Welcome to the 2008 NBA Draft! The NBA, where officiating scandals, Shaq Fu, and Brian Scalabrine winning a ring happen.
What follows is a minute-by-minute account of tonight’s draft.
Preamble: What makes the NBA draft so interesting is the trades. The big news out of Milwaukee is that the Yi Jianlian era is over.
The Nets acquired him and Bobby Simmons in a deal for Richard Jefferson, and the people of New Jersey are no doubt thrilled to be getting a man who can so effectively post up furniture.
My favorite trade so far has to be the one involving Toronto and Indiana. Toronto got rid of TJ Ford, which hands the reins of the offense over to Jose Calderon, a good move.
But their starting frontcourt in 2008-2009 will be Chris Bosh and older, more expensive, more injury-prone Chris Bosh.
I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say this was a dumb move.
Imagine if the researchers who cloned Dolly ended up with a six-legged, three-eyed, sheep from hell with explosive diarrhea. And were excited about it. I mean yeah, it’s a sheep, but what’s the point?
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a few things. Will Pat Riley come to his senses and draft Michael Beasley if he’s available? Will my personal favorite player, Drew Neitzel, get selected? And lastly, with Isaiah Thomas out, will the Knicks’ newest players actually have hope in their eyes on draft day?
7:30 PM: And we’ve got the draft! It’s introduced by players telling us what it takes to get into the NBA these days.
I notice they left out a semester of easy classes (history of Rock and Roll, anybody?) and a big entourage.
7:32 PM: David Stern decides to piss off the Knicks fans by mentioning that Boston just won another title.
He reminds me of the Crocodile Hunter, just poking anything with claws or venom.
7:38 PM: And with the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Bulls take Derrick Rose.
I’m about as surprised right now as I am every time I see Jack Bauer shoot somebody. Somewhere, Kirk Hinrich just shot his TV.
7:39 PM: Jay Bilas tells us that Rose can dunk with his elbows. And throws about about 74 different buzzwords. I’m going to start ignoring him...now.
7:43 PM: The Heat take Michael Beasley, which is a smart move. If they hadn’t drafted him, he was a lock to drop 50 on the Heat and flip off Pat Riley repeatedly at some point during the season.
With the news that Shawn Marion will not opt out of his contract, that gives them Dwyane Wade, Marion, and Beasley in their lineup. For at least one season, anyway.
7:44 PM: Jay Bilas throws out 74 buzzwords again, but these were different buzzwords. His versatility and athleticism on the mic are real strengths. He can definitely be a solid commentator with loads of upside when he puts his mind to it.
7:47 PM: We learn that Michael Beasley has attended more schools than your average nuclear physicist, making him the NBA’s first prominent ‘High School Journeyman’.
7:48 PM: Minnesota takes OJ Mayo, or as Stu Scott tells us, Ovintin J’Anthony Mayo.
Jay Bilas tells us that Mayo wants to be a basketball player. I could have sworn that he wanted to be a fireman.
7:50 PM: I think OJ Mayo has some serious Chris Webber potential. He’s got a freaking circus following him to the NBA, plus it’s highly likely that his college career never officially happened. Nice suit, though.
7:54 PM: The Seattlahoma City Supercowpokes pick Russell Westbrook. Westbrook gives fellow UCLA “alum” Kevin Love an awkward man-hug before going to greet David Stern.
My big question: is he the black Scot Pollard?
8:01 PM: The Grizzlies take Kevin Love. Will he remind us of Bryant ‘Big Country’ Reeves? No.
This is a pretty good pick for Memphis. He’s smart, he can rebound, and his passing will help them run.
8:03 PM: And the Knicks are on the clock! Who will they take? How long will their fans boo the pick? Will they ever forgive Spike Lee for latching onto the Lakers bandwagon?
8:06 PM: Apparently Kevin Love’s uncle Mike is the lead singer of the Beach Boys. Cool. I’m serious, their non-offensive vocal harmonies are soothing.
8:07 PM: The answers to my Knicks questions: Danilo Gallinari. They haven’t stopped, probably because they still remember Maciej Lampe. I hope not.
8:10 PM: They’re still booing. This is impressive. They’re booing even though he ‘likes to win and play hard, and New York is the best city in the world.’ Molto bene.
