Saturday, June 29, 2013

2013 Draft: Running Diary

In honor of Bill Simmons as an inexplicable participant in the draft, after years of making fun of everyone involved in the process, here's a running diary I wrote during the draft, which turned out to be one of the most entertaining ever.

No one's sure of anything that will happen in this draft. The Cavs keep pushing for trades to leave the fog of confusion.

Jalen Rose is really excited about Alex Len's 9' 2" reach and how that can protect the rim, which is pretty much average for an NBA center. (In fact, I found the average standing reach in the 2012 season was 9' 1.4" to 1.7", depending on what you do with power forwards who play center.) Um, Noel's standing reach is 9' 2" and he blocked almost twice as many shots.

Bill Simmons continues his love affair with Oladipo. Somehow his worst case scenario is Tony Allen, arguably the best perimeter defender in the league. So Oladipo is likely the best perimeter defender ever ... ? He's also a junior and few seem to talk about his age.

Magic found a nice center in Vucevic and a big small forward in Tobias Harris. Shame that the top prospects are Porter and Noel. Not sure you want to play Noel and Vucevic at the same time.

You'd think that by now people would realize offense is less important for centers, but people are still enamored with centers who can score even at low levels versus small, inferior players in college.

I'm glad these guys went to college so we can see them struggle to memorize simple lines for a commercial.

Bill Simmons is on the draft panel ... Battier is interviewing guys ... the NBA draft has gone meta and will fold into itself and burst into a white light.

Stern has become Emperor Palpatine, but he's done a lot for the game: when he took over, the league was hemorrhaging money and far from okay, and now it's a healthy, internationally-loved game.

Since the weird Waiters pick and the circus they brought to the draft lottery ping-pong ball tournament, I have no idea what Cleveland will do.

1: Cleveland Cavaliers (wow)

The Cavs select ... wait, what?


In basketball, if one guy is too light and the other guy is too heavy, you want the guy with weight problems (too fat), right?

Couldn't they have gotten Anthony Bennett a few picks down? Why would you take him number one?

Battier says he's joining elite company: "Jabbar. Magic. LeBron. Bennett." How about, "Kwame. Olowakandi. Bargnani?"

Chad Ford had Bennett going 8th.

Cavs are scared of Noel's injury problems, but not Varejao's? What are they going to do at center?

(Edit: going by the average position measurements, Bennett is actually an inch short for power forward and his wingspan is two inches too short. His wingspan is actually near average for a small forward. He's definitely small for a power forward, and he can't guard the perimeter -- and let's not forget his weight problem.)

2: Orlando Magic (Victor Oladipo)

The Magic take the guy who put up disappointing numbers in his first two seasons.

Was Oladipo doing the robot during his player introduction thing?

Oladipo is bringing shame to the Magic. Sounds great! (Note: in an interview, he really did say he was bringing shame to the Magic -- shame that other people doubted him.)

Stern turned into a wrestling heel, and I think he enjoys it.

3: Washington Wizards (Otto Porter)

Wizards had an easy pick: they had a big hole at small forward, and now they have a do-everything big wing.

Otto Porter played against family members instead of participating in the AAU. He apparently had problems shutting down Aunt Eloise.

Otto spelled backwards is "Otto!"

Wizards, if healthy, have an intriguing team. They could sneak into the sixth or even fifth playoff slot now.

4: Charlotte Bobcats (Cody Zeller)

Cody Zeller at the 4 pick? Over Noel? What's happening?

Cody Zeller looks like the next David Lee. Take that as you will.

ESPN keeps calling him a center, but most agree he's a power forward because he has short arms and doesn't rebound or block shots too well. But, you know, ESPN also listed Kenneth Faried as a small forward.

Chad Ford had Zeller going 10th to the Blazers, and I hated that pick. But Charlotte takes him at 4.

This draft has been more unpredictable than Upstream Color.

Now I'm really hoping Noel's knee meets the Phoenix Suns. It's destiny.

5: Phoenix Suns (Alex Len)

How could you ever think Alex Len is the better player? Noel had better stats! You can't even use the injury excuse. Alex Len had a stress fracture! What's happening?

Noel has the body of Anthony Davis, so I don't see New Orleans taking him. Kings have DeMarcus Cousins. Pistons have Drummond/Monroe. How far will Noel slide?

Phoenix has the renowned medical staff, and it's interesting they would pass on the injured Nerlens Noel. That doesn't bode well.

6: New Orleans Pelicans (Anthony Davis)

The only team where Noel isn't a good fit. Great. Great pick.

Noel and Davis are the exact same player on defense! Trade, right? I love Noel's defense, but two elite shotblockers who are too light to guard big guys in the low post? This makes no sense.

The only other guy in recent draft history with the same amount of blocks and steals as Noel was Anthony Davis. In total draft history? I'm not sure, but I think Olajuwon was one of the guys who came close.

7: Sacramento Kings (Ben McLemore)

McLemore is wearing the Brother Mouzone suit.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Detroit drafted Arvind Mahankali at this point.

76ers trading for Noel. This makes sense because they had so much good luck with Bynum's health.

Why are people worried about Noel's knee? I kept hearing about he was ahead of schedule. What are they not telling us?

8: Detroit Pistons (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope)

Pope goes to the Pistons ... the one player left I'm still sure about and one I wanted in Portland.

