One of my favorite sports writers from years back and still today is Bill Simmons. One of his notorious pieces that ran every year was an NBA Draft Diary. Simmons would sit, and live timestamp the draft as he went. I tried it last night sitting in my good friend Mikey Mac’s basement. For whatever reason, even though this draft was sure to suck, we were interested because two local stars Kemba Walker of UCONN and Marshon Brooks of Providence were sure to go in the first round. Here’s what transpired in what could be the last piece of NBA action for a while since a lockout is more likely to happen than in the NFL, which is already happening.
7:31 Welcome to the 2011 NBA Draft! Just finished up an opening montage with Adele’s Rolling in the Deep and a bunch of the picks dressed like 1920s mobsters. Mikey Mac can’t believe they aren’t playing more gangster music for the NBA Draft. I think it makes sense since Adele is a thick white chick.
7:33 David Stern smiles through the boos and greets us from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Which means Stu Scoot will be calling it “Brick City” the whole night. Stu’s just so damn hood it hurts.
7:34 Stern calls the crowd “A… good crowd.” then stares blankly at the screen. Mikey and I look at each other until Mikey shakes his head and says, “this guy’s a f$#%ing idiot.”
7:35 Cleveland is on the clock, even though they’ve been on the clock for over a month now. Mikey says the obvious “They gotta know by now…”
Jay Bilas tells us there is no Lebron James in this draft. I’d argue there are going to be 60 Lebron James’ in this draft by the time it’s over: none of them will have a ring, either. As of right now, I own Jay Bilas.
Stu Scott tells us Derrick Williams has “shotten” better than 40% from the 3 pt line. If you’re wondering, yes, spellcheck is alerting me to fix “shotten.” Thanks for that word, Stu.
7:38- Cavs roster is shown on a graphic and Alonzo Gee is listed as a starter at the 3. So it looks like Cleveland might be looking to upgrade at that position, since I’m not sure he’s a real person and Mikey Mac just said to nobody in particular “Who in the f#%k is Alonzo Gee?!”
7:39: Cleveland selects Kyrie Irving, and he hugs a man that Mikey Mac is convinced is Clyde Drexler. It’s not.
So if you’re wondering, Kyrie Irving is 6’1” weighs 190 pounds, played 11 games in college after a toe injury and goes #1 in the draft. No wonder this league is headed for a lockout. Mikey’s early analysis: “Derrick Williams is like, hell yeah I get to go to Minnesota now and let Kevin Love grab every fuckin rebound while I jack 3s.”
7:41: Mark Rose interviews Kyrie Irving and tells us he only worked out for Cleveland. If Stu and the boys let us know, we could have seen this pick coming sooner, I guess. The ESPN Microphone goes out itnermittently and we get almost no information from Kyrie. Cool. This is the perfect start to such a craptastic draft. We don’t even know what the #1 pick sounds like.
Kyrie’s dad, Clyde, er I mean Drederick is talking now, and he played for Boston University (they churn out not only amazing ballplayers, but bloggers as well). Dude is 3rd in points in school history, behind all-time leader (and good friend of the Revolver) Tunde Agboola, I mean Tunji Awojobi.
7:43: We get to the Wolves #2 pick which will be Derrick Williams. They discuss Ricky Rubio, and Mikey Mac cannot believe he averaged six points in Europe and we are even discussing him. Bilas asks who the Wolves leader is, since they can’t draft a veteran. This insight doesn’t grow on trees people. How about Kevin Love, Jay?! Dude just put up Moses Malone numbers for an entire season.
7:45: Timberwolves select Derrick Williams as expected. Mikey Mac has been waiting for this interview all day. He is convinced Williams would have gone #1 if it wasn’t for his poor teeth and inability to speak like an educated person. Jay Bilas says he has a loping style, but is explosive, and doesn’t rebound too well, but is efficient. He’s also good at getting And 1s, which I’m not sure you can measure.
Live look in to the Minnesota draft room. It has the vibe of a child’s wake until they realize they’re on TV and give a golf clap.
