Earlier this week, I blogged about finding quality sports and television to keep us entertained during these summer months.
What I didn’t include, however, was much on Thursday’s NBA Draft.
And for good reason: I figured I’d write a totally separate entry on the event.
Quite simply, I am a sucker for the NBA Draft.
Whether it be tearing through pages of mock drafts or watching footage from the Scouting Combine at 3AM on a Sunday morning (I did this two weeks ago – don’t judge), I love everything about the Draft and the way the NBA markets the event.
The beauty of the Draft, however, lies in the extraordinary entertainment value (in addition to the drama of the selections themselves) that comes along as the night and the coverage progresses.
So rather than bore you with a mock draft of my own, (which have been pretty terrible over the years anyway) I’ve instead pieced together a few of my favorite things for you to look forward to.
The Deals. This is quite possibly my favorite aspect of Draft Night. NBA executives love (or at least seem to love) wheeling and dealing picks and players on draft night. To give you an idea of how crazy draft nights can be, during last year’s draft, 31 of 60 picks were either made as the result of some sort of trade. 31 of 60. That’s over half of the picks in the draft! And while the vast majority of these trades were made during the regular season, (or years prior) the fact remains: On draft night, anything can – and undoubtedly will – happen. It can be a bit confusing (and at times overwhelming) but it also keeps things interesting.
Buying and Selling Picks. I don’t know exactly why, but this has always been another one of my favorite intricacies of the Draft. Maybe I just secretly wish I was a billionaire and had the ability to wheel and deal like an NBA owner. But seriously, in what other sport can you just openly buy or sell rights to picks? Already made your first-round choice, but really want to add another player to your roster? Just call up the team on the clock and make an offer for him. Looking to add some quick, easy cash flow to your books? (In 2011, 22 of the league’s 30 franchises reportedly lost money.) Sell the pick. Keep those calculators handy Thursday night, you might need them.
The Watch Party. Much like the NFL Draft, (and the MLB and NHL Drafts, to a lesser extent) the watch party is one of my favorite things in all of sports. It’s a chance for fans of all teams to get together and share food and beverages while also talking trash to each other about his or her team’s picks. On a personal note, my favorite (for the wrong reasons) watch party story came in 2009. As a suffering Grizzlies fan, I realized the danger of the Grizz winding up with the second overall pick that year (also known as “The Blake Griffin Draft”). For those that don’t remember (or have had it scrubbed from their memory), the Grizzlies took Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet, which could go down as the one of the worst picks in modern NBA Draft history. That summer, I watched the draft with some friends at the ESPN Zone in Las Vegas (which, ironically, shut down the next summer). Virtually everyone in our party knew how opposed to the Thabeet pick I was and began giving me grief before the Draft even started. Needless to say, by the time the Grizzlies turned in their pick, virtually the entire bar was rooting for the Grizz to take Thabeet just to get under my skin. Sadly, the rest is history as Thabeet was a complete and utter bust and is no longer a member of the Grizzlies. Just to make matters worse, the Grizz also took former Vanderbilt and Missouri player DeMarre Caroll (who is now on his fifth NBA squad in three seasons). Any time I talk to friends about that draft, the ESPN Zone story always comes up. These are the types of stories that make watch parties special.
(By the way: To give you an idea how bad that pick was, here’s a list of players the Grizz passed up on to take a 7-foot-3 project player from Tanzania: James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague and Darren Collison. Sigh.)
The Suits. Ah yes, the suits. In a second life, I’m going to write a book or produce a documentary on the dress of players at the NBA Draft. Over the years we’ve seen some pretty awful fashion on Draft Night. Whether it be Jalen Rose’s red pinstripes, Samaki Walker’s fedora failure, or whatever the heck Drew Gooden was wearing (right), the fashion stories are priceless. And with the “nerd glasses” phenomenon that’s sweeping the NBA, the trend of Draft Night wardrobe failures is sure to continue. I’ll put it this way, by the end of Thursday night, I guarantee you there will be at least one player that will be a trending topic on Twitter because of a heinous outfit – not because of his game.
So there you have it, folks. Whether it be the wheeling and dealing of NBA general managers, the unintentional humor of ESPN’s draft coverage (which features Rece Davis as the lead anchor this year), or even the picks themselves, there’s something for everyone to look forward to Thursday night.
Just make sure you don’t show up to any draft parties dressed in a fedora.
About Wade Neely
Wade Neely comes to Clarksville after previously serving as Sports Director at WKSR AM-FM and Director of Broadcasting at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn. Neely is a 2009 Electronic Media Communication graduate from Middle Tennessee State.
You may e-mail Neely at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wadeneely
Web Site: http://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
SectionsColumnist, Featured Story, NBA, Tailgating
TopicsAnthony Davis, Charles Barkley, Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA Draft, Ricky Rubio, Samaki Walker