The Official Donnybrook 2012 NBA Draft Recap!
Winter Vandebeer Just Spent 3 Hours Watching the 1st Round Draft. You can thank him with presents.
If you don’t know what the NBA Draft is, that’s okay; it just means you aren’t a rube. Sports rubes, however, understand the draft, love it, cherish it as their own, and occasionally smother it with too much love. I am one of these people. We care. It’s one of our favorite sporting moments of the year, despite the fact that nothing “sporting” actually occurs.
For the layman, think of it like this: once a year, every major sport holds an event in which teams select the top college (and in some cases, high school and international) players to play for them. It’s kind of like a military draft, only voluntary and without much risk of being killed in the line of duty. Generally the best teams are rewarded for their success by getting the lowest draft picks, while the shit teams pick high in some quasi-socialist attempt to even everything out. It’s just the way it works.
So, being the martyr (and rube) I am, I committed to watching the entire first round of the NBA Draft so you didn’t have to. It lasted about three hour’s total, so you’re welcome.
The night begins, as always, with Commissioner David Stern walking to the podium and making a few generic remarks. This guy’s run the NBA for about 80 years, and his look hasn’t changed since the day he took the job (sans a moustache he rocked for a few seasons in the 80’s). Fans immediately boo the shit out of him. I’m not sure why, and they probably aren’t either; fans have just been conditioned to boo anyone in a position of authority. Stern, however, is used to it – he smiles and smugly jokes “thank you for that warm welcome.” What a pro. His give-a-shit factor about these types of things must’ve disintegrated some 20 years ago. Stern even baits the audience a bit by congratulating “the world champion Miami Heat.” A sure way to piss NBA fans off? Praise the Heat. My god he’s good. He even puts a hand to his ear at one point, welcoming the cascading boos. It’s almost as if he’s playing the part of a pro wrestling villain. I expect him to rip off his shirt and clothesline the first draft pick.
The Hornets are on the clock.
1 – To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Hornets select Anthony Davis, the Kentucky big man that everyone seems to think is a “can’t-miss” prospect. Long, lean, freakishly athletic, Davis is an intimidating shot-blocker with an even more intimidating unibrow. How does a guy get to this point in life with such an obvious facial aberration? I have no idea. Anthony Davis’ unibrow is the new Adam Morrison’s moustache. Hopefully Davis is a better player.
Cut to Davis’ mom, and she’s fat. Shocking. What percentage of high-level NBA prospects’ moms aren’t enormous black women? 10?
2 – The Bobcats pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis’ teammate at Kentucky. Two things:
- Great pick. Love this player, a slashing small forward with, as ESPN analyst Jay Bilas puts it, “a relentless” work ethic. He would be great, but he’s playing for the Bobcats now. So he should be okay.
- This is the first time in NBA Draft history that two teammates have gone 1-2 overall. They also both came out as freshman. No, there’s nothing fishy about the recruiting going on down there at Kentucky.
3 – The Wizards select Bradley Beal of Florida. That’s three freshmen in a row – so much for staying in school to hone your craft. Suck it, Tim Duncan. Beal is supposedly a lights-out offensive player, and is sporting a most fly, perfectly tailored tan suit. Since I’ve never actually seen him play, my analysis of the pick necessarily rests on how he’s dressed. I give it a solid A.
Bilas won’t stop comparing Beal to Ray Allen. Way to set the expectations low, Jay. It’s his 19th birthday today. Upon hearing this information, I instantly compare my life to his and sink into a deep depression.
4 – The Cleveland Cavaliers are picking in the top 5. Again. It seems they have a standing invitation to the top 5 of the draft. They Pick Dion Waiters from Syracuse. This is much earlier than I expected Waiters to go, mostly because he plays for Syracuse (as did Jonny Flynn, Wes Johnson, and other shitty NBA players) and he didn’t even start a game for them last season. Congrats, Cleveland, you’ve guaranteed yourselves another top 5 pick next year.
5 – The Kings take Thomas Robinson of Kansas. Good pick, as Kansas players always excel in the NBA. Robinson seems like an emotional cat; very demonstrative in the highlights, and on the verge of tears in interview. Wait, there’s a tear. We have our first crier!
