Friday’s Den: Running Diary of the 1st round of the NBA Draft…….

7:25: Before the NBA Draft, some NFL news. Bucs’ QB James Winston will be suspended for three games, for something that happened with an Uber drive in Arizona two years ago. 

Buccaneers open at New Orleans, then the Eagles/Steelers come to Tampa Bay. Not great to play those teams without your starting QB. 

Winston had character-related issues in college, too. This isn’t good for him or the Bucs or the NFL or coach Dirk Koetter, who needs a good season to keep his job. 

7:30: NBA Draft is in Brooklyn; they need to do what the NHL/NFL do now and move the draft around the country, get out of New York City. 

Commissioner Adam Silver is one of my heroes; a tall, bald man with glasses who has a great job and does it very well, but stop with the opening statement. Drafts get over-hyped; need to see teams picking players as soon as possible. 

7:35: Jay Bilas has already questioned Deandre Ayton’s “motor” which means he doesn’t try hard all the time. Good Lord, that bothers me, if you spend your #1 pick on someone who is often lethargic. Effort should never be an issue. 

Anyway, the Phoenix Suns take Ayton, whose Arizona team got plastered by Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I picked Arizona, but I’m not bitter at all. 

ESPN has Chauncey Billups (good) and Bilas (annoying) as its analysts, Rece Davis (very good) as its host. Billups compares Ayton to Joel Embiid. Davis points out that Ayton is the 9th straight college freshman to be the first pick in the draft. 

7:44: Marvin Bagley III goes #2 to Sacramento. Bilas downplays Bagley’s defensive liabilities, but Duke played a 2-3 zone almost all of last season. Go figure. Billups compares Bagley to Chris Bosh. Bagley is happy to be in Sacramento, which is refreshing. 

Duke had a player picked in the top 3 in the last five NBA Drafts, which is a record. 

NBA saved me lot of money by putting four patches on the right side of each team’s hats which they’re selling on the Interweb. I’m not a fan of a lot of junk on the hats I buy, so this saves me a decent amount of money, because the front of the hats are nice. 

7:48: Worst part of the NBA Draft is they don’t announce the trades as they happen, which is stupid and misleading. Atlanta Hawks take Luka Doncic but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says he is being traded to Dallas, with the Hawks winding up with Trae Young. 

7:55: Memphis takes Jaren Jackson Jr, whose mother is Director of Player Ops for the WNBA. At first, Jackson said he didn’t want to play for Memphis, but I’m sure he won’t mind being paid by Memphis. Billups compares him to Joakim Noah.  

Jackson’s dad played 13 years in the NBA; his first eight years in the NBA, he played for a different team every year. 

8:00: Dallas takes Trae Young, who will be traded to Atlanta. ESPN ruined Young’s season at Oklahoma by over-hyping him a sickening amount and putting a huge target on his back. The Hawks get a 2019 first-round pick from Dallas in addition to the Young/Doncic swap. 

8:08: Orlando takes Mo Bamba with the #6 pick; he has a 7-foot-10 wingspan, the longest wingspan ever recorded at the NBA Combine. Bilas says he needs to get a lot stronger. 

They showed video recently of Bamba making ton of 3-pointers in a workout, but he shot 27.5% behind the arc at Texas last year, so we’ll see. The NBA 3-point shot is longer than college. 

NHL Draft is Friday; it’ll be different than this draft. Not better, not worse. Different. 

8:13: Bulls won their fewest games in 14 years this year; they take Wendell Carter, a center from Duke. Carter could’ve gone to Harvard had he wanted to; he is a good shooter, but again, Duke played a ton of 2-3 zone last year, so will defense be an issue, especially on pick/roll? Billups compares him to Carlos Boozer. 

8:18: Cavaliers take Alabama PG Collin Sexton, who Billups compares to Eric Bledsoe. Kid is highly competitive, but Cleveland might be a sad place to watch basketball for a few years, with Lebron James expected to skip town. 

8:24: Knicks missed the playoffs the last five years; why does ESPN have to show Spike Lee before their draft pick? New York takes Kevin Knox, another Kentucky player. John Calipari’s recruiting has to get easier and easier with every year all his guys go in the 1st round. 

Knox played quarterback in high school, which hints at leadership qualities.

8:30— 76ers take Mikal Bridges, a 4-year player who played on two national title teams with Villanova. He is 6-7 wth a 7-2 wingspan; Billups compares him to Nicolas Batum of the Hornets. 

Bridges’ mother is VP of Human Resources with the 76ers. 

8:37: Charlotte Hornets take a Canadian PG and another Kentucky player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who reminds Billups of Michael Carter-Williams, but the kid will be traded to the Clippers. I’d rather live in LA than Charlotte anyway, but no one asked me. 

He shot 40.4% on the arc and 82% on the foul line, both good things, and he didn’t start early last season- he earned his way into the starting lineup. 

