NBA Draft Diary '08  
June 26, 2008

Welcome to the first ever OSFAN NBA Draft diary. Why is Draft capitalized? Because it’s one of the biggest sports days of the year, especially for fans of teams like the Warriors for whom excitement and optimism is usually highest before any games have been played.

 

The NBA draft is unique among major American sports.  It has a huge impact on franchises both in the immediate and long terms. The players are recognizable to casual fans and junkies alike. Quite a few of the players selected will be winning and losing games in the NBA next year. Trades abound, tweaking and occasionally completely remaking franchises. For every trade, there are a hundred rumors (each with its own place on the legitimacy / fantasy prism) to discuss, ponder, and get hopes or hate up.  Few have heard of the players involved in the baseball and hockey drafts, and most of those players won’t see any MLB or NHL playing time for at least a few years. The NFL draft has almost the same level of name recognition and immediate impact as the NBA draft does, but the NFL lacks in trades. The NBA draft stands alone. Without further ado, the 2008 NBA draft and random pithy thoughts and occasional thoughtful insights…

 

(All times are in Pacific Standard Time. For those used to EST: the west coast bias movement starts now)

 

4:11 – Andy Katz reporting the worst kept secret of the draft, the Bulls are going to select Derrick Rose 1st overall. Michael Beasley, the presumed #1 pick for months until Rose’s big NCAA tournament run, has been dethroned.

 

Miami is reportedly thinking of taking OJ Mayo over Beasley because of Beasley’s alleged character issues. Really? What are these character issues? Why are there athletes in every draft (and almost always black athletes) who have mystery “character issues” that are either unspecified or reported inaccurately? Also, if Miami is worried about character issues, why favor Mayo? The same Mayo who, if the NCAA isn’t asleep at the wheel, is about to get his college team, USC, heavily sanctioned for his transgressions? The same Mayo who was ejected from a high school game for attacking a ref (though it looked like the ref flopped worse than Derek Fisher imitating an Italian soccer player)? The same Mayo who picked his own high school and couldn’t stay in it? The same Mayo who, via shady representatives, picked USC when USC wasn’t even recruiting him? Mayo is no serial killer, but he’s a documented shady character who is about himself and his bank account. Beasley allegedly is a college freshman who likes to have fun.

 

4:17 – OJ Mayo is being interviewed. He looks like a sedated accountant. He’s not compulsively snacking on anything so he’s probably not high.  Probably. I’m not an expert though, so who knows.

 

4:24 – The Sonics front office is busy scouting Federal judges, trying to flee Seattle. David Stern doesn’t appear to care about this atrocity.

 

4:25 – ESPN is already running Gallinari – New York Knicks special segments. Are they prepared to dub over whatever they have left in the vault if the Knicks don’t end up with him?

 

Meanwhile Marc Jackson suggests that the Knicks need to change their culture by taking the best player available. Umm, ok. How does that change their culture? Does their current culture consist of taking the biggest alcoholic available? Did they used to hold American Idol style singing competitions among prospects and draft the winner?

 

4:31 – David Stern steps up and gives his standard spiel. He fails to mention which games in the past season were thrown by the refs. The Bulls are on the clock. They made their choice already. Everyone knows it. But they will take most of the 5 minutes anyway. What exactly are they waiting for?

 

ESPN mentions that the Bulls already have a lot of guards. They also currently start Drew Gooden at one forward spot. Perhaps the logical move, short term, would be to take Beasley? Long term Rose is probably the better choice.

 

This is a good moment to mention that the Bulls are one of the luckiest teams in the league. They offered several of their players big long-term contracts last off-season and the players passed. The Bulls would be in a much bigger hole right now if those players (such as Luol Deng) had accepted the generous offers given to them? Where would they be had they not gotten the 1st pick despite only having a 1.7% chance of doing so? They’re doing about as well as a crappy team could, at least one that isn’t being handed star players like LA and Boston were. As a Warrior fan, I’d like to once again thank Uncle David for overlooking those giveaways (especially the Gasol move) and ensuring that the Warriors have no chance at taking the Pacific division anytime soon.

