Sunday, July 6, 2008

Draft '08: I've Gotta Get You Outta My System...Seriously.

David Stern:"And with the 6th pick in the NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select..(dramatic pause)...Danilo Gallinari..."

(Chorus of boos ensues)

Stern:"...of Italy."

Danilo, what did you expect? Two weeks ago, no one knew who the heck you were in the Big Apple. Like most New Yorkers, I was still praying that Donnie Walsh (no Isiah, YES!) could pull a trade that could get us one (or more) of these four things:

1. Cap relief in preparation of Lebron's inevitable leap to Madison Avenue in 2010.
2. Derrick Rose.
3. A good point guard/player to run in D'Antoni's system this Fall.
4. Did I already mention getting some money off of the salary cap?

Yeah, it might be tough of New York to boo the Italian, especially since most of us didn't know that Italy had a basketball league until Marbury famously vowed to play there once his contract expired. Really, you can't make this stuff up. Ladies and gentlemen, Isiah Thomas' New York Knicks!

Secondly, the Knicks have had a bad track record with Euros. I mean, the last European player we remember suffering over was Frederick Weis. You know, the guy that will have the stench of Vince Carter's cojones resting squarely on his forehead for the remainder of his life. Yeah, you really can't make this stuff up.

Honestly, once I heard David Stern start talking, I wasn't even surprised to see us take Danilo with the 6th pick. Think about it...we have the blackest team in the NBA. Since Isiah's now out as GM (YES!), we now have a white GM that looks like he's been working alongside Lt. Murtaugh from Family Matters for the past 40 years and has probably decorated his basement floor with empty Marlboro Light cartons, and an Italian coach who roomed and played alongside Danilo's dad on the Italian national team. Did you really think that we were going to pass on Danilo if he was still available at the 6th spot? Didn't think so.

By the way, I hate it when ESPN shows the same three clips of a foreign player once he's drafted. Sometimes, I feel like the folks in Bristol would like to intentionally twist the knife into the backs of every Knicks fan in the United States by showing of clips Danilo laying the ball into the basket as a 6'8'' player. Hey, set it to a track of Stephen A. Smith dissing Kwame Brown in historic fashion. As Bucks fans must know, I don't want to see Yi Jianlian backing down a folding chair in a solo workout or Danilo making offensive moves eerily similar to Ty Hansbrough's array at North Carolina. I want to see my draft pick catching alley-oops like Shawn Kemp in NBA Jam, or dribbling through defenders like "The Pharmacist" at the Rucker. Basically, I don't want my Entertainment and sports programming network to intentionally give me a reason to lay in a empty bathtub with my wrists slit. ESPN, I'm in Delaware, bored out of my throw me a bone, will ya?

(Side "Note": Delaware is dreadfully boring. Yep, I'm living in Delaware for the summer to work at my internship with CN8, the Comcast Network, and all of the rumors are true. Gas prices are cheap...but where the heck do you want to drive, anyway? My life right now is like an episode of NBC's Scrubs. I'm like J.D., the eager young professional trying to make a mark on the industry, my best friend and his wife are like Turk and Carla (newly married and ready to conquer the world together). Is there an Elliot in the picture? Who's the Dr. Cox of my work world? Okay, I'll stop babbling...)

I fully expect this draft day to be revisited five years from now on an hour-long episode of "You Can't Blame..." on ESPN Classic, right after Bob Ley chronicles Kwame Brown's newfound success as a high school janitor on "Outside the Lines." But for now, I've just gotta be like Lil' Bow Wow and get this incorrigible NBA Draft '08 outta my system. And since I don't stand at a paltry three feet and live in the Buckeye State (Ohio), the pain and disappointment of the draft will be a much longer cleansing process.

Oh well, let's just move on and rate this draft, shall we?

Best Draft Day: New Jersey Nets. What makes this year's draft even harder to bear is seeing our soon-to-be crosstown rivals (Brooklyn in 2010) setting themselves up for Lebron's eventual sprint from his home state to Jay-Z's side in New York in 2010. Not only were they able to rid themselves of Richard Jefferson's salary, but will now be able to market themselves to N.Y.'s Asian community (Chairman Yi) and add talented, cheap depth to the roster (Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson). Plus, once V.C. decides to sulk and go into full-fledged tank city (watch for the Paul Pierce-esque "injury"), the Nets will be able to start a Devin Harris-Maurice Ager backcourt and grab a high draft pick next year. Lebron, this is all for you.

Worst Draft Day: Charlotte Bobcats. Great. Folks, let's all agree to never allow M.J. run another franchise, okay? Isn't one Kwame Brown mistake a decade good enough for the NBA? Now, we've got to see Adam Morrison hobble around while getting zero elevation on his jumpshot for the next five years, and a perfect college point guard (D.J. Augustin) get ruined by the point guard hater, Larry Brown. The NBA has already done what I'm starting to do on the New Jersey Turnpike...passed old, gray haired do-the-right-thing coaches like Larry Brown Athens by in favor of alley-oops, run and gun basketball (Mike D'Antoni, Vinny Del Negro). Unfortunately for Bobcat fans, your part-owner fails to see that the league has already left his vision in the dust. M.J., I know you like to gamble, but this is ridiculous.

Best Quote: "He's got a lot of tools, he just needs to find the key to the toolbox," Jay Bilas knocking Donte Greene's maturity level. Seriously, how can Mel Kiper, Jr. even compare to this?

Unintentional Comedic Moment: Yup, the guy that got left in the green room unceremionally this year was in fact Darrell Arthur. Okay, who told this guy that he was getting drafted in the first round? It's great when the talking heads start scratching their head and shooting the breeze about what could possibly be wrong with the last green room guy. Bad kidneys? Drug problems? was almost as bad as when Bilas was rehashing Marcus Williams laptop incident in '06 while he pretended to be texting his agent and looking at the floor simultaneously. You've gotta love the NBA Draft!

Guys We'll Still Be Talking About 10 Years From Now: Michael Beasley (sitting next to Rae Carruth in the state penn), Derrick Rose (Top 10 PG), Robin Lopez (best fro-hawk), OJ Mayo (biggest nickname mistake), and Mario Chalmers (about how underrated he is, thereby eventually making him overrated).

Guys You'll See as Greeters in Your Neighborhood Walmart: Joey Dorsey, Alexis Ajinca, Anthony Randolph, Mearty Leunen...basically, these guys plus everyone after the 50th pick. And you thought Simon Cowell was harsh.

GM that probably lost his job due to Draft 2008: Chris Mullin. Yup, you drafted a tall, skinny athletic player when you have three such guys already camped out on your roster (Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Brenden Wright) and decided to be cheap when it comes to giving your superstar guard a respectable salary. Now, your star attractions are Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins and you've lost the respect of your entire fanbase. I think getting your resume and cover letter together would be appropriate right about now.

If you need me, I'll be burning my mock draft notes to roast marshmallows, practicing the revolutionary Urkel Dance, and praying that gas prices can climb back to the $2.99 range. I'll be in Beijing starting August 2nd, but you can check either here or my blog, Points Off Turnovers (, for updates and information about my China experience! (I'll try to leave the cheesy smiles in the states.)

Enjoy the summer folks. Adios!