May 24, 2007

NBA Draft Blog, Part I

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It is summertime, and you know what that means, the NBA draft is upon us! The NBA playoffs are boring, with two conference finals that seem to be already over. If the Pistons play the Spurs in the finals, the NBA might need to hold an American Idol competition at halftime to boost ratings. The NHL has Anaheim and Ottawa in its Stanley Cup Finals. While this is a good matchup for hockey fans (even though I would have liked to see Buffalo), no one cares about Anaheim and no one knows where (or what) Ottawa is. Baseball is in full-swing, but the regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. And with the Red Sox and Yankees playing each other about 273 times per year, I cannot get excited, at least not until the All-Star Break.

So I am pumped about the NBA Draft. I love drafts, and the NBA draft is special for its hilarious three-piece suits and pithy comments by David Stern. For the next few weeks, I will blog about the Draft once a week (I will also continue my lacrosse blog until the end of the season). So check out every week, probably every Wednesday, to read my thoughts on the process. And make sure to check out the site the day before the draft to read my first-round Mock Draft.

I am obviously starting my NBA Draft Blog today because last night was the draft lottery. In a shocker, the Portland Trail Blazers received the first pick, and the Seattle Supersonics got the second. To listen to the sports commentators today, you would have thought that the NBA was about to implode.

The first point of contention is that neither the Memphis Grizzlies nor the Boston Celtics received the first or second pick. So basically, the fact that those teams tanked was for naught. Many commentators now want to eliminate the lottery altogether. In that case, Ohio State’s Greg Oden would probably go to Memphis, and Texas’s Kevin Durant to Boston.

Frankly, where were those people every other year where the top team did not receive the top pick? There have been several examples in recent history where a team not in the top-3 received the top selection. My favorite team, the New Jersey Nets, benefited from this back in 2000 and jumped into the top spot to select Kenyon Martin. In actuality, the worst team usually does not receive the top pick (a notable exception is the Cleveland Cavaliers getting Lebron James in 2003). The difference between this draft and other drafts is the talent available. So I have no sympathy for these people. Memphis already has Pau Gasol and will be fine with whoever its gets. Last year, Boston traded a chance to get Brandon Roy away to the Blazers and received Sebastian Telfair. Knowing the Celtics, they probably would have used the No. 2 pick on Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

The other ridiculous contention is that Oden and Durant will be buried in the Pacific Northwest and that they will thus not help the NBA. If this is the case, why even have teams there? These people need to get over themselves. The NBA exists in cities other than New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles. It is freaking Seattle and Portland, not Altoona and Helena! Everyone watched Karl Malone and John Stockton, and they played in Utah! Trust me, if Oden and Durant are as good as advertised, viewers will see them.

Also, if it is so terrible that they are going to Portland and Seattle, why don’t we just fix the lottery? That way, Boston will be No. 1, Philadelphia No. 2 and Chicago No. 3. The Celtics and Lakers can play each other in the finals for the next decade, and all the small markets will suffer in mediocrity. Oh wait, that already happened; it was called the 1980s. Let’s relive that decade, with cocaine, Duran Duran, and St. Elmo’s Fire. I don’t think that is what we should be striving for at this point.