NBA free agency kicks off July 1, but tonight’s 2008 NBA Draft is the last big one-night NBA event until the fall. As such, we’re pretty fired up ’round here and have basically been frothing at the mouth all day waiting for 7:30pm to roll around. Oh, the drama! The suspense! The David Sterns! The trades! SOMEBODY STOP ME!!
In all seriousness, it’s already been quite an eventful afternoon: the Nets have agreed to trade Richard “Peanut” Jefferson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons, while the Sonics and Clippers have agreed to swap picks provided the T-Wolves draft O.J. Mayo third overall (not a given with McHale making the decisions). You can bet more moves are on the way.
Please check back at ETB throughout the draft for updates on some of the most significant moves, shocking picks, etc. We won’t be live-blogging the entire draft, or listing every pick, but we’ll hit the highlights and give you plenty of our patented, indispensible insight.
We’ll also be participating in a live chat hosted by Matt Moore over at Ridiculous Upside. Check it out here.
The 2008 NBA Draft starts at 7:30pm and will be aired on ESPN. See you then!
– Though the Miami Heat are looking more and more likely to trade the #2 pick, right now a lot of people are saying the draft begins with the third pick and the Minnesota Timberwolves. On that note, I’d be very concerned if I were a Timberwolves fan. GM Kevin McHale has a history of being “too cute” on draft day, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he botched this golden opportunity to line up either Michael Beasley or O.J. Mayo alongside Al Jefferson (beast!), Randy Foye, and Ryan Gomes.
If rumors are true that he McHale is in love with Kevin Love, and trades down to get him, it could shape up to be another cringe-worthy draft for the T-Wolves.
– This is pretty weird (per Chad Ford on ESPN): “The San Antonio Spurs sent an e-mail to every team in the league at 3:30 p.m. saying that they were willing to move the 26th pick. The e-mail asked league executives to ‘E-mail us your interest and your offers to 26.'”
– I admittedly don’t know much about him, but I don’t like the cut of Italian forward Danilo Gallinari’s jib. Maybe it’s his poor taste in suits, maybe it’s the floppy, boyish haircut; whatever it is, there’s no way I’d spend a top-10 pick on him.
– Booth Newspapers’ A. Sherrod Blakely says that if the Detroit Pistons trade up in the first round, watch out for a bigger deal involving one of the core players later this week. More specifically, I’d expect a deal to come sometime after July 1… when PG Chauncey Billups is eligible to be dealt.
– ESPN says that Gallinari “is one of the most skilled players in this draft and that he put the ball on the floor at 6-9.” Uh huh. I still wouldn’t draft him. If the New York Knicks, as suspected, end up taking him sixth overall this crowd is going to riot.
– The Chicago Bulls franchise now belongs to Memphis PG Derrick Rose, whose arrival means that either Kirk Hinrich or Ben Gordon will be wearing a new uniform next season–maybe both will. This kid is a winner and is going to make an impact immediately. Already he’s said his goal is to only be an All Star but to be a superstar on par with Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, et al. Lofty personal expectations, but you have to love his confidence.
Now the draft gets interesting.
More from 2008 NBA Draft night after the jump…
– After all that speculation–Pat Riley doesn’t like Michael Beasley’s attitude, Pat Riley wants to trade down, O.J. Mayo and Dwyane Wade are BFF–the Miami Heat make the logical choice by drafting the Kansas State power forward, who’s still only 19 years old. Now, Kevin McHale, you’re on the clock: DON’T F%$K IT UP. O.J. Mayo is the right pick.
– Excellent. Kevin McHale, you did it. O.J. Mayo is now a part of a young, up-and-coming, sure-to-be exciting Minnesota Timberwolves team centered around Al Jefferson (beast!), Mayo, Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes, and Randy Foye. I love this pick and I’m very happy for Jefferson and the T’Wolves franchise. Now if they can only find a way to get rid of McHale…
– And the honor of being the first caucasian male drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft goes to… UCLA’s PF Kevin Love, “a big guy who just knows how to play” according to ESPN. He goes fifth overall to the Memphis Grizzlies, who could conceivably start Love next to Darko Milicic which… does not especially excite me. Drawback: “he’s just not a great runner of the floor.” Sounds like a pick well spent to me.
– Heh… Knicks fans are *loving* their first-round pick, the aforementioned Italian Wonder. Wow. Good luck, Danilo–you’ll need it.
– Still no big trades, though I suspect as we move into the middle of the first round we’ll start seeing a little more action. Teams trading up, teams trading down… and damn it, as a Pistons fan, I want to see the Pistons make a move. We shall see.
– The Charlotte Bobcats make the first big surprise pick of the draft by taking undersized PG D.J. Augustin of Texas ninth overall. I’m not a big fan of this kid, but we shall see. This could mean that incumbent starter Raymond Felton could be on his way out of town; this pick reeks of Larry Brown, who’ll now have yet another point guard to mold, shape, and bust down. I hope Augustin is ready and knows what’s ahead of him.
– It’s official: the Indiana Pacers are now completely reshuffling their deck at the guard position. A day after acquiring T.J. Ford to take over at the point, GM Larry Bird takes Jerryd Bayless, a 6-3 combo guard from Arizona who was projected to go a little earlier in the draft. Expect to see Jamaal Tinsley either bought out or sold to the highest bidder very shortly (we can’t imagine there’s an especially big market for him). The Pacers are in rebuilding mode without question… and I fully expect to see them in the lottery again next June.
