Live Blog of the NBA Draft

Title: Live Blog of the NBA Draft
Date: June 26, 2008
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: This was an exhausting day, reacting to trades and doing this enormous live-blog of the NBA Draft. As usual with draft pieces, it’s funny and interesting to look back on instant reactions now that they’ve had four years to settle in.

Hey all, keep refreshing this page all day and through the entire draft for my comments and draft coverage in real time. And don’t forget to check our Draft Hub for our pre-draft analysis, resources, and a slew of articles.

After the jump you can check out the live blog with analysis of each pick and trade as they happened, but just quickly to pique your interest:

Draft Day Trades
Portland Trail Blazers trade Omer Asik to Chicago Bulls for three future 2nd round picks.
Portland Trail Blazers trade Mike Taylor to Los Angeles Clippers for a future 2nd round pick.
Houston Rockets trade Darrell Arthur to Memphis Grizzlies for Donte Greene and a future 2nd round pick.
Houston Rockets trade Nicolas Batum to Portland Trail Blazers for Darrell Arthur and Joey Dorsey.
Washington Wizards trade Bill Walker to Boston Celtics for cash considerations.
Minnesota Timberwolves trade O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner to Memphis Grizzlies for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins
Minnesota Timberwolves trade Mario Chalmers to Miami Heat for two future 2nd round picks and cash.
Detroit Pistons trade D.J. White to Seattle Super Sonics for the #32 and #46 picks.
Portland Trail Blazers acquire Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless from the Indiana Pacers for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush
New Jersey Nets trade Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee Bucks for Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlin.
Toronto Raptors trade T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, and the #17 pick to Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O’Neal and #41 pick. (not 100% ‘official’ but agreed upon)
Denver Nuggets trade #20 pick to Charlotte Bobcats for a future, protected 1st round pick
New Orleans Hornets trade #27 pick to Portland Trail Blazers for cash.
 Live Blog after the jump!
6:20
Welcome to the Live Blog people! I’m here in Ancaster with my boy Trevor Smith, RapsTV on the screen, and 40 minutes to draft time. Keep checking back here for the picks and some discussion. T-Smith has us on the right track by claiming that Robert Swift should be the face of the Sonics franchise. Good start, sound analysis already.

6:30
Jay Bilas is on the screen! Everyone has uncommon athleticism with freakish upside and extraterrestrial court vision!!!

Trev and I are discussing the merits of Candace Parker as an NBA prospect. Obviously, that would never happen, but with how she’s playing right now and the marketing potential behind it, I say she’d at the very worst be a first round pick, possibly even a lottery pick.

6:35
The rumors right now:
*The Spurs have sent a mass e-mail out to the entire league shopping the 26th overall pick.
*It looks pretty certain that, if OJ Mayo goes 3rd to Minnesota, that the #7 plus a future 1st for the #4 is going down, with Seattle taking Brook Lopez if available at #7 and the Clippers taking Eric Gordon at #4.
*There are 572 teams that Memphis is discussing trades with for the #5 pick. Ditto for the Wizards’ pick at #18.
*There is still the rumored Marion and the #2 for Brand and the #7 deal looming. I’d like that deal for both squads – it makes the Heat competitive again and they can get a solid point guard at #7, while Marion gets to be the #1 guy like he wants. I’d have to think then that the Clippers take Mayo at #2 in that scenario, both because of his LA ties, his marketability, and the fact that Beasley and Marion is not really a compatible duo.
*Raptors TV is reporting that Colangelo is working his butt off to get another pick, or moving the #41 pick into the first round.

6:42
Don’t worry Knicks fans, Isaiah Thomas is tied up in a basement somewhere.

6:45
In response to Paul: Yes, suits will be discussed in great detail. All three Raptors TV guys are very plain, and Sherman Anderson is in an old-man-grey suit that isn’t all that snazzy.

In response to Gagan: I’m guessing a lot, if you didn’t see my Hoops Addict article today. I think three of the top-10 picks will be dealt, and you’ll see Elton Brand moved, among others. Most teams are looking to be active today, and I’d expect Detroit, Phoenix, the Clippers, the Heat, and the Raptors to be the most active teams.

And one more note: I just read that O.J. Mayo officially signed with Nike today. Good lookin’ out by Nike…he and LeBron are going to be a nasty 1-2 punch, especially if Mayo ends up being Kobe-esque in popularity (as I expect)…I see the ‘good guy, bad guy’ commercial potential already, if Mayo can get on LeBron’s level.