 

4:38 – Shocker: The Bulls take Rose. His nickname is Winnie the Pooh because he likes sweets. Perhaps the Bulls can bring in Patrick O’Bryant to make Rose some cheesecakes. Pat Riley’s hair gel is now on the clock.

 

4:42 – Stern to the podium. Miami selects Michael Beasley. OJ Mayo looks confused. Beasley is sporting a new Miami Heat hat with just an MH. Works for the San Francisco with an SF, works for New York with the NY, but MH looks like he’s trying to start some high school truck racing team.  Over/Under on how long he keeps that Miami hat before he trades it for another team’s is set at one hour.

 

Every groupie on South Beach just got a little happier.

 

Minnesota is on the clock. How will Kevin McHale screw this one up?

 

4:48 – Minnesota takes OJ Mayo. He refuses to smile except a brief one when hugging the middle aged guy I’m assuming is his agent. Mayo offered himself to USC because he wanted to be the man on his team and wanted to do it in a major media market. He’s now going to be in Minnesota. He may be the man (though Randy Foye and Al Jefferson may not agree) but that’s about as far from major media market as he could get.

 

Accountant may have been a misstatement. Seeing the full outfit, Mayo looks more like a late night infomercial lawyer. The We-Hate-Seattle Sonics are on the clock.

 

4:53 – Pat Riley feels that the Heat have the “infrastructure” to help Beasley mature quickly. What exactly does that mean? In house “escorts”?

 

4:54 – Sonics take Russell Westbrook from UCLA. Kevin Durant stands and gives a golf clap. Why is Durant there? Just to taunt the denizens of Seattle?

 

Westbrook meanwhile was the 3rd best player on UCLA behind Kevin Love and Darren Collison. Westbrook is a good athlete and a good defender. He’s skilled and is improving but seems like his upside is high level role player. ESPN skips the mother interview to talk to Durant.

 

Memphis on the clock. Stewart Scott takes us to commercial by saying that the Knicks are almost on the clock. No mention of Memphis.  As an aside, would Jerry Buss have sent Memphis’ front office championship rings had LA won the Finals? Did Boston send another ring to Kevin McHale for gifting them Garnett while letting them get Allen for the #5 pick instead of at least demanding that pick for himself as originally offered?

 

5:01 – Memphis selects Kevin Love. He’ll make an interesting inside pairing with Pau Gasol. Oh wait, what’s that, Memphis gave away Gasol for nothing? Absolutely nothing? Not even dumping bad contracts or picking up good prospects or lottery picks? Huh. Never mind.

 

Somewhere, Don Nelson is saddened that the only big man in the draft who might’ve actually played for Nelly as a rookie is gone.

 

The key question with Love is not does he have enough athleticism to compete but rather will he eat his way out of the league. Few players who entered the league fat ended up being good players long term. Then again, Love does know how to use his ass on the court (and that’s a very good quality). Love enters the NBA as probably one of the most skilled bigs in the league from day 1. Can he avoid joining Michael Sweetney at Sizzler?

 

The Knicks are on the clock.

 

5:06 – The crowd stands. The Knicks’ pick is in and about to be announced. The Knicks, in a prearranged move with ESPN, take Danilo Gallinari from Italy. The rare Euro to be drafted by an NBA team in the lottery after actually producing in Europe. The last time the Knicks took a Euro in round 1 and kept the pick, they ended up with Fredrick Weis, who was so terrible that he was internationally emasculated by Wince Carter. Check YouTube for more details.

 

I already miss Isiah Thomas. At least when he was around you knew the Knicks wouldn’t make a good pick this high.

 

Gallinari’s nickname is the rooster. The Knicks just took a big cock.

 

Gallinari interview summary: He likes to win. He’s joining the wrong team. He also seemed a little cross-eyed.

