Well, the kids intervened a little, and some household chores kept me from watching as much of the draft as I would have liked. By the time I was able to sit down in front of the TV for good, I was just too tired to rewind and watch the entire thing from the beginning. So some truncated thoughts, or I guess some thoughts based on my truncated viewing and reviewing of the picks.
Both Portland and Seattle had remarkable nights. Unlike most teams who are in position to land the two clear Best in Class players, they did not stand pat. Some outstanding moves by both GMs to remake their respective teams. I think New York got the better of their trade with Portland, assuming Zach Randolph can stay clean and focused in NYC, but Channing Fry is a player everyone wanted to trade for last season and will serve as a solid backup to both Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m not sure how Stevie Franchise fits in, but if he can humble himself a bit, be might be a useful piece as the Blazers’ young guys develop. I keep hearing great things about Rudy Fernandez, who may not join the Blazers for another year.
A stunning move by Seattle to send Ray Allen to Boston for Jeff Green’s rights, Wally Z. and Delonte West. Green will be a fantastic match for Kevin Durant, Delonte provides solid depth in the backcourt, and Wally can serve as mentor to the Sonics’ young players. I know Danny Ainge wanted to get Paul Pierce some help, but I’m trying to figure out how Allen was the right answer to that problem. If the West wasn’t already getting tougher with the addition of the top two picks, the Sonics and Blazers are setting themselves up to be contenders soon.
I guess the big surprise in the first round was Milwaukee taking Yi Jianlian when he made every effort to tell them he had no interest in playing for them. This could be interesting.
My man Julian Wright didn’t fall too far, still in the lottery although not a top ten pick. He should do well playing in the Hornets system. I liked how ESPN started looking to see who in the green room was nervous around pick 12. You know the producers were praying that someone would get the Matt Leinart pout going.
Fortunately, I only heard Dick Vitale a couple times, but wasn’t it predictable that when they did patch him in, his comments were often about everything but the player just selected? Kind of like talking about Duke when Duke isn’t on the court in front of him. Wright is picked, he talks about Al Thornton. I enjoyed his comment about Julian, “Well, he’s being drafted on potential as opposed to the guys who stayed three years and are finished products.” What?!?! That doesn’t make any sense. Is he saying Horford, Brewer, Noah, etc. won’t get any better but Julian can? Wouldn’t it make sense to draft Julian higher, then? Those guys might be more accomplished than the sophs and frosh that came out, but they’re far from “finished products.” As usual on NBA draft night, Dick has no idea what he’s talking about.
Two other quick KU-related thoughts. I had two recurring thoughts last night. First, I bet Julian would have been drafted higher a year ago, and not just because that was a shallower draft. That second year made his flaws more obvious and GMs more prone to think they can’t be corrected or improved upon. A strange world we live in. Second, I have a feeling Brandon Rush, had he not gotten injured and stayed in the draft, would have been drafted ahead of Julian, which is odd considering when the season ended, Julian was generally in the top five and Brandon not even in the first round.
Two Indy guys in the first four picks, two more Indiana players in the second round. Solid night, although Josh McRoberts sure couldn’t have expected to be a second round pick when he went to Duke two years ago. But he ends up in Portland, which isn’t a bad spot for him to be, especially with his old AAU homey manning the low block. McRoberts is a complimentary player, and that situation is ideal for his skill set.
Most predictable pick of the night: Brandon Wright to Charlotte. Like MJ wasn’t going to draft another Carolina guy. In fact, when his second pick rolled around, I bet the conversation was something like this in the Charlotte war room:
MJ: Let’s take Hansbrough.
Assistant: Umm, Mr. Jordan, he’s not in the draft this year.
MJ: He’s not? How about Reyshawn Terry?
Assistant: Mr. Jordan, he’s a second round pick, at best.Are you sure you want to waste a first round selection on him?
MJ: Waste a pick?!?! You’re never wasting a pick when you take a Carolina man!
Assistant: My bad, but perhaps another player might be more suitable for our needs in this slot.
MJ: Whatever, take another ACC guy as long as he’s not from Duke.
Assistant: How about Jared Dudley? He was the ACC player of the year.
MJ: Sounds great! What school is he from? Maryland?
Assistant: Boston College.
MJ: Boston College? That’s an ACC school?
Assistant: Yes, has been for two years.
MJ: Fine, take him. I need to call Nike and see about getting our colors changed to Carolina blue for next year.
I’m man enough to admit that there were three players in the first round that I’ve never heard of, and they all went to US colleges.
Wow, the Pacers really went nuts, trading a future second round pick for some stiff from Bosnia the Heat selected in the second round. Well done, Larry. He can replace that other stiff who’s always injured, David Harrison, as the third center. Big moves! Shaking up the franchise!
Finally, I caught Stuart Scott doing his act with Wilson Chandler after the Knicks took him, despite never working him out. Stuart tried to be super cool, be Chandler’s buddy, etc. and said, “Just between you and me, no one else has to know, what did Spike Lee say to you?” Best line of the night was from the overwhelmed Chandler, who didn’t understand he was supposed to play along with Stuart’s little game. “I’ve never talked to Spike, he just shook my hand.” Well done, Wilson.
Oh, Joakim Noah’s overall look was outstanding!
I’m sure I missed some other good stuff, or at least things to get my blood pressure up, but that’s all I’ve got for now.