6:50
ESPN is reporting that the Sonics and Clippers have broken off trade talks. That could mean Mayo is expected to slip to #4, which is the best thing that could happen to the Sonics and Kevin Durant.

Also, Jermaine O’Neal has confirmed to sources that the Raptors-Pacers trade is official, though it will remain unofficial for league purposes until July 9.

7:00
Here we go! ESPN Pre-Draft Show via Raptors TV. Draft gets going at 7:30…this pre-show should be entertaining, if not informative. These things have a tendency to just be analysts saying ‘this might happen’ and ‘that might happen.’ Well, obviously, anything could happen…what WILL happen, boys? Stuart Scott leading us off, Jay Bilas, Marc Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy in the house, Dick Vitale being brought in later, and Stephen A. Smith The Idiot doing player interviews. We’ve got a good intro package but they ruin it with a Fort Minor song.

They showed a few guys and here are my thoughts: Beasley is going to ball out of control off the court, Bayless looks like a real player, Love looks NBA ready well beyond two months ago, Eric Gordon is ready for prom, Danilo Gallinari’s suit and hair scream bust (though I don’t think that’s the case) and O.J. Mayo looks like a professor in a bad Coach Carter-ish movie. Seriously, Mayo has a very clean cut beard, very little bling, and glasses.

7:05
Jay Bilas has his rankings: Rose, Beasley, Lopez, Mayo, Love, Augustin. Trevor and I agree that Mayo will probably be the best player from this draft, but everyone is afraid of him.

Chiacgo Bulls will select Derrick Rose, officially. Rose’s goal is to be the MVP this year, according to his session on Pardon the Interruption, and Andy Katz calls it the best fit, which simply isn’t true. Beasley is the best fit as they need inside scoring, but Rose is the best pick, there is a difference.

Apparently, the Heat will select Beasley instead of trading him after weeks of saying how much they don’t like him. That’ll work.

7:17
Stephen A. Smith: What makes Michael Beasley so special?
Michael Beasley: I’m a beast, I’m a dog, I’m the mutha****in problem. D-Rose is a goon, but what’s a goon to a goblin?

O.J. Mayo is asked about how his life since age 14 has been leading up to this, and Mayo is speaking exactly how he looks – like a focused and mature inidividual. Polite, and wishing everyone else luck, etc. Seriously, if he slips out of the top-3 I may die.

7:24
The Sonics have the most picks with 6 (1/10 of the draft, #4, 24, 32, 46, 50, and 56), Porland has 5, and nobody else has more than 3, for now.

7:27
Of the last 6 Knicks draft picks, only one ever appears for the Knicks, David Lee. Mardy Collins started a fight, Wilson Chandler is…wait, who?, Renaldo Balkman is a bad energy player, Mike Sweetney is closing in on 400lbs., and Channing Frye was jettisoned for Zach Randolph. Ouch. Can’t inspire confidence in the #6 pick or in whoever they pick there (probably Gallinari).

7:30
Heyyy, Fort Minor again, and this video package is already officially annoying. The Bulls are on the clock people, the draft is under way!

David Stern welcomes us to boos from the New York faithful. Hey, it’s not his fault you guys can’t draft! Then they boo Stern’s bad canned joke about the Celtics. Fair enough, that time. Now we get to wait 5 minutes for the official Derrick Rose announcement.

#1. The Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
This is the right call. I’ve beaten this issue to death by now, but Rose is a winner and will be a top-flight point guard in the NBA. While he doesn’t fit that well with Hinrich, Duhon, and Gordon already there, he is the hometown boy and is better than all three of those guys. Beasley was the best fit here but too big a risk for a team that is probably ready to win now. My guess would be that they either let Gordon go as a restricted free agent and look to trade Hinrich or Duhon. Ty Thomas is an additional trade piece to throw in there, and I could definitely see a Hinrich, Hughes, Thomas, and a future pick for Elton Brand deal going down.

Rose seems ecstatic and his mom is trying not to cry. At the table behind Mrs. Rose, there is an R. Kelly look alike with dark shades and cornrows. He’s very very shady and I wan’t to know whose table he is at.

