NBA Draft Recap

THE NBA DRAFT - NOW THAT IT'S IN THE BOOKS, WE DELIVER OUR FIRST-ROUND PICK-BY-PICK ANALYSES (PLUS TELL YOU WHO REALLY WERE THE SECOND-ROUND "STEALS")

By Jim Hurley:

Gee ... Thursday night TV used to mean Seinfeld and ER and The Office.

Last night everyone watching on ESPN received a full dose of something we'll call The Kentucky Kids.

Not only did the University of Kentucky Wildcats have their first-ever #1 draft pick in point guard John Wall - yes, he's off to the nation's capital to try and fix the Washington Wizards - but they wound up with a school-record five players drafted in Round One and all that really meant in terms of television is that we all watched a whole lot of UK head coach John Calipari.

Whether you wanted to see him or not!

While the Kentucky draftees were the major headline on this NBA Draft 2010 night, the real theme for the evening was money - what else! - as several teams scrambled to stay way under the salary cap so that they soon might be able to sign free-agents LeBron James (Cleveland), Dwyane Wade (Miami), Chris Bosh (Toronto), Joe Johnson (Atlanta) and/or others.

So, there were kids galore getting drafted in Round One and foreign players galore getting tabbed in Round Two - again, what's new there? - but you also had to read between the lines on a batch of picks to find out what teams really had in mind.

We'll get into all of that shortly while providing Pick-by-Pick Analyses of all the First-Round Selections and we'll weigh in on the key Second-Round Picks too but first this important message:

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Now, let's get back to the NBA Draft:

NBA DRAFT - ROUND 1:
Note that we had 24 of the 30 first-round draftees in our Jim Sez Mock Draft.

  1. WASHINGTON - JOHN WALL, G, KENTUCKY: The worst-kept secret in America was that the Wizards were taking this fire-ball freshman. Okay, he won't be a Kwame Brown-like bust but we won't anoint him as a great pro until he makes everyone around him better in both a full-court and half-court attack.
  2. PHILADELPHIA - EVAN TURNER, G, OHIO STATE: Here's a guy with ball-handling skills and the guts of a burglar when it comes to taking clutch shots but we only wonder if he'll be thick-skinned when hard-to-please Sixers fans start booing.
  3. NEW JERSEY - DERRICK FAVORS, PF, GEORGIA TECH: The Nets believe he will be a nifty complement to C Brook Lopez but woe-be-gone Nets better expect only baby steps early on.
  4. MINNESOTA - WESLEY JOHNSON, SF, SYRACUSE: Is it us or do the Timberwolves get, like, 10 picks a draft round? Silky-smooth Big East star is all excited that he'll play with Jonny Flynn but they never did play together at the 'Cuse and so what's the big deal there?
  5. SACRAMENTO - DEMARCUS COUSINS, PF/C, KENTUCKY: Okay, so our mock draft had these #4 and #5 picks flip-flopped and we'll stick to our Jim Sez guns and say Johnson would have been a better fit here with PG Tyreke Evans while Cousins was really just what they needed in the Twin Cities.
  6. GOLDEN STATE - EKPE UDOH, PF, BAYLOR: Didn't think this defensive stud would go inside the top 10 picks but his NCAA Tournament run really knocked everyone's socks off and Warriors simply liked his athleticism better than Kansas' Cole Aldrich.
  7. DETROIT - GREG MONROE, F/C, GEORGETOWN: Nailed this one on the head as Pistons had to have a big man who could score and Motowners never wavered even though there was some talk of trading down for multiple picks.
  8. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - AL-FAROUQ AMINU, F, WAKE FOREST: We'll take half-credit here as had WF Demon Deacon stud going this pick but had forecasted a trade with Toronto taking 'em (hey, nobody's perfect!) ... just hope this kid loses those oversized eyeglasses before rookie camp starts.
  9. UTAH -GORDON HAYWARD, SF, BUTLER: No doubt that the Jazz really helped to ruin Indiana's night as Pacers were dead-set on taking NCAA Tournament superstar/local hero with the next pick. Forget the criticism that this was a "reach" as Hayward's gonna score on the next level ... trust us.
  10. INDIANA - PAUL GEORGE, SF, FRESNO STATE: Now, here's a reach! The Pacers needed a point guard or some size up front but instead took another soft scorer (see Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy) and they'll live to regret this choice when they could have had either Aldrich or Kentucky's Patrick Patterson.
  11. OKLAHOMA CITY - COLE ALDRICH, C, KANSAS: The draft board will show that New Orleans made this selection but he'll be moved to Thunder once trade details go through in early July and more size is just what Okie City needs if it's gonna beat the Lakers out West.
  12. MEMPHIS -- XAVIER HENRY, SG, KANSAS: Another Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk getting tabbed here and this kid figures to shove free agent Rudy Gay right out the door. Gut feeling is Henry will be one of the NBA's best three-point shooters within two years.
  13. TORONTO - ED DAVIS, PF, NORTH CAROLINA: Broken wrist made him miss final nine games of woeful 2009-10 season for the Tar Heels and count us among the folks who doubt he'll last an entire 82-game NBA regular season next year. Would have liked North-of-the-Border crew here to have taken a defensive stopper (like Marshall C Hassan Whiteside).
  14. HOUSTON - PATRICK PATTERSON, PF, KENTUCKY: The only 'Cat that played more than a single season in Lexington and his maturity will help but something tells us the Rockets should have looked at a better athlete here with this end-of-the-lottery pick.
  15. MILWAUKEE - LARRY SANDERS, PF, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH: Our Jim Sez Mock Draft had him going with opening round's final pick but he jumped up the board thanks to his quick feet and defensive hunger.
  16. PORTLAND - LUKE BABBITT, PF, NEVADA: Hate to jump a kid here but didn't like this guy's cocky attitude on draft night (lose the chewing gum, Luke) and declaring to the world that he'll be the best shooter in this draft just adds pressure to his rookie season. Babbitt was drafted by Minnesota but traded to Portland faster than you can say Greg Oden.
  17. WASHINGTON - KEVIN SERAPHIN, PF, FRANCE: The Bulls picked this 6-foot-9 defensive whiz but sent 'em to D.C. along with veteran guard Kirk Hinrich for a future second-round pick (yes, the salary cap in play here for Chicago) but word is this European won't play in the NBA till 2011-12.
  18. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - ERIC BLEDSOE, PG, KENTUCKY: The always-busy-on-this-night Okie City Thunder actually made this pick but shipped this former Wildcat out West where things are looking up what with Aminu and last year's top draftee Blake Griffin (remember him?).
  19. BOSTON - AVERY BRADLEY, SG, TEXAS: The Celtics tried their hardest to deal out of Round One and yet found no takers and here's "protection" in case Ray Allen heads out of The Hub this summertime.
  20. SAN ANTONIO - JAMES ANDERSON, SG, OKLAHOMA STATE: No question this scoring star slipped a few pegs (we had 'em going to Milwaukee at #15) and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas agreed and said this former Cowboy marksman might be the best player picked post-lottery.
  21. NEW ORLEANS - CRAIG BRACKINS, PF, IOWA STATE: The Hornets get this fast-riser via a deal with Oklahoma City but we don't think this kid was even first-round material as he's a rough-around-the-edges type player.
  22. PORTLAND - ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, SG, MEMPHIS: Nice of Blazers' owner Paul Allen to axe GM Kevin Pritchard on the day of the draft (he did let 'em make the picks on this night).
  23. WASHINGTON - TREVOR BOOKER, PF, CLEMSON: Believe it or not, was the first senior drafted as Minnesota plucked 'em and then dealt him to the Wizards but don't expect him to be on the receiving end of many Wall fast-break passes.
  24. NEW JERSEY - DAMION JAMES, SF, TEXAS: The Nets picked up this versatile player in trade with Atlanta and, don't look now, but NJ's already more athletic than their across-the-river rivals from New York.
  25. DALLAS - DOMINIQUE JONES, SG, SOUTH FLORIDA: The Mavericks were one of a choice few teams that wanted "in" on a first-rounder and so they swing a deal with Memphis who actually drafted this former USF Bulls star. Hey, Mark Cuban, for once you made a good deal!
  26. NEW ORLEANS - QUINCY PONDEXTER, SF, WASHINGTON: The Hornets grabbed him in aforementioned deal with Oklahoma City but Brackins/Pondexter tandem in Round One doesn't exactly have Western Conference foes quaking in their high tops.
  27. ATLANTA - JORDAN CRAWFORD, SG, XAVIER: This former Musketeer shooting star went to the Hawks after New Jersey drafted 'em and so maybe the folks in Hot-lanta won't be missing Mr. Johnson after all!
  28. MEMPHIS - GREIVIS VASQUEZ, PG, MARYLAND: We didn't have the former Terrapins star getting picked in the first round but we're sure glad he did go in Round One after that emotional outburst greeting Commissioner David Stern's announcement. Know what? The Grizzlies (40-42 last year) might just be a 50-win team in 2010-11.
  29. ORLANDO - DANIEL ORTON, PF, KENTUCKY: Maybe the Magic wanted Dwight Howard to know they "had his back" if things get physical next year as burly Orton can play rough/tough but what happened to those Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech) rumors that we bit hook, line and sinker?
  30. MINNESOTA - LAZAR HAYWARD, SF, MARQUETTE: What would the end of Round I be without another trade as Washington made this pick but shipped it out and T-Wolves get a player that is your proverbial jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none.     

