Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 NBA Draft: A Running Diary

Last year, we made a conscious and rather enjoyable decision to avoid Twitter and the endless scooping of draft picks to try something new, a Bill Simmons-inspired running diary of draft night, which we reprised again last March for Selection Sunday. With this being David Stern's final draft, a lot more than his usual chorus of boos should be expected when he takes the stage in his hometown of Brooklyn, and ESPN already had a couple of notable moments on its pregame show. So, here it is, as we take you through the first round, and (time permitting) maybe some of the second too:

7:26 - Rece Davis, anchoring the studio coverage, throws to Fran Fraschilla for a nutshell analysis of the international players expected to be taken in the first round. Sign me up. We need more of this throughout the night, as Fran's coverage of these guys that we never even heard of before this week is always a highlight of the festivities. Gotta love the scouting reports from the former Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico coach.

7:28 - The "Worldwide Leader" spits it up shortly after the Fraschilla segment by introducing Shane Battier as a guest analyst. Maybe it's the North Carolina fan in me, but has anyone else shared my thought process when it comes to Battier, thinking to themselves "why won't this guy go away" after the last 15 years? Maybe it's like this clip from the great Austin Powers movies:

7:33 - David Stern makes his final entrance to his standard boos that make John Cena's entrance at ECW One Night Stand in 2006 look tame by comparison.

7:34 - Massive boos when Stern name drops the Miami Heat. All that's missing, especially given Stern's sarcastic responses to his reception, are chants of "a**hole" from the crowd in Brooklyn.

7:36 - Jay Bilas makes his first on-camera appearance, and yes, we're tracking a time for his first mention of "wingspan" and the drinking game that usually accompanies it. We have 7:38, friend of the site David Rochford had 7:34. Looks like we're both over no thanks to the late start from ESPN.

7:39 - First mention of LeBron and his rumored return to Cleveland. Still don't see it happening.

7:41 - Stern takes another three minutes after Cleveland gets off the clock to come out, and announces that the Cavaliers have taken Anthony Bennett of UNLV first overall. The hand movement by the commissioner instructing the crowd to raise the volume was just epic. By the way, Bennett is one of the most complete players in the draft, and coming out of the Mountain West Conference, this was a GREAT pick by Cleveland. It also shoots our mock draft to pieces, considering we had Alex Len going first and most others had either Len or Nerlens Noel. Finally, a team lives by the "best available" mantra.

7:43 - First "wingspan" reference by Mr. Bilas, accompanied by a "tip one back" to acknowledge the drinking game. We gotta go to work.

7:45 - Bennett becomes the first Mountain West player selected first overall since fellow UNLV product Larry Johnson, who Bennett is essentially a lighter version of, went No. 1 to the then-Charlotte Hornets in 1991. Now it's time for the Magic to get on the clock.

7:47 - Stern back out for the Orlando pick, who turns out to be Victor Oladipo of Indiana. Seemingly overrated all year except when he (much to our dismay) singlehandedly defeated Michigan State on two occasions, Oladipo seems more likely to end up being the next Calbert Cheaney than he does the next Isiah Thomas. Another blown pick by the Magic, who cannot get out of their own way anymore.

7:49 - Oladipo with Shane Battier. KILL ME NOW. This year's draft hats, by the way? BRUTAL.

7:50 - Bill Simmons screws up for the first time when declaring that Orlando stole Tobias Harris from Miami for J.J. Redick. Ummm, the Magic traded Redick to Milwaukee.

7:51 - Washington keeps the festivities going, but not before a sarcastic "I can't hear you" from Stern. Wizards select Georgetown's Otto Porter, allowing him to remain at the Verizon Center after he spent two years at Georgetown. It's great that he's out of the Big East, and congratulations should be extended to friend of the site Mex Carey, the Hoyas' sports information director who is one of the all-time greats.

7:54 - Bilas adds to his already sky-high entertainment appeal by saying Porter could play for the Reggie Cleveland All-Star team while his highlight video plays. For those of you who don't know what that means, it's the term used for a player whose name is atypical of their ethnic background.