#2. The Miami Heat select Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State
Like the #1 pick, it’s not really a great fit. Beasley replicates a lot of what Shawn Marion offers, but Beasley could be a huge success and is fine at #2. They couldn’t take Mayo with Wade around, but I’m very shocked they couldn’t find a way to move this pick. Regardless, Beasley should be a great player when he matures (mentally, not physically, he is very much a kid still) and will contribute enough immediately to make the Heat a threat in the East again. The Heat are not done moving for the offseason, I’m sure, so the Wade-Beasley-Marion trio may not be in tact come November.

For Paul – Beasley’s outfit isn’t that great. It’s a very plain jacket and not a great shirt and tie combo, but the enormous earrings are a plus.

#3. Minnesota Timberwolves select O.J. Mayo, SG, USC
Definitely the right pick here, and I was afraid for Minnesota that they’d go with Lopez or Love. R. Kelly look-alike was with Mayo, by the way, so maybe we shouldn’t be fooled by the fresh suit and clean cut look. Mayo is ready to contribute right now, and he and Al Jefferson should be a fantastic duo. The team has absolutely nothing around those two (Telfair, Foye, Jaric, and Gomes all started last year), so don’t expect Mayo to turn the team around right away, but he should be given the freedom to put up Rookie of the Year caliber numbers. Seriously, Mayo is the whole package and he could be a steal even as high as #3.

Mayo is going to bring a lot of hard work and determination to Minnesota, he says, and he claims he can play the point at the NBA level, too. Minnesota needs a two-guard more than a point guard, but they need both so who knows. He’s the top USC draft pick ever, by the way.

#4. Seattle Super Sonics select Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA
Trevor doesn’t like the pick here. I don’t mind Westbrook, but we both thought Jerryd Bayless was a better choice. The two are nearly a wash, though Westrbook’s defense is superior to Bayless’. Regardless, we can all agree that a point guard here was the right pick, as Durant desperately needed someone to take some of the playmaking burden off of him. This could allow Durant to handle the ball a little less and slide to small forward, but more importantly it gives him someone to run a 2-man game with. With their later picks, I’d expect the Sonics to try and get a physical big, both because they need it and because it would allow them to use Chris Wilcox as trade bait.

Russell says he is a point guard, no questions asked, and Durant is smiling a great deal while interviewed. Durant likes his character and defense, as do I. Good looking out for Seattle to take a guard here instead of falling into the draft-big trap.

#5. Memphis Grizzlies select Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
Again, I’m surprised at the lack of player and pick movement so far. Love is the right pick for the Grizz, though, who already have a swingman in Rudy Gay and a stable of point guards. Love is the best passing big man in the draft, maybe ever, and he looks fantastic at 15 pounds lighter. His defense is the biggest question mark, but with his UCLA pedigree and basketball IQ he should be an offensive weapon paired with Gay. A Conley-Miller-Gay-Love trio covers all aspects of the offense, they just need to add another big and find some defense.

He feels he can be a double-double guy and needs to improve, but he’s on the right path. Agreed. Kevin Love’s dad has a fantastic duster mustache, awesome.

#6. New York Knicks select Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy
There was no right decision here as the Knicks need everything, but I figured a point guard would be the call with D’Antoni at the helm. Despite the reports, I didn’t expect the Knicks to take a risk on an international player, especially with such a bad draft history. I’m high on Gallinari as an immediate mid-level contributor and long-term star, but these players are always projects and massive risks. I like Danilo here at #6 for any other team, but the Knicks needed something sure-fire to appease the fans and build around. Gallinari is a good fit with D’Antoni and has a bright future but still, not the right call for a franchise in that type of situation.

Gallo apparently means ‘rooster,’ and Reebok has already created a shoe called The Rooster for Danilo. That’s pretty cool, and I really hope this pick works out because I like him a lot.

#7. Los Angeles Clippers select Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana
I really thought Bayless would be the pick here, as the Clippers depeserately need a new franchise point guard to insure against Shaun Livingston. Gordon appears to be a great prospect with high-end scoring potential, but I’m not entirely sold on him yet, probably because of T-Smith insistent claims that he won’t be a great player. Gordon will help shoulder the scoring load, and the Clippers should be able to fill it up if Maggette and Brand are around, but in the long term I don’t think we’ll mention Gordon as one of the best of this class.

Stephen A. Smith doesn’t see a point guard on the Clippers’ roster, and asks the 7th straight player “what can you give this team?”

#8. Milwaukee Bucks select Joe Alexander, SF, West Virginia
This is the first pick I flat out don’t like. I don’t like Alexander, and the pick really doesn’t make sense after trading for Richard Jefferson, giving them a plethora of oversized 3s or undersized 4s. Alexander has upside because he hasn’t been balling all that long, but I don’t think his unorthodox skill set will translate into NBA success.