– Rider PF Jason Thompson is a very solid pick, but seems like a bit of a reach at twelfth overall for the Sacramento Kings. The Pistons were actually targeting this kid at 29th overall, so you have to wonder if the Kings couldn’t have traded down and still gotten him a few picks later. Maybe they tried, but either way this is a pretty ballsy pick this high in the draft and one that we probably won’t know about for at least another season or two.
– Brandon Rush goes to the Portland Trail Blazers at #13. Love this pick and feel like he’s really going to fit in with this young, emerging core of talented, high-character players that are leading this team now. Assuming Greg Oden gets back on the court and stays there next season, the Blazers should compete for a playoff berth… and only go up from there.
– The last lottery pick of the draft, LSU forward Anthony Randolph, rivals Corey Brewer and Tayshaun Prince in terms of malnourished skinny picks in the last decade. Wow. Time to hit the weight room my friend. He’ll be fighting for minutes with last year’s first-round pick, Brandan Wright, on the Golden State Warriors (unless he’s traded).
– The Phoenix Suns select Stanford center Robin Lopez, who after he’s done with tonight’s festivities promises to kill Bart Simpson. About all I have to say about this pick is this: B-U-S-T.
– Roy Hibbert, the 7-2 center from Georgetown who likely would have been a top-five pick if he’d entered the draft last year, goes to the “Toronto Raptors” at 17th overall. I use the quotations because this pick was made for the Indiana Pacers as part of the Jermaine O’Neal trade, which can’t be finalized until July 1. The big man’s stock has obviously slipped considerably over this past year, in large part because of the questions about his speed and mobility. He’ll replace O’Neal down low, but I’m not sure if he’ll be ready to start on Day One. Interesting gamble, but some had Hibbert going as late as 25th overall.
– We have our first trade of the evening (finally!): the Portland Trail Blazers have traded Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack to the Indiana Pacers for Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless. My initial reaction is that Portland GM Kevin Pritchard has just made a fantastic move and has his point guard for years to come to pair next to Brandon Roy in the Blazers’ backcourt. Honestly, I’m just happy we’ve finally seen a trade and think that Portland has done an incredible job of reshaping and retooling their franchise. The days of the Jail Blazers are a distant memory.
– David Stern can barely hide his disgust and contempt when he has to announce that a draft pick “isn’t here.”
– Matt Moore of Ridiculous Upside says there’s a rumor going around of New York Knicks PF David Lee going to the Charlotte Bobcagts for PG Raymond Felton. I could see this one happening, actually: Lee is the exact kind of player that the Bobcats need and that Larry Brown would love to have on his roster. And Felton’s loosey-goosey style fits in well with the Knicks.. ergh, at least the Knicks of the past few seasons.
– Speaking of the Bobcats, they just took a seven-foot Frenchman whom I’ve never heard of. And as we all know, Larry Brown is HUGE fan of rookies, especially foreign rookies. “This pick is a match made in heaven and I fully expect the Frenchman’s relationship with Brown to be built on a solid foundation of trust and understanding.”
– Brian Cardinal was a great pick for the New Jersey Nets here at 21st overall.
– The Seattle Sonics have done it again: with the 24th overall pick, the Sonics select Serge Ibaka, F, from… the Congo. I really think the NBA should consider imposing a rule that the Sonics are not allowed to draft a big man in the first round. Sheesh. This pick was made in the great tradition of Johan Petro, Robert Swift, Sene….
– And herrrrreeeeeeeeeee comes the foreign players… the Houston Rockets select Nicolas Batum, G, of France with the 25th overall pick. Accordingly, here comes cursing and beer bottles flung at televisions by fans of teams selecting said foreign players. ESPN’s Jay Bilas says he has “super-duper athletic ability,” so hey, he must be good.
– The San Antonio Spurs take George Hill. George Hill. George Hill. Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
– Darrell Arthur, the lone player left in the Green Room, finally goes to the Portland Trail Blazers at 27th overall. Rumors of kidney problems hurt his draft stock considerably, but the Blazers are going to be very, very pleased with this kid. The rich get richer. Good for him.
– The Detroit Pistons have Chris Douglas-Roberts fall into their lap… and take Jason Maxiell clone D.J. White from Indiana. Ugh. I’m not especially thrilled about this pick. He’s another bruiser in the post, but what does this mean about the team’s confidence in Amir Johnson? Does this indicate that Rasheed Wallace and/or Antonio McDyess are on the move? And, honestly, what does this say about Maxiell? Time will tell, but this is a bit of a head-scratcher on the surface.
**UPDATE** From ESPN: The Detroit Pistons have verbally agreed to trade the draft rights to D.J. White to the Seattle SuperSonics for two of the Sonics’ second-round picks — the 32nd and 46th picks — according to a Pistons source. And they use that pick on Walter Sharpe??!! Christ. It’s time to turn off the draft.
– And the Boston Celtics select… J.R. Giddens? Of New Mexico? Huh? ESPN says he must improve his professionalism. Wow. Great pick, Danny Ainge.
That about does it for tonight’s coverage of the 2008 NBA Draft. Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back in the next few days with more post-draft thoughts and analysis. Good night, and godspeed.