NBA Draft Running Diary

Editors Note: Found out just this morning that Simmons also did a run-through of the draft. So apologies in advance if there are any similarities in what you read (apart from writing an entire recap of the draft in the same exact format of course). Had I known in advance he’d be doing this, I probably wouldn’t have done it myself. But times are tough, and this was the last big sporting event I could think of since its just baseball for the rest of summer. And I have no idea what I will be doing with that.

Going into this draft, I tried to figure out what there was to be excited about. It didn’t take me long to realize that this draft was low on talent, low on driving storylines, and very low in the intrigue department. With all that in mind, I naturally assumed this would be a great time to do a running diary.

But there were a few things I wanted to watch out for as the draft commensed.

1. What would the Minnesota Timberwolves do? This is a team that has been truly awful in the draft ever since David Kahn took over most of the personnel decision making. If you think I’m wrong, just look at what they did with their 2009 draft. Going in, they were in desperate need of a point guard. And thankfully they had the 5th, 6th, and 19th overall picks to address it at some point. Great! What do they do? They take Ricky Rubio (averaging single digit points per game in Europe), Johnny Flynn (awful), and Ty Lawson (no longer with the team). Three 1st round picks, three point guards. What?! I’ve been hooked ever since. Before the draft, the consensus was that they would take Derrick Williams, an athletic combo forward (too small to play the 4, not skilled enough to play the 3). Keep that in mind when we get to their pick.

2. I will be on pins and needles hoping Utah sacks up and takes Jimmer with their second 1st round pick (12th overall). If it happens, I will seriously buy NBA league pass to watch all of their games. It’s great the for the fan base…college hero gets drafted by local team. And more importantly, it’s great for me. Gordon Hayward and Jimmer Fredette on the court at the same time? I think my head would explode.

3. The Over/Under on how many times Jay Bilas mentions a players “wingspan.” His hotword used to be upside, but now he concerns himself with how long a players arms are. Let’s see here, I think I’ll set the number at 10.5 and I’m taking the over.

4. Something happening I could actually write about. Not optimistic. With that in mind, lets get to it.

6.30: Commercial for the DVD release of Nic Cage’s movie “Season of the Witch.” No punchline necessary.

6.33: David Stern receiving some very hearty boo’s as he makes his entrance to announce the Cav’s are on the clock. Not a bad start.

6.36: Stu Scott wonders aloud if “There is any pressure being taken with the top overall pick in the draft.” Ummm yeah? This would begin a pattern of some very astute observations from Scott, who may have dropped more random, useless facts on me than anyone ever before. Almost making this draft worth watching. Almost.  

6.37: Fact: If the consensus top two players in this draft, Williams and Kyrie Irving, are “maybe all-stars down the road,” its not a good draft.

6.40: Cleveland takes Duke’s Irving. He’s the best player in the draft, he won’t have to start right away. Good things. He’ll be an adequate starter in the league in 2-3 years. Leave it to Cleveland to get the top pick (and the 4th overall too) in the worst draft in recent memory. The city of Cleveland may now douse its collective self in acid.

6.45: Timberwolves take Derrick Williams. Really just bad luck. He was the best player available, so not very much shame in picking him. The problem is, they already have Michael Beasley, Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Randolph, and Martell Webster.

6.46: Bilas: “He’s 6’8″ but with a wingspan of 7’1″, so bottoms up everybody.” Not sure what that last part means, but thats 1 for everyone scoring at home.

I would later find out that this was an blatant reference to an NBA draft drinking game, one in which everyone must take a drink every time the term “wingspan” is said. Devastated I didn’t know about it earlier. 40 bro points for Bilas.

6.49: Scott: “Our colleague, Jon Gruden said he could play tight end in the NFL.” That had to be a pretty big factor with how GM’s evaluated him.

6.50: Utah takes Enes Kanter. Like the pick, could use a center of the future to let Al Jefferson get back to his natural position at power forward. Trading stars is tough, but you have to give Kevin O’Connor credit for the Deron Williams trade. Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Kanter, a 2012 1st round pick, and cash? That’s as good as it gets in that situation.

6.52: Scott: “This guy wants to be a WWE wrestler after his basketball days are over.” Thanks for that.

6.56: Cleveland takes Tristan Thompson from Texas. A bit of a surprise here, thought they would take the Lithuanian guy with a big last name. But not really a problem with it, maybe he develops into an all-star down the road. Having watched Texas all year, it wasn’t difficult to tell that this guy has a lot of talent.

