Draft Diary II: In Mitch We Trust
It’s my second annual running diary of the NBA Draft! I think doing it for two years in a row actually gives you the right to say annual. Apparently last year’s draft was about as deep as Jaden Smith’s Twitter account, and mercifully about as long as Jaden Smith’s acting career. Let’s hope this one is more of a Jay Williams-esque trajectory – a short but eventful run that has a few pretty bad mistakes mixed in. And hey, he’s announcing it too! Before we get started, drinking games for tonight:
- Jalen Rose saying “skill player or will player,” “millions of dollars to play,” or “positionless basketball” or Jay Bilas saying “wingspan”
- Mentions of how the Warriors were built through the draft
- Thoughts of trading DeMarcus Cousins, Lamarcus Aldridge, or Kevin Love
5:35 Why does Minnesota take an extra five minutes when their pick was decided two weeks ago? Same goes for the Lakers? Also, tip your glass back for a Jay Bilas wingspan alert!
5:37 – And here we go. I would keep Woj’s Twitter open but it only slightly ruins the fun.
5:41 – My immediate reactions, in the midst of chaos
- NOOOOOOOOOO WHAT WHY NOOO
- Can someone please find Jah so I can make sense of all this… WHERE IS JAH?
- Jaylen Brown is going to Cal and is supposed to be a Top 3 pick next year
- Hey, we can still get Cousins, Aldridge, or Love, right? *refills cup*
- I’ve opened Woj’s Twitter
- As much as this sucks, it kind of fucked up every other team’s plans. Now there’s legitimate potential that Philly takes Okafor (next to Embiid and Noel, both centers) and Phil Jackson incites a round of boos from the crowd by taking Kristaps Porzingis.
- Everyone thought Mitch was taking Jahlil. Blogs, mock drafts, obscure websites even. I guess we should be used to the secrecy and smokescreens, but this? We’re not used to foolishness.
- Last note on Okafor-Russell: Russell has that vision that you don’t see on guys that young, and he’s big, I’ll give him that. But it didn’t work on any top defenses. He’s also not too strong or explosive, and his defense is too impulsive. Okafor shot 66% this season and 80% (!!!!) on non-post-ups. He’s a center in a league with a 7’5” wingspan and good hands that don’t allow for too many legit guys to guard him. Russell’s problem is that playing in the NBA without talent means you have to rely solely on skill – and that’s a risk. Okafor’s? He’s just compared to the guy who went #1.
5:47 – Okafor has that pissed-off-but-keeping-a-dignified-reserve look. How sure as we that Sam Hinkie isn’t really David Kahn reborn (who was originally a reincarnation of Chris Wallace)? Kahn famously drafted three non-Stephen-Curry point guards and traded the best one (Lawson) for another PG (Luke Babbitt), and took four forwards over the next two years. None of those players, except for 36% shooter Ricky Rubio, is still on their team.
5:49 – Number 4 seems too high for Justise Winslow. Also, we need to have a Mudiay-cam to follow up the Vonleh-cam and Noel-cam from years past.
5:52 – YES OMG PORZINGIS THERE WILL BE RIOTS TONIGHT. I really think you have to go back to Ewing to see a Knicks pick that hasn’t been savagely boo’d.
5:53 – Stephen A. Smith is livid on Twitter. If we don’t get a rant with the words “temerity” and “unmitigated gall” I’ll be very disappointed
5:57 – Wow!!! Hezonja! How do you trust a guy who hasn’t played college ball in the States this high in the lottery? Only Pau and Dirk have exceeded expectations so far. He didn’t even average 5 points last season… I don’t get it!
5:58 – He’s also apparently kind of a dick. I like it. Plus, he has a fun name to say, ranking third behind Emeka Okafor (still unsigned for next season) and Bismack Biyombo
6:02 – Willie Cauley-Stein’s hair helps explain why he added “trill” to his name.That wasn’t a joke. Also, he and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for the most confusingly hyphenated team at Kentucky.
6:07 – Turn off the Mudiay cam! Didn’t we learn anything about mysterious foreign point guards with last year’s Dante Exum fiasco (following his Kobe Bryant comparison)?
6:17 – Considering how humbly Frank Kaminsky (a lock for the 2016 All-White-Guy 1st Team) interviews, it’s a shame that we couldn’t have Hezonja present as a counterweight.
