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2018 NBA Draft Diary

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Dear Diary...

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“It is the longest day of the year.”

That’s how Rece Davis greeted viewers at the start of last night’s NBA Draft. It was a longer day for some people (Michael Porter Jr.; Robert Williams III) than others, including Knick fans like me, for whom draft night is our playoffs. Once Kristaps Porzingis went down with his ACL injury, my focus narrowed to two nights: the lottery (where the Knicks never win) and the draft (where they do okay, generally). It’s felt like an eternity. So many feelings, questions, and complaints. So I kept a real-time draft diary. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours...

7:01

Trae Young’s rocking the LeBron suit sans shorts look, along with loafers that say “Be Different” and no socks. This is the first moment I felt good about Young likely not ending up a Knick. It will not be the last.

7:04

Jay Bilas looks like the Vietnam vet from Seinfeld who works with/frightens Elaine.

7:05

A graphic showing the Bulls, Cavs, Knicks and 76ers is titled “Marquee teams with picks 7-10.” We’re marquee, people!

7:06

Adrian Wojnarowski, who will inexplicably charm many tonight simply by using a thesaurus, pronounces Luka Doncic’s last name “Don-chitch.” I looked it up months ago and got “Don-sick.” Later Bilas calls him “Don-sitch.” Where are we as a nation on pronouncing this?

7:13

Donovan Mitchell, interviewed by Maria Taylor, is wearing a “45” pendant. Isn’t it too early for him to rock his own number? Tell me you’re repping Pedro Martinez and we’re all good, D-Mitch (rhymes with “D-chitch”).

7:18

The cameras show John Calipari and Spike Lee (in full Knick mascot garb) yukking it up.

7:23

There’s a new feature at the draft this year: player introductions. A number of notable prospects emerged on the stage with their parent(s), then slapped five with pre-pubescent mostly white kids. I feel like the point of these intros is it’s all just a sneaky way of getting the correct pronunciation of player names out into the public sphere. Wendell Carter Jr. and fam looking FINE!

Lonnie Walker IV let his dad walk on ahead so he could hold his mother’s hand and help her down the stairs. You just made a fan for life, LW.

7:41

Rece Davis talks about Ayton being from the Bahamas, and how 40 years ago another Bahamian, Mychal Thompson, was drafted first, too. Then Davis starts to tell stories about Ayton, except hello! Noun confusion! I thought he was still talking about Thompson. You know how announcers will get on players for the most basic of errors? Shaqtin’ A Fool type shit? If your job is to M.C. the NBA draft, you shouldn’t be confusing people ‘cuz of laziness transitioning your nouns. This comes up again a minute later, when Maria Taylor, interviewing Ayton after he’s selected, mentions how when he first started playing, coaches and other players called him TFN — “Tall For Nothing.”

“And now it’s come full circle,” she gushes.

If it’d come full circle, that’d mean he’s still TFN. SMH. GTFO, ESPN.

7:46

An ESPN graphic says Marvin Bagley going second to Sacramento makes 5 consecutive drafts where a Duke Blue Devil has been taken in the first three picks.

7:48

Adam Silver calls out Luka “Don-chitch,” with a long o-sound. Our fourth pronunciation of the night! The NBA: Positionless! Grammar-less! Fantastic!

7:51

Doncic looks good in that red Hawks cap. We’ll never see it again, so enjoy it now.

Pick swaps often go wildly one-way. I’m thinking Chris Webber and Penny Hardaway; Ray Allen and Stephon Marbury; Vince Carter and Antwan Jamison; Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo; and last year’s Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz. I got a hunch which team got the better of last night’s deal, but sometimes I remember if I can’t say something nice to say nothing at all. Moving on...

7:53

Doing some quick calculations between how many picks till the Knicks go and which players remaining are the best available and every fiber of my being tells me the Knicks are gonna miss out on my dream guy — Wendell Carter Jr. — by one pick.

7:54

Bobby Marks is kvetching about players being able to pick and choose which teams they share their medical records with, and he and Bilas allude to one fine day when they’ll have to do so with all 30. ‘Cuz God forbid these teenagers enjoy a smidge of agency during the formative years of their career. God spare us anymore grown-ass upper-class men bitching about billionaires being entitled to the personal medical records of unpaid/underpaid teenagers, records that could be used against these players years later in free agency.

As I type that out, multi-multi-multi-multi-multi-multi-millionaire Tom Izzo is rising and smiling as Jaren Jackson Jr. is drafted by Memphis. I love the game of basketball. I hate the industry.

7:57

Chauncey Billups compares Jackson Jr. to Joakim Noah. All the Noah highlights are him in a Bulls’ uniform.

7:58

The first Know The Prospect I wrote this year was Trae Young. The second was going to be Jackson Jr., but my astute editor put the kibosh on that after the lottery, when it was clear the Knicks would never get close to picking him. So I’m taking this opportunity to remind you of Jaren Jackson Sr.’s special moment in Knick history.

8:03

Trae Young is talking. Trae Young sounds like Eddie Haskell.

8:07

Talking about Mo Bamba’s shot blocks, Davis makes a “No soup for you!” reference. I want to ridicule this as being sooo dated, but I included a Seinfeld reference at the top of this piece. Hello, Pot. I’m Kettle.

