I love the NBA Draft more than any other sport's draft. It moves swiftly, the guys are recognizable and it's rarely watered down.
The 2009 NBA Draft day may not be best remembered for the 60 guys who were actually drafted but for the span of major stars moving in deals. Vince Carter to Orlando? Shaq to Cleveland? Maybe Amare Stoudamire to Golden State? Those deals may amount to more than what actually happened inside Madison Square Garden.
Still, there are things to talk about.
A SUBDUED NIGHT: With Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both dying earlier in the day, the draft had a weirder feel than usual. None of the draftees were around with "Thriller" ran the world and most may remember the gloved one more like "Wacko Jacko" than the "King of Pop". But for the players, coaches, fans and personnel who were old enough to remember when Jackson was on top, this was a very, very sad day.
TIMBERWOLVES GET THE POINT: As I predicted in my mock draft, Ricky Rubio would be available to Minnesota at that No. 5 spot. There was no surprise that he went there, but it was a mild shock that they also grabbed Johnny Flynn. If you were going for a second point guard, why not Stephen Curry? Later on in the first round, they shocked everyone by picking Ty Lawson. The jaws that were dropped found their way back off the mat when it was revealed that Lawson would be heading to the Denver Nuggets.
SPEAKING OF CAROLINA GUYS ... : I'm proud that four UNC Tar Heels were drafted -- three in the first round. I was mildly shocked that the Indiana Pacers selected Tyler Hansbrough. Psycho T will bring his work ethic to the Pacers and won't be relied on to be more than a role player at first. I was extremely shocked when the Wolves took Ty Lawson. Since he's being sent to Denver, I love that opportunity for him. Denver likes the fast pace that Lawson provides. Minnesota did keep Wayne Ellington. Ellington isn't Mike Miller, but since Miller was dealt earlier it opens up a spot for Ellington. And Danny Green takes his jack-of-all-trades game to Cleveland. Happy days!
DAVID STERN IS A PIMP: I know people love to smack on David Stern, but he's the one commish who actually gets it. He knows how to market his league and he knows his place in it. He's like the ringmaster at the circus who loves being the guy who MCs the show. He genuinely seems to really care about these kids' huge moment and wants them to have the best time possible.
BUT HE'S NOT TOO BIG OF A PIMP: Sorry, but I have no respect for anyone that still lives by those NBA conspiracy theories. Has this been a downer couple of months for the NBA marketing team? First they don't get the Kobe-LeBron Finals they craved, they also didn't get Kevin Garnett and lost Yao Ming along the way. Now they watch the overwhelming best player of the draft get stuck with the Clippers, the buzzworthy Ricky Rubio stuck up in Minnesota and Stephen Curry to Golden State and not New York.
RICKY RUBIO: I'm in that camp that thinks Rubio will be an NBA star. But I guess this is the first time I've heard him speak. Dude sounds like a 14-year old kid with a peach fuzz stache and growing pains.
NEW YORK CROWD: I really didn't appreciate the crowd this year. I know that NYC is a tough place, but I think they really made the draft uncomfortable to watch. Stephen Curry's moment was ruined when the crowd booed the pick ... because it wasn't their Knicks picking him. Of course New York picked next and selected Jordan Hill. Hill, I think, will be a nice player and it was messed up that they ruined his moment by booing him. When the Pacers selected Tyler Hansbrough, the crowd chanted "over-rated". More on that in a second.
TYLER HANSBROUGH'S NOT "OVER-RATED": Like I was telling a buddy of mine the other day, what all-time ACC player wouldn't want to trade college careers with Hansbrough? The only name that came to mind was Christian Laettner. Maybe he won't have an All-Star NBA career but he should be a solid player for 12-15 years.
NORTH CAROLINA (THE STATE) DID WELL TOO: The state of North Carolina flexed its hoops muscle on Thursday night. Not only did four UNC players (Hansbrough, Lawson, Ellington and Green) get drafted, but Davidson's Stephen Curry, Duke's Gerald Henderson, Wake Forest's James Johnson and Jeff Teague and VCU guard, Fayetteville native and unabashed Duke hater Eric Maynor.
HENDERSON TO CHARLOTTE: This is just funny. I mean, it's a good pick, but Henderson better pay off! Charlotte is a Carolina blue town and the Bobcats are where Tar Heels go to retire. The managing partner, Michael Jordan, went to UNC. So did head coach Larry Brown and a couple of his assistants. Raymond Felton and Sean May went to UNC. And every single Tar Heel fan out there knows that Henderson was the guy that cheap shotted Hansbrough. You think those practices won't be intense?
THE ACC (AND ROY WILLIAMS) HAD A BIG NIGHT: The ACC cranked out 7 of the 30 first round picks. Roy Williams looked the best as potential recruits sat and watched four of his Heels get drafted. Coach K got the first ACC pick of the night in Henderson. And let's see how Wake Forest keeps going after watching Johnson and Teague go.
NO MORE VITALE: I don't know why ESPN goes on with this charade of Dick Vitale at the NBA Draft. Who cares about his opinion? Yeah, he knows a ton of college basketball stuff, but he doesn't understand what NBA teams are looking for. I lost a lot of respect for him a few years ago when he kept on and on about how J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison were going to be NBA stars and we were all foolish not to think so. Mmmmkay.
THEY MAY AS WELL JUST PICKED FROM A HAT: The weird thing about this draft is that it was deemed very weak. By "weak" it means that there really aren't going to be too many stars from this class and there will be more guys who flame out. So it really seems as if this would have gone better if they just had every team pull a name out of a hat and that was the guy you drafted.
ALLOW TRADES!!!: The NBA puts a gag order of sorts on trades during the draft. So instead of us seeing this trades before the picks, we have to try to sort through the parade of deals that clutter the draft. I mean, who went where for what? The second round looks like stereo instructions with all the deals.