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Blogging (live) through the NBA Draft
by: Jonathan Givony - President
June 26, 2008

-No surprises with the first three picks. Derrick Rose becomes the shortest player to be picked #1 since Allen Iverson in 1996. There was a brief thought by Kevin McHale to take Kevin Love (hence the quick change on our mock draft) but ultimately we were informed that Mayo would be the pick.

-Westbrook goes four, a surprise to some, but not to us. We were informed of the pick about 30 minutes prior. Sam Presti may still move this pick.

-Kevin Love will be going fifth, and then the draft gets really interesting. Gallinari looks very confident sitting right next to us here in the Green Room. If you see us as the camera pans, excuse us for taking our suit jacket off…its really hot in here! Or maybe it was just a tense lead-up to the draft…

-Get ready for some boos…

-Some booing followed the Gallinari pick, but not quite as much as you would expect. This is a really good pick by Donnie Walsh, and New York fans will warm up to Gallinari very quick.

-Scratch that, they booed the hell out of him as he was being interviewed. Not very nice.

-Gordon goes 7. Funny to think that they almost burned a first round pick moving up today to ensure they got him. Sam Presti is just a master at getting what he wants, even though it didn’t quite work out this time. We’re 7/7 so far, the first time we’ve started off the draft this way.

-Joe Alexander goes 8th, and we’re still rolling right along. Very nice of Huggins to show up.

-9th is the first pick we weren’t all that sure of. We went Lopez just because it was a real steal here for Charlotte. Hopefully they realize that.

-Charlotte went with D.J. Augustin, like we wrote they probably would earlier today. Very strange pick considering that they have Raymond Felton there already. This probably means that Larry Brown doesn’t think he can run his offense, and he’s ready to hand over the reigns to someone else. Who is going to step up and make Charlotte a good offer? Maybe Sacramento? They are surely crushed by Augustin going here.

-Unbelievable that Bayless slips to here, if this indeed the pick. He is definitely my pick for steal of the draft.

-Wow, they went with Brook Lopez. Didn’t see that one coming. There has to be a really good reason why Bayless keeps slipping. I was told that Indiana is going with Koufos, but they surely weren’t expecting Bayless to be here. I’d be very surprised if they passed on him.

-Bayless at 11 obviously is a great pick. Reminiscent of Danny Granger falling to them at 17 a few years back. People around the league are going to look very stupid in a few years. We had him pegged as a top 5 player in this draft all along and still think he will be just fine.

-Jason Thomson goes 12th to the Kings! Wow. This was on some people’s boards, but damn, its still a huge shock. I’m just glad we moved him up from 28 to 23 to 14 today. Phew! This definitely throws a wrench in things. Thompson is a great kid and it will be interesting to see how he deals with the scrutiny of going this high. Sacramento told Spencer Hawes they are going out to get him a power forward to play alongside him, and it looks like they really weren’t kidding. Turns out all the Anthony Randolph talk here was a lot of smoke.

-There has to be a trade here…This will be a very disappointing trade if not. The over/under on Pritchard trades is at 6, and he’s seriously lagging behind right now. Get to work boys!

-It was funny to see the interaction between Brandon Rush’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, and his client and brother JaRon (?). He knew this was coming all along, and shook their hands just about as soon as the Blazers were on the clock.

-It’s a trade we’re told. I went up to Bartelstein and asked him if the Blazers are keeping Brandon, and he smiled and said most likely it’s a trade. He says he’ll know in two minutes what’s up…the suspense!!!

-Randolph at 14…damn it, if we only knew whom to believe sometimes. This was “Randolph’s basement” according to a source close to him, but we stubbornly went with Thompson here (who very well could have been the pick here had he been around). Strange pick for Golden State in Nellie’s offense. Randolph better learn how to shoot the ball and quick if Mullin isn’t going to look bad here.

-The trade is between Indiana and Portland we’re informed. Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and the #13 pick (Rush) for #11 (Jerryd Bayless). Indiana must have a trade exception. Kevin Pritchard does it again! What a great compliment for Brandon Roy. We’ve been talking about this all year long with Portland’s scouts…

-Apparently Chad Ford had the trade on ESPN too. Oh well. It was still exciting to see it unfold right in front of us. We’ve avoided coming to the draft for the last few years after being here back in 2004 and not liking it at all. Things are very different this time around! Being in the Green Room half an hour before the draft and talking to all the players and agents is an almost unfair advantage 

-Nice to see that we picked up another correct pick at 15 with Robin Lopez. The lesson we learned tonight is that most teams don’t have a great idea about what is going on the day of the draft from their war rooms, while the player agents in some cases know exactly how the draft is going to unfold from their personal perspective.

-Speights at 16 is somewhat of a surprise. He was one of the three players we were told were on Philly’s board (along with Arthur and DeAndre Jordan), but most teams had Arthur pegged here. Speights has all the potential in the world to be a great pick here, but teams were pretty down on him in the days leading up to the draft (citing non-playing related red flags).

-I’d be surprised if Koufos wasn’t the next pick… they strongly considered taking him at #11.

-I guess I was wrong! Stuff happens. Roy Hibbert is a solid pick for them. I like it.