8:12 PM: In a staggering show of professionalism, I’ve almost missed who the Clippers decide to take.
Eric Gordon, from Indiana.
Are you kidding me? Anybody who followed the Big Ten this year should be disgusted by the tank job that Indiana pulled for Dan Dakich.
They’re showing highlights of him scoring on Michigan and Penn State, both perennial NIT contenders.
As a Michigan State student, I saw him play plenty. I’m not impressed by him. Tended to take a lot of bad shots, plus he’s the ugliest guy to be drafted out of the Big Ten since Greg Oden.
8:18 PM: To fill the massive void left by Chairman Yi, the Bucks take Joe Alexander out of WVU. A good player, but it’s scary to think of how good he could be had he stayed in school to polish his game.
Bob Huggins decided to turn him into a post player before the start of the last season, so he’s young. Young but promising. Playing for Herb Kohl may kill him.
8:25 PM: DJ Augustin becomes the next rookie that Larry Brown will bury on the bench and forget about. He’s a good player, but do they need him with Raymond Felton already on the roster? Interesting.
8:29 PM: Stern announces that New Jersey has taken Brook Lopez.
He’s a good player, but he could stand to gain 10-20 pounds. In the East, that won’t matter, but a 250-lb. center won’t cut it against the West.
This should be a good pick for the Nets though. They can go inside/outside with Lopez and Vince Carter, and Devin Harris is one of the more exciting young guards in the league.
8:35 PM: Pacers take Jerryd Bayless. Larry Bird will be trying his hardest to keep him away from Jamaal Tinsley, and murderers.
8:41 PM: Sacramento takes Jason Thompson from Rider University. David Stern tells us that Jason is not here. He’s the first senior taken, so his experience should help Sacramento right away.
8:43 PM: The big news in other sports for the past couple of days has been the maple bat controversy brewing over in MLB.
Last night on Baseball Tonight, Buster Olney said it is only a matter of time before somebody gets “maimed or killed.”
I’m glad we’re all thinking rationally about this. You’re right Buster, it’s been 88 years since somebody died on a baseball field, the Baseball Gods thirst for blood.
8:46 PM: Portland, the most surprising team in the NBA last season, takes Brandon Rush. Good pick, this guy is experienced and can shoot the lights out.
On a completely unrelated note, the guy who coached my high school basketball team is now working as a scout for the Blazers. How come I didn’t get a call?
8:49 PM: Stephen A. Smith seems to be trying to bait the new draftees into saying something ridiculous, but it isn’t working. And he’s not shouting as loud as he usually does. Something must be wrong.
8:51 PM: Golden State takes Anthony Randolph out of LSU. He definitely helped his team win a lot of games last season. And my goodness, he is tall and skinny.
On another Golden State note, I hope they pull the trigger on the Baron Davis trade with Detroit, for Billups and ‘Sheed.
As much as I love ‘Sheed, it would be really entertaining to see him and Stephen Jackson sharing a court next season.
8:55 PM: We interrupt this draft for two minutes of Dick Vitale screaming at you. I feel like I did something to upset him that I don’t know about.
8:57 PM: Phoenix takes Robin Lopez, who apparently has several hyenas rolling with him tonight. Phoenix could use some interior defense, which Lopez will bring. A nice foil to Amare Stoudemire.
9:03 PM: Philly takes Mareese Speights from Florida. Jay Bilas likes his strength but not his motor.
9:08 PM: Roy Hibbert goes to Toronto, and most likely Indiana because of the trade. Funny, had he gone pro a year earlier he probably would have been a lottery pick, now he’s not even at the draft.
Jay Bilas seems to like him. Jay Bilas obviously didn’t see Hibbert take a crap against Davidson, a team whose average height is something like six-foot-one.
I think he’s soft, and they should have taken Darrell Arthur if they wanted to go big. I can’t wait to see LeBron dunk over him 30 times the first time they meet.
9:13 PM: Washington takes JaVale McGee from Nevada. The next Nick Fazekas? Check back when the Wizards are losing to Cleveland again this coming postseason.
9:15 PM: Looks like Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu are traveling from Indy to Portland, and Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack are heading to Indy.
