The so-called professional experts have spent the past 364 days travelling the world to find the latest long-term project to overhype, pounding the phones for exclusive scoops from anonymous sources that lie to them, and doing as much homework as possible. I call that the “Peyton Manning approach.” Lots of hard work, nobody prepares harder, but in the end the result is usually unsatisfactory. Over here, I’m shining a spotlight on some of the finest minds in NBA blogging. Maybe some of these guys are secretly travelling to the ends of the  earth, but as far as I can tell, they are not. Your esteemed panelists:

Farlane and his NBA Comix
, The Cavalier of Yay Sports NBA!, J.E. Skeets of The Basketball Jones, Craig Kwasniewski of The Association, Chris Clarke of End of the Bench.

I emailed each of them seperately, asking for at the very least their picks without reason or explanation. Some expanded, others just provided names and/or links to the drafts on their respective blog. We kept this to just the first round, before everyone starts drifting off to sleep.

We’ll start with Farlane’s mock draft:

1. Raptors – This draft is absolutely loaded with power forwards and the Raps have a nice little player called Chris Bosh. My gut instinct is that they trade the pick (my spleen and 50% of my large intestine are praying like anything that they trade it to jersey for Vince Carter but that’s probably too much to ask). Barring a trade, I think they go with what they know and select Andrea Bargnani.

2. Bulls – I’m assuming they call Isiah to see if he has any additional picks he’d like to part with for whatever lurks at the far end of their bench. Then they defy everyone and select LaMarcus Aldridge.

3. Charlotte – MJ is in the house and the Bobcats need a high flyer. Somehow, the coaching staff manages to put a body on MJ (who rightfully sees that Rudy Gay is the next ultra-sick dunkmaster) and get in the pick for Tyrus Thomas. Years later, everyone involved says “If we’d only listed to Jordan…” (the first and last time those words are ever uttered in the context of a draft)

4. Portland – 4 picks and JJ Redick is still on the board?? Even though he’s a huge fit for the Blazers, I think that Nate McMillan is looking for a sobering influence. Since Tim Duncan is long gone, the next best thing to do is to draft Shelden Williams and then start laughing maniacally at both Zach Randolph and the Hawks.

5. Atlanta – Already made fun of them, they’re mad and they draft the largest thing they can find: 7′ tall, 250# Patrick O’Bryant.

6. Minny – Randy Foye looks like he will take a long time (if ever) to become a good point guard. That’s all Kevin McHale needs to hear.

7. Boston – With several solid drafts in a row, Boston just needs someone old enough to buy beer. Redick shows his ID but it’s probably fake, so they select Adam Morrison … the mustache makes him look older.

8. Houston – They wanted a guard, but there’s Rudy Gay just lying there.

9. Golden State – Golden State? Who cares? Let’s cut to a disconsolate JJ Redick – hey, don’t cry on the suit man. Golden State – you’re still on the clock. How about Oleksiy Pecherov? That should be hard to pronounce.

10. Seattle – They really, really, really wanted a project center. This “no high schoolers” thing cuts them the deepest. They retaliate by selecting Brandon Roy.

11. Orlando – Are we there yet? Not yet, kids, but wave to Darko. The Magic are set up front, so (after teasing Redick) they decide to grab themselves a circus guy in Rodney Carney. (get it? Carney? Circus? Try the veal).

12. New Oklahoma – With two of the next four picks, they’re just hoping to ruin someone’s evening. They notch a double-double by passing on a now sobbing Redick and then stealing Cedric Simmons  from Utah.

13. Philly – Confession: I have grave doubts if Philadelphia should even still be IN the NBA. Their selection of MSU’s Shannon Brown makes me feel a little warmer to them. A little.

14. Utah – AK-47 has the best “deal” in all of sports … unless you count the deal Wilt had. Seriously, tabloids, I don’t care what it says on Kirilenko’s hall pass – the dude cannot stay healthy. That’s all the Jazz need to reach for Shawne Williams.

