Notwithstanding the broadcast, the webcast, the radio feeds, the Twitters and the overblown but expected wall-to-wall, they-took-the-point-guard-from-Slovenia! coverage by all of the ESPN networks, I have a question for the masses:
How much do you care about this NBA draft?
I hate to sound like the old guy on the porch. But it seems to me that the draft has lost some of its allure.
I love the sport — basketball players in general remain the greatest all-around athletes in pro sports — and I suppose there’s still some lingering drama before each selection.
The problem is the draft has become relatively faceless. Once you get past the first few names — and this season, once you get past Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin – there isn’t much to identify with. Most need name tags.
This season’s projected No. 2 pick: Ricky Rubio, a point guard from Spain. Would you know Ricky Rubio if he dropped from the sky and fell into your morning Cocoa Puffs? If Ricky Rubio knocked on 100 doors, how many people would say: “THE Ricky Rubio?!? The point guard from Spain?!? I loved you in the Barcelona game!”
There are two big reasons for what’s happened:
♦ The influx of European players. Three years ago, six Euros were taken in the first round, including Andrea Bargnani, who went first overall to Toronto. (Then again, Shelden Williams, an American, went four picks later to the Hawks. So much for our superiority.)
♦ The influx of high school players. While there have been some obvious huge successes — LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, etc. — most high schoolers have flopped. Even when the NBA mandated that players must attend college for at least one season, it didn’t help much. When players stayed in college for at least two seasons, more fans became aware of who they were.
OK, so is it just me?
Who else out there in the blogosphere can’t tell the draft picks without a scorecard?