When I'm not watching old HS dunk contests, I'm thinking about the draft. This is made more than a little difficult by the fact that I can't be bothered to follow college ball until the tournament; also making the NCAA's not only more compelling than NBA endgame, but more relveant to my continued enjoyment of the league that knows no teething.
I am totally amazed by the barreness of this year's presumed entry pool. I can't remember a year when more prospects seemed like they had to be coaxed into the untold riches and magical realism of the pros; the high school and Euro dream is dead, and college ball, for whatever reason, doesn't seem so bad to the Williamses, Pauls, Boguts of the world.
You have to blame this all on the NBA. Looking at Chad Ford's lottery preview today (sorry, it's insider, so no link), I'm struck by one thing: no one in their right mind would really want to play for any of the high lottery teams. I can't quite put my finger on why, and it's different in each case. But why rush to the pros if you're facing certain misery of one kind or another? Perpetually rebuilding teams can no longer offer the promise of coming in to save the team; in most cases, they'd be ending up as one of several young guns presumed to have been the future of the team. The Bobcats look moderately desirable only because they're severely lacking in those talent guys; even Okafor, their resident stud, is more a stabilizing vet than the guy that's going to catapault a team into contention.
It's the cap. The best possible formula is to be a team with some vets, some castaways, and one minor star that, whether due to injuries or incompetence, just couldn't put it together that year. The Rockets when they grabbed Yao. The Magic for Howard. Even the Cavs, since they at least had Big Z. The problem is, these teams are more and more flukish. If a team is sinking, they dump everyone remotely tradeable in order to lighten the load, at least financially. If they have any veteran talent, it's very hard to lose, like big-time lottery lose, since there are so many terrible teams in the East, at least.
One last note: no one in their right mind should want to go to Utah. They will have to wrest that team from Sloan's dead, cold hand.