The overwhelming consensus on the 2011 NBA Draft is that it's by and large a pretty underwhelming group of players, and it may quite possibly be completely devoid of future All-Stars. So why am I so excited about tonight's festivities? Because of all the things that the spectacle of the NBA Draft is all about, "talent level of the incoming draftees" is fairly far down on the list.
In fact, the list looks like this:
1. The interviews with the players two minutes after they've been selected. (Bonus points if they are foreign and attempt to speak broken English.)
2. The suits, although most of the players now get fairly decent sartorial advice from their agents. It wasn't always that way.
3. Dick Vitale's head practically exploding when a foreign player is taken ahead of the "BDA" ("Best Dukie Available").
4. The annual reading of the last rites for whomever the Clippers select, knowing their anterior cruciate ligaments will snap in half like a Slim Jim sometime in the next couple years.
5. The talent level of the incoming draftees (and only because part of the fun is ridiculing the players selected ten picks too early).
So with that in mind, live from the comfort of my living room, it's time for the 2011 NBA Draft!
6:13 -- The preview show is underway on ESPN. One final time for the talking heads on television to hype up the prospects, and lay out deals that have already happened and deals that may still happen. The only deal so far is a three way deal with Sacramento, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, which inherently means a bunch of garbagey players and high picks. Netting it all out, Charlotte now has the 7th pick (and the 9th, their own), Sacramento has the 10th pick, Milwaukee has the 19th pick. Oh and Stephen Jackson is now a Buck. Also, he's apparently unhappy to be going there. (Stephen Jackson is unhappy, so naturally I'm now frantically googling gun laws in Wisconsin.)
6:22 -- We have the first Rachel Nichols sighting of the evening. I'm a big Nichols "fan" (if you catch my drift), but readily admit that among sideline/onsite reporters, Nichols score on the Andrews Scale ("reporter aesthetic scale" named after Erin Andrews) is as polarizing as Cam Newton's NFL draft stock was. I think she's a solid high 7's, low 8's, but some of you make it sound like she's an uglier version of the
unflinchingly hideous Sarah Jessica Parker. I don't get it. At any rate, she's stationed in New York at the Knicks headquarters, which means that if Rachel Nichols is there that there's at least an outside chance that Brett Favre is on the Knicks big board. (If Isiah Thomas were still the Knicks' GM, it would be a near lock that Favre was on their big board. Of course, there's a 50-50 chance that Favre isn't allowed within 50 miles of the tri-state area after Weenie-gate.)
6:23 -- First draft night casualty -- three slices of deep dish meat lovers from Star Pizza on Washington. R.I.P. slices.
6:31 -- One more slice. R.I.P. slice.
6:35 -- David Stern welcomes everyone to the NBA Draft with about the same energy and glee as a CEO welcoming employees to a conference call where 500 of them are about to get laid off. The draft is being held in New Jersey this year. New Jersey keeps trying to somehow get the rub from New York City, acting like they're some sort of annex to Manhattan. Like somehow they're "New York City" cool from being just kinda nearby. Basically, New Jersey is Bosh and Manhattan is D-Wade. And, yes, Greenwich is LeBron.
6:37 -- If you're looking for what kind of draft this is going to be, the ESPN analysts have spent the first three minutes of the draft (the part normally reserived for showering the first pick in completely unattainable hyperbole) telling us about everything that Kyrie Irving is NOT. Unequivocally, we've just been told that he's not Chris Paul, he's not Deron Williams, he's not Derrick Rose, he's not even John Wall. So basically, the Cavaliers are about to draft Kyle Lowry with the first pick in the 2011 draft.