7:59 - Stern returns to reveal the Charlotte Bobcats' selection, that being Cody Zeller of Indiana. Despite all the love we have for his older brother Tyler for winning a national championship as a freshman at North Carolina, this isn't exactly the best pick for Michael Jordan in Charlotte, especially with both Nerlens Noel AND Alex Len on the board, not to mention Ben McLemore, who would form an exciting backcourt duo with Kemba Walker. Time to start wondering what it is that MJ's doing again. (go to the 2:54 mark of the following video for our latest outside reference) On that note, HEY MA! THE MEATLOAF!

8:06 - Bill Simmons makes the startling discovery that maybe Nerlens Noel is still on the board due to medical concerns over his torn ACL. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

8:07 - Noel is still around after Phoenix takes Alex Len of Maryland fifth overall. Not sure if that was the best way to go for the Suns, but maybe friend of the site and huge Phoenix fan Mike Ferraro gets something to smile about over the course of the season.

8:08 - Bilas during Len's highlight video: "He's got a wingspan of about 7-3. Tip it back, America."

8:11 - Noel is now becoming the NBA's version of Aaron Rodgers, with every ESPN voice chiming in on where he would end up and what kind of a fit he would be at each pick. The drama ends now, as Noel lands in New Orleans, going sixth overall to the former Hornets. The New Orleans Pelicans may as well be Lexington South now that Noel joins last year's Wildcat sensation Anthony Davis, who was the 2012 No. 1 pick.

8:13 - Ben McLemore, who by all accounts should have gone to Orlando at No. 2, is still available; and out of all the teams still out there, Detroit would be a solid fit for him if he lands there, allowing the Kansas product to team up with underrated combo guard Brandon Knight.

8:16 - McLemore's slide ends thanks to the Sacramento Kings, who take their second consecutive Kansas player after drafting Thomas Robinson last year, and it moves Jimmer Fredette to the point full-time. McLemore and The Jimmer on the same team should make CBS' Seth Davis a happy man.

8:20 - The Detroit Pistons are on the clock, and would get their third consecutive steal if Michigan's Trey Burke were the choice here. Not coincidentally, ESPN goes to break with Burke on camera. This tipping of picks HAS TO GO. Burke would be an excellent fit in Motown, but what's the sense of dragging this whole night out if you're going to spoil the fun?

8:23 - Andy Katz makes his first appearance to inform us of a possible Nerlens Noel trade to Philadelphia, which means the Sixers are most likely drafting for New Orleans in the eleventh spot.

8:24 - Here comes Stern for the eighth pick, which is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia, a pure shooter that goes to the Pistons. Brandon Knight most likely shifts to the point with this selection, and we apologize for the whole rant about tipping picks, since Burke obviously didn't go to Detroit.

8:26 - Proponents of advanced stats, including our own Ray Floriani, get their due recognition as Bilas references Caldwell-Pope's 1.22 points per possession, which correlates to an offensive efficiency rating of 122. On a side bar here, having Ray around on our site may allow us to explore the world of advanced stats a little more next season.

8:30 - Chris Broussard reports Jrue Holiday is headed to New Orleans in the Noel trade, which makes us question its validity.

8:30 - Trey Burke is the next person off the board, going ninth to Minnesota. Given that the Timberwolves have Ricky Rubio, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Burke is traded.

8:31 - If Burke remains in Minnesota, the backcourt pairing with Rubio is one to watch for the next several years. Now we're hearing the Michigan product could be headed to Utah.

8:35 - College basketball insider Jon Rothstein, who usually hits home runs with the late lottery picks, (see Andre Drummond and Austin Rivers last year) said the Blazers wouldn't let C.J. McCollum slip past them if he were there at No. 10. Rothstein just hit his third straight out of the park, and Portland gets an absolute steal to join Damian Lillard in Oregon. Jon, you might have to come join us at the tables in Atlantic City.

8:39 - After hearing his interview, C.J. McCollum is one of the most well-spoken players I've ever some across. Not coincidentally, some of the best interviews are at the mid-major level, as Siena's O.D. Anosike is also a refreshing voice. Maybe it's the initials.

