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'Hawks in the NBA: Live on Draft Day 2008


11:24 p.m.: Wait, one final note. Sasha Kaun told our Gary Bedore just moments ago over the phone that he has been traded to Cleveland. He didn't know the specs of the deal, but I'd say that's a pretty reliable source.He was originally selected 56th overall by the Seattle SuperSonics.Now, goodnight.-------------------------11:02 p.m.: Semih Erden goes with the 60th and final pick to the Celtics. Wow. Adam Silver couldn't have said it better: Goodnight.-------------------------10:44 p.m.: The Jayhawk news keeps coming late into the night ...-First, Houston traded the No. 25 pick - Nicolas Batum of France - to Portland in exchange for Darrell Arthur (27th overall) and Joey Dorsey (33rd overall). This is being reported by the Oregonian in Portland.-Sasha Kaun was just selected 56th overall by Seattle. Jay Bilas pointed out what is pretty widely known, that Kaun will still probably head over to Moscow to play for big money for at least a couple of years, then probably re-evaluate whether he wants to make a run at it in the NBA with the Sonics, who will still own his rights.KU becomes just the third team in NBA Draft history to have five players taken in the draft's first two rounds. That ties an all-time record. Don't expect a sixth in the final four picks.-------------------------10:12 p.m.: Miami is lovin' them some Sunflower State. First the Beasley pick, then the deal for Chalmers, and now Darnell Jackson at the 52nd slot out of 60 picks.As Tom Keegan just said, with the way this draft's going, you never know if that pick won't be traded, but you'd have to think Darnell Jackson has a valid shot at making the roster, given some of the also-rans the Heat were trotting out there by the end of last season.Easily one of the biggest feel-good stories of the draft.-------------------------9:42 p.m.: Well, according to ESPN.com's Chad Ford: The Timberwolves are selecting Chalmers on behalf of the Miami Heat, according to a league source._Arthur and Dorsey as teammates, now Chalmers and Beasley. Again, Chalmers could go from one situation where he'll play plenty of minutes right into another. Miami needs point help, and he could work well rotating with Jason Williams. Plus there's not going to be much offensive pressure, as he's flanked by a trio of scoring studs: D-Wade, Beasley and Shawn Marion. He can't be too bummed right now.Oh yeah ... and it's Miami.-------------------------9:23 p.m.: This is not at all a bad spot for Mario Chalmers. He's going to play tons of minutes in Minnesota.Did anyone notice how livid he looked when he got up to head down to the podium? I'm telling you, this is the kind of guy who could come out of nowhere as a rookie and have a big year. Remember, he's not locked into any kind of a deal like a first-rounder where he can't sign an extension until after his third season. He is not in a bad situation at all, especially playing alongside O.J. Mayo.-------------------------9:12 p.m.: Well, that's gotta be a punch to the gut of several KU fans. J.R. Giddens had two incredible seasons at New Mexico, though they flew under the radar. This season he led the Lobos with 16.3 ppg and 8.8 rpg. In fact, at 6-foot-4, Giddens _led the Mountain West Conference in rebounding.I'll let my Bulls fandom seep in again in saying that I truly hope CD-R falls about eight more picks. That'd be so, so, so sweet.-------------------------8:48 p.m.: Well, Darrell's off the board, and now all focus shifts to Mario Chalmers. If there's any one guy from KU who I think wouldn't be affected by slipping to the second round, it'd be Mario. He seems like the most likely of the three to use the snub as a chip on his shoulder in playing his way into a big contract as a second-rounder.He's in a good spot right now, because Boston could be looking at him as a backup point guard, taking into consideration that Sam Cassell might not be back in Beantown. Then, if he were to slip a few picks into the early second round, he's in a situation where he's on a weaker team and can play more minutes right away.-------------------------8:38 p.m.: Well, George Hill from IUPUI certainly sounds like a head-scratcher, and I'm not going to try to sound like I know anything about him, but what I do know is that R.C. Buford knows what he's doing on draft night. It's hard to say anything bad there. He's got the rings and the littany of foreign picks who have found success to prove it.-------------------------8:32 p.m.: An undisclosed kidney issue, according to ESPN's Ric Bucher. That pretty much explains it.-------------------------8:27 p.m.: crickets, cricketsI wonder if Arthur will be picked before the maintenance crew needs to get in and clean up the green room. The poor guy. I hope ESPN stops showing him on TV. It's just painful and awkward every time.