Thursday, June 29, 2006

Feeling a Draft???

Last night marked the final exciting sports event of the summer (all apologies to my soccer enthusiast and baseball enthusiast friends), the laugh-fest that is the NBA Draft. Still bereft of cable TV at my new pad, I instead cruised over to my buddy Vaughn's place and jumped in the game in time to see Orlando take the one guy I would have been excited for the Jazz to pick up: J.J. "Don't hate me because I'm a Dookie--Actually go ahead, I really don't care" Redick. In spite of the DUI and the back thing and the no-D thing, I still thought he might be a good addition.

Oh well.

If he gets drunk one night next season after giving up 50 points to Dwyane Wade and wraps a Ferrari around a tree--breaking his back--maybe my opinion will change.

Come to find out, Redick was only the most recent Jazz prospect to be taken off the board early--Patrick O'Bryant and that Sene guy were already gone, too. With a little thought, I came to the conclusion that there wasn't anybody left that felt like a good pick-up, and so I tossed my support behind pulling a Boston and drafting Greg Oden early, or better yet, drafting ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, just to see his reaction.

Turns out Smith's reaction couldn't have been much better than the guy the Jazz did wind up picking--Ronnie Brewer of Arkansas. The guy looked so stone-cold somber I couldn't tell if he was just scared or horrified at the prospect of playing with the Jazz. I'm telling you, we are getting such a bad rep for being unfriendly to black players that I'm beginning to think we should just draft European's exclusively. It's seriously becoming a bad joke. What I can't figure out, though, is that with all of the celebrity trash-talking and complaining about how hard it is to get a beer in Salt Lake, why do so many people keep moving here?

Actually, I can figure it out. I know exactly why they're still coming, but I'm not going into it now. It is a rant for another time.

Besides, it's much more important to talk about the true highlight of the evening...watching David Stern announce Knick draft picks in front of more-irate-than-usual Knick fans. The Reign of Isaiah Thomas has become can't-miss entertainment; it's to the point where someone will speculate on something dumb he could do, and he'll either do it (like trade for Steve Francis), or find something even more dumb or shocking to do (read on).

So once the Jazz had picked, Vaughn and I turned our attention towards watching for what Isaiah would do next, and he didn't disappoint. Once the Knicks were on the clock, ESPN sent a guy into the crowd to get some 200-on-one feedback. The guy kept trying to ask sensible questions while being horded by about a dozen maniacal fans waving their hands, screaming obscenities about Thomas, and flashing peace/gang/what-up signs at the camera. When they spoke, they sounded like a Saturday Night Fever-era John Travolta. Couldn't have been better, unless Stern himself would have crowd surfed.

So the big guy comes out to the podium after ESPN shows the Isaiah: Reign of Terror graphic, to big cheers/boos/general pandemonium. Easily the most energy ever for a #20 pick. Laughingly, I predict the first words out of Don Stern's mouth: "there has been a trade".

First words out of Stern's mouth: "there has been a trade".

Score one for Josh. Unfortunately, the trade didn't involve the Knicks picking up Peja Stoyakovic in a sign-and-trade after Indiana had given him a fifteen-year, 350 million dollar contract, but the moment was good regardless. Then it got better...

"With the twentieth pick in the 2006 NBA draft, the New York Knicks select...Renaldo Balkman."

Who? WHO?

Crowd goes nuts in a combination of rage, horror, and outright shock. ESPN guys almost fall over laughing. Shoulda been a second-rounder, they say. Spike Lee tries to say something positive, because after all, the Knicks have him under contract. Somewhere in a dark room in the catacombs of New York Knick headquarters, Isaiah Thomas chuckles and pours himself a drink.

By the time New York picks another no-name guy with the 29th pick, most in-house fans are too stunned to do anything more than stand around with blank stares and maybe shake their heads. Some of them are still waving "Fire Isaiah" signs. The ESPN camera pans by, catching it all in it's distorted surreal beauty.

And the world laughs...