ESPN has an international scouting guy named Mike Schmitz on; he says Gilgeous-Alexander was the best guard in the draft. 

8:43: Clippers draft Miles Bridges, who will be traded to the Hornets. Bridges would’ve been a high draft pick LY; Billups compares him to Shawn Marion, a pretty big compliment. 

Clippers gave Charlotte two future 2nd-round picks to swap the 11th and 12th picks. 

8:48: University of Buffalo’s social media people posted this on Twitter: 

“Congrats to @DeandreAyton on being selected #1 overall in the #NBADraft by the @Suns! We hope your @NBA career starts better than your college one ended”

Wow. Ayton’s college career ended with an ugly loss to Buffalo. 

8:50: NBA Lottery started in 1985; Boston College’s Jerome Robinson is the Eagles’ first player ever taken in the lottery— Clippers took him at #13. John Bagley was the 12th pick in the ’82 Draft, taken by Cleveland. 

Tonight is June 21; on July 6, the NBA Summer League begins in Las Vegas, so these kids who get drafted will be fighting for jobs in 16 short days, against other kids who didn’t get drafted and veterans who’ve played in the NBA before, or are fighting to get there. Very competitive. 

8:54: Denver owner Stan Kroenke’s son Josh started for Missouri’s hoop team 15 or so years ago; if they don’t take Michael Porter Jr, who the hell will?

8:58: Nuggets draft Porter; their trainer should ask for a raise. Billups compares him to Kevin Durant, which is a total insult to Durant. Porter played three college games, and one of them was for two whole minutes. He is more suspect than prospect. 

In totally unrelated news, Flava Flav threw out the first pitch at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game tonight. Squirrels are the AA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. They had 6,117 fans in Richmond, for a game that was shortened by rain. 

9:06: Washington Wizards take Oregon alum Troy Brown, who I think is a Las Vegas kid and is considered a versatile player. Billups compares him to Andre Iguodala. 

There is a guy sitting next to Arizona coach Sean Miller who has the shiniest bald head I’ve ever seen. As a bald man myself, just don’t have the energy to do that day after day, keep my head totally slick. Plus I’d look like Mr Potato Head if I did that, so no thanks. 

9:14: Zhaire Smith played one year at Texas Tech; the Suns drafted him, but he’s getting traded to the 76ers for Mikal Bridges, which puts the kibosh on Mrs Bridges’ happiness from 45 minutes ago. Smith wasn’t an ESPN top 100 recruit coming out of high school- it is rare for a player like that to be drafted so high. 

9:22: Milwaukee Bucks take Donte DiVincenzo, who started only 10 of Villanova’s 40 games LY, but he played starter’s minutes (29.7 mpg), scoring 13.4 ppg, making 40.1% on the arc, in his only season of college ball. 

He scored 31 points in the national championship game, but anytime I hear a kid raised his draft stock in the Combine, it bothers me. Billups compares him to Tyler Johnson. 

Random fact; over half the players in the NBA (53%) have played in the G-League. 

Talk about draft/trades in the NBA; on June 24, 1998, Dirk Nowitzki was traded by Bucks with Pat Garrity to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor. How did that work out? 

9:29: San Antonio Spurs drafted G Lonnie Walker from Miami, FL, who has had knee issues and also has ballhandling/defensive issues, but he can score. Spurs’ coaches will develop him. Not many kids who go to high school in Reading, PA go to college in Miami. 

9:34: Atlanta Hawks take a kid from the Albany area, Kevin Huerter from Maryland. Huerter’s dad and brother play/played for Siena College; Kevin is an excellent shooter; good luck to the young man. I was surprised when he came out of school, but shooters are always in demand. 

People have too much money: LeBron James’ jersey from Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals just closed on @NBAAUCTIONS to a winning bid of $100,322. Oy. 

9:42: Minnesota takes Josh Okogie, a guard from Georgia Tech. Bilas says his man asset is that “…..he plays his tail off all the time.” No wingspan, no upside, he just tries hard. There are worse things someone can say about you. 

Budweiser just ran a commercial with John Starks, the old Knicks’ guard who talks about being undrafted, then fighting to make it in the NBA. Damn good commercial. 

Starks played 13 years in the NBA, scored over 10,800 points. 

9:46: Utah drafts Grayson Allen; Jazz are coached by Duke alum Quin Snyder. Now I have to watch all of Utah’s summer league games to see if someone kicks Allen’s ass. He got away with being a dirty player in college because Coach K sheltered him, but now he is out on his own. We’ll see how that works out. 

9:51: Chicago Bulls take Chandler Hutchison from Boise State. He is the first Boise player drafted since 1999, which should help their recruiting. Billups compares him to Kyle Kuzma. 

OK, I have Madison Bumgarner on my fantasy baseball team and he’s pitching in a few minutes, so time to grab some food and watch that game. Hope you enjoyed this…….

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.