The most anticipated draft in many years is finally here. Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Jabari Parker headline the draft. All three will almost certainly, barring injury, be perennial all-stars, although if Cleveland drafts Embiid, he’ll get hurt and be out of the league within three years.
It’s clear that God hates Cleveland. He only gave them the number one draft pick so they can screw it up and torture their fans even more.
After the top tier of Embiid (although he may have dropped out of it due to his injuries), Wiggins, and Parker, are Vonleh, Randle, Exum, Gordon and probably McDermott and Smart. It’s tough to narrow them down. There are so many good players up and down the draft that it almost doesn’t matter where you pick.
Evidence: after that second tier of five or six players and a third tier of eight or nine more, the next 35 players are all good players who can potentially be starters, if not more.
That’s why I love the Knicks-Mavericks trade for the Knicks so much. They unloaded Felton and the onerous contract of Chandler while getting the 34th and 51st picks. While that may not seem like that much, the 34th pick is essentially a first rounder except a lot cheaper, while the 51st pick is just as likely to result in a starter as any pick down to the 25th in this deep draft.
It’s nice to finally see a basketball team I cheer for (I’m a fan of both the Knicks and Nets) have a pick in the draft. It’s a feeling I’m not going have very much over the next few years.
I think it’s hilarious how the Nets are hosting the draft in Barclays Center while not having a single pick.
Anyways, my eleven year old sister is vaguely watching the draft with me, although she seems more likely to be preoccupied by the computer. If she ends up paying attention, she’ll probably focus on insulting the outrageous outfits of the draftees while I focus on insulting the picks. Still, it’ll be tough to do that. It’s so hard to insult picks when there are so many good players.
A big storyline I’ll be watching tonight is where Embiid goes. Who will take a huge risk by taking Embiid? It’s a massive reward if it pays off, but the GM that takes him will be betting their jobs on Embiid’s foot. That’s why I think that a team with multiple first round picks will take Embiid. Philadelphia probably won’t take him because they already have a center in Nerlens Noel. The only other team with multiple lottery picks is the Orlando Magic, who have the fourth and twelfth picks. That’s why, in my big prediction of the night, I predict that the Magic will take Embiid. It’ll be very surprising, but with the amount of risk involved, there’s no certainty. However, I think Orlando is the most likely to take Embiid, even if there’s only a 25% chance that they end up taking him.
Embiid’s injury has thrown this draft into flux. Originally, Embiid was supposed to go to the Cavs, the Bucks were going to get the hometown kid, Parker, and the Sixers would get who they tanked their season for, Wiggins. Then Orlando was going to take Dante Exum to put him in a dual guard role along with Victor Oladipo. Then the rest of the second tier would play out in some way to the next few teams and the next 35 picks could go in any random way.
Just a short explanation of a draft diary: a draft diary is pretty much just a running log of the draft. The time at which I wrote everything is recorded and, other than a small amount of editing, everything is the same as what I originally wrote.
7:26 Well, the draft diary is finally here! Hopefully it’ll become a tradition. I really like writing in this format.
7:27 I’ve been watching the pre-draft show for about twenty minutes and I’m already tired of that stupid NBA draft commercial that has the draftees taking selfies. It’s annoying, repetitive, and people are paying to see the players get drafted and play basketball, not look dumb and take selfies.
7:32 So does Cleveland take Embiid and run the risk of him being hurt? Do they go with Wiggins with the highest potential? Do they pick Parker, who can come in and help right away? No matter what they do, they’ll probably be wrong.
7:33 It’s telling how for years David Stern was booed on draft night, while Silver is cheered today. Stern was unpopular and overstayed his welcome, while Silver got rid of Donald Sterling, so it’s really no contest. Hopefully Silver can keep his popularity and continue to be an exceptional commissioner.