-------------------------8:07 p.m.: Whoever the producer is running the truck for ESPN just has no soul. He just showed a wide shot of the Arthur family table - the only one still occupied in the MSG green room. Poor Juicy, Arthur's young brother, is asleep at the table. It's painful to see.And yet, another big man goes. This time, it was Cal's Ryan Anderson, who I put earlier in this blog as my sleeper in this draft. Seriously, something is behind this Arthur slip, whether it's health-related or elsewhere. That's really the only explanation.-------------------------7:55 p.m.: Now it's just flat-out intriguing as to the reason why GMs have shied away from Arthur. Especially after two big men just went at No.s 18 and 19 (JaVale McGee and J.J. Hickson). I'll offer up a prediction that he goes No. 21 to New Jersey, since they seem like they're stocking up on big bodies tonight (Brook Lopez pick Yi Jianlian trade).Lets throw this out there, though, who goes first between Chalmers or Arthur? Is either going to slip to the second round?-------------------------7:50 p.m.: Darrell Arthur and Brady Quinn could form quite a bond if he goes right here to the Cavaliers at No. 19. Surely you remember Quinn's extended green room stay before the 2007 NFL Draft. You've got to feel for Arthur. If he uses this the right way, maybe as some motivation, he could turn into a nice gem late in the first round.-------------------------7:39 p.m.: From ESPN.com's Chad Ford: The Blazers will send the rights to Rush and Jarrett Jack to the Pacers for the rights to Bayless and Ike Diogu. I think this is a great pick for the Pacers. Rush should be a great fit in the backcourt with T.J. Ford because he defends, shoots the ball and has great size in the backcourt. Rush is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft._If the Pacers' goal this week was a virtual complete roster overhaul, they're certainly succeeding. They've dumped some salary by shedding oft-injured Jermaine O'Neal, and now have a nice complement of perimeter players between T.J. Ford, both Brandon and Kareem Rush, Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy.But who mans the paint? If Arthur is taken here at No. 17 by Toronto, he'd head to Indiana once the trade is finalized for O'Neal. Or, _if it's finalized.Nevermind, it's Roy Hibbert. Wonder what exactly has GMs running away from tapping Shady.-------------------------7:22 p.m.: There it is, and Brandon Rush is off the clock. It looks like a good fit, considering that he'll get plenty of opportunity to play and contribute right away. Rush was right when he said it's a loaded squad. With names such as Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw already in place, they're very young, so he'll fit in. Oh yeah, and don't forget Greg Oden finally seeing the floor this year. He's set up to succeed.Bilas' most recent awesome nugget: 'Considerable linear extent in space' when talking about Anthony Randolph. Someone tell me what that means.-------------------------7:18 p.m.: Pritchard's on the clock. I'll predict Brandon Rush right here.-------------------------7:10 p.m.: Wow, the Lopez brothers sound like a couple of [Jeff Spicolis][1], no?Now we are on full watch for the Jayhawks to come off the board. Your guess is as good as mine.-------------------------7:05 p.m.: Jay Bilas talking about Brook Lopez, who just went to New Jersey: 'The one knock on him, he's not a great athlete ...'Uh ... won't that be an issue in the NBA? I mean, I'm not rocket surgeon, but ...-------------------------7:00 p.m.: Augustin is certainly a surprise to Charlotte at No. 9, right? First off, don't they already have Raymond Felton? So is a trade in the works? Also, Bayless is still there. One of the best scoring guards in the last few years to enter the league. Interesting.And yes, Brook Lopez was just shown with tears welling in his eyes. No words.-------------------------6:55 p.m.: Is Jerryd Bayless this year's Paul Pierce? He's dropping and some teams on the horizon right now have to be licking their chops.-------------------------6:44 p.m.: The Knicks could have drafted Patrick Ewing all over again and there still would have been boos. Gallinari shouldn't be offended. Poor kid. He even said he just wants to win, and all he got were more boos.-------------------------6:35 p.m.: UCLA should be off the board for the rest of the night, now, with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love going back-to-back at Nos. 4 and 5 to Seattle and Memphis, respectively. Not bad picks, but underwhelming at the same time, no? Not to step on Jay Bilas' toes to much, but Westbrook's 'upside' is quite intriguing. Though Bilas has shifted his overused phrase this year to 'he understands the game'. I think he's already muttered it a half-dozen times. I understand the game. Should the Bulls take a flier on another hometown kid?