Friday, June 24, 2011

God I'm Bored: The Diss Diaries the 2011 Draft.

While I was in undergrad, there used to be a group of guys who would turn the NFL Draft into their own personal Mardi Gras. They'd post up in some dorm lounge, strapped down with snacks and sodas and all sorts of unhealthy shit, and just watch the NFL Draft. And I don't mean the first round, or the first round. They would watch all 476 rounds of that sadistic marathon. What would be more impressive would be that these guys--who could generously be described as "nerds" at a school full of nerds--knew a sizeable amount about each prospect, each anonymous tailback or middle linebacker from Eastwestern Missasota State or wherever. It was stuff of legends. I was never invited.

For whatever reason, I never developed that type of relationship with the NBA Draft. To be honest, I don't know many of the players in the draft. I don't watch college ball until March Madness, and complain about watching "30 seconds of kicking the ball around the perimeter before some guy I've never heard of takers a bad shot" basketball throughout the entire tournament. That said, I do enjoy the pageantry of the NBA Draft. Each player is described by television analysts as a franchise savior, when at most, they'll be solid rotation players for a team different than the one that drafted them. Besides that, the entire event has a sort of pseudo-auction feel that vacillates between military conscription and beauty pageant. In a highly performative league, this is NBA theater at its finest.

This year, I decided to play along. I would get down and dirty with the NBA draft; study the players, watch both rounds. And, most importantly, record my thoughts, to share with all nine or so of you. And yes, this is what Bill Simmons does. Yes, it's what he's done for like thirteen years. Well, it's a pretty great format. And rest assured, my experience watching the draft is nothing like his. Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times reports that Bill Simmons does most of his sports viewing in the "Neverland of his four-flat-screen 'man cave.'" I guess I have a man cave, too. It's called a basement apartment. And my laptop gets ESPN 3. Take that, Sports Guy.

Anyways, here'sThe Diss's 2011 DraftDiary. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 22
1:36 AM: Check work schedule. No work tomorrow! Turn alarm clock off.
12:10 PM: Awaken at the crack of noon. Behold, the overeducated, undermotivated future of America.
12:30- 4:00: Work on "The Diss" at local coffee shop while religiously refreshing HoopsHype. There's some pretty juicy trade rumors, centering mostly around Andre Iguodala going to the Clippers. I'd love to see Iggy in the bay, so I keep my fingers crossed something happens. But all quiet throughout the "work day." I still don't get much done, though. Curses upon you, HoopsHype. I just can't quit you.
4:01: Get home. Turn on laptop. Load up ESPN 3.
4:03: ESPN 3 still loading.
4:04: ESPN 3 still loading. Love me some Comcast.
4:05: Finally! The talking heads. We're in business. Jeff Van Gundy's a fucking hipster, though.

4:06: Ric Bucher's on! A trade to report. This is what I live for. What blockbuster could be on its way?
4:07: Huh. Hardly a blockbuster. Captain Jack and The Ghost of Shaun Livingston to Milwaukee, along with Beno Udrih and the #19 pick, while John Salmons and the #9 pick go to Sacto. Charlotte gets #7 and Corey "Gotta Get My Numbers" Maggette. Some interesting names in there, but none more interesting than Captain Jack, who I, and all Warriors fans, have a soft spot for, despite our messy divorce two seasons ago. Bucher claims Jax isn't happy about being traded to Milwaukee. I miss you, buddy.
4:07: I also note that neither Ric Bucher nor Andy Katz have aged within the last 10 years. Botox is a helluva drug.
4:13: Bunch of white noise from the talking heads. Which team needs what? Who could be traded? Not once do they mention that this entire performance is somewhat moot due to the impending lockout. That's not til next week. Relax.
4:13: Memo to self: you may not hate Jimmer Fredette, you may just hate his chin instead.
4:14: The Talking Heads comment that Utah is picking in the lottery for the first time in a few years, and have just suffered their second losing season (39-42) in twenty two years. I have many interesting thoughts about Utah as a franchise. They've never had a hard time filling the Delta Center because they've always had winning teams. Those days are quickly changing in Salt Lake, with Sloan on some ranch somewhere, and D-Will doing hard time at Prudential Center Penitentiary. Jazz fans have never been asked to support a perennially bad team, which the Jazz are destined to become. Will they continue to fill the arena, or could the Jazz face the same problems the Kings have?
4:20: Now watching ESPN's 3rd Jimmer Fredette feature. I've only been watching fifteen minutes. Fuck-a-ree. Just ask to see his magic underwear, already. This is intolerable. Somehow, there must be a way to make this experience more tolerable.
4:24: Much cough better! cough.
4:26: Fran Fraschilla, deemed "international expert" graces us with his lack of personality and insightful analysis. Hearing his voice reminds me of watching the World Championships in Egypt, and being completely unexcited by the whole affair. At least he keeps it interesting: he predicts Jan Vesely will win a dunk contest in the NBA someday. Jan Vesely! Watch your back, Brent Barry.

