Haven’t done this in a long time, but this is a running diary of Thursday night’s NBA Draft, with some baseball mixed in. Hope you enjoy……
7:05– Rece Davis is ESPN’s host for the draft; he is the best guy ESPN has, but I’m not sure they know it. Why did they let Mike Tirico get away?
7:07– Mets acquired Kelly Johnson two weeks ago; he’s batting 5th for them tonite, as their impotent offense brings back memories of their team at this time LY, before they traded for Yoenis Cespedes. They still have Cespedes, but they struggle to score.
7:10– Why doesn’t NBA TV cover the draft too, the way NFL Network does?
7:15– The Celtics have eight picks tonight; kind of reduces their leverage in making a trade– they HAVE TO trade some of those picks.
7:20– They’re having a telethon on Marlins’ TV during their game with the Cubs- the best thing that could happen to the Marlins is if Jeffrey Loria put the team up for sale as part of the telethon, then Marlin fans could be rid of his foolishness.
7:23– Marco Belinelli got traded to the Hornets. Really, he did.
7:25– Dragan Bender is 18 years old, won’t turn 19 until after the season starts. Then you have Buddy Hield, who played four years at Oklahoma and is 23. How much does that figure in factoring how much will these players improve?
Fran Fraschilla talks about the foreign players in the draft; it shows how ridiculous ESPN has become that Jay Williams was on the telecast before Fraschilla. Can never have enough Duke alums on a telecast, though.
7:29– NBA salary cap is going to jump from $70M to $110M in two years? Oy.
7:31– NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a tall, bald man with glasses; in other words, he is my hero.
7:37– 76ers take Ben Simmons, who was 1-3 behind the arc at LSU LY. Kid is a real good passer, ut he is still a kid. Curious to see how he does in the pros; Simmons’ dad played for Sixers’ coach Brett Brown 27 years ago in Australia.
Simmons’ sister is married to former NFL RB Michael Bush, who played for the Raiders/Bears in his six-year career, scoring 31 TDs.
7:44– Simmons is 7th consecutive college freshman to go #1 in the draft.
7:46– Lakers took Brandon Ingram with the #2 pick; at what point next fall will Luke Walton look at his team and ask “I left Golden State for this???”
7:50– I wonder if Sam Hinkie would’ve taken Simmons, or would have have screwed that up too? Just because you went to a fancy school doesn’t make you smart.
Worst thing about the draft is that they don’t announce trades as they happen, so a kid drafted by one team may already have been dealt somewhere else. No bueno.
7:56– Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown, who doesn’t have an agent, thereby saving 3% in agents’ fees– rookie contracts are slotted, so no real need for an agent. Good for him.
8:07– Suns took the 18-year old Bender, Minnesota took PG Kris Dunn, who will be a good fit with Tom Thibodeau’s defensive teachings. You wonder if a kid isn’t happy going somewhere like Minnesota, a franchise that has never won?
I mean, Dunn is rich now, but if he wanted to play for the Celtics or some other team, unless he gets traded, he’s out of luck. As if being a millionaire is being out of luck.
8:15– New Orleans takes Buddy Hield, who Jalen Rose compared to Voshon Lenard, who Rose went to high school with.
8:22– Jalen Rose likes telling averyone how much money NBA players made in their career. Michael Redd made $101,991,325 in his career. He played in one All-Star tilt and 16 playoff games in his entire career, still made $102M. Nice.
8:27– Sacramento takes Marquese Chriss. who scored 13.7 ppg at Washington- they then traded him to Phoenix, not sure for who. Chriss is a great athlete but is also prone to foul trouble. Translation: Mr Chriss is a project.
8:30– Jay Bilas has Domantas Sabonis ranked ahead of Skal Labassiere, restoring my faith in mankind. This is my advice to teams guessing on marginal players:
Draft players who were productive in college
Draft players who were productive in college
Draft players who were productive in college….I rest my case.
8:40– Milwaukee Bucks took Thon Maker, whose age is a question mark. Fraschilla likes him; the kid lived in Sudan until he was 6, then Australia for a while, then in this country, before moving to Canada. He apparently is a project; no one really seems to know. Bucks were one of three youngest NBA teams last year.
8:47– Domantas Sabonis got picked #11, proving that I’m not a complete idiot (hold your jokes). I swore that if Sabonis went #20 in the draft, as ESPN’s website claimed, then 10 NBA GMs needed to be fired. Sabonis is going to be a really good player.
