Some NBA Draft Thoughts

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005, 11:35 pm

Sometimes your teams stinks, or your team lucks out in the lottery, and there’s a Tim Duncan waiting for you. And sometimes, instead, you end up with Andrew Bogut. Bogut will probably be a decent pro, but compare him with, oh, Duncan and Shaq and Lebron James. Actually, don’t bother.

I remember watching Deron Williams play in the NCAA tournament and thinking he was gonna make a dynamite pro–plays defense, makes every big shot, physical enough to drive the lane. I didn’t think he’d end up the 3rd pick in the draft, especially ahead of Chris Paul, but as the lithe Paul needs to seriously hit the buffet the Jazz may have decided the bulkier Williams was the better fit.

I loved how the Suns drafted the diminutive Washington PG Nate Robinson, and the whole ESPN crew raved about how fantastic a pick it was…and then that killjoy Ric Bucher comes in and says that the Suns traded him. I figured the ESPN folks wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as the TBS announcers used to be, and I was right, as there’s no substitute for Hubie Brown and Charles Barkley. But I was stunned at how awful they really were. Tirico ran the show without the wheels coming off, buy Jay Bilas, by my count, described 47 of the draft choices as being “long”. That was the buzzword this year–guys were long. And no, not in that way. Long arms, long legs…Bilas just did it again with the last pick, Alex Acker. “He’s long,” Bilas said as predictably as the proprietor in the Monty Python “Cheese Shop” skit. “He’s got good length”. Bilas didn’t even bother coming up with any synonyms for “long”. I mean, for Chrissake, these guys are top-flight basketball players. OF COURSE they’re “long”.

I’m amazed at the total comtempt Russ Granik shows the fans when he announces the picks in the second round. The deputy commissioner does this every year, he looks into the camera like he’s being forced to critique how well the domestic staff cleaned the silver. He read the last name, said “Good night everyone” and turned on his heel before the words were out of his mouth. A perpetual look of distaste.

Steven A. Smith, one of ESPN’s resident Insane People (Skip Bayless is another–I imagine a circle of Hell where Smith and Bayless do their “New School/Old School schtick for eternity. Sisyphus was a crybaby) was fairly subdued, other excoriating Toronto for their inexplicable pick of all-world underachiever Charlie Villaneuva.

Speaking of all-world underachievers, Pitt’s Chris Taft was taken in the middle of the 2nd-round. This after there was talk he would be drafted in the top five when he declared after the season. The ESPN talking heads cried over and over about how these kids (especially the high school kids who didn’t go to the 2nd round) received terrible advice, that the people saying they’d go in the lottery didn’t have a clue. Then perhaps they’d like to explain how just a few weeks ago ESPN’s Chad Ford had a mock draft showing Taft going in the lottery to the Knicks.

Here’s a point that I think is important but I’ve never heard addressed–why are these kids punished for hiring an agent? Can someone explain to me why someone should be punished for hiring legal representation? And that’s what an agent is–he’s your lawyer. He’s there to negotiate contracts. He’s there to protect your interests. You have these 18-year-old kids who’ve never had anyone say “no” to them before, they think they’re about to fulfil their livelong dream and play hoops for megabucks, yet if they sign with an agent they lose the right to pull their name out of the draft and go to school.

Don’t get me wrong–agents are evil. Jerry Maguire was a movie about an evil person. Drew Rosenhaus was almost certainly educated by a pack of jackals. But unlike creatures such as Sean Hannity and Nancy Grace, sports agents are a necessary evil. Most sports owners are evil themselves, so these two Dark Forces battle and cancel each other out, allowing us to occasionally enjoy the games. There’s no way high school kids and their families should be foreced to make such momentous decisions without the help of experienced counsel. With, in fact, that help being illegal. It’s unAmerican.

Who had the best draft? Who knows? The ESPN folks thought Denver had a great draft, but then the Nuggets up and traded away Jarret Jack. Charlotte got two Carolina grads and Dick Vitale thought that was a good thing, but can Felton shoot and May defend well enough to justify that praise? We’ll see. Though I can’t imagine the Clippers taking some teenaged Russian named Korolev or something instead of the girthy May. Oh, wait. They’re the Clippers. Now it all makes sense.

A dry sports period looms, espeically for an alleged Pirate fan like myself. I can’t get interested in baseball till mid-September. I like watching NASCAR, though I don’t really have a favorite driver and don’t care who wins. Golf? I can’t get emotionally involved in a friggin’ golf tournament. Tennis? I can get involved watching Maria Sharapova play, but it’s not exactly an emotional attachment.

I think Steeler training camp opens in late July. OK, just a month or so to go.

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One Response to “Some NBA Draft Thoughts”

  1. Donkeypuncher Says:

    I’ve often wondered about the “hiring an agent” rule myself. Here’s my take.

    I think that the rule is an NCAA rule rather than an NBA rule. Often when a player hires an agent, he receives an advance in salary before the draft even occurs. This can be in the form of cash, homes, cars, womens… For players who are likely lottery picks, I’m sure that the agents court them with the same items.

    If a player doesn’t hire an agent, the NCAA is able to welcome him back to the college ranks with open arms. No suspicions illegal transactions, and the player can maintain “student-athlete” status.

    That’s the only thing I could come up with.

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