4:28: Former Blazers executive and current ESPN capologist Tom Penn's a silver fox.

4:29: The bumper ads are baffling. For some reason, they have projected lottery picks dress up like newsies, and play on a hodge podge set of drums. Whichever intern thought of that either deserves a raise or swift termination.
4:30: ESPN 3 stops working. "Event ended." Event ended? What the balls?
4:31: Reload ESPN 3.
4:32: ESPN 3 still reloading.
4:35: STILL RELOADING .ESPN 3 is a joke of a service. Terrible quality, terrible sporting events, completely unreliable. I need to somehow get into Bill Simmons’ 4-screen Man Cave.
4:37: Still nothing. I begin to brainstorm other article ideas, since I'm pretty sure I missed the first pick.
4:38: FINALLY. Jon Barry's puffy visage comes into pixelated focus. Hi there, you chubby bunny. Doesn't look like I missed the first pick either. Everything's coming up Milhouse!
4:39: The Man, The Myth, The Legend—David Stern—walks to the podium to announce the first pick. I sort of adore this man. He's sort of been my Rabbi forever. And he tells us the obvious: Kyrie Irving is the Cavs choice at #1. 4:40: Draft Day hats look good. Real good. Why couldn't they have gotten something similar to the Mavs?

4:40:Here are the Kyrie Irving highlights. Nice moves, kid. Not spectacular, but nice. It becomes abundantly clear to me that while the analysts keep coming up with wildly unique descriptions like "Less Athletic John Wall," or, "Poor Man's Chris Paul," or "Diet D-Rose," or whatever, Kyrie Irving is basically Jrue Holiday —a tall, strong guard with nice court vision but without elite level speed. Jrue Holiday will be good for three or four All Star appearances, and I think we can expect the same from Irving. Nice pick for the Cavs.
4:44: Camera turns to Turkish center Enes Kanter, who Bucher says the Wolves are thinking about taking. Is there such a thing as the Turkish mafia? If so, they're definitely sitting at Kanter's table in the Green Room tonight. No one diss Ataturk.
4:45: Wolves! My favorite picks of the draft belong to the Wolves. They keep things exciting. Right now, they have a glut of point guards and tweener forwards between 6'8'' and 6'10''. Accordingly, they will draft a point guard, or a tweener forward. And, luckily, the best tweener forward in the draft is...
4:46: ... Derrick Williams, the second pick of the draft! Smart pick, if they plan on trading him. Williams is a nice player, but seems to be a David West type player. That's highly similar to what they had in Al Jefferson, who they shipped off to feature Love. I'm beginning to wonder what—or who—is actually controlling Crazy Dave Kahn. Moreover, I wonder if it—or they—are threats to our ability to make logical, rational decisions. Trade D-Will II, Kahn.

4:47: I'm still wondering why they didn't take Kanter. Are they really that enamored with Darko? I feel for Wolves fans.
4:49: Jazz pick coming up. So weird to see them picking in the draft. I continue to fantasize about the Seattle Jazz (though they would actually be called the SuperSonics, coming to Key Arena in 2017.
4:50: Kanter goes third. The Jazz logo is surprisingly fly.
4:52: Stuart Scott reports that Enes Kanter wants to become a WWE wrestler after he retires from the NBA. This is instantly the coolest thing I have ever heard. I immediately begin to thinking of potential names for the 7 foot center. Turkish Delight? Ataturk the Impaler? My Giant II? Paging Pauly Shore.
4:56: "I am terrible with foreign names." - Jeff Van Gundy, who has the most American, non-foreign name I've ever heard.
4:56: First surprise of the night: Tristan Thompson, freshman forward out of Texas, goes #4 to the Cavs. Most mock drafts had him in the mid-teens, so this is a bit of a shock. Or, so The Talking Heads say. I was shocked when Bin Laden was found. I'm feeling pretty okay about this.
4:58: Cringing at the Tristan Thompson highlights. He has absolutely no semblance of a go-to move, and his footwork, despite Jay "I Like Every American Born College Player Ever" Bilas' opinion to the contrary, seems really raw. This is a major project for the Cavs, whose fans would appreciate a quicker return to respectability than most.
4:59: Also, Thompson has a Hitl--uh, a "Charlie Chaplin" mustache. Probably should deal with that.
5:00: Last note about Mr. Thompson: he's Canadian. Good for him, I guess. Stuart Scott says on air that he joins only two other active Canadian players in the NBA: Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire. Oh, so close, Stuart Scott. You just forgot that other Canadian player, the 2-time MVP or whatever, Steve Whatshisnuts. You'd better hope Nash doesn't hold a grudge.