8:12

Silver announces the Doncic/Young trade 24 minutes after 90% of his viewing audience knew about it. When he came to the podium and said “We have an early trade to announce,” my breath caught in my throat; I thought the Knicks and Bulls made a deal. Can the NBA get on-board with the fact that while we know trades need time to become “official,” it’s stupid to have the commissioner declaring shit by the time it’s old news?

Then, of course — OF COURSE — the Bulls chose Carter.

Gimme a second, please.

A few seconds.

Maybe a minute, actually.

THE NEXT TIME THE KNICKS HAVE REASON TO TANK, I WILL, AT SOME POINT DURING THE SEASON, WRITE A RECAP CELEBRATING A WIN AND POKING FUN AT THE PRO-TANK CROWD.

ATTN: PRO-TANK CROWD: FEEL FREE TO WAVE WENDELL CARTER JR. IN MY FACE ANY- AND EVERY TIME PEOPLE LIKE ME VALUE LOST-SEASON VICTORIES OVER PING PONG BALLS.

8:15

Taylor, interviewing Carter Jr., mentions that his father played pro ball in Puerto Rico. Truth is, he played in the Dominican Republic.

PUERTO RICO AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ARE DIFFERENT PLACES. PUERTO RICANS AND DOMINICANS ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

8:18

Cleveland selects Collin Sexton.

In high school, or shortly after, a kid in my grade died. I don’t even remember who it was anymore. What I do remember was this girl from school who went to the funeral and made such a spectacle out of her mourning it was all anyone could talk about after. She wasn’t even really friends with the deceased, yet she was so over-the-top it was gross. I thought of her while watching Avery Johnson, Sexton’s college coach, hugging Sexton’s mom and looking like he was the one whose offspring had just achieved their lifelong dream.

Later in the night, the Spurs will select Lonnie Walker IV and Taylor will interview him and, for some reason, David Robinson, who retired 15 years ago. That’s three Spurs from the ‘99 team that beat the Knicks. Can it, ESPN.

8:22

ESPN devotes camera time to the same idiot father-and-son who panned the Porzingis pick in 2015.

Billups says of the Knicks: “One thing I tell you I like about the Knicks...their front office. Great position with Steve Mills. Scott Perry.”

What low-down demon from the depths of Hades did Mills make a deal with to erase all his earlier failures with this organization from the world’s memory?

8:24

Silver, looking somewhat surprised, announces the Knicks select Kevin Knox.

My nothing feels okay. I just honestly have zero feel for Knox one way or the other. So I’ma just let it all unfold before me.

Ron Baker tweeted his congrats to Knox, only he mistakenly tweeted a Kevin Knox who coaches wrestling in North Carolina. Shooters shoot.

8:30

The cameras find Mikal Bridges drinking a cup of water and smiling and he’s so hot and checks so many boxes for what the Knicks need I will never be OK with New York passing on him.

Never.

Bridges is taken with the next pick by Philadelphia. He chokes up during the interview with Taylor about getting to play for his hometown team, the one his mother works for. His mother is so happy that her son is achieving his dream and will now be working in the same building she does. It’s a legit touching human moment. Hold that thought.

8:33

For the second time tonight, Taylor, talking to Bridges and his mom, misuses “full circle.”

8:38

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: your sartorial MVP.

ESPN

8:45

Watching the Miles Bridges highlights, I saw him lay in a rebound and thought of Clarence Weatherspoon. Then I saw him throw down vicious dunks without needing any runway space to take off and thought of Charles Barkley. Please, God: don’t let Michael Jordan have lucked into drafting Charles Barkley.

8:46

Bridges, interviewed by Taylor about his achievement, says he “gives all grace to [Coach Izzo]. God. Everybody.” I, for one, am glad somebody has finally acknowledged my contributions as a fan. Take a bow, everybody!

8:50

Jerome Robinson has been drafted. Michael Porter Jr. has not. Never forget: nobody knows anything.

8:56

While the analysts discuss Porter’s free-fall, the camera finds him. Almost immediately, the audio begins to scramble and fail. Did teams shy away from this dude because he’s legit cursed?

9:00

Billups compares Porter to a young Kevin Durant. I thought Rece Davis said “Boy, you just had to really give it to those four fans in Seattle by showing KD in a Seattle uniform.” Upon rewinding, I hear he said “poor,” not “four.” Still: let us never rest on this sort of thing. Don’t ever let the NBA or its broadcast partners turn how they screwed Seattle out of its team into a joke.

9:14

Woj announces the 76ers have traded Mikal Bridges to the Suns for Zhaire Smith and a future first-round pick. Remember Bridges & his mom interviewed after Philadelphia selected him? Remember how overjoyed both were? Remember Marks and Bilas whining about players withholding medical records from certain teams at the start of the broadcast?

9:44

There’s a John Starks commercial. THERE’S A JOHN STARKS COMMERCIAL?!?

9:49

I hated Shane Battier and J.J. Reddick in college, but I liked/like them as pros. Am I destined to someday support Grayson Allen? No. Grayson Allen non-stop smiling throughout his interview is literally the face of white privilege.

10:27

The Celtics, picking 27, get Robert Williams III, projected by many as a late-lottery hopeful.

11:00ish

The Knicks select Mitchell Robinson.

Hope you had fun last night, fam. Head nod. Fade out.