Thursday, June 28, 2012

nba draft 2012: the lottery portion

Rather than post a draft prediction like I usually do, I thought I’d recap the picks (and trades) as they occur.  No, I’m not doing a pure “live blog” or a “diary” – when it comes to the NBA Draft, I leave that to the expert.  But if something funny happens or is said, I’ll note it.

I barely made it in the door before this thing tipped off.  Man, it’s hot out there.  Which reminds me: I’m sweating profusely from walking to get tonight’s sponsor, these nifty aluminum Coors Light 16 oz bottles.  9 16oz aluminum bottles for $10!  Why would you pay $13.99 for the same amount of beer in glass bottles when you can get aluminum bottles for $4 bucks less?

For the record, I think there are seven players I’d be thrilled to see the Bucks pick – Anthony Davis, T Rob, Michael Kidd-Gilcrist, Jared Sullinger, Royce White, Will Barton, and Perry Jones III.  I don’t expect them to take any of them.  Although if Mr. Hammond wanted to trade back into the back end of round one to grab Will Barton (who I think is going to be a stud), I’d be thrilled.

The traditional “warm welcome” of Commissioner Stern.  Jersey fans rule.  By the way, did you catch it?  Stern did the Obama “scratch my nose with my middle finger” thing in response!  I love the Commish.

The Hornets are on the clock.

I just pounded that first Coors Light.  16oz down, 128 to go.

Really Hornets, we’re going to use all five minutes?  Really?

1. Hornets: Anthony Davis, F/C, Kentucky.
Stevo’s Reaction: as surprising as me being two beers in already.  I’m happy for the Hornets – I love New Orleans the city, and want them to recover.  But dammit, how close did we come here in KC to seeing Anthony Davis in a Scouts (aka “relocated Hornets”) jersey for the next decade, a week?  Ten days?  I know AEG made at least a half-assed bid for the franchise before Tom “Boogie” Benson saved the team for his city.  Man, we so need a NBA team.  If only so I can find something else to waste a couple thousand dollars a year on other than the Chiefs, liquor, and adult entertainment.
Stevo’s Grade: A+.  Depending on what the Hornets do at 10, this could be the “Entertaining as Hell to Watch” team on the League Pass next year (the Clippers were this year, the Grizzlies were the year before).

The team that replaced the Hornets,with far less success, your Nathan Scott-led Charlotte Bobcats, are on the clock.  (OK, fine, Nathan retired, but still, that joke never gets old, right?)

Uum, Anthony Davis is NOT the first player since Kareem to win a national championship and be picked first overall, ESPN.  Sweet freaking Jesus, have you never heard of a man by the name of Danny Manning?

Great Rece Davis line on the Bobcats winning percentage: “it registered like you (Jay Bilas) on a breathalyzer after a couple O’Doul’s, barely nothing at all”.  That’s funny.

The pick is in.  I agree, the pick tells us if there’s a trade.

2. Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilcrist, F, Kentucky.
Stevo’s Reaction: WOW.  We have our first STUNNER of the night.  NOBODY had him on the Bobcats radar.  NOBODY.  Not Chad Ford, not Chris Sheridan, not Ken Berger, NOBODY.  Having said that, this is a GREAT selection.  I LOVE this kid.  Honestly, the only reason I dealt so well with KU’s loss in the title game was because Kentucky was such a fun, enjoyable team, almost lovable (if that’s possible with Coach Cal as the coach).  I am in utter shock that a franchise run by Michael Jordan made a sane, sensible, quality draft selection.  I’m guessing Mike was on the golf course and actually let GM Rich Cho (who is competent, sorta kinda) make the pick.
Stevo’s Grade: A+.  Brilliant pick.  Charlotte is going to LOVE this kid.

So if you figure Beal is a lock for the Bullets, I gotta admit – I’m starting to drool thinking of Kyrie Irving feeding T Rob.  Somewhere, I’m guessing Cooksey is getting a little bit excited at the possibility as well.

