It's here—the night of the best draft in all of sports has finally arrived!
You might like the NFL Draft, but 15 minutes between picks and three days of staring at Mel Kiper Jr. doesn't cut it for me. For those of us who don't have the patience to set through an inordinate amount of rounds (seven for the NFL and NHL, something like 50-plus for MLB), the NBA Draft is perfect.
Two rounds, five minutes between picks, 60 selections, and it's over in four hours. Done and done.
Tonight I'll be live-blogging the draft and offering insight on selections, commentary on player reactions and interviews, and attempting to make a few jokes here and there (bear with me if they're horrible).
Tonight has the potential to be chaotic; there should be a lot of movement between teams jockeying for position and others trying to free up as much cap space as they can for the summer.
We've already seen one trade today: Chicago has agreed to ship Kirk Hinrich and the No. 17 pick to Washington, which means they'll have about $30 million for the summer. As a Cavs fan who is already paranoid the Bulls will steal LeBron James, I have one thought: yikes.
We'll be back at 7:00 tonight when the preview show begins.
6:44 - Back a little early to give you some breaking news: Evan Turner just tweeted that Wes Johnson is dressed like Craig Sager, and Chris Littmann posted a nice pic of his suit.
It looks like he's rocking some sweatpants up there. But if he's the most ridiculously dressed player tonight, I'm already a little disappointed.
7:00 - You are looking live at Madison Square Garden, where we're joined by Stuart Scott, Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy, and Jon Barry at the head table, with Andy Katz and Ric Bucher floating around the arena.
So it looks like John Wall is going at No. 1, Evan Turner to Philly, and Derrick Favors to New Jersey. The first 15 minutes is already ruined. I kind of miss the days where we had no idea who would go where.
7:06 - Cavs fans: Kenny Roda of WKNR is saying that Cleveland is talking to Minnesota about the No. 16 or 23 pick to target Kentucky PG Eric Bledsoe.
7:15 - Kevin Pritchard has reportedly been fired as GM of the Portland Trail Blazers. Less than an hour before the draft??? That's insane. Why now? Why not yesterday? Or last week? An hour before the draft? That's, umm...not good.
7:24 - Joel Anthony is opting out of his Heat contract for next year, meaning Miami could have $44 million in cap space next year...unless they extend him a qualifying offer, Shelley Smith reports. I think it's a safe bet that they won't.
7:29 - Evan Turner is rocking a nice gray suit and scarlet tie. Don't miss the Ohio State cufflinks either. A Buckeye for life...
7:32 - David Stern walks up to the podium to a mix of boos. I'm with Simmons, does he have to insist that MSG is the home of the Knicks AND Liberty? I don't think the four WNBA fans in the world are watching tonight.
7:33 - The Washington Wizards are on the clock.
7:37 - John Wall is the first selected. How nervous do you think he really was?
7:39 - Take a breath, Jay. Bilas just went on for about 90 straight seconds about Wall's length, size, speed, quickness, wingspan, everything else you can think of.
7:41 - Mark Jones should be asking Wall questions like, "Do you think you'll be playing any cards with Gilbert Arenas next year?"
7:43 - Philly takes my man and yours, Evan Turner. Sixers fans, you will love him. I guarantee it.
By the way, that cute girl in the white dress at his table is Ohio State women's point guard Sammy Prahalis. Just an FYI.
7:48 - Derrick Favors at No. 3. Yawn. So is New Jersey trading him or what? At least now things will get interesting...Minnesota is on the clock! Is there any point guards they could take here?
Bilas says Favors has to improve his post game, face-up skills, and 17-18 foot jump shot...wouldn't it be easier to talk about what he doesn't need to improve?
To be fair, I'll give him some credit since, like everyone has acknowledged by now, Georgia Tech's guards and scheme were awful.
7:53 - I'm calling it now: Minny takes Cousins.
7:54 - Nope—it's Wes Johnson. An OK fit in Minnesota, but I don't see them being too quiet. They're moving Al Jefferson or Kevin Love, right?
I like the Shawn Marion comparison, but remember how paltry Marion was on those bad Miami/Toronto teams? I like Wes on a winning team a lot more...
7:57 - I've changed my mind—Johnson's pants are awesome. I want a pair.
8:00 - DeMarcus Cousins to the Kings. Pretty predictable so far with little movement going on.
