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2008 NBA Draft Night Diary, Part 2
June 27th, 2008

Part 1

Pick 16: The awesomely-named Marreese Speights goes to the Sixers. But I missed this pick, too, due to more connection difficulties. Hmmmmm. I should probably move to America if I’m going to take Stu Scott’s job. This whole streaming thing isn’t getting it done.

 

Pick 17 is made by Toronto for Indiana, as a part of the Jermaine O’Neal deal, which is now being reported as “done”, even though it isn’t. (I’d like to think that Maceo Baston’s inclusion was a deal-breaker.) The Raptors select Roy Hibbert out of Georgetown, and instantly, a video fires up showing Hibbert performing the oft-celebrated Grandad Run™. This can’t be good news, because as we know, grandad runners are not stars, merely gamers who come home every night with mud on their uniform. So if Hibbert isn’t athletic, his life is basically over. But still, at least he’s not Undershirt David Harrison.

Of all the people that were invited to sit in the Green Room – a name that seriously needs reviewing, since it’s neither green nor a room – only Darrell Arthur remains. ESPN uses the short interval after the Hibbert pick to take the time to focus on Arthur’s misery, and to really reinforce his humiliation in front of an international audience of millions. I wish they wouldn’t do this.

(Someone I know went to the draft as the personal guest of Adam Silver. They inform me that Doris Burke was genuinely concerned about Arthur, comforting his family off-camera, and waiting until after they had had their “moment” to interview them after he was finally drafted. God bless Doris Burke and all who sail within her.)

 

Pick 18: JaVale McGee goes to the Wizards. David Stern announces that McGee is not here. Question: if you were guaranteed to go in the first round, as McGee was, then why WOULDN’T you go to the draft? What could possibly be a better way to spend the time? You get to introduce yourself to an audience of millions in the suit of your choice, shake hands with David Stern, and have a picture of that moment to take away forever. Never again in your life will you suffer from the classic “what picture should I put about the fireplace” quandry that my mum still suffers from to this day. So why wouldn’t you do this?

Ric Bucher interjects, and announces a trade. The Blazers and Pacers have agreed to swap Jerry D. Bayless and Brandon Rush, which at least makes sense from a depth chart point. The other elements of the trade slowly come to light over the course of the night, and were eventually announced as being Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts going to Indiana, with Ike Diogu going to Portland. Therefore, in terms of the peripherals, Portland got hosed. So Bayless had better be comfortably better than Rush. I’m assured that he is, which is something.

(By the way, I say this about Bayless not due to some unrequited love for Jarrett Jack, but because Diogu has been pretty ineffective. Jeff Van Gundy disagrees, saying that Diogu was “underused” in Indiana, but Van Gundy rates Stephon Marbury, so.  And anyway, Diogu was only underused because he was always injured. This is a part of what made him ineffective.)

(Oh wait, I just made the realisation that everyone else had already gotten beyond: Brandon and Kareem Rush are on the same team now. Hooray! Score one more for the family theme permeating every transaction tonight. However, bad times are going to ensue when Kareem realises that his brother just took his roster spot.)

Andy Katz has the unusual (for him) task of re-interviewing Brandon Rush, asking for his views now that he is going to be a Pacer instead. Rush makes it painfully obvious in his interview that he doesn’t know the name of the Pacers head coach, Jim O’Brien. Additionally, earlier in the evening, a soundbite captured how new Net Brook Lopez didn’t know who Lawrence Frank is. See, this is the problem that I have with my addiction – why do I care more about the NBA than the people in it?

 

Pick 19: The Cavaliers pick J.J. Hickson of North Carolina State. As above, I don’t know about the draftees, but I sense that Darrell Arthur may have been a better pick here, no?

Also, Hickson’s draft profile from ESPN offers up the most stunning quote of the night:

Must Improve: Work Ethic

Would you draft someone about whom this was said? Isn’t this a problem that should be found out in due course, rather than known about in advance? It must be a pretty damn bad work ethic for it to be cited as the biggest weakness of a player drafted outside the lottery. Not since the drafting of Ian Mahinmi back in 2005, which gave us the sensational capsule quote “Must Improve: Overall Skills”, have we had such a sweeping condemnation of a player. Good stuff.

 

Pick 20 was sold by John Denver to Charlotte Church the day before the draft, as the Nuggets continue to cut costs to avoid adding to their already enormous payroll.(That Reggie Evans contract looks really sensible now.) Charlotte uses the pick to take someone called Alexis Ajinca from France, who takes to the stage with great aplomb. You see, JaVale McGee? Ajinca could be bothered to be here. He even crossed the Atlantic for a day. Make an effort, man.

Fran Fraschilla then pisses on Ajinca’s chips by stating that he “has not been productive in the French Pro A league”, a claim backed up by a caption that shows Ajinca averaged 5.0 points and 5.6 rebounds last year. So seemingly, the burn-a-first-rounder-on-a-raw-athletic-Euro trend is not completely beyond us. Makes you wonder why Denver didn’t just pick Ajinca themselves.

Ajinca doesn’t even get a “Must Improve” draft capsule from ESPN, which has got bad news written all over it.

