NBA Draft diary - Round one
5:30 p.m. Welcome to the 2008 NBA Draft diary. Let's get started.
For some reason the networks covering professional sports drafts love uncovering the top pick before teams make them official, and this year is no different. Twenty minutes ago ESPN reported that the Chicago Bulls will take Memphis guard Derrick Rose with the first overall pick.
5:38 After the Bulls use the full five minutes of their draft clock, David Stern calmly saunters up to the podium and announces Chicago's pick: Derrick Rose. Somebody pinch Kirk Hinrich, who just lost the Bulls' starting point guard job in 2009.
Did anyone else notice that ESPN put all their chips on Michael Beasley coming into the draft? Not only did they record a three-part series entitled "The Rookie: Michael Beasley," but also had the foresight to feature a calm Beasley on the cover of ESPN the Magazine. Whoops! Now it's looking like Miami may join Chicago's parade and pass on Beasley with second pick.
5:42 Miami decides to take a chance on Beas, who led the NCAA in rebounding last season and was second in scoring. Beasley is handed his Miami Heat hat, which might be symbolic or maybe not. One thing is certain: Miami thought long and hard about trading the second pick before taking Beasley so there's no guarantee they won't trade the pick now that Minnesota is on the clock.
5:47 A rumored trade between the Seattle Sonics and Los Angeles Clippers depends upon Minny taking O.J. Mayo third overall. The two teams would trade picks should the USC guard go to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
5:48 Mayo to Minnesota. Wow, that'll be an even better fit than Yi Jianlian in Milwaukee! What's that? Yi was traded earlier today from the Bucks to the Nets? Oh.
I'm already excited for O.J.'s short stay in Sota.
5:51 The clock ticks down for the Oklahoma City Sonics, who own six picks today the most of any team. Apparently they're keeping the pick.
The Jazz own the third most picks this year with three.
5:54 Kevin Durant's team, whatever their city and mascot will be at the start of the season, selects Russell Westbrook out of UCLA. Westbrook averaged 12 points and four assists per game last season, and very few analysts projected him this high.
I understood Seattle letting Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen bolt town because the worse the team played the easier a move to Oklahoma City would be to sell. But why draft a bust player now that the move is a matter of when, not if?
I'll never understand what qualifies a person to become an NBA executive. You know, other than lots of money.
6:00 I'm not saying the Memphis Grizzlies are drafting for the Los Angeles Lakers with the fifth pick, but let's keep an open ear for any signs that their choice would welcome a move to Kobeville.
6:01 Uh oh! Memphis just took Kevin Love, the forward from the University of California, LOS ANGELES! Let the conspiracy theories continue.
The over/under for years before Love is a Laker is five, and I'm taking the under.
6:07 "With the sixth pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select Danilo Gallinari," reads David Stern. I, like the good people of New York, know nothing about Gallinari. Let's move on to one the pre-draft trades.
Yesterday the Indiana Pacers sent Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the 17th overall pick. But here's the clincher: The trade stalled for a short time because of concerns over O'Neal's health.
O'Neal's health? Didn't T.J. Ford miss a chunk of the season with a neck injury? No amount of ice can heal that slap in the face. Enjoy Canada, Jermaine.
6:12 Indiana guard Eric Gordon is a Clipper. Gordon has been compared to Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon, which always struck me as some real outside-the-box thinking. Way to flex your analytical muscles, ESPN.
6:18 The Yi-less Milwaukee Bucks select Joe Alexander from West Virginia. The ESPN bottom line reports the Fan Grade on this pick is an A, so obviously it's going to work out for Milwaukee.
Then again, all Milwaukee picks in the last decade have panned out in their favor. Guys like Yi Jianlian (6th overall, 2007), Andrew Bogut (1st, 2005), the aforementioned T.J. Ford (8th, 2003), Marcus Haislip (13th, 2002), Jason Collier (19th, 2000), Pat Garrity (19th, 1998) and Dirk Nowitzki (9th, 1998).
Bogut, the ex-Ute, is the only guy listed above still on Milwaukee's roster...
6:30 Brook Lopez slips to the tenth pick and New Jersey quickly snags him. Big day for New Jersey. First they pick up Yi while simultaneously clearing cap space for LeBron James in 2010, now they pick up a guy slotted by many as the third or fourth pick with the tenth overall selection.
Robin Lopez, the other twin-with-a-woman's-name, calls his brother "a steal with the tenth pick." With basketball IQ like that, Robin just moved up two spots on every draft board.
6:34 The Pacers pick Jerryd Bayless eleventh, tying the record for college freshman taken in the lottery of any NBA draft at six.
But wait, didn't Indiana just pick up point guard T.J. Ford in the Jermaine O'Neal trade? Why would they then select a guard at No. 11? They must have injury concerns regarding Ford.
I'm more concerned about the pink shoes Bayless wore during his post-pick interview.
6:47 Golden State ends the lottery portion of the draft by taking Anthony Randolph at No. 14. ESPN's Jay Bilas describes Randolph as "painfully thin" and states he makes spaghetti-thin Brandan Wright "look like Mr. America."
So you're telling us there are weight concerns?
6:57 Phoenix takes the other Lopez twin at 15. Robin's afro keeps his new hat from coming within four inches of his scalp, which was fun.
7:08 Toronto, selecting for Indiana, takes Georgetown's Roy Hibbert with the 17th pick.
The Jazz, or at least Jazz fans, have been eying Hib for a month for Utah's 23rd pick. Going six picks earlier than Utah's slot is a little early in my opinion.
7:16 Indiana trades Bayless to Portland for the 13th overall selection, Kansas' Brandon Rush, and point guard Jarrett Jack. Leave it to Larry Bird to fill the Pacers' hole at the point three times in 36 hours.
7:38 Utah is on the clock! With the Hibbert hype and the addition of Korver at the two, the Jazz have to be looking to add a solid backup for Okur.
One of the better big guys available is Kosta Koufos from the Ohio State University, but maybe the Jazz should pass. ESPN lists Darko Milicic as the player most similar to Koufos.
7:42 Oh no, we took Koufos.
On the bright side, Koufos is a true seven-footer and at 265 lbs he can handle some contact. And on an infinitely brighter note, he doesn't sit out on the three-point line waiting for Deron Williams dishes.
Look, I like Mermet Okur as much as the next guy an outright lie but the Jazz are never winning an NBA championship with a three-point shooting center.
Who can we get for Okur and Koufos?
7:49 The Sonics just selected 6'10 Serge Ibaka from Congo with the 24th pick. Why is Seattle stockpiling ridiculously raw international goliaths who are at least four years from any NBA consideration? Do they hire the same scout for their drafts as the Detroit Lions, a team that just can't stockpile too many wide receivers?
8:30 That'll do it for tonight's coverage of the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. Good luck to Utah picking up a solid bench guard and maybe another big in the second round.