The pick is in.  It has to be Bradley Beal, who I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

3. Bullets: Bradley Beal, G, Florida.
Stevo’s Reaction: I do not get the love of this kid.  OK, fine, the love of the guy, fine – he seems like a lovely person and a grounded kid.  But what the hell did he do at Florida to deserve this?  With all due respect, if you’re a guard, and you can’t penetrate, you can’t create off the dribble, and you’re relying on your jumpshot to score?  Uum, red flag!  Red flag! 
Stevo’s Grade: B.  Beal will be given every chance to succeed, and I think he’ll do ok.  I just don’t think he’ll perform at the level you expect the third pick in the draft to perform at. 

The Cavaliers are on the clock.  I wonder if someone has informed Dan Gilbert yet that his promise to win a championship before LeBron did is not going to happen.

Cleveland taking its sweet time.  Potential trade coming up?  They can fall back into the 8/9 range and still get their fallback in Harrison Barnes …

The pick is in as the clock strikes zero.

4. Cavaliers: Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse.
Stevo’s Reaction: my initial three words were “what the f*ck”!  But this pick actually makes sense, if you believe in Tristan Thompson.  A Waiters / Irving backcourt is going to score, and score prolifically.  And Varejao is there to clean up the misses.  Still, I’d have taken T Rob.
Stevo’s Grade: B+.  The pick makes sense, but sometimes, you overthink the issue.  This is a classic overthink.

The Artists formerly known as the Kings of Kansas City and Omaha are on the clock.

FYI – Chad Ford’s last mock draft is currently 1 for 4, and 2 of the misses haven’t been picked yet.  Not a good final effort from the Draft Master.

Random thought: if you were the Celtics, would you be on the phone with the Kings right now, offering up 21 and 22 plus a protected one and flotsam and jetsum bench players (to line up salaries) to move up right now and grab T Rob as KG’s natural heir?  Because if I were the Celtics, I would be.

The pick is in.

5. Kings: T Rob, F, Kansas.
Stevo’s Reaction: awesome.  To watch this kid grow into what he’s become, to realize all he’s overcome to be here tonight … I have rarely if ever been prouder to be an adopted Jayhawk.
Stevo’s Grade: A+.  Sacramento has its first player truly worth paying to watch since Bibby and C Webb were getting screwed by the worst officiated game in all of sports history in 2002.

The Trail Blazers are on the clock.

6. Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, G, Weber State.
Stevo’s Reaction: smart, sensible selection.  Portland needs a point guard.  This is the best one in the draft.
Stevo’s Grade: A-.  Well done.

The Warriors are up next.  I would think this almost has to be Harrison “Good News” Barnes.

7. Warriors: Harrison “Good News” Barnes, F, North Carolina.
Stevo’s Reaction: I like the pick.  He’s the best player left on the board, although I don’t think he’s the best future pro left on the board (that would be Jared Sullinger or Royce White, I love them both).  Going to Golden State, a team in full on rebuild mode yet again, should enable him to develop to his potential, which is sky-high.
Stevo’s Grade: A.  No brainer pick, and they didn’t screw it up.

Our friends north of the border are on the clock, then the Pistons, then the Hornets again.

Gotta be honest – I have no clue what Toronto is going to do.  Although to be fair, I’m guessing the Toronto “brain trust” have no clue they’re on the clock, so it’s all good.

Just saw a commercial for the BET Entertainment awards.  I literally recognized three of the 15 acts they announced, and one of them was the host (Samuel L. Jackson). 

8. Raptors: Terrence Ross, G, Washington.
Stevo’s Reaction: WHAT?!?!?!  He was projected by virtually everyone to the Bucks at 14!  He goes 8!  Wait, since I didn’t want the Bucks to draft Ross, I’m cool with this.  I’m definitely cool with this.  Now quick, someone draft Meyers Leonard before 14 to spare us the inevitable “white guy with no game” draft pick Milwaukee is known for making.
Stevo’s Grade: B+.  I agree with Bilas, he’s a solid player.  Toronto needs a lot of those if they want to escape the Atlantic Division cellar.

The Pistons on the clock.  Drummond?  Henson?  I don’t think anyone expected Drummond to still be here at this point.  I’m thinking him.