6:39 -- The pick is in and David Stern is going to announce it. Cleveland selects...Kyrie Irving. WOW, NO WAY!! And we're off and running. My own take on this pick -- I would have taken Derrick Williams with this pick, and then a point guard (Kemba Walker would be my choice) with the fourth pick. I think Williams is the only monster in this draft. Draft the monster and then figure the rest out. But Irving is a safe pick. Also, the fact that he is the LeBron antithesis (no posse, no ego, team guy) played big into this pick. The Cavaliers are like an ex-wife whose husband (we'll call him LeBron) was out partying with his boys all the time, and for years she tolerated it. Then he and his boys (who are around him and their home ALL THE TIME) ran off one day with a couple strippers (named Dwyanina and Christina) to live in South Beach, leaving her with 11 kids and no money. If this woman now has a chance to remarry, go ahead and assume that the top of her criteria would be:
1. No posse 2. No partying 3. Safe
Kyrie Irving is safe. Of course, if he runs off with a couple strippers (we'll call them BlakeGriffinina and Durantina) in 2016, don't come crying to me.
6:40 -- We have our first, off kilter first name of the night, and who would have thought that it comes from a father of a player. Kyrie Irving father's name is "Drederick!" Drederick should be the name of a kid whose parents grew up fans of the Sylvester Stallone thriller Judge Dredd, not the fifty something father of the first overall pick.
6:45 -- Derrick Williams goes number two to Minnesota. So far, it's gone according to everyone's predictions. If this draft were a game show right now, it would be the first two questions on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" where literally you would have to be sequestered from society for the past two decades to get the questions wrong.
6:47 -- Jay Bilas just called Derrick Williams an "inattentive defender." He makes it sound like if you were sitting in the first ten rows of an NBA game where Williams is playing, you could easily distract him by screaming "Look! Beyonce!" and he would immediately stop playing and say "Where??", and then you just watch your guy blow by him.
6:48 -- ESPN's Mark Jones just recited the most useless stat I've ever heard -- Williams did 19 reps of 185 pounds at the NBA combine. Did we not learn anything in 2007 when people made a big deal over the fact that Kevin Durant could barely lift a couple dumbbells, like he had the strength of a baby kitten or Monty Burns? Yeah, well he averages 30 a game now. Let's keep it focused on basketball, folks.
6:50 -- Wow, the Utah Jazz wasted no time in getting their pick in! I'm guessing "someone white." Let's go to the commissioner....
6:51 -- ...and it's Enes Kanter! He's from Turkey. And he's white! We now get ESPN foreign expert Fran Fraschilla's analysis. Including the draft preview show, Fraschilla has now menitoned four times in one hour that Enes Kanter has five percent body fat. Fraschilla sounds like Bobby "The Brain" Heenan selling us on Lex Luger beating the snot out of Mr. Perfect at Wrestlemania IX. "Look at the biceps on this man, Monsoon! Five percent body fat!"
6:52 -- And right on cue, Stuart Scott tells us Kanter wants to be a WWE Superstar. Well yeah, he has five percent body fat!
6:53 -- Enes Kanter does an interview where he talks about learning English at the University of Kentucky. Nothing from nothing, but if I need to learn English, Kentucky is way down on the list of places I'd go, just ahead of "watching Swamp People reruns". On a positive note, by stringing together three relatively coherent sentences in English, Kanter immediately becomes the favorite to speak at Kentucky's graduation ceremonies next year.
6:55 -- Jeff Van Gundy just called Jonas Valenciunas "the big guy from Lithuania." And follows that with a "Why do they clap in the war room when they know who they're picking?" Up next, Ovaltene bits from Jeff Van Gundy. "Why do they call it Ovaltene? The can is round, the lid is round, they should call it Roundtene!"
6:56 -- WOW, Tristan Thompson to the Cavaliers at number four! Charlotte supposedly did the three way deal earlier today to get into a spot to get Thompson at seven. I guess Michael Jordan misfired on that one. Thompson is a guy whose stock is on the rise. He apparently crushed it on John Hollinger's regression analysis statistics and had the top "analystics" score of all the college players in this draft. Basically, Will Hunting LOVES this pick! On top of that, Jay Bilas says he "changes ends" really fast. (That's what she said.)
