Lockout? What lockout? Yes, the NBA Owners and NBA Players Association may be on the verge of jumping into the same dangerous labor strife that their NFL brothers are experiencing, but for a few hours a celebration of new blood will take center stage. Of course, this may technically be the least talented crop of draft picks the league has seen in years (next year is expected to be much stronger), but role players are always valuable, even if they come at the, um, 7th pick (yikes). Instead, this night is expected to be dominated by trades from teams trying to change the make up of their rosters before the potential July 1st lockout. Plus, we've got the always hype-worthy Stuart Scott, Jeff Van "Why isn't he coaching yet" Gundy, Jon "Don't tell anyone my brother is a better analyst" Barry and Jay "Classy" Bilas.
Enjoy and share your thoughts as the night goes on.
4:25 PM PST - ESPN broadcast isn't spending a lot of time on it, but their radio and online counterparts are reporting a trade that has gone down between the Bucks, Kings and Bobcats.
Bucks get: Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston and the 19th pick from Charlotte
Bobcats: Get the 7th Pick from Sacramento and Corey Maggette
Kings: John Salmons and the 10th Pick
Looks like Michael Jordan is dumping yet another veteran after sending Gerald Wallace to Portland during the season and looking to rebuild. Bucks get more scoring (they were horrible last year) and Kings get a veteran who might play the same position as Tyreke Evans (debatable, I know). Does this mean the Kings feel more comfortable about taking Jimmer at the 10th pick than the 7th?
4:31 PM PST - I love Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" like everyone else, but is this not the most depressing song to have as the "Theme" of the NBA Draft? Good lord...
4:34 PM PST - Commissioner Stern comes out to the always rowdy New York crowd. "It's a good crowd" is Stern's way of saying, "Lord, this is gonna be a long night with these knuckleheads..." And with that, Cleveland is on the clock! Oooh, let's remind everyone my LA Clippers could be drafting here. Really, please keep reminding me Stuart. Sigh.
[In case you were unclear, the NBA Draft is in New Jersey. As I now have relatives living in the "garden" state, I will refrain from commenting on New York's sister state. Even if it's an ugly sister...}
4:38 PM - ESPN's Jon Barry and Stuart Scott try to make us care about either Derrick Williams and/or Kyrie Irving.
4:39 PM - And the Cleveland Cavaliers pick...
1. Kyrie Irving, Duke University - Cleveland Cavaliers
Yes, you too can play just 300 minutes and college and go no. 1 in the draft. Sure he'll be a solid player, but boy is he lucky. The less you play, the less you can criticize. He's also the first Duke player since St. Elton Brand (sorry, the Clipper fan in me) to go no. 1. And that obviously worked out well...Bilas, "He's just not an explosive athlete like Derrick Rose."
4:42 PM - Did someone swear at Kyrie? ESPN audio went out. And Kyrie didn't know how to answer Steve Jones. Weird. Meanwhile, Kyrie's dad looks like he could hit the court at any moment himsel (cue Stuart Scott with finished package on Kyrie's dad and his years at Boston University.)
4:45 PM - And with the no. 2 pick in the NBA Draft the Minnesota Timberwolves select...
2. Derrick Williams, University of Arizona - Minnesota Timberwolves
Ah, David Kahn. Overplayed your hand it seems and didn't get the veteran you needed for this pick. Williams and Michael Beasley play the same position. Waiting for Kevin "Get me out of here" Love to tweet his thoughts at any moment...
4:48 PM - "I want to play the three, but I know there will be mismatches at the 4." Well, Derrick let's hope whomever is your new coach can figure out what to do with two swing men at the 3/4. Thank god Beasley isn't a head case right?
3. Enes Kanter, Turkey - Utah Jazz
He hasn't played a game in over a year, but he's impressed in workouts. Kanter dominates over Commissioner Stern (nothing new). He looks like another Brooke Lopez to me. That's not bad, but at the no. 3 pick? Won't help the Jazz return to the playoffs.
4:52 PM - "I want to dedicate my season to Kentucky fans. They were amazing." Well, sure, maybe you shouldn't have taken that extra $33,000 from a pro-team so you could have actually played for them and not have been NCAA ineligible? Just sayin'.
