Tuesday, July 10, 2007

NBA Draft Diary 2007

The day is finally here. After months of hype, lead-up, and more rumors than ever, the night of the 2007 NBA draft is upon us. The anticipation for this draft is bigger than I can ever recall—at least in Minnesota because of the prospect of a blockbuster trade involving KG and potentially garnering the Wolves multiple first round picks. Yes, we’re all aware that the Forbes Magic Man is still the GM, but that only makes it more worthwhile to watch. Who knows what the brain trust at the Northwest Health Club will do? The possibilities are endless. Back to my point, there were three different draft parties for me to go to tonight. There is a lot of false hope in the air…

I’ll start off by saying that I’m watching the draft in Golden Valley with my buddies Larz and Casey (along with his bride to be and their twins). I’ve watched more than my fair share of sporting events with these two and know that they are the perfect company for a running diary. So here we go.

6:22—Casey’s kid cries when Joke Kim shows up on TV with that hideous hair/bow tie/Goodwill suit combination. Great start to the night.

6:24—Larz brings up the new WNBA slogan “Have You Seen Her?” in reference to Casey’s daughter. We all hope they use the actual song in their commercials featuring…um, I can’t name a WNBA player.

6:27—Highlights of Yi Jianlian against “LeBron and company” in the world championships. Casey wonders if we won that game. No one can answer. Leads to the following exchange:
Casey—Have you ever seen a bald Asian?
Me—Besides Mr. Miyagi?
Casey—I think Asians age more gracefully than everyone else. (To his son) You better eat a lot of rice…

6:32—Cute purple tie for Stern who starts off the draft with “Welcome to Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks and the Liberty…” That draws a raucous reaction from the crowd here in Golden Valley.

6:34—Portland’s war room looks like a board meeting at Merrill Lynch. Fifteen seconds into the draft and we get what could be the most hilarious reaction ever. The entire group is cheering and high fiving like they just found out they had the first pick. Is this the norm? Does the clusterf*** of power in Minny even know they have a first round pick?

6:36—Oden is the #1 pick. Shocking. However, it never fails to be hilarious to watch Stern stand next to and shake hands with these monsters because…Yes! Another shot of the Blazer conference room, this time putting on their draft hats at the same time as Oden. Do theirs say “Oden” instead of “Portland”? What is the point of this? Who came up with this idea? We need to keep the camera on them at all times.

6:39—Casey wonders who was the number 1 pick last year. It takes all of us a minute to remember. Great year for the NBA there. Also, we get an interview between Oden and Stuart Scott who are somehow the same height. Is Oden sitting on the floor?

6:41—Proposed (or completed according to Andy Katz) deal between Seattle and Boston: Ray Allen for the #5, Wally World, and Delonte West. So to make Pierce happy you bring in another perimeter jump shooter? As much as I hate McFail, at least there are guys like Ainge and Knight for Wolves fans to make fun of.

6:46—We find out that Kevin Durant lives by the following words: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” This from a guy who can’t bench press a Chipotle burrito.

6:48—Hawks select Al Horford from the Dominican Republic…what? Was I the only one unaware that he was from the DR? When did this happen? At least dad has the flag… Horford gives the Gator chomp to the crowd/his boys after shaking Stern’s hand—he’s high for sure.
Atlanta couldn’t pick another Williams, so they go with another player from the East Coast in what Casey describes as a territorial move.

With no announcement of a trade and the third pick made, it looks like another year of the same crap, different pile for the Wolves.

6:52—Mike Conley Jr. to the Grizzlies. We’re happy for ya. I’m still depressed about the lack of a KG deal.

6:57—Jeff Green to the Sonics via Boston. Apparently he was the key to that deal. Weird. We also find out that you had to have a trade submitted to the league by yesterday, otherwise you draft in your spot, submit your trade to the league office, and they make sure that salaries match up. The bottom line is that this information gives me hope that the Wolves might still do something big here.

7:02—A commercial featuring Tim Duncan highlights: hook shots, banks, and midrange jumpers; just like a WNBA commercial without the fast break lay ups.

The NBDL is hosting a tryout challenge. I’d make a joke, but at this point it’s just sad.

7:04—A quick exchange before the Bucks pick:
Larz—What if Yi refuses to go onstage when Milwaukee drafts him?
Casey—What if he signs his contract in sweet and sour sauce?

Uh oh. We have an international incident brewing. Watch the skies for nukes. Yi to the Bucks whom he explicitly said he didn’t want to play for. Very Eli Manning/Steve Francis/Stephon Marbury-like moment on stage right now.