6:22 – Aaand 10th is way too LOW for Winslow. On an unrelated note, this spot is where Elfrid Payton, C.J. McCollum, Austin Rivers, and Jimmer Fredette have gone in the last four drafts.
6:28 – Why don’t they have a reporter who’s closer to NBA-player-height to interview them as they walk off stage? That microphone’s starting to look heavy.
6:30 – Secretly rooting for Cameron Payne to be traded to the Warriors for Riley Curry so he and Steph can both use the #HowOldRobot at the same time.
6:33 – Kelly Oubre is wearing outrageous shoes a la John Oliver, but doesn’t get that Oliver did it as a joke.
6:56 – Why do they make a player wear a hat even if they’re not going there? They could keep a cap with their draft number on it. Or with Mystique from X-Men. That offstage reporter and the hat-hander-off should trade places every five picks.
7:17 – And Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is off the board. Would have been a good get at #27 for the Lake Show.
7:23 – I knew Coach Bud would be disgusted with Oubre’s shoes, but to trade him because of it? I think they got an extra ankle for Kyle Korver in return.
7:34 – Someone should tell Byron Scott’s face that he should be excited.
7:37 – Larry Nance Jr. apparently has “ability” and was projected more as a second round pick. Great. They’re 2/2 on bad picks. Remember when Jordan Clarkson was picked, and everyone liked it? Imagine the exact opposite. He would have been available at #34 too. Ugh. I want to change the title of this.
7:42 – “If you need someone to throw a fastball, he’s your guy” I think Bilas is losing it.
7:44 – Showing highlights of R.J. Hunter reminds me of JIMMER
7:50 – Would you wait three hours in that really humid-looking room for Adam Silver to recognize that your team exists for approximately sixteen seconds? I actually timed it from the time he emerges from the mysterious back room.
Sidenote: I brought this up last year, but what does Silver do back there? When David Stern was there, I thought that he might have strung up Mikahil Prokorov by the ankles to stop him from selling the Nets. After all, someone has to pay Deron Williams and Joe Johnson enough to star as the league’s most underwhelming backcourt. Maybe Silver’s done the same with Donald Sterling… that’s one way to enforce a lifetime ban.
7:55 – I think Kevon Looney as an American name is just as much of a joke as Kevan Lannister as a Westerosi name. The #30 spot is where Festus Ezeli, another dude with a weird name, was drafted.
8:05 – OMG Fran Fraschilla! Must mean we’re in for a slew of international guys. And a lot of hand waving by Fran.
8:06 – Fran just said “percolating” as if there wasn’t enough reason to love him.
8:15 – Anthony Brown is the Lakers’ final pick, moving them one-step closer to rolling out their rainbowtime offense featuring Jabari Brown, Tarik Black, the newly signed Danny Green, and the recently un-retired Vander Blue (cautiously staying away from Michael Redd and Aaron Gray). Would have been a good pick if they selected Okafor. I’m not letting this go.
8:18 – Almost on cue, ESPN runs a graphics package comparing Okafor’s post moves to those of Olajuwon, Abdul-Jabbar, and Duncan. It’s only mildly consoling that DeShawn Stevenson was once compared to Michael Jordan. I want to shoot someone. Not the graphics team though – they’re doing an impressive job.
8:21 – Pop quiz, what is Rakeem Christmas? (a) A legendary rapper’s holiday album, (b) the formal name of Jesus’ birthday in the Black Testament, or (c) A draftee that should have been taken by the Lakers a few picks earlier?
8:43 – Did Marcus Thornton drop out of the league and grow some hair so he could get re-drafted? And wasn’t he just on Boston? Because it just happened! He could have done all of that while I fell asleep in the last 20 minutes.
8:47 – It’s official! According to Fran, we’ve moved on to the warm body part of the draft. More accurately, the part where draftee highlights are in 144p. Also, more percolating. Some final thoughts from the agonizingly slow last few minutes.
- Satnam Singh is the first Indian-born player to be drafted. So much for the Sim Bhullar hype. Guess no one cares if you’re Canadian.
- Sir’Dominic Pointer proves that there will never be a dearth of original black names
- J.P. Tokoto at #58 is our last in-the-building player to be selected
My ultimate takeaway – I’d love to work at the Draft. Preferably as the guy who plays the music right before the pick is announced. Not only so I could steal that sound for my cell phone ringtone, but so I could get some consistency on the timings. Seriously, I can never tell when it’s going to start.