15. New Okleans – Confession: I have never watched a full game in which the Oklahornets appeared. I have no idea if Mouhamed Saer Sene is a fit for them. They will draft him though.

16. Chicago – Already? I’m calling for a sign-and-trade with Detroit for Ben Wallace, this pick and Aldridge. Nah. Just kidding. They select Mardy Collins.

17. Indiana – Why did I agree to do this? Redick asks himself the same thing. Indy looks at him and sees Reggie Miller. Then they rub there eyes and its a smaller, less athletic and less exciting Ron Artest. They need a PG and even though Jordan Farmar spells his name funny and don’t look like no farmer Larry’s ever seen, they pick him.

18. Washington – Agent 0 is unhappy, and the Wiz don’t want to make him any unhappier on the theory that if they keep quiet, he may forget the whole thing. In a whisper, they select Ronnie Brewer.

19. Sacramento – The Kings have needs. Since team psychologist isn’t a position you fill through the draft, look for them to start with Rajon Rondo.

20. Knicks – Quick, what’s the fastest falling object in the Big Apple? It’s either the 2007 Knicks ticket price or JJ Redick. Assuming Isiah hasn’t swapped the pick for some magic beans, he avoids the obvious error of selecting 6′ PG Dee Brown and goes for the nearly as obvious one of picking Maurice Ager.

21. Phoenix – As the first of the teams who aren’t drafting on immediate need, the Suns have the luxury of selecting a project player who could take years to develop. Wait. What’s that Amare? Feeling a slight twinge? On second thought, the Suns select Hilton Armstrong.

22. New Jersey – With the first of 2 picks, the Nets pass on a chance to rescue Redick from a lifetime of therapy, pass on the buttery hands of Alexander Johnson and make whoever is in the booth very happy by choosing Kevin Pittsnogle. Pittsnogle … say it … it’s fun.

23. New Jersey – Kidd is aging and the Nets need a PG to begin to learn from the master. Insert tastless comments on things Kidd is a master of here and then select Marcus Williams.

24. Memphis – Apparently the Logo didn’t get the memo that Redick was to slide to provide comic relief. A shot of Redick already half in the bag via camera phone from the nearest bar is still worth a laugh (and 137 comments on Deadspin).

25. Cleveland – The Cavs are sorely tempted to select yet another guy to stand on the perimeter and watch LeBron. Someone with sense makes a plea for Thabo Sefolosha. Strangely enough, the Cavs listen.

26. Lakers – The Zenmaster is quick to remind us that LA doesn’t have needs – just limitless oceans of possibilities. To fill one of those oceans, the Lakers select Quincy Douby.

27. Phoenix – Steve Nash will not win MVP forever – wait, Stern is on the line. My bad. Nash actually WILL win MVP forever to save on engraving costs. To give Nash a rest every so often, the Suns pick Kyle Lowry.

28. Dallas – The Mavs came within a heartbeat of coming fairly close to coming within a country mile of the NBA championship. That has nothing to do with their selection of Josh Boone.

29. Knicks – I’m tired and I can’t think of any more jokes about the Knicks. Wait. What’s the difference between James Dolan and the owner of a successful NBA franchise? James Dolan! Don’t worry, Dolan didn’t laugh either when I told it to him. The Knicks select James White.

30. Blazers – I already did the joke about character, so I’ll just give my alma mater yet another first round domination and select Paul Davis.

Chris Clarke at End of the Bench posted his draft order in a post here, or you can read it below. Bonus points for his post from the other day about SLAM 100.

1. Toronto – Andrea Bargnani
Toronto has all but told people they’re taking Bargnani. They have also made it clear that this is a pick they would like to trade. Come D-Day, if the pick is still theirs, it’s Big Nani.

2. Chicago – LaMarcus Aldridge
People keep talking about a slide for the big fella. Come on! He’s a legit center in the NBA with a back-to-the-basket game. He has a bit of range, and he plays defense. So what if he’s not an athelete? Neither is Yao Ming or Shaq. That didn’t stop anyone else, so why stop Aldridge?

