by Lang Whitaker

Whassup, peoples? We are here, live and direct, at the World’s Most Famous Arena, ready for the 2009 NBA Draft to get cracking. If you’ve followed this Draft, even remotely paid attention, you should realize that this thing is a wild card. So many guys with specific talents, so much parity, and it’s all begging for parody. Which is what I’m here for.

Before we get into the Draft, let’s look real quick-like at the three biggest deals that have cropped up today:

• Shaq is now a Cav, which I think will be great for Cleveland. He won’t gum things up, and he’ll be a waaaaay better finisher inside than Varejao.

• Vince Carter is apparently on the way to Orlando in exchange for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie. Gives ORL more firepower, obviously, but they lose Lee’s defense and willingness to move the rock. Jersey could now be way under the salary cap in 2010. You know, 2010.

• My Hawks have traded Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to Golden State for Jamal Crawford. As an NBA insider texted me last night, “Anytime you can trade two dudes that don’t play for a guy who averages 20 ppg, you don’t ask questions, you just make it happen.” Agreed.

And then there’s the phalanx of Draft rumors that have been floating all day long, and who knows how much truth there is to any of that stuff. Not me.

OK, here we go…

PRE-DRAFT
• Picked up my credential tonight next to Coach Cal.

• Also bumped into Mark Jackson and the Rubio family.

• Just got a release from the NBA called Bill Duffy Statement on Brandon Jennings: “Beacuse we do not have a strong grasp of brandon’s draft position, I’ve advised that he and his family enjoy this day in a more private setting with the people he loves the most. Brandon Jennings will have an illustious career in the NBA, and at the end of the day, that is all that is important.” So I guess Brandon won’t be in the green room.

• Rick Pitino in the house, as well. Maybe we’ll get a brawl between him and Coach Cal. Or at least a few recruiting violations.

• Back from dinner. Got stuck in a logjam onthe way back behind Sam Perkins.

• Stephen Curry gets his first big cheer of the night from the MSG crowd…and the draft doesn’t even start for another 20 minutes.

• BTW, shout out to Michael Jackson.

• Ben just said, “Ricky looks like he should be in one of those bands…you know, one of those bands I don’t know the name of. But one of those bands.”

• I love Brandon Jennings’ game, but I don’t think he’s going to be a top 6 pick. Ryne, however, does. So we bet a dinner that Brandon won’t go before number 6.

THE DRAFT
• David Stern is in the heezy, rocking a purple tie. No moment of silence for MJ or Farrah Fawcett.

• Stern says the crowd is “rowdy” tonight, and everyone boos. The NBA apparenty forgot to put speakers in the media seating, so it’s hard to hear anything he says.

• The Clippers are on the clock. I’m still hoping they’ll screw up and take Taylor Griffin.

• Damn, the Clippers drafted Blake Griffin. I think Blake Griffin’s suit is a tribute to Iceberg Slim.

• Just got a shout-out from the family section from the Rubio family. That’s a first. from the looks they gave me, I think they’re not sure where he’s going.

• With the second pick, the Grizzlies select Hasheem Thabeet. Stern’s voice was cracking as he read that. Sounded like Peter when the Brady Brunch was recording their single.

• Instead of being the Executive Editor of SLAM, can I become the President of SLAM? That sounds a lot cooler, right?

• Hasheem Thabeet’s suit appears to be made from mercury. Hopefully the Phoenix Mercury.

• With the third pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder select James Harden. Wow. Wow.

• Nice look from Harden, dressed like he’s 60 years old.

• Mike Wilbon just heard me say Harden was dressed like a 60 year old and turned around and said to me, “Clearly that was said by someone who knows nothing about fashion.” Then he laughed. I guess I should have worn a mock turtleneck and a blazer.

• For the record, I also don’t know anything about 60 years olds.

• Fourth pick, Tyreke Evans. His brother has a Philly beard! Two years ago he was the SLAM Diarist. Now he’s in Sacto. Oh well. I bet ESPN’s David Thorpe will hate this pick because now Kevin Martin take all the shots.

• Number five…it’s Ricky Rubio. Simmer down, Myles.

• Someone hit this on Twitter the other day: Separated at Birth: Ricky Rubio and Chainsaw from “Summer School.”

• The L-Wolves aren’t allowed to draft a coach, are they?

• Somebody’s getting traded. The Wolves just picked Flynn, their second point guard in a row. Although it would be awesome if the T-Wolves just decided to pick two point guards.

