that Michael Jackson had died. On draft night, too. The selfish bastard. When I would have liked to have spent the next hour reading up on completed deals, rumoured deals, and putting to paper my views on the Richard Jefferson deal (which may still be posted about a week too late, FYI), I instead spent that time talking about that while trying to think of the world's best Michael Jackson joke to start via text message. (I ended up going with what I thought was quite a good Farrah Fawcett gag. It failed.)

Nevertheless, I got it all out of my system eventually, and settled in to watch the draft unfurl with a glass of milk and a half-eaten biro at the ready. Eleven pages of notes later, this is what I came up with. Enjoy it.

(NB: Written in real time, even though it isn't, because it was. If that makes sense. Also done in a Twitter-like fashion, because the kids go for all that jazz these days. Apparently.)

00.01: We're underway. Tonight's lineup: Stu Scott on the drums, Jay Bilas on the bass, Jeff Van Gundy on rhythm guitar, Mark Jackson on the keys and Dick Vitale as lead vocalist, with Fran Frischilla, Ric Bucher and Andy Katz as guest guitarists. The same as last year, basically. Except we've lost Stephen A. Smith.

00.04: Apparently the Jamal Crawford to Atlanta trade, which was initially supposed to be held up until July 8th for no reason at all, went through early. The value for Atlanta is great, and if given a sixth man role Crawford could thrive, just like Ronald Murray did last year. Then again, they could surely bring back Murray to do the same job for a far lesser price. But still. It's a trade. And trades are good. Dictatorial and slightly authoritarian, but good anyway. Things have started well.

00.05: Also, the Lakers have apparently agreed to sell their 29th pick to the Knicks, in a deal which can't be consummated until after the pick has been made due to the Lakers still owing Memphis their 2010 first round pick as a part of the Pau Gasol deal. Selling this year's pick seems silly. Someone should tell the Lakers that while they did just win the title, they also need to improve their team, and that if they spend all their money on only bringing back last year's team, they're going to lose. Late first round draft picks are good ways to bring in cheap bench talent, something which every team could use. But now the've taken themselves out of the running. Also, I don't know if you know this Jerry Buss, but you're REALLY FREAKING RICH, and the Lakers only make you richer. So up the payroll, you big jessie.

00.05: An early FYI: Amare Stoudemire either is or isn't going to the Warriors, according to Ric Bucher and his slicked-back hair. It's all good information. I'm writing it down. Also, their version of the proposed deal sees Amar'e Stoudemire going to the Warriors for Andris Biedrins, Marco Belinelli and Brandon Wright, taking great care to spell Amare's new fangled name right, but not Wright's. Don't worry, Brandan. When you're as good as Amare is, they'll care.

00.06: If there's any legs to that rumour, then the Bulls had better top that deal, regardless of his eye surgery and the size of his extension. Some risks are worth taking. (Oh, in case you didn't know, I'm a Bulls fan. Expect bias.)

00.07: Oh wow, Danny Larue died last month and no one told me. Sorry MJ, but you just got usurped.

00.07: "You got usurped" was the working title for "You got served", by the way.

00.08: Last season, Stephen A. Smith suffered the ignonimity of being bumped from the panel of analysts, reduced to the role of a mere interviewer. He looked simultaneously sad and listless all night, wondering how things could have gotten so bad. Well, they got worse after that, and his arse was fired by the network, so now he's not here at all. Neither is Doris Burke, whose fine work of last season wasn't enough to see her keep her job, as Lisa Salters gets a turn at being the token female this year. And someone called John Barr is in Cleveland, getting ready to do some cavilingus on whoever he can find to interview about the Shaq trade. They make all these changes, yet Stu Scott remains. Whatever.

00.10: Someone just alerted me to Good fun. But how they got that site up within an hour of his death, I do not know. Someone must have bought that domain some time in advance. Spooky stuff.

00.11: Way too much freaking ticker on the screen tonight. Seriously.

00.12: Apparently Steve Nash wanted Shaq traded. Can't imagine why. I wonder who Shaq's going to backstab this time. I vote Goran Dragic.

