Ah, I can just see thirty people seeing the letters N-B-A, now clicking over to what The Thief or Aaron Wymer blogged about today. Anyhow, a couple of quick thoughts on the NBA Draft:
- Rule number 1 if you are a NBA GM: Never pass on a 20 year old center who looks 40 years old, and can at times dominate a game like he's in his prime. I mean, if he can do that now, at times, what will he be able to do in his prime? Oden goes to Portland. And that's all.
- Mike Conley is going to be a pretty good point guard in the NBA... if he develops a jump shot. I mean, Jason Kidd is the only point guard in recent memory who couldn't score all that well, and did a good job (and yet how many times has he been traded in his career, or won a title?) and Conley can't see the floor like Kidd (few can), so once he gets pummeled going to the hole repeated by rugged 6'10" power forwards, what does he do then? If I were his agent, he'd be with a personal shooting coach every single day.
- The lottery was a disaster for the NBA. The two top picks are going to be in the Pacific Northwest, meaning that not only will the Leastern Conference not get any better, but two guys that will be carrying the league into the future will never be on TV early than 10pm on the east coast. And much like the NHL, the NBA has little or no following outside of the cities with teams... and most of the ones with the largest populations are in the east, so this is not good. This puts more pressure on Miami, Detroit, and Cleveland to step up and get the players they need so they can compete for a championship... or more accurately, David Stern will put more pressure on these franchises so that in five more years the NBA Finals isn't showing on the Versus Network.
- The thing that makes this draft interesting to us NBA-ophiles, is it's trade potential. With guys like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant looking for a change of scenery, other guys like Andre Kirilenko wearing out their welcome in their current town, and GM's like Isiah Thomas lurking out their to make big moves (that often make no sense) the chances of a lot of players moving tomorrow are good. While Oden and Durant are probably done deals, every spot from 3 on down could end up being a part of a trade, meaning lots of teams could get new looks next season... and after this season, that's OK by me.
- It cannot be debated that the NBA instituting a minimum age for players ended up being good for both pro and college basketball. The college game has real stars playing in it again, while the NBA benefits from the exposure these players get in the most popular basketball tournament on the planet. It's just too bad the minimum age couldn't be raised higher, like to 21, so kids could get a little more polished and educated. Here's hoping that's considered down the line.
- I couldn't be more excited that the NBDL is coming to Ft. Wayne. Max, Xavie, and I will definitely see a game or two. I've missed minor league basketball ever since the Ohio Mixers (CBA) folded up their tents here in Lima and left for Cincinnati. I mean, as a kid I got to watch Billy Ray Bates in his twilight years break a backboard at Lima Senior's gym. The guy was a legend (often for the wrong reasons) and we saw him play for $3. Who knows what future role players, or off-court legends we'll get to see play in the D-league... I'm giddy with the possibilities.
- If you watch the draft, give me a call with updates. I'll be at church camp with the High School youth group, feeding them pizza and generally just letting them know that their senior pastor cares about them. Given all the upheaval it's really not enough to fix everything that's happened (as we look for our fourth youth pastor in four years), but it's a start. Besides, I've got a lot good memories from that church camp. It'll be good to be back to see the talent show (which has been scheduled for the Thursday night of that camp since Moses signed up to do bird calls).
But please, send those text messages.. and no fake "LeBron James is traded to the Lakers for Ronnie Turiaf and the rights to 7'9" center from the French Alps". My fragile heart can't take that kind of humor.