Eavesdropping on Draft History

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 8:56am recently was able to get a hold of a few transcripts of conversations made by NBA General Managers before they made some fateful draft choices.

Summer 2003 – Detroit

Joe Dumars is sitting in his office and watching game tape from the 1989 Finals.

Darko MilicicDarko Milicic*Phone rings*

Joe Dumars: Hello?

Isiah Thomas: Joe! How’s it going? It’s Zeke.

JD: Oh hey Zeke. It’s just watching old championship footage. What’s up?

IT: Not much. I’m still kind of in the post Pacers firing funk, but I’m meeting with Knicks owner James Dolan today to see if I might be able to find a job with the team. What are you up to?

JD: That’s great man. I’m just trying to figure out who to use this #2 pick on. I figure if I can hit on it than we’ve got a dynasty in the making here. I really like our core guys and the East is weak.

IT: Joe, let me give you a word of advice. I’ve been watching all the prospects play and I’ve got one word for you – Darko.

JD: Darko Milicic? Yeah…he’s one of the guys we have been looking at, but I’m not sure if he’s the right fit.

IT: That’s outrageous. He’s a beast. Have you heard of a little guy named Dirk Nowitzki? Think of him times a thousand million percent better. I mean, who are you considering instead?

JD: Well Carmelo Anthony is my current first choice?

IT: Melo?

JD: Yeah Melo. I mean he lead Syracuse to a title his freshman year. That’s the kind of skill set and championship pedigree we need to take this team to a title.

IT: Are you kidding me? Earth to Joe, you have a small forward - Tayshaun Prince. He’s gonna be a star.

JD: Well…I’m not sure…Anthony has a better offensive game.

IT: You’re over-thinking this man! Here I’ll do some word association. Ask me what’s the first thing I think of when I hear the word “Tayshaun.”

JD: What’s the first thing I think of when I hear the word “Tayshaun?”

IT: Superstar champion.

JD: Wow! That’s great!

IT: See! Here, we’ll do one more exercise. Close your eyes and imagine these two on a basketball court - there is lean and athletic player who moves with grace and has arms that bring to mind Mr. Fantastic and has already won an NBA title. That’s option one. Option two is a guy in an orange costume with a hat on. Which one sounds more like an NBA superstar in the making?

JD: Option 1!

IT: Well there you have it. That guy was Prince and the other guy was Anthony. I was just describing their essences as I see it. So take Darko. Dirk 2.0 man!

JD: Great, but I’m also thinking about that kid from Marquette – Wade. He put on quite a show in the NCAAs. That triple double of his was astounding.

IT: Hello? Have you not been listening? You’ve got a shooting gaurd in Rip Hamilton.

JD: But Rip’s got more of an old-man, crafty, screen-based game. I was thinking we could really use Wade’s explosiveness. Plus, we could run out a wonderful lineup if we decided to go small and quick: Billups, Wade, Hamilton, Prince, and Sheed. We could run teams off the floor with that.

IT: Come on Joe. If there’s one thing the NBA Draft has shown throughout the years it’s that a GM’s number one priority should be filling holes in the roster. It’s all about need. It’s all about Darko.

JD: I don’t think…

IT: You guys need more front line depth. Sheed and Big Ben aren’t exactly spring chickens.

JD: I guess…

IT: You need a guy who can be dominant power forward. Someone who can step in if Rasheed gets tossed from a game because of technicals. Someone who you can use to throw more effective bodies at a Shaq or a Duncan. You need Darko.

JD: Well, I guess you’re right, power forward is more of a need, but if we go that way I’m really thinking about Chris Bosh.

IT: Well now you’re just talking crazy.

JD: Come on Zeke he put up 15 points, 9 boards, and two blocks a game in the ACC as a freshman. That’s got to count for something.

IT: Is this the Joe Dumars I know? Sounds like someone’s gone soft and is afraid to take risks. Good big guys from the ACC are a dime a dozen. Are you willing to miss out on the next big foreign import?

JD: Well…

IT: How are you gonna feel in a few years when Darko has surpassed Nowitzki as the best foreign player?

