Running diary of the 2009 NBA Draft

I’m going to be doing a running diary of the NBA Draft, so check back at 7 PM ET when I’ll be giving my initial impressions on every pick in the first round and commenting on all the other happenings (trades, bad commentary, crazy suits, etc.). I’ll also be answering questions if anyone gives two sh*ts about what I think. It’ll be fun.

LaRusso, my buddy and admitted Minnesota Timberwolves fan, will be joining me. I’m a Bucks fan, so between the two of us, our teams have three picks in the top 10.

All times are in PT. (Eastern Time gets all the love, but Pacific Time is where it’s really at.)

Let’s get this thing rolling…

4:18 PM: There’s a rumor that the Warriors might send Andris Biedrins, Marco Belinelli, Brandan Wright and the #7 pick to Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire. That seems like an awful lot to give up given the trades we’ve seen go down in recent days. But Stoudemire is a borderline franchise player, so a good center (Biedrins) and three prospects (Belinelli, Wright and the #7 pick) doesn’t seem crazy.

Jeff Van Gundy is talking like the Vince Carter trade means that Hedo Turkoglu is gone. I’m not so sure.

4:26 PM: Regarding Turkoglu, Kyle Hightower of the Orlando Sentinel echoes Van Gundy’s take: “The Magic have yet to confirm the deal, but the addition of a scorer in Carter, the trade would seem to end the Magic’s quest to bring back forward Hedo Turkoglu for a long term deal.”

This all comes down to whether or not the Magic are willing to go over the luxury tax for the long term to keep Turkoglu.

4:39 PM: Thanks for eating up four minutes with that pick, Mike Dunleavy. He makes maybe the worst acquisition in years (Zach Randolph and his bloated contract) and he gets awarded with the #1 pick and Blake Griffin. The NBA should do away with the progressive lottery system and give all non-playoff teams an equal chance at the top pick. In fact, all 14 picks should be decided by an equal lottery. It would be more exciting (just think, every team has an equal chance of coming out of the lottery with the #1 pick or the #14 pick — talk about the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat) and it would eliminate all the tanking we see at the end of the season, which not only betrays the NBA fan base but also taints those late season playoff races.

But back to Griffin, who looks like the real deal. He’s my bet for Rookie of the Year. (I know, I’m really going out on a limb there.)

4:41 PM: LaRusso just told me that Taylor Griffin was the #1 pick of the Harlem Globetrotters. I don’t even know what that means.

Barring a trade, I think the Grizzlies are going with Thabeet here.

4:46 PM: Thabeet’s upside is Dikembe Mutombo, and if the Grizzlies get that kind of a defensive presence, they’ll be thrilled.

OKC on the clock…I think the best fit is James Harden, but lately the pundits have been saying that they’re very interested in Ricky Rubio. Russell Westbrook wants to play point and this pick might determine if the Thunder think he’s the point guard of the future in OKC.

4:52 PM: Harden! He’s the guy they liked all along, but the late rumored push for Rubio threw the pick up in the air. He’s a great fit in OKC, though Westbrook may need to refine his shot selection a little bit to become a more balanced point guard.

Kings on the clock…LaRusso is hoping that they take Rubio, so his T-Wolves can’t. I think Evans might be the pick here. He has been playing really well lately, though ownership apparently likes Rubio.

4:55 PM: Nice bow tie, James!

4:56 PM: Wow, Evans’ late push (great workouts in Minnesota and Sacramento) sealed the deal in Sacramento. He’s big, rangy and athletic. He’s not necessarily a pure point guard, but he has a lot of upside and can do a lot of things. Jay Bilas loves this guy.

Two picks for the T-Wolves…LaRusso wants Minny to take Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans…oops, he’s gone. He wants Curry and Flynn. I think they’re definitely going to take Rubio with one pick, and probably Curry with the other. He’s undersized, but the league is getting smaller and he can shoot the sh*t out of the ball. DeMar DeRozan and Jrue Holiday are the darkhorses.

5:03 PM: Let the Ricky Rubio era begin. I heard this cat speak earlier on the broadcast and he sounded like a 13-year-old kid. LaRusso is not happy, but Chris Paul says he’s the real deal, so it’s tough to argue with that. He needs to improve his jumper, increase his strength, but he’s already a great ballhandler and passer. He’s a pure distributor and is incredibly unselfish.

Pick #2 coming up. I think it’s going to be Curry, who is going to be a small off guard, but the league is getting shorter and shorter.

5:10 PM: Flynn?!? I think Minny has a trade brewing because it just doesn’t make sense to draft two point guards back to back.

