By ticktock6 on June 26, 2009
We checked out the official Hornets draft party last night down at Gordon Biersch, as some of you who might have been following my Twitter feed already knew. Living in New Orleans we usually try to make it out to as many of the Hornets events as we can.
It was about an hour before the draft when I hopped into a space at the bar and started to follow the rumors that were going down on Twitter, which was creaking along there and might have actually died at one scary point due to Michael Jackson’s death (RIP). Everyone was running with the idea that Phoenix might be trading Amare Stoudemire to Golden State or Ben Wallace to New Orleans for Tyson Chandler or possibly both. Meanwhile an older gentleman at the bar was buying me shots of Jager and trying to convince me that I did not, in fact, want to watch the draft at all– I wanted to go across the street to Harrahs and play the slots.
I was pretty sure I wanted to watch the draft, however, so I stayed, and chatted with some nice people I’d been Twittering back and forth with (I’m not sure Twittering is the verb, but I really hate to say Tweeting, so I’m going to declare that, on this blog at least, I was Twittering.) After a while mW got there. Oh, in fact here we are (The below video is approximately 12 seconds of me yelling because I can’t hear myself. I actually had no idea if you could hear me at all until I just watched it. Um, you can. Because I’m yelling.):
Hornets draft party! on 12seconds.tv
Now, for those of you looking for all the salacious celebrity pics, I forgot my camera and was following the draft on my laptop, which I had out on the bar. I also realized that I’d picked a spot close to one Hornets table, but the players were actually at a different table on the opposite side of the room. So not only did we not want to lose our spot, which I had staked out 2 hours prior, but there were about a hundred people packed into the approximately 30 foot space between us and CP. I was more concerned about melting before we even got as far as the #13 pick than stalking Hornets players. Therefore I had to acquire all these pics the good old-fashioned blogger way: uncredited, from Getty Images. But I will assure you that Chris Paul and Julian Wright were there. I could hear their voices, even if I couldn’t see them. (If it had been Tyson Chandler, I probably could have seen him over the crowd from my barstool, but we are talking about CP here.) The Hornets ran some interactive fan contests, and it seemed like everyone packed into that itty bitty area had fun.
I have to admit I was unenthusiastic about #21 pick Darren Collison. I know next to nothing about him. Well, I know next to nothing about college ball in general, so that’s hardly a surprise. But I really thought we should’ve take DeJuan Blair, who ended up falling into the second round presumably because teams were scared off by his knee surgeries. I am fairly sure I managed to control these opinions when some cameramen came up and shined a light on me and asked me what I thought. I am also fairly sure I talked for a while. I am also fairly sure the two Jager shots had a significant effect on the fact that I kinda forgot about this whole experience till the above picture of Chris Paul and the CST mike jogged my memory and I realized that’s who I talked to. So, if you’re watching whatever draft montage they put together and air as a pregame or halftime feature next fall, and the girl wearing turquoise and (I think, oh lord) a Hornets draft cap backwards comes on and talks a mile a minute, that is me. CST, feel free to not use this footage. Anyhow, I feel a lot better about the Collison pick today, having checked out At the Hive’s post regarding his stats (they’re right up there or better than some lottery PGs). He was a 4 year college kid and didn’t have the hype of some of the others, but I think we’ll all remember we have a guy named David West who was in a similar situation when we drafted him and turned out all right.
I should make a note here that by the time we left the party I’d managed to collect Hornets beads, a turquoise T-shirt (I already have this particular one, and it’s XL… we may have 1 or 2 up for grabs), and the aforementioned Hornets draft cap, which was given to me by @hornetsdotcom. I have been asked a lot of times around town where I got such and such magnet or sticker or whatever, and the answer is you should try to make it to at least one official watch party a season, because they give out massive amounts of Hornets shwag. This particular party, however, should probably have been at a larger venue, because the place was packed wall to wall from when the draft started through when Chris Paul left. But overall, the staff at GB is highly awesome and they’ve hosted some solid Hornets events.
There were other fun moments about the draft, like the Minnesota Timberwolves Mad Point Guard Rampage of 2009, but the other significant moment for the Hornets didn’t happen until we were already home. We watched Blair finally go to San Antonio (where he’ll probably be perversely good, causing us to hate San Antonio more than we already do), and LSU product Marcus Thornton go to Miami at 43. Then a couple of minutes later, David Stern’s apprentice minion (I didn’t know that Stern doesn’t hang around to do the second round, funny!) came to the podium again. As soon as he said, “The Miami Heat convey the rights to the #43 pick Marcus Thornton…” I just had a feeling it was us. And sure enough, it was! So the Hornets ended up with two picks after all. (From what I’ve read today, Thornton was always on our board, and as soon as he didn’t get picked in the first round, the Hornets got on the phones.)
Whew. Crazy end to a crazy week in the NBA. But you know what? We got through another big trade week without selling low on Tyson Chandler, who, I have been vehemently arguing to anyone who will listen, deserves a chance to prove he can rebound from his injury before we melodramatically rant and rave about how he’s “NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME AGAIN!” We turned a lone low #21 pick in a junky draft into two guys who can hopefully fill roles on the roster and allow CP to get some rest and the Hornets to shop Antonio Daniels’ expiring contract with no worries. We drafted safe, 4-year player types. The Hornets’ front office sneakily drafted a 2nd rounder who, if he makes the team, will appeal to local fans and create buzz. Sometimes I am concerned that they don’t “get” this market, so that was a good thing to see. And maybe I’m being a girl here, but it kinda made me all warm and fuzzy to see the team give the local kid a chance to play for his hometown team.
About the t-shirt. I’d give it to a commenter who wears an XL, but I don’t know…. I think the Hype Cat has an interest in it…