 

Clippers on the clock. How will they screw this one up?

 

5:12 – The Clips have the most lotto selections in NBA history. Thank goodness for the Clippers, keeping the Warriors out of #1.

 

The pick is in. The Clippers take Eric Gordon, who folded as soon as adversity hit his Indiana team. At least he’s joining a team that’s the model of consistency, cohesion, and professionalism. 

 

Gordon’s head is a little too big for his body. He looks like Gary Coleman’s nephew. Actually, he looks like two of Gary Coleman’s nephews stacked one on top of the other. I wonder which body part of his will break down first (well, beyond his psyche which was broken when Kelvin Sampson was deposed; Indiana was shocked – SHOCKED – that a guy with a history of breaking NCAA rules once again broke NCAA rules).

 

The Milwaukee Bucks are on the clock. They have already traded last year’s lottery pick Yi Jianlian, along with Bobby Simmons, to New Jersey for Richard Jefferson. The Nets’ not so secret long term pursuit of LeBron James continues.

 

5:18 – The Bucks take Joe Alexander. His knowledge of Mandarin will go great with Yi. Oh wait, just they just traded Yi.

 

Alexander is the first Taiwanese born player to be taken in the lottery.

 

Stewart Scott points out that if you ignore the first 27 games of his last college season, Alexander was 4th in the nation in scoring. Amazing what you can do with statistics if you ignore ¾ of the data.

 

5:22 – Michael Jordan and the Bobcats are about to pick. Jordan will be hard pressed to outdo taking Kwame Brown #1 overall.

 

5:25 – The pick is in and it’s a strange one. D.J. Augustin from Texas. He’s a small point guard. Charlotte used a lottery pick on a point guard, Raymond Felton, a few years ago. They’ve been playing Felton at the 2 towards the end of the year but they’ll have huge defensive liabilities all over the court if they plan to start Augustin and Felton together in the back court. That leaves them undersized at the point guard, shooting guard, small forward (Jason Richardson), and power forward (Gerald Wallace).

 

Brook Lopez, one half of the ambiguously named Lopez ogre twins, appears to be tearing up. He was thought of as the #3 pick a few days ago. He’s in free fall at this point.  As an aside, who names their 7 foot twin sons Brook and Robin? Their parents had to be expecting girls.

 

The Nets are on the clock.

 

5:30 – The Nets select Brook Lopez. Solid pick.

 

Lopez’ twin Robin is sitting at a different table in the Green Room. Their mother is at Brook’s table. Robin actually appears to have his own little table in the corner. It’s like he’s on timeout. If he didn’t have Sideshow Bob’s hair maybe he’d have the dunce hat on.

 

Brook is trying to emulate his brother’s game. He’s considered a better player than his brother. The Nets may want to council him to emulate someone a little better.

 

The Indiana Pacers are on the clock. The Pacers already traded the human injury known as Jermaine O’Neal for the almost equally injury prone TJ Ford, the 17th pick, and filler.

 

5:35 – The Pacers take Jerryd Bayless, a guard from Arizona. Another PAC10 player taken in the lottery. Arizona guards tend to do well in the NBA. This should officially signal the end of the (speaking of perpetually injured players) Jamal Tinsley era in Indiana.

 

Bayless is a good scorer and can handle the ball well enough for a point. In today’s NBA you don’t need to be a “true” point guard to succeed. Bayless will try to follow in fellow UA alum Gilbert Arenas’ on-court footsteps.

 

5 of the top 11 from the PAC. West Coast Bias movement lives!

 

The Sacramento Kings are on the clock.

 

5:41 – The Kings select Jason Thompson from Rider. A college senior was taken! Jason is not here, apparently because Robin Lopez wanted to take the little corner table.

 

Jay Bilas calls Thompson a “solid, solid” prospect. That’s promising. Kings fans must be thrilled.

