2009 NBA Draft Diary

Everybody out there OK? It’s been a tough day in pop culture, what with the death of Sky Saxon, 60’s rock artist.

OK, OK, so if you can tear yourself away from listening to “PYT” on repeat or Season 2  of “Charlie’s Angels” as you mourn the losses of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, check out my very own NBA Draft Diary. As usual, My Buddy Mike (yes, he’s achieved proper name status) will join me as we break down the draft, selection-by-selection. As always, my comments will be in plain text while My Buddy Mike, once the World’s Biggest Charlotte Hornets Fan, will have his appear in italics.

Before we start, I have a few burning questions:

1). Will it be Blake Griffin’s right or left ACL that tears within two years after he becomes a Clipper?

2). Is there a better match on earth than Tyler Hansbrough and the Utah Jazz? Seriously. Anywhere? In anything?

3). Can I get odds on Michael Jordan drafting Danny Green at No. 40?

4). Who will have the most ridiculous suit? I’m going with Johnny Flynn.

5). Speaking of suits, will Hansbrough wear the same sportcoat over the black T-shirt that he always does?

6). What new word will Jay Bilas make up, and will it be better than last year’s “spurtability”?

Hey Mike, thoughts on the Shaq trade, or the Vinsane one?

I like your pre-draft thoughts Alex.  Here are my responses to your questions:

1.  I will go left ACL

2. No there isn’t, kind of like you knew Matt Harpring would go there.
3.  I can see Danny Green there.  Easily
4.  I’m going with Brandon Jennings for my suit of the year
5. Maybe Hansbrough goes with that Sopranos get-up he wore on the bench while he was injured
6. Never underestimate Bilas, but I shoud go ahead and say it early because I’m sure I will quote him throughout the night. I already miss Hubie Brown.

The Shaq trade was about as well kept of a secret as Blake Griffin being No. 1 tonight. I think it could help Cleveland but I’m not sure if it solves all of their issues. They still need a perimeter threat that they can trust. However, Kobe getting a ring without Shaq may be enough to motivate the big guy for another run.

The Vince Cater trade to Orlando gets my attention as well. Do they realize they only get to play with one ball down there. Maybe this means they have changed course on Hedo Turkoglu and are going to let him walk. Hard to see how you could get enough shots for Rashard Lewis (a draft night legend because of his sister’s great quote that “His Game is well”), Dwight Howard, Carter, and Turkoglu.

7:34 p.m. The Clippers — and Griffin’s knees — are officially on the clock.

So it should be an easy call here that Blake Griffin is number one to the Clippers. However, it is the Clippers…

I think Griffin could be a fine player — elsewhere. The Clips have to make room for him by trading Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph or Marcus Camby. I like that he’s said all the right things leading up to the death of his career, but I think the Clips are just too moribund of a franchise for him to make a real dent. Sorry.

Quick observation: David Stern’s tie, Blake Griffin’s shirt, Stephen Curry’s tie — I feel like I should run upstairs and put on something purple.

You should have plenty of teal and purple in the attic from your Hornets-obsessed days…

If it wasn’t so hot I would go get the trusty teal sweatshirt with the sewn-in purple turtleneck with the embroidered Charlotte on the neck. God, I loved that team!

7:43 p.m. WOW, there was a guy with a Clippers T-Shirt on in the crowd. They still make those? Now the fun of this night really begins, the unknowns and undecideds. Memphis is on the clock and they need pretty much everything. They have OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay and some other guys. Do you really go to best available at No. 2? I say the Grizzlies go with the big guy from UConn, Hasheem Thabeet. Sorry Hasheem, maybe for your sake, I am wrong.

Agreed. I think it’s Thabeet here to the Grizzlies, but this is where the real draft officially begins. It’s been said that this isn’t a great talent draft, but I do think there will be good players that come out of this draft. The thing is, I think the bust factor is at an all-time high tonight. A lot of GM’s will lose their jobs because of this crapshoot of a draft.

7:48 Yup, it’s Thabeet. Anybody else think he might be the second coming of Eddy Curry? If he becomes Tyson Chandler, he’ll be doing well.

OK, so the Grizzlies aren’t ready to label Mike Conley a bust quite yet and do go with the big man Thabeet. At least there will be a lot of blocks to get excited about between him and Peter Warrick. Now for Oklahoma City — yeah really, they have a team there, they have uniforms and everything. I say they go with James Harden from Arizona State. Too bad he will never get to shoot with Kevin Durant taking 50 shots per night there.