Editor's Note: In the next edition of Jim Sez tomorrow, we'll touch on the so-called "Winners" and "Losers" of this year's NBA Draft ... so don't miss out!

And we haven't forgotten baseball! Interleague play hits its final weekend with a slew of quality grudge games. Click here to learn more about the big winners we have planned tonight!

THE SECOND-ROUND STEALS

The ESPN salary cap-ologists were quick to remind us that NBA Second-Round Draft Picks don't count against a team's salary cap and so that's one reason why many of this foreign-born players get "stashed away" until the team has the need - and the money - to play them.

Still, while making sure your team has the money to chase after one of the high-profile free agents beginning July 1st, the name of the game still is to win and so here's to a few teams that made excellent here-and-now Second-Round "steals":

MILWAUKEE - Darington Hobson, SF, New Mexico: The Bucks snatched up this former Lobos star right before the New York Knicks were all set to make him one of their two second-round picks. Hobson - nabbed 37th overall - is more athletic than the aforementioned Bilas gave him credit for and can be a major finisher on the fast break should Milwaukee cut it loose more.

INDIANA - Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati: Maybe we're biased 'cause we had this former New York City schoolboy star going in Round One but fact of the matter is he passes the ball well and sees the floor better than many veteran college kids (he's a one-and-done guy) and could give the downtrodden Pacers a real shot of energy. The 40th player picked in the NBA Draft might one of being one of the 10-best rookies next season.

PHOENIX - Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech: We touched on this bruiser above and no doubt he was first-round material that last all the way till the 46th pick. Heck, just the fact that he played nightly in the ACC makes him more polished than most of the players picked on Draft Night.

NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez Weekend Sports Potpourri in tomorrow's column.

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