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2008 NBA Draft Diary
Friday, June 27, 2008
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 2

I have always loved the NBA draft. I think I think like the draft more than the actual games – especially when my team is awful. Just about every dies hard sports fan deludes himself/herself into thinking they could be a GM and knows what their team needs. So every year I watch lots of college basketball, read all I can from the scouts, and come up with my own mock draft.

Now keep in mind that my analysis is extremely hit or miss. I am the guy argued repeatedly the merits of selecting 7’6 stick figure Shawn Bradley over Chris Webber with the #1 pick in 1993. I figured Bradley could combine Manute Bol’s dominant defense when some offensive skills – something we had never seen. I unfortunately didn’t comprehend that Bradley would be softer than a high quality toilet paper.

It really is amazing how different a year can make. Last year at this time - I was completely crushed after my Celts tanked the season, lost out on Oden/Durant, and then traded for an aging/damaged Ray Allen. After re-reading my 2007 Draft Diary, it brings all sorts of bad memories. Worst off was the super scary looking Joakhim Noah.

I have been reading as much as I can, including al 7 versions of Chad Ford’s mock draft on ESPN and ones on smaller sites. Since my Celtics pick #30, I’m seeing names like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Courtney Lee, DeAndre Jordan, and Ante Tomic. Not stars, but some decent talent.

Every year there is one or trades that happen before the picks start to make it interesting. This year, we have two:

  1. Nets trade Richard Jefferson’s big contract to the Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. I love this deal for the Nets, as they cleared cap room for the 2010 Lebron James sweepstakes. As far as the guys they got back, Yi looked awful last year and broken down Bobby Simmons was a one year wonder with the Clips years ago.

  2. Pacers trade what I thought was an untradeable contract named Jermaine O’neal to Toronto for  TJ Ford, Maceo Baston, Rasto Nestorovich, and the #17 pick. If everyone stays healthy, this trade can work for both teams. Indiana needed a playmaker and to restart, and this gives them a chance to do both. Bosh plus O’neal could be nice.

7:30 – David Stern gets up and does his usual spiel about how great the NBA is and how this draft has a record audience for tonight. He is the best commissioner, but he can be annoying too.

So the Bulls are on the clock and it’s obvious they are taking Derrick Rose. He’s a serious athlete and is super competitive. Memphis did go 38-2 last year (after 2 state titles in high school in Illinois), so there is no doubt he can be a winner and I like guys who know how to win (although Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley flopped in the pros after being huge college winners).

7:38 – The Bulls take Rose. I think he’ll bring energy, tough defense, and leadership to this team. With their core, they certainly needed this. I think they need to trade Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas/Noah to get a scorer.

They flash to the Heat war room, they look surprisingly calm. There has been speculation all week that Pat Riley doesn’t like Michael Beasley, and could either trade the pick or take OJ Mayo. I think they’d be nuts not to take Beasley.

7:42 – The Heat take Beasley. My wife immediately goes, “you knew that was going to happen”. In amazement I ask how she knew, as she knows nothing about basketball. She said she likes to throw out random comments and see if I go along with it – boy I married well.

I think this is clearly the right move, Beasley has an amazing skill set and will be an impact player quickly. I personally think Riley is going to trade him, but we’ll see.

7:47 – I am multi-tasking as I am eating dinner, chatting, blogging, and watching all at once. Damn I am talented.

7:48 – The Wolves take OJ Mayo. He has explosive athleticism and can really play – but not sure how he’ll fit in. He is not a number one option, and not fully polished offensively. Poor Al Jefferson leaves a crappy Boston team to get double teamed every trip down the floor, and I don’t see Mayo stopping this trend. This California boy isn’t going to like the cold.

Pat Riley comes on air and talks about how great Michael Beasley is. And he tells how happy they are to get him. Guess he struck out looking for a trade partner worse than Julio Lugo does with men on base.

7:55 – Shocker #1 of the day, the Sonics take Russell Westbrook at #4. He’s athletic, but certainly not a point. Wasn’t even a top 3 option at UCLA (Love, Collison, Shipp). I guess they are thinking that big time defense wins after my Celtics won by defense this year.