[Baron Davis tweets: "Let's GO CAVS!! GREAT PICK!! ISIAH/DUMARS, remake! Let's go Cleveland!!" Bdiddy doesn't seem to realize this mean's he'll be coming off the bench by February. If not sooner...]
4:56 PM - And with the fourth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Cleveland Cavaliers select...
4. Tristan Thompson, Texas - Cleveland Cavaliers
OK, that's a big surprise. J.J. Hinson you better call your agent. This will be the CAV's PF of the future.
Jay Bilas basically says Thompson can't score, drive, shoot or hit free throws. That's encouraging. History though, the highest Canadian player drafted ever!
More bad mike problems from Mark Jones. No idea what his reaction was to the Canada plug from Stuart Scott.
5:02 PM - And with the fifth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Toronto Raptors select...
5. Jonas Valanciunas, Lietuvos Rytas, International, Lithuania - Toronto Raptors
This is the pick everyone thought the Cavs would take. He may not be able to play this upcoming year, but at 19 he's got a lot of potential. Raptors could have used someone now though. Why take this chance?
5:04 PM - Jonas is still learning English. He also seems a bit shy and really only knows how to say "I don't know." But at least he can smile! Nice fact from Scott: Valanciunas is the 11 pick from Lithuania. Who knew?
5:06 PM - Van Gundy brings up the whole problem with the Wizards who draft at six, defense. If Flip Saunders couldn't make them last year, how can they this year?
5:07 PM - With the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Washington Wizards select...
6. Jan Vesely, KK Partizan Belgrade, International - Washington Wizards
Best line of the night so far from Fran Friscilla, "First of all Stu, this guy has great taste in women." The crowd seemed to agree after seeing him kiss his girlfriend. ESPN gives us the replay too! Nick Young was publicly campaigning for the "European Blake Griffin" (um, I can't wait to see that match up, Blake loves bulletin board material). How about more like the "European Dan Majerle"?
5:11 PM - With the seventh pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Sacramento Kings select...*
7. Bismack Biyombo, Dem. Rep. of the Congo - Sacramento Kings - traded to Charlotte Bobcats*
Five out of the first seven picks are born outside the U.S.A. That's either a good sign for this year's draft or a very bad sign.
Whoopsie. Andy Katz says there is a buyout issue with Biyombo, but it "should" be taken care of. Drama where there isn't any! Thanks ESPN!
5:17 PM - ESPN gives shots to Kemba Walker and Jimmy Fredette, two players the Knicks fans would love to get. Probably won't happen. Maybe.
And with the eighth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Detroit Pistons select...
8. Brandon Knight, University of Kentucky - Detroit Pistons
Joe Dumars finally gets some luck. Knight should help the Pistons if they move Rodney Stuckey to the 2. Or, they won't resign him...yikes. Still unclear what Dumars wants to do with this team.
5:20 PM - This is a surprise for Knight, he didn't workout for the Pistons. He also doesn't look very happy about going to the Motor City. Ruh-roh, where did he think he was going to go? Ah, agents...
5:23 PM - And with the ninth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select...
9. Kemba Walker, University of Connecticut - Charlotte Bobcats
As Bilas notes, a "winner." Nice pick by MJ and his crew. He should help them and he can make clutch shots. The issue is whether he's a point or a 2.
5:24 PM - Kemba Walker, "It's a surreal feeling. This is my dream." "I'm not 6'3, 6'4, but I got a big heart."
5:28 PM - Jon Barry says it's Jimmer time! Will he go to Sac?
And the 10th pick in the NBA Draft goes to...
10. Jimmer Ferdette, BYU - Milwaukee Bucks - Traded to Sacramento Kings*
Well not only does Sacramento have a chance to keep their team this year, but now they have someone to root for with Ferdette. How will he fit in with Cousins and Evans? Will be very interesting to see. Can't wait until Kobe decides to guard him. Golden State and Kings games should be a very high scoring affair.
5:33 PM - Jimmer is ready to be a coach and analyst. Screw being a player! He's got all the talking points down! Glens Falls, NY is celebrating.
5:34 PM - Scott tells us that Jimmer played with inmates at a prison! Get this man a movie deal! It's a Hollywood story! You will believe in Jimmer! He's a saint! Who cares about whether he can play defense?
And with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft the Golden State Warriors select...
