I can understand why most Laker fans don't care about this year's draft — really I can. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher were both snagged back in 1996, Andrew Bynum in 2005. Once every 10 years the franchise lands a good one and with a draft this weak and picks this low (#29 in the 1st Round and #42 and #59 in the 2nd Round), the chances of a franchise-changer or even a significant contributor for the coming season seem to be, on the face of it, quite slim. Still, can you honestly say that if the Lakers never drafted a Catalán named Marc Gasol with the 48th pick in 2007, Kupchak & Ko. still would have been able to get the cost-conscious Memphis Grizzlies to ship his brother to LA in exchange for the draft rights and the doof the Lakers chose with the #19 pick in the same draft? Two years later and it's two trips to the NBA Finals and another delicious chocolate chip cookie for Kobe... So please don't tell me that the draft isn't important. You can tell yourself that if it suits you, but don't waste your words on me. The NBA Draft is important. Vitally important. We in the Pacific Northwest are downright festive on this great NBA holiday — St. Kevin's Day, named in honor of the saint who turned the region's franchise from sin and disrepute with 15 crafty and miraculous draft-day trades over a 3 year period. We count down the hours to the ESPN show from Madison Square Garden with anxious anticipation, each of us with a fresh haircut and wearing our lucky shirts. This is big, big stuff in Oregon. We follow every trade leading up to the great player grab, reading between the lines to interpret the intentions of competing franchises. We parse every public sentence of St. Kevin and his acolytes, attempting to discern through their unconscious hints whether they are pleased with the play of the Point Guard and whether they have a plan in place to snag the mashing Power Forward with the sketchy knees or whether they will pull yet another rabbit from the proverbial hat with the drafting of an unsung European athletic genius. It is a grand drama and a fun mystery and the start of the 2009-10 basketball year rolled into one. Hurrah! This year I am going the full measure. The beer is being chilled, the whiskey bottles lined up, the freezer is full of ice... The links in my browser are finely tuned to every blog and the sports sites of every newspaper in every NBA city. In real time from 4 pm until I shut her down on the stroke of midnight I am going to dissect and analyze every twitch by every twit while slamming intoxicating beverages and howling at my pets. Loudly. This lengthy mess of an article promises to be not for the faint of heart. It will undoubtedly make use of naughty words not approved by either the management of SS&R or by any polite and civilized peoples of the earth. If you are sensitive to the crass and vulgar and stupid, please read no further. Seriously. Those of you with thicker skins may click on through to continue and I will set the table for you.
I can understand why most Laker fans don't care about this year's draft — really I can.
Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher were both snagged back in 1996, Andrew Bynum in 2005. Once every 10 years the franchise lands a good one and with a draft this weak and picks this low (#29 in the 1st Round and #42 and #59 in the 2nd Round), the chances of a franchise-changer or even a significant contributor for the coming season seem to be, on the face of it, quite slim.
Still, can you honestly say that if the Lakers never drafted a Catalán named Marc Gasol with the 48th pick in 2007, Kupchak & Ko. still would have been able to get the cost-conscious Memphis Grizzlies to ship his brother to LA in exchange for the draft rights and the doof the Lakers chose with the #19 pick in the same draft?
Two years later and it's two trips to the NBA Finals and another delicious chocolate chip cookie for Kobe...
So please don't tell me that the draft isn't important. You can tell yourself that if it suits you, but don't waste your words on me.
The NBA Draft is important. Vitally important.
We in the Pacific Northwest are downright festive on this great NBA holiday — St. Kevin's Day, named in honor of the saint who turned the region's franchise from sin and disrepute with 15 crafty and miraculous draft-day trades over a 3 year period. We count down the hours to the ESPN show from Madison Square Garden with anxious anticipation, each of us with a fresh haircut and wearing our lucky shirts. This is big, big stuff in Oregon.
We follow every trade leading up to the great player grab, reading between the lines to interpret the intentions of competing franchises. We parse every public sentence of St. Kevin and his acolytes, attempting to discern through their unconscious hints whether they are pleased with the play of the Point Guard and whether they have a plan in place to snag the mashing Power Forward with the sketchy knees or whether they will pull yet another rabbit from the proverbial hat with the drafting of an unsung European athletic genius.
It is a grand drama and a fun mystery and the start of the 2009-10 basketball year rolled into one. Hurrah!