Westbrook reminds me a bit of Rajan Rondo, raw and freakishly athletic. Both have the upside to be dominant defenders and can push the tempo, but I don’t see either as #4 picks.

Chicago30 thinks, “seattle is going to be a good team in a few years. too bad they won't be in seattle.” I think Oklahoma deserves a team after they way they sold out for the Hornets, but they’ll be good only if they fire PJ.

With the Knicks only 2 picks away and the 4 guys they wanted most gone, I can’t wait to see the reaction. I am ready to hear the screams of the fans at MSG – even though I am across a river several miles away.

8:01 – Kevin “show me some love” Love goes #5 to Memphis. He lost a bunch of weight and looks in shape. He has moved up in the draft.

Unfortunately he looks the lead singer from Color Me Bad, and I just can’t take him completely serious.
8:06 – Knicks up and the crowd is nervous, but excited. Stern announces the name – Danilo Gallinari. For three seconds there is applause, but then a huge round of boos breaks out. My wife comments he doesn’t look too happy. This guy’s father was a huge star in Italy, as a teammate of D’Antoni.

Fran Fraschilla likes the pick, and Reebok has made an ugly shoe for him called the “Rooster”. It immediately brings back Terry “The Red Rooster” Taylor from WWE.

Steven A Smith interviews and tells him that the city of NY is sleeping on him (as the fans boo mercilessly). Classic Smith interview.

mikednyc2001 (big Knicks fan) chimes in, “We really needed a 190 pound guy who can play the 4. Awesome. They can't score and can't play defense. Other than that, we should be fine.”

8:12 – Leave it to the Clips to pick a talented but underachieving undersized shooting guard – Eric Gordon from Indiana. Long live the Elgin Baylor era, and why they have had 1 winning season out of the last 16. Gordon can shoot when he’s on and is athletic, but I see this one being a flop. This guy completely vanished in the second half of the college season last year. I do have to give him credit that he did sign TTM really well.

Donnie Walsh defends the Gallinari pick, as he is the kind of player they need.

8:16 – My wife calls an aubidle, and we’re running out to the super market for a few minutes.

8:35 – We’re up to #11 as I get home and Jerryd Bayless goes to the Pacers. He’s a realy good athlete, but certainly not a pure point guard. People are calling him a young Chauncey Billups, but not quite as scary looking.

I like the speed they have with him and TJ Ford in their backcourt. Looks like Indiana needs to move

As Steven A. interviews Bayless, I am blinded by the pimped out white suit and white shoes. Lose the tie, and he’s all ready to see Good Humor ice cream.

Catching up with what I missed, The Bucks took the West Virginia White Shadow Joe Alexander. They have an impressive glut at small forward with him, Jefferson, and Villanueva.

The Ray Felton era looks over in Charlotte (damn that was short), as the draft the second real point guard (behind Rose) in DJ Augustin. I like his game and the way he pushes the tempo, but he’s only 5’11 and will get beaten up. The rumor is Felton to the Knicks for David Lee.

The Nets go big with Brook Lopez at #10. They needed a true center, but I don’t see so much bigger of an upside over Jason Collins who they dumped. I really like Sean Williams from last year, and Lopez could be a good compliment to him, Josh Boone, and Nenad Krstic.

8:40 – The Kings reach…. With Rider’s Jason Thompson. He is the anti-Spencer Hawes (last year’s Kings pick) – as he wasn’t exaclty highly rated and can actually run the floor.  With that said, this is awfully high for a guy like this.

8:47 – Kansas in the house…. As Portland takes JaRon’s and Kareem’s little brother Brandon Rush. I’m a little surprised that Arthur or Chalmers didn’t go ahead of him, but rush is a nice wing player. I am not really sure why he fits in with that group – as they have Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, and Charles Outlaw.

8:51 – Here’s where it gets interesting, with Golden State at #15. They barely missed the playoffs and have a ton of free agents. So they go for pipe cleaner thin (6’10 197lbs) Anthony Randolph.  If he survives the season, his athletic ability can fit in the Warriors up and down style.

Dickie V. chimes in on how Westbrook is talented, but should have went for Love (Durant, Green, Love). He then compares Gallinari to Darko Milicic. I’m sorry Knicks fans. He likes to Jason Thompson pick by the Kings.

