Thursday, June 29, 2006

NBA Draft, Live Blog

By Tiger Fan

Well, with MU greats such as Thomas Gardner, Kevin Young, and Jimmy McKinney all eligible for this year’s draft, I figured I should keep track of things to be sure I capture the moment. Here’s how it all went down:

6:32: The pregame show is finally over and Toronto is on the clock. I’ve never understood why the first team even needs to go on the clock. We always know who they’re going to pick anyway. A quick shot of the green room shows No. 1-pick-to-be Andrea Bargnani looking rather awkward in a suit that’s too small. Of course, nothing could be more awkward than the mere presence of Adam Morrison, seated nearby. Dan Patrick tells us that Bargnani’s nickname is The Magician. Seeing that he’s going to be picked first in the NBA Draft after averaging just 11.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in Europe, I’d have to agree with that nickname. That is magic.

6:37: Toronto takes the 7’1” Magician… who is handed a hat by a woman who can’t be more than five feet tall. Highly comical. Fannette weighs in for the first time: “I didn’t even know they played basketball in Italy. I just thought they made spaghetti.

6:40: NY fans incessantly boo The Magician during his interview with Stu Scott. His explanation: “I’m from Europe.” Oh… now it makes more sense.

6:43: Aldridge to the Bulls… er… Blazers via trade. Hopefully he doesn’t play as still as he looks with the commish. Interestingly, I didn’t know Aldridge had a criminal record. You would have though the Blazers would go with laptop-stealer Marcus Williams or drunk driver J.J. Redick here. Or, you know, actually make a good PR move and bring in local favorite Adam Morrison. But what do I know.

6:49: Morrison goes next to Charlotte and Dan Patrick begins filling us in on his college career… and his diabetes… and the insulin shots he takes every day. Thanks for the medical history. Fannette adds to the commentary: “What you may not know is that he also had some blood in his urine last time he peed.”

6:53: Our first Dick Vitale sighting. Underlying his criticism of The Magician? He can’t believe no one from Duke has been drafted yet.

6:56: The Aldridge-Tyrus Thomas trade makes no sense for the Blazers. Aldridge still would have been on the board at No. 4. Foolish.

7:03: As we go to commercial, it seems that EA Sports has fallen on hard times financially. That’s the only possible explanation for an NBA Live ’07 ad campaign focused on Adam Morrison crying.

7:08: Kevin Garnett might not have to kill anyone with his gat’ after all. The Wolves make a great pick in Brandon Roy at No. 6. He may be the best player in this draft.

7:14: Fannette looks up from the paper she is writing and gestures toward Stephen A. Smith: “That guy is so annoying. Who is that? ‘Cause he needs to shut up.”

7:21: Rudy Gay was just picked No. 8, which proves the NBA Draft is a crapshoot. From what I can tell, Rudy Gay is Rickey Paulding: an athletic swingman who can dunk and shoot the 3, but lacks any heart or killer instinct. Paulding plays in Israel. Gay is going to be a millionaire. Go figure.

7:30: An hour into the draft and Thomas Gardner is still available. I don’t believe it.

7:34: Forget what I said about Garnett. Minnesota just trade Roy, who they took at No. 6, to Portland for Randy Foye, who was picked No. 7. This doesn’t make any sense. If Minnesota wanted Foye (who will be good, but not as good as Roy), why didn’t they just take him? Were they just trying to screw over Portland and get some cash? Is this the first draft-day trade where the players names have rhymed? I need answers.

7:37: The Sonics just drafted the black Shawn Bradley from Senegal. This guy should be on posters for years to come… of course, they will be posters of other people.

7:42: Redick is picked No. 11 and Vitale thinks it is a great pick. Really? I’m stunned. Honestly. I didn’t see this coming. Biggest surprise of the draft so far.

7:59: The ESPN takeover of the sports world is complete as David Stern actually banters with Dan Patrick before introducing the pick of Ronnie Brewer to the Jazz.

8:04: Stern just announced the Foye-Roy trade and looks as confused as I was.

8:30: After a boring half-hour, the Knicks are on the clock…

8:32: The Knicks’ fans seem to want Marcus Williams… ‘cause, you know, with Nate Robinson, Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis on board, there really aren’t enough guys in the backcourt who want the ball in their hands.

8:34: Stern toys with the crazed crowd by announcing a trade…

8:35: After all the suspense, Isaiah doesn’t disappoint. With the 20th pick, the Knicks take… WHO? Renaldo Balkman? The NIT MVP? Only Isaiah could do this. Unbelievable. Spike Lee is giggling nervously. Stephen A. is speechless. What a disaster.

8:47: Marcus Williams is finally picked by the Nets with their first of two straight UConn picks. If I were the Nets, I would have picked him with their second pick, just to screw with him. Of course, I know learn that he’s been taunted for months by his own mother, so it probably wouldn’t phase him.

8:52: Josh Boone goes No. 23. He would have won Ugliest Player honors were it not for Mr. Morrison. Boone is the fourth UConn player selected in the first round, which has only happened twice before. Of course, the 2005 UNC team and the 1999 Duke team each made the Final Four.

9:11: ESPN informs us that Jordan Farmar goes to the Lakers as part of the Shaq trade. Well, now that we know that, maybe it was a good trade. I mean, Farmar’s gotta be good for at least one title, right?

9:14: The Blazers get Sergio Rodriguez. He goes by “Spanish Chocolate.” What could go wrong? It’s part of the fourth trade by the Blazers… and it’s the third unnecessary one. Brilliant.

9:19: We’ve got our first crier. It’s not Morrison. Ladies and gentlemen, Maurice Ager! Of course, I would probably cry too if I found out I had to listen to David Hasselhoff music all the time. And now… the Knicks’ circus is back!

9:25: Mardy Collins to the Knicks. Not a terrible pick… if you’re a team that doesn’t need to win immediately. Which the Knicks do.

9:30: Final pick of the first round: Joel Freeland from… England? Yikes. Watching the video “highlights” of this guy, I gotta say I’ve seen more talent at the MU Rec Center in pick-up games. I mean, he’s tall, but otherwise… The ESPN guys say he’s a “project.” Translation: He’ll never see the floor in an NBA game. A fitting end to an odd first round that took way too long.

11:10: It’s finally over. Thomas Gardner was not picked. However, two players from Senegal, two players from Israel, one player from Nigeria, one player from the Ukraine, and one player from Bosnia were selected. Ouch. Now, I don’t want to go all Dick Vitale on you here, but… while I think Thomas made a mistake by going pro – and I know I’m not a scout – I don’t know how you can look at highlights of these lanky foreign guys rattling in lay-ups against a bunch of stiffs in Europe and see more potential than you see in a guy who dropped 40 on kansas and was one of the scoring leaders in the Big XII. TG should have stayed in school, but I also think he could help an NBA team more than at least 10 players selected in the second round. Best of luck in Europe, Thomas!

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