GAME TIME: NBA Draft: 8 Winners and 8 Losers

As in most things in life, Calipari is both a winner and loser
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2010 NBA Draft..." -- David Stern

I'm not going to lie, those words give me a tingly feeling every year that I hear them. It never gets old -- like reruns of The Sopanos or seeing that Bree Olson just tweeted, you just know that when the NBA Draft gets rolling, good times are about to begin.

Last night was no exception.

Was it a great NBA Draft, from either a talent or an entertainment standpoint? No, not great. But like pizza or sex, even average NBA Draft watching is better than anything else you'll find on the tube.

So without further ado, some observations from last night NBA Draft, we'll go "Winners and Losers" format today, and these are in no particular order....


1. JOHN CALIPARI -- With a record five players selected in the first round of the draft (and four of them being "one and done" guys), Calipari cements his reputation as both an elite conduit to play at the next level and a college basketball mercenary. Fortunately for Calipari, the former reputation is the one that pays the bills and keeps the recruiting pipeline flowing to Lexington. Also, for those keeping track, this is the third straight year that the top point guard has been a Calipari-coached "one and doner" -- Derrick Rose in 2008, Tyreke Evans in 2009, and now first overall pick John Wall in 2010. Now if he could tell us how a team with four of the top 18 players doesn't make it to the Final Four....

2. SACRAMENTO KINGS -- Speaking of Coach Cal's brigade of here-today/drafted-tomorrow youngsters, the Kings have to be ecstatic with the way the draft unfolded last night. They got DeMarcus Cousins, who may be the most talented player in the entire draft, with the fifth pick. Cousins is certainly the most talented big man in this crop, and -- BONUS POINTS -- he's always a hair trigger away from decapitating his coach! SWEET!!

The Kings also nabbed Marshall center Hassan Whiteside (a top-15 pick in many mock drafts and a potential Marcus Camby-type) with the 33rd overall selection. Add to this the fact that they have Samuel Dalembert's soon-to-be expiring contract as a chip come trade-deadline time and the Kings' frontline situation looks sort of promising all of a sudden. Yeah, it feels weird.

3. JAMES ANDERSON -- With most draft grades on specific players, it's about the player himself, but the Spurs are one of the few teams in my mind where the team drafting him actually elevates the player's grade. Any team that has filled in around Tim Duncan with a bunch of players ranging from All-Star (Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker) to rising star (George Hill, DeJuan Blair) picking at the back end of the first round and in the second round...well, they know what they're doing and that has a "rub" on the grade of the guys they choose every year. It just does.

How he Rolles

Anderson, like Whiteside, was another guy who was considered top 10 by some and was slipping down the board before a nice soft landing in San Antonio at #20. With the Spurs, Anderson can be groomed behind Ginobili, who just recently extended his deal for what will probably be the final three years of his career.

4. MAGNUM ROLLE -- Honestly, he was (**yawn**) the 51st pick, he's going to a struggling Pacers franchise...but damn, his name is MAGNUM ROLLE. Best porn name in sports since Bubba Franks.

Let me go on record as saying that there's a big part of me that hates the way business has to be conducted in the NBA due to the salary cap rules. If it's the price we have to pay for competitive balance, then so be it I guess, but when teams are trading first round picks AND players to get a second round pick just to clear out cap, just too weird. That said, those are the rules, and Miami is clearing out cap space like the Baby Ruth cleared out the pool in the time Pat Riley is done, all that will be left is Dwyane Wade munching on a candy bar in the deep end saying "It's no big deal."

In all seriousness, the Heat got out of the first round and added three second-round guys with upside -- Dexter Pittman, Jarvis Varnado, and Da'Sean Butler. If two of the three stick (and I think all three will), it'll be home run. Pittman needs to drop more weight and get his mojo back, but Varnado was the best shot blocker in the draft and Butler is a high character kid with first-round talent and a rehabbing knee.

6. WWE FANS IN HOUSTON -- As soon as the Rockets drafted Patrick Patterson with the 14th pick, I got a text from Brandon Strange (one of our producers at 1560) surmising that the Rockets might select Gerald Brisco in the second round. If you're not a WWE fan, that's not funny -- if you are, it's hilarious. Just know that there is a former wrestler and now WWE Hall of Famer named Pat Patterson who is French Canadian, around 70 years old, and openly gay...

See? It is pretty funny, huh?

7. PAUL GEORGE -- The fastest riser on draft boards heading into Thursday night, he was the anti-Hassan Whiteside -- he was a guy who everyone had in second rounds up until like a week or two ago who is now a guaranteed multi-millionaire. More than anything else, he managed to overcome self-inflicted comparisons to Tracy McGrady, which should have been the kiss of death. Thankfully, central Indiana doesn't have the internet yet, so no one there knew.

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