FreeDrafto, Pt. 4: Please, give me blood and wheels!
First it was the Spurs and the Pistons, now Andrew Bogut. Bogut, college player of the year, self-proclaimed prophet of "good" basketball, the man whose sound, polished, decorated presence, in many minds, legitimates the draft itself. If he isn't the draft equivalent of the Spurs and Pistons, sullying what should be a good name of screwy, jackhammer brilliance and replacing it with a call to responsibility and virtue, then I have no place in this blog. Just as the playoffs was clouded by the righteous fog of your two favorite avatars of "real" basketball, so Bogut's goofy, unconvincing (and totally conniving) media blitz (and drooling media boosters) has overshadowed a draft that should be as full of loopy drama as the Finals utterly failed to be.
It doesn't stop there, though. I had said earlier that the beauty of this draft was that, with no obvious stars and no hot scouting trends to govern its otherwise lawless parameters, anyone could be god for a night. Why not believe that the best player in the 2005 NBA draft would come from the late first round? But so re-made in the image of Pop, Duncan, Brown, and whoever it is on the Pistons that keeps Wallace, Wallace and Billups on ice (Rip, I guess), has the Association become over these last few months that now it's being pegged as "the draft of depth." Does that make anyone want to tune in? You watch the draft to see history in the making, not to see a solid seventh man picked up by a team that really needed one for playoff depth. Also the chances of failures that cackle throughout the halls of memory (aka basketballreference.com, or whatever it is the Recluse reads in his spare time) are far less likely when no one's destined for magnitude in the first place.
"Who could forget Joey Graham, the twelth pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Scouts had projected him as a tough, inexorable player on both ends of the floor, who could stabilize a young team while providing a decent third or fourth option. Unfortunately, his whole career he was never more than a fifth option or a valuable bench player. The NBA Draft, indeed it is made of horror."
Also there's this new thing I've noticed on some draft-related sites (if you have already been reading them or have an interest in doing so, look for them yourself so the shame can be revealed) of advertising mocks as "what should happen" vs. "what will happen." I get the two confused, but the distinction usually has to do with whether or not you take "best available" (and whether or not scouts think doing so is smart or foolish, and whether or not they're smart or foolish for thinking so). May I gleefully submit that, in a draft flush with indistinguishable talent and pickling uncertainty, "best available" is ridiculous? No one can agree on who belongs in the lottery, much less who's the "best available." Teams should be going for need because there is no index of "bestness."
But I would like to offer up this last plea to the Draft powers that be: don't let Bogut go #1. Or #2. Here is my version of the qualified mock, in the form of a few things that have to happen for anything socially redeemable to come out of Tuesday night. It will be brief: Bogut #3 and a snotty interview; Hawks take Paul and save Atlanta basketball from itself; Bynum goes mid-lottery as this year's "weird thing that went down in the last two days" story; McCants late lottery "despite some questions about his attitude"; Knicks pick a center of some kind and save us all another year's worth of misplaced collective groaning and anxiety; big trade goes down that at least affects some known quantities; we see Phil's master plan start to swing into motion (Jarret Jack?) and next season already seem close, competitive, and sinister; 'Cats get at least one UNC player; Wolves start to retool their backcourt and things seem alright; the foreigners get funnier AND FAST (they get funny quickly, but a hunger strike would also behoove); every single pick isn't followed by "they've already got so and so at such and such position" so we can at least pretend these selections will step right in and star.
Is Barkley doing the draft?