Thursday night one of the most anticipated NBA drafts in recent memory took place as the league attempted to figure out ways to dethrone the evil Miami Heat.
Here's The Live Feed of what transpired:
7:02: Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy, Chris Broussard and Rece Davis are our hosts. All in all, not a bad crew coming from ESPN, a network that has struggled to do just about anything right since 1997.
7:06: With all of Houston's trading and shifting, it had better hope it comes up with something BIG. Its most recent major draft day move involved the trading away of Rudy Gay (for Shane Battier). Not good. It's do-or-die time for a franchise that has been stuck in the middle for quite some time.
7:19: Mainstream America, meet Fran Fraschilla.
7:20: Mainstream America, say goodbye to Fran Fraschilla. Until 2013, Francis.
7:35: Never gets old, Stern vocally shredded by the New Jersey crowd. Thunderous boos and he follows it up with a Hulk Hogan-like hand to the ear gesture.
“Woah. Thank you for that warm welcome and good evening,” says the commish.
7:39: Hornets select ‘The Brow’ in the biggest shocker since the Colts took Andrew Luck.
7:41: Bilas with his first ‘unbelievable hands’ reference of the night. I just always picture Bilas in some sleezy New York peepshow booth and saying to the ‘performer’: “No, no. None of that. Just show me your hands, hun.”
7:45: Wow. Kidd-Gilchrist to the Bobcats. Maybe a trade coming up? First time in NBA draft history that two guys picked No. 1 and 2 came from the same school. UConn nearly pulled it off eight years ago with Emeka Okafor at 2 and Ben Gordon at 4. Let’s hope, for his sake, that Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t end up a journeyman like those two have.
7:47: Beal to the Wizards. With all the Ray Allen comparisons, if he doesn’t wind up as one of the top five 3-point shooters of all-time his career will be considered an abject failure.
7:54: Since July 2010, whenever Cleveland preps to make its draft selection, I always expect Dan Gilbert to stagger on stage with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a burnt Cavs LeBron jersey in the other and yell out, “There is no God!” before crashing through David Stern’s podium.
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7:55: Cavs select Dion Waiters.
7:58: Seriously, why is Calipari (or any college coach for that matter) allowed at these things? Just a free advertisement for aspiring NBA players.
“Wow that Calipari guy is everywhere, he must have the touch. Let’s go to Lexington!”
8:06: Portland takes Damian Lillard. Another franchise that I have no idea of where they should turn. I suppose this will work out … ya know, like all Trail Blazers draft picks do.
8:10: Former Blazers draft guru goes through intensive sabermetrics numbers used to evaluate prospects. I used to be a sabermetrics guy (for baseball). But I feel there has to be a tipping point at some point here. The smart teams will figure out where to draw the line with some of this stuff.
8:17: A little surprising at No. 8. Toronto goes with guard Terrence Ross out of Washington and this means that the Austin Rivers watch is officially on. He could now slide into the 12-17 range where the Celtics could move up to nab him by packaging their two picks.
The two UConn guys (Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond) are still on the board and are Bilas' best available.
8:20: Would love for the Pistons to grab Drummond here. A little twin tower action working with Greg Monroe, who is one of the more underrated young players in the league ... and they take him. Drummond has been hated on too much during this process. Sure, he won't be Dwight Howard, but he certainly won't be Hasheem Thabeet. Good move by Joe Dumars ... which hasn't been said in 2,123 days or so.
8:26: ESPN draft promo shows what looks to be Andre Drummond and Austin Rivers having a ladder match, nearly on par with that of Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X.
8:29: David Stern announces that David Stern's New Orleans Hornets select Austin Rivers from Duke University thanks to a wise decision from general manager David Stern and a little prodding from owner David Stern.
8:33: Heather Cox working on her 2012 PABJ Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award by interviewing a 9-year-old girl and the most media friendly head coach in the NBA (Doc Rivers) within a 20 minute span.
8:37: Portland takes a white center (Meyers Leonard). That just doesn't read well - it has all the red flashing key words "Portland, center, white."
8:40: If John Wall can fully realize his capabilities at the NBA level (a big if), Randy Wittman(who is being interviewed right now) and the Wizards can maybe think about making a playoff run. They have a lot of pieces in the right positions: you can do worse than Okafor at the 5 and with a deadly shooter like Beal, that's a good inside-outside, drive-kick trio.
8:42: Rockets take Jeremy Lamb (post draft trade?). I just feel like Houston is in win-now mode and shouldn't want a player like Lamb. Lamb could, COULD be Rudy Gay 2.0 but that won't take place until 2015 or so. What's the game plan here?