7:34 I like Silver’s speech about the Spurs and how the won a championship using players from up and down the draft, from Duncan at 1 all the way down to Manu at 57 and how he uses that to prove that great players can come from anywhere in the draft. That’s especially true today, when, as I said, there are so many good players throughout the draft.
7:39 The Cavs haven’t sent in their pick yet, despite their time running out. Maybe their strategy is just to not make a pick. They can’t be wrong if they don’t pick anyone.
7:41 The Cavaliers take….
7:41: ANDREW WIGGINS!
7:41 Parker just became one of the best players ever.
7:41 Wiggins just developed the beginnings for about five or six injuries that will prevent him from ever playing.
7:42 Sam Hinkie needs another eight boxes of tissues.
7:43 At least Wiggins is as close to a sure thing as you can get. Hopefully the Cavs won’t find a way to screw it up like they did with Anthony Bennett.
7:44 Wiggins’ suit is… interesting. It’s skeletal looking white flowers on a dark black suit. At least it doesn’t look like he’s bleeding like Jalen Rose’s draft day outfit did.
7:47 Milwaukee takes Jabari Parker, as expected. Not a big deal. It was what everyone expected, although it sucks for Philadelphia.
7:50 Jay Williams says “and now let’s go to his [Parker’s] father, Sonny”. I found that amusing. Just thought you should know.
7:51 It’s going to be very interesting what the Sixers do. Do they pick Embiid despite having another center or do they take Exum, Vonleh, Randle, McDermott, or someone else?
7:53 The Bucks have a sneaky good team. They have Larry Sanders, the Greek Freak, a couple of other decent players, and now Parker. As they have five good players, Milwaukee could easily be a playoff team next year in the garbage East.
7:53 WOW! The Sixers take Embiid! That’s crazy! They already have a center in Nerlens Noel, although I suppose they can have twin towers in the mold of Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon on the late-80s Rockets or the late-90s Spurs with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
7:56 Philadelphia also has a sneaky good team. They have Embiid, small forward X at number 10, Noel, and MCW. That’s a really good, young team, assuming that all four players pan out. In addition to those four, Hinkie has five second rounders, from whom he should be able to gain a starter or two, along with some good bench players. Lord, the Sixers are going to be stacked in a couple of years.
7:58 ESPN goes to a graphic comparing Embiid to Greg Oden. It’s amusing because Oden had his career derailed by injuries. Given that Embiid is a huge injury risk, I can’t imagine why would ESPN jinx him like that.
7:59 Orlando takes…
7:59 Aaron Gordon?!?!? That’s very surprising. It was widely assumed that Orlando would take Exum, but apparently not.
8:01 I’m not entirely sure why they’d take Gordon over Exum. Exum and Smart are the two best two point guards in the draft, with a drop off to Zach LaVine, Elfrid Payton, and Tyler Ennis. Smart probably won’t be around by Orlando’s second first round pick, at number twelve. The forward positions (where Gordon plays) are stacked in this draft, and they probably could have gotten someone comparable to Gordon at number twelve like Doug McDermott, Rodney Hood, or Adreian Payne.
8:02 The commercial with Dante Exum in it cracked me up for some reason. He’s got a noticeable Australian accent which is hugely incongruous to his physical appearance. Did I manage to avoid seeming racist? I hope so.
8:06 The Jazz take Exum 5th overall, doing exactly what I wanted the Magic to do. Utah will play him and Trey Burke in a dual guard role like Phoenix did with Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic before Bledsoe got hurt.
8:12 The Celtics take Marcus Smart.
8:12 I don’t like that pick at all. They already have a good point guard in Rajon Rondo, although they could trade him away for draft picks. They also risk pissing Rondo off, as Rondo is sensitive about those sorts of things. I think they should have taken Julius Randle for an elite rebounder and someone who gets a lot of second-chance points.
8:16 I think the Lakers will take Randle now. Randle doesn’t play the same position as Kobe and he’ll get a lot of rebounds and second-chance points to help make up for when Kobe messes up.