This year I am going the full measure. The beer is being chilled, the whiskey bottles lined up, the freezer is full of ice... The links in my browser are finely tuned to every blog and the sports sites of every newspaper in every NBA city. In real time from 4 pm until I shut her down on the stroke of midnight I am going to dissect and analyze every twitch by every twit while slamming intoxicating beverages and howling at my pets. Loudly.
This lengthy mess of an article promises to be not for the faint of heart. It will undoubtedly make use of naughty words not approved by either the management of SS&R or by any polite and civilized peoples of the earth. If you are sensitive to the crass and vulgar and stupid, please read no further. Seriously. Those of you with thicker skins may click on through to continue and I will set the table for you.
Aww, just kidding, it's actually not gonna be that bad, I can hold my liquor. Nevertheless, I felt the need to brush off that significant minority of readers who are offended by a well-placed fuck or shit or a graphic depiction of the sounds that Kevin McHale made when the Minnesota mobsters fed him into the brush shredder (you do know that's how they get rid of their unwanted bodies in the Upper Midwest, do you not?).
Getting up to speed — The trades to date.
Okay, let's start with the trades that have happened thus far since the parade in LA, in order:
1. Richard Jefferson from the Milwaukee Bucks to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for the ghost of Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto, and Kurt Thomas [June 23]. This one seems pretty easy to interpret — Milwaukee is a small market town and they are facing two potentially big money Restricted Free Agents with whom to deal: young Point Guard Ramon Sessions and talented Power Forward Charlie Villanueva. Good ol' RJ is scheduled to pull down a neat $14.2M this year and $15M next year; but the Bucks have got Michael Redd on the books for $17M, the Large Austrailian Man for $12M, a comical $6.7M for Dan Gadzuric, an even more comical $6.5M for Luke Ridnour, another $3.9M for 5 time All NBA Shooting Guard Charlie Bell... Luxury tax is a big no-no for them and they were staring it in the face unless something was done. The Bucks can also benefit by loosing Jefferson to make way for last year's 1st Rounder, Joe Alexander.
Jefferson has been on the block since before the trade deadline and the Bucks wound up cutting the best deal they felt they could do, collecting a few expiring contracts, only one of which is guaranteed. Now Milwaukee goes "match-match" on the RFAs and "cut-cut" on the partially-guaranteed oldsters and they keep the 2 guys they really wanted at the cost of the dude they felt was expendable. It's a pretty brutal equation, having to flog off a guy who averaged 19.6 points per game last year in exchange for a defensive specialist and two second tier bigs who have an average age of 36, but that's life in the NBA running franchises in the smaller cities of the circuit.
The loathsome Spurs get another pull at the slot machine out of the deal, another wing to put alongside the oft-injured Manu Ginobili. The Spurs know full well that the knees of their Hall of Fame Center are probably gonna end up exploding like those of Kyle Broflovski during his exceedingly brief run as a star hoopster following transracial surgery — time is short before their window closes with a thud. Jefferson gets them both younger and better with a single move. They're on the hook to the tune of $45M this season for Timmy, Tony, and Manu — and RJ puts them within pissing distance of $60M. That doesn't leave much space to work for the rest of the roster. Next year it is $47M exclusive of Manu. Good luck with that. The Spurs don't have a 1st Round Pick this year, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they try to buy or trade their way into the pick of some luxury tax-challenged team low in the 1st Round to make a play for Arizona State Power Forward Jeff Pendergraph.
2. Portland Trailblazers trade #24, #56, and a 2nd Rounder next year to the Dallas Mavericks for this year's #22 [June 24]. This one will become clear as the night progresses, but as of noon it looks like St. Kevin Pritchard has a deal in the works with somebody for a PG or a PF. Spending two 2nd Rounders seems like an exorbitant tab for moving just 2 spots in this year's somewhat underwhelming festival, but KP knows the market on these things, on that we can be assured. My take is that moving #24 to #22 only has value if he has something in place involving Israeli Small Forward Omri Casspi — a chap that many think the Sacramento Kings are liking with their #23. The Blazers need a 4th SF like George Clooney needs a navel in his forehead.
This is what I am convinced is going on here, we'll see later tonight or within the next few days whether I'm right... KP is going to be pulling a switch with somebody higher on the board that really likes Casspi. My guess is New Jersey at the #11 with a view to snagging DeJuan Blair before the Pacers nail him with the #13. The Blazers have an unhappy backup Point Guard who has requested a trade in the person of fancy passer Sergio Rodriguez — a guy who has proved he can play in the league and who may represent a better option than anyone the Nets can hope at drafting with the 11 pick. Blazers also have lots of Paul Allen's money — and really, who doesn't like money?
