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It's Draft Day in the NBA: Does anyone care?
10:59 p.m. Update
The 2009 NBA Draft has come to a close, with the Miami Heat making Robert Dozier, of Memphis, the last pick of the draft.
What a lucky guy, now he gets to play along side Mario Chalmers and hear about the 2008 NCAA title game for the first few years of his NBA career. Oh well. I'm sure the paycheck will make it worth listening to.
There were plenty of solid picks and a handful of surprises throughout the night. In the end, it seems that very few of them will have an impact on any of the Jayhawks already in the league. That, of course, will only be determined after a little time spent examining what just went down. (Perhaps that'll be a blog topic in the near future).
For now, we'll leave you with the highlights of the second round.
Pitt's DaJuan Blair, projected by many to be a lottery pick, fell all the way to No. 37, where San Antonio quickly swooped him up. Knowing the way Blair played in college, being passed up 36 times will only make him more of a beast, which only will make the Spurs a more dangerous team.
Kentucky's Jodie Meeks went No. 41 to Milwaukee, who also selected Brandon Jennings in the first round. Meeks, who set the UK single game scoring record last season vs. Tennessee, received a lot of attention for his should-I-stay-or-should-I-go decision and I wonder if landing at 41 makes him feel good about his choice.
Arizona's Chase Budinger and UNC's Danny Green went No. 44 (Detroit) and 46 (Cleveland), respectively. Budinger was then dealt to Houston for future considerations.
Green, meanwhile, made it a perfect 4-for-4 for the Roy Williams' Tar Heels, as Tyler Hansbrough (13), Ty Lawson (18) and Wayne Ellington (28) all went earlier. Must be something about winning it all that makes teams want to draft you. KU learned that last year, as the Jayhawks saw five players drafted in the 2008 Draft.
OU's Taylor Griffin, the older brother of No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin, went 48th overall to Phoenix. Higher than most expected, but what a night for the Griffin family.
The unsung hero of Michigan State's run to the title game, Goran Suton, went 50th overall to Utah. Does that seem to fit perfectly or what?
And Texas A&M power forward Chinemelu Elonu went 59th to the Los Angeles Lakers.
There's still a chance that a few Hawks in the NBA could be on the move in the coming weeks, as the draft results shake down and free agency fires up. But for now, it seems as if everyone's staying put.
That's it for this year's draft..... Not a bad warm up for next year, anywhere from 3 to 5 Jayhawks could hear their names called in the 2010 Draft... (Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, Marcus Morris and Tyshawn Taylor are among the most likely Jayhawk draftees).
9:26 p.m. Update
We've reached the end of the first round. The highlight of the final few picks was Minnesota taking UNC's Wayne Ellington, giving the Wolves the starting back court for the national champions.
Of course, it has been confirmed by The Denver Post, that Ty Lawson (No. 18) will be traded from Minnesota to Denver for a future pick.
Now.... It's on to the second round. As KU fans are well aware — Mario Chalmers No. 34 last year — there are some great values still out there.
The best players still left on the board:
DeJuan Blair and Sam Young, Pitt; Chase Budinger, Arizona; Patty Mills, St. Mary's.
9:07 p.m. Update
A few foreign players have come and gone and then we find Missouri forward Demarre Carroll picked at No. 27 by Memphis. Might not be great news for Darrell Arthur, but might not hurt.
Carroll brings great energy, great toughness and a fairly skilled all-around offensive game to the table. I'd fully expect him to make the roster and am a little shocked that he went in the first round.
8:24 p.m. Update
With the 18th pick in the draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves (yep, they're picking again) selected UNC PG Ty Lawson.... What!?!?!
That gives the T'Wolves three point guards in three picks - Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio and now Lawson.
Fortunately, news moved fast that the Wolves made the pick to trade it. Lawson, coveted by the Denver Nuggets as long ago as last season when he tested the waters, appears to be headed to Denver in exchange for a future draft pick.
