This was a pretty interesting NBA Draft.
About 30 minutes before game time, I made the conscious decision to avoid Twitter after having the 2011 draft ruined by reporters scooping draft picks minutes before they were announced, and instead decided to pay homage to Bill Simmons with the following. So without any further ado, I give you a running diary of the 2012 NBA Draft.
7:32 – David Stern booed as usual and says “Thank you for the warm welcome.”
7:33 – Stern channels his inner Hulk Hogan circa 1996 and even does the hand-cupping to his ear motion when referencing the Miami Heat’s NBA championship win, prompting even louder boos from the Newark crowd. A few years ago, this could have counted as a WWE SmackDown opening segment until Vince McMahon moved the show to Friday.
7:37 – Stern officially inducts Anthony Davis into the NBA. Love this year’s draft hats by the way. Any time you can get an old-school style into a sport that desperately needs it, you’ve done something right.
7:39 – We get our first “wingspan” reference from Jay Bilas, who triples the effect by saying it thrice. Ever the entertainer, Bilas says “three times, America” – a nod toward the drinking game that most fans play whenever listening to his analysis.
7:41 – Heather Cox interviews Davis’ parents. Not seeing Craig Sager looking like a blackjack dealer is quite refreshing.
7:42 – Rece Davis points out the Bobcats are “coming off a historically bad season.” We knew that already.
7:43 – The Bobcats shock the critics by selecting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but as CBS’ Jeff Goodman pointed out before the draft, it’s not really a shock since Kidd-Gilchrist and new coach Mike Dunlap share the same agent. Also not shocking: Stern hails the kid as being from New Jersey for a cheap pop from the crowd.
7:44 – Daly Dose superfan David Rochford boldly points out that there are more fans at the Prudential Center tonight than there are for a Seton Hall game. Sadly, he may be right.
7:47 – The run on SEC players continues as the Wizards draft Florida’s Bradley Beal, who turned 19 tonight.
7:50 – Impressed with the fact that ESPN hasn’t made a big deal out of Twitter the way most other networks do. Not one @(insert name here) graphic yet.
7:53 – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cleveland take Thomas Robinson and then trade him to Charlotte for Kidd-Gilchrist.
7:54 – ESPN’s Andy Katz was all over this last night: The Cavaliers take Dion Waiters out of Syracuse fourth overall. One of the best players in the draft, Waiters is Syracuse’s highest draft pick since Carmelo Anthony went third overall in 2003.
7:56 – With Irving and Waiters, Cleveland has their best backcourt since Mark Price and Terrell Brandon in the mid-‘90s.
7:57 – Am I the only one who thinks John Calipari looks like Robert De Niro? Think about it: They even have the same mole on their right cheek.
7:59 – Steal number two as Robinson goes to the Kings. I’m a little surprised to see Harrison Barnes fall out of the top five, but most critics called this; so as Chris Russo would say, “that’s a great job in a big spot.”
8:02 – I’m just hearing about Thomas Robinson having lost both grandparents and his mother three weeks apart. For him to be doing this and supporting his sister speaks volumes about the kid. From someone whose parents separated when I was 13 and was raised by a single mother, I can somewhat relate. This kid has my respect and support even more now than he did when he was just a great player at Kansas.
8:05 – Portland takes Damian Lillard sixth overall. For Portland fans praying he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Sam Bowie or Greg Oden, remember this: He’s a guard.
8:08 – First Twitter sighting with a tweet from South Carolina coach Frank Martin appearing on screen. New York fans get to see Martin twice, as he takes on St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena and Manhattan at the Barclays Center this season.
8:09 – I’m curious as to the reaction of my good friend Evan Roberts, the WFAN midday show co-host who is a long-suffering Nets fan. (Remember, the Nets traded the pick Portland just took Lillard with to get Gerald Wallace.) Roberts is on vacation at the moment, so I’ll post his reaction if I get it.
8:11 – North Carolina’s first draft pick is Harrison Barnes, who goes seventh to the Warriors. As a die-hard Carolina fan, I hope Barnes turns out better for the Warriors than Brandan Wright did, because that kid would have been something special if he would have stayed in school rather than leaving after one year.
8:12 – Is it me, or is Rece Davis starting to look like Jay Wright?
8:16 – The Raptors take Terrence Ross from Washington eighth overall. Bryan Colangelo may have spit it up again with this pick, passing up on Jeremy Lamb and Austin Rivers.