This sort of scenario also applies if there is a deal in place with a team up the draft list for Point Guard Ty Lawson or Power Forward Tyler Hansbrough — both of whom are long gone at either #22 or #24. Current thinking in Blazerland are that these would be the three leading candidates in the 1st Round, assuming that picks 1 through 6 are beyond the pale. Bear in mind that a year ago KP pulled Jerryd Bayless out of a hat with only the 13th pick showing, so he's a tricky one, he is.
The guy that actually physically looks like a KP player (i.e. tall for his position) is Tyreke Evans, but the Timberwolves have lust in their hearts and already own the 5 and 6 picks, either of which should be money for him. Which brings me to:
3. Timberwolves trade Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards for the #5 pick, along with Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas, and Darius Songaila [June 24]. The Wiz had given all indications that the #5 was up for grabs. That the Timberwolves would deal the extremely talented Shooting Guard Foye and suck up some shitty contracts for the privilege means they are very, very serious about somebody at the top of the draft list. One school of thought has them packaging #5 and #6 so as to get guaranteed success for their guy at #2 (which would seem to imply a bizarre and unnatural affection for Spanish PG Ricky Rubio). An alternative reading is a lust for 6'6" combo guard Tyreke Evans, combined with a desire to make a play for another top rookie.
The Wizards get two guaranteed NBA performers in Foye (16.3 ppg, $3.6M contract) and Miller (9.9 ppg, $9.9M expiring contract). They unburden themselves of Thomas' $7.5M and Songaila's $4.5M contracts in the process, nor do they have to worry about the $2.7M that the #5 pick will be making under the NBA's rookie scale. If Agent Zero, Gilbert Arenas, makes it back okay, the Wizards will be able to put one of the most potent offenses in the Eastern Conference on the floor, instantly vaulting from catastrophe to contender.
In the deal the Timberwolves also wash away the bad juju generated when Kevin McHale was pritchslapped with a draft night swap of soon to be Rookie of the Year, two-time All Star, and 2nd Team All-NBA Shooting Guard Brandon Roy to Portland for Foye and fluff. New T-wolf GM David Kahn is intent on blowing up Kevin McHale's mess and starting over; dishing Foye and the hairdo sends an unmistakable signal that there is a new sheriff in town.
And Kevin McHale was never seen again.
Watch out for Minnesota. They're gonna be really good in about 2 years.
4. Shaquille O'Neal moves from the Phoenix Suns to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, and a 2nd Round draft pick [June 24]. The NBA — where amazing happens. Some GMs manage to pull off the amazing. At the other end of the spectrum is Phoenix GM, heir to the Isiah-McHale throne of idiot ex-players who are in over their heads... Kerr, by way of contrast, is completely fucking amazing. Kerr would feed a milkshake to a cow today with hopes of scooping up rich manure tomorrow with which to grow strawberries a year hence, so he can make a milkshake to feed to his cow... Worse yet, he expects Phoenix fans to applaud his gardening acumen and to pay for the privilege of helping him shovel dung with their fingers.
Shawn Marion for Shaq for the soon-to-be-former Seven Seconds or Less Coach? Hmmm. Hey, how'd that work out for ya? Now The Big Cactus heads East to play with the Cleveland Lebrons while Phoenix gets in return what Brian Kamenetzky calls "flotsam (Ben Wallace), jetsam (Sasha Pavlovic), and a second round pick." Well put, sir, well put. The Big Aristotle, Big Diesel, Big Cactus now remerges as The Big Cuyahoga — write your own joke.
In 2009 Resident Genius Kerr will pay Wallace $14M for nothing, sell the draft pick to the Spurs for $56,000, and buy out Pavlovic so he can spend the money saved at a flea market a shiny green rock. Phoenix was on the bubble of making the playoffs in 2008-09. It gets a lot worse before it gets better for them, trust me.
At least the ironically named Bucks have a plan to escape their fiscal challenges. Compare and contrast their measured but necessary extremism with Kerr, who runs around willy-nilly and acts silly, pissing away Phoenix's assets in a clearly successful attempt to exactly replicate the Whitsett-Nash Portland implosion that transformed 20+ straight years of playoff appearances into one of the worst teams in the NBA.