6:59 -- Just checked the Twitter feed during the commercial and of course Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! has every single pick tweeted like a minute before they happen. I think on draft night Woj splits into thirty little Adrians and sits in the war rooms of all thirty teams and tweets. He's really second to none when it comes to covering his sport.
7:03 -- Fifth pick, Jonas Valanciunas to the Toronto Raptors. He's from Lithuania, and he's got a buyout in his deal overseas. Fran Fraschilla thinks he's gonna be the real deal in a few years, a young Pau Gasol. Yeah, but Fran, tell us what we really need to know -- what is his body fat percentage?
7:04 -- Valanciunas is interviewing with Mark Jones, who points out that he's a lot like Chris Bosh, a former Raptor. When asked about why he's like Bosh, Valenciunas says "I don't know. I'm not very strong." Yep, he's a dead ringer for Bosh, all right!
7:07 -- Sixth pick and our third foreigner off the board, Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic. How have we not checked in with Dick Vitale yet? Somewhere in Florida, Dickie V is flipping out and trashing his house like Roy from The Office after he found out that Pam kissed Jim because all of these teams are passing on Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith and drafting guys not from America. Seriously, there are drafts when I think that Dickie V should be wearing Apollo Creed's Uncle Sam outfit from Rocky IV in his vignettes.
7:09 -- Jan Vesely will find out quickly that dental benefits of NBA teams are pretty sweet.
7:10 -- Jan Vesely may also want to go ahead and pre-emptively get a restraining order on Tony Parker for his girlfriend. Well played, Jan.
7:11 -- The Kings are picking right here, but they are picking for Charlotte with whom they completed a deal earlier today. (Don't ask, NBA rules don't allow you to announce the deals until the picks are all done.) Just one time, I'd like to see one of these "teams picking for another team" go heel and take a different player than the one they've been asked to take. "With the seventh pick, the Sacramento Kings select...Greg Paulus!" (Dickie V would love that pick, by the way.)
7:12 -- The Kings select Bismack Biyombo for Charlotte. He's from the Congo. (I wish I lived somewhere that started with a "the." I'm going to start calling it "The Texas." Let's get this thing going, Texas.)
7:13 -- Mark Jones has now had to interview three straight foreign players who can barely speak English. High comedy. At this point, if Moses Malone were interviewed he would sound like he's reading the Canterbury Tales.
7:17 -- Pistons are on the board at number eight. Stuart Scott just said that Joe Dumars is so respected around the league that when he picks a player everyone sits up and takes notice. Yeah, Stu, like back in 2003, we all sat up and talked about how fucking stupid Dumars was for taking Darko. Perhaps next we can "sit up and take notice" of how fucking dumb he's been in free agency. #BenGordon #CharlieVillanueva (Yes, I just used Twitter hashtags in a blog post.) It's so sad that so much of the sports watching universe sees the world through the ESPN spectacles.
7:19 -- Dumars selects Brandon Knight from Kentucky, which means that apparently the rehab Dumars underwent for his addiction to UConn Huskies took. He managed to hold off on taking Kemba Walker. (Dumars signed Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, and an extension for Rip Hamilton in the same season. He bottomed out when he was found in an alley snorting Josh Boone while free basing Hilton Armstrong.)
7:23 -- Ninth pick and it's the Bobcats actual pick...and there goes Kemba Walker at number nine! I guess the D.J. Augustin experiment is over, but who the hell knows. I love Kemba Walker's game. Great leader, great finisher, great in the open floor, winner. I love this pick for the Bobcats, the team needs an infusion of attitude. Walker brings it. More than anything else, I love Kemba Walker's suit! He's a couple elbow patches and an afro away from looking like Lamont Sanford. Light blue, baby!
7:26 -- Kemba Walker's mom just said this feels like the day she gave birth to him, only with less screaming and no epidural (I actually added that last part about the screaming and the epidural).
