We all knew the guy on the left was going first overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, but not many people had any idea what was going to shake out after that. Keep reading for my first round report from Madison Square Garden. I cover everything from who the crowd likes to which player has the best suit to how many times I run to the snack room to get free cookies.
6:56: Hello from MSG! Well, kind of. It is packed in here. So packed, that they've sent about half of the press back to the media room. I'll try sneaking back in a little later, but for now, I'm going to be reporting from the Madison Square Garden press room instead of down on the floor.
7:00: Bad news: I won't get early crowd reactions and signs. Good news: I have unlimited and immediate access to press room pretzels!
7:03: More good news, I'm right next to the where the press conferences take place, so I'll be hearing the first words each of these first-rounders say as official NBA players. I'll report the best quotes all night.
7:18: All the talk floating around the draft right now is about how the Bulls cleared more cap space and what that means about LeBron. Can't we talk about the guys about to be drafted? At least on DRAFT NIGHT?! We'll get back to LeBron tomorrow...and for the rest of the summer. Tonight should be about these youngsters.
7:30: Word just came out that the Blazers fired their GM, Kevin Pritchard. On draft night? OUCH. And according to Portland's local paper, The Oregonian, they're making him conduct the draft on his last day on the job. DOUBLE OUCH! If I were him, I'd make a bunch of bad picks on purpose.
7:37: And John Wall goes to the Wizards. It's what we all expected. Congrats, John! Now comes the hard part...playing for the Wizards. What do you guys expect out of John Wall? Rookie of the Year? Solid numbers? Bad season? Let me know in the comments.
7:42: Turner goes two. Everything's unfolding as expected so far. I love Turner's game. He's like a Swiss Army knife. He can do anything. Only issue I see here is how he fits in with all the other versatile players in Philadelphia. He's a little too similar to the other players on that roster.
7:57: John Wall just waded his way through a giant sea of reporters to get to the interview podium. The crush of cameramen almost ran me over. Wall said being drafted number one overall was an emotional moment and that when he saw his mom with tears in her eyes, it brought tears to his eyes on stage. He also said he invited the President to play H.O.R.S.E., but he got turned down. That invitation may come again now that Wall will be living in Washington.
While I was sitting with Wall, Derrick Favors went to the Nets, Wesley Johnson went to the T-Wolves and DMarcus Cousins just went to the Kings. Cousins is a real wild-card, with an emphasis on "wild." He could be anything from an All-Star to a D-League roster cut.
8:05: I've seen Cousins wearing glasses all week leading up to the Draft. Now he doesn't wear them on the big stage? I'm devestated. I thought he was going to help me bring back the glasses look. Now that he's with the Kings, maybe he can get a pair of purple glasses to match my green ones?
8:08: Wes Johnson was stuck in the media room waiting to do his press conference and he's the early leader for best suit. He had red, blue and green plaid pants that looked like they were made from a Scottish quilt and a double-breasted jacket. I don't think anyone can top that, but we'll see.
8:17: Johnson also wins biggest smile so far. He was grinning from ear to ear every time he answered a question.
8:18: So while I was running around the Warriors drafted Udoh, Pistons went with Monroe, Clippers grabbed Al-Farouq Aminu. And Aminu's wearing glasses! Glasses are coming back! Trust me! Go get a pair now!
8:25: WOW! Gordon Hayward is the first surprise for me so far. I did not see that coming. Congrats to Heyward, who's dream year continues. He brings Butler within one missed buzzer beater of a national title and now he's a top ten NBA Draft pick. Even better, he is coming to a very good team (the Utah Jazz) who did not belong in the top ten this year, but got their pick from a trade.
8:32: And the Pacers take someone with two first names: Paul George. It's early, but we're already starting to see teams making picks based on potential.
8:35: And the Hornets go with Kansas center Cole Aldrich. Aldrich may not be a superstar in this league, but I can see him becoming a solid contributor as a legit big man for the next ten years.
8:40: My favorite quote so far comes from number two pick Evan Turner. When asked what he'd do if he wasn't a basketball player, Turner responded, "I want to learn how to play acoustic guitar and go on a world tour."
8:44: And Xavier Henry goes to the Grizzlies, making it back-to-back Kansas Jayhawks taken here at the end of the lottery. Also, I hope you got a good look at Aldrich in his Hornets hat because he might not be wearing it much longer. Word is, Aldrich is probably heading to Oklahoma City in a trade.