As for Cleveland — they're not taking No for an answer next year, Orlando Magic. Their horrific $92M + luxury tax salary situation isn't fully rectified now, but with Eric Snow and Wally Szczerbiak off the books, the flow of precious bodily fluids to the less fortunate teams of the league has been staunched. Now they have one year of the services of the $21M man-mountain to win it all before the truly big decisions must be made.
5. The Golden State Warriors send Jamal Crawford to the Atlanta Hawks for guards Speedy Claxton and Acie Law [June 24]. I can't pretend to know what this one means, I'll take a quick flight around the ether and see if somebody that knows the Warriors has a clue...
Here's Adam Lauridsen of the San Jose Mercury-News' Warriors blog: "Even the smallest step forward is better than a big step back. The Warriors' pre-draft swap of Jamal Crawford for Acie Law and the walking insurance payoff previously known as Speedy Claxton probably won't make the Warriors a dramatically better team, but it certainly won't make them any worse." Hmmm, that doesn't help much... My take from a preliminary discussion on Golden State of Mind (SBN) is that this is a salary dump by the Warriors, who pick up 2 expiring contracts, one for an injured player who probably won't play again (Claxton), whose salary is covered by the league's insurance policy — which pays out something like 80% of the total due after a certain threshold of games is missed.
Yep, sounds like a dump. Also sounds like the Warriors are going for a guard tonight. Brandon Jennings is my prediction, although most of the really late mocks show that tard very nearly falling out of the lottery.
6. Los Angeles Lakers sell their #29 pick for $3M [June 25]. That's the maximum allowed under NBA rules. Bravo to Mitch Kupchak for calling his shot and doing what he wanted to do for as well as a GM could possibly do it. This move does have an opportunity cost, however — the Lakers now will not have their chance for either UCLA PG Darren Collison or UNC SG Wayne Ellington. Multiple mock drafts showed the Lakers of having the opportunity to add one of these two dudes to the bench. Now it's back to another year of us fans shrieking about the gross offensive deficiency of Messrs. Fisher, Farmar, and Ma-ma-machine (shittiest player / you've ever seen / ma-ma-machine!).
7. New Jersey Nets move Vince Carter (at long last) to the Orlando Magic for Tony Battie, Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee [June 25]. This is breaking news as I type (3:05 pm)... At the moment in his variant of the story Kyle Hightower on the Orlando Magic Basketblog cites an unnamed "league source" and notes that the report has not as yet been confirmed officially by the team. "There may also be a separate deal involving Nets 6-foot-10 power forward Ryan Anderson and a trade exception. But there might still need to be some maneuvering done because the salaries are way off," the Orlando Sentinel reporter notes.
Carter will be making $16.3M this year and $17.5M the year after, with the team able to tell him to go away after that. That's a pile of change for a rather long-in-the-tooth shooter. Those big contracts will get ya in the end, will they not? So clever Orlando GM Otis Smith has transformed a backup PG, a weak-link rookie SG, and a little used backup PF into a former All Star who racked up 20.8 points per game for the Nets this year. New Jersey is able to luxuriate in cap relief while the Magic get a chance to extend their middle finger to the Cavs as they tell them they see their lumbering cactus and raise them a scorer.
This trade seems to negate the Nets' need for guards, reducing the likelihood that I am on the money with the "#22 Casspi and Rodriguez from Portland to New Jersey for #11 DeJuan Blair" scenario that I detailed above. Hmmmm, I wonder what St. Kevin is doing... The Knicks are way up at the #8, seemingly too far to move... Sergio theoretically would be quite exciting in a running offense such as that of New York and I still contend that the first Israeli player in the NBA will mean boffo box office for some team in the New York metro area, just like Ichiro Suzuki is more valuable to the Seattle Mariners or some team on the Pacific rim than he would be to the St. Louis Cardinals or the Kansas City Royals.
Are you ready to rock?
But it's not quite time yet.
One last though before showtime, a quote from Tom Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The pundits have been calling this the weakest draft in years. Clearly, "in years'' doesn't go back to 2006, when McHale had by far the best player in the class in his grasp — Roy at No. 5 — and promptly traded him for No. 6 Foye.
The top dozen in the '06 draft included stiffs Adam Morrison (3), Shelden Williams (5), Patrick O'Bryant (9), Mouhamed Sene (10), J.J. Redick (11) and Hilton Armstrong (12).
