Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top 10 reasons to watch the NBA Draft

One of the greatest sports television occasions of the year is fast approaching and we here at Errant Balls (and by we I mean me, the one guy) couldn’t be more excited. Coverage of what is unquestionably one of sports’ most unintentionally hilarious yearly events begins on Thursday at 7pm EST on ESPN. That’s right, the 2008 NBA Draft is finally upon us. Year in and year out this event offers a multitude of uncomfortable and laughable moments, so we’ve taken the liberty of narrowing it down to the top 10 reasons for fans and casual viewers alike to tune in to the NBA Draft.

Betting on which prospect will arrive in the most embarrassingly tasteless suit
- Each year at least one player decides to show up to the most important day of his young life dressed like Bernie Mac. So have some extra fun at your draft party by making some friendly wagers on it (the smart money is on Kevin Love, he’s already got the name to go with that kind of gear).

The commentators tactful comparisons of white prospects only to former white players
- Why is it that when drawing comparisons of young players they can only be compared to those of the same race? Who knows? But you can bet that rather than pointing out that West Virginia forward Joe Alexander has a similar offensive game to Rashard Lewis or Tayshaun Prince, he’ll be referred to as “Tom Gugliotta with hops!”

Shots of O.J. Mayo’s posse
- Embattled USC prospect O.J. Mayo recently called the ESPN network to deny the allegations that he received illegal gifts while in school, and he was smart enough to make the call from a cell phone that ESPN’s investigation showed was illicitly provided. Now you have to wonder whether or not shots via satellite of O.J.’s crew watching back home will show them viewing the draft on a curiously familiar flatscreen television.

Explanations of Beasley’s dwindling height
- Highly regarded top prospect Michael Beasley has run into an odd road block on his way through draft camps, he seems to have shrunk. The forward was listed at 6’10” during his time at Kansas State but has showed up to pre-draft workouts a full 3 inches shorter. So how does an organization justify using their pick on a guy who could very well be 5’8” five years into his career? I guess we’ll see.

The Lopez brothers feature
- You can definitely expect to see a montage of the Lopez brothers at some point during the draft coverage. The twin brothers, Brook and Robin, coming out of Stanford are both projected as first round picks and because ESPN can’t possibly leave something like this alone we’ll most assuredly have to endure some feature about what it was like for them growing up and how competitive their backyard games were. The real question is, how long will mainstream media go on disregarding the third, and arguably just as famous from his American Idol days, brother?

Huge trade possibilities
- Almost every year the draft supplies us with one surprising trade that can really improve a team. And with the Minnesota Timberwolves sitting at the 3rd overall spot you have to wonder if GM Kevin McHale has another deal in the works. Not to say that McHale was favoring his former team when he gave the Celtics Kevin Garnett last year, but word on the street is he’s thinking of sending the T’Wolves pick to Boston for Eddie House and a case of Samuel Adams.

Jay Bilas’ unique player descriptions
- Normally relegated to the college basketball coverage on ESPN, analyst Jay Bilas serves as the bridge between the amateur and professional ranks and offers solid breakdowns of the prospects who are moving up. Sure it can get to be a little homoerotic when Bilas harps on who among the players has the most cut, toned, ripped, NBA-ready body, but that’s just quality analysis. Right?

Kobe’s world premiere rap video
- Since the NBA has taken no action or stand on the recent uncovering of Shaquille O’Neal’s Kobe-bashing ballad, it seems only fair that the draft serve as the medium for Kobe’s unavoidable retaliation. Don’t expect Kobe to stoop as low and ask Shaq how parts of him taste though; he’ll likely take the high road and focus on the fact that his YouTube Nike commercials have garnered more viewers than Kazaam and Steel combined.

Stephen A. Smith’s riveting player interviews
- Rather than featuring him as one of this year’s main commentators, ESPN has elected to make the always eloquent and enunciated Mr. Smith the first man to speak to the draftees after their selection. So look forward to reveling in the fact that while these young players have just pulled in more money than you’ll ever see, at least you’re not covered in Stephen A. saliva on national television.

David Stern’s inevitable name butchering
- Somehow the NBA commissioner always manages to horribly mispronounce the name of some young prospect who could be one of the future faces of his league. Is it wrong that this guy doesn’t even watch enough basketball coverage to familiarize himself with the players who fatten his pockets? You could argue that. But here’s to hoping the Knicks take Italian phenom Danilo Gallinari with their pick, so viewers can hear the raucous boos of the hometown Madison Square Garden crowd as Stern announces: “With the 6th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select… Daniela Calimari.”

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