JD: I…

IT: But I suppose you can just tell everyone that you “played it safe” and that’s why the Pistons second dynasty never happened.

JD: You know…you’re right. Darko is really the only pick that makes sense. You’ve convinced me. Man, try and talk Dolan into letting you control personnel moves, you’ve got a knack for this. I’m sure the New York fans would adore you.

IT: That’s the tough nosed S.O.B. I played with! It’s been a great talk, but I’ve got to go. I’m grabbing some Thai for lunch with the aforementioned Dolan at Yum Yuk’s.

JD: Oh really, Yum Yuk’s? Take my advice – avoid the curry.

IT: What? Nah man. I love the curry. I always get curry and always will. Heck, I’m even willing to overpay for some curry. Bet the house on it. It can’t fail.

JD: Your call I guess, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Later Zeke.

IT: Later Joe.

*Dumars hangs up the phone.*

Summer 2005 – Atlanta

Mike Woodson enters Billy Hunter’s office.

Mike Woodson: Hey Billy.

Billy Knight: Pretty good Mike, what’s going on?

MW: I’m just here to express how happy I am that we landed the number two pick in the lottery. With Chris Paul and Deron Williams in this year’s draft class, we’ll finally be able to land that star point guard the franchise has been so desperately lack for years.

BK: Whoa whoa whoa! We’re not gonna take a point guard.

MW: Well I guess the Bucks could pass on Bogut and we could take him. He seems to be pretty good as well, but I wouldn’t count on that scenario.

BK: Nope. No interest in Bogut or a point guard.

MW: Ha ha. That’s pretty funny Billy.

Knight stands motionless looking straight at Woodson.

MW: Awww! Ha ha. You almost had me there.

Knight is motionless as a tree.

MW: Oh crap. You’re serious. No no no no no.

BK: Listen, I’ve got a plan.
MW: Oh goodness…

BK: What is the NBA game based around? Size and athleticism. What position best combines both of these elements? Small forward.

MW: Please Billy…

BK: Small forward. It’s the perfect position. It is basketball.

MW: So what? There isn’t even a small forward worth taking at two.

BK: Marvin Williams.

MW: Marvin Williams?!? You mean the benchwarmer on North Carolina? Look, I know he’s some potential upside, but you don’t take a guy who didn’t start for his team last year number two overall.

BK: Marvin Williams.

MW: But we’ve got small forwards. We’ve got Al Harrington, plus Josh Childress and Josh Smith can both play small forward as needed. And I know you’ve been working with Phoenix on a possible Joe Johnson deal, he can play the position too. Heck, we’ve even got Donta Smith on the bench! That’s essentially four starting small forwards plus Donta off the bench.

BK: But don’t you see? That’s only four starters. I need Williams to make my dream complete. An all small forward team! Can you imagine all the athletic prowess and length on the floor. It’s brilliant! Brilliant I tell you!

MW: I’m leaving Billy. Just consider Paul and Williams. Please. Please please. Please please please!

BK: Williams? Marvin Williams? Done.

MW: Uh…bu…Der… *sigh*

Mike Woodson slowly begins to cry as he leaves Knight’s office.

Summer 1993 – Orlando

Orlando Magic GM Pat Williams is wondering around his house.

Pat Williams: Gosh darn it! I can’t find a stamp to mail this letter. I wanted to make sure this got in the mail today. Shaq is going to be so excited when he reads this letter telling him we’re going take Chris Webber with the number one pick. They’ll make an unstoppable front line tandem for years to come. Now if only I could find a stamp…

Williams continues to fruitlessly look.

PW: I know! Maybe one of the kids has a stamp. I figure one of the nineteen wonderful little ones must have some postage somewhere.

Williams looks around and finds something in one of his teenager’s drawers.

PW: Hey! Some stamps next to a bag of oregano! I wonder why the kids keep these underneath the socks. Oh well.

Williams examines the stamps.

PW: These don’t seem to have a postage amount on them. Oh well, I’ll just lick a ton of them and slap them on there to make sure Shaq get the letter.