• Just checked with Flynn’s camp…they don’t know what’s going on either.

• I bet Rubo and Flynn are both praying they’re the one to get traded.

• Ha ha! Ric Bucher just announced that the T-Wolves will keep both point guards! So i guess I can call them the L-Wolves.

• Golden State takes Stephen Curry, to huge boos in the Garden. Now they have the shortest backcourt in the West.

• Sorry, I can’t get over the Wolves using two lottery picks on point guards and announcing they’ll keep both of them. That’s just…hilarious. The L-Wolves are back, baby! They’re back!

• With the 8th pick, the Knicks select Jordan Hill, a selection met mostly by boos. This is a strange pick to me…I’ve not yet bought into the Hill mythos.

• An NBA-related person just texted me and proclaimed Steph Curry’s mom the hottest NBA mom of all time. That’s high praise.

• Demar DeRozan goes 9th to the Raptors. No big surprise there.

• Here’s an unsubstantiated rumor I just heard: Ricky Rubio to New York for Jordan Hill and Nate Robinson in a sign-and-trade.

• With the 10th pick, the Bucks take Brandon Jennings. About 10 rows up in the stands, Sonny Vaccarro stands and claps and celebrates. Nice pick for the Bucks.

• With the 11th pick, the Nets take Terrence Williams. Great.

• Hey, here’s a shock, the BETcats just picked a guy from Cackalackie — Gerald Henderson. he does not take his shirt off and wave it ’round his head like a helicopter.

• Brandon Jennings is in the heezy. Better late than never.

• OK, we’re at 13. Let’s see what Larry Bird does. Tyler Hansbrough! That Hansbrough/Murphy/Dunleavy front line will be thrilling!

• The Suns take Earl Clark 14th, then Stern announces that Clark isn’t here…but Brandon Jennings is! And then Brandon comes strolling out of Stern’s secret room in the back. Weird.

• With the 15th, the Pistons select…Austin Daye! See you later, Tayshaun?

• With the 16th pick, the Bulls select James Johnson…not exactly an exciting pick there. Lots of PGs left for Philly.

• 17th is Jrue Holiday to the Jsixers, and then 18th the Wolves draft another point guard, this time Ty Lawson, who is apparently going to Denver. And Yahoo! is now saying that Rubio might be coming to New York after all.

• Jeff Teague to Atlanta! So I was wrong after all. He reminds me a lot of Acie Law…which is a little scary.

• Stu Scott mentions Larry Brown in passing and the Garden erupted in boos. ESPN should’ve hired Isiah as a draft analyst just for the fun of it.

• Twenty. The first round is flying by. The Jazz select Eric Maynor from VCU. They’ve been drafting scoring guards for about 10 years now.

• At 21, the Hornets take Darren Collison. Are they going to try and trade him for someone cheaper?

• At 22 the Blazers take Victor Claver. Someone wake up Fran Fraschilla!

• 23, the Kings go with Omar Casspi, and a large crowd here go crazy, dancing with an Israeli flag.

• 24, the Mavs go after BJ Mullens! Mark Cuban should fine him for that mustache.

• 25, the Mavs take Rodrique Beaubois, and it’s then announced that they’re swapping him with Dallas for Mullens. Weird.

• 26, Bulls are on the clock. This Draft crowd is much more subdued than most years. Taj Gibson gets subdued applause.

• 27, the Grizz take DeMarre Carroll from Missouri. Who?

• During a timeout the fans started chanting “Jeff Van Gundy” until he dismissively waved at them…and everyone went crazy. Then they did the same for Mark Jackson until he waved, too.

• T-Wolves back on the clock at 28…are there any point guards left? No, they go with Wayne Ellington, who dropped a little lower than was projected.

• At 29, the Lakers are on the clock, picking for the Knicks, it seems. Stern walks out and the crowd goes silent…and the Lakers take Toney Douglas. He’s dope. Great pick for the Knicks.

• And the first round winds down as the Garden crowd files out. With the 30th pick, the Cleveland Cavs select…Christian Eyenga from The Congo. The clips of him are pretty impressive. Hope LeBron likes them.

And that’s Round One. I’m sure there will be tons of trades and moves and all kinds of stuff in the days to come, but I will not be around for them — I’m leaving tomorrow morning for a week of vaca. I’ll catch back up with you guys after July 4th. Stay locked on SLAMonline for all the latest news and updates. Catch you guys next week…