Live From the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks catches up with former NBA star Chris Webber, who represented the Sacramento Kings.
THUNDER TO PICK THIRD
8:02 p.m.

It's official: the Thunder has the No. 3 overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, set for June 25. Said Thunder general manager Sam Presti: "We're thrilled as an organization to pick third. We have a great opportunity in front of us to add a player who we think can grow with our team as we continue to build a franchise. It's a great day for our fans. We're truly excited for them as well because this will be their inaugural draft."

Check back later for more coverage from the NBA Draft Lottery here in Secaucus, N.J.


CHANGE OF PACE
7:18p.m.

Now Thunder assistant GM Rich Cho knows how it feels to be on both sides of the draft lottery. Last year, he represented the team in the closed-door lottery drawing room. This year, he's just a spectator; this is the first time Cho has sat in the studio audience. Like head coach Scott Brooks, he, too took in a game at the new Yankees Stadium over the weekend.

Also, in an unrelated note, Hall of Fame baseball slugger Reggie Jackson is in attendance. A New York media member told me that Knicks team representative Allan Houston ran into Jackson earlier on Tuesday in Manhattan. Houston invited Jackson to the NBAE Studio to serve as the Knicks' lucky charm. Well, Mr. October himself is in the house.


INSIDE THE STUDIO
7:13 p.m.

It's almost showtime here in New Jersey. All the team representatives are onstage and ready to take their seats. The NBAE studio is much smaller than I expected. The walls are covered in images of the game's most recognizable faces, both past and present. And the studio audience itself can't be larger than 60 people.



KEVIN LOVE TALKS ABOUT RUSSELL WESTBROOK
6:29 p.m.

Just ran into Russell Westbrook’s former UCLA teammate Kevin Love, who had a successful rookie season himself and is here representing the Minnesota Timbervolves.

Love has already spent some time with Westbrook back in Los Angeles.

“We’ve kind of just hung out,” he said. “He was just relaxing at the time a couple days back. We were just hanging out.”

Love also said he kept up on Westbrook throughout the season and was impressed by the strides the Thunder guard made.

“Unbelievable,” Love said of Westbrook. “Everybody was kind of shocked when he was picked fourth but I had no doubt in my mind that Sam Presti and the organization knew what they were doing when they picked Russell. They looked into his background, how young he was, how long and athletic he was. He’s only going to get better and better from here out so I thought he had a tremendous year.”



THE COMMISH SPEAKS
6:14 p.m.

Just got finished talking with NBA Commissioner David Stern, who touched on a wide range of topics with the media, including the draft age limitation, his support of the NHL, the NBA Finals, Dallas owner Mark Cuban and the much hyped 2010 free agency class.

Most importantly, I got Stern to talk a little Thunder hoops after he left the podium. I’ll save Stern’s comments on Oklahoma City and the Thunder for another day this week, but when I brought up the Thunder, the commissioner broke into a wide smile. Good stuff.



WHO'S IN THE HOUSE
5:46 p.m.

It’s a Who’s Who of the NBA inside the media tent right now.

There’s former NBA player Chris Webber hobnobbing with anyone who comes his way. Knicks team president Donnie Walsh was sitting at a table fielding questions from the New York media corps, while Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo was nearby doing a television interview. Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry and Thunder coach Scott Brooks chatted it up for a while.

No sign yet of Clippers guard Baron Davis or Pacers president Larry Bird, but I do see Minnesota rookie Kevin Love making his rounds.

Flip Saunders, the new Washington Wizards head coach, and John Hammond, the Milwaukee Bucks’ general manager had a long conversation near the buffet. Hammond was an assistant general manager in Detroit during Saunders’ three-year tenure as head coach of the Pistons.

And the food spread, by the way, is rather impressive. Not your typical arena cuisine. Tonight’s menu includes a delicious salmon with citrus burre blanc, a nicely presented barbecue chicken breast , several meat carvers and some fresh mozzarella and tomato. Magnifico!



THUNDER CONTINGENT ARRIVES
5:24 p.m.

Scott Brooks and his good luck charm arrived at the NBA Entertainment Studios at roughly 4:24 p.m CST on Tuesday.

The charm: a few threaded bracelets that his daughter made him just for the trip. One has a handful of beads with letters that form the word “Daddy.”

“Just to give us some luck,” he said. “Hopefully some ping pong balls go our way.”

Brooks was accompanied by Thunder general manager Sam Presti and assistant general manager Rich Cho.

Brooks spent Monday in New York City and took in the Yankees-Twins game at the new Yankees Stadium later that evening.

He spent Tuesday walking the streets of Manhattan – he stopped for a slice of pizza, too – trying to burn off some energy.

But when he arrived at the NBAE Studios, he was calmer than he thought.

“I thought I would be a little nervous but I’m not,” he said. “I’m more excited for our organization. We’re going to get a good player tonight, a very good player tonight. And we’re looking forward to seeing which pick we’ll land, we’ll get some clarification and we’ll go from there.”

Brooks was later seen mingling with former Knicks teammate Allan Houston, now an assistant to team president Donnie Walsh, and new Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry.

Soon, Brooks will take the stage with the rest of the team representatives for the draft lottery. Brooks insists he’ll keep his cool.

“I’m not going to be like one of the episodes of the Brady Bunch – when the red light turns on I’m not going to freeze and not be able to do my part,” Brooks joked. “I’m fine. I’m excited for the organization. We’re going to get a good player. It’s going to be fun going through that process and finding which is the best player to fit our team and to help us grow.”