This year's group is guard-heavy, but there's no chance the choosing will be as feeble as in 2006. Another example: Oleksiy Pecherov, a floater from Ukraine, was No. 18 in that draft -- and Wednesday he was a throw-in to the Wolves from Washington.
There are so many guards in this bunch that a projection by nbadraft.net had Jrue Holiday, an intriguing young point guard from UCLA, falling to the Wolves at No. 18 today.
Now, obviously no team is as vested in this draft as the Timberwolves, who own the #5, 6, 18, and 28 of the 1st Round and you'd expect a columnist from that fair city to put a happy face on what goodies those picks are gonna get you. Still, I think that the sentiment is basically on the mark — teams shopping for a PG and holding a Top 15 pick will have lots of pretty good options, and teams shopping for a power forward and holding any pick in the 1st Round should have somebody to add that will be able to ccme off the bench be of service.
The draft is extremely thin at Center (just 2 projected for the first round, Thabeet and Mullens) . The crop of wings, that is, the Shooting Guards and Small Forwards, isn't the healthiest. But there still looks to be a fair number legit NBA players in this draft as in any typical draft — 15 or 20, allowing for a handful of unexpected washouts. (Adam Morrison, this is your life!)
First beer. Blazers trade #38, PG Sergio Rodriguez, and Paul Allen's money to Sacramento for #31, announcement of the unofficially official trade on Comcast 37's 4 hour draft special edition of Trail Blazers Courtside. This deal is a play by St. Kevin for Jeff Pendergraph, methinks. Second Rounders are not guaranteed contracts, however, which means you can draft a premier Euro and get into a bidding war with a European team without being emasculated by the NBA's rookie salary cap.
Kevin Pritchard is very, very smart. Now he holds the 1st and the 3rd picks of the Second Round.
Blazers talking heads (Mike Barrett, Mike Rice, Brian Wheeler) note that this means that Ricky Rubio is apparently not the guy for Sacramento at the 4, as he was popping up in various late mock drafts. The Blazer mouths see Thabeet #2 and Rubio #3 to Oklahoma City, which moves Westbrook to the SG position for them. Good luck with that.
Twenty-one minutes to go until Griffin is picked by the Clips and this show gets on the road. Radio color commentator Antonio Harvey, the dumbest of the Blazer talking heads, predicts on Courtside that the Blazers are gonna package 22, 31, 33 for a high lottery pick. No dice. There is an agenda here that we can't see yet, but that ain't it.
Courtside cuts to an interview with their reporter, Jay Allen, at a downtown draft party at Buffalo Wild Wings. Allen reports a rumor that the New Jersey Nets are targeting Tyler Hansbrough with the #11. If true, this would mean a massive increase in his draft stock, with he being projected at the #20 to Utah in a great many mocks.
I still smell a Casspi to New Jersey trade. Casspi and Travis Outlaw from Portland to New Jersey for Hansbrough??? It's possible...
Blazers announcers note that the "haves" of the NBA are picking clean the pockets of the "have nots." Mike Rice: "It seems like the middle class is shrinking in the NBA."
Switch over to ESPN. And here's the commish... Blah blah blah blah blah.
Stern congratulates Lakers on their 15th Championship. Drunken Madison Square Garden crowd boos.
Stuart Scott makes a smart ass comment on the Lakers trading Kobe and Machine for Griffin, desparaging Sasha as a "really good player," with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Ha ha ha.
My pal Jeff "Wannabe Dick Vitale" Van Gundy makes the brilliant observation that the Clips are gonna have to trade a big after the Griffin draft. JVG predicts Camby to be the easiest to trade, but intimates that Zach Randolph will be the guy packing.
Lots of no big fuckin' duh to spend five minutes on.
A quick visit to Courtside is called for...
Straight man Mike Barrett: "Most people think Thabeet is #2."
Wild Mike Rice: "Nobody wants to go to Memphis."
Barrett on the Clips and their predicament with too many bigs on the roster: "They ain't movin' Zach Randolph" [due to his mega shitty mega big bucks contract]. Which means Camby will be the guy. Get in line.
Memphis Grizzlies get the second pick. This is the acid test on whether the Grizz believe in Mike Conley.
And it is our Tanzanian friend after all. In Memphis every radio station in town begins spinning The Go Gos' "We've Got the Beat."