Williams watch alarm goes off.

PW: Yikes! I forgot we’re working out Penny Hardaway today. Seems like a waste of time, but he’s a nice kid so I suppose it won’t be too big a haste.

Williams licks six stamps, slaps them on the letter, puts it in the mail, and heads down for the workout.

*Three hours latter*

Pat, fully tripping balls, enters the front door. Pat’s wife Jill greets him there.

Jill Williams: How was the workout honey?

PW: Wowy! It’s like wow. I’ve never seen someone come in and do the things that Penny Hardaway did in that workout.

JW: Oh really? Like what?

PW: Well first off he talked in colors and can fly. And I don’t mean he can jump high – he can actually fly like a majestic eagle. Midway through the workout he turned into an iguana and I rode his back as he dunked the basketball right in the face of George Mikan. Afterwards, he dribbled the ball so well it turned into a scoop of ice cream and I ate it.

JW: Uhh…I think you need to like down dear.

PW: Wait. Yes. No. Yes. Wait. First let me write down something.

Pat scribbles the following on the back of a napkin that was lying around:

Dear Pat,

Take Penny Hardaway. I know you had your heart set on Webber, but when you wake up take Hardaway. Trust me. His game is some trippy kind of magic. MAGIC! Hahahahahahaha. Like our team! Whooo!!!!!



P.S. Buy more stamps.

Summer 2006 - Atlanta

Billy Knight: Well another year in the lottery. I think this might just be the year we take a guard.

Phil Ebeinger (Vice President of Finance – Atlanta Sprit LCC): Sounds good. One quick thing, our budget is running a little tight this year. We can only workout one player.

BK: Wait what?

PE: Yeah our bad. Pick one guy to work out. A research team we put together recommends Brandon Roy. He was Pac-10 player of the year at Washington and has a wonderful all-around game. We think he’s the team leader the Hawks desperately need.

BK: So I have no money to bring guys in for workouts for our number five pick, but you had enough money to have a research team to determine who I should bring in to work out?

PE: I’ll be honest; we kind of dropped the ball on this one. We blew the budget on the research team and fancy white coats for them all so they’d look super scientific.

BK: Wha…how?

PE: We’re the Atlanta Hawks remember?

BK: Oh right. Well screw you and your researchers! I’m not going to bring in Roy!

PE: But he’s really good…come on…

BK: No.

PE: Well how about Rudy Gay? He fits in with the all SF plan you had last year and is the researchers’ second choice. Come on you love yourself some athletic small forwards. Yes you do…yes you do…

BK: No! I don’t wanna.

PE: Oh come on Billy, now you’re just pouting.

BK: Na-ah you stupid face.

PE: Well there’s simply no need for that.

Knight crosses his arms frowns and sticks his tongue out at Ebeinger.

PE: Little brat.

BK: I…I…I’m gonna bring in…ummm…uhhh…Sheldon Williams.

PE: You can’t be serious. He’s a slow, plodding big man with virtually no upside or athleticism. He’s a stiff who just beat up on weak players in college. He won’t be able to do that in the pros. This is a top five pick that we are talking about here!

BK: That’s it. That’s my choice. Sheldon Williams. Deal with it. Jerk head.

PE: Now you’re just doing this to spite us, aren’t you?

Knight turns his head away from Ebeinger.

PE: Billy…

Knight turns his whole body away from Ebeinger and faces the corner

PE: Billy!

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loooooool This honestly

loooooool This honestly hilarious

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That was a really good read.

That was a really good read.

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being from atlanta

this just makes me laugh
it's so on point

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I understand this is supposed to be humorous...but it is this type of article that has made me value significantly less over the last few years. Besides the content just being silly and obviously full of no basketball related value, the writer did not even spell Dirk Nowitzki's name right. Does it not concern anyone else that someone claiming to write about basketball does not get that right, or that the powers that be at allowed it to be posted.

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It says in the Darko section that Isiah tells Dumars that "Sheed and Big Ben aren't exactly spring chickens." Then later he mentions Sheed again.