OK, I think the Team Robbed From The Good Fans of Seattle goes with Ricky Rubio here. And I admit it — I want Rubio to be great. And I want him to try to do the crazy stuff he’s been doing in Europe. I don’t want him to just play like a traditional point guard — I want a mini Pistol Pete-type game. Please!!!!!!!!!!!

7:55 Wow, good call Mike. It’s Harden.

OK, I am 3-3 tonight. Maybe I really was an NBA Draft prodigy when we were growing up. Sure, I say that, and I won’t get any right the rest of the night. Seriously though, this Harden kid is really good.

Now for Sacramento, the victims of this year’s lottery. I’m thinking there is more to Curry’s purple tie than just an attempt at fashion. I say Curry at 4 to the Kings.

Tough call for Sac-Town now. The Kings didn’t like Rubio in workouts and were rumored to be salivating over Curry. Could Rubio fall to the T’Wolves?

James Harden — early leader in the clubhouse on the suit contest. He went bow tie. WOW.

7:59 p.m. Tyreke Evans from Memphis heads to the Kings, and this could be the best player in the entire draft. Good pick.

And the Wolves have to be falling over themselves. They’re about to draft Curry and Rubio back-to-back. That may actually sell a few seats at the Target Center.

So my streak ends at 3. Good thing for Evans is now that he is in the NBA he can legally get paid and no longer has to pretend to go to classes at Memphis.

The tradewinds could begin to pick up anytime now with the Timberwolves picking twice now. Word was they had their eye on Harden and Evans. Uh oh. I think they Wolves go with Alex’s new main man, (to quote Ahmad Rashad) Ricky Rubio.

8:04 Wolves go with Rubio, who at least now gets Minnesota back on SportsCenter.

HEY! The Timberwolves just picked Zac Efron…no, wait, that is Ricky Rubio, sorry. He’s the No. 5 pick in the draft now, so maybe he can afford a haircut. Anyway, this could get some excitement brewing in Minnesota. Pair Curry with Rubio and I would watch a game on TV. I’m kind of pulling for Curry here at 6. Make that pick and I will officially throw my name in the hat to be the next coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Should we start the “Rubio to whatever team Mike D’Antoni is coaching three years from now” rumors tonight, or wait until tomorrow?

8:13 Typical T’Wolves. Are they just going to play both Rubio and Jonny Flynn, who just went at No. 6, to see which one pans out? Is there a trade in the works?

Jonny Flynn, I smell a trade. I don’t really get this one. I am officially withdrawing my name as a candidate for the head coaching position of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Knicks will get their man now. Maybe Stern was behind this one…

Next up Golden State. Wow, who wouldn’t want to play with Run TMC — Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Huh? What do you mean they don’t play anymore? Sorry, I guess I was confused because that was the last time the Warriors were truly relevant to basketball. I say they add Arizona’s Jordan Hill here at No. 7.

And then Nellie will ruin him.

8:18 Take that, Knicks. Curry to the Warriors. Whoa.

Curry to Golden State and the Knicks’ plans are screwed, big time. I’ve seen this kid play in person several times and the Warriors are getting a stud. He is best when he gets the ball in shooting position and doesn’t have to handle as much. I like this pick for Golden State.

Wow, ESPN just showed clips of Dell playing when the lane at the old coliseum was printed like a hive.  I have a tear in my eye.

I worry about him as a point. I really do. But it’s a great offensive system for him, and I think that will benefit him. Curry’s with a team that will run. That’s huge, I think.

The Knicks must be in total panic mode because everybody knew they wanted Stephen Curry. I think they go to option B now and take Brandon Jennings.

8:23 Knicks go with Jordan Hill, who will be hated from day one. I’m guessing Steve Nash might be in Steve Kerr’s office right now and asking to be reunited with D’Antoni.

I feel bad for Jordan Hill now. He will always be the guy the Knicks had to take because Stephen Curry was gone. Who knows, maybe that kind of thing motivates him. He kind of reminds me of WWE Superstar Kofi Kingston in apperance. Sorry, I still watch that stuff and it came to my mind.

Next up, a sentence to play in Toronto. Sorry Gerald Henderson, I think this could be your destination.

8:29 Instead it’s Demar DeRozan. Big-time athlete, but the NBA has been full of potential busts like him.