Golden State on the clock. They’re supposedly interested in Curry and Jordan Hill. I think Curry will be the pick, but he didn’t work out for the Warriors. If Golden State does go with Hill, expect to hear a big cheer as the Knicks fans in attendance relish in the fact that Stephen Curry will be coming to New York.

5:15 PM: Curry to Oakland. I think he and Monta Ellis can play together. They’re both combo guards but Ellis is more of a penetrator while Curry can shoot from anywhere on the court.

The Knicks are on the clock and supposedly they have a big interest in Jordan Hill. (As a Bucks fan, I hope they pass.) Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings are also possibilities.

5:21 PM: Damn it! I hoped they’d pass and Hill would slip to my Bucks. Milwaukee re-signs Sessions and we’re in business. I think this pick by the Knicks signals that David Lee will probably be gone soon.

Toronto on the clock. They’ve been linked to DeMar DeRozan for weeks, but lately some other names have popped up — Jrue Holiday and James Johnson to name a couple.

5:28 PM: DeRozan it is. If he pans out, he’ll be a great fit in Toronto. John Hollinger’s Draft Rater doesn’t like him, but Hollinger said that his system has a tough time rating one-and-done freshman.

My Bucks are on the clock. I think Jennings is going to be the pick as the rumor is that the team has become increasingly intrigued with his potential of late. I don’t know what this means for Sessions, but I agree that it would be tough to pass on his upside here. (Or pass on Holiday’s upside, for that matter.)

5:32 PM: Jennings it is. John Hammond is swinging for the fences. It will be interesting to see how he develops with Scott Skiles as his mentor.

The Nets on the clock and the word seems to be that they’re going to go with Terrence Williams.

5:38 PM: Williams to NJ. He really shot up the draft charts in the last week or two. He’s a great athlete, defender, rebound, but he needs to improve his shooting.

Bobcats on the clock — Henderson has been the rumored pick for a while, but James Johnson is apparently a Michael Jordan fave. We’ll see if His Airness gets his way.

5:45 PM: Henderson brings a lot of athleticism and good defense to the table. He has an improving offensive game, but isn’t polished on that end of the court quite yet. He is one of the best finishers in the draft and should develop into a fine starter/star caliber shooting guard.

The Pacers on the clock. I don’t think they pass on Jrue Holiday here, but stranger things have happened. Ty Lawson might be Larry Bird’s kind of guy. They also need help up front, so Tyler Hansbrough and DeJuan Blair are possibilities as well.

5:51 PM: The Pacers really needed another big white guy to join Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Jeff Foster, Rasho Nesterovic and Josh McRoberts. Seriously, I think Hansbrough will turn out to be a starter-caliber power forward and with his great work ethic and energy, he projects to have a long NBA career (barring injury, of course).

Suns on the clock. If they pass on Holiday here, there’s a good chance that he’ll be there for the Sixers at #17. The same goes for Ty Lawson. The Suns could go any direction with this pick. No one really knows what the hell Steve Kerr is doing. I’m not even sure he knows what he’s doing right now.

5:56 PM: The Suns took Earl Clark, a versatile forward who has a lot of upside.

Holiday and Lawson are still on the board, and with the Pistons and Bulls coming up (neither team needs a PG), the Sixers should be guaranteed a shot at least one of them at #17. It turns out that was right on with Holiday’s stock. The rest of the mocks seemed to have him going in the top 10.

Detroit has been linked to Austin Daye and B.J. Mullens.

6:02 PM: 6’11” and skinny, Daye is a skilled forward who needs to improve his strength. In three or four years, he should be a player.

The Bulls are on the clock and they’ve been linked to DeJuan Blair. James Johnson is another guy to consider, though Blair is the better rebounder and low post scorer.

6:06 PM: Mark Jackson drives me nuts. He takes “Master of the Obvious” to a whole other level.

6:08 PM: James Johnson is a face up power forward, who has seen his stock fluctuate the last few weeks.

Philly is on the clock and they need a PG. Will it be Holiday, Lawson or some other PG? Or will they go another direction altogether.

6:13 PM: I don’t think the Sixers expected Holiday to be there, but they must have done their homework because they took him. They have to be thrilled, though it’s going to take him a couple of years to figure things out. He’s extremely athletic, but played off the ball at UCLA, and didn’t have a great freshman year. He’s in Jay Bilas’s top 10.

Minny on the clock. Will it B.J. Mullens? LaRusso is just hoping that they don’t take another point guard. Sam Young would fill a positional need.

6:19 PM: Okay, something must be going on. The T-Wolves took their THIRD point guard. LaRusso is pulling his hair out. I think they have a trade or two brewing.