7:27 -- On a motherly note, do you think that when the moms of the players are interviewed during the draft that Delonte West watches the interviews and takes notes like he's doing scouting of his own? Valid question. I would be in full favor of Delonte getting some time on draft night to grade the moms, break up some of the Fran Fraschilla monotony. "Let's go to our Mother Expert Delonte West for his breakdown on Mrs. Walker...Delonte?" The only caveat is Delonte has to do the reports from the front seat of his car from a KFC drive thru.
7:29 -- Tenth pick, Milwaukee picking for Sacramento and -- BOOM! -- there goes the Jimmer! Hearts are breaking everywhere in Salt Lake City, we were two picks away from the Jimmer going to the Jazz. Instead, we get to see him try and play with Tyreke Evans. Good luck, Jimmer. Back in high school, Evans was allegedly in the getaway car of a robbery; Jimmer has allegedly never gotten laid. Easily the biggest cultural gap of any backcourt since J.R. Rider and whoever he played with in Minnesota.
7:30 -- Utah's entire front office is now hurriedly chugging milk and watching Youtube clips of Kyle Singler in their war room. This Jimmer pick at ten completely rocked their world.
7:34 -- Eleventh pick in the draft, and Golden State just drafted Klay Thompson who is a scoring guard. This means that Golden State now has Monta Ellis, Steph Curry, and now Klay Thompson in a three guard backcourt. Apparently, the plan in Golden State is to win games by a score of 154-152. Jay Bilas is very impressed with Thompson's feet, which just made Rex Ryan sit up and take notice.
7:35 -- By the way, if they want to make Rex Ryan the expert on feet and throw to him to analyze the feet of draft prospects, well....yes, I'm fine with that. Again, my only request is that he be off camera, acting like a police officer and the player be sitting in the front seat of a car with his bare feet dangling out the window.
"Hello, Jan Vesely...can I smell them?"
7:36 -- Seriously, the Thompson pick makes very little sense for Golden State, which leads me to believe that Mark Jackson has a lot of pull in the war room.
7:39 -- Right now, the Utah Jazz are shuffling through their scouting reports like Mission Control tearing through manuals for Apollo 13 to see which of the players on their big board showed the most proficiency in flopping, picking and rolling. Their big board looks like this:
1. Kyle Singler 2. Jon Scheyer 3. One of the Plumlees 4. The other Plumlee 5. The Plumlee who is still in high school 6. Wojo 7. Coach K 8. Dick Vitale
7:42 -- The Jazz just selected Alec Burks from Colorado. A complete shocker here as the highlights of Burks include things like dunking, jumping, and athleticism. What are the odds that Utah was so flustered that the Jimmer wasn't there that they just drafted a guy sight unseen because his name sounded white? I mean...Alec Burks? In Utah, he will always be known as the "guy who was supposed to be Jimmer." Good luck with that, Alec.
7:44 -- Oh yay, an interview with Mark Jackson, who is the new coach in Golden State. Because spewing silly catchphrases for a few years on television qualifies you for a head coaching gig. And, Jesus Christ Almighty, Stuart Scott just asked Mark Jackson to give us a few catchphrases. If I had to pick one person who actually enjoys Jackson's "hand down, man down, mama there goes that daggah three" bullshit, it would be Stuey.
7:48 -- Thirteenth pick and Phoenix just drafted Markieff Morris, one of the Morris twins from Kansas. In fact, Markieff is the one who gravy trained a green room invite off of Marcus, and now Marcus is the one left behind. This is a bit of an upset until you realize the Suns have a tradition of "drafting the crappier of two twins" after taking Robin Lopez a couple years ago.
7:51 -- Marcus Morris is crying openly. I want to think that they are tears of anger that Markieff got drafted and he didn't. I'm hoping we come back from break and their family is having to break up a fight between the two of them, like Markieff just stole Marcus' G.I. Joe doll.
7:53 -- Rockets on the clock....prediction time...I'll say they go with Kahwi Leonard, and Daryl Morey will say they had him in their top 6, just like Patrick Patterson last year. Let's see...