Would anyone outside of the DeRozan family or the USC basketball family know if that wasn’t really him there at the draft? I mean, especially here on the East Coast, nobody knows much about this guy. Who knows, maybe he turns out as gold.

Milwaukee is next and i think they have to go point guard. I mean they have Luke Ridnour and Damon “Smokey” Jones on their depth chart right now. I say it’s my suit of the year nominee, Brandon Jennings.

NEWS ALERT: The Carter Trade just went through.

8:34 The Bucks take Jennings, who high-tailed it to Europe instead of playing the one-and-done role in college hoops. That may explain why Jennings didn’t show at the Garden. Stern might’ve thrown Jennings over his shoulder when he went up there.

Back on track with Jennings to the Bucks. Next up, New Jersey. They have some fans who probably aren’t too thrilled about the team trading Carter today. I don’t know how much DeJuan Blair of Pitt will help heal some wounds but I think that’s where the Nets go.

Bilas: “He’s not a very good shooter, and he needs to learn leadership.”

Good luck with that, Bucks.

Great, Brandon Jennings isn’t even at the draft. No suit to even judge and he didn’t get his free hat. Poor guy.

8:39 Terrence Williams to the Nets at 11. I think he could be really good. But it also means that the Bobcats are going with Gerald Henderson from Duke, a.k.a Raja Bell Lite.

Ah yes, our beloved Bobcats. OK, maybe not beloved, but we try. Anyway, I feel like Williams was their guy. Maybe Blair here, maybe Duke’s Gerald Henderson? Forget it, it’s the biggest smoke screen in team history — the Cats are going with Tyler Hansbrough, there I said it.

At least Hansbrough would have heart. Unlike Sean May.

From ESPN’s Chad Ford, on Williams: “He’s an eccentric dude and he doesn’t always come to play, but when he does, wow.”

Sounds a lot like Vince Carter.

8:49 That had to kill Mr. Jordan to call on a Duke guy. Gerald Henderson becomes the heir apparent to Raja Bell’s role of playing defense and making a couple of shots per night. This is a typical Larry Brown pick — not too exciting but probably very practical.

I will go with another Tar Heel up next to Indiana, Ty Lawson is my pick here for the Pacers.

The choice may have killed Jordan, but he killed me last year with the Alexis Ajinca pick.

You had to bring up Ajinca didn’t you? I had to step away, got a little sick for a minute. Thanks!

8:53 And the Pacers select Tyler Hansbrough with the 13th pick, higher than I think a lot of people expected. Indiana has got to be the whitest team in the league — Mike Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster and Hansbrough.

I had the wrong Tar Heel for Indiana. I am going with Earl Clark from Louisville to the Suns. More camera time for Pitino. He will enjoy that.

8:57 Whoa, there’s Jennings, who just walks out after Stern makes the Suns’ call on Earl Clark. That was weird.

“Earl’s not here, but the 10th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, Brandon Jennings, is,” said Stern.

I will take my props for the Clark pick to the Suns.

Now for Jennings showing up late after he got picked. Something tells me next time David Stern speaks with Brandon “Buck the System” Jennings, it won’t be as pleasant. This kid is destined to be an off-the-court issue.

The Detroit Pistons are up next. I think they go with Mike Gminski and Kent Hrbek’s favorite player, Jrue Holiday. Maybe between the three of them, one of them will find a vowel.

9:03 Instead the Pistons go with Gonzaga’s Austin Daye at 15, or as I like to call him “The Biggest Bust of 2009.”

Bilas: He’s very skilled…but he’s not a very athlete.”

Solid.

I like how Stu Scott referenced the Gonzaga alum John Stockton that got drafted years ago  Wonder why he didn’t reference Adam Morrison?

Chicago is up next.  This team was so impressive in the playoff series against Boston in Round 1. They may be a few pieces away form being back. I’m guessing they think James Johnson from Wake Forest is one of those pieces.

I like the Johnson call as well.

9:09 Johnson is the call. Bulls needed to get an offensive presence in the middle after getting hurt there against the Celtics.

I think the Johnson pick will help the Bulls, I like it.

Philadelphia up next. I think it will be Ty Lawson. Ty, here’s a hint — get the ball to Andre Iguodala.

Nope, it’s Jrue Holiday. Big-time high school prospect who didn’t seem to do much at UCLA. Then again, the same could have been said about Russell Westbrook last year.

