Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers are preparing for an eventful draft night. If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that the Blazers don't go quietly on draft night.
Not sure where the belle of the ball—GM Kevin Pritchard—is tonight, but it's far far far away from here. You ever see Lawnmower Man? Well that is where Pritchard is right now. He is in a weird digital space, chillaxing with Max Headroom, and avoiding scrubs like myself tugging on his dockers and asking him his thoughts on Kevin Love's jumper.
His jumper sucks and he will be the bust of the draft. But enough on the Beach Boy's nephew, more draft live-blogging after the jump...
Right now the two biggest rumors have the Blazers trading either Steve Blake (no!) or Jarrett Jack (yes!) and a couple picks for token white guy David Lee (woo!) and the Knicks' #6 pick. I like this one a lot, far more than any rumor out there.
4:05 pm - Aw crap, this thing doesn't start until 4:30. Damn you David Stern! In other news, our very own Andrew Tonry has drafted three pieces of pizza already. Thanks for the free chow, Paul Allen.
4:15 pm - There is nothing going on here. I was expecting some excitement. An Oden sighting, Blaze on a segway, just something, but alas, this draft is nothing but Tonry eating heatlamp pizza and me watching ESPN. If the Blazers actually use their 13th pick, it will occur around 5:45 pm. But odds are, they deal it before then.
4:21 pm Word on the street is that Portland has pulled out of the Jarrett Jack + #13 for David Lee trade. Booo.
4:30 pm David Stern has taken the podium. Rose is as good as drafted by Chicago. The guy from the Tribune does not appreciate our brilliant wisecracks. Glares abound.
4:36 pm Since not a damn thing is going on, the media kit has provided us with plenty of entertainment. Darrell Arthur, from Kansas, is nicknamed "Slim Shady." Always great when the black guy has the same nickname as a famous white guy.
4:42 pm Michael Beasley goes second to Miami. No surprises so far.
4:47 pm O.J. Mayo goes to Minnesota. Commence with the Mayo Clinic jokes in 3...2...1...
4:53 pm Oklahoma City, by way of Seattle, drafts Russell Westbrook which is a bit of a surprise. Kevin Love is bummed.
Alright, Tonry here. Ezra is out. Too much excitement for him. He passed out after hyper-ventilating, laughing at one of his own jokes. Blazers medical staff took him to the team's training room, which is right down the hall. More on this story as it develops...
5:01 Lake Oswego homeboy and doughy garbage truck Kevin Love was selected 5th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Perhaps I'm not being fair to the local product, but goddamn, that Jersey-beard he's got inspires nothing but distrust. That look is just straight date-rape.
Injury update: I peaked into the training room. Ezra was bent over, pants down, receiving a cortisone shot in his rear end. I cringed aloud, announcing my presence to the trainer, who quickly shoo'd me out.
5:06 The Knicks choose Italian Danilo Gallinari and the boo's rain down in Madison Square Garden. God... that's all they do in the Big Apple, it seems. Sucks to be a Knicks fan. I was one, once... Boy, it sure seems like a long time ago. Back in the Old Country, Gallinari played for the Armani Jeans, from Milan. I shit you not.
5:12 Eric Gordon is headed to the Clip Joint. Yup--seventh pick headed towards the tar pits. Yawn, who cares. Sorry dude.
5:17 Joe Alexander, who impressed Blazers staff and scouts, is selected by the Bucks. Sounds like an intriguing player...
Ezra is back on his feet, but he's having a hard time keeping them in step and underneath his body. He returned from the training room with a bang, slamming into the press room door frame with all his weight. His strained voice, soupy and euphoric, moans, "yeaahhh BASEBALLLL!" His eyes are deeply glazed. I am afraid.
5:24 Charlotte Bobcats choose Texas point guard D.J. Augustin. Heck of a player, but damn, really, really short. We'll see how it works out.
Oh Jesus! Ezra just warbled into the trash can in the middle of the room, knocking it over, spilling pizza crusts, old notes, popcorn and a tepid cup of chew-spit onto the media room carpet. He's rolling in the trash, legs limp, crawling around on his hands. Oh lord, he's eating the pizza crusts! This is getting ugly. People are trying to work here... I've got to get him out, quickly.