8:42 - Chris Broussard announces Trey Burke will be traded to Utah and the Jazz will draft for Minnesota at 14 and 21. Where are your sources, Chris?

8:44 - After hearing that Jrue Holiday was being shipped to New Orleans, Philadelphia immediately fills their sudden point guard void with the selection of Michael Carter-Williams eleventh overall. The Syracuse product is probably one of the better on-ball defenders as well as a solid passer, which translates to a solid get for the Sixers.

8:45 - With Oklahoma City on the clock, Shabazz Muhammad makes the most sense here with the Thunder still looking to replace James Harden. A big man wouldn't be out of the question either, maybe a Kelly Olynyk or Steven Adams, or perhaps Louisville's Gorgui Dieng, who was talked about in this spot earlier this month.

8:50 - After a longer than usual break, David Stern gets a round of boos reminiscent of Hulk Hogan joining the New World Order. Oklahoma City takes Steven Adams of Pittsburgh, which will most likely be a D-League stash or a trade.

8:53 - We've only managed to get one of the first twelve picks right in our mock draft. Hopefully Shabazz Muhammad turns the tide here at No. 13, where we have him going to Dallas.

8;56 - Chris Broussard says his "sources" tell him it's very unlikely that Dwight Howard re-signs with the Lakers. This went public two days ago, Chris, but thanks for the heads-up.

8:58 - The Mavericks go for Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk instead, which cuts to Andy Katz reporting that Olynyk will be traded to the Celtics for two second-round picks. This confirms Mark Cuban wanting to clear space for Dwight Howard.

9:04 - Can Stern step aside now and bring Russ Granik out? That would really make our day. WE WANT GRANIK.

9:04 - Utah makes their first of two picks for Minnesota, taking Shabazz Muhammad. That choice would actually end up paying off for the Timberwolves, with Muhammad the beneficiary of Ricky Rubio's amazing passing skills.

9:08 - Bill Simmons evading the issue as Jalen Rose verbally wonders when it will be that the former @Sportsguy33 will buy a Kelly Olynyk jersey. This is what ESPN considers solid analysis? Bilas is totally saving this panel a million times over.

9:10 - Simmons informs the world that Milwaukee is rebuilding around Larry Sanders. It's about time some team rebuilds around a former VCU player.

9:10 - The Bucks reach the halfway point with the first stash pick of the night with Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece.


9:12 - Is it wrong that the only reason we love this pick is for Fran Fraschilla's stellar analysis? We've already learned more in 90 seconds about a kid we've never heard of than we did from the booth in the first two hours.

9:14 - Andy Katz turning in an MVP-caliber performance among analysts not named Fran Fraschilla, informing us that Boston will be drafting for either Dallas or Atlanta at No. 16.

9:17 - David Stern starts the second half of his swan song with the announcement of Lucas Nogueira as the 16th overall pick, going to Boston at the moment.

9:18 - A Brazilian, huh? That means it's Fran Fraschilla time again. AWESOME.

9:20 - Nogueira is apparently on his way to Dallas as ESPN cuts to break.

9:21 - Can the Hawks make a stash pick here? More Fraschilla is never a bad thing.

9:22 - We get our wish, as the Hawks take German point guard Dennis Schroeder. Three straight Fraschilla scouting reports. THERE IS A GOD.

9:28 - Seems like every other word out of Bill Simmons' mouth is "Twitter." Considering he has a seven-figure follower count, (ours stands at 1,043, which we're quite proud of) we really can't argue with the man.

9:30 - The Hawks' second pick is a second point guard to team with Jeff Teague, that being Miami's Shane Larkin, who of course is Hall of Fame shortstop Barry's son. Bill Simmons redeems himself here with his musing "Did David Kahn get hired by them as a consultant?" Cue the hashtag #ProsAndKahns.

9:31 - Simmons makes it 2-for-2 when he calls Bilas out for liking Shane Larkin despite his having a bad wingspan. Andy Katz comes on shortly thereafter to announce Larkin is apparently on his way to Dallas.

