My First (hopefully annual) NBA Draft Diary

7:55: It's the first sighting (at least for me) of the annual "Crazy Rumor involving the New York Knicks." Denver trading Antonio McDyess for Mark Jackson and Marcus Camby. Why does Denver insist on constantly getting rid of Antonio "McNugget," the one player who seems to want to play in Denver.
7:56: Nikoloz Tskitishvili. Hearing David Stern try to pronounce this was great. Oh, and Hubie Brown used the word "upside." That's one. I'm sure there'll many more.
7:58: Tskitishvili studied ballet! Until he was 15! And this is the guy the Nuggets expect to help them move up in the Western Conference. I guarantee you Shaq never studied ballet.
7:59: The first commercial break since I tuned in, and I still don't know who the top three picks were. Well, I know Yao Ming went first, because TNT was showing a "report" from his coach back to Bejing.
8:01: OK, five picks into the draft and we're getting a video recap. Jay Williams is wearing a surprisingly understated suit.
8:02: I like Cleveland's pick of Dajuan Wagner. Since they already have Andre Miller, there'll be no temptation to make him an NBA point guard. Miller and Wagner could be like Snow and Iverson. And in the East, the backcourt is much more important than the frontcourt, at least right now.
8:03: Hubie, in the second person says, "If you're Cleveland, and you keep Andre Miller and Ricky Davis, whose a free agent, then you probably let go of guys like Trepagnier and Langdon." Please tell me he's not comparing Dajuan Wagner to Trajan Langdon. My sister, who's never seen an NBA game in her life, could probably make that pick.
8:06: Jerry West explains how he became an NBA front office legend. "We want a team that has a deep talent base." Really? I thought you wanted a team full of crappy players. That's worked so well for this organization in the past.
8:07: The New York crowd is booing Stern. Now they're booing louder, because the Knicks picked borderline player Nene Hilario. One analyst described him as "another Ben Wallace." Now, I like Ben Wallace as much as the next guy, but the Knicks have a 6-9, 250 rebounder in Kurt Thomas. Meanwhile, Caron Butler is still on the board. When he wins the Rookie of the Year next year, Knicks fans will be begging for this pick back.
8:11: Sager has the line of the night so far. He pulled out a plate of Brazilian cuisine for Nene, and at the end of the interview said, "You go ahead and eat your food before Charles gets to it." I'm sure Barkley will have a comeback ready when the commercial break is over.
8:14: So Apparently Hilario is going away from the Knicks in the Denver trade. The fans, who just booed the selection of Hilario, are booing the potential trade of Hilario. They're just upset that the Nets were much, much better than the Knicks this year. The Knicks could have drafted Michael Jordan from 1986 and the fans still would have booed.
8:16: Gary Williams just said Chris Wilcox has "a tremendous 'topside.'" I think he meant "upside." Either way, the Clippers aren't exactly a good fit for a guy who's biggest problem is "work ethic." Of course, the combination of Lamar Odom and Wilcox could make for a great season of "Sidelines: LA Hoops, Part II."
8:18: Barkley on the last pick: "They either took that pick for someone else, or they're stupid." Summing up the entire Clipper Organization from 1985-2000.
8:19: Caron Butler is Paul Pierce. Someone picking very soon is going to be very happy. Meanwhile, the Suns need to keep high schooler Amare Stoudemire as far away from Penny Hardaway as possible.
8:25: If the Heat don't pick Caron Butler, I'm going to be very angry.
8:25 and 48 seconds: Thank God.
8:27: Barkley makes the comparison between Butler and Pierce. We can only hope that a good rivalry develops between them. They're very similar players.
8:28: Butler gives a Randy Moss-esque threat: "I'm going to make them pay for passing me." In the NFL, this threat has become lame, because every year, some second or third round pick says it, but you don't hear it much in the NBA. If you're the Knicks (and the aforementioned angry Knick fans), you have to be worried that Butler is going to make the Knicks-Heat rivalry very one-sided in the next few years.
8:31: TNT saves us the work of figuring out who is left in the "green room," by actually posting it on the screen. Among them are Qyntel Woods, Kareem Rush and Melvin Ely. Rush might last until the second round.
8:31: The Wizards select Jared Jeffries, just like Barkley predicted. Barkley claims it was a guess. I say MJ fed him the info.
8:37: Kiki Vandeweghe announces the Knicks-Nuggets trade to a room full of Denver fans before it's official.
