Friday, June 24, 2011

Caught In The Draft

There were 60 players chosen last night in the NBA draft, and TigerBlog had heard of exactly 22 of them beforehand.

Of the 30 first-round selections, TB had heard of 13.

The NFL draft is filled with more players that TB hasn't heard of - and neither have the "experts" who do all their mock drafts, at least until these players emerge in somebody's draft guide.

The NBA and NFL drafts are fascinating examples of total overkill on everyone's part. The amount of pre-draft material written and discussed on radio and TV is staggering, and it goes to TigerBlog's etched-in-stone theory that people would much prefer to read about what's going to happen next than what just happened.

Mock drafts - like hypothetical NCAA tournament bracket selections - are wildly popular, and yet any individual could do his or her own and have as much validity as anyone else's, because, like the NCAA committee, the NBA teams aren't bound by anyone's mock draft.

In many ways, mock drafts and bracket selections are like way less reliable versions of the weather forecast.

As for the drafts themselves, they've grown into incredible made-for-TV events.

TB prefers the NBA one to the NFL one because it's over so quickly, though football at least realized that having 15 minutes between first round selections was way too much.

As an aside, there was one moment during last night's draft, where Stuart Scott tried to make a joke about how Chicago might draft a part-owner of the Bobcats (obviously Michael Jordan) and had the other three ESPN announcers stare at him without any reaction. TB is pretty sure he's never seen an attempt at humor on live TV bomb so badly.

For as much as the media overdoes it with the drafts, the unmistakable reality of drafting is that teams get it wrong more than they get it right. Teams pour millions of dollars into scouting and talent evaluation, only to fall in love with the wrong players because they showed something in some workout somewhere.

If you go back and look at any draft, you'll see that more than half of the players from the first round never became anything special, and certainly nothing better than later round or undrafted players (especially in football).

Often the teams that hit it big do so completely by luck, either because an obviously great player somehow passed down to where they were picking or they traded for someone who turned out to be great or they just had their selection pan out where the ones above it didn't.

As for the draft last night, of the 60 players chosen, six played against Princeton last year. Of course, all six were either from Duke or Kentucky.

So now, with the NFL and NBA drafts completed, fans of the two sports can look forward to seeing which selections will turn into all-stars and which will turn into nothing special.

Oh wait. No, that might not happen, not with NFL players already locked out and NBA players about to be.

TigerBlog's cousin Toby got married in 1981 in New York City and was moving to San Diego. She and her new husband were going to make the cross-country drive and stop at every Major League stadium along the way to see a game.

Except there was a baseball strike that summer, which wiped out their entire itinerary. And they ended up getting divorced.

It's never easy for fans to understand why players and owners can't agree how to carve up all the money, especially in the current football situation, where both sides were making unprecedented profits (unlike the NBA, where some teams struggle to stay afloat).

All of this always bring TB back to the concept of paying college athletes and whether or not this is a good idea.

The answer to TB is simple - no way.

College athletes already get paid, at least scholarship ones do. Maybe not in cash, but in a free education with no loans waiting at the end. Hey, if the athletes don't take advantage of it, that's on them.

And would every athlete in every sport get paid? Only the ones who play football or basketball? Who would regulate it?

As for Ivy League athletes, obviously they have no athletic scholarships. Still, that doesn't stop TB from hearing all the time about this athlete who got a full ride to one Ivy school or another or how the Ivy League schools give out athletic scholarships but just don't call them that.

TB always answers the same way, saying that that isn't the case.

Anyway, TB is pretty sure that the NFL season will start on time this year, though he's not as sure about the NBA.

He's 100% positive that the Princeton season will begin on time, in every sport.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to read that TB's cousin Toby eventually got divorced. If one had to pick a leading indicator for a marriage which would last, a pretty good choice would be a couple who planned to drive cross-country, stopping at every major league stadium along the way to watch a game.

If those crazy kids can't make it, what chance do the rest of us have?