9:37 - We finally have another one right in our mock draft! Cleveland takes Sergey Karasev, who they will likely stash. The best part of this pick is, of course, the Fran Fraschilla scouting report.

9:43 - ESPN comes back from break with a plug for the NBA Summer League Live app. Considering Scott Machado is playing in the Summer League again, it gives us a chance to keep track of his progress.

9:44 - The Chicago Bulls get an absolute steal with New Mexico's Tony Snell, drafted 20th overall. This Mountain West guard is the total package, and can defend just as well as he can catch and shoot. Mountain West guru and late-night bracket advisor Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated has this to say:

9:50 - Utah makes their second pick for Minnesota, and David Stern declares it to be well, no one yet, as he builds up the suspense by just standing there.

9:51 - David Stern: "We've had to explain to our international audience that the boo is an American sign of respect." He would have been better off asking the Barclays Center crowd if they were saying "boo" or "Boo-urns" instead. Utah drafts Louisville's Gorgui Dieng for Minnesota, where he will join Kevin Love up front.

9:53 - As the Brooklyn Nets are on the clock, it goes without saying that Stern will be greatly missed, but only on this night.

9:57 - Forgive us for this, but we totally missed the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce to the Nets trade talks. Speaking of the Brooklyn boys, Jason Kidd's first draft pick is Mason Plumlee, which is a great pick for the Nets despite his Duke connection. Kidd needed height and defense, and he gets mounds of it here, along with a double-double per night.

10:00 - Two guys who killed Carolina for years on my screen. WAY TOO MUCH DUKE OVERLOAD.

10:04 - David Stern: "Your enthusiasm seems to be dwindling." He then goes on to announce a mild shock with the 23rd pick, as Arizona swingman Solomon Hill goes to the Indiana Pacers. Solid pick who played for a great coach in Sean Miller.

10:09 - The NBA's equivalent of the New York Jets are on the clock, as the Knicks actually make a solid pick in Tim Hardaway Jr., who was instrumental in guiding Michigan to the national championship game. He'll just have to wear a different number in New York, as the No. 10 he donned in Ann Arbor to honor his father was retired years ago for the great Walt "Clyde" Frazier.

10:16 - The Los Angeles Clippers also defy convention with a solid pick in Reggie Bullock, who should not have left North Carolina early, at the No. 25 spot.

10:22 - Minnesota drafts for Golden State at No. 26 with Andre Roberson of Colorado, as David Stern works the crowd one more time.

10:26 - Fran Fraschilla makes his long-awaited return with the 27th pick, as the Denver Nuggets take 7-2 Frenchman Rudy Gobert, whose 92 1/2-inch wingspan was a combine record.

10:35 - The NBA's model franchise makes their selection at No. 28 and stashes Livio Jean-Charles (who?) of French Guiana. At least Fran Fraschilla can give us some background on the newest member of the San Antonio Spurs.

10:41 - The latest report from Andy Katz involves Andre Roberson being moved to Oklahoma City, who will draft for Phoenix at No. 30, who will draft for Golden State. Oklahoma City selects Kentucky's Archie Goodwin at 29 for the Suns, who are now on the clock as David Stern's grand NBA Draft finale.

10:49 - David Stern gets a well-deserved standing ovation in his final draft pick announcement, to which he responds "Stop it, you're ruining all the fun." The commissioner's own personal Mr. Irrelevant is Serbian guard Nemanja Nedovic, who gives us a Fran Fraschilla scouting report. Stern then introduces deputy commissioner and his eventual replacement Adam Silver, who is booed just as vociferously as Stern.


10:51 - Thank you, David Stern. No, seriously.

10:59 - After a blockbuster trade was announced wherein Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are apparently headed to Brooklyn in the near future, Adam Silver welcomes California swingman Allen Crabbe into the NBA, as he is the first pick of the second round, 31st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

11:03 - Taking a look at some of the best players available before we wrap up, and it surprises us that San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin is still there at 33, as well as Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas and Kansas big man Jeff Withey. We'll have a recap of winners, losers and second-round steals sometime tomorrow.

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