-Darrell Arthur and Donte Greene are the two biggest slippers so far.

-Koufos has to go 19th, right?

-Andy Graham just pointed out to us that the Rush brothers will be playing together in Indiana…unless Kareem gets cut because they just found a superior prospect. Ouch!

-Cleveland takes J.J. Hickson—wow! That was definitely a shock. No Koufos or Greene? Not sure about that one Mr. Ferry…

-I’m curious to see who Charlotte takes now that their guys Roy Hibbert and Jason Thompson are off the board. Donte Greene worked out here, but for the #9 pick. Do they take him with all the congestion they already have at that small forward spot? Koufos makes sense here.

-Damn…we should have known! We even wrote about how well he worked out here a few weeks ago. Supposedly destroyed Jordan, McGee and Hibbert. Makes all too much sense.

-The question with Koufos is now—if you take him, will he come? The offers he is going to have from Greece will far outweigh anything he gets in the 20’s. At this point he may be better off going in the second round? Surprising to see him, Arthur and Greene still sliding here.

-The Nets have a lot to choose from now! Do they take their small forward of the future to replace Richard Jefferson? Or do they take Koufos and get some great depth? Or maybe Arthur makes sense? They probably want all three of them.

-We almost forgot that DeAndre Jordan is still on the board too. Wow.

-Ryan Anderson is the pick in New Jersey. Yeah, the NBA draft is a pretty unpredictable beast. This seals it. Throw everything you think about players out the window on this day, because you never know what is going to happen. New Jersey has made some very unconventional moves on draft night.

-Darrell Arthur doesn’t look too happy. Neither does his family. Maybe the health concerns were a bigger issue than we thought. Maybe not picking an agent until so late wasn’t the best move…It wouldn’t shock me if some of the agents in the Green Room were recruiting him right now…

-Courtney Lee to Orlando is a pick we’ve talked about for a long time now. It’s a perfect fit for both sides. Shows a lot of confidence on the Magic’s end to take him with all the showponies still on the board here. Goodbye J.J. Redick!

-Utah has to be take one of the bigs out of their misery here, no? Kosta Koufos anyone?

-There goes Koufos. I bet they didn’t think he would slip this far. A few teams told us that Utah was going to take D.J. White here, but I guess they couldn’t pass on a talent like Koufos, which is understandable. He might get down to Detroit, who will be ecstatic with him. Remember that silly little rumor we started before the pre-draft camp…

-Strange what happened with Ibaka at 24, after his agent specifically told teams not to draft him because he has a contract offer on the table that will make it very difficult to make it over on the first round rookie scale. We’re trying to find out what happened there.

-The Rockets totally busted up the Spurs’ plan to hide Nicolas Batum’s physical and get him to fall there. Batum might not be happy to get picked here, but will report to Houston like a good soldier. “We missed by one pick” his camp told us immediately after the Rockets took him. You could see Batum fidgeting in his chair in the five minute span between picks.

-The Spurs didn’t waste any time…wow. George Hill. Good for him. Surprising pick to say the least.

-I just talked to Darrell Arthur’s dad…they are very confused by what is going on. Obviously its very sad to see him sitting here this long. He said that he was tested for the kidney problem and he thought it came out just fine. He gave me his agent’s number (Jerry Hicks is his name)

-I called Jerry Hicks, Arthur’s agent, and here is what he had to say—“The reason I just heard [for him slipping] is a kidney ailment—which is completely erroneous. The question about a lab report was based on the physical in Orlando, but he took a second test. He had bloodwork done. It’s not an issue. Two teams asked about it . Washington asked about it. We gave blood in Washington. The Wizards did the test and they confirmed that he’s completely normal. I don’t understand it, how could it circulate in that way. It’s completely unfair. I’m extremely disappointed, the family is extremely disappointed. He was a lock to get drafted from 9-16, no later than 18. It’s a mystery where the bloodwork that was done – it was determined to be completely wrong.“

Right at that moment—Portland selected Arthur with the #27 pick, and our conversation abruptly ended. This could be another incredible steal by the Trailblazers. It’s pretty unbelievable. Arthur got a huge standing ovation. They just had his crying mother interviewed by Doris Burke here. Bill Simmons is going to have a field day.

-Donte Greene finally gets off the board with the #28 pick. What an unbelievable slip. We’re anxious to find out why he went so low.

-Portland just informed us that they secured Nicolas Batum in a trade. We’re trying to find out for what.

-Apparently Ibaka has still yet to sign the four year contract in Spain, but its believed that they will work things out somehow later.

-We need to give a big thanks to Derek Bodner, an expert on servers and all kinds of technical issues we could never understand. He is the main reason why the site is running so incredibly smoothly despite the fact that we’re seeing ten times as much traffic as we did yesterday. He did an amazing job getting the site ready for today.

-I was just informed by the Trailblazers that Nicolas Batum was traded by Houston to Portland in exchange for the rights to Darrell Arthur and one of Portland’s early second round picks.


-The first round is over and I need to head over to Secaucus for a gig at midnight with NBATV. You should definitely tune in…We’ll be bringing more analysis tomorrow.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

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