-------------------------6:26 p.m.: Now that O.J. Mayo is off the board, surely pumped about wearing a parka nine months out of the year in Minny, this draft takes on another level of interest.The more I scour the player pool after the first six or seven picks, the talent level drops off for the most part. Who's considered the best available from this point on? My pick is still Eric Gordon.-------------------------6:14 p.m.: It's official, Derrick Rose is the top pick. So now it's time to simmer and think logically.This obviously has to mean that either Kirk Hinrich or Ben Gordon is on the move tonight. I'd hope it's Gordon, since he 1) turned down a $50 million extension offer last year and 2) Hinrich's more of a complete package to complement Rose at the two-guard spot.Either way, the Bulls need to take back a low-post scorer in whatever deal they construct. Should be an interesting night at the Berto Center.On a sidenote, Beasley's off the board. Wish he could have at least ended up in the Western Conference so the Bulls wouldn't see him so often. Oh well.-------------------------6:05 p.m.: Christmas in June is here. Lets hope the Bulls can come to their senses by tapping B-Eazy.(It should be noted I was born and raised outside of Chicago, hence my eccentricity here involving this pick. I promise to calm down in a bit).-------------------------2:38 p.m. - 3 hours, 52 minutes until tip-time: OK, time to play pretend.First game, you're the Chicago Bulls' General Manager. What are you doing tonight in terms of draft execution? I'll start.1) I draft Mike Beasley.![][2]2) I package together [Ben Gordon][3] (you know, the un-clutch, undersized two guard who thinks he's Michael Jordan?), [Tyrus Thomas][4] (time to cut the losses) and next year's No. 1 pick and try to get myself another pick in the Top 10. With that pick, I take D.J. Augustin (I know, I'm sounding like a Big 12 homer supreme here. So what?)3) That gives me a starting five next year of Augustin at the point, [Kirk Hinrich][5] at the two, [Luol Deng][6] at the three, B-Eazy at the four and [Drew Gooden][7] as the pseudo-five. Then, off the bench comes [Joakim Noah][8], [Andres Nocioni][9], [Thabo Sefolosha][10] and [Chris Duhon][11]. That's a playoff team in the East, hands down.4) I sit back and smoke a cigar after brandishing sheer genius upon the rest of the Association.Second game. If you could form a eight-man rotation using just players in tonight's draft pool, who would yours consist of? Again, I'll kick things off.![][12]PG - Derrick Rose (As much as I love Augustin, he's pretty sick) SG - Eric Gordon (Completely under the radar. When he's locked in, he's filthy) SF - Brandon Rush (Most well-rounded SF in the draft) PF - Mike Beasley (Most pro-ready player in the draft) C - Ryan Anderson (My über-sleeper tonight. Remember the name, baby) Bench - D.J. Augustin (He's the next [Steve Nash][13]. Write that down) Bench - Chris Douglas-Roberts (Silky shooter, complete game, steadily improved over three years in college, will get overlooked and use it as motivation) Bench - Kosta Koufos (If you can make him not love the perimeter so much and balance things out, he could be another [Mehmet Okur][14])Who's your squad? Submit it below and lets discuss. We've got plenty of time to kill.-------------------------1:38 p.m. - 4 hours, 52 minutes until tip-time: Lets take a look around the country at what some other media outlets are reporting/saying about tonight's KU draft hopefuls ...-Tim McMahon of the Dallas Morning News writes in his Mavs blog that he thinks [Darrell Arthur will be a better pro than fellow DISD product Anthony Randolph][15].-Brandon Rush, a [man of many words][16]. Though I'm really curious as to who he's talking about when saying 'Black Mamba.' According to Google, [this][17] is what pops up. Eeesh. (Note: According to former J-Wer Benton Smith, Kobe's nickname is the Black Mamba. Sounds kinda weak-sauce)-As reported in the Anchorage Daily News, the Peanut Farm is [the place to be tonight][18].More to come shortly.