3. Charlotte – Brandon Roy
Possibly the best player now coming out, Roy is the kind of player for Charlotte. I bet Mike likes this kid, don’t you think?

4. Portland – Adam Morrison
Almost put Tyrus Thomas here for basketball reasons. Then I thought about PR and all the wonderful things about drafting a hometown guy.

5. Atlanta – Shelden Williams
Big. Swollen. Head. Rebounds. Well. Wide. Frame. Size. Strength. Good. Pick

6. Minnesota – Tyrus Thomas
I still like Adam Morrison here, but Thomas is just too good to fall lower than this, especially on a Wolves team that needs the size and athleticism so badly.

7. Boston – Rudy Gay
Too much talent for Boston to pass up. They love brain-typing, but they love talent more. Talent isn’t gay, but Gay is talent.

8. Houston – Randy Foye
Probably not their pick if they think they can get Mike James, but otherwise, a solid choice in the backcourt.

9. Golden State – Marcus Williams
Probably a steal at 9! Just kidding, Marcus.

10. Seattle – Ronnie Brewer
Can you say defense? I hope Ronnie can, because that’s one thing Seattle needs big time on the perimeter.

11. Orlando – Rodney Carney
Orlando is going to love this pick. Athleticism, scoring, defense, a total package. It’s a wonder Carney isn’t projected higher. I bet Orlando takes his passport as soon as they draft him.

12. New Orleans/Oklahoma City – Patrick O’Bryant
Can you say big man? Filling a need in a big way.

13. Philadelphia – J.J. Redick
I have no idea where Redick will go, but this seems like the perfect place to make for a hilarious rookie season.

14. Utah – Saer Sene
If you think Hoffa is the answer, I’ve got a lot of questions for you. With Ostertag suddenly retired, there’s a big hole in the middle in Utah, and Sene will try to fill it.

15. New Orleans/Oklahoma City – Cedric Simmons
Bring on the size!

16. Chicago – Oleksiy Pecherov
I have to admit, I don’t know who this guy is, but I think Chicago is pissed that Simmons just went to NOOCH, so they take the next PF on the board…whoever he is.

17. Indiana – Shannon Brown
Makes Fred Jones expendable, makes Indiana’s bench fun to watch.

18. Washington – Rajon Rondo
Makes no sense to me, but there’s always one pick that doesn’t. I hate his game, but I bet someone (in this case, Washington) loves it.

19. Sacramento – Hilton Armstrong
“Hungry for size? Have a Hilton Armstrong!” – sounds like a candy bar ad, doesn’t it?

20. New York – Shawne Williams
I heard Isiah is in love with him. And no, not his game: I hear Isiah Thomas hearts Shawne Williams. Really.

21. Phoenix – Guillermo Diaz
Mexican jumping bean?
-”I’m Cuban, B”
-”Yes, Cuban Bee!”
He’s actually Puerto Rican, but that ruins the joke.

22. New Jersey – Kevin Pittsnogle
Size and shooting makes for a great combination. And he’s a huge hillbilly in Jersey – I bet he gets a reality show in a minute.

23. New Jersey – Quincy Douby
Scores, runs, guns, shoots, fills in for Kidd or Carter, comes off the bench, might get a start here or there, and he’s from Rutgers, which is in Jersey. Oh, and his name is Douby! Hello, Uncle Spliffy!

24. Memphis – Jordan Farmar
Point guard of their future. Mr. Jerry West and a California PG? It’s a match made in heaven.

25. Cleveland – Josh Boone
Some size to fill in for Big Z and Gooden.

26. Los Angeles Lakers – Leon Powe
Cali man with some size and tons of game; unfortunately, a bad knee, but he’s young, so it’s not that big a deal

27. Phoenix – PJ Tucker
He just screams Suns to me.

28. Dallas – Daniel Gibson
Local guy who can fill in if Jason Terry bolts.

29. New York – Maurice Ager
Good late-first-round choice. Seasoned vet? Naw, he’s just a ballplayer, not spaghetti sauce.