The problem here is that Rasheed joined the Pistons in February of 2004 and Darko was drafted in 2003.

Was that supposed to be the point or did someone just not realize what they were talking about?

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hahahahha thats hilarious

hahahahha thats hilarious

Mr. 19134
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we all spell things wrong time to time and there is no way you read this and did not smile. This explained alot. No seriously. Everybody watching the drafts when these picks were made shook their head. It didn't take a basketball guru to realize that these were horrible picks. I do disagree with the Penny Hardaway one tho because Penny did become an icon. But that was still a funny read and an excellent exercise in creative writing.

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we all spell things wrong time to time and there is no way you read this and did not smile. This explained alot. No seriously. Everybody watching the drafts when these picks were made shook their head. It didn't take a basketball guru to realize that these were horrible picks. I do disagree with the Penny Hardaway one tho because Penny did become an icon. But that was still a funny read and an excellent exercise in creative writing.

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I can tell you I did not smile when I read it. When I opened the article, I expected to see a well written column with actual real life references to the thoughts at the time of the particular draft. For instance, before Darko was picked, Chad Ford was very much a believer, and many others thought Darko was destined to be great. It is also pretty common knowledge that Dumars was a Darko guy. The writer tries to poke fun at Isiah Thomas with the column, but his track record in the draft was actually very good. So on quite a few levels, I found this article to be a writer who thinks he knows basketball looking for attention. I would much rather read something explaining why it was the team that picked him, and not Darko himself, that caused his failure. By being on a team with a strong veteran presence that did not need an immediate infusion of talent, he was not given the chance to develop. Had the D-League existed at that point, Darko would have been the perfect candidate to make use of it and things could have turned out drastically different.

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This was amusing and cleverly written. I disagree with the Hardaway/Webber one though. Hardaway was outstanding early on, he just couldn't stay healthy later in his career. Don't forget, Webber wasn't too highly regarded around the league until he turned things around in Sacramento.

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Penny was the better pick but

Penny was the better pick but obviously the knee injuries hurt his overall carreer but if Shaq does not leave than Penny has at least two rings.

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JSM, Clayton, sheltwon.. you

JSM, Clayton, sheltwon.. you are completely right..
I must add that Marvin Williams was also hyped enormously by the ESPN.. I remember that they had article at the draft day, were some of those “gurus” was screaming that Marvin should be No. 1..

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Mike Woodson enters Billy

Mike Woodson enters Billy Hunter’s office.

Mike Woodson: Hey Billy.

Billy Knight: Pretty good Mike, what’s going on? Billy Knight retarded? Woodson didn't even ask him how he's doing!

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Well said, jsm27. If there's

Well said, jsm27. If there's one thing thomas has done well, it's evaluate talent in the draft. He could never do that with players already in the league, but thomas was a poor choice by the writer of this article.

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That was a crap article, someone else pointed out already that Sheed was acquired by the Pistons after Darko was drafted, but it's not only that, the article has Isiah saying that Prince had already won a Title when the title actually came in 04 with Darko on the squad.

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Hold Up

Lay off of Penny he was the right pick and my favorite player in the league until his injuries killed his career. The guy was a 1st team All-NBA player, which Webber was not at the time and he made all-star games every year after his rookie season for a nice number of years in a row. He does not belong in that group. On the other hand, being an Atlanta Hawks fan Marvin and Sheldon Williams set our franchise back. That could have been Deron Williams since the Hawks liked the switch defense and he is bigger, and Bynum, because Hawks would have had a lower lottery pick or maybe not lottery at all if they had drafted Deron Williams the year before. Lastly, Im glad we got Al out of that whole mess, if Whiteside or Paul George somehow fall to us we will call it even and forget all about Marvin and Sheldon Williams

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Detroit 2003

Off the bat you have a fair amount of errors, note Tayshaun didnt win a championship until 2004, AFTER the 2003 NBA Draft, and the Pistons got Sheed midway through that season, how would he know in the preceding offseason he was going to be able to finagle Sheed?

