It's rare that the landscape of the NBA can change so dramatically in one night, but tonight it definitely one of those nights. Fittingly, it has nothing to do with an increasingly meandering playoffs.
Yep, someone's gonna get the keys to drive Greg Oden and Kevin Durant tonight. Will it be the Celtics? Will it be the Grizzlies, depressing all of us? Will it be the Timberwolves, instantly giving Kevin Garnett a reason to live? Will it be the Bulls, giving us an instant Eastern Conference favorite next year?
Yep: It's time to watch a bald man read the names off envelopes. Hope you have HD!
And yes, we are live-blogging this thing. Well, our man Dan Shanoff is, starting at 8:15 ET, after this here jump. Follow along, mock him, dance, go crazy. Should be as much fun as a televised logistical exercise could possibly be.
9:13 p.m.: Well, that's the end of the live-blog, friends. I thank you for joining me, and thank you even more for the absolutely phenomenal Comments burst between 8:30 and now. I say, let's keep it going. But I'm signing off from the live-blog. Don't forget to stop by my blog at danshanoff.com every day (every morning, really) for more goodness. Have a great night, and let's all enjoy one final collective laugh at the expense of Celtics fans. G'night!
9:10 p.m.: I already regret a good 2/3 of the picks I made below in my preposterously premature mock draft. Look, does it even matter beyond Blazers and Sonics? Here's the real question: The immediate mainstream media reaction was that Oden was a lock to Portland. I think it's going to get MUCH more debatable than that.
9:08 p.m.: If you're looking for the Comment of the Night, head over to the 300s page and scroll near the bottom for Big Daddy Drew's nice little monologue toward Celtics fans. (Oh, and here's a rival live-blog, from the inimitable FanHouse. But they simply can't bring the Comment heat like this place. Not even close.)
9:07 p.m.: OK, so here's the very first — and most preposterously premature — mock draft of the post-Lottery Era, at least the first 10 picks:
1. Blazers: Greg Oden
2. Sonics: Kevin Durant
3. Hawks: Mike Conley Jr.
4. Grizzlies: Yi Jianlian
5. Celtics: Corey Brewer
6. Bucks: Al Horford
7. T'wolves: Brandan Wright
8. Bobcats: Julian Wright
9. Bulls: Roy Hibbert
10. Kings: Joakim Noah
8:58 p.m.: Dan Patrick has a good question — Will Kevin Durant keep the Sonics in Seattle? I think it's a better shot that he anchors a "new" team in Oklahoma City.
8:57 p.m.: So isn't it ironic that the Sonics have the No. 2 pick — likely Kevin Durant — and they already have a poor man's Durant in Rashard Lewis. (Lewis is expensive, too.)
8:56 p.m.: It couldn't be more appropriate that the Hawks luck into not losing their pick to the Suns... but finish third in a two-horse race. I can't wait to see how they F$%# it up.
8:55 p.m.: So will the Blazers pick Oden or Durant? Brandon Roy seems to be talking about Oden. Hmm... Greg Anthony thinks he's a lock there, too.
8:54 p.m.: Hawks picking third! Sonics picking second! Blazers picking first!
8:53 p.m.: Nothing is funnier than watching a Celtics fan in a backward baseball cap disappointed beyond recognition.
8:52 p.m.: With the Blazers in the Top 3, TrueHoop's Henry Abbott must be FREAKING OUT. Keep breathing... The Sonics and Hawks are the other two contenders for the Big Two.
8:50 p.m.: Shocker! The Grizzlies drop from a near-lock at 1-2-3 to No. 4! The Celtics (and that kid with the custom Oden jersey) drop to No. 5! And the Hawks finally — FINALLY! — get some luck and avoid having to give their pick to the Suns, by finishing in the Top 3. Now, just the Hawks luck, they'll probably get the nebulous 3-pick.
8:48 p.m.: Adam Silver and Charlie Villanueva... separated at birth?