 

Jeff Van Gundy calls Thompson “uhh, uhh, this player. This pick.” Someone wake Jeff up and show him the giant draft board in the room. Maybe show him an image of Alonzo Mourning’s ankle and watch Van Gundy go into attack mode.

 

Portland is on the clock. They’ve already outright purchased the #27 pick in the draft for about $3 million. Meanwhile Chris Cohan refuses to spend the money to use the assets he already has (such as a $10 million trade exception). I have owner envy.

 

5:47 – Portland takes Brandon Rush. Another good pick. Not a huge upside but seems likely to become a good rotation player. Good athlete, good defender, and is comfortable being a role player. Won a national championship last year so he should know how to win.

 

In more important news, the Warriors are on the clock. The “Lets go Warriors!” chants are echoing through my house. Wait, I’m home alone? Huh.  Let’s pretend I didn’t mention anything.

 

5:51 – Heeeeeeere we go. With the 14th pick the Warriors select…. Anthony Randolph. A 6’10 190lb freshman power forward. At least Brandan Wright will have a workout partner.

 

He’ll either be traded or warm a small swath of bench for the year.

 

I now wish I had seen some LSU games this year. I have no real opinions on Randolph. He’s unlikely to provide any immediate help to a team that desperately needed more NBA quality rotation players.

 

5:57 – The Suns take Robin Lopez. He averaged 9 and 5.6 over his college career. He couldn’t score or board in college, despite having a high level big next to him, so obviously he’ll be able to do it in the NBA. He was a pretty good shot blocker in college but the NBA is an entirely different beast.

 

6:03 – The Oregonian is reporting that Bayless has been traded to the Blazers. No word on the details of the deal yet.

 

6:03 – The Sixers take Marreese Speights from Florida.

 

Jay Bilas’ positive spin: “he didn’t dominate anyone in the SEC, but he didn’t get dominated either.” Sounds fantastic. He wasn’t killed by anyone. I’m sure Sixer fans are thrilled to hear it.

 

6:08 – Toronto selecting for Indiana. Roy Stiffbert, err Hibbert, is the choice. Hibbert is 7’2 280. If he didn’t have terrible foot speed he’d be a much better prospect.

 

This is a downer of a draft. ESPN relays to Pacer fans that their new center was nicknamed “the big stiff” when he got to Georgetown. Not good times.

 

6:12 Brook Lopez was wired with a mic earlier. Not bad stuff. He didn’t know who the Nets’ coach is. Seems like something he’d need to know considering that he’s now a Net.

 

6:13 – The Wizards select JaVale McGee from Nevada. His mom played in the WNBA. In other news, a tree fell in the woods and no one cared about that either.

 

McGee was consoled by DeVon Hardin after Cal beat Nevada this year. Thus ends my JaVale McGee knowledge.

 

Portland / Indiana trade details: Ike Diogu and the rights to Bayless for Jarrett Jack and the rights to Brandon Rush. Ike has now been traded twice and won a game zero times.

 

Meanwhile Rush doesn’t fit with the Pacers, who already have Mike Dungina and Danny Granger at the 2 and 3.  On the other hand, his brother Kareem is on the Pacers.

 

6:20 – Cleveland’s pick is in. The newest Cav is J.J. Hickson from NC State. JJ didn’t make any All ACC teams.

 

6:27 – Charlotte takes Alexis Ajinca, a center from France. He did nothing for his Euro team last year but at least he made the chair look bad in his workouts. Taking guys who have done nothing in foreign leagues but look good in workouts has worked out great so far for NBA teams, isn’t that right Mr. Tskitishvili? Hmm, Tskita can’t be found, so how about asking the Pistons about Darko Milicic? No, they don’t want to talk about that. Hmm. Never mind then.

 

An update on the Portland / Indiana trade: the Pacers will also be getting last year’s Duke flop Josh McRoberts.

 

The Nets are on the clock. The Nets have the pick as a result of the Jason Kidd to Dallas trade.

