My day at the NBA draft was such an experience that it has convinced me to come back next year. Although cell phone problems have postponed this post I will give you a short running diary about my time in Newark, New Jersey. The experience was not what I was expecting, but having expectations of the draft never pays off.
It started with a fabulous meal in the lower east side of Manhattan at a small joint called Shotsins, the menu is un-comprehendible and intriguing. We enjoyed some nice Mac’ & Cheese burger sliders as well as meals for each of us. When we arrived we noticed the many activities and festivities for young and old NBA fans.
After Boston College’s star Reggie Jackson (whom I wanted for Boston) was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Serge Ibaka could be seen celebrating the selection, my fellow Celtics fans stood up to flaunt our green. Everyone in the balcony booed us, mostly Knicks fans, which led us to make comments about brooms and sweeping. They think the Celtics are going downhill and they are moving up hill.
Danny Ainge drafted Providence star, Marshon Brooks who finished second in the nation in scoring. This seemed like a logical decision because Ray Allen is your oldest player. I actually made predicted this (my friends wanted Jeremy Tyler), but little did we know that the genius GM would move Brooks for a future second.
The Celtics traded Marshon Brooks to New Jersey for the rights of the 27th pick and a 2014 second round selection. They used this pick on JaJuan Johnson, out of Purdue. A four year senior who stands 6’-10”, weighs 220lbs and has a 7’-2” wing-span. Draft Express has projected him as the 9th overall pick. I personally like this selection because I believe that teams competing for titles need to draft polished and mature players over the prospects and upside. This kid averaged 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game his senior year. Even better, JaJuan earned himself Big Ten player of the year and Big Ten defensive player of the year.
In between Celtics’ selections, we decided to move down to the lower sections. After the Knicks first round pick Iman Shumpert (who fans didn’t approve of) the building cleared out. We had no place to be and awesome Anti-Lockout t-shirts, so we decided to grab as much camera, and yelling at Stuart Scott time as we could.
I will catch you up to a few observations that happened until the Celtics’ second round selection at 55 took place. First off, Jay Bilas has a long wing-span. I love using his name and wing-span because I truly believe he invented the word. Adam Silver is much more popular than David Stern is with the fans. David Stern appeared on WFAN right outside of the stadium. Chris Mullen still rocks a flat top. Brandon Jennings came out to play some games and sign some autographs. Jeff Van Gundy might be the people’s choice for ambassador for the league if it ever needs one. Craig Sager actually wore a normal suit and Heather Cox is so lovely.
We thought we made it onto TV because we saw us on the monitors that ESPN crew was looking at after coming back from commercial. Unfortunately after re-watching the Draft (yes we did this) we were cut out. Boston took JaJuan’s teammate, E’Twaun Moore who is another four year college player who has shown steady improvement each year. For whatever reason, General Managers do not like polished players and gamble more for the “upside” and “potential”.
E’Twaun was projected to go in the middle of the second round, a few spot slip from where he was taken. He is a 6’-4” shooting guard, weighing 191lbs with a 6’-10” wing-span. Averaging 18 points with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.2 steals a game, Moore is labeled a winner by Draft Express. He is also fabulous in the pick and roll and an efficient scorer who will have the delight to work with Ray Allen.
Coming into the draft I wanted the Celtics to address youth, which is a given, and I wanted to see depth offensively and on the blocks defensively. I would have liked Jeremy Tyler myself, but finding out he dropped out of high school was a turn off. I believe these two guys will provide plenty of help in camps and I’m anxious to see what they can do with in practice to earn their spots.