 

Pick 21: The Nets are up again. Jay Bilas takes this opportunity to praise them one final time for picking Brook Lopez at #10 – had Lopez slid any further, we might have seen the most graphic on-air suicide since Christine Chubbuck. The panel praises the Nets for “trying to get better”, which seems like a weird thing to praise any team for, particularly one that just traded for Bobby Simmons.

(The Bucks got Richard Jefferson for that?)

The Nets use the #21 pick to draft Ryan Anderson, who I am reliably informed is this year’s Token Jumpshooting Combo Forward Who Can’t Defend Either Position Or Do Anything Other Than Shoot Threes. Or, as I like to call it, the Steve Novak pick. Pat Garrity has a lot to answer to, for he started this trend.

 

Pick 22 sees Courtney Lee drafted by the Orlando Magic. This All-Porno Rookie team is really coming together now, so to speak. Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Courtney Lee, Kevin Love. Three girls, one guy, and possibly one horse (unlisted). They could make beautiful films together.

By the way, the draft is WAY more fun when you don’t know anything about anyone.

 

Pick 23: Utah drafts Kosta Koufos, which means that he and Kyrylo Fesenko are now on the same team. Can’t be bad.

In keeping with the Ryan Anderson stereotype theme, Sandy Koufos is now this year’s Esteban Batista, and if you don’t know what the hell I’m on about, look here. But if Koufos can hit a hook shot, as his highlight reel suggests, then he already has a leg up on the competition.

 

Pick 24 belongs to the Seattle Supersonics, whose new GM Sam Presti acquires draft picks masterfully, but who then uses them less masterfully. In only two seasons, Presti had made more than his fair share of picks, and managed to trade away the only one that amounted to anything in Carl Landry, whom Presti stole at #31 last year, before gifting him away to the Rockets for what amounts to nothing more than the #56 pick this year. There must be some added scepticism, then, after Presti takes someone called Serge Ibaka at #24. Still, it’s no wonder really – the Sonics didn’t pick a tall athletic raw foreign big man last year, after years of spectacular attempts (Johan Petro, Mouhamed Sene, Peter Fehse), so they needed to get back with the programme.

Sorry, I was just looking for a bit of logic in this. Came up empty. Ibaka is the youngest player in the draft, who won’t join for at least two to four more years, and who, if his highlight video is to be believed, can’t score outside of dunking. I don’t think this is the second option that Kevin Durant was looking for.

Ibaka’s draft capsule highlights that he must improve his “experience”, to which Jeff Van Gundy comments “how do you improve your experience?”. He has a point, in a way. Stu Scott then tells us that Ibaka has 17 siblings, and then Jeff Van Gundy interviews his brother Stan. It really is very secular today, isn’t it?

ESPN livens up the now-slightly tepid proceedings with a camera that shows what goes on behind the elaborate façade of the stage. I’d just like to say that I’d really like to be there. Hopefully one day, I will be. Don’t know how, though.

Doris Burke asks Darrell Arthur how he’s coping with his “emotional issues”. Bless her. Caring she may be, but perfect choice of words every time…maybe not.

 

Pick 25: Houston picks Nicolas Batum, who exploded onto the scene late into last season’s draft build-up, before dying away to the 25th pick that we now know him as. Fran Fraschilla chimes in, saying that Batum has “no escapability” when dribbling, and that he also has “super-duper athleticism”. He either single-handedly just raised the bar for the other analysts, or drunk it dry.

More is made of Darrell Arthur’s plight, as Ric Bucher reveals that teams are passing on Arthur due to an apparent kidney problem that showed up in routine checks. We also learn that Arthur’s mum is a truck driver, who gave up her wonderfully satisfying job to travel the country and “support” Arthur. Fair enough.

Another Wendi Nix interview seems Mike Dan Tony self-satirising his teams lack of defence. That was fun. And suddenly I’m left pondering whether David Stern dyes the sides of his head, or the top.

 

Pick 26: Who is George Hill? I don’t know. But San Antonio just picked him at #26, after spending all morning trying to get rid of the pick. No one mentions how many players have previously been drafted out of Hill’s college, the fabled IUPUI, so I’ll assume it’s 0.

George Hill doesn’t have a draft capsule on Yahoo Sports. That in itself is a damning slant on quite how unexpected this pick was. Even Serge Ibaka got a Yahoo Sports draft capsule. This has bad news written all over it.

 

Pick 27 was originally that of the New Orleans Hornets, but it is announced that the Portland Trail Blazers are buying it off of them. Let us please inaugurate a new addition into the Draft Night Traditions list: the Blazers buying a low first-rounder. I bet Dick Vitale goes before this does.

In typical style, they use it to select Darrell Arthur. Figures. Let the record show that the fact that the team with the best young talent in the league is also the team most willing to take risks and get involved in the draft, is in no way a coincidence.

It’s at this point that I first notice Darrell Arthur’s tash. And now I don’t feel bad for him any more. Indeed, more misery wouldn’t go amiss. That’s a baaaaad moustache right there.