 

6:33 – The Nets’ pick is in and they take Ryan Anderson. Cal Bears represent! The PAC10’s leading scorer and one of the conference’s leading rebounders. Anderson can score from ANYWHERE on the floor, inside and out, and does it all at a high percentage. Anderson joins Brook Lopez for a newly made PAC10 frontcourt in Jersey. In a couple years Anderson will really benefit from Lebron James setting him up.

 

Anderson was on the fence about going to the draft but ultimately decided to sign with an agent and stay in the draft based on what NBA GMs were telling him. Mike Montgomery maintained that it was a dumb decision. Once again, Mike Montgomery (who is a fantastic college coach and a great hire for Cal) doesn’t know what he’s doing when it relates to the NBA.

 

May Ryan help the Nets as much as their last Cal Bear (Jason Kidd) did.

 

GO BEARS!!!

 

6:37 – Darrell Arthur is last man sitting in the green room. He’s been chewing on gum like a smoker desperately clinging to his Nicorette for the last few hours.

 

Orlando is up next and David Stern has their pick.

 

6:38 - Orlando takes Courtney Lee from Western Kentucky. Another college senior. By my count he’s just the third senior taken so far, and we’re already 22 picks in.

 

Utah is on the clock.

 

6:42 – Utah takes Kosta Koufos, a freshman center from Ohio State. Utah takes a big white guy, there’s a shocker. His selection makes it 9 freshmen taken in the draft, which already breaks an all-time record. When he washes out of the league in a few years, Kosta can go around Europe with that little trivia nugget. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

 

6:47 - Sonics about to pick. They have the pick as a result of the Suns selling off players and picks the last few years, this particular case being giving up 2 first rounders to give away Kurt Thomas who ended up helping the Spurs eliminate the Suns in a case of basketball karma.

 

Sonics take Serge Ibaka from the Congo. ESPN foreign talent scout and college coaching washout reports that in 3 or 4 years Ibaka may be good enough to come to the NBA and make an impact. He’s currently playing in Spain. Ibaka was in the house and is shaking David Stern’s hand.

 

The Rockets are on the clock.

 

6:56 – The Rockets select Nicolas Batum from France. He’s apparently a 6’7 guard. Batum is the latest guy to continue the NBA draft tradition of sitting in the stands and jumping out onto the stage when selected. Downside of Batum is apparently that he’s a guard who can’t ball handle. That might be a problem. The iffy jumper might also hurt.

 

Spurs on the clock. They allegedly sent an email to the entire league earlier today saying their pick was up for bid.

 

7:01 – The Spurs select George Hill from IUPUI. Good news: he was his conference’s player of the year. Bad news: no one has heard of his conference. The Spurs do have a fantastic draft record for a team that is almost never in the lottery. Aside from taking Duncan #1 overall, they’ve drafted Ginobli, Parker, and Luis Scola with late 1st or 2nd round picks.

 

7:08 – As mentioned before, New Orleans sold the 27th pick to Portland. Portland adds Darrell Arthur, ending his Green Room wait. There is a young boy asleep at Arthur’s table. He doesn’t look happy to be awoken. His mom is crying. Arthur fell because of concerns about a possible kidney condition.

 

David Stern joins the crowd in applauding Arthur for staying awake for the nearly 3 hours of the draft so far.

 

The Grizzlies are on the clock. They have the pick due to giving away Pau Gasol to the Lakers.

 

7:15 – The Grizzlies take Donte’ Green. Shot 41% in college. Not good times. Bilas says that Green needs to get with a veteran group that can help him learn how to play and what kind of shots to take. Good thing he’s going to the Grizzlies who have veteran presence… uhh… Rudy Gay?

 

7:22 – The 27 time defending Eastern Conference runners up Detroit Pistons select DJ White. Bilas calls him a “volume rebounder”. I know what a volume shooter is, but what is a volume rebounder? He tries for a lot of boards to get a few successful ones?

 

Meanwhile, there have been trade rumors swirling for the past week or so that the Pistons would break up their core in a trade with the Warriors. No moves yet.