See? I don’t have to justify every pick for everyone!

#9. Charlotte Bobcats select D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas
Another questionable pick, and I’m starting to get the feeling people came into this draft unprepared. The Bobcats have a great deal of question marks, but point guard wasn’t one of them. Augustin is going to be a good player, but I think Bayless is a better one, and I question the Bobcats drafting a guard with such a glaring hole at power forward.

#10. New Jersey Nets select Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
Monster value here for the Nets, who probably didn’t envision Lopez slipping this far. Lopez will be the only Net not named Devin Harris that will even score this year, and the Nets really needed his inside scoring. While there are questions about his NBA productivity, Lopez is a big body with, I think, limited downside. Good fit and value here.

Brother Robin tells us that Brook is a big mean streak. Brook laughs like an idiot on stage, through tears.

Trevor: How did these idiots get into Stanford?

#11. Indiana Pacers select Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona
I don’t understand this one at all. The Kings are kicking themselves, as they had to be salivating at Bayless falling one more spot. The Pacers traded for T.J. Ford today, and the analysts are saying that trade is still there, meaning Ford and Bayless will split time and the Pacers will blackmail someone into taking on Jamal Tinsley. Bayless and Ford are too small to play together, but it should provide a nice learning curve cushion for Bayless. Still, loading up on guards in one day just because you didn’t have one before, when you have other big holes, doesn’t sit right with me.

Bayless has the best suit of the day so far, a pimpin’ cream-colored get up.

#12. Sacramento Kings selected Jason Thompson, PF, Rider
I can give them the power forward selection given their needs, but it’s much too early for Thompson, who is not even at the draft. He’ll fit well next to Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes, but he really has to improve defensively and I don’t see him making any discernible impact. The Kings lost out on a point guard with the bizarre Pacers pick, so this may have been a slight scramble pick. I should apologize here for not including Thompson in my position by position breakdowns, he somehow slipped off of my radar. The synopsis: he’s alright, will probably be a decent big man but nothing special, and #12 is too early.

#13. Portland Trail Blazers select Brandon Rush, SG, Kansas
If Rush can handle playing small forward, this is a great selection. Regardless, it’s great value at this point in the draft. They’ll either have Roy at the point and Rush at the two or Roy at the two and Rush off the bench, either of which makes Rush a huge addition. He is the best 3-point shooter in the draft and gives them wing depth that will let them save money at those positions instead of re-signing their current players for a little more money. Trev said it best, the rich get richer.

Third time’s a charm for Rush, getting drafted in the third draft he’s officially entered.

#14. Golden State Warriors select Anthony Randolph, PF, LSU
This is a bad pick no matter how you look at it. Golden State is ready to win now, and Randolph isn’t ready to contribute yet. Golden State has Brendan Wright, and Randolph is a poor man’s Wright. I really don’t like Randolph, I think he’ll be the biggest bust from the lottery, and he’s going to need at least two years to be ready to contribute. Anthony Randolph, meet Brendan Wright and Patrick O’Bryant.

Randolph thinks we’re underestimating his strength. I think you’re overrating yourself, champ.

#15. Phoenix Suns (via Atlanta Hawks) select Robin Lopez, C, Stanford
What the heck?? Seriously, what?? This is wrong because:

a) They have Shaquille O’Neal and Amare Stoudemire
b) They’re supposed to be an up-tempo team
c) They needed guard help

Sure, the Suns needed help defensively and they’ve been looking for depth behind their bigs, but Lopez is questionable fit with Nash and the Suns. A good player, probably, but not a good fit at all. I would have liked Mario Chalmers, Marreese Speights, and Darrell Arthur would have made more sense here. Please let me reiterate though: I love Robin Lopez, I just think it’s a really stupid pick for Phoenix.

Trev is really upset with how dumb Lopez looks with a hat squished on his afro.

Note: I am in absolute shock that no trades have gone down during the draft yet. Shocked.

#16. Philadelphia 76ers select Marreese Speights, C, Florida
Speights is a good pick here for Philly. They have the time to wait a little bit and will need a big if they want to replace Sam Dalembert eventually (or pair someone with him). Speights’ concerns should be easy to fix, and he’s already a good rebounder with an NBA body. He’ll probably play a decent amount right away but don’t expect anything monumental from him. The 76ers couldn’t get a franchise-level guy here, so someone decent who fits with Lou, Iggy, and Thad makes sense.