OK, now it’s Minny again. Who are they drafting to package in a trade later?

And it’s over — Jrue Holiday, this year’s winner of the Vlade Divac Award (the last player at the draft to get picked) goes to Philly.

Minnesota is up again for the third time tonight. They already went guard twice so I think this time the pick moves to the front court or at least somewhat, I say it’s Pitt’s Sam Young.

This from Ford again over at ESPN, with a rumor of a potential Suns trade of Amare Stoudemire: “If they trade away Amare Stoudemire to Golden State, they’ll have a nice young core with Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, Clark, Robin Lopez and (if they got the 7th pick) Stephen Curry. If that happens, the Suns won’t be all that great from the get-go, but they’ll be fun.”

9:19 Hurry up and announce the trade already. There has to be a reason for drafting their third point guard of the nght — UNC’s Ty Lawson.

As it stands now, the Wolves can pass it, but have nobody to shoot it.

Lawson to the Timberwolves?  OK, here’s the game plan against Minnesota, don’t press, they have some guard presence. This has to be part of a brewing trade, no doubt about it.

OK, there it is. ESPN’s Ric Bucher says Lawson will be shipped to Denver for a future pick.

I don’t think there is any truth to the rumor that Michael Jordan is trying to acquire the 18th pick from Minnesota to draft Alexis Ajinca again.  I think someone told him he didn’t have to do that.

9:24 The Hawks take Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague. They should’ve taken another Deacs’ point guard a few years ago — Chris Paul.

Atlanta takes Wake’s Jeff Teague. I guess the woman that sat close to us at the Tim Duncan draft at the Charlotte Coliseum years ago is happy — she loved her Deacons.

I was wearing a UNC hat that night, and she asked me, “What are you doing here?” I replied: “I’m here to see the senior center who led his team to the Final Four get drafted.” I was referring to Serge Zwikker. Maybe my best line ever off the top of my head.

And I can remember her asking why you were there, and you said, “I’m here for picks 2-through-58.” Classic.

Utah is up next and has to be destroyed that Hansbrough is gone off of the board.  I gotta stick with the new Greg Ostertag, BJ Mullens.

9:31 Jazz go with Duke killer Eric Maynor from VCU. I think he’ll be pretty good.

New Orleans is up now.  This is still painful because these were my Hornets.  Plus, this is the point of the draft where my Hornets made such legendary picks as Greg Graham, Gritty Gutty Scott Burrell and George Zidek.

I say they use this pick on DeJuan Blair, I think you go the best on the board here.

9:36 Darren Collison from UCLA goes No. 21 to the Bugs. Backup for Paul, I guess. Collison would’ve been better off coming out last year.

Don’t really understand the Collison pick, but then again, there weren’t many Hornet draft picks I ever did understand. (Remember the night I did call the 2nd round pick of Makil Rose though? I was so excited…what a dork.)

Anyway, Portland up now. I say they take Sam Young. Why? Because eventuatlly somebody is going to take one of these kids from Pittsburgh.

I think Young can be a beast.

9:40 The Trail Blazers select…who?

Somebody finally took an international guy so Fran Fraschilla could talk again.  I refuse to submit another pick until one of the Pitt kids goes…

The guy’s name is Victor Claver. He’s from Spain and is red-headed. That’s all I can tell you.

9:45 The Kings make history with Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to be drafted in the NBA.

OK, I have to say it. Remember when our college kids used to be good enough to draft? Fraschilla is pumped because he gets to talk about two in a row. Good thing for Casspi though is that he and his new teammate Tyreke Evans both took the same number of exams at the University of Memphis.

Dallas is up next — maybe a Pittsburg kid? Maybe Toney Douglas from Florida State.

Hey, looking ahead to the 28th pick, do you think the Wolves will take Patty Mills to make them 4-for-4 on PGs?

9:49 Dallas takes BJ Mullens at No. 24. Good fit. Soft player for a soft team.

I guess you can’t teach size.  Oh to be 7-1.

Oklahoma City is next up. I lied about not picking again (this way, one of the Pitt kids will finally go) I will make Fraschilla happy and go with Jonas Jerebko.

9:53 The Team Robbed From The Good Fans of Seattle take some guy, from Guadeloupe, which Stern couldn’t pronounce. More Fraschilla.