5:31 Creepy identical twin Brooke Lopez, of Stanford, is selected 10th by the New Jersey Nets. I don't know what it is, but those two suckers creep me out. An interview with the other, yet-undrafted twin Robin, is just weird. These two are gross neanderthals with massive egos. Ick.
5:34 Pacers select
Jared Jerryd Bayless, a guard from Arizona. Some people in here are upset. They were hoping against hope that Bayless might drop another two spots to the Blazers. No luck...
Ezra is shouting. "SABONIS! I WANNA SABONIS!" I'm frantically putting the trash back in the can, cleaning up and he's getting worse. "Take me to Paul Allen! I'm going to give him a hug! REBOUND! WALTON! Ruben Patterson for THREE! WHERE'S MY PICNIC?"
5:39 Word in the room here is that Blazers have traded for D.J. Augustin. No Joke. Despite our presence, there are indeed some serious news men here, jockeying with cell-phones, Blackberry's and laptops. No mention yet of the trade on TV, or who Portland may have given up, but we'll keep our ears open.
5:42 Sacramento picked somebody I don't know or care about. It doesn't matter now because the Blazers are on the clock!. Still no word via ESPN regarding any trades. That's right! The Mercury is scooping ESPN!
I rolled Ezra underneath my desk here. He's talking gibberish and gnawing on a slice of rotten pizza. I kick him constantly until he shuts up.
5:46 Portland, with the 13th pick, selects Brandon Rush of Kansas. Hell of a player who helped his team win the NCAA Championship, but it remains to be seen if he'll be here an hour later...
5:52 Lots of motion around here. Other folks are reporting that the Blazers will trade Rush, Jarrett Jack and perhaps also the 27th pick for Jerryd Bayless, the Arizona guard... More as it becomes available.
I'm taking Ezra out into the stands. Hopefully he'll blend in with the fans, or fall asleep. Either way, I've got to get him out of here so I can keep all my focus on this story.
5:57 Disgusting second-half of the Lopez doppelganger, Robin, is headed to the Phoenix Suns. Man, now I'm going to have to watch this guy play. FUCK! Alright, I'm going to slow the news of every pick and focus on what's going on with the Blazers--that is, unless a team makes a particularly interesting pick...
Walking Ezra up into the stands was incredibly difficult. The whole way he was shouting "where's John Canzano!? He's gonna interview ME!" I brought him to the back row, but quickly he tumbled down five rows, all feet and elbows, plowing through families and children. I left him where his momentum did... Heading back to the media room I heard his distinctive, broken yelp: "I found a peanut!!!"
6:13 Still no definitive word on the trade... People in the room think that if Portland sends Rush and Jarret Jack (AKA Dr. Turnover) to Indiana for Jerryd Bayless... Now it's on ESPN. Apparently the kicker is Ike Diogu.
6:17 - Things seem official. A look at the New Blazers:
The Rookie, Jerryd Bayless, from Arizona: Guard.
The (1 year) Vet, Ike Diogu, from Indiana: Forward
Van Gundy calls Diogu "underused," believing he's got a lot more to contribute. For more on Diogu, see his NBA player page.
6:28 - Josh McRoberts also headed to Indiana as part of this trade. It seems the national news is now ahead of this room...
Ezra is nowhere to be found. I returned to where I left him in the stands, but found only a wet-spot. This is for the best... as long as he doesn't end up wandering downhill and onto the Max tracks...
6:42 The Jazz just selected a dude name Kosta Koufus. Yup. Things are slowing down here a bit, but the Blazers' next pick, #33, is still a ways away...
6:52 The mood here has mellowed. It's getting tedious. If they weren't paid for it, and if I didn't know better, I'd almost feel sorry for the rest of the crowd that's gotta camp here for the rest of this damn draft, until the Blazers finally make the 55th selection of the draft. Then there's probably a conference call. But really, this is their job--basically sitting here watching ESPN. Can't complain too much.
It seems, however, that the potential for any more stunning, potentially team-changing news is closing for the day. That said, you never can be sure what Pritchard is cooking up. But something tells me, I'd better go find Ezra...