Before I begin, allow me to introduce myself. I write a weekly humor column for The Brock Press and I host a basketball radio show called Just Hoops. So why have I decided to help out ?
I love the NBA Draft. It is, in my opinion, the most exciting part of the NBA season (yes, more exciting than the finals) because you get to see the direction that teams are heading. Last year, most of us (hopefully all of us) were privileged enough to witness the LeBron phenomenon or the LeBronenon that took the world by storm. Would he live up to the hype? Most said, Oh, he's a high schooler, he'll be amazing, but don't expect much in his first year, while others said, He's all hype and can compete on a high school level, but wait until he gets to the NBA. Right off the bat, though, I said that the two people I liked for rookie of the year were LeBron James and Marcus Banks. Hopefully I have retained my credibility after admitting that, but choosing ROY candidates is a crapshoot anyways, (see: Pau Gasol and Mike Miller).
So, what is this column and how often will it run? This column will be a lighter side of the NBA Draft, which contains my opinion on the weeks leading up to the draft and the events that follow it. To be honest, I have no idea how often it will run and that's why I hope for you, the reader, to e-mail me your feedback.
Without further adieu, I present to you the first installment of Is it Drafty in Here? First of all, let's talk about this kid Ivan Chiriaev, who the NBA wants and needs because, well, the benches need warming and a 7'1 body could cover a lot of space, thus reducing the time important players will have to sit on cold benches. I know that bashing Chiriaev is all the rage these days, but as an Ontarian who has seen him play, I feel that it's my duty to speak out against this kid's attitude problem and help aid an attitude adjustment. I'd love to see the kid succeed, but seriously, where does this kid get off talking trash about Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki when he only scores 17 points against Canadian all-stars? A lot of people are calling him Ivan the Terrible, which is warranted at this point, but people must remember that he's 7'1, 19 years of age, and can shoot and handle the ball. Does that mean that he should be a first rounder? Hell no! But look up the names Remon Van de Hare, Nedzad Sinanovic and Andreas Glyniadakis from last year's draft. Those are some big guys who have the ability to play basketball, are called projects and are fun to draft as second rounders due to their potential. Everybody knows you can't ignore the big P word when you're picking in the second round, where Darius Songalia, Mehmet Okur, Manu Ginobili and Peja Drobjnak were all previously drafted. I think this is the category that Ivan fits into because he needs a few more years before he warrants a spot on an NBA roster or guaranteed money. Ivan said that he heard he could be a top-5 pick, but he never specified which round. If you're going to be cocky Ivan, at least be more specific.
Has anyone else notice that Shaun Livingston slightly resembles Rick Brunson?
Not to mention the fact that both are point guards based out of Illinois. Here's to hoping that Livingston has a better playing career. Seriously though, Livingston has monster potential and hopefully, it pans out. Shaun, either hit the gym or listen to grandpa and go to school. If Shauny does in fact become an NBA star, I think Sprite should sponsor him, give him a fro pick and get him to wear some tinted goggles. SHOW âEM MY MOTTO!
While on the topic of high schoolers, what's the deal? So far, we've got Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Shaun Livingston, J.R. Smith, Sebastian Telfair, Jackie Butler, Al Jefferson, Ivan Chiriaev and probably Robert Swift and Dorell Wright declaring out of high school. That's more than 15% of the players in this year's draft who will likely be picked. Doesn't going to college and playing at that level mean anything these days? If Emeka Okafor gets passed over and Dwight Howard is picked at number one, it would just be an early sign of things to come. And where do achieved seniors like Luke Jackson, Tim Pickett, Ricky Paulding, Jamie Lloreda and Darius Rice, who all decided to get a higher education end up? Only one of those names is on the first round bubble and the rest may not even get drafted. Nearly all of these guys could've been picked higher if they entered at a younger age. What kind of a message does this send? What happened to the days where David Robinson was drafted first overall before serving time in the Navy for two years because teams were willing to wait for achieved talent? It seems that the level of patience held by NBA GMs these days is about as high as an NBA player on the injured list. Oh wait.
But seriously, these high school kids have got to be careful this year because they've got some big high school shoes to fill with Amare Stoudemire and LeBron James as the last two ROYs. With potentially four high schoolers being picked in the top ten, there's a good opportunity for these kids to make a big splash, but also a big possibility for some major floppage cries if they don't live up to expectations right away (*cough* Darko *cough*). Some of these kids seem to have a good head on their shoulders, but aside from LeBron, who is an exceptional case, I can't even remember a point guard that has skipped college for the NBA, and now there are two jumping this year. This is the first time I can remember the chance of two pass-first point guards being drafted in the lottery in recent years.
Bobcats, if Luol Deng is available, please pick him, don't make me beg. The kid can do it all, went to Duke and is perfect for you to build your team around. Don't risk it on a high schooler. A lot of Dukies are upset that he's leaving early, but there's no way he would've stayed for four or even three years and he's going top-5, no doubt. See, this is what I love; a guy who could've gone lottery in last year's draft goes to college, proves himself and is now seemingly a top-5 lock. He may not be getting a diploma, but there are other ways of proving your intelligence.
Has anyone else played ESPN College Basketball and imported their draft class into ESPN NBA Basketball? The game really seems to love Mizzou's Arthur Johnson. As for 2K5, they better not rate Okafor a 64 like they do after he's imported, or they'll be hated on badlyBen Gordon is going to be a stud in the NBA, but just for insurance, he should call AAA and book some lessons to help polish his drivingSomething tells me that I could order a customized #12 Dwight Howard Atlanta Hawks jersey and have a good chance that I won't have to throw it out after the draftApparently J.R. Smith is much happier sitting on an NBA bench than being an instrumental part of helping UNC win an NCAA Championship. Hopefully Marvin Williams will call him every month and leave an I told you so message on his answering machine. Listen to Spike Lee, J.R., and do the right thing! Seriously, name a program that would be stronger than a team of Ray Felton, Sean May, Jawad Williams, Rashad McCants, David Noel, J.R. Smith and Marvin Williams, coached by Roy Williams. Hell, take J.R. out of that equation and you still probably can't. It's too bad Jameson Curry had his run-in with the law or they'd be un-stop-a-bullKris Humphries, meet Rick Rickert, Rick Rickert, meet Kris Humphries. And I really hate saying that too because I think Humphries has game. Is being a Gopher that bad?I want someone to send a letter to David Stern requesting that instead of putting an age limit on draft entry, initiate a third round. Why? Two words, Marquis Daniels. The guy went undrafted and proceeded to start for a championship-caliber Mavericks team. How do guys like that end up playing in Europe, while guys like Alek Radojevic get drafted in the lottery? By the way Alek, love the pink jersey.
In conclusion, I want everyone to do something during the draft. Get a pen and paper and make a check every time an NCAA player gets drafted. See how many picks it takes before seven NCAA players are selected. If Kosta Perovic and Tiago Splitter stay in this draft, that number may be as high as 20. Disgusting. That's not a knock on International or High School entrants, but a knock on the fact that such little NCAA talent will be taken in the top-20. Then again, everyone was outraged when Jerry West picked Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell in the first round, oh well, no harm in trying to send a message, Logo