Tonight is the big night. It is the night where the bright lights will be shining on the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden. It is a dire shame that the bright lights are never shining on MSG anymore for the tremendous play of the New York Knicks. But who knows, maybe the Knicks will put together their first playoff run since the Patrick Ewing days following this wild free agency period that is only a week away.
So tonight, many of last year’s college studs will be in the limelight decked out in fancy suits and all smiles for the big evening. This is where these guys will finally be on their way to signing the big pay-day. I have come up with 5 main storylines for this evening’s gala.
Sportskraze’s Top 5:
1. Where is the talent?
– Many are calling this a 4 player draft. Experts are saying that John Wall, Evan Turner, Demarcus Cousins, and Derrick Favors are the only real impact players coming out this year. And even out of these four, there are many question marks surrounding Favors as a possible Kwame Brown repeat and Cousins as a player with major maturity issues (some have compared him to a Zac Randolph type). There is the occasional guy who is clamoring that Wes Johnson will eventually become an All Star in this League as well. There are always surprises though in how some of these players pan out though. The experts are never entirely right.
2. I thought the world was becoming flat?
– There are only 3 to 4 European/Foreign players on the entire draft board this year. Maybe the mighty influx of European talent is coming to an end? I do not think this is the case, but this year, the talent cupboard is very bare from overseas (and in the States for that matter). I guess we are in for a good old-fashioned draft of mainly NCAA players. It will be nice to have a draft where you have heard of and know something about all of the guys being drafted.
3. Where are the graduating seniors?
– Most experts have 0 or 1 graduating seniors being drafted in the entire first round. The rest of the potential draftees are early entrants. And this is not due to a plethora of foreign talent (see point 2). I guess the days of developing stud players over the course of a 4 year period are over. The concept of a “program” is becoming a 1 or 2 year thing these days. The face of both the NBA and College game continue to change immensely.
4. I thought you must be 21 to be legal?
– This question kind of piggy backs off of my last point. There are 50 early entrants in this year’s draft. Yes, you heard me right, 50! You know how many there were last year? 33 total. And the year before that there were 39. Generally there is a large group of guys who pull out of the draft 10 days before the big day in order to keep their college eligibility and remain in school. This was not the case this year. So I guess the struggling economy is leading these young guys to crave dollar bills now? Or maybe the possibility of a strike is leading some of these guys to rush to the League? Either way, a good 15 to 20 of these guys will go undrafted and have many important life decisions to make come tomorrow. I guess only Coach K has found a way to get guys to stay for 4 years in this era of one and dones and early departures (see Kyle Singler).
4. Is this just a precursor to the real party that starts on July 1st?
– This whole draft for most teams is revolving around positioning themselves for the madness that is this year’s free agency period. As I said before, the talent in this draft is slim to none according to most experts. The free agency market is by far the most talented of all time. Be ready for a lot of trades going on tonight as teams try to snag some veteran talent and teams try to free up cap space in order to sign some of the big name guys on the market next week. I mean the draft is always important, but this year it is vastly overshadowed by what is to come in July.
5. Is this the John Calipari show?
– The school that is getting the most notoriety in this draft is that storied program from Lexington. A team that somehow did not even make the Final Four. John Wall was proclaimed the number 1 pick what seems like an eternity ago. Even the King himself, Lebron James, said that Wall would be the number pick last December! You want to know something very interesting though? Kentucky has the most wins out of any program in NCAA history and is widely considered the most storied team, yet they have never had a player go number 1 in the NBA draft. Kind of surprising, but that all changes tonight. The real question is will John Wall show David Stern the “John Wall Dance” on stage? In addition, most experts have 5 Wildcats being selected in the first round tonight. This would break the previous record of 4 players from one team going in the first round of the draft. So be looking for John Calipari in a very expensive suit, dawning his amazingly smooth hair, and grinning from ear to ear all over the television cameras tonight. It is a shame that he is not getting a piece of the money that his former players will be getting soon. Or maybe he is (just kidding).
So those are the five main storylines for tonight’s draft from Sportskraze. I will leave you with one more thing though. As I have stated on previous posts, the NBA has become a League all about length. Teams that have the most length at all the positions are the ones that are at the top of the League. See teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, and Cavaliers. So looking at the crop coming out, guys like Turner and Wall will be successful in that they fit in this mold of being very long at their respective positions.
Enjoy the Draft tonight. Hopefully it won’t be long before Madison Square Garden is back on the map for the play of its beloved Knicks..
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.