The Wolves are on the clock. With all the Spencer Hawes talk over the last month or so, this seems like a good time to remind everyone of some of the “big guys” we have drafted over the years: Randy Brewer, Luc Longley, Fell Down Spencer, Paul Grant, and many more. We are on high alert for the let down of all let downs. Probably the biggest since the Vikes got throttled in NY during the 2000 NFC title game…or at least since Stern stepped to the podium and said the words “Doodie Ebie” in ‘03.

7:07—To steal a line from Simmons, there’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and then there’s Stu Scott interviewing Yi. Casey calls him the Chinese Rocky because of the way he mumbles. Leads us to this exchange:
Stu (to Jianlian): “Favorite thing about America?”
Casey: “Milwaukee”

7:09—We’re still on the clock, Casey jokes we’re going to lose the pick the way the Vikes did three years ago…and four years ago. Time is up and no Stern. Good lord this is killing me! Oh, no! What is going on? Is this an announcement of a KG deal?

7:10—Our pick is long overdue. Empty stage…here comes Stern, please god say the words “Corey Brewer”. If I have any power to control people’s words…YES!!! Corey Brewer!!!!!!! No project center. No transvestite power forward. Now, time to deal KG…

There is a comforting silence in the room. Everyone eating pizza and regaining their breath…

7:18—Charlotte takes Brandan Wright. Weird, Jordan takes a Carolina kid. Jay Bilas says, “Jordan should have worn a mask because this is a steal right here.” Jay does not have “tremendous upside” when it comes to comedy.

Is everyone in this draft “a project” and not of legal drinking age? Well other than 30 year old Al Thornton and the 46 year old Oden, of course.

7:25—Joke Kim to Chicago. He steps up to the stage and thanks his personal stylists Craig Sager and Farnsworth Bentley (Diddy’s assistant). How nice.

Random stuff we notice after the Bulls waste of a draft choice: Joke Kim’s mom is hot. ESPN has him listed at 7’0” (no way). Noah’s grandfather looks like he is 35 years old; maybe he played high school ball with Thornton and Oden. The trannie thanks Taurean Green’s father because his own father was absent for most of his childhood, high school, and college—unless he was on national TV and could get some face time. Or at least that’s my guess as to why.

Fact of the night that I didn’t need to know: Noah uses Bumble and Bumble shampoo. Apparently it’s specially formulated for ugly people.

What would a commercial break be without “This is ourrrrrrrr country………”?

7:38—My favorite college player last year, Acie Law IV, is taken by Atlanta. Now I’m really praying that at some point tonight the Phoenix-Atlanta-Minny trade goes through so we get the rights to him and Horford.

Bilas describes Law by saying “He’s not a great shooter but he can make shots.” What is the point of having him on this broadcast?

Mike Tirico shows us the new Hawks jerseys (this has to be their 5th new jersey in the last 7 years). They look like a cross between NBDL and WNBA jerseys. Not good times.

Things ESPN thinks that we need to know: Acie’s great uncle is Ernie Banks and he used to practice putting on hats and shaking hands with the commissioner in front of a mirror when he was younger. Thanks. I’ll sleep better tonight.

7:42—Sal Palantonio’s only job is to report live “a hundred yards away” from Philly’s camp. Why? Who cares? Philly fans don’t even care.

A look at Philly’s lineup at Mike Tirico reminds us how many draft picks Joe Smith cost Minnesota as he chuckles. Go eff yourself, Mike.

7:47—Sixers take Thaddeus Young. There’s a joke involving a Richfield/Roosevelt basketball game and the quote “That’s my baby Thaddeus”, but only two or three people would get it, so let’s move on.

Commercials I’ve already seen too many times:
“You were fooled. Because you think it’s about me. But I believe, it takes five” and “I am the shoot button…” (not that I’m complaining about the latter—the more Hibachi, the better).

7:50—“The Bronx is Burning”. An ESPN mini series about the Yankees during one of the Billy Martin eras. Um, why?

Billy Knight just compared Acie to Mark Jackson. An obvious ESPN plug and a bold faced lie. Jackson was the ultimate distributor and Acie is a crunch time scorer…other than that they’re the same though.

7:58—NO/OK takes Julian Wright. Are they still “slash Oklahoma City”?

Why is Dick Vitale at every draft? How does his utter lack of knowledge of the college game translate into valuable information at the NBA draft?