00.13: Interesting point someone just made: Shaq has now played with a prime Penny Hardaway, a prime Kobe Bryant, a prime Dwayne Wade, a prime Steve Nash, and now a prime LeBron James. Yet he has only 4 rings. How do you have only 4 if you're one of the greatest of all time and you played with that lot? Tim Duncan has four, and he did it with either the shell of David Robinson, or the inherently flawed Tony Parker. Compared to that, Shaq just doesn't compare.

00.16: I'm a heterosexual male, and so confident am I in that that I can tell you without fear of reprisal that Jay Bilas is just dreamy. Look at that jawline. Look at those shoulders. The teeth. And the soothing dulcit baritones. Such an alpha male. I'll believe anything he tells me. Anyhoo......

00.18: ESPN has decided to focus their draft build up on Blake Griffin. Apparently they think he might be picked first overall. I'm not convinced.

00.23: I am distracted from the pre-draft Griffin-up by an interview that's taking place on Sky News with Hollywood actor and musical legend, Joe Pesci, about the death of Michael Jackson. Anything that involves Joe Pesci talking is hard to ignore, and the fact that he's talking about the death of a legend is secondary to his always amusing vowel sounds. Good times. I wonder if Pesci will do a tribute to Jacko on his next album.

(You didn't know Joe Pesci had an album? You should. It's bloody brilliant, I tell you. Particularly the Jim Reeves cover. There's also a music for a Pesci original rap song called "Wise Guy", which I will proffer for you now.)

(No, I didn't believe it at first either. But there it is. Remember kids; it's the bitchez that'll get yuz.)

00.25: Mark Jones is interviewing Ricky Rubio, which gives me my first taste of Rubio's voice. And it's frankly hilarious. He sounds like Glenn Quagmire doing an impression of Speedy Gonzalez. More good times. Also, if you were wondering if this Mark Jones is THE Mark Jones - former Orlando Magic shooting guard Mark Jones - then let me help you with that; he is not. Shame.

00.26: Luke is wondering if he can get a refund on his Michael Jackson tickets. I'm pretty confident that he will, although I'm also pretty confident that the show won't be any worse than it would have been anyway.

00.27: The first Dick Vitale moment of the night happens. Prior to this year, the only things I knew about Dick Vitale were these draft night cameos from his front room, his voice (lifted directly from a heavily constipated Johnny Vegas) and his frankly sensational porn star name. But now that I've watched him work as a commentator for over a year, I've got one more to add to that; I don't like him. And the reason I don't like him is because, when he gets excited, he ends every sentence in an imperfect cadence. Yes, this is reason enough to dislike someone.

He's not doing that in this draft night rant, though, which is a relief. The rant goes on for 50 seconds, and included only one use of the term 'baby'. That's even more of a relief.

00.28: Here's a picture of Blake Griffin.

That is all.

00.29: ESPN bridges the gap between the end of the 30 minute countdown and the start of the 5 minute countdown with a montage of some of the high picks. Ironically (or foolishly) they have Hasheem Thabeet point at the camera as say "THIS IS MY TIME!!!" just before the number 1 pick is announced. Even at this late stage, I'm not putting it totally past Dunleavy.

00.30: The customary Red Pepper voiceover happes. That means we're starting. RIP Don LaFontaine. Let's do this.

00.31: We are treated to the customary "war room" shot that is so unnecessarily obligatory before the number 1 pick is made. Nothing's happening. Lots of people are sitting around a table, and Mike Dunleavy is in the middle, smiling dauntingly, not wearing a tie. I don't need to see this. I didn't need to see it last year, either. The Clippers have only pick; it's the first pick, they know who they're taking, and we know who they're taking. It's the ultimate formality. So instead of looking at men in suits getting ready to clap, here's a monkey on a bike.

(Joe Pesci samples that tune on his album, by the way.)