11. Klay Thompson, Washington State University - Golden State Warriors
Mychal Thompson's son gets in the top 15. His dad has been hyping him on LA radio (as well as his other sons) for quite awhile. Nice when your kid does well.
5:42 PM - And with the 12th pick in the NBA Draft the Utah Jazz select...
12. Alec Burks, University of Colorado - Utah Jazz
Scorer, but Bilas insists he's not a shooter (if you have to ask the difference...) But, he can score. Is Kanter and Burks enough to get the SLC fanbase excited? Hmm...
Burks uses ESPN's own cliche of "having a chip on my shoulder" to explain his success. Thanks for the talking points worldwide sports leader!
5:44 PM - Ugh, Mark Jackson satellite hook up. At least we don't have to suffer through another season of his bball analysis. Jackson says "The Golden State Warriors will be in the playoffs" Um, not this year. Not unless you make some moves.
5:44 PM - With the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Phoenix Suns select...
13. Markieff Morris, University of Kansas - Phoenix Suns
The older of the Morris twins. Strange the Suns didn't take Marcus. He's the PF of the future for the Suns and should help the frontline alongside Gortat. Big bodies to deal with the Grizzlies, Lakers, Clippers, Trailblazers and Maverick's strong big men.
5:51 PM - Marcus' very emotional that his brother got drafted. Marcus should go any moment, hope he can still hold it together when he walks up on the stage. "We'll see each other again. I'll send him some flowers or fruit." At least he has a sense of humor.
5:57 PM - With the 14th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Houston Rockets select...
14. Marcus Morris, University of Kansas - Houston Rockets
Kevin McHale gets a big man who might end up filling the scoring void they have missed with Yao Ming gone. Van Gundy gives some love to his ex-center. "If anyone deserves a miracle comeback it's Yao Ming."
6:01 PM - With the 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Indiana Pacers select...
15. Kwahi Leonard, San Diego State - Indiana Pacers*
Energy guy goes to a team that can use him - even with Tyler Hansbrough on the team. Will help make the Pacers more intense and bring more passion. Could help them make a move in the East next year.
*Breaking: so much for Leondard's love for Larry Bird. ESPN reports the Pacers have traded Leonard to the Spurs for George HIll. So much for Tony Parker heading out of the Alamo.
6:07 PM - With the 16th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select...
16. Nikola Vucevic, USC - Philadelphia 76ers
Saw him play in person this year. He's tall, not that athletic. He's not super strong. Def a role player. Needs to get more muscular. He's not even at the level of Zaza Pachulia yet.
6:08 PM - The Knicks are on the clock! Will they make their fans happy?
6:11 PM - Lord, Stuart Scott tries to get the crowd more hyped up by questioning how many Knicks fans are really there.. Totally unnecessary.
6:12 PM - With the 17th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the New York Knicks select....
17. Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech - New York Knicks
It's probably a good thing Iman Shumpert isn't in attendance tonight. He might not have loved his reception. Gotta love the current crop of Knicks fans.
6:14 PM - Since Shumpert isn't there, Spike Lee gets the mike and he knows the team's number one need is defense.
6:18 PM - With the 18th pick in the NBA Draft the Washington Wizards select...
18. Chris Singleton, Florida State - Washington Wizards
Anyone remember when Singleton was supposed to crack the top 10 of the draft? The Wiz might have gotten a steal here. Being the ACC Defensive Player of the Year can't hurt a team which didn't play much last year.
6:23 PM - With the 19th pick in the NBA Draft the Charlotte Bobcats select...*
19. Tobias Harris, University of Tennessee - *Bobcats drafted for Milwaukee Bucks
Just 18-years-old, Harris will hopefully not be influenced too much by unruly Stephen "I got traded where?" Jackson.
6:26 PM - With a much quieter hall after all the Knicks fans fled, the conversation segues to Ricky Rubio's chances in the NBA. Van Gundy states the obvious, too much pressure being put on the poor-shooting guard.
6:28 PM - Van Gundy says Tim Duncan is still an "elite defender." Not sure that's the case. He got schooled by the Grizz's big men this year in the playoffs.
With the 20th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select...
20. Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania - Minnesota Timberwolves
Yeah, here's a European no one is excited about. Boy, no major trades. No dramatic drops with someone sitting in the green room while everyone else has left. Yawn.