ESPN’s interviewing his sister. She’s nine. They’re interviewing a damn nine year-old. They really are shameless.
6 – Blazers pick something called Damian Lillard from something called Weber State. This appears to be a head scratcher, coming from a place called Weber State, but might actually be legit – the guy averaged 25 points last season and led the nation in scoring for a while. Albeit for Weber State and doing it against the teams that Weber State plays. But still, he could be good, even if the college highlights they’re showing all look like they’re from shadowy high school gyms.
7 – The Warriors pick Harrison Barnes. This guy was supposed to be the next Kobe Bryant coming out of high school, but shockingly hasn’t quite gotten there. I could’ve told you this years ago, because I was living in Ames, Iowa at the time – which happens to be Barnes’ hometown – and the company for which I was working had me videotape every one of Ames High’s games Barnes’ senior year. Seriously. He always struck me as a guy that was pretty damn good at everything, but not really good at anything. And what do you know, after two seasons in college, that’s what everybody else decided too. Those guys can be good players, but not necessarily stars. It appears I am smarter than most full-time scouts.
8 – Raptors pick Terrence Ross from Washington. Seems a little early for Ross, and he’s wearing a bowtie. Do with that information what you will. Jay Bilas is raving about his performance in the NIT. Yes, Jay, we’re all very excited about the NIT too.
9 – The Pistons select Andre Drummond. The Pistons remain bad. This is my “definitely going to be a bust” guy this year. Huge, insanely athletic, big man with great ball skills and gigantic, soft hands. But he has no motor whatsoever and doesn’t seem to care about basketball that much. Think Kwame Brown. That recipe can get you by in college, but in the NBA everybody is pretty damn skilled, and many are very large as well. And the vast majority care. If you aren’t interested, you aren’t going to last.
10 – The Hornets take Austin Rivers, freshman guard from Duke. I love this pick; Rivers has serious talent and serious swagger, and those things work in the NBA. He wants the ball in crunch time, has a history of taking (and making) the last shot, and has just the right amount of competitive arrogance. Basically, he hangs dong. Rivers is not a true point guard, but that doesn’t matter – if you look at the stats, not many “true” pass-first point guards win championships in the modern era (contrary to popular belief). You know who does win championships? Guys who hang dong.
11 – The Blazers take Meyers Leonard from Illinois. Who? A tall (7’1”) white guy. It appears NBA teams like tall guys.
12 – The Rockets select Jeremy Lamb from UConn. I’ve never liked Lamb, mostly because of his arrogant and butthurt reaction to getting worked in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season:
Instead of simply letting the clock run out, he made a point to steal the ball and throw down an uncontested and meaningless but totally badass windmill dunk. Except, um, he missed. You sir, are an ass.
Picks 13 through 15 – The Suns take Kendall Marshall from UNC, the Bucks grab his teammate John Henson, and the Sixers pick Moe Harkless from St. Johns. I went out to get a sandwich and missed these three picks, but it looks like I didn’t miss much.
16 – Rockets pick Royce White of Iowa State. White is a stud and would’ve gone in the top ten if it weren’t for mild character concerns (he stole a laptop once or something) and an anxiety disorder. Personally, I think Houston is getting tremendous value with this pick. I’m totally biased, because I’m originally from Minnesota (as is White) and I attended Iowa State University (as did White…well, for two years anyway). But neither of these knocks seriously affected him in his time at ISU, and he gives probably one of the most thoughtful and intelligent interviews you’ll ever get out of a basketball player. Plus he’s a 6’9” beast of a man with a dominant low-post game and point-guard-esque ballhandling skills. Versatility up the butt. He’ll succeed.
17 – The Mavericks pick Tyler Zeller. Another UNC guy – that makes four. He is tall and white, and Bilas calls him a “tremendous student.” Good. The pick is immediately traded to Cleveland, where a tall, white, tremendous student should fit in well.
18 – The Rockets pick Terrence Jones, the third player taken from Kentucky. Unlike his classmates, this old bastard came out after his sophomore season. You have to wonder if he has anything left.
But seriously, Jones is a solid if unspectacular do-it-all player that is a pretty good value at this point in the draft. With their third pick in the first round, the Rockets continue to rebuild their team with athleticism and versatility.