00.31: David Stern comes to the microphone for the opening speech, and comments on the crowd being a "rowdy lot tonight". He's not kidding. Oh by the way, the NBA might be moving the draft to Los Angeles. These two facts are not related in any way.

00.31: Stern's speech marks the beginning of a five minute wait before the Clippers can make the 1st overall pick. The idea here is the team uses these five minutes to decide on who they're going to draft, but, since we've already seen Mike Dunleavy loafing about, nonchalant in his own incompetence, here's another monkey on a bike.

00.32: ESPN throws up a 'Clippers depth chart' caption that features Zach Randolph coming off of the bench behind Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby. Either they know something that we don't, or they know nothing.

00.33: Stern comes to the podium to announce the pick, mercifully before the full five minutes has elapsed. When he does so, a little ditty plays before he starts talking, just like it has done in every pick in every draft that I've ever seen. Does anyone know why this ditty plays?

00.33: Stern announces that Griffin is taken number 1 over all, and Griffin gallantly puts on an oh-dude-I-totally-had-no-idea face as he hugs his brother, his family and two random people, before making his way up to receive his lifelong dream of a Clippers hat. The analyst's brief run down of Griffin reveals nothing we didn't already know (he's quite good, apparently), and this prompts ESPN to find some filler material. They first cut back to the Clippers war room - where Dunleavy is now in only his underwear listening to Kenny Loggins records and dealing cards to himself - before showing us a replay of Blake Griffin standing up. I watched this replay really intensely to see if I'd missed something interesting that necessitated it being shown again. I hadn't.

00.35: Mark Jones isn't wearing a tie, either. Make an effort man, for God's sake.

00.36: Here's my question: if you're 6'9, why would you choose to go into the only profession in which you could ever be considered to be "too short"?

00.37: It's Memphis' turn, and there's genuine intrigue now. In previous years, the top of the draft has been about as subtle as a punch in the face. You know who's going to be picked by whom, and watching the first 5 or so picks happening was just a procession. But not this year. As early as #2, we've already got a poser. The clearcut #2 in this draft is Rubio, but he said he won't sign with Memphis. Thabeet has pretty much said the same, and the other two candidates (James Harden and Tyreke Evans) play the same as last year's number 3 overall pick, O.J. Mayo. This puts Memphis in a quandry, where the logical pick refuses to play for them and the rest aren't particularly good fits. They could trade down still, or they could trade out of the draft altogether. It's all possibly. Personally, I'm hoping they'll call Rubio's bluff and take him anyway. And why not? Who was the last top 5 pick not to sign with the team that picked him? Even Steve Francis would have signed with Vancouver, eventually. Maybe.

00.40: Failing that, I want them to draft James Harden, because a Harden/Gay pairing can't fail. I'm still rueing the premature demise of the Gay/Love pairing of last year. It's still funny to me. (Luther Head is a free agent, by the way.)

00.43: Cameras cut to the Grizzlies war room. Something's actually happening in there - a man is adjusting something on a wall. In relative terms, it's like an M. Night Shyamalan film in there, yet it's still ultimately boring. If I had a childish mind, the proper means at my disposal, and a highly accurate impersonation of Mike Dunleavy in my arsenal, I'd totally ring them right now and talk about a Griffin trade. I really would. The lesson here; don't give me a position of authority.

00.45: After a generous five minute wait, the Grizzlies ignore me and pick Thabeet. Brilliant. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. This draft is so bad that a specialist was just picked 2nd overall. Because that's what he is - a specialist. He's not Dikembe Mutombo and he's not going to be. He's not more than an opportunity scorer, and he's not going to be. He is what he is - he's all right. And now he's going second. Nice draft, this.

00.46: Also, I don't want to be the one who has to make him and Marc Gasol work together on the court. That's a tough ask, since, you know, they're both centres. Memphis now has two starting calibre centres and no starting calibre point guard or power forward. And I'm sure that they would have picked Rubio were it not for the hostage situation that would have unfolded.