Ric Bucher just confirmed that Lawson is going to the Nuggets for a future first rounder.

This pick kind of screws the Hawks, who need a PG. Eric Maynor and Jeff Teague are still there.

6:23 PM: Teague is definitely a shoot-first point guard. I like this pick for the Hawks because he should be able to immediately come in fill the void left by Mike Bibby, who is likely on the way out.

Utah is on the clock and I think DeJuan Blair is a real possibility. Carlos Boozer is probably leaving, so assuming the Jazz re-sign Millsap, Blair could fill his spot off the bench. Utah also has a need at center (if Mehmet Okur leaves) and maybe small forward (Sam Young?).

6:27 PM: Eric Maynor…hmm…they already have Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer, so it’s surprising to see the Jazz go with a guard here, but maybe they figured he was the best player available. Maynor should be a good pro. I expect he’ll develop into a starter-caliber point guard. He’s a good all-around player.

The Hornets are on the clock and they have a need at off guard and at center, assuming they move Tyson Chandler this offseason. Mullens is a possibility, though he isn’t going to help Chris Paul anytime soon. New Orleans could go a lot of different directions with this pick. Wayne Ellington might be the best fit.

6:33 PM: Wow, I like Collison, but the Hornets have other needs right now. If I’m Chris Paul, I’m probably scratching my head on this one.

The Blazers are supposedly interested in DeJuan Blair here. They want some toughness up front, but they also need a point guard (though the pickings are pretty slim here). I think Blair is easily the best player available, though I like Sam Young too.

6:39 PM: Victor Claver. He’s probably going to stay overseas for a couple of seasons, and Fran Fraschilla loves him. Claver looks like another international face up forward. Interesting to see the Blazers pass on Blair.

The Kings are on the clock, and Blair and B.J. Mullens are still out there. Sam Young would be able to come in and contribute right away.

6:44 PM: Omri Casspi — he’s a hard-nosed forward from Israel. Fraschilla loves him. (Does he love everyone?) Another team passes on Blair. GMs must be awfully worried about his knees. That’s the only explanation I can think of.

Dallas is on the clock. Mark Cuban said he made that trade with the Blazers because he thought he could get their guy at #24. We’ll see if his “guy” is there. The Mavs could use a young point guard or an off guard. They’re in pretty good shape up front, though they could use a center. Pickings are slim though and I’m not sure they want to wait on Mullens.

6:49 PM: Mullens is a project, but he has upside, or at least they say he does. Centers drafted outside the lottery usually don’t pan out, so it will be interesting to watch his development.

If I’m the Thunder, I’d definitely take Blair here.

6:53 PM: Rodrigue Beaubois, point guard. Um, okay…

The Bulls have another shot at Blair here. We’ll see if his wait is finally over.

6:55 PM: Bucher is reporting that the Thunder are going to send Beaubois to Dallas for Mullens. Dallas probably figured out that OKC was interested in Mullens and snatched him up. I expect they’ll probably get some cash or a second round pick as part of this trade. Beaubois looks to be the Mavs’ project at point guard.

6:59 PM: Taj Gibson…huh. The Bulls went with size, but dissed Blair again. He (Gibson) has a lot of length, but isn’t very polished offensively.

The Grizzlies could use Blair. I sound like a broken record…

7:05 PM: DeMarre Carroll to Memphis. He’s a great energy guy and is a pretty good finisher. The Grizzlies definitely have a need a power forward, unless they plan to move Marc Gasol to the 4.

LaRusso is hoping that the T-Wolves take another point guard. I say they take Blair. Yes, DeJuan Blair. (Sam Young would be a nice pick too.)

7:11 PM: Wayne Ellington to the T-Wolves. This a position of need for Minnesota. Ellington shot the ball really well in the tournament and I think this is a nice pick for this late in the draft. It’ll be interesting to see if Minnesota keeps both Flynn and Rubio. Conventional wisdom says that they can’t play together.

7:16 PM:
The Lakers (Knicks) select Tony Douglas, a shoot first combo guard. Mike D’Antoni will find a way to utilize his scoring ability.

Cleveland is on the clock. They need an athletic, perimeter forward to match up with Rashard Lewis, but there isn’t really anyone that fits the bill. DeJuan Blair is still out there.

DeJuan Blair.

7:22 PM: The Cavs take Christian Eyenga…okay.

I am stunned that DeJuan Blair fell out of the first round. There must be serious concerns about his knees to fall this far.

I’m pretty wiped, so I’m going to stop at the end of the first round. There are still several quality players on the board, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the guys that go in the first 10 or 15 picks will end up contributing this year.

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