19 – The Magic select Andrew Nicholson of St. Bonaventure. A physics major. Canadian. Played at St. Bonaventure. Doesn’t really sound like a basketball player. I smell a bust.
20 – The Nuggets pick Evan Fournier of France. A foreigner! And there it is folks! Sound the horn, put on the party hats, and pop the champagne. A foreigner has finally been drafted; I can’t remember the last time it took until pick 20 for an international player to be taken. I guess the U.S.A basketball team winning the gold medal in Beijing finally sunk in and reminded us that we’re not required to care about any other country. Maybe if the U.S. comes up short in London, NBA teams will start obsessing over foreign players again.
21 – The Celtics pick Jared Sullinger from Ohio State. The fans are still booing Stern every time he steps to the podium, by the way. Commitment: pass it on.
Sullinger was crazily productive in college, but is an average athlete at best with serious health concerns. Something about a bulging disk in his back? Eesh. Well in that case, I guess he’ll fit in well with that retirement community they have going on up in Boston. They can discuss and compare back pains and orthopedic shoes.
22 – With their second of back-to-back picks, the Celtics take Fab Melo from Syracuse. A Brazilian. I’ve seen him play a ton because my roommate is obsessed with Syracuse and often bound me to a table and forced me to watch their games. Kidding of course, but the Orange were on a lot. Melo has a sweet name, and is a seven-footer, good shot-blocker, and decent athlete. He’s also a terrible student, so he should succeed in the NBA.
23 – The Hawks select John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. Bilas calls him the “best shooter in the draft.” Since he played for Vanderbilt, I’ve never seen him play, and will have to take Jay’s word for it.
24 – The Cavs pick Jared Cunningham from Oregon State and promptly ship him to Dallas. My interest is waning and I know nothing about this guy. Sorry.
25 – The Grizzlies pick Tony Wroten Jr. from Washington. He was the freshman of the year in a conference (the Pac-12) without many standout freshmen. A 6’6” point guard, I’m predicting his career trajectory to follow that of Shaun Livingston. So good luck with the future knee injury.
26 – The Pacers pick Miles Plumlee, half of the overwhelmingly hateable Plumlee twins from Duke. (It’s actually easy to hate pretty much anyone from Duke if you just put forth a little effort). Plumlee’s pro career will probably unfold just like his collegiate career – as a goofy, awkward-looking tall guy who looks absolutely nothing like a high-level basketball player, but once he gets on the court, it turns out that, inexplicably, he kind of is. And I will hate him for it.
27 – The booing has reached new heights. The commissioner is about to announce Miami’s pick. Stern + the Heat = unparalleled fan vitriol. Stern pauses for a few seconds and takes it all in. He then tells the crowd that the Heat take Arnett Mountrie, 6’10” forward from Mississippi State. A lengthy black man, he’ll blend in with the Heat. Wait…never mind, the pick is traded to the Sixers. Wait… never mind again; he’ll still blend in. It is the NBA after all.
28 – The Thunder select Perry Jones from Baylor. There it is! Once projected as a top-3 pick, Jones freefalls all the way to the end of the first round. Baylor coach Scott Drew says it was because of knee concerns, not because he’s a disinterested guy with a low motor with no real work ethic. What’s the opposite of “relentless?” Relenting? Jones has a relenting work ethic. It constantly relents. Classic case of productivity not matching talent, and it seems doubtful he’ll ever be the dominant player scouts once projected. But at this point in the draft, what does OKC have to lose? They could select yours truly with this pick and still be back in the Finals next year. If Jones manages to carve out meaningful minutes, the Thunder will be LONG.
29 – The Bulls take Marquis Teague, the fourth player from Kentucky to go in the first round. He’s a freshman. Whattaya know.
30 – Warriors select Festus Ezeli from Vanderbilt. His name sounds like the politically correct thing to celebrate during Christmastime. That’s all I have.
And with that, we (mercifully) conclude the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. David Stern wraps things up with a shit-eating grin: “I really want to thank all of you for your wonderful enthusiasm.” When he announces Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will conduct the second round, the fans erupt in cheers.