The draft was pretty eventful, especially for Portland, with a big decision taken before it began. That's when I learned that the General Manager, Kevin Pritchard, had been fired. I was sad because he's the one who brought me here. I owe my presence to him. He always helped me, always had confidence in me. So it definitely hurt me to see him leave and I truly wish him the best. But I'm sure that he will easily find a job.
I followed the draft with management, the trainers, video guys, and other people from the club in a room right next to the office where the directors were meeting for the draft. This year, I followed the NCAA a bit and it was a good draft, rather homogenous. I know that not many people agree with me, but I would've taken Evan Turner first. I don't really know why, but I prefer Turner over John Wall, it's a matter of feeling, I prefer to watch him play, I love his game. It's efficient, he scores 20 points but also has 6 assists even though he's a 2. He finished top scorer in his conference, most assists as well. And I also wonder what Arenas will do with John Wall. They want to get rid of him? I don't see them playing together.
I would've put Wall in Philadelphia. Washington could've given a 2nd.... well, 15th chance to Arenas, who remains a very good player, and put Turner at the 2. And Philly need a point guard, not a 2 or 3. That would've been logical to me. When I followed the draft, they told me no, John Wall should be #1, and as they had heard on TV, he was Magic Johnson in Gary Payton's body. It is true that he's very good, I'm not criticizing him. Aside from his commercial. If you haven't seen the Reebok commercial, watch it...
There were a few selections which surprised me. For example Hayward, I wasn't expecting to see him taken 9th. I saw him more from #15 on. Otherwise, I asked myself why New Jersey took Favors if they really want Boozer to come or another 4. Alright, you certainly have to prepare for the future. I thought that they would take Wesley Johnson. That would've given them Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Johnson, that's not bad.
So my personal mock draft was Turner, Wall and Johnson for the first three. I didn't even have Favors in my first 6. He has a good body, he's very interesting and has a lot of potential, but I didn't see him going so high. I hope that he'll make a liar out of me, and in any case he must not care about my opinion, with good reason!
Personally, I, like all the French, was also waiting on the selection of Kevin (Seraphin). I met him when I was coming back from the Adidas Eurocamp. He was going there, so we ate together Sunday night. I told him a bit what it was like and we talked. I think that he has the mentality to succeed. And he has the physique to succeed. Apparently, he weighed 280 pounds with 9% body fat. There aren't too many bigs with numbers like that. It jumps out at you when you see one.
After Kevin was selected, I stopped watching the draft. When I left, I was told that Webster was traded for Ryan Gomes. In fact, as I said, McMillan had told me that he was counting on me to play a bigger role next season. So I told myself that the trade was following that perspective.
Otherwise, we took two guards and got Babbitt. And of course I'm going to give him the translation of his name, don't worry :) OK, it's a bad joke, but that's normal. With Alexis we had a great time with Hasheem Thabeet. It's along the same lines of the terrible puns that I told you about with Ali [Traore] last summer. We asked him "You assume Thabeet?" We didn't explain it to him. But I did translate it for OJ Mayo. He must've explained it to him, so the next time, I'm going to get blocked 15 times a game when I go into the paint against him. You'll see in the Memphis-Portland boxscore: Hasheem Thabeet 8 blocks for, Batum 8 blocks against... In any case, Babbitt will get a few jokes. Besides, he's a rookie. When I saw Babbitt in Portland I told myself "no I can't do that. Fortunately Alexis isn't with me."
I was hoping that Kevin would come to us. Everyone in Portland was very enthusiastic about him, but we only had the 22nd pick.