8:17 – From David Rochford in regard to Washington having Ross and Tony Wroten, but missing the NCAA Tournament: “#1BidPac12.” (Thank Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner for spreading that hashtag to the masses)
8:19 – My friend and fellow college basketball insider Jon Rothstein said the Pistons were doing last-minute research on Andre Drummond in case he fell to them at No. 9. Guess what: The UConn big man is still out there.
8:20 – I can’t tell you how much I love Fran Fraschilla’s analysis of international players. I forgot about Jonas Valanciunas before tonight, to be honest with you.
8:21 – ESPN defying Roger Goodell’s vision of not tipping picks by showing Drummond on camera.
8:22 – The boos for Stern never get old. Neither does him eating up the reaction. Pistons take Drummond by the way.
8:23 – Another three shots if you’re playing the Bilas drinking game. Drummond has a 90-inch wingspan for those of you scoring at home.
8:25 – Drummond tells Mark Jones he made the right call leaving UConn early. Due to the Huskies’ APR problems, next season really wouldn’t count for much, would it?
8:28 – Jon Rothstein is 2-for his last-2 now that the Hornets drafted Austin Rivers tenth overall. The man had this in an interview yesterday with WFAN’s Joe Benigno.
8:35 – Portland takes Meyers Leonard at No. 11. Will the 7-1 big man be as good as Arvydas Sabonis, or as average as Chris Dudley?
8:41 – With their first of three picks, Houston takes Jeremy Lamb at No. 12 rather than a big man. A surprising pick, but the UConn guard will make up for it with his mounds of talent and potential.
8:48 – I didn’t know Kendall Marshall turned into Roy Williams!
8:49 – Marshall’s selection by the Phoenix Suns is great because he’s just as good a passer as Steve Nash. This kid will be great in that system. My mock draft was also vindicated with this pick, but nobody really cares, right?
8:53 – John Henson goes from the best North Carolina player over the last three years to the Milwaukee Bucks’ best frontcourt player with the 14th overall selection.
8:54 – Wingspan AND Bill Simmons references? Great work, Mr. Bilas.
8:58 – With the 15th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Maurice Harkless, forward from St. John’s University. Harkless is the first St. John’s draft pick since Omar Cook in 2001, and first opening round selection since Erick Barkley in 2000. It’s about time my alma mater is back.
9:01 – WSJU host and play-by-play announcer Jon Perez, who also does a great Marv Albert impression, texts me to remind me that he called Harkless to the Sixers earlier in the day. Be sure to listen to “Jon and John in the Morning,” which Perez co-hosts with fellow St. John’s student John Sudolsky, next semester when they return to the air.
9:05 – The Rockets take Royce White of Iowa State with the 16th overall pick. This kid is a star in the making if he can replicate his NCAA Tournament performance against Connecticut.
9:10 – Mavericks take Tyler Zeller, but will reportedly trade the rights to the North Carolina center. It’s a shame too, because he would have been great alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
9:18 – Rockets complete their trifecta with Terrence Jones in the No. 18 spot. With Lamb, White and Jones, it’s safe to say that Daryl Morey had yet another excellent draft.
9:23 – Speaking as a Magic fan, I’m very happy with this Andrew Nicholson pick. Got to see him against Fordham last year, and this kid is freaking amazing. Scored 30 with no effort at all against the Rams, and with a little seasoning, he could be a Tim Duncan-esque pro.
9:27 – Denver takes Evan Fournier, a French swingman. Best part of this pick: We get a detailed scouting report from Fran Fraschilla.
9:33 – David Rochford: “Let’s see how much the Celtics kill Bill Simmons.”
9:34 – Stern points to a fan holding a sign stating “In Danny (Ainge) we trust.” You just have to love a guy who can play along with his never-ending criticism. Boston drafts Jared Sullinger in the No. 21 spot for those of you scoring at home.
9:42 – Celtics take Fab Melo at 22. After how much of a force he was defensively for Syracuse, this will help the Celtics get the foul calls they should have got in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami. This kid should be a solid pro in Beantown.
9:48 – Atlanta gets the best shooter in the draft at No. 23, taking Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins. An Allan Houston clone in terms of shooting, Jenkins will keep Atlanta in close games and adds a reputation for success in the clutch to a backcourt that includes Jeff Teague and Joe Johnson.
9:52 – Picking for Dallas as a result of the Tyler Zeller trade, Cleveland takes Jared Cunningham out of Oregon State. Considering he played for Michelle Obama’s brother in college, this is shaping up to be a pretty good night in the White House.