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It was pretty good... But I didn't see any mention of John Bryant...

How are you going to write a comedy article and not include John Bryant?

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B-r-r-ring, b-r-r-ring

Aran_Smith: Seth! Baby!

Seth_Sommerfeld: Hey Aran. You haven't talked to me since I asked your sister to trim my fingernails. What's up?

Aran_Smith: I need you to write an article. It has to be goofy, witty, and chalk-full of errors!

Seth_Sommerfeld: Wait, don't you mean chock--

Aran_Smith: SHUT YOUR FACE-THING! I am Aran Smith. The boss.

Seth_Sommerfeld: Sorry Aran.

Aran_Smith: Like I said, go crazy. Our fans though, they need an Easter-egg hunt. So make your article full of errors, so people with no lives can dig through and find them all!

Seth_Sommerfeld: But won't that hurt my credibility?

Aran_Smith: What? Sorry. Didn't catch that. And now I have to go

John Bryant 4 Prez!!!

All glory to the Hypnotoad...

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Man you should do a trades

Man you should do a trades one you could fill pages with Kwame Brown for Gasol! WTF

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Where are the Clippers?

The Clipers could be here with a Kandi-Man story or one of the many wasted draft picks.
I would also have liked to here the reasoning behind the Kwame disaster in Washington.

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That kinda of crap should be in the forums and not the featured article on the website. I come here for inside information and to discuss basketball realistically......that article was an embarassment to the integrity of the website. I wasted about a minute before I realized that the article was "supposd" to be a joke and I use that term loosely. Show some respect for your followers and remove the article.

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This is easily the worst article I have read on any basketball website. I used to have a great deal of respect for, now I am debating whether to ever check this website again.

Congratulations, you just managed to turn off a long time fan.

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Well it was quite hilarious

Well it was quite hilarious to read, and did clear up a lot of mysteries behind the draft picks of some teams. Yes, I agree, it could have had a little less errors, and should have been mentioned in one of the forums. But with the kind of resources the people who create threads in the forums there would be no way anyone who has an account on this site that is not Aran Smith or Joseph Adi, could have written that hilarious article and explain the mysteries behind those picks. This is just the kind of article that only Aran Smith and Joseph Adi could have created because of their resources. Most fans who have an account on this site are not that funny.
No_money, you are the only exception to this. I love reading all of your comments because they are just so funny. They crack me up.

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Thanks, bud!

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I apologize for the errors in the piece. I'll take the blame for that. I should probably write more when I'm not strung out on caffeine at 3 in the morning. Live and learn...

That said, nobody is forcing any of you to read a "fluff" article - which I readily admit this is. It says in the subtitle that it's "humorous" - which I understand is up for debate and a matter of taste - so if you're just looking for hard draft coverage click one of the other dozens and dozens of articles written in the past few months on this year's draft. If you don't care for it, don't read it. If you hate what I write, I have no problem with that, but it doesn't invalidate the other quality work on this site. If this is enough to make you gravely upset - well - you may need to get out a little bit more.

Also I can take shots at Isiah whenever I want. I'm a Pacers fan. He ruined so many good teams with bad coaching that I'll always attack him. Believe me, I know the one skill he had was drafting (or more accurately, the one thing he wasn't terrible at). But he's my punching bag. I'll admit I'm biased on that front.


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Don't try to defend this crap

It's a terrible article. Moreover, it's worse to try to deflect blame by saying you were writing at 3am strung out on caffeine. Taking the article down would be better.

It's most offensive because it's basically a knock off of Bill Simmons' Atrocious GM Summit, and it's apparent that there's so much lack of creativity that just trying to change something from a well-known writer is not a successful formula. Atrocious GM Summit (and literally all of Simmons' jokes about NBA roster decisions): makes fun of NBA gms for trades and drafts by playfully putting words in their mouths. This piece of crap: makes fun of NBA gms for previous drafts by playfully putting words in their mouths. Yet it's so poorly written that it makes me want to scratch my eyeballs over the childish dialogue.

Get your own schtick. Better yet? Make it completely unrelated to basketball.

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