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12th Pick- A heated argument breaks out next to me about who is better, Julius Hodge or Rashad McCants. Everyone keeps it cool though, which is what makes actually being at draft great. Each fan has their own guy they want to see make it as well as their team loyalties, even Michigan State alum by me who shouts for Alan Anderson before every pick. Yaroslav Korolev is taken. The first reaction for most fans is one of bewilderment, but then you realize it’s Clippers and it all seems to make sense.
13th Pick- Stephen A. begins yelling throughout theatre, that how could two star UNC players not get picked before some of foreign prospects. What do you know, Charlotte takes Sean May, building a Carolina connection for Bobcats. I can only start to think about a few years back when Chicago loaded up on Duke players...that worked out well.
14th Pick- McCants is drafted next, making Stephen A. look like Nostradamus. The Carolina delegation in crowd has been quite vocal these past 10 minutes.
15th Pick- The Nets fans by me all want Hakim Warrick, who I wouldn’t mind but would rather have Joey Graham. In utter disbelief, they take Antoine Wright. Knicks fans begin to smirk at Nets fans in crowd who definitely wanted a forward.
16th Pick- Joey Graham is taken by Raptors- some Nets fans sigh. I begin to think though that previous pick for Wright wasn’t so bad, since they have needed outside shooting for past 4 years and this kid can supposedly light it up. Plus he was a consensus top 10 pick and maybe luckily slipped into NJ’s hands.
17th Pick- Danny Granger is announced to subtle applause.
18th Pick- Gerald Green goes to Boston, quite fitting that he puts on that color uniform, don’t you think? His crew sitting behind green room cheer wildly, while a lot of crowd begins to exit. A "Boston Sucks" chant begins in back as New Yorkers make sure to show their ever-loving admiration for Beantown sports.
19th Pick- In between picks, Roy Williams walks through crowd to delight of Tar Heel fans. I feel like starting a Let’s go Duke chant. I then think that Hakim Warrick would be a perfect fit for Grizzlies to team up with or replace Stromile Swift. Warrick is picked up by Memphis and Syracuse fans go wild. Still no one has said a word to Bilas off-camera.
20th Pick- Julius Hodge, a Harlem naitve receives a warm ovation, perhaps one of biggest of night. He probably seems most happy of any draftee to be there, pumping his fist in air and smiling rest of night through.
21st Pick- Phoenix takes Nate Robinson who a lot of people seem to have forgotten about. The crowd likes pick and then likes it even more when they learn he may be a Knick as part of Quentin Richardson-Kurt Thomas deal.
22nd Pick- Jarrett Jack. A guy next to me exclaims afterwards, "Man, ACC is runnin’ this @#$!" Indeed they are.
23rd Pick- Francisco Garcia. Nice applause but New York native is absent from festivities.
24th Pick- Luther Head. Decent reaction from crowd, but they are beginning to disperse at a faster rate, with about 70% just waiting around to see Knicks at no.30.
25th Pick-Johan Petro. The Anti-France bashing begins and most fans laugh at pick. There is a slight buzz after announcement of potential trade of 22nd pick (Jack) to Portland for 27th and 35th picks.
26th Pick- There seems to be less on trade front in this draft as compared to year’s past. Greg Anthony gets about a makeover in between commercial breaks, he loves face makeup. Jason Maxiell is pick for ‘04 champs, some of crowd overly support pick, some loathe it. Hate it or love it, this underdog is going to one of top teams in NBA.
27th Pick- Portland takes Linas Kleiza and almost in unison crowd says, "Who?" Fans search frantically in their Draft handout booklets to find out who was just taken.
28th Pick- Ian Mahinmi. Most of crowd may not know who he is, but they love it when a player comes from pay seats through fans and onto stage.
29th Pick- Wayne Simien is chosen to a decent ovation, although I’m sure Dickie V. will burst a vein yelling about how 28 teams could pass this kid up.
30th Pick- The buildup to pick, Knick fans overwhelmingly want Chris Taft. When David Lee’s name is called though, they are PO’d and many leave disappointed, a seemingly annual ritual at recent drafts.
2nd Round Notes: Russ Granik must be most loved man in building as he gets a huge response from what is left from crowd. Before every pick they chant his name and you can tell he eats it up. The fans like Salim Stoudamire at 31 and as typical with Duke players, there is some love, mostly hate when Daniel Ewing is taken at 32. The next two picks consist of Who’s? (Brandon Bass) and Ooooh’s (CJ Miles). I notice that when Granik comes to podium, Bilas is only one on ESPN crew who pays attention to pick. There is a lot of love for Ronny Turiaf who is sitting in crowd. They loudly chant his name before he is selected by Lakers and his family gives hi-5’s to all fans around. I stick around ‘til Nets at 43 and don’t even bother looking up who Mile Ilic is. Exiting Hakim Warrick walks by lobby, shaking hands and signing autographs as well as Fran Vazquez. I leave somewhat disenchanted by my team’s selections, but glad to have come to event. All I can wait for now is summer leagues to get started and training camp to roll around, only four months left until new season officially begins.
Seth Berkman writes for http://www.hoopsavenue.com