The Go Gos, crappy prefab pop band that they became, actually started out as an LA punk rock band in 1977. I heard a really good story about one of them that involved a passed out dude at a party, a naked bottom, and a drumstick. Not exactly the kind of girl you'd wanna be taking home to mama, eh? I'll bet that changes the way you listen to them from now on, huh? You're welcome.
Stuart Scott notes that "Hasheem" means "the destroyer of evil" and that he's the 5th U Conn player to be drafted in the top 5. I guess those are swell factoids.
Now things get interesting... Oklahoma City on the clock... Do they roll the dice on Ricky Rubio, who does not want to play there? We shall see.
Both JVG and Mark Jackson endorse Oklahoma City's rebuilding model, which is based upon the draft and slogging it out with young players, a la Portland and Minnesota.
Harden appears on ESPN wearing a striped shirt and a polka dot bow tie. The dude marches to a different drummer, that's pretty clear. I have to endorse polka dot bow tie s with striped shirts at this point. Commentators talk about it. Everybody likes the bow tie.
Sactoe is coming. Rubio is going. Mark Jackson and some other doofus both predict Tyreke. I do not agree. It's gonna be the pretty boy from Spain...
Stern makes the announcement: Tyreke Evans of University of Memphis it is. Rather shocking.
Stuart Scott: "There are a lot of Point Guards in this draft. And there is a lot of reason to believe that, if not right now, in three years Tyreke Evans will be the best of them all."
I may have botched a word or two there, but that's the gist. Probably true. Big is good.
Back to Courtside. Portland still said to be picking 22, 31, 33, 55. Graphic on the screen announcing the Sergio trade to Sacramento. That's not a bad match for him nor for the cash-strapped ownership of the Kings.
Minnesota's first of four 1st Round picks coming. It will be Rubio due to the Rookie Salary Cap rules — gotta compete with Europe.
Stern announces Rubio as the 5th pick of the T-wolves.
Rubio looks skinny and still has stupid Pete Maravich hair. He's played as a pro since he was 14 and is coming in as an 18 year old Silver Medalist. A past-first PG, hopefully in the NBA if they can get Juventud Badalona taken care of financially or sued off the map.
Rubio speaks in English on national time for the first time. "I'm Ricky Rubio, I don't play like anybody else..."
Stuart plays the Pistol Pete card.
Mark Jackson: "It's not fair to compare him to Pistol Pete Maravich, who got it done on every level in the NBA."
Second successive pick of the Wolves is next. Here comes another guard — Stephen Curry, it would seem.
Stern to the podium. It's Jonny Flynn. BIG surprise on that one...
A second PG for the Wolves. Bear in mind they gave up a promising young SG, Randy Foye, to get to this point. Is it confirmed that Kevin McHale has been taken for a ride in a black car and killed with a handgun? This sounds like a McHale pick to me. Maybe they gave him one last request before they offed him and fed him into the wood chipper.
You know what they say in Minnesota: "Duh."
Flynn gets some ESPN face time and immediately uses the third person to talk about himself. Jonny Flynn likes Jonny Flynn. Time to crack another beer.
Speculation begins about a trade of one of the two...
It's the Warriors and it's Stephen Curry from Davidson. Knicks fans in the crowd boo lustily...
Curry lead the nation in scoring with 28 points per game. That's getting it done at the college level, for sure. He looks really skinny. His father, former NBA player Dell Curry, gets the interview time. And I'm back to Courtside...
Blazers heads are talking about rumors of 2nd Round trades. Talk turns to the Knicks' pick. Jordan HIll if they are losing Lee or Terrence Williams or even Jrue Holiday if they are going guard. We shall see.
The shrimpy commish says that the Knicks take Jordan HIll.
Knicks fans boo their new player for the first time of many. They are some classy fans.
David Lee starts packing.
HIll has dreadlocks. He accepts the boos gracefully: "It's how they feel."
Donnie Walsh, GM of the Knicks, talks happy about Hill: "It looked like the guards were all going to be gone down there [at the 8]."
JVG: "You've gotta trust Donnie Walsh, he's proven to be an exceptional judge of talent."
The Knick fans do not care. They love to boo their newest additions, it's a veritable rite of summer.
Next comes the Raptors, they of the departing Chris Bosh. Betcha they go for a PF.
Stern says it is University of Southern California Shooting Guard Demar DeRozan that needs to start dressing warmly for the winters in Toronto.
He's very young and said to be a little raw. The scouts know of what they speak, pretty clearly. Good luck with that, Toronto.