7.02: Toronto takes…the Lithuanian guy with a big last name! Don’t know anything about him. Someone says a poor man’s Pau Gasol. Hmmmm. Fran Fraschilla: “If you like Arvydas Sabonas, you have to like this guy.” I’m sold.

7.05: Vladimir Putin is REALLY struggling with his English in this interview. When asked how his game is like Chris Bosh’s (he previously had said he was similar to him), he responded, “I have not so strong body.” Right on the money.

7.05: Stu Scott wonders what type of player Washington should be looking for to “get good, quickly.” There is no such player in this draft.

7.06: Washington takes Jan Vesely. Don’t know anything about this guy either, but he makes out with his girlfriend when his name is called, great stuff. The highlight clip ESPN is showing of him is actually astounding. I’m not kidding. Sideline reporter says many call him the European Blake Griffin, to which he responds, “He is the American Jan Vesely.” The balls on this one!

7.09: Sideline reporter: “We’ll try to get you into a slam dunk contest one of these days.” Vesely: “OK, thank you.”

7.11: Sacramento, picking for Charlotte, selects Bismack Biyombo. Based on name alone, this guy is all sorts of awesome.

7.12: With all these foreign players being taken, Bilas isn’t getting any opportunities to tell me the wingspans of any players. More Americans!

7.14: Bismack is interviewed. Sounds a lot like this…

7.19: Detroit selects Brandon Knight. I don’t know what this means for the franchise. I don’t care.

7.22: Almost fell asleep. BISMACK BIYOMBOOOOOOO! Am now awake.

7.25: Charlotte selects Kemba Walker. I won’t question this guys heart. But not sure if he will ever be a starter in the NBA. Charlotte has made a habit of drafting really good college players with little upside.* For anyone who isn’t sure, thats not how you build a winner in the NBA.

*A few hours later I revised this sentiment and now believe he will be the next Jason Terry. Is it mainly because they are both black, look generally alike, played on college teams that experienced somewhat unlikely success, and are the same body type? Maybe. But who’s to say that 5 years down the road, Kemba doesn’t develop into a knockdown 3 point shooter and irrational confidence guy? Don’t let me down Kemba.

7.28: Milwaukee, picking for Sacramento, selects Jimmer. I may now light myself on fire. Angry with Utah for not trying to trade up.

7.35: Golden State selects Klay Thompson. Apart from spelling his own name incorrectly, I do like the pick. A good body for an NBA 2 guard. On a side note, his father also spells his name incorrectly: Mychal.

7.40: My Mom comes down and tells me to check on Bear’s (yup, we named our dog Bear) scrotum. Not unreasonable since he was neutered a few days ago. A little perturbing nonetheless.

7.41: Utah takes Grandview’s own Alec Burks. Got to love representing the Kansas City area, glad to see him get drafted in the lottery. Utah has to be one of the drafts biggest winners. 12 picks in and Bilas has given me just one wingspan reference. My Over/Under number not looking so great.

7.47-7.55: Phoenix and Houston select Markieff and Marcus Morris back-to-back. An interesting storyline for a night lacking very many. The Morii’s crew make fools of themselves celebrating when they are both drafted.

7.50: Always a source of high comedy, Marcus, when asked how he will deal with having to be away from his brother for the first time ever, notes he will send Markieff, “some flowers or some fruit.” Interesting strategy.

7.57: Marcus notes that the Rockets don’t have a scoring 4. Must have forgotten about the scoring 4 they had last year (Luis Scola).

8.01: Indiana selects Kawhi Leonard. This draft is about as compelling as making sure sure my dog’s scrotum is OK. For those of you who are curious, it looks like a normal dog scrotum right now.

8.02: Bilas notes that his wingspan is 7’3″ despite a height of 6’7″. We’re back on track with our 2nd wingspan call!

8.03: Based on his interview, I’m not sure Leonard didn’t smoke some weed before the draft.

8.07: Philly selects Nikola Vucevic. Just gonna flat out say this guy doesn’t have an overly bright future in the NBA. Scott: “He’s got a foreign name but a USC Trojan game.” Droppin rhymes on our collective ass.

8.09: Scott notes that Vucevic has a considerable wingspan, Bilas seething in the corner that a wingspan call was stolen from him.

8.09: The Knicks are up. Is Spike Lee really at the draft? THIS draft? Really?!?!

