Thursday, July 1, 2010
Behind The Scoreboard
The NBA’s super market, actually known as the annual NBA draft, opened its doors on June 25 so franchises could fill their shopping carts with new talents in hopes of fulfilling playoff dreams. The hall was filled with all the hopefuls with their families, future coaches, friends and reporters. As usual it was cacophonous but orderly.
Most were anxious to see if their predictions would pan out as to who would be the first pick. It was a no-brainer. John Wall of Kentucky had been touted as the premier choice draftee ever since the freshman declared. The Washington Wizards had won the draft lottery (the right to choose first), and they selected Wall. The Wizards didn’t really have a magical season and with a record of 26-56, they amazed few.
And at this point is where this writer cries foul. I can’t see the fairness in the cast of a die or coin flip to see who gets the first pick when there are teams with records lower than sea level. Would it not be more equitable to give the five teams with the worst records the first five picks before flipping the coin? The New Jersey Nets, by far the very worst with a record of 12-70, certainly could have benefited from such consideration.
The Nets are apparently solving their most immediate problems. First, the franchise was sold. Remember the old cries – the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming? Well, apparently they have arrived and are buying NBA teams. The new owner of the Nets is a billionaire Russian by the name of Mikhail Prokhorov. He has not been that visible so far but there is evidence that he is using a new broom. Rumor has it that the president has been fired and the GM’s contract will not be renewed. And he has hired Avery Johnson as the new coach. Johnson has the greatest winning percentage of any NBA coach.
As was mentioned, the first pick came from Kentucky. A beaming Calipari looked on as his university made history. He had five players selected in the first round. Never before in the history of the draft has this happened. Coach Cal adroitly sidestepped the question about team decimation by saying sweetly how proud he was of these young men, their families and the University of Kentucky.
If you were like most of us, you were not really interested in where the Lakers and Celtics would pick, however, you waited to see what the Memphis Grizzlies would do with their choices at 12, 25 and 28. The week had been filled with speculations that Memphis would take Xavier Henry at 12, Doiminique Jones at 25 and Greivis Vasquez at 28. But, we know how fond the Grizz is of making deals and one surfaced before the ink was dry. Jones was sold for a rumored $3 million cash and Vasquez retained, for now.
The entire draft process was interspersed with suggestions about the future of LeBron James, Chicago and Cleveland. And it was even disclosed that the New York Knicks are weighing in in an effort to get King James to come to the Big Apple.
Don’t worry, this saga won’t wrap for some time.
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