By: Tyler Chuck
The Draft has become an event and spectacle with more media coverage than actual NBA games. So called “draft experts” such as ESPN’s Chad Ford go through ten different versions of their “mock draft” and devote coverage to the draft all year long. It seems confusing that we would put so much emphasis on an event that is not a game. For example, there is no media coverage of who will be your next barista at the local Philz Coffee. So why is it that we love the NBA Draft so much?
People have always been enamored with the next big thing. The NBA is a big business that people get invested in and love to research and therefore speculation runs rampant about the future. This anticipatory feeling is the same feeling that we get when we tune into Apple’s newest product release or stay up and watch a midnight release movie. People are also enamored with a glimmer of hope. This hope is why we got so excited about opening a pack of baseball cards or like betting on our favorite team in the Super Bowl.
The converging forces of the “next big thing” and a “glimmer of hope” are why we love the NBA Draft.
While most players in the NBA Draft will not make a significant impact for at least one or two years, the young talent represents the latest and greatest in basketball. These prospects are scouted starting when they are in Junior High School or even before such as the case with LeBron James’ son Bronny James.
Part of this just doesn’t seem right, yet media coverage continues with young scouting as the public is fascinated with stories of the “best discovery since sliced bread.”
In the same way that trendsetters try to find the latest fashion or music, basketball fanatics want to say that they have “discovered” the next great player. Whether you enjoy watching an international phenom in Kristaps Porzingis, a mid-major stud such as Cameron Payne, the raw talent of a Stanley Johnson, or a national champion like Jahlil Okafor, these continual coverage of these players shows that we as people are driven to discover the next big thing.
The NBA Draft represents hope to a struggling franchise. In 2015, the Draft will be the biggest day of the NBA “season” for the Timberwolves, Lakers, and Knicks. As a Golden State Warriors fan, the NBA Draft had been a beacon of hope for as long as I can remember. After every failed season, we would turn to the draft to find the next greatest prospect in hopes that he would turn our fortunes around. For 40 years, Dub Nation experienced failed management and poor decision making, making them the laughing stock of the NBA.
When the ownership group head by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber purchased the Warriors almost 5 years ago, the Warriors fortunes changed and did so through the draft. While Steph Curry had been drafted by the previous management, this new ownership drafted what would become the Warrior’s young core: Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeili. This group propelled the Warriors to another level, developing into one of the best statistical teams in the history of the NBA.
Now, after winning a title, the Warriors are in a position to retool like never before. The draft is no longer a a hopeful lottery gamble, but a celebration of organizational success.
The Bay’s Team has really come a long way. We will get to watch this year’s draft now seated on the throne. Everyone else is trying to keep up with the team that Bob Myers has put together. The Warriors represent a change in the way the NBA game is played, playing small, using wing defenders, and shooting 3′s. Other teams will try to copy the Warriors success and build through the draft.
Here’s my 2015 Mock Draft (all the picks that really count):
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Sevilla
3. Philadelphia 76ers: DeAngelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
4. New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
5. Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja, SG, Barcelona
6. Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
7. Denver Nuggets: Justice Winslow, SF, Duke
8. Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
9. Charlotte Hornets: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
10. Miami Heat: Myles Turner, C, Texas
30. Golden State Warriors: Normal Powell, SG, UCLA
I think that Powell is a good fit. Based on their recent organizational philosophy, the Dubs have clearly been committed to defense and Powell proves an extremely athletic wing defender that can defend 1′s and 2′s and switch onto bigger players as well. He comes from a school that has produced NBA Guards in Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holliday, Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, and Zach LaVine. He has a decent mid-range game and could provide a more traditional backup guard to Steph and Klay.
The NBA Draft airs at 4pm on Thursday, June 26th on ESPN. Cheers to this year’s draft being a celebration of success and not a shot in the dark for future glory.