8:57 – The second Lopez brother goes to Phoenix at 15… I get that he is 7 foot and plays some defense, but I don’t see him going this early. His offense is not far ahead of Ben Wallace.

Robin Lopez has the sideshow Bob hair – he’s the second coming of Joakhim Noah and Anerson Varejo with a little more style. I guess his girlfriend Michelle Wie must have picked his outfit. Trying to fit his hair under the suns cap is absurd. It’s like Rosanne Barr trying to fit in Paris Hilton’s bikini – just doesn’t belong.

Oh my gawd… they show Deborah Ledford (Robin and Brook’s mom), she’s a bit scary but extremely articulate. She iss extremely happy to cash in big time. 

9:03 – The Sixers go big with Marreese Speights from Florida. Is he an upgrade over Samuel Dalembert? If not, this was a mistake.

I love Roy Hibbert as a player, but I’m not sure love the pick. He has huge size and lots of skill – maybe the best high post passing center since Brad Daugherty. The problem is that he is Gheorghe Muresan slow. I just don’t see him keeping up with mediocre centers like Kendrick Perkins or Brendan Haywood, forget the really athletic ones. With Bayless and Ford in the backcourt, there’s a good chance they’ll push the ball and he’ll never get up the court on offense.

9:13 – Wizards take stick figure 7’1 237 Javale McGee. The interesting factoid is that he is the first NBA player to have a mother who played in the WNBA. Very skinny and talented, with a 7’6 wingspan. I think he’s a project and they’d better bring back Antawn Jamison.

TRADE: Rick Bucher announces a trade Portalnd-Indiana trade - Jarrett Jack and Brandon Rush for Ike Diogu, Jerryd Bayless, and McRoberts.

It’s interesting for a few reasons. 1) to see the Jack and Ford backcourt (with Jamaal Tinsley still on the roster). 2) Kareem and Brandon Rush will be teammates 3) Portland is going get even more athletic

9:20 – Cleveland completely shocks me, and passes on local Ohio product Kosta Koufos for JJ Hickson. Hickson is a strong guy with some nice offense in the post, but could be a bit undersized at 6’9. The Cavs need to think about life after Ilgauskus and they need a scorer, and Koufos has looked great in workouts while potentially fitting both of these needs.

9:27 – Bobcats trade for #20 earlier in the week to get a big guy, and draft super raw Frenchmen Alexis Ajinca. Can you say Frederick Weis? The big difference is that he is not completely pale white and has a girl’s first name

Andy Katz interviews Bayless about the trade, and the guy is in shock. He never worked out for Portland, and has a chance to be their starting point guard.

Mark Jackson (a Nets commentator) is talking up the Nets chances as they are on the clock with a pick from the Jason Kidd trade.

9:33 –The Nets take Ryan Anderson from Cal. I think it’s a bit of a reach, but this guy can shoot and score.  A 6’10 white boy to go with Brook Lopez, Bobby Simmons, and Yi Jianlian who they got earlier. Maybe I’ll actually go to Nets games when they move to Brooklyn.

Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe says the team wasn’t ready to compete for a title and needed to prepare for the future. Sound he thinks they did it – and I like the scoring they added from big guys.

During the break, I flipped over to SpikeTV for TNA wrestling. They have a huge woman wrestler named Awesome Kong – shes’s 6’2, 272lbs. There are NFL defensive linemen smaller than her. She’s challenging any woman in the audience to pin her for $25,000. Even though it’s a ton of money and it’s tempting for me to put on wig and skirt, she scares the bejebies out of me.

While Awesome beat the snot out a poor fan, Orlando took Courtney Lee and Utah took Kosta Koufos. I like both moves, especially how Koufos can develop behind Mehmet Okur and under Jerry Sloan. He’ll fit in perfectly in the long run of big white guys Utah has taken over the years, including and after Mark Eaton.

9:48 – with Seattle on the clock, the camera pans to Kevin Durant in the crowd. I am disappointed that Kevin is wearing a Plain Jane suit after all his endorsements and winning Rookie of the Year.