 

In fact, there have been a disappointing number of trades so far. Not much in the way of juicy rumors either.

 

7:28 – The Celtics are up. They just won a championship on the backs of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Cal’s very own Leon Powe. Go Bears!

 

7:32 – David Stern’s last pick of the day. The Celtics end the first round by taking JR Giddens from New Mexico. If memory serves, Giddens started as a Jayhawk and transferred out. The highlights shown were him shooting over DeVon Hardin, making him at least the 2nd guy taken in the first round whose highlights included DeVon on defense.

 

The first round ends with the 5th senior taken. The second round should move quicker but I’ll no longer be doing pick by pick updates.

 

7:42 – A trade! Seattle gets DJ White from the Pistons for #32 and #46. Kind of underwhelming.

 

7:49 – Mario Chalmers goes 34 to Minnesota. He’s a point guard who, according to ESPN, must improve his point guard skills.

 

There is now a small run on NCAA title game players. Arthur went 27, Dorsey went 33, and now Chalmers at 34.

 

7:51 – DeAndre Jordan goes to the Clippers. “Why do you like him, Jay” “…[blah blah blah, good size] but he doesn’t have an offensive skill set.” No one helps raw prospects refine their game like the Clippers. Maybe they’ll bring back Kandi to tutor Jordan, sort of how the Lakers brought in Kareem to tutor Bynum.

 

Jordan has a lotto pick body and a YMCA game. There appears to finally be a movement in the NBA to draft guys at least somewhat based on proven production.

 

8:14 – Larry Bird is on the ESPN video conference. Wow he’s aged. It doesn’t even look like Larry Bird but more like someone hired a cheap stand-in who is 20 pounds too heavy and is wearing a crappy wig.

 

Bird doesn’t look remotely excited. Someone get this man a hug and a Red Bull. The dismantling of the Pacers is just about complete now. Bird has overseen them going from a title favorite to floating into the land of the NBA irrelevant.

 

8:24 – The Wizards take Bill Walker. At one time he was very highly touted. He went to high school with OJ Mayo. He played in college with Michael Beasley. Injuries derailed his career somewhat.

 

ESPN notes that the Wizards have lost 11 of their last 12 playoff series. Until a few years ago they struggled to make the playoffs at all so this streak must go back quite a ways. Sort of like hearing how the San Francisco Giants have a 4 game winning streak in Cleveland dating back to the 1954 World Series.

 

8:28 – Warriors on the clock. ESPN predictably goes to commercial. Warriors take Richard Hendrix from Alabama. Maybe Mullin just scouted one SEC game and took the rest of the year off.

 

Prior to the Warriors’ pick, Phoenix took Malik Hairston. Hairston arrived at Oregon four years ago promising to “Carmelo-ize” the Ducks. They then stunk for a couple years before having a good run his junior year and a solid year his last season.

 

8:32 – The Sonics take DeVon Hardin! Another Cal Bear into the NBA. He’s a senior but still raw. NBA body, good work ethic, but needs to get more skilled and smarter. If developed properly he can be a good NBA player. Freakish athleticism.

 

Go Bears!

 

Meanwhile Chris Mullin is interviewed. He gives platitudes to Randolph, the Warriors’ 1st round pick, and gives a politician’s non-answer regarding his free agency priorities.

 

8:52 – The Wizards sell the rights to Bill Walker to the Celtics for cash. Chris Cohan is nowhere to be found.

 

The Lakers draft Joe Crawford. I hope their equipment manager doesn’t confuse him with another guy on the LA payroll – Joey Crawford. Ah, to have refs bought and paid for.

 

9:01 – The final pick! The Celtics wrap things up by taking Semith Erden, who becomes the NBA’s Mr. Irrelevant. Well, at least his Euro uniform is ugly. He apparently needs to improve his motivation.

 

Speaking of motivation, mine is gone. Go Bears! Go Warriors!



comments? email us at comments@osfan.com