That makes many people rest easy, including former KU coach Roy Williams, who is at the draft and appeared to be disgruntled when he heard that Lawson was joining a team that had just drafted two other point guards.
Rest easy, Roy.... Lawson should find a great situation in Denver, where he'll back-up Chauncey Billups and play in George Karl's fast-paced offense, with weapons like Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith at his disposal. Plus... like the Tar Heels, the Nuggets sport that baby blue that Lawson is so comfortable wearing.
Nearly two-thirds of the way through Round 1 now...
8:03 p.m. Update
Cheese-alert of the night..... Moments after Phoenix made Earl Clark the No. 14 pick in this year's draft, NBA commissioner David Stern announced that Clark was not in the building.
But... Stern then quickly pointed out that No. 10 overall pick, Brandon Jennings, was now in the building so he filled the time that would have been reserved for Clark, four picks after he should have gone.
The story goes, Jennings did not want to attend the draft unless he had a guarantee from some team that he would be in the lottery. Apparently he watched Darrell Arthur's agony last season and wasn't man enough to handle that.
So he stayed away. And the Milwaukee Bucks made him the No. 10 pick. Nice character selection, Milwaukee.
After buying a Bucks hat and, presumably, taking a quick cab ride over to the Garden, Jennings showed up, took the bad photo with Stern and then was interviewed just like he'd been there all along.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Jennings, who skipped college to play in Europe, announced that "more kids should" go the route he did.
7:52 p.m. Update
So much for that... Tyler Hansbrough goes 13th to the Pacers and joins Brandon Rush in Indiana.
The new-look Phoenix Suns are up.... Might they trade out of this spot and deal Amare Stoudemire here?
7:50 p.m. Update
Coming up on the mid-way point of the first round.... No real surprises yet. Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and NBA GMs have refrained from picking Tyler Hansbrough through 12 picks. That includes Charlotte Bobcats GM Michael Jordan, whose team picked 12th and could easily have snagged Hansbrough.
Could Tyler be this year's Darrell Arthur?
Who knows if Hansbrough's even at the Draft, let alone in the green room.
Pacers are up....
7:18 p.m. Update
1. Blake Griffin - LA Clippers 2. Hasheem Thabeet - Memphis 3. James Harden - OKC 4. Tyreke Evans - Sacramento 5. Ricky Rubio - Minnesota 6. Jonny Flynn - Minnesota 7. Stephen Curry - Golden State 8. Jordan Hill - New York Knicks
Initial thoughts: Odd that Minnesota would essentially pick two point guards with back-to-back picks that high in the draft. Might they be moving one of them?
Seems to me that, with two picks in the Top 6, Minnesota would've taken KU big man Cole Aldrich with one of them, if he had declared.
Evans to Sac-Town is brilliant... Exactly the superstar they need.
Curry falls one pick shy of landing in New York and the Knicks fans in attendance boo loudly. Tough break for the Knicks. Tough break for Curry, really. Although the Warriors do have some young players and a fun style of play.
Knicks pick follows Curry.... Jordan Hill, from Arizona. Hill absolutely dominated KU when the Jayhawks lost to Arizona in the regular season this year and has great size and raw talent. The pick was greeted with mixed reactions.... some boos, some cheers. I'm booing. It wasn't Curry.
On the clock Toronto...
6:43 p.m. Update
The Clippers did in fact pick Blake Griffin, who joins former Jayhawk Danny Manning (1988) and Michael Olowokandi (1998) as the Clippers' most recent No. 1 overall selections.
Now the draft begins...
6:30 p.m. Update
It's Draft time!!! All of the speculation is meaningless now. It's time for the teams to make their picks.
First up, the Los Angeles Clippers, who undoubtedly will take Oklahoma big man Blake Griffin. The talk around the league is that Griffin will be a special player when all is said and done. Whether that's Tim Duncan special or Carlos Boozer special remains to be seen.
4:45 p.m. Update
Vince Carter has been traded to the Magic for the players we mentioned below. That deal is done and seems to be a good move for both clubs.