Sacramento's bigs now include Cousins, Samuel Dalembert, Carl Landry, and Jason Thompson, and they've got loads of cap space. There really aren't any other head cases in the Kings locker room, so this might work...
8:05 - Golden State is butchering this pick...
8:06 - Sigh. They do. With Ekpe Udoh, one of my sleepers for this draft.
I love Udoh, but not at No. 6. He is what he is at this point; he's a good shot-blocker and defender but not a great threat on offense. Don't they already have Andris Biedrins to play that role? Or Anthony Randolph?
8:11 - Greg Monroe to Detroit? I think it's happening.
8:12 - Yup. They're a mess though...it won't help much.
8:15 - Clips are taking Aminu according to Marc Spears. I think that rules them out of the Deng trade then—can't see that going down when Aminu will probably start at SF...right?
8:19 - Finally, we get a fashion statement...look at those Amar'e Stoudemire/Steve Urkel glasses! He's descended from a line of Nigerian kings...if that's a tell for the future, I don't know what it is.
Bilas says there are questions about his motor and how hard he plays. I'm sure playing for the Clippers will help improve that.
8:23 - Damn it! Marc Spears is saying the Jazz are taking Gordon Hayward. I need to log off Twitter and be surprised by this.
8:24 - Token joke time...of course the Jazz take the white guy!
In all seriousness, I don't think it's a bad pick. He's a smart kid and coachable, playing for Jerry Sloan is going to help him.
He'll be a much better shooter in the NBA too. Bilas compared him to Luke Jackson—I think that's a crock. He'll be fine playing with D-Willy next year.
He should fold the bill of that hat too. I'm all for the straight-billed look, but Hayward in particular looks ridiculous.
8:31 - Indiana takes Paul George. He's got "upside potential", according to Bilas.
I have a few complaints so far. Much more anticlimactic than I expected...nobody is wearing any ludicrous outfits...Jeff Van Gundy isn't talking enough...
8:35 - Sources tell me it's Xavier Henry to the Hornets. I can't reveal my sources, just know they're never wrong.
8:37 - And New Orleans goes with Cole Aldrich. By the way, my source is the same guy who told Jalen Rose that the Clippers are higher on LeBron's list than the Knicks and Cavs.
I like Aldrich. Everybody's down on him and his stock slipped, but he can be a great complementary player. Good rebounder, shot blocker, outlet passer, smart player...good pick. I like it. Let's give it a B+.
Memphis is on the clock. Zach Randolph replacement or Rudy Gay replacement?
8:40 - Cole Aldrich is looking forward to playing with Chris Paul. But he might be playing with Russ Westbrook & Kevin Durant instead.
Aldrich is getting dealed to Oklahoma City according to Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo!.
Jeff Van Gundy called him out for comparing Sherron Collins to Chris Paul and said that, if Aldrich truly believes that, New Orleans made the right move in trading him. This is why JVG's here, folks!
8:42 - I think this is a great, great move for OKC. He'll come in and do the dirty work. With him and Ibaka, that's a great inside combination.
They basically turned the No. 21 and No. 26 pick into Mo Peterson and Daequan Cook (two spot-up shooters off the bench) and Aldrich. Not much of a gamble in that.
8:44 - Back-to-back Jayhawks with Xavier Henry landing in Memphis. We can officially label this the "Rudy Gay contingency plan."
8:45 - Ooh, Jay Bilas just broke out a new saying: "an aptitude for the game." I like it. Let's start breaking it into everyday conversation.
8:49 - Highlight of the night so far: MSG crowd chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" while the Raptors are on the clock.
As for the pick...it's Ed Davis, the lefty power forward that will be replacing Chris Bosh.
Cavs news: T.J. Zuppe of WKNR is reporting that the Cavs were talking with the Raps about acquiring this pick. But I'm betting they hang onto Davis.
8:52 - Marc Spears is ruining the drama for me. Houston is taking Patrick Patterson...with that, I'm getting up, stretching, and eating. Will pick up the blog in a few.
9:07 - While I was away...Patrick Patterson is rooting for Spain in the World Cup??? That's a major red flag. In the WC, you don't get to pick who you're rooting for...it's your country. Period.
Milwaukee takes Larry Sanders at No. 15 (love it) and Minny takes Luke Babbitt at No. 16.
