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The Basketball Diaries

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

By Max Toth

The NBA draft is tonight and looks to be an exciting one. There's potential for a lot of interesting trades and the lack of any can’t miss prospects means that it should be pretty fun. So, for this year’s NBA draft, I’m going to write a real time account of how the night unfolds.

7:30: News bulletin on ESPN’s draft coverage. Golden State Warriors star, Klay Thompson, has suffered an injury in a scrimmage. He has already missed 524 days due to his last injury. Another tough break for a great player.

7:37: ESPN draft analyst Jay Williams just butchered Deni Avdija‘s name. Hopefully NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been practicing.

7:44: Silver was just asked how the NBA will compensate for the lack of summer league and in person meetings with their teams for rookies. He, like most of us, didn’t have much of an answer. This will be a tough year, especially for an uninspiring rookie class.

7:49: If I’m a team like the Warriors, who hope to be competitive again next year, I would look at taking an international player, like Israeli forward Deni Avdija or LaMelo Ball, who played in Australia.  Most of them have recently played, unlike the college guys, and are used to playing during a pandemic.

7:51: This LaMelo Ball graphic is creeping me out. 

7:52: I think the Ball family has a few more than the legal amount of people in their house. However, Lavar Ball, LaMelo’s dad and certified loudmouth, must be pumped.

7:55: Jay Williams is right.The NBA experience and spotlight on the Ball family must give teams a lot of confidence in his ability to adjust to an NBA lifestyle.

7:56: I don’t know if I agree with ESPN draft analyst Jay Bilas putting Tyrese Haliburton at four on his “best available” list. Too high.

7:57: If the Timberwolves do in fact hang on to the number one pick, Anthony Edwards, a two-way shooting guard/small forward from Georgia, is the obvious choice. Plays at a position of need (not something you can say about LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman) and would be their best defender right away, which is huge for one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

8:00: My favorite part of the draft, an R&B musical number.

8:01: I’m wondering if the emergence of Luka Doncic will start a trend of European players being high draft picks. Basically the opposite of what we used to see after Darko Milicic flopped.

8:05: Here we go. As I said before, sans a trade, Anthony Edwards is the way to go. 

8:06 I do like the pre-draft ESPN graphics.

8:07: I would still trade down if I’m the T-Wolves. However, I’m not sure there is much of a market for the number one pick this year.

8:11: Anthony Edwards. Solid pick. I assume the T-Wolves won’t trade him, since LaMelo Ball is likely more coveted by other teams. 

8:12: The ESPN graphics team went all in tonight.

8:14: Anthony lost his mother and grandmother in the last couple months. This must be an amazing feeling for him after all that.

8:15: The Warriors are up next, another team that may sell. If they keep their pick, Memphis centre James Wiseman is another no-brainer choice. If they trade it, it will probably be to the Bulls, who I bet would take LaMelo. He could still be a dark horse for the Warriors though, because of the latest Klay injury.

8:18: Before the pick comes in, the NBA nailed the draft hats this year, at least for the Timberwolves. I love the classic look.

8:20: Warriors take Wiseman, everything going to plan so far.

8:22: If Klay does miss this season, the Warriors will be a really interesting team, especially since Wiseman could easily be the best player in the draft.

8:23: I mentioned how many of the college guys haven’t played much basketball lately. That applies especially to Wiseman, who only played three games in college due to an NCAA violation. On the bright side, he played them very well.

8:25: The Hornets will take LaMelo. It was basically a given they would take whoever  the Timberwolves and Warriors didn’t pick between Edwards, Wiseman and Ball.

8:26 The Hornets took LaMelo. I doubt LaVar is thrilled. Charlotte is definitely not Los Angeles.

8:27: LaMelo and the Hornets may be an awkward fit. Not just because they already have two ball dominant point guards in Devontae Graham and Terry Rozier. But because old LaVar claims he could beat the owner of the Hornets, Michael Jordan, in a one-on-one.

8:29: The Bulls are up next. They’ll probably take Deni Avdija. But I really hope they don’t since I’m a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, who pick fifth, and Deni is my guy.

8:30: Wow. The Bulls picked Patrick Willams. You may be wondering who that is. I cannot tell you. I’ve heard of him and I know he likes flowers, but I doubt anybody saw this coming. It also means they’ll likely trade fellow power forward Lauri Markkanan, who I really like.

8:32: The thing is, the last time I reamed a team out for picking a player I didn’t know, it was in 2017 when the Celtics took Jayson Tatum over Josh Jackson. Jayson Tatum was an all star this year. Josh Jackson is out of the league.

8:34: I really hope the Cavs take Deni. His playmaking is something they really need and I think his ceiling is sky high. To be honest though, I don’t really have any problems with Obi Toppin, a high flying power forward from Dayton or Issac Okoro, a defensive wing from Auburn.

8:36: I always used to complain about how long the draft is until I had to write about it. I‘m having a hard time keeping up. 

8:37: The Cavs took Issac Okoro. That’s fine. To be honest, he’s probably more of a sure thing then Deni and is a really good fit because of his defense.

8:39: Might ask for the Cavaliers draft hat for Christmas this year. It looks great.

8:41: The Hawks are up, I bet Okoro was their guy due to their need on defense. USC center Oneyka Owkongwu, the best remaining defensive player, seems unlikely since he’s just like Clint Capela, their incumbent center. I say Deni.

8:43: I’m on a cold streak. The Hawks took Okongwu. I respect it, just wondering what happens to Capela now. 

8:45: To be honest, I’ve been kind of disappointed with the lack of trades so far. 

8:46: I expect the Pistons will take a point guard, probably Tyrese Haliburton.

8:47: Emotional moment with Oneyka and his mom, as Oneyka remembers his brother who recently passed away.

8:48: Wrong again, the Pistons did take a point guard, but it’s Frenchman Killian Hayes. This one I don’t know about, Tyrese is the pick for me and I’m sure Jay Bilas is shocked his guy has fallen so far. 

8:49: The Knicks are up, this should be fun.

8:50: This has got to be either Tyrese or Deni. I’d expect Tyrese, so that probably means they will take Deni.

8:53: Classic Knicks. Obi Toppin is good, but did they forget they already have three other power forwards they signed last off-season? 

8:54: Wizards have the next pick, this should be Deni, but at this point who knows?

8:55: I didn’t know this, but Obi is from New York. This has to be special for him and he’s showing it in his interview.

8:58: There’s also a chance of a trade here. Russell Westbrook for John Wall has been discussed, but I think that would be a trade where both teams lose.

8:59: It’s finally Deni time. Good pick for the Wizards and Adam Silver nailed his name. He must be happy, as the Wizards have a chance at the playoffs if all goes well.

9:01: The Suns have the next pick. Tyrese Haliburton would probably be it if they didn’t trade for Chris Paul a couple days ago. They need wing depth, so I expect Devin Vassel, the Florida State shooting guard.

9:03: With Deni finally off the board, point guard Cole Anthony is the most intriguing prospect left. A year ago, either him or James Wiseman were the expected top picks of this year's draft, before Anthony had an up and down, injury riddled year at North Carolina.

9:06: The Suns take Jalen Smith.  Power forward is a position of need for them, but I don’t know if Jalen is the move.

9:31: So, with the top ten picks off the board, I think I'll call it a night. This was a lot of fun (yet tiring) so maybe I’ll bring it back for the NFL draft. With that, I’m going to take an Advil for my wonky writing arm and hit the hay.

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