30. Portland – Paul Davis
Now this guy I like: big, strong, senior, and talented. He’s no stiff, and he’s a good guy. Portland would be lucky to have him.

Craig Kwasniewski from The Association wrote a trilogy. Here’s part I , part II , and part III. In the interest of saving some space, he sent the picks in list form, but definitely go check out all three posts.

1. Andrea Bargnani
2. LaMarcus Aldridge
3. Brandon Roy
4. Adam Morrison
5. Tyrus Thomas
6. Rudy Gay
7. Marcus Williams
8. Shelden Williams
9. Patrick O�Bryant
10. Cedric Simmons
11. Ronnie Brewer
12. Rodney Carney
13. Randy Foye
14. J.J. Redick
15. Alexander Johnson
16. Thabo Sefolosha
17. Hilton Armstrong
18. Paul Millsap
19. Rajon Rondo
20. Shawne Williams
21. Oleksiy Pecherov
22. Sergio Rodriguez
23. Josh Boone
24. Maurice Ager
25. Shannon Brown
26. James White
27. Kevin Pittsnogle
28. Marcus Vinicius Vieria De Souza
29. Saer Sene (I hoping for it just to her a NY Jets-like “AWWWWWW BOOOOOO”)
30. Jordan Farmar


J.E. Skeets from The Basketball Jones… is going to the draft, and
documenting his travels as we speak. Somewhere in there he has an eerie Peter Gammons sighting, which I guess wasn’t true considering that Peter is in the hospital. Here’s to a speedy recovery Mr. Gammons! Yes, I’m being respectful like I’m Derek Jeter or something. Anyways, J.E. Skeets is a busy man today and he’ll have plenty of stuff from the draft later on.

UPDATE: Skeets sent along his picks from a taxi ride around 3 PM. He had help from the cab driver. Welcome to NY, Skeets. They pumped out the first 14 picks together.

1. Toronto — Andrea Bargnani
“What! #1? Dude’s tall, white and foreign, not a good mix. That’s like mixing oil, water … and um, chcoolate. Hahaha… bad shit, man.”

2. Chicago — Tyrus Thomas
“Hops. Straight-up hops. If the moon was made of cheese, he’d jump up and taste it.”

3. Charlotte — Adam Morrison
“Now that white boy can ball. Ain’t he the one with diabetes though? Not good that shit. My nephew had diabetes and all he did was drink orange juice.”

4. Portland — Brandon Roy
“Rookie of the next five years.” (Me: Huh?) “Five, baby. Five!”

5. Atlanta — LaMarcus Aldridge
“You can’t teach height.”

6. Minnesota — Rudy Gay
“Gay.” (Dead silence for like 15 seconds…) “His name is Gay.”

7. Boston — Randy Foye
“Is he a 1 or a 2? You know? That’s important. You gotta know this stuff.”

8. Houston — Shelden Williams
“That guy is one scary lookin’ kid so he must be good. (Me: Huh? What you mean?) Come on, when you’re that ugly, you know you ain’t wasting no time looking in the mirror. That’s time saved to be shootin’ jumpers in the gym.”

9. Golden State — Patrick O’Bryant
“O’Bryant! Is he Irish? (Shaking his head…) Bono!”

10. Seattle — Cedric Simmons
“I hope he’s good, ‘cuz then we can call him ‘The Entertainer’.”

11. Orlando — Rodney Carney
“That boy’s another athletic freak. I’d like to say he’s a monster, but that just seems mean, ya know?”

12. New Orleans — Ronnie Brewer
“THE BREWSKY!” (Me: Hahaha… is that it?) “Yeah, I like him. Watch out for him.”

13. Philadelphia — Marcus Williams
“That makes sense ‘cuz AI will be gone by December. They need a new PG. Makes sense.”

14. Utah — Hilton Armstrong
“Ah man, you gonna put him in Utah? That hurts man. He doesn’t deserve that. Nobody deserve that. Utah sucks.”

