Shanoff's W.U.C.: Rubio Draft's Biggest Loser

Today's Calls: Ricky Rubio vs. the T'wolves, Jonny Flynn vs. Blake Griffin, James Harden vs. Stephen Curry, DeJuan Blair vs. the NBA, Brandon Jennings vs. Tyler Hansbrough, Vince Carter vs. Shaq, Jimmy Fallon vs. Tiger Woods and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: "We could be in Minnesota or somewhere else." That's Ricky Rubio's dad -- and not a bad summary of the Draft. So much for the Timberwolves' big splash. Rather, they were involved in the night's biggest intrigue -- perhaps its biggest snafu -- still unresolved. ↵

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↵Rubio slipped to the 5th pick -- past the Thunder, past the Kings -- to the Timberwolves. OK so far, (although Rubio does not seem happy about where he ended up). Then the T'wolves, with the very next pick, took Jonny Flynn. Uh-oh. ↵

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↵While individually solid, the Timberwolves made a baffling PAIR of picks -- presumably, they think they can deal Rubio to a team that really wants him (say, the Knicks). Otherwise, they have an unhappy player who might just jet back to Spain, rather than play for Minnesota. ↵

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↵Good news for the Knicks. Good news for Jonny Flynn. Bad news for the T'wolves, who look like the fool for now. ↵

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↵But, for now, we can tab Ricky Rubio as the 2009 NBA Draft's "Biggest Loser." ↵

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↵He becomes the summer's biggest NBA drama. So there's your big splash, I guess. ↵

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↵After the jump: 2010 Rookie of the Year, Best Pick, Worst Pick, Biggest Sleeper, Biggest Disappointment, Best Entrance, Worst Reception, Best Dressed and More. ↵

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↵2010 Rookie of the Year: Jonny Flynn, T'wolves. Let's assume that Rubio either gets traded away or sits out the year in Spain. Flynn is immediately given the starting PG job, 30 minutes a game, as many shots from the backcourt as he wants and two talented bigs in Love and Jefferson. Instant star. ↵

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↵Best Pick, 1st Round: James Harden, Thunder. Sam Presti feinted interest in Rubio and Stephen Curry, but in the end, he wanted the draft's most solid 2-guard to pair with Russell Westbrook to join the Most Promising Young Core in the League (estimated time of arrival: 2015). ↵

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↵Biggest Sleeper: DeJuan Blair, Spurs. Somewhere around 20, Blair's plummet into the 2nd became the most fascinating (and maddening) thing about the draft. (Remember: He was my National Player of the Year this season.) Blair had the last laugh: He was drafted by the Spurs, the smartest team in the NBA. ↵

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↵Worst Pick, 1st Round: Christian Eyenga, Cavs. I know the Cavs had few holes to fill, but aren't they trying to win now? Eyenga averaged 0.8 ppg -- not a misprint. Wouldn't Cleveland have been better off drafting athletic Sam Young as their designated "Rashard Lewis-stopper?" ↵

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↵Biggest Disappointment: Stephen Curry, Warriors. So close to the Knicks, especially since everyone thought the Warriors were going with Jordan Hill. You could see the disappointment on Curry's face when his name was announced as going to the purgatory of Golden State -- freewheeling offense or not. ↵

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↵(It turns out that the Warriors were picking Curry to ship to Phoenix as part of a pending deal for Amare. I'm not sure that changes the disappointment that Curry didn't end up in New York.) ↵

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↵Best Entrance: Brandon Jennings, Bucks. Was so worried about the perceptions if he sat in the Green Room and plummeted that he was in NYC but didn't come to the Garden -- until after he was drafted, when he hurried over for his cut-in photo-op with David Stern. Weak move, but undeniably memorable. ↵

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↵Worst Reception: Tyler Hansbrough. The Garden on draft night can be merciless -- fans seemed pretty bummed by Jordan Hill and simply baffled by the trade for Darko. But they reserved their nastiest jeers for the hyper-sensitive Psycho-T: "Over!-Rated!" (Is that what it'll be like for Tebow next April?) ↵

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↵Best Recruiting Tool: UNC. Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington went in the 1st. Danny Green went in the 2nd. No wonder they won the NCAA title. (And that doesn't even consider Ed Davis, a 2010 Top 5 Draft prospect, and Deonte Thompson, a 2010 borderline 1st.) ↵

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↵Biggest Inside Joke: T'wolves drafting PGs. Just before their 18th pick, the joke on live-blogs and Twitter was "The T'wolves should take Lawson!" Then they did. They traded him, but still. Oh, and in the 2nd, they took Florida PG Nick Calathes, stored in Europe for at least a year. (Perhaps with Rubio.) ↵

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↵Best Dressed: Blake Griffin. Something about that purple shirt. ↵

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↵2010 NBA All-Rookie Team: Flynn, Griffin, Harden, Curry, Evans. ↵

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↵Wait ... there was more yesterday besides the draft? ↵

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↵Magic trade for Vince Carter: On the plus side, this blockbuster sustains a Magic "Big Four"; but it probably means they won't re-sign Hedo Turkoglu, who was the glue of the team's run to the East title. That said, with VC they remain the team to beat in the East. (Sorry, Cavs.) ↵

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↵(Another potential big winner in the draft: Nets draftee Terrence Williams. His team just traded away 20 shots a game at SG, replacing it with a slight, defensive-minded sophomore Courtney Lee -- and Williams, a long athletic sprite who could be awesome paired with Devin Harris.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵• Smoltz Red Sox Debut: Inauspicious. ↵

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↵• Milestones: A-Rod ties Reggie (563 career HR). ↵

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↵• Welcome Back: Votto 4/5 w/HR in Reds W. ↵

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↵• Injury Watch: CC to start today? ↵

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↵• Soto drug-test fail! "Only" pot? Oh, OK. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Hanley (3/5, HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, SB). ↵

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↵MJ Wants to Own Bobcats? The NBA's worst top executive would presumably become the NBA's worst owner. But I love the idea of the league's greatest player ever owning a team -- for all his flaws running a team, this would be a fascinating and amazing coda to his career. ↵

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↵NFL Camping Countdown: Dolphins. Perhaps the most intriguing team in the NFL, after their worst-to-first run last season. Can they sustain that this season, with a tougher schedule and without the benefit of low expectations? Or will we see a regression to the mean? ↵

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↵CFB: New deal for Saban? Just longer -- it's not like they could possibly pay him any more than they already do. (And, if they can't have Urban Meyer, Saban is worth every penny for bringing Bama back to relevance and national prominence.) ↵

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↵Pop Culture: Jimmy Fallon beat Tiger Woods in Tiger's own video game. I was not a Fallon fan when he was on SNL (or in his movies), but he is doing a really good job with his late-night show. Perhaps this was his calling: This was a terrific little stunt. ↵

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↵The Last Word: RIP, King of Pop. Perhaps TV commentators are just trying to avoid looking harsh by focusing on Michael Jackson's last 10 years, but the bulk of the analysis seems to be focusing on his entire, prodigious, uber-successful career in music. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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