Storm-addled Seattle will Ride the Westbrook Lightning; Frigid Minnesota doesn’t find Love Abominable; and Lager-wacky Milwaukee uses Draft to Tap Mbah a Moute to put the “oom pa pa” back into America’s Polka & Pilsner Town
YouTube is one hell of an Agent.
A few years ago, Russell Westbrook was a virtual unknown. Then he came to UCLA, became the best Defensive Guard in the Country, and completed a few acrobatic dunks. The Defense was appreciated by the experts, but the Dunks were appreciated by millions of fans Worldwide, and made him a household name.
Starting the Season as a non-Starting SIXTH Man, Westbrook made it so that it would have been a travesty to start a game with him on the bench. Playing lock-down Defense for a Defensive Coach on a Defensive-minded Team, Westbrook excelled. And when he got an opportunity to posterize a defender, he usually took advantage of it.
On one such play against Cal, Westbrook became an ESPN darling. It was the Play of the Day, and quickly became a YouTube sensation. So, the question is, do NBA General Managers give a flying f*** about YouTube? Who cares about the highlight reel? It’s WINNING that sells tickets. Well, yes and no. The GM’s are not just in the Sports Business, they are in the Entertainment business as well, and nothing entertains Basketball fans more than a Guard throwing down a Soaring Tomahawk Dunk.
Especially in a market like Seattle, where they are not expectant of NBA Titles, it is important to provide high-flying, free-wheeling ENTERTAINING Offensive Basketball. So maybe that explains how UCLA’s Russell Westbrook became the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Seattle wanted someone who would generate some instant excitement in their young and thriving community, and someone who will sell some tickets.
This is NOT to discount their obvious appreciation of his REAL Basketball talents, like Defense, and his potential as a Point Guard, feeding the ball to 2007 Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant for several years to come.
Westbrook, who led the Pac-10 in Assists while filling in for the injured Darren Collison at the Bruin Point, might have another very solid Bruin Mentor — As of now, Earl Watson is still on the Seattle Roster. Their plans are not certain — Watson could be Westbrook’s Mentor and part-time Backcourt-mate, or Westbrook could be Watson’s permanent and full-time replacement, sending Watson to the next phase of his career, which could probably be Coaching.
Immediately after Seattle’s selection of Westbrook, the Memphis Grizzlies took Kevin Love with the #5 pick. But later on in the evening, they pulled off an 8-player deal with Minnesota. The Timberwolves had drafted O.J. Mayo with the #3 pick, but perhaps Mayo refused to play in such a cold climate, and demanded a trade. For one reason or another, the T-Wolves dumped the #3 pick, in favor of the #5 pick, Kevin Love.
So, not that it matters much, but Mayo is now on the Memphis Grizzlies, and Love is on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mayo is probably happy to be in out of the cold, but he is probably pretty disappointed in being in a small Media market, and playing for a SECOND STRAIGHT team with NO History of Success, or Winning Tradition whatsoever.
And with the recent decision-making that they have exhibited, they aren’t about to start carving a new Tradition of non-mediocrity any time soon. Remember — This is the team that not only just gave up the ultra-disciplined Kevin Love for the alleged Pot-smoking, illegal money-snathching O.J. Mayo, but also gave up Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown.
And for those of you who thought Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was certifiable to try to get drafted, well, it looks like he’s going to make the Big Bucks after all, by being a Big Buck. The Milwaukee Bucks took a chance on the Cameroonian Bruin Forward early in the Second Round, making him the 37th Overall pick. This selection shocked many observers who felt that Luc would be passed over completely, due to his lack of shooting and ball-handling abilities. But apparently, the Bucks must have a pressing need for Defense and Rebounding, which no one doubts Luc can supply. Either that, or they just wanted to add another Bruin to Dan Gadzuric, in order to re-capture the Glory of when they had Lucius Allen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Incidentally, the LAST TIME the Bruins had TWO Top Five Draft Picks, it was Kareem at 1, and Lucius at 3.
Just a guess: If Darren Collison and Josh Shipp had kept their names in the Draft, the Bruins would have had at least 4 if not 5 guys drafted in the Two-Round Draft. 2007 National Champion Kansas actually DID have 5 guys drafted yesterday, but only UCLA had two Players in the illustrious Top Five.
The Draft is logically set up so that the weakest teams draft first, but with the Lottery, Trades, and Free Agency all playing a role, good, solid Playoff teams often pick up one of the top new entrants. That’s why it’s notable that NONE of the 4 local Draftees made it on to a Playoff Team. Seattle, Minnesota, Memphis, and Milwaukee might not make the Post-season next year either, even with their new additions. Then again, who the Hell was NEW ORLEANS before this year? And what about the Fresno State Baseball Champs? Anything can happen — STAN Love could be the abominable one, and Minnesota could decide to trade KEVIN Love out of town… to Boston, like T-Wolves’ GM KEVIN McHale did with KEVIN Garnett a year ago… and then the Grizzlies would trade Mayo to the Lakers, to keep the NBA’s Dream Finals Match-up intact.
There is ONE local Draft Hopeful who did NOT get stuck on a lousy team, and that is Davon Jefferson. The ex-trojan whom no one thought was ready for the NBA — on the court or off — did not get drafted by a bad team — In fact, he did not get drafted by ANY team. Before you hardcore trojan-haters start celebrating with glee over Jefferson’s apparent boneheaded decision to bolt early for no reason, keep in mind — Depending on how exactly the “rights” work, Davon could possibly sign a Free Agent contract with someone, or make good money playing in Europe or in the Developmental League?
But if you like to kick a guy while he’s down, or whip a dead horse, and you want a good laugh at Davon’s expense, try this: When there were just 10 picks left and Davon’s name was surfacing on the “Best Available” lists, the guy came up to tell America the next pick, and he announced Davon’s name… only it was a different “Davon.” It was DeVon Hardin, from Cal! And the announcer sort of stumbled over the “DeVon,” and quietly mumbled “heeerding” instead of popping the “Hardin.” So — Do you think Jefferson started celebrating prematurely? You know, trojan-style? You think any Song Girls cheered?
The local NBA Teams took solid NCAA Stars this year, with the Clips snagging the very-impressive Freshman Guard Eric Gordon from Indiana and Center DeAndre Jordan from Texas A&M, while the Lakers used their only pick, #58 overall, on Joe Crawford, a Guard from Kentucky. How does this impact UCLA? Well, Jordan Farmar doesn’t need any more competition at Guard, especially when Phil Jackson might continue to use Farmar and Derek Fisher simultaneously, like he did in the Finals. Hopefully, Crawford and his certified scoring ability will lead to NOT less playing time for Farmar, but more Assists.