 

– Perhaps coincidentally, my online stream cuts out at this moment, ne’er to return. As a result, I miss picks 28 (Memphis selects Donte Greene) and 29 (Detroit selects D.J. White, for Seattle). So if something hilarious happened here, and you wanted to see my slightly less hilarious take upon it, then I’m sorry. But these are the cards that I was dealt.

I used this time to draw up a list of things that I need to do tomorrow, as well as to write a note to the person whose house I had just let myself into, explaining my gratitude and extending my sincerest apologies. To-do list available upon request.

 

– I find a new link just in time for pick 30, and rejoin the action just as Stu Scott is shouting “GET A LIFE!”. I don’t know who he shouted this at, or why, so write in with details, if they are interesting.

At 30, Boston selects J.R. Giddens, a player who plays with one sock pulled up and one rolled down. Needless to say, I like him already. Giddens’s draft capsule states that he must improve his “professionalism”, which, given that he’s gone from an amateur to a professional, seems somewhat obvious, but no less troublesome.

 

This signifies the end of the first round, and thus it’s time for Dick Vitale’s second airing of the night. This time, Vitale gives quite an interesting speech about the new age limit, and about how wrong it is. It’s the first time that I’ve listened to Vitale without tuning him out within seconds, although if you do tune him out, you will tend to notice just how grandiose his constant hand movements are. If you’re deaf, the Vitale segments must cause all kinds of confusion.

It also signifies the lack of first-degree interest towards the draft on my part, and so the entire second round will be bullet-pointed, just as the first round should have been.

 

33rd pick Joey Dorsey apparently “Must Improve: Concentration”, which seems like a statement that is impossible to quantify. When teams are sitting in their war rooms, do you think that they are privy to these one-line ESPN summaries, and if so, do they factor them into their roster decisions? I hope so. I’d like to know if my player is going to be easily distracted by the arena lights before I draft him. It’s sensible management technique.

34th pick Mario Chalmers has had two cousins already play in the NBA – Chris Smith and his namesake Lionel Chalmers. I felt this was worth mentioning, as it is in keeping with our no-outsiders-allowed undertone of the evening.

35th pick DeAndre Jordan has the most impressive DraftExpress weaknesses list that I’ve ever seen.

• Not productive
• Poor fundamentals
• Extremely limited w/back to the basket
• Lacks strength to hold spot on block
• Mediocre footwork
• Struggles finishing through contact
• Poor passer/Black hole?
• Atrocious free throw shooter
• Not incredibly active
• Defensive awareness
• Pushed around in post
• Not a shot-blocker
• Mental/Physical toughness?
• Maturity/Intangibles
• Long ways away from contributing
• High bust potential

I don’t see “jumping” there, so I’ll assume he’s good at that.

Picks 38 through 40 all apparently need to improve their shooting consistency, the guilty parties being Kyle Weaver, Sonny Weems and Chris Douglas-Roberts. This becomes something of a theme for the second round, and it rears its ugly head again at pick #43, when Patrick Ewing Jr (more family ties!) is drafted by Sacramento. It’s not who you know in this business, it’s who your dad had sex with.

Larry Bird is interviewed about halfway through round two, looking decidedly cross as always. He then refuses to talk about the players he just acquired in trades, as the deals were not “done” yet, and instead lauds the praises of those outgoing. Play the game, Larry. Why else did you think they were interviewing you?

The FinallyFast.com adverts annoy me, although it’s funny the first time you see it. Because we people talk to themselves like that all the time, don’t we?

Chris Mullin is valiantly defending his right to a crew cut, but at some point he should just accept that all hope is lost and shave the thing. That time might be right now, in fact.

Someone named Dick Hendrix was drafted at pick 49 by Golden State, hereby completing our rookie porn star starting five, and also making it decidedly interracial.

Jay Bilas thinks that everyone drafted in the second round is “solid”, apart from the white guys, who are “very solid”.

Zach Feinstein didn’t get drafted. Shame.

The draft night highlight occurs at pick 52, when Dallas selects someone called Shan Foster. Foster, knowing that he might get drafted, apparently recorded a song celebrating this event. This song was then broadcast loud and proud to the dozens of people who were still watching the second round. And, due to the magic of YouTube, we can bring you it again right now.

That’s all I have to say about that. Bye.

 

(P.S: The O.J. Mayo/Kevin Love swap was made after I’d stopped watching, which is why it didn’t factor into what I said. Also, re: that trade – people who belittle it for Minnesota need to bear something in mind. If they wanted Love, they could have just taken him at three. However, doing it this way, they managed to also get a quality player in Mike Miller out of it, while giving up nothing of any value. They didn’t even make their salary situation any worse, giving out basically the exact same amount of money that they took on. So the trade itself, in terms of the peripherals, was heavily in Minnesota’s favour. However, feel free to mercilessly berate their decision that Love was better than Mayo.)

(Take the capitals out of that last sentence and it adopts a whole new meaning.)

(P.P.S: It has also been brought to my attention that at least two of the jokes used in this draft diary also appeared in that of ESPN writer, Bill Simmons. I assure you that I didn’t read his first, and still have not. Of course I didn’t copy jokes from him. I only copy them from people you haven’t heard of.)

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