9. Pistons: Andre Drummond, C, UConn.
Stevo’s Reaction: interesting.  If he gets his motor going, this kid can be a star in this league.  If he plays as lazily as he did at times in UConn, he’ll be the second coming of – hang on, Bilas just did his “Wing Span everybody!  Wing span!” line that ensures you take two shots, so let me start chugging …
Stevo’s Grade: B+.  Pairing him with Greg Monroe?  Reviving the Twin Towers idea?  I kind of like it.  Now if they can find a guard to pair with Stuckey, and find someone to spell Tayshawn Prince, they might have something building here.

Hornets on the clock next.  I expect this to be Austin Rivers.  I will be stunned if this is not Austin Rivers.

10. Hornets: Austin Rivers, G, Duke.
Stevo’s Reaction: I love this pick.  Love this pick.  A foundation of Rivers, Gordon, and Davis, with Ariza tossed in, is something you can build on.
Stevo’s Grade: A.  I love this pick, for this team.

Blazers back on the clock.  Please, please, please take Meyers Leonard.  Or Tyler Zeller.  Big white guys on the clock when Milwaukee draft = bad things for the Bucks.

11. Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois.
Stevo’s Reaction: THANK!  YOU!  JESUS!!!  THANK YOU!!!  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!  WHEW!  YES!  THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!  (stevo exhaling a HUGE HUGE HU-YUGE sigh of relief ...)
Stevo’s Grade: A+ for the Bucks, F- for the Blazers.  As I noted to Brent and Gregg when we were discussing the draft earlier today, and my distaste for Leonard: “there’s only been one front-line white guy to dominate the league in the last thirty years, and in the words of Rick Pitino, “Larry Bird ain’t walking in the door”.”

Rockets, then Suns, then your Milwaukee Bucks!

Listening to a rep from the Bullets organization talk about the importance of character, is like listening to Bill Clinton give an abstinence talk.

12. Rockets: Jeremy Lamb, G, UConn.
Stevo’s Reaction: I like it.  Allows you to trade Kyle Lowry, lower the cap number, and get younger while also getting better.  The VP of Common Sense would approve.  Assuming this site ever gets around to finding one.
Stevo’s Grade: B+.

13. Suns: Kendall Marshall, G, North Carolina.
(Kendall Marshall is not here.)
Stevo’s Reaction: not a bad pick.  In the middle of the first round, you should be swinging for the fences, because you’re in no-man’s land – you’re too good to win the lottery, you’re not good enough to make the playoffs.  I like the reach.  Especially if the Suns manage to resign Nash.
Grade: A-.  Worth the pick.

Next up, yours, ours, mine, THE Milwaukee Bucks!!!

My preference in order: Sullinger, White, Jones III.
Gregg’s choice: Royce White.
Brent’s choice: Royce White.  Brent’s guess: John Henson.
My guess: Terrence Jones.
(Please Jesus, ANYONE but Tyler Zeller.)

The pick is in.

14. Bucks: John Henson, F, North Carolina.
Stevo’s Reaction: if – and this is a HUGE if – IF the Bucks manage to resign Ilyasova, the makings of at least a six seed is there.  Ellis and BJ to push it up tempo in the backcourt, Gooden and Ilyasova, with Henson off the bench, and Dalembert as the last line of defense in the middle.  No matter what, at least we didn’t piss away another first rounder on an oft-injured, never-fulfills-his-potential white dude.
Stevo’s Grade: C-.  Sorry, but when you have three legitimate collegiate studs still sitting there in White, Sullinger, and Jones, ALL of whom fill a need, and you pass for a player dubbed a “pussy” by “The Voice of Reason”?  You’re getting at best a barely passing grade.  Awful, awful selection with the talent still available.

And with that, the lottery portion of the draft draws to a close.  A horrifically disappointing night for the Bucks, at least in my eyes. 

However, I will say this – there is one way Milwaukee can still salvage the early offseason, and yes, it’s an “all in, push every damned chip plus the chair to the center of the table” roll of the dice … but when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

And that is for Bucks GM John Hammond to get on the phone to new Hawks GM Danny Ferry, and say “Buddy, pal, amigo, descomisado … congrats on the new gig.

Say, what will it take to pry Josh Smith off your hands?”  Because everyone on this roster other than BJ and Ellis should be untouchable … and I’d be willing to include one of them if it brought Mr. Smith to Milwaukee …  

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