-------------------------Welcome to the first installment of KUSports.com's 'Hawks in the NBA blog. From here on out, this will be the one-stop shop for regular updates on your favorite former Jayhawks' pro ball endeavors. And what better day to roll it out?Yes, it's Draft Day '08. And this year's NBA Draft will involve several key members of the 2008 National Championship team hearing their names called. Three will (well, we're pretty certain they will), and a couple more seniors could figure into the mix.Stay tuned here all afternoon/evening for analysis and much more from the Draft.Of course, there's plenty of time to kill until the selections start this evening.That said, we start with some opinion from the Journal-World sports department.Between Tom Keegan, Matt Tait, Bill Mayer and Ryan Greene, there are four varying thoughts on which former Jayhawk should hear their name called first tonight in New York City. Here are the arguments, tell us which way your opinion leans.Keegan's pick: Darrell Arthur![][19]Jerry Krause never did receive enough credit for putting the right pieces around Michael Jordan, building a dynasty that resulted in six NBA titles. Krause was a baseball scout with the Chicago White Sox before he was a basketball general manager.Two different sports, baseball and basketball, but sometimes it pays to steal ideas from one and apply them to the other.Branch Rickey, father of modern scouting and the emperor of the Brooklyn Dodgers, used to say that if a pitcher throws 50 curveballs in the bullpen and one of them is sensational then that pitcher has a sensational curveball. It's up to instructors to get him to deliver it more consistently.Staying with baseball for a minute, scouts don't look at how minor league players do against all competitors equally. They give a ton of extra weight to how they do against top prospects.All of which brings us to why Darrell Arthur, 20, deserves to be the first Kansas University player chosen in the NBA draft. When he was at his best, nobody was better. A 6-foot-9 sprinter and high jumper on the basketball court, Arthur has a soft shooting range. Here's the thing about good shooters: Their strength increases as they fill out from age 20 to 24 and with the increased strength comes longer shooting range.Two games against college teams packed with NBA frontcourt prospects stand out. Arthur totaled 19 points and nine rebounds as a freshman against Florida and he had 20 points and 10 rebounds vs. Memphis in the national title game.Arthur, then Brandon Rush, then Mario Chalmers, then Darnell Jackson.Tait's pick: Brandon Rush![][20]I'll never forget the 1990 NBA draft. For starters, it took place on my 12th birthday - June 27 - and to top it off one of my favorite Jayhawks of all-time was selected that day. When KU guard Kevin Pritchard became a second-round pick of the Golden State Warriors, my day was complete, but somewhere between then and now things have changed.Not only have I reached 30, but teams also are no longer taking the Kevin Pritchards of the world. Today, the draft is all about potential. Upside has become one of the most overused terms in sports and often would be better used to describe exactly where some of today's GM's should be slapped - upside their heads.Tonight, when the 30 NBA teams sift through piles of players hoping to find that surprise superstar, several teams will pass on KU's Brandon Rush. I wouldn't.Not only would I take Rush first among all Jayhawks eligible for the draft, I'd take him in the lottery no questions asked.Here's why:Rush is ready to play now. Think for a minute about how many NBA teams are one player away. One defender, one shooter, one key reserve who knows how to compete, knows how to win and knows how to work hard. Rush is all of those - and more.Many draft experts have compared Rush to San Antonio's Bruce Bowen. It's a flattering comparison, no doubt, as Bowen is consistently one of the top defenders in the league. I believe Rush can be more.First of all, Bowen is strictly average on the offensive end. He's a decent spot-up shooter, but even then only from the corners. Rush, when he gets it going, can hit from anywhere and can create his own shots, as well. In addition, he's a reliable option in the open floor.Because of that - along with his committment to defense and underrated size - I see Rush as a perfect fit for teams like Phoenix (15) or Philadelphia (16), up-tempo squads in need of a boost on the defensive end.I won't be surprised if Rush goes behind KU's Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur. But I won't be surprised if he goes well in front of them either. I see Rush going as high as No. 12 (Sacremento) or as low as 26 or 27.Regardless of where he lands, one NBA team is going to add a player poised for production right away.Greene's pick: Mario Chalmers![][21]There's a reason Mario Chalmers got the ball in his hands at the end of regulation against Memphis. There's a reason the same play was also run at the end of losses to Texas and Oklahoma State in the regular season.On a team full of stars - several of which will be selected tonight in the two-round NBA Draft - the junior guard was the go-to-guy. And for anyone who didn't want to believe it for much of the year, one historic three-pointer in April forced home the issue.That's got to tell you something, right?Look past the fact that he without question had the Jayhawks' most balanced individual stat line this season (12.8 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 spg), and Mario