7:55 -- Nope, it's Marcus Morris, the other twin, for the Houston Rockets. I'm calling for it right now, Daryl Morey needs to make a deal with the Nets for Brook Lopez. Not because the Rockets need size (even though they do), but because I want the Lopez and Morris brothers to have sleepovers with footie pajamas, popcorn, and scary movies when the Suns come to town.
7:57 -- As far as the pick goes, it's fine. I feel about the same about this pick as I did about Patrick Patterson last season. As expected, the Rockets are still a 43-39 team.
7:58 -- Mrs. Morris is being interviewed. She seems like a nice enough lady, but I'm guessing Delonte just scratched her off of his master MILF scouting list.
8:01 -- Kahwi Leonard, who as recently as two days ago "People Who Supposedly Know Things" were saying that he could go as high as five to Toronto, just went fifteen to Indiana. The good news is we finally -- FINALLY! -- have some hair and a suit to really break down. Leonard appears to have gone with some haphazard braid pattern that looks like a pack of chihuahuas took a collective shit on his head. It's all over the place. Sartorially, Leonard went with a blue suit with white lined lapels, kind of a neo-Captain Kangaroo look. Mr. Green Jeans approves! This look should all play very well in central Indiana.
8:07 -- Sixers are up sixteenth, and they go with Nikola Vucevic, a legit seven footer, who I can tell you right now will suck in the NBA. How do I know this? Because if a guy is seven feet tall and was decent, the Rockets would have taken him. If the team with the six-foot-six starting center didn't take the seven footer you just took, then you just drafted Jim McIlvane. Congrats, Philly. I'm sure the fans will be very forgiving.
8:12 -- New York Knick pick time, and the fans are restless. I think I just saw five muggings take place in the stands. Who is it going to be? The pick is in, and it's...IMAN SHUMPERT of Georgia Tech. And the New York fans all have a look on their face like they were just told that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are secret lovers. Utter confusion, blank stares, sporadic booing, a bunch of bricks wondering "now what do we do?"
8:13 -- By the way, this pick does absolutely NOTHING to dispel conjecture that Isiah Thomas is still running things in New York. Nothing.
8:14 -- Renaldo Balkman is nodding his head at that last entry.
8:15 -- The Knicks just made their pick, so naturally the first person we need to hear from is not the general manager, coach, or that player. No, we need to know what Spike Lee thinks of the pick. And wow, the insight was amazing. "We need defense." Can we make a deal that Spike Lee only speaks on an NBA telecast if he's in the Mars Blackmon character? Please?
8:18 -- Wizards select Chris Singleton from Florida State who is a long, six-foot-nine wing guy, and frankly if the Knicks were looking for defense, he is the guy (ACC Defensive Player of the Year) the they should have taken if for no other reason than he was actually in the green room and could be sold to New York fans as "one of the top 15 guys in the draft." Can we get Spike Lee's thoughts on this?
8:20 -- It's just dawned on me that I haven't gotten a Dickie V vignette this entire broadcast! How is this happening? Did the run of four straight foreign players in the lottery kill him? Can someone check on Dickie V?!?
8:23 -- 19th pick and the Bobcats select Tobias Harris from Tennessee. Jay Bilas goes with the "gonna be a solid player in the NBA who will get better and better over time" analysis. Uh huh. Yawn. How did Bruce Pearl not manage to weasel his way into the NBA Draft coverage, at least for the Tobias Harris selection?
8:24 -- By the way, Daryl Morey said before the draft that there were 22 first round caliber players. Picking at 23, I'm guessing the selection of Iman Shumpert by the Knicks pushed at least one of those 22 players to the Rockets. Just a hunch.
8:25 -- The ESPN broadcast is now reporting a trade of George Hill to the Pacers for the rights to Kahwi Leonard. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! had this trade on Twitter about twenty minutes ago. Way to be on the stick, ESPN.
8:29 -- MInnesota just used the 20th pick on Donatas Montiejunas (I'm sure I fucked up the spelling.) Fraschilla just said he would have been a lottery pick if he came out last year. So in a shittier draft this year, he just went 20th. Josh McRoberts approves of this draft stock arc. David Kahn has his groove back.