5:02:Raps take Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas. I expect them to announce their withdrawal from the NBA, and entry into FIBA Eurobasket, within a matter of days.
5:03: My Main Yawn Fran Fraschilla's back, here to drop some dimes about soon-to-be-household name Jonas Valanciunas. In his answer, he uses at least four of the seven all-too-ignored "THESE ARE OBVIOUS RED FLAGS ABOUT A EURO PROSPECT AND MAYBE YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BUYING AMERICAN" phrases, including:
  • "Long term potential..."
  • "Has to get stronger..."
  • "May be some complicated contract buyout issues with his European club..."
  • "Could pay dividends at age 24 or 25.
5:04: Valanciunas struggles with comprehension in his interview. His English is obviously weak. I feel for him, having struggled through countless conversations in Arabic in Egypt. I fail to realize the adjustment some of these foreign players will have.
5:06: Vesely to the Wiz. Not much to say here, except that the new Wizards logos are pretty sick.

5:08: Highlights. He's athletic. Quick. Suddenly, I'm starting to like Vesely and Wall as a dynamic duo. With JaVale McGee and Nick Young, this team could be decent down the road. Nice pick.
5:10: Yep. Vesely's girlfriend is smokin' hot.
5:10: Charlotte's pick. They've never been good, but apparently that news failed to reach Jeff Van Gundy, who claims the Bobcats have "been in the 7th, 8th seed for a long time now." Close, Jeff. They made the playoffs two seasons ago under Larry Brown, getting unceremoniously swept by the Magic. That's their only playoff appearance. Ever. Do these guys even attempt to do research before they get on the air?
5:11: B-SMACK! Bismack Biyombo goes in the lottery. Charlotte or bust! (Most likely, bust.)
5:13: Fran Fraschilla tells us that Biyombo's age "allegedly is 18 years old." Nice, Fran. You're right, Africans can't keep track of their own ages. Thank god Europeans came and gave them calendars, but those savages just don't know how to use them!
5:13: Stu Scott informs us that Biyombo speaks six languages. How many languages do you speak, Fran?
5:15: Random observation: picks 3-7 have all been international picks.
5:16: The Talking Heads show us an elegy for the Pistons, who have missed the playoffs the last two years after qualifying the previous eight. As I watch the old times, I realize that I don't miss the Pistons at all.
5:18: Pistons draft combo guard Brandon Knight. This means trouble for Rip Hamilton. Or Rodney Stuckey. Or Will Bynum. Or Ben Gordon. Or Tracy McGrady. Did Matt Millen get a job with the Pistons? Who let that guy back in town?
5:19: The Talking Heads call Knight Mr. Magna Cum Laude. Not a bad nickname.
5:23: Kemba Walker is headed to the Bobcats. Not much to say. Jimmer's left. Here come the interviews. For the next ten years. Or until he busts.
5:29: It's Jimmer Time. Sigh.
5:30: God. The Maloofs, once the darling owners of the NBA, really are a joke now. I can't believe the Kings picked Jimmer Fredette. It is a pick based purely to sell tickets, not to actually get better at basketball. Jimmer and Tyreke Evans in the backcourt? Two shoot-first, very unpure point guards, who play little defense? Such a shame. Sacramento deserves a better final year than the one they're about to get with these two jokers.
5:33: WARRIORS. My boys, picking 11th. They've done well the last few drafts, so I'm somewhat optimistic. I'm hoping for Klay Thompson.
5:35: YES! Dubs take Kavalier Klay. He's a big shooting guard who plays some defense -- in many ways, the exact opposite of Monta. He at least offers a challenge to Monta, and perhaps a better long term backcourt mate for Curry. Great pick. I'm smiling. This draft thing ain't so bad!
5:41: Jazz again, who take Alec Burks, some guy who I've never heard of. Looking at highlights, he reminds me of Wes Matthews. Nice! I bet the Jazz would've liked to have had Wes Matthews at some point, he's a good player. Oh, wait.
5:43: Burks also may be in running for best suit of the Draft thus far.
5:44: Interview with Mark Jackson, the new coach of the Warriors. It looks like the role suits him well, though I'm not really used to it yet.
5:45: Stu Scott asks Jackson about trading Monta. Jackson gives vague answer. Smart. We've gotta be trading him. No organization shops its franchise players as openly as the Warriors do. I hope we send him somewhere in the East.
5:46: When prompted to give one of his signature lines, Jax delivers this gem: "Well, here's my latest line: The Golden State Warriors will be in the Playoffs next season." He was probably expecting to hear the screams of "WE BELEIVE!" to rise from all parts of the Dub Nation. But there's the thing: he's not the first coach to promise a playoff berth in year one. He's not even the second. Keith Smart, Don Nelson, Mike Montgomery, Erik Musselman, and even Dave Cowens all pledged playoff berths. It'll take more than charisma to save this franchise, Jax. I hope you're up to it. If you aren't, whatever. No one else was, either.
5:48: In the surprise of the night (thus far), Jeff Van Gundy gets all ferklempt while seeing his old ESPN colleague as a coach in the Bigs. JVG, of course, had sizeable stints with both the Rockets and the Knicks before (seemingly) retiring for broadcasting. I had noticed a change in their on-air dynamic after Jax was hired as coach. Van Gundy seemed a strange mix of proud, jealous, and nervous for someone he obviously admires and cares a lot about. It's an interesting dynamic to see. I wonder how those two will do without the other this year.