6:36 PM - And with the 21st pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers select...
21. Nolan Smith, Duke - Portland Trailblazers
Solid, solid, solid. Maybe the Knicks should have taken him?
6:38 PM - Oh! Minor trade! Minor Trade! Yahoo says Brad Miller going from Rockets to TWolves for Johnny Flynn. Everyone was wondering when Flynn would be moved out of Minneapolis and now we know. Well, we'll know once it's officially known.
6:39 PM - Oh! Possible bigger trade! Nuggets and Trailblazers thinking about sending Andre Miller back to the Nuggets and Raymond Felton to the Portland. Not sure Miller will enjoy coming off the bench, but it helps the Nuggets get rid of Felton's contract and Miller has only one more year on his deal. Felton gives Portland a young guard to play with Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and "maybe" Greg Oden.
And with the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select...
22. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State - Denver Nuggets
Newark native and big man Faried walks up on stage. Helped Morehead State in the Tourney. Probably a big role player.
6:49 PM - And with the 23rd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select...
23. Nikola Mirotic, Montenegro - Houston Rockets*
*Looks like this is part of the Brad Miller/Johnny Flynn trade. Plus, he can't get out of his Real Madrid deal for maybe 2-4 years. Just in time to play in Minn when Kevin Love bolts...
With the 24th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select...
24. Reggie Jackson, Boston College - Oklahoma City Thunder
No, not that Reggie Jackson. Boston College guard got a promise from the Thunder? Not much is known about him, but it looks like he'll be teamed with James Harden off the bench.
6:57 PM - The Celtics are on the clock which means HitFix's Dan Fienberg is paying attention wherever he may be. At least they have one of the best coaches in the league.
And with the 25th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select...*
25. Marshon Brooks, Providence - *Boston Celtics selecting for the New Jersey Nets
Brooks going to NJ, but ESPN isn't reporting it yet. Celtics dropping to 27. But he had 52 against Notre Dame, wow. Could he be a diamond in the rough?
And with the 26th pick in the NBA Draft, the NBA Champion (shudder) Dallas Mavericks select...
26. Jordan Hamilton, University of Texas - Dallas Mavericks
Who thought there would be two Texas guys drafted in the first round? Not me, although Jay Bilas says he's an underrated talent. He'll have to get past a lot of guys on the Mavericks' roster to prove it.
Breaking: You won't be in Texas for long Jordan. ESPN's Mark Stein, always good with the Dallas connections, says the Mavericks are trading No. 26 to Portland to acquire Rudy Fernandez, with Portland moving the pick on to Denver in the Miller/Felton deal. So, Hamilton actually going to Denver? Dallas gets Rudy and Portland gets Felton for essentially Rudy and Andre Miller. Is Felton that good? Not so sure, but boy has Fernandez's stock dropped.
27. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, New Jersey Nets drafting for Boston Celtics*
*This is a swap of the 25 and 26th picks.
7:11 PM: OK, it's getting complicated. Bulls giving up this pick to the TWolves. Yet, another pick for the TWolves. Or the Bulls? I'm confused. Twitter and ESPN are conflicting. Who would you believe?
And with the 28th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select...
28. Norris Cole, Cleveland State - Chicago Bulls
We think he's going to Minn, but hey, another guy who can crate his own shot! Just what Minn needs, because frankly, they need everything.
7:18 PM: And with the 29th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select...
29. Cory Joseph, University of Texas - San Antonio Spurs
Yet another Texas guy gets a gig! Who knew?
7:21 PM - "Thank you for that." Stern reacts to the boos as the audience know this will be his last announcement. "I want to thank all of you fans for your enthusiasm." More boos. Stern is smiling.
30. Jimmy Butler, Marquette University - Chicago Bulls
It's a basketball "Blind Side" for Butler according to ESPN. Bilas says he's "terrific" and "versatile." 6'8, can drive it. Can he put the Bulls over the top over the Heat? Eh, but probably a solid pick.
And with that, the 2011 NBA Draft first round is over which means so is our live blog. Sadly, no major trades (as of yet). Lamar Odom, Andre Iguodala, Monte Ellis and Josh Smith are still on the same teams. Let's hope smarter minds prevail and a lockout is prevented. These kids deserve some kind of training camp, no?
What did you all think?