8:38: The Clippers select Ely, making it all but official that they won't be re-signing the budding Kandi-man. Or, as Barkley presumes, LA is making picks for other teams and getting ready for trades.
8:40: Ely was the first senior drafted. TNT informs us that this is the latest the first senior has ever been drafted. Somewhere, an 80-year-old columnist preps his annual "these early entry players are ruining basketball" column. Anyone who tries to argue this should be forced to watch replays of this year's conference finals and tell me what's bad about that NBA.
8:43: The Bucks select Marcus Haislip, and in the process, tell Anthony Mason, "don't let the door hit you on the way out."
8:46: It just hit me, during a commercial break, that no one has drafted Curtis Borchardt. The only true white stiff is still on the board. I rack my brain trying to think where the best fit for him would be, and I can't help thinking that he might slip to the Nuggets at 25, who then ship him to the Knicks, setting the stage for the loudest booing in NBA draft history. Who can make this happen?
8:48: The Pacers select Fred Jones from Oregon. David Stern says, well, sternly, "Fred is not here tonight." That's code for "Indiana, I made it clear that you were to draft Casey Jacobson and make him the next Austin Croshere. There will be repercussions."
8:50: TNT reporter Heather Cox is a dead ringer for a young Linda Cohn. She actually stole Cohn's hairstyle from 1994. And I think I saw Cohn wearing that same suit on the Sunday "SportsCenter." Eerie.
8:52: Bostjan Nachbar. Another foreign guy with an unpronounceable name going to a mediocre Western Conference team. He does however manage to keep up the stage crashing tradition established last year by Samuel Dalenbert and Tony Parker.
8:53: Nachbar is the fourth foreign player drafted, but quite possibly the tenth of the night compared to Peja Stojakovic.
8:57: David Stern comes out of his hidden backstage room, and he seems to be stifling a giggle. Either he's laughing at the fact that Jiri Welsch will be playing in a backcourt with Allen Iverson, Eric Snow and Aaron McKie, or he's watching "Undercover Brother" and smoking some of that stuff that Dave Chappelle had in the movie. I'd love to see David Stern stoned. That seems unusually funny for some reason.
8:59: Just thought I'd let you guys know, given my last entry, that I am not stoned.
9:00: I can't speak for Lamar Odom.
9:02: Barkley thinks the Wizards should pick a point guard. I agree. In my NBA 2K2 game, I have Jordan playing the point. That doesn't work in real life.
9:03: Juan Dixon is not a point guard. Juan Dixon is not a point guard. Juan Dixon is not a point guard.
9:05: To reiterate — Juan Dixon is not a point guard. The Wizards will be very disappointed.
9:06: I've trashed Wilcox and Dixon. Do you get the feeling I don't like Maryland? Well, I don't. And I'll hopefully get to pound that fact into your head when Lonnie Baxter is drafted late in the second round. Very late.
9:09: The Magic select Borchardt! Orlando might have the greatest collection of crappy white guys ever assembled. Mike Miller is the only one who can be described as decent. They also have Andrew Declerq, Pat Garrity and Jud Bueschler. Now all the need is a point guard, and they're set (Declerq would be the sixth man, as a back-up center).
9:14: Hubie just described Utah selection Ryan Humphry as "an up-down guy. He goes up, down, and up again." Back when I played, they called this "up-and-down" and it was a violation. Now it's a talent. Damn, if only I wasn't short and white. Of course, I could still play for Orlando.
9:18: Toronto selects Kareem Rush, ruining Ernie Johnson's about-to-be made point about the guys left in the green room. Now it's down to Qyntel Woods and Casey Jacobson. Woods is falling like Nick Van Exel did back in '93. We're probably just now getting into the area Jacobson would go.
9:21: Cheryl Miller just asked Elgin Baylor to talk about his two drafted power forwards "Ely and Melvin." Nice job Cheryl.
9:22: Ernie Johnson tries to defend Miller's misspeak, while Barkley continues to harp on his Clippers trade theory. I tend to lean more to his Clippers suck theory.
9:24: And the Blazers select Woods, the slipping, question-mark JuCo. You can't make this up.
9:25: Hubie says the keys for Woods are "coachability and work ethic." And he's going to Portland, with Shawn Kemp and Scottie Pippen, a.k.a. "Mr. Anti-Work Ethic" and "Mr. Uncoachable" as his mentors. Somewhere, Leon Smith is happy that by the end of the season, his escapades will be overshadowed.
9:30: The Suns select Jacobsen, who Johnson says has "the shoes of the night."