9:59 – Kentucky’s fifth player still on the board after Tony Wroten goes to the Grizzlies at 25, eliciting another “#1BidPac12” reference from David Rochford.
10:04 – Miles Plumlee to the Pacers? Seriously? This kid has to be getting traded. Not sure what the Pacers are thinking if they keep this pick.
10:06 – ESPN really can’t go more than an hour without mentioning LeBron, huh?
10:08 – Rece Davis on Stern taking forever to come out: “I promise he’s back there.”
10:09 – Stern REALLY knows how to work a crowd. If Vince McMahon needs a new bad guy, all he has to do is have Stern announce the “NBA champion” Miami Heat the way he just did in Newark tonight. The reigning champs get a solid pick in Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie, who I had going twelve spots earlier.
10:10 – Lost in the shuffle of draft night is the fact that the festivities are being held in an arena that no longer hosts an NBA franchise after the Nets decided to make it real and trade in these wings on some wheels. (For those of you unsure of that reference, watch the following video)
10:14 – Oklahoma City selects Perry Jones at No. 28. After playing at Baylor, he instantly upgrades the quality of his jersey.
10:21 – Chicago gets their backup to Derrick Rose, and it’s Marquis Teague of Kentucky, who surprisingly fell to 29. Bulls were going to take Tyshawn Taylor if Teague wasn’t there, but this is a better choice.
10:25 – Another trade, as Miami sends Arnett Moultrie to Philadelphia for the 45th overall pick.
10:26 – David Stern’s swan song announces Festus Ezeli to Golden State.
10:27 – Stern reminds us that Adam Silver will conduct the second round. Is that really a good thing?
10:28 – WE WANT GRANIK! For those of you scoring at home, that’s a reference to former deputy commissioner Russ Granik, who never should have retired.
10:32 – Adam Silver comes out to a rousing ovation and announces Jeffery Taylor as the Bobcats’ second-round selection.
10:33 – WE WANT GRANIK.
10:36 – Tomas Satoransky from the Czech Republic joins countryman Jan Vesely after he is drafted by the Wizards. Cue Fran Fraschilla’s always-refreshing analysis. I wonder if Satoransky can top this.
10:40 – Cleveland drafts Bernard James for Dallas. Solid pick for a guy who is a true defender on and off the court, the latter for serving three tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar during a six-year stint as a member of the Air Force.
10:43 – The third of Cleveland’s picks for Dallas goes to one of the best players in the draft, Marquette’s Jae Crowder. The unheralded junior college transfer was the Big East Player of the Year last season, and now gets to learn from one of the best small forwards in the NBA in Shawn Marion.
10:50 – Draymond Green goes to the Warriors at No. 35 overall. The kid is simply a winner. He’ll make this team better the first time he shows up for practice.
10:51 – Sacramento selects Orlando Johnson at No. 36, keeping him in the state of California for just a few minutes before they trade him to the Pacers.
10:52 – Raptors may have taken their replacement for Chris Bosh if they hold on to him, drafting Baylor’s Quincy Acy with the 37th pick.
10:54 – Two guys named Quincy from Baylor go back-to-back, as Quincy Miller gets drafted by the Nuggets.
10:55 – Jay Bilas speaks for the nation when he says “those (Baylor) uniforms are burning my retinas.” Well done once again, Jay.
10:58 – ESPN goes to break and misses the Pistons’ second-round pick, who turns out to be Khris Middleton of Texas A&M.
11:02 – Portland continues a surprisingly solid draft by adding Will Barton and Tyshawn Taylor to their first-round haul of Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard.
11:03 – Well, maybe just Barton now that Andy Katz reported that Taylor was traded to the Nets.
11:04 – Moving right along as Milwaukee picks up Doron Lamb to join Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in a star-studded backcourt.
11:05 – Still waiting for Iona’s Scott Machado to get selected. When he does, there may be a few fist pumps to commemorate it.
11:06 – A graphic shows Kentucky has a 5-4 lead on North Carolina in players selected. Carolina isn’t going any higher than four. Justin Watts is not getting drafted, people. Even though I like the kid, it’s just not happening.
11:08 – Silver announces a trade we knew 10 minutes ago. WE WANT GRANIK.
11:12 – Mike Scott (forward from Virginia) and Kim English (guard from Missouri) taken 43rd and 44th by the Hawks and Pistons, respectively. ESPN shows the Scott pick but misses the English pick.
