Friday, June 24, 2011

06/24 (Draft Hangover) Quickie

Had a fascinating experience last night watching/following/covering the Draft for Quickish:

As a Wizards fan, I was VERY down on Jan Vesely as the draft pick heading into the draft. He can dunk and... that's about it. Can't shoot (neither jumpers nor free throws), which won't get much better. Can't play D, which won't get much better. In other words: Can't contribute meaningfully on a (distant) future playoff team, which relies on non-star players who can knock down shots and play D.

As the picks went by, I was resigned to the team taking Vesely, and then...


Vesely's name was called, and he gets up, grabs his 6-foot-5 hoopster girlfriend and gives her a smooch unprecedented in NBA Draft history. I leapt off the couch and cheered. The guy may never be any good, but he is interesting. And if you're not winning titles, being interesting -- in a good way, hopefully -- is the next-best thing. And so Jan Vesely and his girlfriend (and thus my Wiz) were a big winner of the draft. (Aside from superstars like John Wall falling into your lap, you cannot understand how rare it is for the Wizards/Bullets to "win" on draft night, which includes the steal of Chris Singleton at 18 and a solid pick of Butler's Shelvin Mack at 34.)

Other big winners:

*Bobcats (Michael Jordan??): I love Biyombo, so I love Biyombo + Kemba Walker (who I actually had slotted to the Bobcats in my mock draft).

*Kings taking Jimmer: See above "as long as you're not winning, be interesting" theory.

*Kenneth Faried: A double-dip. Not only did the hometown-Newark kid get to walk down from the peanut gallery to the stage, but the Nuggets are a great fit for him.

*Jimmy Butler: Nice story, 1st-round money/guaranteed contract, good fit on a great team.

*Heat: Love Norris Cole.

*Morris Twins: Back-to-back Lottery picks. (HOWEVER! I honestly question whether they will be able to function without the other in their life. A friend last night mentioned the otherwise crippling co-dependency of tennis' Bryan twins, and it seems like an apt analogy. I presume teams did psychological testing on each to make sure they could deal with being split up from their brother, but I'm not sure that would dissuade me.)

And the losers....

*Knicks: Took Iman Shumpert over Chris Singleton (much to the delight of Wiz fans). Appreciate that Shumpert might turn into a defensive stopper, but he's not nearly as much of a sure-thing as a defensive force as Singleton. Spike Lee looked so deflated.

*Cavs: Kyrie Irving? OK, solid. Tristan Thompson? Reach. They would have been better off with Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight.

*Blazers: I loved Nolan Smith... as an early 2nd-round pick. In the early 20s? Yikes.

All in all, a fun night. Catch up at Quickish on the best analysis of each pick as it was made, plus post-draft analysis.

Otherwise, no matter how bad things might seem this morning for you or your team, at least you're not Jim Riggleman.

-- D.S.

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