#17. Indiana Pacers (via Toronto Raptors) select Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
This one makes sense for the Pacers, for sure. They just dealt O’Neal to the Raptors so they have a maor hole in the middle. Hibbert isn’t going to be the face of a franchise, but he’s a solid piece to add to a developing young team. The Pacers have picked up Bayless and Hibbert here to pair with Granger, and they also grabbed T.J. Ford, so this has been a one-day rebuilding session for Indy. We’ll see what they can get for Tinsley but Larry Bird has to be pretty pleased with his Thursday.

By the way, can ESPN please update their Raptors symbol? They haven’t used the Raptor logo in half of a decade, it’s really upsetting Trev, and it’s simply irresponsible and lazy.

#18. Washington Wizards select JaVale McGee, PF, Nevada
Trev and I finally disagree – he likes this pick for the Wiz, and I downright don’t like McGee. I’m not high on him, but if he becomes what some think he will become, then I can concede that it’s a good fit for Washington. They’re pretty set in the middle if Jamison stays, and there are no true point guards left to replace Gilbert Arenas, so a big makes sense.

Portland Trail Blazers acquire Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless from the Indiana Pacers for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush
Kevin Pritchard is the man. The man. This is a case of Portland being awesome, not Indiana being stupid, that’s for sure. It makes some sense for the Pacers still, as they get their backup for Ford in Jack and Rush fits well next to Granger (and is reunited with brother Kareem), but this helps the Blazers a great deal. Bayless is an awesome fit for the Blazers at the point, allowing Roy to stay at shooting guard, and giving them a more natural point guard to run pick-and-rolls with Greg Oden. Trev set the over/under on years until the Blazers win a title at 4, and I think I have to take the under. This team is simply unreal. Wow. Bayless, Roy, Webster, Outlaw, Oden, Aldridge, Digou, Frye…the list goes in. They also have $30M in expiring contracts with Francis and LaFrentz. Seriously, damn!

#19. Cleveland Cavaliers select J.J. Hickson, PF, North Carolina State
The Cavs should have probably gone with an NBA-ready player here to help LeBron with the workload. Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers made a lot of sense, and C-D-R did, too, but Hickson is the exact opposite. The Cavs pick up another big man to throw in their rotation of mediocre bigs, and I don’t see any way this pick makes them a better team for 2008-09, or even into the future. Hickson could turn out to be a nice player, but he won’t help a team win games right now, and until LeBron’s future is certain, that should have been the Cavs goal.

#20. Charlotte Bobcats (via Denver Nuggets) select Alexis Ajinca, C, France
Ajinca has been flying up draft boards recently, but this pick is slgihtly puzzling with Kosta Koufos and DeAndre Jordan still on the board. He’s “big and long” with a 7’8″ wingspan, that’s all you really need to know. Ajinca is a standard European selection – he’s huge but he’s a major project and may stay in Europe for a couple of years before he’s ready to contribute. I say this is puzzling just because you’d think Larry Brown would prefer a more ready-to-contribute player, and this is a team that desperately needs their first playoff appearance sometime soon.

#21. New Jersey Nets (via Dallas Mavericks) select Ryan Anderson, PF, California
Trevor asks if they are throwing the draft, and if they should try and at least hide that they’re throwing the next two seasons. Yes and no, respectively, why not be honest. Anderson is an alright prospect offensively but is pretty much a sieve on the defensive end. He’ll complement Lopez well on the offensive end, but damn, Vince Carter better be ready to score this season. Not a great pick, but there really wasn’t anything that would have had the Nets excited at this point.

Darrell Arthur is probably going to go off the board at 23, by the way. The Magic will probably take Chalmers or Courtney Lee, who fill two needs as a defensive minded combo guard, but the Jazz could use another swingman and Arthur is a good fit there.

#22. Orlando Magic select Courtney Lee, SG, Western kentucky
They could have justified going in any direction here given that they need a little bit all over, but this is a great pick for them. They needed a 2-guard, they needed perimeter defense, and they needed someone ready to play right now, all of which Lee is with certainty. I said that Lee would be my sleeper of the draft, and I stand by that now as he enters a good situation where he can contribute immediately.

#23. Utah Jazz select Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State
Shows what I know! The Jazz go in the only direction Trevor and I didn’t discuss. Koufos is a poor defender and rebounder and will need time to turn into a meaningful contributor. The Jazz probably should have drafted someone that could come in off of the bench right now and help with a playoff push, but Koufos will probably need D-League seasoning and a load of patience that the Jazz and Jerry Sloan don’t (and can’t afford to) have.