8.12: The awkwardness with which Stu Scott is directing this show has to be seen to be believed.

8.13: Knicks take Iman Shumpert. Forgot he was even eligible to be drafted. Spike looks incredulous. The New York Knicks everybody!

8.14: Feeling like an idiot for placing the wingspan number all the way at 10.5, I’m gonna need a miracle. Should I hedge?

8.18: Wizards take Chris Singleton. If a guy plays great defense, he’ll always have something to fall back on. Bilas: “He stands about 6’9″ but with his arms plays 7’1″.” Thats our third one of the night, hoping things pick up. Love the new Wizards logo/jerseys. If it is possible to get better in this draft, I think Washington did it.

8.20: Stu mentions that he has promised his mother he will go back to Florida State to earn his degree. He’s really settled into a nice rhythm now.

8.22: ESPN recaps a 3-way trade between Charlotte, Sacramento, and Milwaukee. Again, I decide that checking my dogs scrotum would be a better use of my time. It looks great. Charlotte takes Tobias Harris. Bilas says he has a 6’11” wingspan. Making a comeback here!

8.30: Minnesota at 20, selects Lapinski Gregorovitch (something like that). The book on this guy is that he needs to get tougher and care more. Sounds like a winner to me.

8.35: Portland selects Duke’s Nolan Smith. A bit of a headscratcher. Not sure I care though. Stuart mentions that he has a tattoo of his father’s face on his arm.

8.42: Denver selects Kenny Faried. Like it a lot. Don’t really see how a pick like this fails. When you’re in the bottom of the first round, you’re usually only looking for a rotation type of player. No one will criticize a team for blowing a late round pick anyways. And I think we learned a few years ago when San Antonio stole DeJuan Blair in the second round, there is always a place in the league for a high-energy, high-motor, bulk rebounding big guy. Good pickup.

8.45: ESPN shows a clip of the lottery-hopefuls banging drum sticks on a make shift drum set (made of pots and pans) to Rolling in the Deep. Are they trying to make these players look like 3 year olds? Does this accomplish anything? What is going on right now?

8.49: Good comedy from listening to David Stern try to pronounce Nikola Mirotic (Houston’s pick at 23) in an Eastern European accent.

8.53: OKC gets Reggie Jackson of Boston College…who has a wingspan of 7 feet according to Jay! Bilas is now on fire and we are almost in range to hitting our number. Celts on the clock.

8.55: Scott: “From Boston College to the Boston Celtics!” Stuart didn’t put any preparation into this draft. I wouldn’t have either.

8.56: Budwieser commercial almost made me cry. Awesome. Celtics pick MarShon Brooks from Providence. Maybe he pans out, but who is going to play center for them next season?

8.57: Bilas observes that Brooks has a 7’1″ wingspan. He is really hitting his stride. For those scoring at home, we have reached 6 wingspan calls. For those playing the game, you’re probably feeling pretty decent by now (depending on the drink of choice and amount of ingestion per “sip” of course).

9.03: Defending champs select Jordan Hamilton. Very talented. They need a future 3, and he could maybe develop into that type of guy.

To finish: New Jersey takes JaJuan Johnson for Boston. Minnesota continues to trade for late 1st round picks and a bunch of 2nd rounders. Not sure how this helps the team. Spurs take an undervalued Cory Joseph. Fans give an especially loud round of boos to Stern, and the Bulls cap off the first round with the selection of Jimmy Butler. As soon as Adam Silver walks out to call the 2nd round, fans erupt and start AD-AM SIL-VER chants, clearly making fun of him right to his face. Which makes sense when you realize he looks like one of the cone heads.

Final thoughts: Very boring draft. Which made it a very bad decision to try and do a running diary on it. Which is my excuse for when you feel like you just wasted 20 minutes of your time reading this.

Also interesting to note that Kansas guard Josh Selby did not get selected in the 1st round (didn’t go until the end of the 2nd). It just illustrates how the NBA’s 1-year rule really needs to go away. College basketball didn’t need him, he didn’t need college basketball, and it ended up costing him millions of dollars in the end. And now, he may not even make an NBA roster next season. If a player can play right out of high school, let him. But if you go to college, it has to be a 2 year commitment. It’s that simple.

Man, what a crappy draft. And Bilas only made 6 wingspan calls? I’m not sure if anybody wins.

Final Grades: Stuart Scott – A

Jay Bilas – C

ESPN – F+

Bear’s Scrotum – a solid B-

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