We are shown highlights of Julian bowling with Andy Katz. Apparently JW is a big bowling fan. Great. Now Stu is talking to him about it. How about asking him why he plays hard roughly once a month despite being one of the five most talented athletes in college ball last year? Or is that too relevant?

8:00—The Clippers take 24 year old Al Thornton, and we get a side note on the TV that his dad is 6’6” and he has two sisters who are both nearly 6 feet tall. Quality, pertinent information right there. He’s a year older than LeBron and has four years less NBA experience. He might have to retire by 2011 (three years after Oden does).

8:07—Casey with the worst joke of the night: “Detroit is going to be Stuckey with Rodney’s guaranteed contract” (he made me put this in).

8:10—Nick Young to the Wizards. Could be talented, but Arenas and Butler will take all of his shots. Also, he had a documentary made about him. No word on whether or not it will be titled Hoop Dreams 2.

8:14—Knicks make a splash: they trade Channing Frye and Stevie Franchise for Zach Randolph and a couple of scrubs. This, of course, leads to Stephen A. Smith yelling at everyone. Glad he could show up finally. No word on if he likes the trade or not as no one could understand what he said…

The Lee’s, Spike and David, are big fans of this trade. Standing ovations from both of them. I wonder what they thought about New York’s choice at the 9 pick…oh wait, they traded it for Fat Eddy Curry. How’s that working out again?

8:16—Nets take pothead Sean Williams. Reminds me of Samuel Dalembert on weed. ESPN’s profile tells us that the area he needs to improve most on is maturity. Ya think?

Random thought: Oden seems to be cut out of the Shaq mode when it comes to dry humor, so why does Durant have multiple commercials whereas Greg has none? It’s been known for months that these two were the top picks in the draft. Can’t they get a McDonalds commercial together or at least some Click-Clack action?

8:29—The Lakers takes Javaris Crittenton, which prompts Casey to start the “Play Hosea…” chant.

Transcript of a conversation/argument between Screamin A and Dickie V:
SAS—AHHHHHHHH! You can not be serious!
SAS—YAAAAAHHHH! Black people!

8:35—Jason Smith from Colorado St. is taken by Miami. He’s white, so he’ll suck. At least Jason Kapono has another pretty boy to hang out with on South Beach.

Editor’s note: Smith was then traded to Philly, while Kapono recently signed with Toronto. The joke, therefore, no longer works, but it’s still funny so it stays.

8:38—Jim Gray proves once again that he’s an idiot while interviewing Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak:
JG—“Mitch, where are you at as far as acquiring KG, Jermaine O’Neal or any other superstar?”
MK—“Jim, you know I can’t comment on other team’s players. That’s clearly tampering and you know that and I’m not going to say anything more on that.”
(I hate Jim Gray)

8:43—Casey points out the gigantic ring on Tirico’s hand and asks “Is he showing off his high school class ring?” We decide that he felt intimidated by all the athletes surrounding him and wanted to try and fit in.

8:44—Rod Thorn describes Sean Williams as “a guy who obviously has a brain”. That’s what every fan wants to hear from their GM about their team’s first round pick.

8:50—We just finished an interview with Spike Lee that was immensely funny on so many levels: Tirico described him as “the face of the Knicks franchise”, Spike spouted off about everyone booing the Balkman pick last year (even though it was completely warranted at the time), and he boasts about how great Isaiah is because he drafted “Shannon Frye” (Spike, do you mean Channing, they guy they just traded? You know, in the trade you were just giving a standing ovation?).

8:56—Portland just bought the 24 pick from Phoenix. I can’t believe ESPN didn’t cut to the board room hugging it out. Very disappointing. Phoenix then takes Rudy Fernandez for Portland. Casey is happy that “we finally traded Manny”. It’s a Wild joke. Guess you had to be there…

The first round ends without much for news/comedy. I have mixed feelings as we close out the night. On one hand, we didn’t draft some big stiff like Yi, Joke Kim, or Spencer. Plus we got one of the guys I liked best in the draft in Brewer. On the other hand, we made no other significant moves, didn’t trade KG, and for now will start next season with the same horrific team except we’ll get rid of Justin Reed and Mike James and add Juwan Howard and Corey Brewer. An upgrade? Of course. Does this make us anywhere closer to a playoff team? Absolutely not. I guess I can still dream that something will go down over the weekend. Otherwise I have to wait until February for us to get 12 cents on the dollar for KG in a midseason trade. Well I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m psyched…


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