5:50: Sorry, was on Facebook. What happened? Oh, Markieff Morris goes to Phoenix at 13. Welcome to the end of the bench, Markieff.
5:51: Markieff's twin brother, Marcus, who also is a potential lottery pick, on the prospect of leaving his twin brother: "It ain't the end of the world or nothin'. I'll send him some flowers. Maybe some fruit." Quote of the night, thus far.
5:55: Hey! Marcus Morris to the Rockets. The NBA welcomes the Morris twins, who will succeed the Collins' twins as "Gimmick Players." You know, the NBA players who are famous for reasons that rarely include Basketball. Like Marco Jaric, who I'm pretty sure is only known for having eyes that are way too close together, and for getting someone to hypnotizing Adriana Lima for the last eight years or so.

5:57: Jeez, this draft hasn't had many trades. That's the best part of this thing. Kaman's still a Clipper. Iggy's still with the Sixers. Monta's a Warrior. I'm losing steam. This is getting less and less witty by the moment.
6:01: The world meets Kawhi Leonard. How is he as a Basketball player, you ask? Who knows. He played in the Mountain West. But his suit. His suit, man. Also, the Pacers drafted a non-white player!

6:05: Check HoopsHype twitter feed. Turns out they're planning on trading Leonard. My guess is for Chase Budinger.
6:06: Nikola Vucevic, a favorite here at The Diss, goes to the Sixers. Nice pick for them, but he sort of looks like Spencer Hawes. Trades must be a-brewin'.
6:07: Ah, Knicks up. The Knicks draft pick is one of the great inside jokes in sports. The ritual is always the same. The Talking Heads lament about the state of the Knicks for a few minutes before Stern emerges to fierce boos. He barely stifles a smile as he announces the poor schmuck who will be instantly villified by Knicks fans, when it's actually their deadbeat owner James Dolan. Pan over to Spike Lee, looking disinterested. Each year it's the same. It's like clockwork.
6:10: JVG's talking about his glasses. They are nice glasses, Jeff.
6:12: Here comes Stern. Barely stifling a smile. This should be good.
6:12: "The New York Knickerbockers select [name drowned out by pre-emptive boos]."
6:13: Well, it was some guy named Iman Shumpert. I'm going to guess the "Shumpert" jerseys may not fly off the shelves.
6:14: Time for the requisite Spike Lee interview. Riddle me this, ESPN: I understand celebrities are fans of certain teams. Jack Nicholson loves his Lakers. Bruce Willis prefers the Nets. Matt Damon loves the Celtics. Great. But are any of these celebrities big fans? Why ask them about these teams' draft needs? They don't know. They're busy filming things, or endorsing other things, or dissolving marriages, or whatever. Stop interviewing celebrities about sports. Interview them about their celebrity.
6:14:"I'd never heard of Carl Landry before."-Spike, on Knicks draft picks. I'm not surprised, Spike. He doesn't play for your team. Landry Fields, however, does. Someone get this man to the War Room, the Knicks have a second round pick! 6:15: Chris Singleton gets the 2011 Last Man in the Green Room Award. A dubious distinction, indeed, though some quality players have had that distinction (Rashard Lewis, Brook Lopez included). He'll be okay.
6:23: All right. I'm bored. Probably like the rest of you. I'm going to go play basketball in the Central District.

And there you have it! I made it through roughly 45% of the draft before I got bored and walked away -- probably like what you did with this post hours ago.

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