Golden State also has made a move, trading Jamal Crawford to Atlanta for Speedy Claxton and former Texas A&M star Acie Law IV.
Just the beginning of what you can sense will be a big night in the NBA. The Clippers' selection of Blake Griffin is now less than two hours away.
More to come, as there's still no news involving any former Jayhawks, outside of Paul Pierce's Twitter message to Shaq.
3:40 p.m. Update
Here's the latest from the rumor mill..... The New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic are exploring a deal that would send wing Vince Carter to the Magic in exchange for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie.
Seems to me that this could be a good move for both clubs.
In addition, in a rare --- but soon-to-be incredibly popular, I'm sure --- move the Los Angeles Lakers have SOLD the 29th pick in the Draft to the New York Knicks for $3 million. That's right, sold. Not traded, not packaged, not transferred.... Sold.
Look for the Knicks to be very active tonight.
Also... it should be mentioned that a few days ago the San Antonio Spurs acquired veteran Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee to kick off this entire party. What a great move for the Spurs, who get a dose of youth and experience at the same time without giving up much --- Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto were the players they shipped out of town.
More to come.....
2:15 p.m. Update
Not a lot of news out there right now, but plenty of speculation and rumors about what could happen as the draft draws near.
The biggest names being tossed around in potential trade scenarios include: Houston's Tracy McGrady, Boston's Rajon Rondo, and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire.
The way I see it, I can't imagine why any of those teams would want to move those guys other than to get out from under their salaries.... And if that's what building an NBA team has come to these days, I'm not so sure the future of the league looks very bright.
If I had to bet, I'd say Stoudemire has the best chance of being moved. The Suns have been trying to dump his salary for a couple of years now and, with Shaq on his way out of town, they may be ready to commit to the rebuilding process.
As for any Jayhawks who have a chance to be traded, there's not a lot of talk out there at this time that includes former KU players, but Chicago's Kirk Hinrich and New Orleans' Julian Wright could be included in a deal or two as the night moves on.
More to come...
12:30 p.m. Update
The first major move of the day validates the rumors that surfaced on Wednesday night. Shaquille O'Neal has been traded from Phoenix to Cleveland, where he'll team with LeBron James in trying to bring a title to Cleveland.
I can't say this is the best deal out there. In my opinion, as great as Shaq was, he's no longer the same player and can't be viewed as "the missing piece" for the Cavs. He is an upgrade as long as he stays healthy. But that's a big question mark. Secondly, what are they paying him? For my money, I would've thrown the bank at Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu. Offer him so much that he can't say no. Turkoglu would give Cleveland added size, experience and another scorer. That would drop Mo Williams down to the No. 3 option and Delonte West to the No. 4 option, which seems about right.
The biggest question here is (on this blog, at least): What does this do to Darnell Jackson and his chances for playing time? Answer: Nothing, really. The big question mark regarding Jackson's minutes is Joe Smith. Will the Cavs keep him around and ride out his older, more fragile frame as their fourth big guy? Or will they give Darnell a shot to work his way into the rotation.
I'd bet on Jackson. He's far younger, far more passionate than Smith and has no problem being the guy that comes in to provide energy and toughness for a few minutes at a time.
Shaq and Zydrunas Ilgauskus at Center and Anderson Varejao and Darnell at PF... That's not a bad four-man rotation of bigs.
More to come....
The bottom line is this: The only way tonight’s NBA Draft will have an impact on a Kansas Jayhawk is if any of the league’s teams make picks that might challenge the playing time of those Jayhawks already in the league or if any of KU's existing pros are involved in Draft Day trades.
No current Jayhawks are eligible for tonight’s draft in New York City and that takes most of the fun out of it for fans of the Crimson and Blue.
Still, for basketball fans of both levels, Draft Day represents the chance to stretch the mind to see just how much effort it takes to picture your favorite college star starting for his new NBA team.
Every year, Jayhawks or not, there are several big-time questions that dominate draft-night conversation. This year is no different.