Chalmers was always the one guy on the floor for KU - and I mean ALWAYS - who thought he was the best player in the game at that moment.Sure, there's the technical side. He's an above-average shooter from distance. He can run the point. He's great in transition. He's great at creating havoc on defense, as Bill Self repeatedly said. Then, throw in the fact that he's clutch. He's fearless. He's quick. Need I continue?He's the total package. And at 6-foot-1 with incredible leaping ability, he should have a lengthy and solid NBA career.And given all that, I find Mario Chalmers to be the safest bet out of any of the Jayhawks on the draft board.Quick example: Matt Tait and I on Wednesday afternoon were contemplating which was the worst draft in recent memory.My pick? [2000][22]. Honestly, eight years after the fact, the two best pros out of the bunch are [DeShawn Stevenson][23] (23rd overall) and [Michael Redd][24] (43rd overall). That's one perennial all-star.The lesson? Nothing is guaranteed in the draft. But Mario Chalmers becoming a solid pro, in my opinion, is the closest thing to it.Mayer's pick: Darnell Jackson![][25]It'll be an upset if Kansas's Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers don't go, probably in that order, in the NBA draft. Sentimentally, though, if I were a personnel director and could afford a selection that wouldn't be popular but might pay off, I'd grab Darnell Jackson and give him time to develop. Gotta be honest: I favor the best things coming to Jackson, Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun because they stayed the course at KU, and gave the school so much more than basketball eminence.It's great news that Kaun is already taken care of with a contract with a Russian millionaire that could pay Sasha a million dollars per for at least a couple years and leave the door open to even more lucrative status down the line. For all his skills, RussRob will have a tussle making an NBA roster. He could do pretty well in Europe; I hope he does. That leaves Darnell, who could go somewhere in the second round but will need a good agent and tremendous workout auditions to make it. Despite all his trials and tribulations, he stuck with KU courageously and productively for all four years, and still has room for improvement, I'd love to see somebody allow him to achieve at least journeyman status the way ex-Jayhawk Scot Pollard has since 1998-99. Scot's done well financially. I'd dearly love to see Darnell do likewise.Prejudiced? Sure. But I've always been extra loyal to guys stay the course rather the early-outs, like Arthur, Rush and Chalmers. It's insane to criticize Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden and the current Big Three for grabbing the money when it's in reach, and wish they'd finished their dance cards. Then I see the Jacksons, Kauns and Robinsons who do and want equally good things to come their way.Practically, I'd be a fool not to draft Arthur, Rush and Chalmers ahead of Jackson. Sentimentally I'd like to see something miraculous happen for Darnell. I'm a sucker for long-termers.So, who do you agree with? [1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf5rIu... [2]: http://rushthecourt.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/michael-beasley-k-state.jpg [3]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3820 [4]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4132 [5]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3710 [6]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3824 [7]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3602 [8]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4287 [9]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3882 [10]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4141 [11]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3855 [12]: http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/1107/pg2_a_augustin_200.jpg [13]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3103 [14]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3547 [15]: http://mavsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/06/anthony-randolph-isnt-the-best-disd-play.html [16]: http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=428196 [17]: http://www.kostich.com/black_mamba.jpg [18]: http://www.adn.com/sports/story/447133.html [19]: http://www.kualumni.org/basketball/images/Darrell_Arthur.jpg [20]: http://www.kualumni.org/basketball/images/Brandon_Rush.jpg [21]: http://www.kualumni.org/basketball/images/Mario_Chalmers.jpg [22]: http://nbadraft.net/nba_draft_history/2000.html [23]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3422 [24]: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3442 [25]: http://www.kualumni.org/basketball/images/Darnell_Jackson.jpg


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