8:17 Julius Randle to the Lakers!
8:17 It’s always nice when I’m right, especially when it’s for the right reasons. For all the reasons I just listed, I love that pick. With his rebounding, point scoring, and his ability to help clean up Kobe’s mistakes, I think it’s a great pick.
8:19 Of course, I may be biased because I watched a lot of him during Kentucky’s run to the NCAA Championship Game, but still, he’s really good. I bet on Kentucky multiple times and I always was pleased with how he always seemed to get the big rebound or how he always managed to fight through contact for a tough layup.
8:22 The Kings take Nik Stauskas, an incredible shooter. He’s a very good player, the best shooter in the class, and is capable of creating his own shot. It’s nice that Sacramento didn’t take a power forward to crowd up their frontcourt even more than it already is.
8:23 Stauskas’ suit is… interesting.
8:29 In their first act as the Hornets, Charlotte takes Noah Vonleh. I don’t mind that pick. He is, presumably, a good player, but his team didn’t make March Madness, so the question is how good he actually is. He should match up well with Al Jefferson to form an imposing Charlotte frontcourt.
8:32 Wow his hands are massive. I think I could fit two or three of my hands into one of his.
8:36 Elfrid Payton is taken by the Sixers at number ten.
8:36 I love his hair.
8:37 Payton is a point guard, but Philly already has a point guard in MCW. What they really needed was a small forward and, conveniently, there were a number of good small forwards waiting for them, like Doug McDermott, Rodney Hood, or Adreian Payne. Also, the skill sets of MCW and Payton overlap a lot. Both can’t really shoot, which is not a good thing when one of them is going to have to be moved to shooting guard. I don’t particularly like this pick.
8:38 It seems as though Payton is having a little bit of trouble putting on his 76ers hat over his massive hair.
8:40 It’s amusing how MCW is interviewed and how he’s desperately trying not to say anything insulting or something that seems selfish. Drafts are always rich with unintentional comedy.
8:42 Doug McDermott to the Nuggets. I like the pick, although I’d like it for almost any team. He’s really good at shooting, scoring, dribbling, creating his own shot, making tough shots, being the leading scorer on a team, and being the only scoring threat on his team. Still, a lot of other Nuggets do a lot of the same things that McDermott does, making his skill set a little redundant.
8:45 Why does it sound like, during his interview, McDermott is breaking up with his dad? He said things like “after a four year grind” and “it’ll be great to move on”? That sounds a lot like a breakup talk to me.
8:51 The Magic take Dario Saric, a power forward out of Croatia.
8:52 He’ll be in Turkey for at least the next couple of years, so they’re essentially stashing him in Europe until 2016.
8:53 I’m not entirely sure how good Saric actually is because he’s from Europe and I’ve never seen him play, although I don’t like the pick for two reasons. One, he’s from Europe, and, despite success stories (see: Parker, Tony), there’ve been more busts, like Darko Milicic, especially among those picked high in the draft. Two, the last notable NBA draftee that I can remember who was stashed overseas and has been in the NBA long enough to establish his true value was Ricky Rubio. He was hyped when he was taken by Minnesota, but after spending a couple of years in Spain, he never turned into the elite point guard he was expected to become. That’s what I fear will happen to Saric.
8:56 The Timberwolves take Zach LaVine, somehow managing to forget that they’ve already got Ricky Rubio. Although the Cavs, Clips, and Knicks will never be approached at the summit of dysfunctional NBA teams, Minnesota is at the top of the next tier. Their pick is just about as bad as it can get in this draft.
8:56 LaVine is a great player and a physical freak, but he’s raw and won’t be ready for a couple of years, so he won’t help Minnesota convince Kevin Love to stay.
9:00 I like the Exum commercials, mostly because I love hearing him talk.
9:01 The Sixers traded Payton to the Magic for Saric and a 2017 first rounder. That makes a lot more sense. The Magic get the point guard they were expected to take, while the Sixers can stash a player overseas as a reinforcement for their team in a couple of years while picking up another first rounder. I like that trade a lot for Philadelphia and don’t mind it for Orlando.