8:46 p.m.: The roll call of executives! I've never understood why teams send otherwise faceless execs, when this is such a marketing opportunity. Larry Bird is one thing. A Shinn or Schanwald is another. Points to the T'wolves and Blazers for having Foye and Roy show up as their reps. Randy Foye is wearing the largest watch I have ever seen. Oh, and here's the Human Highlight Reel. Ah: And Jerry West, final apperance ever. And if they miss out on the 1 or 2 pick (which they have a 46 percent chance at), he'll be ticked.
8:43 p.m.: Oh, and I'm as excited about the depth of this draft as anyone, but can everyone please acknowledge that this year's class is inflated by the artificial one-year ban on prep-to-pro entries a year ago?
8:42 p.m.: Bernard Tolbert. Bodyguard, badass.
8:40 p.m.: Look, about this age-limit, which Stern is currently defending — it's great to have allowed Oden and Durant and the other frosh to get hyped on someone else's dime, but what does it say that Oden and Durant would have gone 1-2 LAST year? It says that college experience is hardly prerequisite for NBA success; it IS prerequisite for more NBA Draft hype.
8:39 p.m.: Dapper David looks happy. Wait: Hickman is asking him about the Spurs-Suns suspensions. Eh: Defending his decision on that is easy by now. I would like to see him defend his ridiculous age-limit rule...
8:37 p.m.: I'm going to try to comment on all 14 team reps, but can I just start with the fact that I couldn't help but notice Tommy Heinsohn's tie? Yeesh. (Almost as bad as a Boston-rooting d'bag with a replica Celtics Oden jersey.) Remember when Heinsohn had a national broadcasting gig?
8:36 p.m.: Hickman-Stern Preview. If The Commish can rhetorically turn Dan Patrick into a pretzel, I shudder to wonder what he could do to Hickman. Luckily, I'm thinking this will be slo-pitch.
8:35 p.m.: Coming up! Fred Hickman vs. David Stern! (Wait: Joel Litvin dropping the Ping-Pong balls like he's doing the local Pick-4 lotto. I want that job. No, wait: I want any job.)
8:34 p.m.: I will pay Mark Jones $1000 to get Patrick Ewing to admit that the '85 Lottery was fixed.
8:33 p.m.: Jay Bilas neglects to mention that the Monster.com "Resume" on Dan Shanoff says, "Unemployed."
8:31 p.m.: Greg Anthony says that the Celtics better effing get in the Top 2. And he mentions the Knicks better... I'm not quite sure what he was saying. Jay Bilas says Oden and Durant both have "polished" resumes. That's not the first adjective I'd use for players going freshman-to-pros. They're awesome, to be sure. So don't hate.
8:30 p.m.: Ah, the first mention of the Bulls-Knicks trade and the Suns-Hawks trade. The Nelson Muntz factor. HA-ha!
8:29 p.m.: I will pay Mark Jones $1000 to see how many Lottery balls he can fit in his mouth... over/under: 6. Can any of you do better?
8:28 p.m.: Ah, yes, the traditional Reading of the Lottery Rules. Here's the only rule you need to know: 14 teams enter,
one two teams leave with franchise saviors.
8:27 p.m.: Just watching the GMs mill around the Lottery room. Nothing says "awkward" like hoping the guy you're talking to realizes his season of tanking was all for naught.
8:24 p.m.: Nothing — NOTHING — says "douchebag" like the Celtics fan who gets an "Oden" No. 20 jersey specially printed up. I pray to all that is good and holy that this dipshit is left holding his douch-ish souvenir of fate-tempting.
8:19 p.m.: So who do you pick first — Blake or Jordin? And does the team picking second get the better talent? Wait: Oh, shit: Wrong live-blog...
8:16 p.m. ET: Welcome to the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery Live-Blog! I'm your tour guide, Dan Shanoff. I usually do most of my writing in the morning, so I'm relying on the Lottery drama to keep me up until, oh, 9:04. I'm expecting big things in the Comments section.