The NBA Draft occurred last night. There's been a lot of talk about this draft as being the worst since the infamous 2000 Draft (which was immortalized in the FreeDarko book) and I can't help but think at this point that all that talk was right.
Blake Griffin was taken number one by the LA Clippers. I'm not sure that I need to say anything about the Clippers, but suffice it to say that Blake Griffin will not be happy there, the Clippers will not improve (beyond marginally) and that Blake Griffin might do amazing things in the NBA...once he leaves the Clippers. The Clippers are where All-Stars go to die. A rookie is not going to be able to save them.
Hasheem Thabeet went second to the Grizzlies, whom I believe are building a young team, with an emphasis on young. With OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay (and since their trade last night, Quentin Richardson) they've got some athletic guys. Marc Gasol shows promise and I think Thabeet is going to be a winner in the league, even if he's never going to be a dominant center on both ends.
The Thunder took James Harden, but since I'm still boycotting the non-Sonics, I'm not going to talk about this, other than to say: Kevin Durant deserves better than to play in not-Seattle.
The Kings took Tyreke Evans, whom I'm not sure why everyone's hating on. (Other than, you know...the obvious stuff...) I think he'll make a fine addition to the Kings, playing alongside Kevin Martin. However, the fact of the matter is Sacramento needed a pure point guard! Which Evans is not. Look for trades to occur with the Kings. (Also, upon looking at their roster, it was revealed to me that Kenny Thomas is still [only technically?] on the team. Who knew?)
At long last, the kid everyone was talking about, both positively and negatively, Ricky Rubio, was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves. TrueHoop had written about how Minny was in sore need of some guards and Ricky's got tons of potential, so this kind of made sense. However, there was tons of talk, almost immediately, about how this might be a pick for a trade (with New York) and then a little while after, about how Ricky might not come to America just to play for Minnesota. I'm not sold on Rubio either way - I think it's clear that he's got potential, and he's going to be fun to watch, but he's only a kid. He'll need time to learn the American game (I know he's been playing in Europe since ages ago) and he needs some more bulk.
However...the rest of the draft contained some very weird things. Minnesota also had the sixth pick (the very next one) as well as the 18th and they took two more point guards. They traded one to Denver, but still. Three picks in the 1st round and they're all point guards? Kevin Love was freaking out. Very strange. Curry at seven to the Warriors is baffling to me, until I read about the Amare trade rumors. Makes sense for Golden State, but the Suns are losing a lot of their fun. Cycles are a drag.
The big news was Brandon Jennings at 10 to the Bucks. I'm not as gaga over him but I know that a lot of serious-minded basketball folks think that he's going to be the one. He showed up late, which was weird, but totally his style. The Bucks, at this point, are in an odd spot, though. They have some undeniable talent, but they haven't been able to put it together, at any point, during the course of last year. They were significantly under 500, and only managed to string together two three-win streaks. They play in the Central division, so it's not like they're going to get over the Cavs, but the Bulls had their mini-implosion last year, and the Pacers are falling off, and Detroit, well, who knows about Detroit. I'm just worried that this move with Jennings is going to merely make them stand pat as opposed to growing.
Next, I'm skipping a lot of picks to shout out my man from Gonzaga, Austin Daye. He went to the Pistons with the 15th pick, and I'm happy for him. I honestly didn't think he'd be picked this high, and with Detroit, as I mentioned above, in a crazy transition phase, I hope that he'll get some minutes as a part of a second unit.
And finally, the Lakers had the 29th pick in the first round, but it was clear from the moment that we won the Larry O'Brien trophy that we'd be doing nothing with that pick. We sold the rights to Toney Douglas to the Knicks, whom I'm sure will be happy with their new shooting guard.
The draft this year was weird. I'm not sure if we'll look back and say, "Oh, how could so-and-so fall to such-and-such position?! I can't believe Team X didn't draft him when they could have!" as much as we'll look back and say, "Damn. That was a pretty weak class." Not that this is a revelation. Plenty of people knew this coming into the draft. But what is a revelation is that it's useless to try to prognosticate what's going to happen on the night of the draft. With all the trades that occurred in the days leading up to the draft and the seemingly-incomprehensible actions of the Wolves, I hope that next year, we won't have to listen to the so-called experts trotting out mock draft after mock draft trying to tell us what's going to happen; I'd much rather just have some seriously solid post-draft analysis.