It’s been well documented that Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin will be the Los Angeles Clippers’ pick with the No. 1 overall selection.... after that is where the fun begins.
Who goes second? Who picks second? There are a handful of worthy answers to each question, as at least five college stars have been rumored to be “the right pick” for the No. 2 selection. In addition, at least three teams have made contact with the Memphis Grizzlies (who currently own the No. 2 pick) about moving into that highly-coveted spot.
As KU fans learned last year, when all five Jayhawks drafted were traded before the night was over, anything can happen on draft night.
For my money, Memphis guard Tyreke Evans is the best option at No. 2. He’s NBA-ready right now and showed time and time again during his freshman season at Memphis that he has all of the skills necessary to make the transition to the pro game. Imagine, too, the joy (and ticket sales that go along with it) of keeping a Memphis product in town to play his pro ball.
With that said, I wouldn’t fault anybody for taking Arizona State’s James Harden, Spain’s Ricky Rubio or UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet with the second pick.
The Clippers are on the clock but shouldn’t be for long. Unlike the last time they had the No. 1 pick — when they reached on overrated center Michael Olowokandi in 1998 — they have a can’t-miss pick staring them in the face in Griffin.
Before moving on, here’s a look at a few more of tonight’s biggest questions.
Where will Tyler Hansbrough go (and will he play)?
Like him or hate him (and, let’s face it, around here many seem to do the latter), Hansbrough will be picked in the first round of tonight’s draft. Some mock drafts have him going as high as No. 12 — conveniently to Charlotte — while others have him falling as low as the mid-20s. My guess is that Hansbrough goes No. 20 to Utah. The Jazz is exactly the kind of organization Psycho-T needs to go in order to flourish. Utah coach Jerry Sloan runs a structured offense, demands intense work ethic at all times and values toughness and rebounding. Hansbrough is solid in most of those areas. Should he fall to most other NBA teams, his lack of athleticism and limited all-around game won’t get him much more than pine time.
Where will Stephen Curry go?
The most exciting prospects for Curry have him falling to New York at No. 8, where he could play for offensive innovator Mike D’Antoni in a city that would absolutely fall in love with him. There’s talk that Curry could go higher, much higher, in fact. But I’m hoping he falls to No. 8 and gives fans everywhere a reason to root for the Knickerbockers again.
Who are the top three value picks in this year’s draft?
In terms of potential this is a supremely deep and talented draft, top-to-bottom. That alone might be reason enough to call Sherron Collins’ decision to stay in school a sound one. Since we’re talking value here, I won’t list my favorite player on the board in Tyreke Evans. Picking someone at No. 2 isn’t necessarily great value. Instead I’ll go with Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn, USC forward DeMar DeRozan, and Louisville’s Terrence Williams. All three have the toughness and confidence to play with anyone on the planet. And, although all three could be lottery picks, I have a feeling that whoever gets them will be very happy at the end of the night.
Before parting, it’s time to share some of your best Draft Day memories. As mentioned before, last year was a special year for Jayhawks in the Draft, as KU made history by having five players selected in the two-round NBA Draft.
But 2008 was not the only memorable draft night for former Jayhawks.
My favorite memory will always be the 1990 Draft. It took place on my birthday (June 27) and, as an extra special present, my favorite Jayhawk at the time, guard Kevin Pritchard, was drafted in the second round by Golden State. Pritchard’s NBA career was short and sweet and never really amounted to much. But for one 12-year-old KU fan, watching No. 14 get picked was a night to remember.
Lastly, a quick Happy Birthday goes out to this very blog. It was one year ago tomorrow that we first unveiled the ‘Hawks in the NBA blog to our faithful readers and I’m delighted to say that it was one heck of a first year. If the coming “seasons” are anything like the first, we’re in for a great ride.
Tonight’s draft begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN, Sunflower Broadband Channels 33 and 233.
Stay tuned to this blog throughout the night for reaction to the most noteworthy picks as well as a look at any activity that may impact the former Jayhawks already playing in the NBA.