Bucks Select Caucasian: World is Right Again
I left off Toni Kukoc, as he was European and didn't count. And I'm happy to announce the addition of Jake Voskuhl to the list. My fingers were crossed that they'd snag Brian Butch with their second round pick.
In any event, the Bucks returned to their roots tonight with the selection of Joe Alexander. I actually think it's a really good pick. We keep hearing about what a great athlete Alexander is - I watched plenty of his games this year, and I think he has a lot more vertical athleticism than lateral. But near the end of the year, he was one of the best players in the country. He carried West Virginia through the Big East tournament and through a couple NCAA tourney games in impressive fashion. It also appears that he plays with a bit of a mean streak, which I'm always a fan of. I specifically remember him making a block during the NCAA tournament and glaring at the guy whose shot he threw.
Of course, I think the Bucks' best work was done earlier in the day, when they traded Yi Jianlian and the corpse of Bobby Simmons to the New Jersey Nets for Richard Jefferson. RJ will give them some athleticism and defense at the small forward position, as well as some decent scoring punch. I had thought getting rid of Simmons' horrible contract would be near impossible, but John Hammond managed not only to pull it off, but get an all-star in return. Those of you who read my draft night meltdown last year may remember that I'm not a fan of Chairman Yi, so I'm not shedding any tears that he's gone.
And there's no chance the Bucks are done dealing. Defensive dead weight like Charlie Villanueva is as good as gone. With the Bucks in desperate need of a pass-first point guard and a guy like Kirk Hinrich out there to be had, it only makes sense that Hammond would make a play there. Sure, they could have drafted a point guard, but guys like Bayless and Gordon are in the Mo Williams mold - and DJ Augustin is a midget.
Other draft night observations:
It was a bad night for Travis Diener. Not only did the Indiana Pacers trade for T.J. Ford to run the point, they traded for Jerryd Bayless to back him up. Diener actually played quite a bit for the Pacers last year, and did a serviceable job when Jamaal Tinsley got hurt. Now it's pretty clear he'll be looking for a new team.
ESPN went on and on and on about how they were setting draft "records" for all the freshmen being taken in the first round. First of all, draft "records" are completely meaningless, so it boggles the mind that they would spend so much time talking about them. Secondly, it's the second year of the requirement that players play in college for a year, so all the players that would have skipped college before are now freshmen. So of course there are going to be more freshmen drafted. ESPN owes me a half hour of my life back.
Can Jay Bilas discuss a draft pick without discussing someone's wingspan? What on God's earth does that have to do with anything? At one point, he tried to talk up Virginia guard Sean Singleton by saying he had a longer wingspan than Allen Iverson. Really? Then he must be a Hall of Famer, too.
The extra attention the Knicks get simply because the draft takes place in New York has got to stop. Yes, we know their fans always boo their pick. Yes, we know the team stinks. But this attitude that somehow New York fans "deserve" a winning team simply because they're in New York is complete nonsense.
How easy is "foreign correspondent" Fran Fraschilla's job? Just plug a player's name into these sentences: "[NAME] is really young, but he's got a lot of raw ability and the [TEAM WHO DRAFTED HIM] are going to be able to stash him away in Europe for a couple years while he gets better." That's pretty much it. For EVERY foreign player. Pretty soon, Europe is going to be the favorite place to hide for seven footers and serial killers.
The person I feel most sorry for tonight? Dominic James. Just think - at about midnight tonight, he could have been celebrating being the first pick in the Developmental League draft.