8:52: Ed Davis from North Carolina to the Raptors. Chris Bosh is one of the prime free agents available this summer, does this pick signal that the Raptors are parting with Bosh? Either way, it's hard to tell from Bosh, who just Tweeted "Just woke up." Uh...thanks for joining us Chris.
8:56: And the Rockets close out the lottery with another University of Kentucky product, Patrick Patterson, the third UK pick in the top 14 picks. I sure hope Coach Calipari is recruiting well, because he will have a lot of holes to fill next year.
9:03: Bucks grab a project, Larry Sanders, with the first post-Lottery pick. On my way to grab my third bag of pretzels I ran into Ed Davis and Patrick Patterson. I've never felt so short. (For those of you scoring at home, it's my second bag of pretzels, to go with one bag of chips. I'm aiming for six bags total before the end of the first round. Wish me luck.)
9:07: Minnesota grabs the final player left in the green room, Nevada's Luke Babbitt. Phew. I always feel bad for the last guy sitting in the green room. It must get lonely in there, especially with rowdy Knick fans screaming all sorts of crazy stuff at you.
9:10: And my team is on the clock! And they pick...Kevin Seraphin? Huh? Oh well, keep in mind that it's very likely that this guy will be heading to the Wizards in a trade to help clear more cap space for Chicago. What a bummer: The one pick for my squad and it doesn't even matter. There's always next year...although I hope my team doesn't need a draft pick in 2011 because we'll be celebrating a championship. (I can dream, can't I?)
9:15: Update from Duane from New Jersey, with his thoughts on the Nets' drafting Derrick Favors: "That was the pick they needed to make. They can't count on a free agent signing to a team that won 10+ games. And he's got the best coach to teach good habits. Also, Professor Ulane is the coolest person in the universe." (He may or may not have said that last sentence...)
9:19: More fun facts: At least one son of a former NBA player has been selected in the last eight NBA drafts. Ed Davis was this year's NBA offspring. Also, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are the fifth pair of teammates selected in the top five since 2002.
9:32: I just returned from the floor. The Theater is still about half-full, but the place is starting to empty out a little. Two Spurs fans were walking out dejectedly after San Antonio picked Oklahoma State guard James Anderson. The ESPN crew is even losing interest, as I saw Mark Jones checking his Blackerberry between picks.
9:38: So it's been three guards and a forward while I was gone. Avery Bradley to the Celtics, then Anderson to the Spurs, Craig Brackins to the Thunder and Elliot Williams to the Blazers.
9:40: And we have a four-year senior!!!! Trevor Booker from Clemson goes to the T-Wolves. I wouldn't be surprised if Booker shows some flashes in the league immediately. While NBA teams pride themselves on finding youthful projects, they also have a much better success rate with four-year players.
9:45: Let me get this straight, it takes us 23 picks to get to a senior player, and then we get two in a row? I give up on trying to understand these NBA GMs. Damion James is a big guard, so as long as he commits himself to the defensive end, he should land some playing time in Atlanta.
9:51: And the Grizzlies take Dominique Jones. Sleeper alert! Everyone loves this guy and he should be able to crack the guard rotation in Memphis.
9:55: The Thunder and Trail Blazers are trade-happy as usual. All of the movement is making my head spin. We'll have a more complete breakdown tomorrow. Meanwhile, OKC just picked another solid player in Quincy Pondexter, one of those guys who might've flown under the radar because he was out West playing in the PAC-10.
10:01: Remember all those nice things I said about Damion James? Well, transfer them to the Nets, because James is heading to New Jersey in exchange for Jordan Crawford. You may remember Crawford as the guy who made a huge splash last year for dunking on LeBron James in a summer pick-up game.
10:07: Greivis! There's nothing more enjoyable than watching a dude jump out of the stands to shake the commissioner's hand. It's even better when it's someone who's as exciteable as Greivis Vasquez. And it's even better when he has a crazy family who loves to scream and shout and celebrate. Congratulations to the Vasquez family and good luck Greivis!
10:12: And we have history! Kentucky's Daniel Orton makes it five UK players selected in the first round of the draft, the first time five players from the same college team have been selected in the first round EVER. How did a team with this much talent not win the NCAA title this year?
10:18: And the same team that started off the night closes out the first round as the Wizards take Lazar Hayward out of Marquette. I'm guessing their first pick is going to have a slightly bigger impact on Washington next year.
And with that, I'm off to get one last bag of pretzels for the ride home. It was a great draft with a lof of talented young guys and 2010 should be an exciting season. Look forward to plenty more analysis in the next couple of days about the 2010 NBA Draft on SIKIDS.com!