Seattle brings back memories of the Mohammed Sene mistake of a few years ago by picking Serge Ibaka (from the Congo) who plays in Spain. Not even Manute Bol and his 8 foot wingspan could reach this far. Most people had Serge rated as a second rounder, and poor Darrell Aurthur is the last guy waiting in the green room. Doris Burke interviews Arthur and reminds him that Carlos Boozer and Rashard Lewis waited and then became stars, but he looks he is completely demoralized.

9:56 – Nicolas Batum goes to the Rockets. He’s extremely athletic from the highlights, and I am wondering why are there so many good talents coming out of France the past few years – Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Thabo Sefulosha, and this guy.

There are reports that Arthur has an undisclosed kidney injury that is scaring teams off, and that is why he keeps falling.

10:01 – The kings of the draft, the San Antonio take George Hill from IUPUI. I have no idea about this guy other than he had good stats and looks to be a good back up to Tony Parker. Jay Bilas thinks he can be an impact defensive guy.

10:08 – The Trailblazers buy the Hornets #27 pick for $3 million, and take Darrell Arthur. Finally the green empties out, and David Stern applauds. I was rooting for a repeat of Rashard Lewis’s breakdown when he lasted to the second round. The crowd chants his name, as Doris Burke interviews his rather scary mother – a truck driver who quit her job to watch her son. The mother says says “he’s gonna do well, he always do well”.

So the Blazers get yet another big time flyer. I’m not sure how many games they’ll win, but I am sure they’ll be athletic.

10:15 – Memphis got #28 from the Lakers in the Pau/Marc Gasol trade, and take Syracuse super chucker Donte Green. He’s 6’10 and takes a lot of bad shots – but has a ton of potential. I like the talent at this point in the draft, but the team he goes to scares the heck out of me (as the Griz have been awful and aren’t loaded with veteran leadership – I can’t count Brian Cardinal).

 10:22 – Detroit has been to Eastern Conference Finals 6 straight years. Rodney Stuckey was a great pick last year and Jason Maxiel showed a lot in the playoffs, to go along with all the really solid vets they have. They take DJ white from Indiana.

As much as I dislike the Pistons, I LOVE this pick. This guy is just so productive and so tough. He is a rebounding machine and he is a monster at 6’9 250. Another really move by Joe Dumars.

So the World Champion Celtics are on the clock. Damn it feels good to type that. We have Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Bill Walker, and Ante Tomic all available – all guys I have seen in mock drafts going earlier than this spot. I see needs at back up point guard and back up center. Or they could go for successors for any of the big 3.

No matter what they do here, they need to resign James Posey. He is more valuable than anyone they are going to get tonight in the draft. His defense, toughness, thugness, and clutch 3 pointers make him so valuable.

10:32 – The crowd is booing like crazy as David Stern announces the Celtics select JR Giddens. What??? I remember this guy at Kansas, he’s an athletic scorer and a bit of a head case. This pick has Gabe Pruitt (Danny Ainge’s only mistake all last year).If they thought is that Tony Allen is not trustworthy backup swingman, then Chris Douglas-Roberts would have been a better option.

So I watched the second round, but I lost interest in blogging the play by play. The highlights were:

  • The Nets taking Chris Douglas-Roberts at 40 and his coach John Calipari saying that if the Nets drafted this smart when he was their coach then he’d still be there. Not sure I buy that, but I like getting a first team All America player this late.
  • KSU freshman Bill Walker lasted really late, and was sold to the Celtics.
  • The Clips take DeAndre Jordan, meaning he’ll be hating life very soon. He was very excited to the great Chris Kaman.
  • Minnesota takes Mario Chalmers at 34, a really pick. Then they move him for 2 future 2nd rounders and cash to Miami. I really like this move for Miami, as Chalmers is a decent point guard and plays very nice pressure defense.

The problem comes hours later, when all hell breaks lose…. Overall there are 14 trades and many of them totally invalidate much of my analysis above.

Damn you Chris Wallace (former Celtics GM and current Grizzlies GM)!!! I am completely bummed that he ruined my chances of seeing the  Gay-Love combo, as Kevin Love and Mike Miller moved to Minnesota for OJ Mayo in a 8 player deal.

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