11:14 – While the Worldwide Leader is again away doing a little business with America, (in the words of the late great Gene Rayburn) the Sixers draft another big man, LSU center Justin Hamilton, but send him to Miami to complete the Arnett Moultrie deal.
11:16 – Hornets take the sixth Kentucky player by going for Davis’ teammate Darius Miller at No. 46.
11:17 – Machado could be in play for Utah after he worked out for the Jazz last week.
11:18 – So much for that, as the Jazz go for Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy.
11:19 – Knicks on the clock. The NBA’s answer to the Jets on draft day, but not quite as raucous.
11:20 – The Knicks would do something like that, taking Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou. This looks like Frederic Weis all over again. At least we get a Fraschilla scouting report.
11:21 – David Rochford: “Maybe James Dolan can solve the Greek financial issue.”
11:22 – Machado to the Magic would be a dream come true since Jameer Nelson has an option at the end of next season.
11:23 – Magic take Kyle O’Quinn from Norfolk State. Somewhat anticlimactic, but the kid is legitimate. Got to see him in person when Norfolk State beat St. Francis before they shocked the world against Missouri.
11:24 – Nuggets draft Izzet Turkyilmaz out of Turkey. They tried this in 2002 when they took Nikoloz Tskitishvili fifth overall. Didn’t work then, may not work now.
11:25 – Celtics take Kris Joseph at No. 51, reuniting him with Fab Melo. Great pick in a tricky spot.
11:26 – Nine picks to go and Machado is still on the board. Starting to get a little uneasy here.
11:27 – Another “wingspan” reference from Bilas, and another shot for those who haven’t already passed out.
11:30 – Mavericks/Cavaliers trade announced by Silver an hour after it was initially reported. WE WANT GRANIK. Who is Ognjen Kuzmic? The Warriors just drafted him from Bosnia.
11:31 – THANK GOD FOR FRAN FRASCHILLA.
11:33 – Clippers select Furkan Aldemir from Turkey during a commercial break.
11:34 – GIVE ME FRASCHILLA OR GIVE ME DEATH.
11:35 – The bottom line inexplicably disappears from my screen. If Machado gets picked here, I may go on strike against ESPN.
11:36 – Bottom line and ESPN return with the Sixers still on the clock at No. 54. No pick during the break.
11:37 – Fraschilla earning his money yet again. This guy needs to get a coaching gig though. He’s too good not to have one.
11:38 – Tornike Shengelia? At least we get more Fraschilla analysis.
11:41 – Dallas gets a great pick in Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom. Mavs also reunite him with Jae Crowder, who was taken for them by Cleveland earlier in the night. (Note: Johnson-Odom was traded to the Lakers shortly after the draft went off the air)
11:42 – Five more picks left. Hopefully Machado is one of them.
11:44 – Fran Fraschilla has one more to give us when ESPN comes back from break now that Raptors have taken Tomislav Zubcic of Croatia at No. 56.
11:45 – Brooklyn Nets on the clock. Would love to see Machado stay home.
11:46 – Robbie Hummel cracks Jay Bilas’ best available list. If anyone really does deserve to be drafted, it’s him.
11:48 – Nets add to the Fraschilla workload drafting Turkey’s Ilkan Karaman.
11:49 – Seven of the last ten players taken are European. This is unbelievable.
11:50 – Minnesota on the clock. Let’s see what rabbit David Kahn pulls out of his hat this time.
11:51 - Silver announces the Moultrie-for-Hamilton swap before announcing the Timberwolves’ pick, which is Robbie Hummel.
11:52 – David Kahn gets it right taking Hummel. The kid deserves every minute of this.
11:53 – Down to the Spurs and Lakers now. Will Machado go to one of them?
11:54 – Magic Johnson not in attendance in Newark can only mean one thing: He’s working on fixing the Dodger Stadium parking scenario.
11:55 – A typical Spurs pick: Marcus Denmon of Missouri. Excellent pick of a shooter who fits right into Gregg Popovich’s system.
11:56 – The Lakers wrapping it up with…hopefully Machado.
11:59 – One final montage played before the announcement of Mr. Irrelevant. Really tense moments here waiting for Machado to hopefully get what he deserves.
12:00 – Mitch Kupchak was at the Hynes Center this season. Could it be?
12:01 – Lakers draft Robert Sacre out of Gonzaga, a deserving pick that will make Andrew Bynum even more expendable.
12:02 – Thank you, NBA salary cap. Your restrictions have turned general managers onto the concept of stashing picks overseas and depriving deserving players of their rightful moments in the sun.