#24. Seattle Super Sonics (via Phoenix Suns) select Serge Ibaka, PF, Croatia
Apparently I couldn’t be an NBA GM. Trevor and I just discussed how a more sure-thing big would make sense since they have time to develop him, and a Chalmers/Douglas-Roberts/Arthur player would have taken the load off of Durant while allowing him to the play the three. Instead, they go with a project big man that will stay overseas for some time. The good thing about Ibaka is that his scouting report doesn’t read like the standard project big man – he doesn’t rely solely on athleticism and size, and his game at both ends is more polsihed than you’d expect for this type of player. It’s a long-term pick and it’s risky, but it’s definitely safer than the Sear Sene debacle from a few years back. I don’t hate it, but there were players available that could have really helped Durant for the next few years.

#25. Houston Rockets select Nicolas Batum, SG, France
I had no idea what to expect here, as the Rockets could use help everywhere but don’t have any glaring holes. Batum makes sense because they can leave him in France to develop for a year or two before ushering him in to eventually replace T-Mac. Trev has seen him live and says he’s a great athlete. I say it’s a great pick, because you can afford to take a gamble at this point if you’re a decent team with no real holes. Batum is also the right guy to take the chance on, since he has lottery-level skill and potential.

#26. San Antonio Spurs select George Hill, PG, IUPUI
This is way way way earlier than I expected to see Hill go. I like Hill, out of IUPUI, as a combo guard that has good potential as a scorer. He has just 3% body fat, apparently. I’m not sure how he fits on the Spurs, who I thought would certainly draft one of the experienced and reliable swingmen available, since he’s a similar player to Parker and Ginobili. This draft has officially become bizarre. Jordan, Douglas-Roberts, Arthur, Greene, and Chalmers are all still on the board (Jordan, I called), and three of those would have made great Spurs.

#27. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Orleans Hornets) select Darrell Arthur, SF, Kansas
We forgot Rudy Fernandez in the big list of talented young Blazers earlier, and you can go ahead and add to the list, too. All I’ll say about this pick is that this team just got slightly more ridiculous, making them a sure-fire 275 out of 100 on my ridiculous scale.

The reason for Arthur slipping is apparently a debated kidney issue, but even if he isn’t healthy, the Blazers have had another great day. Take a closer look:

PG – Bayless, Rodriguez, Blake
SG – Roy, Fernandez
SF – Webster, Outlaw, Arthur
PF – Aldridge, Frye, Diogu
C – Oden
Other – $30M in expiring contracts (Francis and LaFrentz) and Darius Miles

#28. Memphis Grizzlies (via Los Angeles Lakers) select Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
Umm, Greene is a poor man’s Rudy Gay or a slightly poorer man’s Hakim Warrick. Greene may end up falling between the two in terms of talent, but it doesn’t make sense to me to draft something you already have in spades, especially with question marks elsewhere. Maybe it’ll work out for them, who knows, this franchise is a half decade away from competing anyways.

#29. Detroit Pistons select D.J. White, PF, Indiana
The Big-10 player of the year is probably a little underrated heading in, but he has lost some athleticism (somehow). He’s a good rebounder and a good body, but he’s essentially Jason Maxiell. This means one of White or Maxiell will have to play center at times, which is an iffy proposition. This could also signal that Rasheed Wallace is on his way out, but it’s maybe too soon to speculate. I thought Detroit would have went with a swingman off the bench, but you can never have too much depth, so they say, and the Pistons didn’t really need anything specific.

#30. Boston Celtics select J.R. Giddens, SG, New Mexico
Did they have “combo guard” and “defense” written on their sheet and then not bother to look to see if Mario Chalmers was still there? It seems strange to draft a player with character issues, too. I’m really surprised with this pick. He’s not a bad player, this just isn’t a smart pick for a team that has a chance to win another Championship this year.

Umm, Dick Vitale just said maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard – players should be allowed to enter the draft out of high school but if they go they should have to stay three years. How does that make any sense?

Detroit Pistons trade D.J. White to Seattle Super Sonics for the #32 and #46 picks.
Makes sense for both sides, as the Pistons will probably get two roster players out of the deal, saving them money this season, while the Sonics get a rotation player that can help with their significant rebounding deficiencies.