8:46: Speaking of franchises without a plan ... Phoenix selects coach Roy Williams from the University of North Carolina. He's in the green room. Why the hell not?
8:53: Another UNC guy goes. Former Talk Soup host John Henson. Congrats, skunk boy.
8:55: Five reps at 185 for Henson? Ouch. Robert Swift could curl that. And he's Robert Swift.
8:58: Would love to see the Sixers package all these young guys together for a superstar at some point. Not sure the 2004 Pistons deal, with five very good players but no superstar, will work in a league that had LeBron's Heat and Durant's Thunder in this year's Finals. And don't say, 'what about the 2008 Celtics?' Boston was a different deal. Kevin Garnett was back to playing Hall of Fame caliber basketball that year. The 2004 Pistons did not have a player who approached that type of talent the year they won.
9:03: Know this: all unibrow jokes are now officially overplayed.
9:06: Where are all the trades!? I'm going Twitter-less tonight (a risk in 2012), so there could be stuff in the works, but ESPN's TV coverage hasn't mentioned so much as a rumor all night.
If there's even a scent of a trade during the NFL Draft, Adam Schefter pees on Chris Berman's leg and doesn't allow Roger Goodell to make the next pick until he's finished ranting.
9:09: The Rockets take Royce White (who was reportedly coveted by the Celtics for a month) with the 16th overall pick. Hmmm. Boston had been trying to get into this range earlier in the day. Could things really be this quiet or is ESPN and the NBA that idiotic for waiting until midnight to report these trades?
9:19: And there we are ... Dallas deals Tyler Zeller to Cleveland for three picks. What, no rumors Rick Bucher? Only reporting fact? What is this, the CSKA Moscow Entry Draft?
9:23: Andrew Nicholson goes to Orlando. I just get the feeling that 10 of the first 20 guys picked in this draft are going to be dealt by July 11. Where is the action?! Daddy needs his fix!
9:25: Denver surprises with the pick of Frenchman Evan Fournier. Might work. Probably not.
9:29: The great news for the Celtics: two very capable big men in Perry Jones III and Jared Sullinger fell to them. Saw Sullinger up close in the NCAA tournament and he had that "NBA-ready body" everyone drools over. Then again, Danny Ainge rarely plays things by the book. Very intriguing picks coming up at 21 and 22.
9:33: And the pick is ... Sullinger. Ainge could certainly look like a genius once again (after a couple years of looking like a dope) if he hits on this. Didn't have to move up to get a guy who was once thought of as a lottery pick and has this extra pick at 22 because of the controversial Kendrick Perkins trade. Danny looks VERY good right now.
9:38: Kevin McHale interview sandwiched between two Celtics picks. Good things happen to the Celtics when McHale is around. Aside from the non-reporting of trade rumor (which is likely more of a David Stern rule) ESPN has been ON tonight. It's about damn time.
9:41: Celtics take Fab Melo and certainly address their height issues. It's like Ainge made these picks specifically to make life easier on Kevin Garnett. Sadly, this likely means the end of Stiemsma-mania in Boston.
9:47: Atlanta grabs the best shooter in the draft with John Jenkins. Not necessarily the greatest pick for the Hawks considering they already have Joe Johnson, but I like it nonetheless. Anytime you can add a sharp-shooter, it's a good thing.
9:49: Greater Charlotte Middle School head coach Mike Dunlap is interviewed by ESPN for some reason. Pretty good insight from a middle school coach.
9:54: Cavs pick for Dallas and select Jared Cunningham. Can't believe PJIII has fell so far.
9:59: Memphis takes Tony Wroten Jr., Indiana takes Tyler Hansbrough, I mean Mike Dunleavy Jr., I mean Miles Plumlee at 26.
10:04: Not enough broadcaster glitches tonight. Since when did ESPN decide to be professional? This is awful.
10:07: Stern soaks in the Heat hatred. Absolutely eats it up like a bowl of Lucky Charms. Unbelievable ... Miami takes Arnett Moultrie.
10:15: Perry Jones III finally goes to Oklahoma City. As if they needed to get any more athletic. May be a good replacement for Serge Ibaka if Ibaka bolts.
10:22: Warriors pair Festus Ezeli with Harrison Barnes in this draft. Not a bad day for a Golden State franchise that needed one.
10:33: And we end the first round in reverse fashion of the way we started it. Deputy commish Adam Silver (who should be taking over any day now), gets one of the biggest hands of the night from the bitter fans left in New Jersey.
10:35: Overall, an entertaining draft. Not too many shockers. Not enough trades. Just good solid players being dished off throughout the league all night.