Last night was the NBA Draft, which is inexplicably one of my favorite sports nights of the year. I guess I love a night in which every player is good, and every franchise has a little hope. Those hopes are usually quickly dashed, of course.
ESPN put up a list of the best picks at each draft position earlier this week, and the greatest 8th pick since the inception of the lottery in 1985 is Ron Harper. Ron Harper was a fine player, but if you are picking #8, you wouldn't like to think that he is your ceiling. By the way, last night's #8 pick was Joe Alexander. This is someone who looks great on highlights and played great in the postseason, yet until March rolled around he averaged only 14 points per game. I give Ron Harper 3-1 odds of holding onto his title.
Anyway, last night's draft was filled with a lot of speculation about a group of guys that mostly won't make it. But that is for another time. Right now, optimism rules. A few thoughts:
The Bulls made Derrick Rose the shortest #1 picks since Allen Iverson. Actually, Rose and Iverson are the only two guys under 6-5 to be taken first since 1980 (and maybe long before that). So far that draft strategy is 1 for 1. I'm interested to see if it goes 2 for 2.
I'm still not sure why Miami was so reticent to take Michael Beasley. Yes, the three guys I have heard him most compared to are Derrick Coleman, Glenn Robinson,and Roy Tarpley. I am a bit too young to remember Tarpley, but Beasley is much more athletic than Coleman or Robinson. I think that will make a big difference, and Beasley will be fine.
Interesting that Beasley and Mario Chalmers will be playing together in Miami. Maybe a few K-State and KU fans could take a bus down to Florida and double the Heat's attendance for a game.
Darrell Arthur played the role of the forgotten man in the green room. He was finally picked by Portland at 27th, and then traded twice. A rather inauspicious beginning.
I thought for sure the Clippers would be the Clippers and take Brook Lopez at #7. They didn't. They took Eric Gordon, who could be a pretty good scorer (except that he will be playing for the Clippers).
The Nets got Lopez, and thus ensured continued mediocrity. Centers not taken #1 have a fairly shaky history, and that is being generous. Actually, the Nets acted crazy all night. They traded their second best player, for a bench guy and a power forward. Then they drafted a center and a power forward in the 1st round. This is for a team that drafted a power forward in the first round each of the last two years as well. Enjoy Brooklyn.
The Celtics are on a hot streak. Danny Ainge got two athleticwings in J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker. If Walker stays healthy, I think he willbe one of the better players from this draft. Giddens may be a lunatic, but he isn't crazier than Kevin Garnett. I suspect KG will scare him into line.
The Blazers are on the verge of becoming my favorite team. They have made like 250 deals in the last two drafts. Every time I see Ric Bucher, I just expect to hear something about the Blazers. And every time it seems to make sense.