Derrick Williams interviews, Mikey Mac is on pins and needles. Now I am too. “Oh, he sounds good today…” This is a letdown. Williams sounds pretty normal. Even just used the word “Ultimately” to start his response. Williams is the strongest guy in the draft, we just found out. Something Jay Bilas might have wanted to say. Strength, Jay, is a viable attribute, not And1ingness.
7:49: Jazz on the Clock with the 3rd pick. This is where the draft gets interesting, because there isn’t a single guy left anyone seems to want in the top 10. Mikey Mac is convinced if Brandon Knight goes here, it’s the worst draft in league history since Brandon Knight from Pitt who had a better college career didnt even make the league.
7:51 Jazz select Enes Kanter: We have our first selection this year of a guy nobody has seen play besides at the Nike Hoops Summit. It won’t be our last, unfortunately. Kanter would have played for Kentucky, but he was deemed ineligible because he made money playing in Turkey before that. Which is weird since Coach Cal pays his players much more than Kanter ever made in Turkey.
Fran Fraschilla, the offical Euro-Scout for ESPN just let us know that Enes dropped a record 34 points in that Nike game, so he must be good. Fraschilla also tells us he will “fit in good with that group in Utah”… which is true, since he’s white.
Live look in to the Utah draft room: “They look like their mother just died.” -Mikey Mac.
Interview with a Turk: “I dedicate this first rookie season to Kentucky f23gionj (mangled word). I just learned my second language… incoherent rambling… rambling” and Mark Rose steals the mic. Kanter wraps up another answer and mercifully the interview is over. Honestly, outside of dedicating this first rookie season to Kentucky garbled mess, I’m just looking forward to Kanter’s second or third rookie season.
755: Cleveland is back on the clock. Jeff Van Gundy tells us Cleveland is “bereft of talent” and that actually is a word. Then JVG starts to say Valanciunas, but stops mid-way to call him “the big guy from Lithuania.” Love JVG. Jeff also points out how awkward the draft room claps are after the pick. “OF COURSE THEY’RE CLAPPING, IT’S NO SURPRISE, THEY MADE THE PICK!”
7:56 Cleveland takes Tristan Thompson from Texas. So the Cavs take the Canadian-Texan. Jay Bilas had Thompson as his 7th best available and tells us this isn’t a reach. But it clearly is since he should have been picked 11th at that rate. Bilas goes on to say he’s a great offensive rebounder, but not a good shooter… or scorer offensively. His footwork is “high level, he just needs to learn how to play and score.” Sounds like this guy should have been a dancer, since then he wouldn’t need to learn how to play OR score. Unless you count scoring with Natalie Portman when you’re her choreographer.
7:59 Interview with Thompson and the mic is completely out. Midway through we hear Thompson is shooting 1,000 jumpers a day, which is good. I hope Rajon Rondo is taking 10,000. Thompson answered with about 8 words and the second worst interview of the night (not counting Kanter’s, which we heard, just didn’t understand) is over.
8:00 Toronto is on the clock with the #5 pick and our first commercial break and we see that the Kia Optima is the official car of the NBA and Taco Bell has a summer saver menu. Apparently everyone is gearing up for this lockout, with a cheap automobile and a discounted stuft burrito.
As a quick side note: This is one of the least fun things I’ve ever done. ESPN’s coverage is awful, the players are worse, the interviews are the worst. I hope something turns this around or I’m stopping after the lottery.
8:02 -Toronto selects Jonas Valanciunas. That’s the big lithuanian guy Van Gundy was talking about. Mikey Mac called this pick when he thought about all their foreign white guys and said they’d f$*k up and take this guy.
Fran tells us right now he runs the floor well and gets put backs, but Toronto is best served to leave Jonas overseas and let him get stronger. So, by the time he comes to America, we’ll all have forgotten about this guy, basically.
Jonas can’t speak much english, and for some reason Mark Jones asked him about Dirk Nowitzki. Jonas didn’t even know what to say since he’s not German and barely speaks english. Jonas did say, “uhhh my body uhhhh not so strong (smile) so ahhhhhh but uhhhh I move feet good soooo uhhh.” No joke I quoted that as directly as possible. So uhhhh, get excited uhhhh Toronto fans, because uhhhhhh you have ahhhh not so strong guy who move feet good uhhhh.