Just a note that after the first round, I will be slowing down the live blog, just posting one or two sentences about each pick, to save my sanity and your time. With Arthur, C-D-R, Chalmers, and Greene all slipping, the chances of the Raptors scoring a usable player (Bill Walker?) at #41 continue to improve. And so few trades? What the heck!?

Second Round
#31. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Miami Heat) – Nikola Pekovic, C, Serbia and Montenegro – a lock to go #31 since he has lottery level talent but just signed a major long-term deal in Turkey so it will be tough to bring him over.
#32. Detroit Pistons (via Seattle Super Sonics) – Walter Sharp, PF, UAB – he’s a more long-term version of D.J. White, another potential energy/hustle big man that fits in with what the Pistons do, though #32 is early for him.
#33. Portland Trail Blazers (via Memphis Grizzlies) – Joey Dorsey, PF, Memphis – well Stu just died a little inside, as the rich getting richer get even richer. This just makes sense, too much sense, and I’m officially afraid of Kevin Pritchard. Great fit off the bench behind Oden and Aldridge.
#34. Minnesota Timberwolves – Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansa – finally, he comes off the board, and should help the T-Wolves to be less horrendous this year. He complements Mayo and Foye well and will keep them from consistently getting torched by other guards. Great value here.
#35. Los Angeles Clippers – DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M – this officially makes my selection for ‘biggest draft slide’ correct. Jordan is a project and the Clippers have time. Makes sense, right?
#36. Portland Trail Blazers (via New York Knicks) – Omer Asik, C, Turkey – their 47th pick in the past three years nets them yet another European to stash away. He’s one of the better European prospects in some time but he just signed a 5-year deal with no opt-out clause in Turkey, meaning it’ll be tough to bring him over.
#37. Milwaukee Bucks – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, UCLA – didn’t expect him to be drafted for sure, but this Cameroonian Prince is a serious defender with great rebounding. He’ll probably hit the D-League given the Bucks’ plethora of forwards.
#38. Charlotte Bobcats – Kyle Weaver, SG, Washington State – can’t really shoot but he is a great playmaker and perimeter defender out of both guard positions. If Jay Bilas says length one more time I may die.
#39. Chicago Bulls – Sonny Weems, SG, Arkansas – I’m pretty sure they just put up Joey Graham’s photo, and he won the NCAA Dunk Contest this year, so he even plays like Graham. No joke, this guy is Joey Graham offensively, defensively, and facially.
#40. New Jersey Nets – Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis – this is just straight-up way too late for CDR to go. He was the 2nd best player on the National Champions, and there is no excuse for him to go this late. The Nets get a huge steal here, leaving Bill Sky Walker on the board for the Raptors.
#41. Toronto Raptors (via Indiana Pacers) – Nathan Jawai, C, Australia – the Raps were rumored to be looking at him just outisde of the lottery earlier in the year but he really dropped off in the time since then. Jawai could eventually be some beef in the paint but is a few years away and leaving Bill Walker on the board is ABSOLUTELY CRIMINAL. Ohhhh boy am I mad.
#42. Sacramento Kings (via Atlanta Hawks) – Sean Singletary, PG, Virginia – the Kings felt they needed another point guard, and they got the best one still available. While not an impact player, he could step in for back-up minutes but he’d really thrive with a year in the D-League.
#43. Sacramento Kings – Patrick Ewing Jr., SF, Georgetown – great defender but he didn’t even start at Georgetown. He’s a great athlete with half-decent shooting and above average defense, meaning he could be a character guy/role player right away.
#44. Utah Jazz (via Philadelphia 76ers) – Ante Tomic, C, Croatia – a European big with high upside that will spend a few years overseas before being given a look. Could have been a first round pick. Lather, rinse, repeat.
#45. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors) – Goran Dragic, PG, Slovenia – a European guard with some upside that will spend a few years overseas before being given a look. Lather, rinse, repeat.
#46. Detroit Pistons (via Seattle Super Sonics via Portland Trail Blazers) – Trent Plaisted, PF, Brigham Young – BYU? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Apparently this is a big who plays smaller. Could see some run for the Pistons but at this point, even I’m starting to get lost.
#47. Washington Wizards – Bill Walker, SF, Kansas State – Holy crap ABOUT TIME!!!! Sorry, but seriously, this guy has lottery talent, a great scouting report, and if it wasn’t for some knee concerns he would be a sure-fire success. To get this guy at #47 is absolutely unreal, and he’ll be a great energy player off the bench behind the Jamison-Butler forward duo.
#48. Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland Cavaliers) – Malik Hairston, SG, Oregon – I’m surprised the Suns didn’t feal this pick like they usually do, especially since Hairston doesn’t offer enough to get run on the Suns.
#49. Golden State Warriors – Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama – one of the best names and haircuts in the draft, this was lower than I thought he’d go. He’s an NBA-ready body but doesn’t do any one thing well enough to warrant playing time yet.
#50. Seattle Super Sonics (via Denver Nuggets) – DeVon Hardin, C, California – another guy I thought went a little late, since he’s the package scouts drool over – size, body, athleticism, defensive instincts. His maturity is low and the Sonics didn’t really need yet another big man, but at this point, whatever!
#51. Dallas Mavericks – Shan Foster, SG, Vanderbilt – Shan recorded a song to mark the occasion. Unfortunately, it referred to playing in the NBA, something he probably won’t get to do much of. He specializes as a shooter but doesn’t have consistency of NBA 3-point range yet.
#52. Miami Heat (via Orlando Magic) – Darnell Jackson, PF, Kansas – the forgotten Jayhawk gets picked up and should see some time in a very bare front court in South Beach.
#53. Utah Jazz – Tadija Dragicevic, SF, Serbia – a third pick, a third big international player, this time one who probably won’t make the show. Great ULEB numbers but almost no scouting report on the guy, which has to be a bad sign.
#54. Houston Rockets – Maarty Leunen, SF, Orgeon – Double-A slipped beneath any hype at all and with good reason, since he’s basically a less heralded Steve Novak.
#55. Portland Trail Blazers (via Phoenix Suns) – Mike Taylor, PG, Iowa State/Idaho Stampede – a weird situation where he had college eligibility left but left and played in the D-League without declaring for the draft, making him the first ever D-League draftee. He has awesome speed and good numbers but has a past haunted with character issues.
#56. Seattle Super Sonics (via New Orleans Hornets – Sasha Kaun, C, Kansas – another big for the Sonics, with a twist: Kaun could be one of the first NCAA-drafted players to be stored in Europe, as he just signed with CSKA Moscow.
#57. San Antonio Spurs – James Gist, PF, Maryland – looks like he belongs on The Wire, he is a supreme athlete that lacks general basketball skill.
#58. Los Angeles Lakers – Joe Crawford, SG, Kentucky – Chad Ford doesn’t think he’ll stick in the league. I’ll second that, especially as a Laker pick.
#59. Detroit Pistons – Deron Washington, SF, Virginia Tech – weighs 0 pounds according to ESPN, but that doesn’t stop him from being a low-probability flyer with the second last pick. Great athlete, lacks skill.
#60. Boston Celtics – Semih Erdin, C, Turkey – Yawn.