That said, I don't blame Rubio for standing his ground here. As much as we enjoy the draft, we have to realise that it's an utterly stupid system bordering on slavery. (Maybe.) A system that promotes parity amongst the league is fine, but it only partly works, and it doesn't take into consideration the wishes of the players involved. It's pretty ridiculous that we see these situations where an American kid who pursues their dream of becoming a professional sportsman for his whole childhood, finally fulfills their dream and achieves the status of being an NBA-calibre talent, just to be susceptible to an ass-backwards scheme that sees his place of work dictated for him for a number of years, where he has to move across the country if someone tells him to, where he has no freedom to choose where he plays or what he gets paid, and where the only option available to him if he decides not to go along with it is to either kick up a stink (with the obvious negative connotations that would arise from that; 'oooh, he's a bad egg'), or to emigrate and play in another country, because he hasn't the freedom to choose his own path in his own country.

Essentially, it's slavery. In a predominantly Christian society supposedly based on free will and determinism, in the self-annointed land of the free, we have this backwards system that is akin to borderline slavery. It's extremely well paid slavery, but it's slavery nonetheless. It's not a million miles away from what Adolf Hitler was trying to do. Oh and by the way, I'm absolutely embellishing this now and totally don't believe any of this paragraph.

00.48: Thabeet's on-screen profile says that he "Must Improve: Offensive Game". You've got to love that caption when dealing with a number 2 pick.

00.49: For some reason, Mark Jones' interview table has a motif of a jigsaw puzzle piece. I don't get this.

00.49: Thabeet mentions in his interview that part of his development as a player has been 'going from kicking it with my feet to using my hands'. If your cockles weren't already warmed by the caption, you're probably soggy and moist with excitement over the pick now,

00.50: Oklahoma City is up next, and if they don't pick Ricky Rubio because of the presence of Russell Westbrook, then I'm leaving. Jay Bilas seems to disagree with me, as he wants Harden and Evans to be picked before Rubio. I know he's wrong.

00.51: .....nope, apparently he's right. OKC picks Harden, so apparently they envision Westbrook as a point guard. The camera cuts to Ricky Rubio clapping the pick and smiling weakly. This needn't have happened.

00.52: Not only does James Harden play like John Salmons, he also looks a bit like him. This somewhat parallels the Matt Devlin/Lionel Hutz likeness, which is both an audio and visual experience. It's also not necessarily a bad thing, because John Salmons is pretty good. Although hopefully it won't take Harden longer than his rookie contract to get to that kind of standard, like it did with Fish.

00.54: Jay Bilas is on a roll, and he has gotten the first three picks right so far. His tail is up, and now he compares James Harden to Brandon Roy. Once again I think he's wrong, but that hasn't done me any favours so far, so I'll be pragmatic about it and acknowledge the possibility. I'm also forced to change my stance on Rubio-over-Harden once I see Harden's outfit for the evening, a stunning combination of waistcoat and bowtie that I can only hope to be able to carry off some day.

00.55: Harden says "I will work hard". That's good. If he hadn't said it, I would have had to assume that he'd work only casually.

00.55: A caption with the Kings' depth chart on it flashes up, and I have to explain to Luke that Spencer Hawes' first name is not "C".

00.56: Jeff Van Gundy is on the panel again this year, and he's clearly worked hard to make improvements over the offseason. Last season, Van Gundy dodged all questions about the draftees by instead talking about other player's on the teams roster, a strategy which culminated with his utterly baffling claim that the Knicks didn't need a point guard because they had Stephon Marbury. This year, though, he came prepared, and unloads unto us a packed diatribe about the strengths and weaknesses of Tyreke Evans' game, and why he'd be a good pick for the Kings at 4. If he's not picked now, Jeff'll be crushed.

00.57: Fortunately, Jeff is spared. The team with Kevin Martin at two guard and Beno Udrih at point guard just picked Evans, who projects as a two guard, in a point guard heavy draft with Rubio still on board. Yeah, I see what they did there. They chickened out of picking Rubio, that's what they did. Presumably, had they picked Rubio, America would have had to go to war with Spain or something catastrophic, and the Spanish are fearsome in battle. They build big Armadas and things, they're unsinkable. (Well, unsinkable unless you can enlist the English, that is.) Whether they choose to play Evans at point guard anyway is up for debate, but the answer had better be "yes".

