June 27, 2005
Everything you ever wanted to know about sports on TV.At The Buzzer
The NBA Draft: It's Draaaaaftastic
There will be basketball played next season. The NBA has reason to revel, having averted a possible lockout when players and owners agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement. No work stoppage? Great! Do the good times stop there? Well, the Finals did just go seven games, which, in effect, is a Godsend for the league. Having a game seven for the title was the only way the relatively dull match-up of Spurs versus Pistons could attract casual viewers. I told you that no one would be watching. Game Seven proved to be the miracle that the league sorely needed.
If you're an NBA fan, this is great, right? Game seven, assurance of basketball for the remainder of the decade, these things are all well and good. But the attraction I'm looking forward to does not bow until Tuesday, June 28th. It's the time for basketball junkies to glimpse into the future: it's The Draft.
|Compare that to the NFL, which takes two days (!) to complete seven rounds, most of which are spent by commentators critiquing obscure players at less than glamorous positions, such as offensive lineman. Honestly, how much can I hear about how many pancake blocks some behemoth had his senior year?|
The importance of the draft cannot be overstated. Successes, as well as failures, for NBA teams are often the direct results of Draft Day, a day that has ascended into a marquee event worthy of being staged at hallowed Madison Square Garden in New York City. Like so many things in this world, the events that will unfold and shape the lives of the incoming crop of rookies and the teams who draft them is left to chance. Life is a lottery and this year's winners are the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the 2005 draft class does not present a clear, consensus number one pick like LeBron James (#1 in '03), Tim Duncan ('97) or Shaquille O'Neal ('92). When debating who to select among Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, and Chris Paul, the Bucks will have their hands full. Bogut's name is the one that tends to be bantered about the most as the Bucks' eventual pick, though it is not clear whether or not the 6'11'' Australian will be the next strong inside force or the next Kwame Brown, the top overall pick in 2001 and already relegated to obscurity.
Spotlighted players include Bogut, Paul, M. Williams, Gerald Green, who is the top high school prospect among the crop (a commodity which will be eliminated for at least the next six seasons after this draft thanks to the new CBA), and Spain's Fran Vazquez. They are considered by experts to be among the top picks. Vazquez, Roko Ukic, and others are emblematic of basketball's global appeal and an indicator as to how large the ever-expanding talent pool that teams have to select from has become.
Of course, what gala would be complete without a fashion watch? Style (Flamboyance, arrogance, ego, that sort of thing) is very important to an NBA player. This makes it crucial for a rookie to have their best duds on when their name gets selected and they proudly stroll up to the podium to shake the Commissioner's hand.
This is the day. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, and on and on and on — they were all rookies once. The prospect of finding the next NBA phenomenon among this class is so tantalizing, I can barely contain myself. Will the Bucks take Bogut or Marvin Williams? Will high school sensation Gerald Green's potential be realized? Will the Lakers get that point guard they so desperately need? Will the Suns finally get some size in the middle? Is Chris Paul really the next Jason Kidd? Will the Knicks blow it again?! This is your last warning, June 28th. Hurry up and get here so that I can watch!
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