The ESPN Interviewer promises DeRozan that he will enjoy the very efficient public transportation in Toronto.
Right. That's what NBA Free Agents look for — the cities that have busses that don't smell like stale piss...
I am bored with ESPN and flip it back to Trailblazers Courtside. They're talking about David Lee or Hedo Turkoglu or Kirk Hinrich or Steve Nash to the Blazers, which one of those guys would they want for the Blazers as a free agent in an ideal world? Antonio goes off the board for José Calderón, arguing that Toronto is rebuilding and he can be had. MB wants Turkoglu, Rice wants Hinrich.
I reckon that all four of those guys could be had for a price. Hinrich is a maybe, but I don't think so.
Bucks take the lefty Brandon Jennings of Compton. What a horrible pick.
"He has major physical ability," the ESPN robot Frank Franschilla says.
"Brandon Jennings is a project," he adds, "has to work on the jumpshot and the half-court and running an offense." Uh, anything else?
5.5 ppg and 2.5 apg in Italy.
Yep, sounds like a 1st Rounder to me.
Bucks are morons.
Brandon Jennings decided to skip the ESPN show "because he had no guarantee" that he was gonna be picked in the lottery. What a dumb ass. He's a toxin and he hasn't played a minute yet. "Young Money" is dumb money.
Nets are on the clock. Time for the Blazers' pick, ha ha. Tyler.
Nets take.................................... "Terrence Williams, from the University of Louisville."
Awwwwww, fuck. My theory is destroyed. What is it that you are up to, KP???
The first Senior of the draft and the 7th guard of the first 11 picks... He's actually listed as a swingman on many mocks, but the point is well taken — first the guards, then the Power Forwards...
Bobcats take Gerald Henderson of Duke. No surprise there, every board in America had that one right, i think.
Time to hammer a couple frozen burritos... And more beer. Yum.
And here comes the Pacers and there goes my man Blair... ESPN talking heads are convinced that Indiana is going for a PG, which proves they haven't done their homework.
Pacers take Hansbrough!
Nobody, but nobody called that one.
Crowd chants "Ov — ver — raaa — ted!"
I still think he's gonna be a good pro.
Sad sack Suns are on the clock. ESPN now reports a giveaway of Stoudamire to Golden State for a bucket of parts which can not be made official until the Free Agent signing period opens. Kerr needs to be gutted and hung by his heels by the Phoenix fans.
Stern is back and Kerr inevitably fucks up by picking............. Earl Clark, University of Louisville.
Clark skips the ESPN Free Publicity Event but #10 pick of the Buck$$$ Brandon Jenning$$$ makes a late prima dona entry. Late for the first time of many in his career, I am sure, ha ha. Jennings is wearing a wide, puffy purple tie. Show me the money — I don't care as long as somebody cut the check. Asshole. My new least favorite player in the NBA, taking the reins from Allen Iverson.
Rather than listen to Compton's Finest, I wisely flip over to Courtside, who are talking about Steve Nash's imminent departure from Phoenix. "He's not coming back," the Portland talking heads agree. Suns are in the process of self-immolating and trying to save cash.
They are gonna suck hard in 2008-09. I mean REALLY bad — as in a high lottery pick in the next draft.
I wonder if Kerr has sold that pick yet.
Speaking of crappy management teams, the Detroit Pistons take Austin Daye, 6'11", 190 pound (!!!) Small Forward from Gonzaga University in Eastern Washington. Dumars and Kerr need to have a reality show of some sort.
Dumars thinks he has his new Tayshaun.
Ha fucking ha.
JVG: "The happiest guy tonight has to be Tayshaun Prince because Austin Daye makes Prince look like The Hulk."
Dick Vitale scums up the airwaves for the first time. He LOVES Hansbrough, he screams. Steph Curry is gonna be the ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!!!, he bellows, and the teams that passed on him are going to eat their hearts out.
What a schmuck.
Bulls take shooting Power Forward James Johnson of Wake Forest.
Nobody has taken DeJuan Blair yet.
Stupid Steve Kerr is on, downplaying the Amare and Kerr rumors, blaming them on rampant speculation following the Shaq dumping.
"Shaq with a big contract really did not make sense considering that we are in transition right now," Kerr says.
"With the 17th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Jrue Holiday from UCLA," Stern announces and the green room is finally cleared out.
Holiday is touted as a good value at 17, albeit a project. You have to wonder if the guy should have stayed in school for another year.