Minnesota Timberwolves trade Mario Chalmers to Miami Heat for two future 2nd round picks and cash
Chalmers is a better fit on Miami, anyways, spending time at the point to ease the ball handling burden on Wade and shoring up their perimeter defense.

Minnesota Timberwolves trade O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner to Memphis Grizzlies for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins
This deal makes sense for the T-Wolves, financially and from a basketball perspective. When they couldn’t strike a deal to move the pick during the draft, they took Mayo to ensure they had a valuable asset to move. Love was their target all along, and by doing things this way they also pick up a major asset in Mike Miller, who is an asset either on the floor or for a later trade. They take on Brian Cardinal’s bad contract but also shed Marko Jaric’s, which is a year longer, making this deal a financial success for them as well. Whether or not Love and Jefferson mesh well together is yet to be seen (spoiler: they will), and the Wolves still need to explore a swingman for the future, but this is still a fairly solid trade.

For Memphis, things are less clear. Devoid of a big man, Love made sense as a piece to put with Conley, Miller, and Rudy Gay. Now the Grizz are extremely guard-heavy with Conley, Lowry, Crittenton, and Mayo, plus Gay, who is a swingman who can’t play down low. This leaves them with very little in terms of options in the paint, so I think you’ll see them explore trade options to get rid of some of that point guard depth. Even with those concerns, this is a move that improves their future beyond what a Gay-Love duo (hahaha, YES!) could provide, since the Conley-Mayo-Gay trifecta has the potential to be an offensive juggernaut. There are more questions to ask for the Memphis side of things, but you normally can’t complain when you get the best player in the deal, perhaps even in the draft.

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