8:36 -- Nolan Smith from Duke goes to Portland with the 21st pick. All Duke and Dickie V jokes aside, I really like this pick. Smith was in the hunt for Player of the Year after Kyrie Irving went down. He will at the very least have the career Chris Duhon's had in the league, and with a much less jacked up looking nose.
8:38 -- Twitter is abuzz with the Rockets trading Brad Miller, the 23rd pick and a future 1st for Jonny Flynn and Montiejunas. Of course, ESPN is reporting nothing. Seriously, how sad is it that you are least informed by watching the fucking broadcast of the draft! Not a great night for the Worldwide Leader, in my opinion.
8:42 -- 22nd pick for the Nuggets and it's Kenneth Faried from Morehead State. Rebounder extraordinaire. Good pick. I guess. What the hell am I saying, I saw him play one game in college and it was that upset of Louisville in the tournament. I have no idea what I'm saying.
8:47 -- In the uninformed world of ESPN, the Rockets just selected Nikola Mirotic and Fraschilla is actually breaking him down as if the Rockets picked him. So sad.
8:48 -- Oh, Ric Bucher was "just told" about the trade, and reported it on ESPN. This is an absolute joke, ESPN. Terrible.
8:51 -- ESPN is reporting that the Dallas Mavericks have won the NBA title.
8:54 -- Reggie Jackson was just drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. If it were the Knicks or Clippers, I'd assume they accidentally drafted the Hall of Fame baseball player, but the Thunder are sharp. They probably actually took the kid from Boston College.
8:59 -- Celtics just drafted Marshon Brooks from Providence. My own personal rule -- I'm always skittish about guys who score big points on crappy teams who play breakneck pace. His numbers are probably kind of inflated. Honestly, if he gets on the court for the Celtics, they'll be picking a lot earlier than 25 next season.
9:03 -- Dallas just drafted Jordan Hamilton. As a Rockets fan, I hate this pick. Has a feel like one of those Indianapolis Colt picks of an offensive skill guy at the end of the first round (Reggie Wayne, Joe Addai), and the guy will come in and contribute. Damn.
9:04 -- Looks like the Brooks pick by Boston was actually for New Jersey, so immediately the pick makes sense as Brooks' primary skill of "volume scoring for a shitty team" will fit in perfectly with the Nets.
9:11 -- Runaway winner for Awkward Moment of the Night -- Stuart Scott just tried to crack a joke about the Bulls using the 28th pick on Michael Jordan, and literally all three of the other guys at the table stared at him like he cracked a joke about 9/11. Stu, leave the comedy to the funny people, for the love of God.
9:13 -- There's a shitload of trades going on right now, and it's almost too much. Supposedly, Dallas may have picked Hamilton for someone else, the Bulls are picking for the Timberwolves, the Nets just picked for the Celtics. This is all getting very confusing. Suddenly, I'm starting to understand how my dad feels trying to figure out the iPhone. It feels like a junior high dance where a bunch of boys are sending their best friends over to the girls en masse to ask if they like them. I'm running out of steam, and thanking God I don't have to blog the second round.
9:15 -- Has someone told Bilas, Barry, JVG and Stu they have a whole other round to do? JVG barely knows anything about the players left on the board, and they all look like they're ready to kill Stuey Scott. Actually, this could be a very memorable second round now that I think about it.
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9:21 -- Marquette's Jimmy Butler just went to the Bulls. Tomball's own! What a story, he was homeless, went to JuCo, then to Marquette. Crazy story. Go Google it.
On that note, folks, I'm off to watch the second round sans keyboard. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did! Another draft in the books. Call me tomorrow on 1560 to talk about it. 713-439-1560. Signing off from this fine leather couch, for my executive producer Amy Zann, and her dog Sasha, I'm Sean Pendergast....
Have a good night, everybody!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game weekdays from noon to 3PM and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.