00.58: Jay Bilas is now 4-4, far surpassing last year's 2-2 start before Brook Lopez's inexplicable slide. A gentle fapping noise can be heard from somewhere about his person.

00.58: In his post-selection interview, Evans reassures us that he will work hard. Wow! Two hard workers in the same draft! We got lucky this year.

00.58: Farrah Fawcett's dead, man. Only now has it hit home.

00.59: You know, after Minnesota fleeced Washington for the #5 pick this year, it was rumoured that they might package the #5 with the #18 to move up and take Rubio. They obviously didn't, but as it turns out, they didn't have to.


01.00: Mark Jones surprises us with the news that Tyreke Evans's nickname is "Hugo". Here's some more Tyreke Evans trivia that's less broadcastable but equally true; Tyreke Evans was once accidentally the getaway driver in a murder his cousin committed. Easy mistake to make. Happened to me only last week.

01.02: Minnesota takes Rubio, and the cameras cut to their war room, where surprisingly a table can be seen without a massive open bag of coke on it. Sadly, we also don't see a glimpse of Fred Hoiberg. Maybe it would have been better to cut to the Wizards' war room instead. It can be fun to watch people cry.

01.03: Dude! Rubio has MILF!

(OK, so she looks worryingly close to Brent Musburger in that picture. But trust me. She looked hot on draft night. Sort of.)

01.04: A Rubio highlight montage consists almost solely of look-away passes. Jointly, me and Luke now annoint Rubio as "Mr Bait 'N' Switch". It's funnier if you know us, to be fair.

Also included in the montage was a clip of one jump shot. He missed it. The follow-up caption said "Must Improve: Jumpshooting". Dayum, they're good at this.

01.06: Rubio says "I know what is rough" and "I am Ricky Rubio" in consecutive answers. I'm now tempted to call him Rocky. However, he didn't say at any point that he was going to work hard, so he's clearly never going to reach his potential now.

01.08: JVG implores that Minnesota should pick a backup to Rubio with the #6 pick. Considering that the only shooting guard on their roster right now is Rodney Carney, who is an unrestricted free agent as of 6 days time, this seems like a weird thing to ask for. Nevertheless, Kahn and the Wolves oblige him by picking Jonny Flynn, Syracuse point guard and reputed kitten murderer. If they don't think the two can play together at a later date, then the pick is extremely weird, and if they DO think that they can play together.....well, they're wrong. Neither is a good defender, nor will either ever have shooting guard size, and neither is effective without the ball or a good outside shooter. Yet somehow they have to take those concurrent weaknesses and find a way to coexist. I think David Kahn just made his first whoopsie.

01.10: Jay Bilas says that Flynn suffers from being "only 5'11". Within seconds, a caption shows up listing Flynn as being 6'0 1/2. It's a slick production, this, made only somewhat less slick by the constant background noise of Stu Scott's breathing. The caption also says that Flynn must improve his decision making; whether this applies only to basketball, or also to his feline homicide tendencies, we can only guess.

01.11: Flynn shows more charisma in his interview than the previous five draftees welded together, and like Rubio, he also talks about how tough he is. What's better than one Rocky Rubio? Two Rocky Rubios. And Battenburg cake. (Good news! There's still room for judging people on first impressions only! All is not lost!)

By the way, I've seen a boatload of Syracuse, and Flynn is probably too high here. He has more upside than most, with his athleticism, passing vision and aggressiveness, but he's also a poor defender, mediocre shooter, and prone to going out of control. He's pretty good, though, and he's partly why Syracuse are my favourite NCAA team. The variety of other reasons:

1) They had about 786 televised games over here for some reason.
2) They only played seven guys, one of whom was an unskilled Belgian.
3) Eric Devendorf has a potty mouth.
4) Jim Boeheim's wife is hot.

