03.30: Discussion is taking place about why DeJuan Blair continues to fall, and about how not having any ACLs is no doubt the cause behind his falling draft stock. I’ve got news for you, analyst’s panel – intercourse his knees. He didn’t have any ACLs 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 those pins, but it’s not like DeMarre Carroll and Taj Gibson are going to have ten-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 shot-blocking 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 five minutes to decide and not the two 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.
03.35: 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.
03.38: 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 appear 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 love Sergio Llull, I really do. A short guy with crazy athleticism, a jump shot, 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.
03.46: 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 struggle with Stu Scott is not because of his jauntily-angled glasses, or the way that he sounds like he’s breathing in the bathtub at all times. It’s because his eyebrows move independently and look like they’re trying to escape from his face. It’s freaky and off-putting. 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 embarrassing Thorn quotes about Michael Jordan. Oooooooh, Stu. 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.
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.
03.51: 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.
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 four 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. 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 buyer’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 eight 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……
04.10: Dick Vitale comes on the screen 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 impassioned old man enjoying 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 also 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 bad 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 30s 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 #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 machine, I tell you.
04.17: 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 girl 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 it should be, after all. Nobody likes to see a man naked.
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 Three-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. 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 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.
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. 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 Division I history to have recorded a quadruple-double. With that on his resumé, he’ll be all right for work for at least five years. Jay Bilas (who has spoken more tonight than the previous three draft nights 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. 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.
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 for a photograph; Griffin is holding up one finger, to simulate his going first overall, and Hasheem is holding up two fingers for the same reason.
…and that joke marks the end of a draft for another season. Hope you enjoyed the last hour of your life.