[Note: My taxi driver was not a cat.]

Finally, I had to ask
The Cavalier from Yay Sports to put off an early vacation. Truthfully, he’s not excited about mock drafts, and is just hoping for some crazy trades. You and I are of the same opinion. Here’s his early draft post with photoshoppery. If more stuff comes in, I can post it later on, as in tomorrow after the fact, but for now it’s selltheknicks fever for me. I have to go buy some batteries for my camera that are not bootleg duracell knockoffs from a homeless guy charging $2 for 100 batteries. I knew it was too good to be true.

In summary… I built a table. I’m glad there’s only three blogs worth of predictions, cause this was kind of a pain to do.


PICK #
TEAM
Farlane
End of the Bench
The Association
The Basketball Jones
1
TOR
Andrea Bargnani Andrea Bargnani
Andrea Bargnani
Andrea Bargnani
2
CHI
LaMarcus Aldridge LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge
Tyrus Thomas
3
CHA
Tyrus Thomas
Brandon Roy Brandon Roy
Adam Morrison
4
POR
Shelden Williams
Adam Morrison Adam Morrison
Brandon Roy
5
ATL
Patrick O’Bryant
Shelden Williams
Tyrus Thomas
LaMarcus Aldridge
6
MIN
Randy Foye
Tyrus Thomas
Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay
7
BOS
Adam Morrison
Rudy Gay
Marcus Williams
Randy Foye
8
HOU
Rudy Gay
Randy Foye
Shelden Williams
Shelden Williams
9
GS
Oleksiy Pecherov
Marcus Williams
Patrick O’Bryant
Patrick O’Bryant
10
SEA
Brandon Roy
Ronnie Brewer
Cedric Simmons
Cedric Simmons
11
ORL
Rodney Carney
Rodney Carney
Ronnie Brewer
Rodney Carney
12
NOOK
Cedric Simmons
Patrick O’Bryant
Rodney Carney
Ronnie Brewer
13
PHI
Shannon Brown
J.J. Redick
Randy Foye
Marcus Williams
14
UTA
Shawne Williams
Saer Sene
J.J. Redick
Hilton Armstrong
15
NOOK
Mouhamed Saer Sene
Cedric Simmons
Alexander Johnson
16
CHI
Mardy Collins
Oleksiy Pecherov
Thabo Sefolosha
17
IND
Jordan Farmar
Shannon Brown
Hilton Armstrong
18
WAS
Ronnie Brewer
Rajon Rondo
Paul Millsap
19
SAC
Rajon Rondo
Hilton Armstrong
Rajon Rondo
20
NY
Maurice Ager
Shawne Williams
Shawne Williams
21
PHX
Hilton Armstrong
Guillermo Diaz
Oleksiy Pecherov
22
NJ
Kevin Pittsnogle
Kevin Pittsnogle
Sergio Rodriguez
23
NJ
Marcus Williams
Quincy Douby
Josh Boone
24
MEM
JJ Redick
Jordan Farmar
Maurice Ager
25
CLE
Thabo Sefolosha
Josh Boone
Shannon Brown
26
LAL
Quincy Douby
Leon Powe
James White
27
PHX
Kyle Lowry
PJ Tucker
Kevin Pittsnogle
28
DAL
Josh Boone
Daniel Gibson
Marcus Vinicius Vieria De Souza
29
NY
James White
Maurice Ager
Saer Sene
30
POR
Paul Davis
Paul Davis
Jordan Farmar


So, Bargnani and Aldridge are mortal locks.
(Until the Skeets mock draft made that sentence wrong) From there it gets fun. Thanks to all the contributors. If any of your picks are wrong, you guys all get raises anyways. 10,000 X what I paid each of you to do this.