Timberwolves with their third pick of the night take Ty Lawson. A THIRD Point Guard.
You have got to be kidding me...
Get ready for a trade.
Think the thought and it is announced: Rick Bucher says he's headed to Denver in trade for a protected future 1st Rounder.
And for the Hawks, the Comish says it is Jeff Teague of Wake Forest.
DeJuan Blair falls and falls and falls and the PGs go and go and go.
I hope he has good friends, he is gonna need somebody's shoulder to cry on tonight...
It's the Jazz and here goes Blair... Right?
Nope, this time it's Eric Maynor.
This is getting really weird.
"He doesn't have long arms and he's not very athletic, but he knows how to win," says the ESPN voice. Wow, talk about damning with faint praise.
Charlotte Head Coach Larry Brown gets face time and looks like he's being force-fed parsnip pie over getting kids shoved down his gob. "It's up to us to coach them up," he grimaces.
After these messages, it's SHAQUILLE O'NEAL of the CLEVELAND LEBRONS!!!!
ESPN is loving that deal, as will anybody else with an NBA broadcast contract looking to pump up ratings and revenue.
Doesn't New Orleans already have a Point Guard?
Blair has fallen to Portland. I stare at the screen in disbelief.
It's up to you, KP.
Moving to the #22 only made sense if Casspi was the target. Yet that didn't make sense because there is no way, no how, that PDX picks another 3.
The plot thickens.
Over at Blazers Edge, it must be madness.
Mark Jackson proclaims the Blazers the "second deepest team in basketball," to the Lakers.
JVG demands to know, "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?"
And it is........................................................................................................... Victor Claver of Spain.
K.P. is in deep shit with the fans now.
Here's a brief glimpse of the apocalypse from Blazers Edge:
— Super Dave
I feel like I just got screwed with my pants on.
What the heck... Could we not have gotten that guy at 31?
— Rip City Sam
KP just got Pritchslapped. The player he was expecting to be there at 22 wasn't. * * *
Why are you using a 1st Round pick of a 2nd Rounder as a Eurostash??? Anybody????????
Sacramento, as expected, takes Omri Casspi, angling to be the first Israeli to play in the NBA.
The New York fans love the pick, as expected.
And I am baffled...
Why the move to 22 by the Blazers?
Why the pick of a Eurostash with a 1st Rounder?
It makes no sense at all.
What am I not seeing?
Picking 24 with Portland's previous pick, the Mavs take B.J. Mullins, the only other Center that's gonna go in the 1st Round. A 7-foot project that didn't even start for Ohio State.
OKC takes Rodrigue Beaubois, a guard from France.
ESPN announces that Beaubois is headed for Dallas in an exchange for B.J. Mullens. The Mavs are really getting value out of that #22 pick of theirs, having already taking two 2nd Rounders from the Blazers and now getting a little premium from the Thunder.
Bulls picking with a trade gained from OKC take Taj Gibson, Power Forward from USC.
Gibson was believed to be an early 2nd Rounder on a lot of boards.
DeJuan Blair falls and falls and falls and falls.
Here come the Grizzlies again. DeMare Carroll, Power Forward from the University of Missouri.
Said by the ESPN blabbers that he has a liver disease and may need a liver transplant at some point in his life.
And we are back to the Timberwolves for the 4th and final time of this first round. Are there any more Point Guards available? I am seriously interested in finding out.
Fucking hogs, that's what they are! Better get a bucket, they're gonna throw up!!!
Which PG is it this time? Listen and hear... Stern says: "Wayne Ellington from the University of North Carolina."
Hey, wait a minute, Ellington is a Shooting Guard...
ESPN pretends that the Lakers selling the #29 to the Knicks is breaking news. A "proposed trade," they say. Yeah, right.
ESPN announces a trade of expiring contracts with Memphis giving up Darko the Klutz to the Knicks for Quentin Richardson.
And for their $3M, the Knicks get....................... Tony Douglas of Florida State?!?!?!
Yowie kazowie, a combo guard... Must be nice to have money and to be too dumb to worry about it.
Stern slowly staggers out to the podium, botches his lines, and closes out the 1st Round announcing that the Cleveland Cavaliers have chosen swingman Christian Eyenga from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Juventud Badalona...
Eyenga is a Eurostash, basically a college freshman playing on the 2nd team for Ricky Rubio's squad that won't make the trip to the NBA until he has further developed.
The 2nd Round begins...