8:06 Wizards on the clock with pick #6: They have almost no talent besides John Wall. Stu Scott says they need to win more games on the road next year sicne they won three last year. Unfortunately, this is one of the most insightful remarks I’ve heard all night.
8:07 BOOM. That is how you get drafted! Jan Vesely just stole the show as his name gets called and he proceeded to suck his blonde Euro-girlfriend’s tongue, who is 6’7 from the looks of it. Then he turns and hugs an even finer brunette. Mikey Mac notices this, “this dudes got madd bitches.”
Fran breaks down Jan by saying “First of all, he’s got great taste in women.” Everyone on the ESPN broadcast is completely hot for Vesely’s girl. Fran goes on to say Vesely will win a dunk contest at some point because he is a high flying energy guy. After all that talk, we still know he only scored 10 points a game in Serbia. Apparently NBA teams are drafting foreigners based on the US dollar’s weakness. They’re just hoping points overseas have a strong US exchange rate.
During Vesely’s interview he calls Blake Griffin the US version of Jan Vesely. I like this guy already. Jan must have won the Serbian dunk contest by dunking over a horse and buggy?
8:11 Sacramento is on the clock but they are picking for the Bobcats in a trade involving Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette and John Salmons. Sacramento selects Bismack Biyombo for Charlotte. Biyombo is from the Congo, which makes me wonder how these guys get found out about. Stu Scott tells us he’s got the coolest name in the draft by far. His wingspan is 7’7” and he had the first triple double in Nike Hoops Summit history.
Fran says until January, three teams in the league might have known about this guy. We find out that “he cannot score.” And that, “You cannot run plays for him. But, he will be an outstanding rebounding player. High risk, high reward, for a guy who is allegedly 18 years old.” Jon Barry is dying laughing for the same reason as you and me at this point. The draft is an absolute joke right now.
Mikey Mac cant wait to see how well Bismack speaks english, since he speaks 6 languages. After the interview, Mikey’s advice is: “He might want to work on one language instead of six.” Bismack says he is excited the way Jordan ran a practice and he was so excited to practice for him. So I guess things are exciting in Charlotte.
815: Pistons on the clock. JVG thinks the hardest part is whether they are totally invested in a rebuild. Since they suck, Id say it’s a good idea. The pick is in and it’s Brandon Knight. Mikey Mac was convinced Kemba was going to Detroit since they love Uconn guys (Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Villanueva).
Bilas says he isn’t a point guard, but is a scorer. He can pass, but isn’t a good passer. And if he can learn the point guard position, he’ll be valuable. If you’re confused, don’t worry, nobody else on the ESPN set knows what to say. So, Stu says he had a 4.3 gpa in high school. Since Brandon never had to go to class at Kentucky, I guess his High School GPA is relevant? He apparently went to a really easy high school with a lot of APs, or the school gpa was out of 6 and he was a C student.
8:20: Commercial break and ESPN is no longer giving me any time to react to picks etc. Basically, with a 5 minute clock, they spend all of it on the pick made, then sprint through to the next pick. We are no longer analyzing who the next team may take. Which is fine, since these guys haven’t been right outside of the top two picks.
8:23 Charlotte picks for Sacramento at #9 and takes Kemba Walker. The star and MOP of the NCAA tournament gets easily the biggest applause from the NJ crowd. Bilas says he is a winner, obviously, and that Kemba is at his best in the open floor. “The knock on Kemba if you want to call it a knock is that he can go into a defender and score and is a good penetrator.” Jay never told us why that would be a knock, so I guess I don’t want to call it a knock. Jay Bilas is basically the younger, taller, better looking. clearer speaking version of John Madden. I’m not sure when this happened, but it did.
Kemba gets interviewed about playing for Jordan in Charlotte, and he says how good he felt working out for them.They then show a video of Kemba doing the Harlem shake for a dance recital at the Apollo. So that was neat, maybe he can have a dance off with John Wall at the next level, if not be a better player.
