Last year’s draft was all about a shallow pool of players, international picks and Kentucky. This year, Kentucky was still a factor, but that was the only similarity. The draft is always fun to watch, but this year seemed a little uneventful.
The themes of the first round last night were North Carolina, Kentucky and gingham. That’s right, gingham. Overall, the suits were disappointingly muted, with the only semi-oddball being Terrence Ross from Washington in his green bow tie (see below). But a huge number of next year’s NBA rookies were wearing some form of gingham.
The night began with a video of the top picks climbing up a ladder in their suits, I guess that’s supposed to be inspiring? David Stern then emerged from backstage (what’s back there anyway?), and was promptly booed, as per usual.
No surprise to anyone: Anthony Davis and his now trademarked unibrow were picked first by the New Orleans Hornets. As Davis headed to the stage, our commentators Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy, Chris Broussard and Rece Davis spent a moment to discuss how big men No. 1 picks have had trouble in the league due to injuries, citing Yao Ming and Greg Oden.
Davis is the first No. 1 pick since Kareem Abdul Jabbar to also be the AP National Player of the Year and play for the National Championship team. Along with his eyebrow, Davis sported a striped shirt and – you guessed it – a gingham tie.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrest from Kentucky goes No. 2 to the Charlotte Bobcats. This is the first time any school has gone one and two in the draft, and the first time the first two players sported a form of gingham.
At No. 3, we’ve got Bradley Beal from Florida to the Washington Bullets – er, Wizards. He is the third freshman in a row to be drafted, which is another first. Beal also marks the third pick in a row from the SEC. It’s Beal’s 19th birthday today, and I can’t think of a better present than being drafted.
Cleveland breaks the SEC trend and picks Dion Waiters of Syracuse fourth. Waiters didn’t start one game this year, and he’s going fourth in the draft. Not too shabby. Waiters bucked the gingham trend in exchange for smooth, peach tie.
As we go to commercial, Kentucky coach John Calipari is overheard telling his guys what to do when drafted: hug mom, then dad, then coach. That way, Calipari says he can turn the guys around and get his face on camera. Hilarious-
Thomas Robinson from Kansas is picked fifth by the Sacramento Kings, and as soon as his name is called we know there will be tears. Robinson’s sad story was often covered during the NCAA Tourney (he lost his grandmother, grandfather and his mother in a short span of time). Surprisingly, his 9-year-old sister Jayla, who he will adopt, has never seen him cry. I’ve seen him cry (not that there is anything wrong with that!), so not sure where she has been. Jayla is excited to learn that Sacramento is close to Disneyland.
Our first guy from a mid-major is Damian Lillard of Weber State. He goes 6th to Portland. Lillard is the first guy drafted from the Big Sky since 2007, and the highest for Weber State.
Lucky No. 7 pick is Harrison Barnes from UNC. His interview and the commentary is all about how he didn’t live up to expectations in college. I’m sure he’ll love to watch tape of that when he gets home.
Finally, someone took a wardrobe risk, as No. 8 pick Terrance Ross took the stage with the aforementioned green bowtie. The shirt was the standard gingham pattern, but at least the tie was something different, even if it was askew. The former Washington Husky will play for Toronto.
Andre Drummond is bawling before his name is even called, but maybe he had inside info. This Husky – from Connecticut though – went 9th to the Pistons.
Rounding out the top 10 is Austin Rivers of Duke, who will play for the New Orleans Hornets. Dad Doc Rivers, coach of the Boston Celtics, promptly hands the complementary Hornets hat over to his wifey. Lots of talk swirling about how cocky Rivers is as he takes the stage in a bright red gingham shirt.
Normally a post like this would stop after the 10th pick, but as the resident Illini writer I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my boy Meyers Leonard was selected 11th by the Portland Trail Blazers. He had the brightest and boldest dark blue gingham pattern of the night, which he paired with a red tie.
Where Was the Fun?
Overall, this year’s draft seemed way too tame. Aside from the plethora of gingham and one green bowtie, the outfits were nothing to write home about. There were no absurd statements or gestures by announcers or players, and the only sad face in the green room was Tyler Zeller, who slipped only as low as 17. Giving out my draft awards for this first round this year will be a challenge, but let’s see what we can do.
Here is a quick recap in case you missed the show:
2012 Draft Awards
Most Annoying Wardrobe Theme: Duh, gingham.
Awkward Green Room Moment: 14 players were invited to the green room, Tyler Zeller from UNC went 17th, you do the math. Percy Jones III opted to come on his own, so it was a little less sad to watch him wait to hear his name called 28th. Jay Bilas seemed more angry about the wait than he did.
First Guy to thank Jesus: Unless I missed something, Jesus didn’t get a shoutout until Jeremy Lamb of UNC went 12th to the Houston Rockets.
Worst Dressed: Though I appreciate your effort Mr. Ross, that green bowtie just didn’t work.
Winner of the Night: Tie between UNC with four picks in the top 17 and Davis’s trademarked unibrow.
Favorite Jay Bilas Quote: Referred to John Henson of UNC’s crazy long wingspan “Freddy Kruger-esque.”
Best Dressed: Tie between Michael Kidd-Gilchrest (check his textured tie here) and Thomas Robinson (see his outfit), who both bucked the gingham trend. They also both figured out how to buy a suit that fits.
Most Tears: By a player, it’d have to be Andre Drummond right before his name was called. For the viewers, it’s hard to keep a dry eye after hearing Thomas Robinson’s story.
Guy Who Looked Like He was Wearing His Dad’s Suit: Henson wins again! He looked about 12 years old and his suit was too big (take a look). It’s odd that a 6-11 guy can find a suit that’s too large, but for a guy oft known as the praying mantis for his long limbs, it’s not that weird.
Best Name Change: No. 15 pick Maurice Harkless from St. Johns wants to make sure everyone knows he is Maurice and not Mo. Since I had never heard of him before, the shift won’t be a tough adjustment.
Best Actual Name: With the last pick in the first round, Golden State Warrior selected Festus Ezeli from Vandy.
Most Nervous on the Big Stage: Meyers Leonard kind of looked like he was going to throw up.
Here are the top 11 picks, in case you missed it:
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky to New Orleans Hornets
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, Kentucky to Charlotte Bobcats
3. Bradley Beal of Florida to Washington Wizards
4. Dion Waiters of Syracuse to Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Thomas Robinson of Kansas to Sacramento Kings
6. Damian Lillard of Weber State to Portland Trailblazers
7. Harrison Barnes of UNC to Golden State Warriors
8. Terrance Ross of Washington to Toronto Raptors
9. Andre Drummond of Uconn to Detroit Piston
10. Austin Rivers of Duke to New Orleans Hornets
11. Meyers Leonard of Illinois to Portland Trailblazers