9:31: Yes, Jacobsen does have the shoes of the night. He is apparently practicing to be an extra in "Swing Kids II." Or, as Barkley points out, he's emulating Craig Sager. In Phoenix, he'll be expected to emulate Tom Gugliotta as "the token white guy who forces our team
9:32: Craig Sager puts up the greatest line in NBA Draft history when he says, simply: "Charles says you have a brother up here. I saw you steal a kiss from your girlfriend. Does she have a sister?" How can you beat that? Would Mel Kiper, Jr. ever ask Bryant McKinnie if his girlfriend had a sister? Would he survive?
9:33: Does Jacobson's girlfriend have a sister? Seriously. I'm available. And she's hot.
9:34: To quote Mike Fratello, "Why do you take Juan Dixon, when everyone says he's not a point guard." See, the Czar knows Juan Dixon is not a point guard.
9:35: Detroit selects Tayshaun Prince, who'll serve as a spare arm for Ben Wallace. All anyone can say about him is "he's long." I'm not going there.
9:39: The Nets select Nenad Krstic, whose name translates roughly to "One year of cap freedom."
9:43: The Chinese National Team coach says "Yao Ming is an all-around player, so [asking if he's played against someone like Shaquille O'Neal] is not a fair comparison." Translated out of coach speak, this means "Yao is going to get so wrecked by Shaq that he'll be begging to come back here and play for our national team. Shaq will make Yao his toothpick."
9:45: The Nuggets select Frank Williams, in the pick that's supposed to go to the Knicks. Where is Williams going to play with the Knicks? He's a shooter, going to a team with no available shots.
9:46: Barkley is still pushing his "college basketball is a scam" point. Quin Snyder looks ready to jump out of his seat and kill Barkley, but instead goes off on a rant about the NCAA restrictions on practice time.
9:47: Barkley says, "That's what you really want out of college: money." Yes, Chuck, that's what I want. I went to college for four years. I graduated. I have no money. D'oh.
9:50: Barkley and Kenny Smith are wearing Wimbledon hats and preventing the commissioner from announcing San Antonio's pick. Stern looks at them and deadpans, "When Kenny and Charles came into the league, they didn't speak English either." This is almost better than Sager's "does she have a sister" line, but not quite.
9:51: The Spurs select surprising riser John Salmons. I saw him for four years watching Big East games. I never really though he was special. He's got "Europe" written all over him. And not "Europe" as in all the European players being first round picks. "Europe" as in "Ed O'Bannon couldn't cut it in the NBA so he went to Europe."
9:57: Hubie lists off the Lakers' free agents: Devean George, Samaki Walker, Mitch Richmond and Brian Shaw, and makes it seem like there's a question if they'll re-sign with LA. These guys should be begging the Lakers to let them re-sign. Only George did anything significant in the finals run this year.
9:57: The 76ers traded Jiri Welsch to the Warriors for two future picks. Stern announces the pick and says "OK," in a tone that suggests, "what's the point?"
9:58: The Lakers select Chris Jefferies, just like Smith predicted. Unlike Barkley, Smith admits to having a little help in making his prediction.
10:00: It's just about time for the Kings to tank their pick. This has been the worst kept secret in the NBA this week. The Kings have so many guaranteed contracts and don't need anyone on the roster. So they'll draft some European who won't play this year.
10:01: Or they'll draft Dan Dickau, who should have gone much higher. Dickau has no chance to break into the Kings lineup. He'll be traded. Or he'll replace Mateen Cleaves as the Kings' official "greeter."
10:02: Barkley gets back at Stern saying, "I take great pride in the fact that when I first met you, your hair was all black."
10:03: It's too bad the draft won't be on TNT next year. While I like ESPN, nothing can compete with tonight's exchanges between Stern and Barkley.
10:05: The Jalen Rose suit has been sited! And now the Karl Malone! And Jalen Rose again! Woo-hoo! Nothing tonight even approached the Rose suit. Who, outside of 1924, wears a red pinstripe suit. Rose was apparently dressed by the costume designer from "Dick Tracy."
10:06: The commercial break before the second round. The real part of the draft is over. And now I'm watching an ad for "Like Mike." Which begs the question, "How could the Knights just draft Calvin Cambridge? Shouldn't he have had to apply for the draft.? And with all the complaints about high school players coming out early, did the NBA really need the publicity of a movie with a middle schooler playing the league?" At this point, the point at which I'm questioning the validity of the plot of "Like Mike," it's obviously time to stop.
Adios por ahora.

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