Adrian Wojnarowski ‏@WojYahooNBA 59s
Philadelphia sends Jrue Holiday and a first-round pick in 2014 to New Orleans for Noel, league source says.

Wow. Trading an all-star point guard? Big trade. (But an all-star designation in the east means less.)

(The funniest part about Woj being a time demon and foreseeing every major decision in the league is that he works for Yahoo!)

This will be the first time a Pope has ever visited Detroit.

By mock drafts, the three best players left are point guards, Burke and McCollum and Carter-Williams, which is great because the Timberwolves and Blazers really need point guards right now.

9: Minnesota Timberwolves (Trey Burke)

Wolves go with Burke, the best player available, and conjure memories of Kahn taking roughly 14 point guards in one draft night. Funny part is, they missed out on most of the best point guards like Stephen Curry and Lawson.

Why do you want a guy with a chip on his shoulder? Shoulder injuries are notoriously painful and long-lasting.

Burke will apparently be shipped to Utah, which makes too much sense for a Minnesota deal. The Jazz have quietly put together a fantastic young core.

10: Portland Blazers (CJ McCollum)

McCollum looks exactly like Lillard -- a mid-major senior guard about 6' 3" who shots well from outside.

Apparently everyone loves this pick and thinks this backcourt can work. Am I missing something?

11: Philadelphia 76ers (Michael Carter-Williams)

Philly takes Michael-Carter Williams, a guy who looks like a great prospects by most metrics except that he can't score at all in the half-court. Point guards who can't shoot can turn into liabilities sometimes.

Simmons going for the foolproof alpha dog argument. Obviously, it's easy to deduce whether or not someone is "alpha," and this is an important criterion in judging basketball skills. Beta dogs are known for bad pick and roll defense.

12: Oklahoma City Thunder (Steven Adams)

Thunder go for the Kiwi Steven Adams, a player clearly worth losing Harden for.

I don't know what to expect of a player from New Zealand.

The draft commentators keep talking about how charming Adams is. Are they hitting on him?

18 kids ... there's a joke about the mother's uterus and adamantium here.

13: Dallas Mavericks (Kelly Olynyk) -- traded to Boston

Dallas better get Howard now that they're dumping the 13th pick for second round picks.

Olynyk is a rarity for a draft pick in that his wingspan is less than his height. That's a good sign, right?

14: Utah Jazz (Shabazz Muhammad)

Not sure what to make of Shabazz. Even without the age debacle his stats are underwhelming. But we condemn Shabazz for being a year older and ignore when guys are juniors or seniors?

A year ago, people thought Shabazz would be the number one pick, but he almost fell out of the lottery.

15-21: mid to late first round

Milwaukee picks Giannis Antetokounmpo: Most people who have been raving about the this Greek kid haven't seen him play, and I am among those people. So I won't say anything.

Mavs are dumping another pick: 16th to Atlanta. They're really burning the assets here.

My favorite non-lottery guy, Lucas "Bebe" Nogueira, goes to Atlanta. He's seven feet tall with a huge 9' 6" standing reach, which is better than everyone in the league but JaVale McGee and 2013 pick Rudy Gobert (there are also a few guys who haven't been measured like Hibbert who could have higher reaches.)

More love pertaining to "Bebe:" he put up good stats in the toughest league outside the NBA and he's still very young. Stats from good Euro leagues translate better than the NCAA. What's not to love?

Half of the Hawks roster will be 2013 draft guys.

Dennis Schroeder is 100% blacker than you'd expect.

The 18th pick has a complicated backstory. The Mavericks got the pick from Atlanta, who got the pick from Houston, who got the pick from the Nets. Larkin was taken, and he was the annual draft combine phenom.

Karasev, taken by Cleveland, looks like one of those international steals.

"Why don't you give Shabazz a Brooklyn welcome?" Shabazz unexpectedly comes out of the back room, where Stern is summoned like the Smoke Monster on Lost, to shake hands, even though he was picked a few slots ago.

Where was he? Did he only want to go on stage if he was picked at least in the middle of the first round? Did he go out to a 7/11 for some beer for the younger draft picks? Did he get lost?

22-30: late first round

I'm not sure why the Nets fans are excited about Mason Plumlee.

"Your enthusiasm is dwindling." Stern's lines were written by Hans Gruber.

I've never heard of Solomon Hill, but since this is the internet let me tell you how good he'll become.... (Indiana's pick.)

Knicks fans really excited about the Tim Hardaway Jr. pick. It'll take them a couple days to figure out what the "Jr." stands for.

Why did Jalen Rose say, "Doctor is in," with that annoying voice? That was the worst catchphrase I've ever heard.

The Nuggets select the guy with the biggest wingspan officially recorded. Rudy Gobert is basically a condor.

Spurs have a fascination with France that lasts: they take a guy from French Guiana.

With David Stern's last draft pick and an end to an era, the Phoenix Suns take an international player, fitting for the cap on his reign, the Serbian Nemanja Nedovic.

He got a standing ovation!

"This concludes the first round ... my 30th first round."

They'er booing Adam Silver. The torch has been passed. And with that, I'm ending the 2013 draft diary, a tradition started by Bill Simmons, who spent the evening on stage with Magic Johnson and other draft hosts. It's been a weird night. But as this has been the end of an era, a new one is dawning.

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