OK, really? Rodrique Beaubois? And he is at the draft? Did somebody check his ID before he went up on stage? Can he really prove it is him? Who could take a look at him and say, “I’m pretty sure that really isn’t the real Rodrique Beaubois”.

And Bucher says Some Guy, who is a point guard originally from France, will be traded to Dallas for Mullens. So why not just take the guy? It’s one pick late in the first round.

Thinking the same thing about that reported trade.

Can Del Negro draft hair care products at 26?

He’d at least be the only guy connected the N.C. State involved in the first round of the NBA Draft.

ESPN’s Ford on Mullens: “Mullens reminds me a lot of a young Darko Milicic, for both good and bad — he’s skilled and athletic, but he doesn’t really know how to play.”

Ecccchhhhh.

9:59 The Bulls take Taj Gibson of USC with the 26th pick.

And Bilas talks about Gibson’s long arms. That’s been Bilas’ focus this year — wingspan. Enough already.

Probably not a bad pick. This is a team on the way back up.

Next up is Hasheem Thabeet’s team, the Memphis Grizzlies. Just saying Grizzlies on draft night makes me think of “Big Country” Bryant Reeves. Out of curiosity, I may have to go to Ebay later tonight to see if I can find a Reeves Grizzlies jersey and how much it will be.  That may be as cool as our old Mahmoud Abdul Rauf jerseys there, Alex.

Anyway the pick for the Grizzlies — who cares, he won’t be anywhere close to Big Country Reeves.

Ah, Mahmoud. I remember when he was Chris Jackson.

10:07 DeMarre Carroll from Mizzou goes to Memphis at No. 27. Good role player. Athletic as hell.

God, love the guy in the Grizzlies jersey that seems excited about DeMarre Carroll.  Maybe he is a dork like me and has done his research on this guy.

Up next is Minnesota.  I say it’s Chase Budinger. They feel like he can be converted to point guard.

OK, Wolves, pick a point guard. C’mon. C’mon.

Even Bilas’ Best Available has both of my Pitt guys at the top now. Somebody please draft one of them, please.

10:12 Stern comes out to make the Minny pick, pauses, and says, “Hi there.” Love it.

And then the Wolves take UNC’s Wayne Ellington. I had him going to Cleveland at No. 30, but this is a need pick for the Wolves after trading Rodney Foye.

Wolves’ fans just gotta hope he’s not like another undersized 2-guard from UNC that they drafted — Rashad McCants.

Wayne Ellington to Minnesota.  Let’s see, a shooter from a national championship UNC team, well, Rashad McCants didn’t work out, let’s try Ellington. I’m a little disappointed that he didn’t last until the Cavs. I think he is what they needed.

This next pick, whoever is taking it, the Lakers or the Knicks has to be the Jack McClinton kid from Miami. I don’t recall a sold pick previously.

10:19 The Lakers are picking for the Knicks here. And they go with Toney Douglas, of Florida State, who D’Antoni, who also just traded for Darko Milicic, was hot after.

Wow, we were really on the same page with the Ellington/McCants thing and the Cleveland/Ellington fit weren’t we?  Doesn’t surprise me.

OK, there is one Bryant Reeves jersey on ebay for $9.99 and it has one bid on it. I swear to God, I did not place the bid. There are also several rookie cards starting at a buck.

OK, I went with the wrong ACC kid from Florida there. Douglas can flat-out play.  That’s a nice find this late in the draft. I would certainly take my chances on him and his proven record over these international kids that look like they need to bulk up.

To close the first round, LeBron and Shaq’s team, the Cavs — they need a shooter. However, I think they go with DaJuan Summers of Georgetown.

10:23 And the Cavs, to close out the first round and the draft diary select… Some Guy!

And he’s there, much to the chagrin of Stern, who gives him a look like, “What are you doing here, and why should I wait for you?”

Thanks Cleveland, go ahead and take my Beaubois comments earlier and sub in the name Christian Eyenga and you have my thoughts.

Christian Eyenga, of the Congo, is the latest Some Guy. His grainy highlights include a few moves filmed from the corner of a gym that has about seven people in the stands. It looked like a high school gym.

And in a few years, this guy might play with LeBron James. What a game.

I will be watching the second round but I know it’s not worth blogging on. I enjoyed it yet again. Maybe DeJuan Blair and Sam Young turn into second-round gold for somebody.

Enjoyed it as always. All 4,200 words of it.

Same time next year?

See you then.





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