Of course, all of these apart from point 4 are going to have changed or become redundant by next season. But I can fairweather it up if I so wish.

01.12: Tip for anyone with a lazy eye - put your glasses on straight, Scott has tilted his at a rakish angle to try and combat the fallen iris, but it's not fooling anybody.

01.13: Mark Jones drops the word "seminal" in an interview. As a keen promoter of that word, I'm claiming some credit for that. If he says "giggidy" later on then I'll know I have some sway.

01.14: Everyone other than a beaming Jeff Van Gundy is a bit confused by the back-to-back point guards thing, and a baffled Stu Scott throws it over to Ric Bucher for word on whether the Wolves picked Flynn only to trade him. Bucher announces, with a tinge of fear in his voice, that the Wolves are intent on keeping them both. They start two power forwards, I guess, so starting two point guards can't be that hard.

Question: if Washington had kept the #5, would they have drafted Rubio, and if they didn't, would a Randy Foye/Rubio backcourt have worked out? I vote no and yes. But nonetheless, the Timberwolves don't have to play Sebastian Telfair any more, so it can't be that bad. And if they really struggle for a shooting guard, let's get Hoiberg to make a comeback.

01.15: Golden State picks Stephen Curry with the #7 pick, a move which the "rowdy lot" boo venemously. This leads to the following exchange:

Luke: "Why are they booing it?"
Me: "Because the draft's held in New York, New York pick next, and their fans really wanted Curry."
Luke: "Oh. He should have played worse."

Good point.

01.15: You know, if you could do cut-and-shut jobs with NBA players, sticking Curry and Flynn together would give you one hell of a point guard. (That pointless thought and arbitrary statement was easily my most lucid moment of insight all night. I should get an analyst's gig.)

01.16: Jay Bilas has now picked the first 7 picks correctly. His smile stretches from shoulder to shoulder and can be seen from space.

01.17: Before interviewing Stephen, his dad Dell Curry gets interviewed, for no particular reason whatsoever other than he's an ex-NBA player. This makes him no more exciting of an interview. But it does prompt the following exchange:

Me: "I had a dell curry once. Pretty tasty."
Luke: "Well, Dell will sponsor anything these days."

We're taking this double act on the road, by the way. Book early. Book often. (NB: if one of us were to die, no refunds.)

01.18: As I watch Stephen Curry sit there in a mismatched tie and jacket, with a pre-teen boy's beard on his chin, spouting a succession of generic statements in a voice handed down to him by his father, and being subjected to a realm of stereotypical anaylsis about how he "understands the game", I am reminded of how much worse the world will be now that Michael Jackson is dead. It's a bugger. Let's do the man a favour; scrub the last 15 years from the record, and remember him for what he was before it all went wrong - slightly weird, but freaking brilliant.

01.20: New York reacts to the Curry pick by picking Jordan Hill with the 8th pick, to a chorus of boos. It's not a bad move, as it at least unites the next Chris Wilcox with the current Chris Wilcox for at least one week. But it's roundly derided anyway. After about 40 seconds of booing, the director cuts to a shot of a small band of renegade Knicks fans cheering wildly, which is good fundamental directing. Jay Bilas is now 8 for 8, by the way.

01.21: Hill's draft capsule implores him to improve at "finishing strong". Giggidy. (Go on, Mark Jones. Say it.)

01.22: In his interview, Hill says "I'll do what I gotta do" and "I'll just play basketball" in back to back sentences. The next person to say something interesting in their post-draft interviews wins a bun. Don't you know that millions of people around the globe are judging you for the first time at that moment? Because we are. So give us a reason to remember you. Wacky ties will suffice.

01.23: Bilas cuts down Hill with the scathing pseudo-compliment that he "must learn how to play". Zing. The 8th pick in the draft must learn how to play, everybody. Charge your glasses.

01.23: Just looked it up, and apparently Jordan Hill is NOT a station on the Bakerloo Line, like I first thought. Nor was it an Australian teen soap opera. Sorry about that.


That'll do for now. The rest will come when I wake up.

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