9:03 TJ Warren goes to the Suns. He’s an elite scorer, carried North Carolina State, and doesn’t interfere with the chemistry between Dragic and Bledsoe at the guard spots.
9:05 Wow, Warren talks really fast.
9:10 The Hawks take Adreian Payne. It’s a fine pick but I don’t have much to say about it other than saying that a jump-shooting big is always useful in the NBA.
9:15 A really touching moment when Silver and the NBA ‘select’ Isaiah Austin after he was expected to be selected in the first round but couldn’t, after his basketball career was ended by a genetic disorder.
9:19 The Bulls take Jusuf Nurkic, a center from Bosnia and Herzegovina. That’s part of a trade with the Nuggets in which Chicago gets McDermott and Denver gets the 16th and 19th picks. I like the trade for both teams. The Bulls needed a scorer and a small forward and because they gain cap room by not having to pay another first rounder. The Nuggets get an additional two players and give up a player who they couldn’t use. Presumably that’s why they picked McDermott in the first place, in preparation for a trade. That’s also the reason why Philly took Payton at 10, Orlando took Saric at 12, and, now, Chicago’s pick of Nurkic at 16.
9:25 The Celtics take James Young, a shooting guard out of Kentucky. He’s a great shooter and player, but this creates a logjam in the backcourt for the Celtics with Young, Smart, and Rondo all competing for two spots. Presumably there’s a trade in the works for Boston in which they send away one of those three players.
9:32 The Suns take Tyler Ennis. That’s another strange pick. Phoenix, as I’ve already said multiple times, have Bledsoe and Dragic at the guard spots. As the Raptors really wanted Ennis two picks later, I can only assume that there’s a trade in the works between the two teams because this pick makes no sense whatsoever for the Suns. If the Raptors end up trading for Ennis, then that means that they’ve almost certainly given up on resigning Kyle Lowry.
9:33 Canada is dominating this draft with Wiggins, Stauskas, and Ennis all hailing from the Great White North.
9:35 The Bulls take Gary Harris for the Nuggets at 19. This pick makes Denver’s trade earlier today for Arron Afflalo redundant as both players are shooting guards.
9:38 If Toronto doesn’t manage to trade for Ennis, then they can take Shabazz Napier at twenty.
9:41 Miami is apparently trying to trade up for Napier, which would be a good move for them to pick up a replacement for Mario Chalmers. Of course, all their plans are based on the assumption that LeBron comes back. If he doesn’t, Miami will be screwed even more than they already would have been.
9:44 Well, this was the first pick of some random player than no one has ever heard of: Bruno Caboclo from Brazil, going to the Raptors at number twenty. He’s so raw that, despite his incredible physical gifts, he’s at least four years away from actually playing. Why are they not trying to build on their successful 2014 season by improving their team for the coming season? This pick makes no sense to me.
9:51 With their last asset remaining for the Harden Hijacking, the Thunder take Mitch McGary. I like that pick a lot. McGary is really good and he allows the Thunder to shift Ibaka to the 5 to replace Perkins while sliding in McGary at the 4.
9:58 Memphis takes Jordan Adams from UCLA. He was never projected to go this high, and I’ve not read much about him. At the very least he’s a 2-guard, a position at which the Grizzlies desperately need help.
10:00 Well, it’s time to stop watching as I’ve got work tomorrow and I need my beauty sleep. It’s also funny because in the NFL Draft Diary (the first thing I posted on this blog) I also got through just 22 picks. Still, getting through more than three thousand words together isn’t too shabby. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed and I can’t wait to see how all the new players fit into the league and who excels and who bombs, mostly so I can make fun of them. Now, the attention will shift off of the draft and onto the World Cup and LeBron’s (and the rest of the stars’) impending free agency.