I feel bad for Rush, I really like him. Andy Katz is interviewing him, and he sounds…less than excited.
9:20 PM: Darrell Arthur continues getting the Brady Quinn treatment, with the LeBrons taking JJ Hickson out of NC State.
I was hoping for Kosta Koufos to go here. Pair him with Big Z, and you’ve got the most physically awkward-looking pair of big men ever.
9:25 PM: Jay Bilas tells us that Charlotte should take Kosta Koufos.
They don’t, instead taking Alexis Ajinca from St. Etienne, France. Fran Fraschilla tells us that in a one-on-none workout in Dallas two weeks ago, he was unstoppable.
But he hasn’t actually produced in a French league yet. So French Yi then? Alright.
Meanwhile, David Stern is looking for someplace private for Darrell Arthur to cry.
9:30 PM: Stu Scott mispronounces Mo Ager’s name while explaining why New Jersey is on the clock again (the Jason Kidd trade, which killed Dallas).
The Nets decide to take Ryan Anderson out of Cal, the Pac-10’s leading scorer from last season.
And yet, he was not being talked about as a first-rounder by anybody. Seems like he’s a good shooter though, and that certainly can’t hurt the Nets.
Meanwhile, I flip over to ESPN2 to check on the MLS game, and find that it is being pre-empted by a WNBA game that has gone to double overtime.
Instead of overtime, the WNBA should just have a ‘do or die’ rule. First team to hit a shot from half court wins. It would speed up the games, and not upset me as much right now.
9:38 PM: Jeff Van Gundy, who could easily be mistaken for a husky, middle-aged woman if you were making that guess based solely on his voice, says that Orlando needs guard help.
They oblige by taking Courtney Lee, who was the star on Western Kentucky’s surprising team.
9:42 PM: Utah takes Kosta Koufos, who wears the biggest shorts I’ve ever seen.
Good pick for Utah though, he’ll only add to a frontcourt that already has Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, and Andrei Kirilenko.
9:47 PM: Seattle is picking for the second time tonight.
Pick Darrell Arthur, I shout at my TV.
They don’t listen, instead taking Serge Ibaka from the Congo.
According to ESPN, he’ll probably keep playing in Spain for a few years and then will move to the NBA.
We’re told he’s one of the most athletic kids in the draft, and is the youngest. Comes from a household with 17 brothers and sisters. So, Catholics, then.
9:56 PM: Houston, coming off their best stretch since 1994-1995, select Nicolas Batum from France. Two French players taken in the first round?
Fran Fraschilla likes him; I can feel his pulse racing through my TV.
10:00 PM: Apparently the WNBA game has gone to a third overtime. If I ever have a daughter, I’m encouraging her to play soccer, tennis or softball.
10:01 PM: The Spurs take George Hill, from the IUPUI Mastodons. He’s a guard who can score and dish out assists.
Looks like the Spurs are starting to think about life after Michael Finley, somebody who can back up Manu Ginobili.
10:05 PM: New Orleans will be picking for Portland, in exchange for a duffel bag filled with Benjamins.
Portland will be getting Darrell Arthur, who looks as if he’s been told that his dinner wasn’t poisoned after all.
I’ve never seen so much relief wash over somebody’s face. He’ll be good with Greg Oden in Portland’s frontcourt.
10:15 PM: Memphis takes Donte’ Green, from Syracuse. This gives me an opportunity to wonder what the deal is with all the random apostrophes that are sh’owing up in playe’r’s names these d'ays.
10:21 PM: The Pistons and their new coach are on the clock.
They've made a few really good draft picks the last couple of years with Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey. Who's the pick this year?
DJ White, out of Indiana.
Good rebounder, good low-post scorer.
But I'd like to refer you to what I said about Eric Gordon and the IU tank-job. DJ White was one of the players who threatened to walk out on Dan Dakich.
Talented player, but maybe a little immature.
Stu Scott mentions that the last Hoosier the Pistons took in the first round was Isaiah Thomas, which draws some boos from the crowd. Beautiful.
10:13 PM: With the final pick in the first round, Boston takes JR Giddens from New Mexico, the former Kansas player.
That's it for the first round and my laptop battery. Good night, hope you enjoyed it.