Babbitt will be traded to Portland for Martell Webster, according to Marc Stein. By the way, my dad just told me Babbitt was an Ohio State commit and decided to stay close to home. You put him on last year's OSU team, and we're national champions. I'm fully convinced, and you're not changing my mind.
And Brian Windhorst says the Cavs are working the phones hard to get a pick before No. 26. New Orleans could be a seller...
9:09 - Bulls on the clock picking for the Wizards in the Kirk Hinrich trade.
9:10 - OK, we have a new highlight of the draft. Stern came out with a wry smile, pointed to the crowd and said "listen to this." The pick is Kevin Seraphin, and I'm guessing he wasn't invited and crashed the draft party.
And since we have a international player, we'd like to welcome back Fran Fraschilla, who "loves the pick." Has there been an international player he didn't like?
9:16 - Thunder take Eric Bledsoe...hmmmm. They've got Eric Maynor and James Harden off the bench already...are they setting something up here?
Then again, Thabo Sefolosha won't be around forever. They're just stockpiling assets at this point. Zombie Sonics get an A right now.
9:19 - As I say that, Bledsoe will be shipped to the Clippers. Play in Wall's shadow for a year, get drafted by one of the most exciting teams in the league and end up on the Clips...poor Eric Bledsoe.
9:22 - Celts go with Avery Bradley...bye-bye Nate Robinson.
9:26 - Spurs are going with James Anderson. Perfect fit for them—a big guard who can stretch the floor. They also get a proven player...another great pick, what a surprise.
Must improve: creating own shot. When you play with Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker, you don't need to create your own shot.
9:29 - OKC is picking for New Orleans and will take Craig Brackins, per Adrian Wojnarowski.
9:40 - Elliot Williams to Portland and Trevor Booker to Minnesota. Booker is the first senior taken so far...let's just say he wasn't the name I would have guessed.
In Cavs news, the talks are cooling down as players the Cavs were targeting (namely Bledsoe) are no longer on the board. So...looks like it'll be a quiet night in Cleveland.
9:45 - Hawks take Damian James, much to the discontent of the two remaining Atlanta fans in the crowd. James could be a solid bench player for someone...but this isn't a good fit for him.
9:46 - Started to slip a bit until I heard Stuart Scott call the Washington senior "Quincy Poindexter." How many times do you think he's heard that in his life?
9:48 - Trevor Booker is going from Minny to Washington and Damian James is going to the Nets. I guess this is the danger of live-blogging, since by the time I write a pick down they've already been traded.
9:51 - Grizz select Dominique Jones and pan out to a guy in the crowd who mouths to the camera, "I don't know...I don't know who that is." Well then.
9:59 - Marc Stein says the Grizz made the Jones pick for the Mavs. Quincy Pondexter goes to the Thunder but will go to the Hornets in the Cole Aldrich trade. Jordan Crawford selected by New Jersey but will go to Atlanta in the Damian James trade. My head hurts.
10:01 - So the Hawks wind up with Jordan Crawford? That's a good move for them. He's my first-round sleeper...he can play. Sometimes it's that simple. He's a player.
And of course, we have to mention he dunked on LeBron. Only he didn't. He dunked on whoever was guarding him—LeBron just gave help side defense. Was there ever a bigger letdown in a more hyped up video?
10:08 - My friend Adam deserves serious props for predicting that Greivis Vasquez would crash the draft and make a scene in the crowd. In turn, he got the best look of surprise out of David Stern so far tonight and bearhugged him on stage. Everybody wins!
10:11 - Orlando takes Daniel Orton. This is interesting because we've heard a lot of talk about a Luol Deng for Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat deal. Could there be some truth to that and they're trying to back up Howard? Hmmmmmm.....
Stan Van Gundy says he "didn't see much" in Orton because he didn't make the pick. The Van Gundy's are the best...I want to see a reality show every time there's a family reunion. No, I demand it.
10:17 - I don't even know who the hell is getting this pick. It says Washington but I think it's going to Minnesota. I predict Lazar Haywood...
10:18 - BANG! Nailed it. Ok, so maybe Wojnarowski helped me out with that one. And with that, our first round is complete.
Stern was in a very playful mood tonight. He was smiling, cracking jokes, and playing the crowd a bit. Maybe it's because he knows something about LeBron.
And with that, we're bringing the live blog to a conclusion. If there are any substantial trades or picks that occur, I'll be on it.
A relatively quiet night, but fun nonetheless. It always is.
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