He went #11 to the Magic, who then traded him and two others for Serge Ibaka, with Victor Oladipo one of the two guys going to Oklahoma with Sabonis.
9:02– Sacramento’s team is owned and run by foreigners, so of course they took a big kid from Greece I’ve never heard of. He played high school ball in Philly area, but is a project, according to Fraschilla.
9:16– Denver took Juan Hernangomez, third time in last five years they took a foreign kid in the first round.
9:17– They showed the Celtics’ “war room” which is apparently is in what looks like a cramped locker room. Don’t they have meeting space in their building?
9:25– This is where I tell you Deandre Bembry from St Joe’s is going to be a really good player. We’re sitting at pick #17 as I type this; he should be off the board.
9:35– TV guys won’t say this because they don’t want us to turn the channel, but this isn’t a great draft. Teams are clutching at straws with foreign kids already, or looking for projects who will blossom down the road.
9:45– You feel bad for kids who are actually in the arena, then slip in the draft and have to sit there– has to be very humbling, as well as expenisve. Denver took Malik Beasley, who was sitting there for a while; Beasley’s mom is an actress who was in The Hunger Games.
9:50– This seems like a good time to point out that when he was in college, Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert was arrested for bookmaking– he paid a fine and got three years of probation. Not lot of guys who own teams that have a gambling-related rap sheet.
9:57– Atlanta Hawks took Bembry, who played for the St Joe’s Hawks, so he will be a Hawk for the forseeable future. He is a little bit like Ben Simmons in that he needs to be a better shooter, stronger and a tad more selfish when it comes to scoring. He will be a 10-year NBA player, but he has to develop his scoring to be a really good 10-year player.
10:15– Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard are skipping the Olympics, Rory McIlroy ain’t going either, as NBC execs start to sweat just a little bit more.
10:25– If you left college early to go pro and you haven’t been picked yet, after 76ers just took Furkan Korkmaz, who won’t be over here for at least two years, after they took some guard from France, then admit it, son– you messed up bigtime.
10:30– Would it be the worst thing on earth if kids who aren’t drafted tonight could go back to college and play next year, and get better?
10:36– That said, kids often listen to the wrong people- they hear what they want to hear and instead of going back to school and working on getting better, they jump at the lure of easy money, as Glenn Frey would say. .
10:42– Only 14 of the first 27 players drafted were born in this country.
10:52– $2.1M for two years ain’t bad, but if you were expecting more, its a letdown for a kid who was told (lied to) that he would be a mid-first round pick. Kids taken in the first round are still guaranteed some money though. Better than nothing.
10:58– NFL Draft is roughly ten weeks after the Super Bowl; NBA Draft is just four nights after the Finals ended. Kind of weird.
11:08– I can’t really imagine being really poor, then all of a sudden really rich; having grown up in a middle class home, both are foreign to me. Some of these kids are going to have to learn the word “no” or else their money won’t last very long.
11:12– Celtics took a 6-9 guy from Croatia named Ante Zizic; that pick got high praise on CBSSports.com. Most of the foreign kids picked were not praised as much.
11:17– Pelicans traded two second round picks to move up to take Cheick Diallo, who was an unproductive sub for Kansas LY, after arriving with much hype. I liked the Suns taking Tyler Ulis with the next pick better– take productive players.
11:21– I’m not a big fan of bow ties, not that anyone consults me on fashion.
11:26– Suns drafted Tyler Ulis, which could be a really good pick if he is healthy.
11:33– Two UNLV kids got taken in the second round; I’ve would’ve lost a boatload of cash if you had bet me that Patrick McCaw would be selected ahead of Stephen Zimmerman. Realistically, both kids should’ve stayed in school. Zimmerman can really pass the ball but he needed to take another year to mature to really cash in.
McCaw got traded to from Milwaukee to Golden State; their D-League team is in Santa Cruz, so he can start looking for apartments there.
12:00– Who would’ve thought that Oakland’s point guard would get taken ahead of North Carolina’s? 5-9 sparkplug Kay Felder is going to make the Jazz roster.
July 8 the NBA Summer League starts in Las Vegas; games are on TV and it is evident from watching those games, just how difficult it is to make an NBA roster. Players who didn’t make the NBA last year will be there, fighting for one of those precious roster spots with this year’s rookies. It is a very, very competitive ten days.