8:28 Bucks picking for the Kings at #10 because of a trade that ESPN has done an awful job of clarifying.. The Bucks picking for the Kings take Jimmer. ESPN shows us a handwritten contract that Jimmer signed in 2007 in which his older brother made him promise he would do what it took to reach his overall dream of playing in the NBA. I wish I had an older brother who made me reach my goals with handwritten contracts. Jimmer’s older brother, TJ, is a wannabe rapper, so I mean this guy knows all about wanting to reach his goals. Unfortunately, without surgery, TJ will always be white, and not Eminem. Stu tells us Jimmer dropped 40 against prison inmates in his first game playing at the local prison. Mikey Mac questions that by saying, “Right, like they got a f*#$ing guy keeping score in prison…”
8:35 With the 11th pick the Golden State Warriors select Klay Thompson from Washington State University. Klay’s dad Mychal was the number 1 pick in the draft. Mychal is African-American and I’m not basing that solely on the name spelling, he’s on the TV. Klay took on the lighter characteristics of his white mother. When Bilas explains that Klay is very different from his dad, Mikey Mac quickly says, “No shit, he’s white?”
We go on to learn that Klay is one of the best shooters in the draft who is creative in the open floor and was taught to be the guard version of Tim Duncan. I guess Klay will be banking in three-point attempts from here on out.
8:41 With the 12th pick the Utah Jazz select Alec Burks from Colorado. Bilas says he is not a shooter but he has some shake to his game and he can score. “He has defensive potential, but he’s not a great defender.” I’d say that’s probably because he likes scoring more than playing defense, so that shouldn’t change once he goes to a league where nobody plays defense.
Interviews are one question-one answer at this point, and since Burks is American, nothing awesome happened in this time.
847 Phoenix Suns take Markieff Morris at #13. Bilas lets us know that, it’s true, he is the Morris twin considered the worse player of the two. However, he is a true power forward, while Marcus is a tweener. Since every other player has been a tweener so far, you’d think this would have helped Marcus. As Markieff takes the interview, they ask him about his brother Marcus crying. Markieff says, “Yeah, that’s my boy. That’s. My boy.” Marcus was then asked how he’ll deal with being separated from his big bro (Markieff was born 7 minutes earlier than Marcus). Marcus kills the response, saying, “Oh you know, I’ll send him some flowers and fruit.” Yup, that was the most hilarious thing to happen at this draft. Ugh.
8:52 Houston Rockets select Marcus Morris with the very next pick. The stuff only a bad Hollywood script could make up. Twins go back-to-back, and Marcus is technically the younger brother by 7 minutes. Bilas says Houston must be very happy Marcus fell to them. I think they were taking whichever Morris was left, since you can’t tell any difference between them. Marcus seems to be the better twin, based on the clips they showed, but really, it could have been Markieff, so who knows. Maury Povich would need to do DNA tests.
Mark Jones claims he can tell them apart when asked. I call bullshit. Marcus says he wanted to go to Houston since they don’t have a scoring forward. Luis Scola can’t be happy right now. “How pissed is Phoenix gonna be if Marcus turns out to be a stud and Markieff bunks out,” says Mikey Mac, who is talking much less by now since this draft has been awful and pizza arrived.
Yup, it happened. I had to quit at the lottery. This thing was a trainwreck from the start. Not my diary, that made it plausibly entertaining. But this draft, from the venue, to the players, to the broadcast, to the interviews was just one big chinese fire drill. Since this is my first time doing one of these, it has left an awful taste in my mouth. It’s like a bile-burp after you eat some foreign food you’re not used to. I think that’s how I’ll always remember the 2011 NBA draft, which is fitting, since half the guys drafted were foreigners I wasn’t used to.
PS- This draft sucked so bad, the lone drama remaining hinged on Marshon Brooks slipping to the Celtics pick at #25. We both went nuts when Stern announced the Celtics had actually picked Marshon, because that sort of thing never happens. New England home teams never pick the guy you want. Sure enough, as Mikey fielded excited phone calls, Andy Katz dumped on our parade and explained a deal of Brooks for JaJuan Johnson, taken two picks later by New Jersey. Our hometown hero had been dealt, and the suckdom continued.