#AD2013. Ep 1. Phoenix Airport Mural

Friday, June 21, 2013

Clue: There's a banana stand to the right of the nose of the airplane.

NBA Draft Recaps 1986-88

-There's no evidence of this, because I said it to myself and no one else was around (see the above for how that might have happened) but there was a GSW game a couple of years after this where I said "I'd trade Washburn for Bias right damn now." Here's all you need to know about Chris Washburn, right after he's picked Bob Neal said that the way he notified NC St that he was declaring for the draft is that his mom called Jimmy V to tell him he wasn't coming back to school. It's never happened to me, but sometimes I'll hear a story about a parent calling the college about one of the students; and that always gives me the creepy chills. I don't claim any special powers, but I went away to school when I was 17 and there is literally no circumstance where I would have had my parents involved with my instructors. My bar on bad athlete behavior is crazy high; make me a GM and I'm going to make my living taking character risks, but this was just stupid.


Chuck Person. And better than that is the interview with Person's wife, who appears to still be in her wedding dress - they got married the Saturday before the draft - now, I am not the guy to rail about how divorce laws are unfair to men and that women are golddiggers and We Want Pre-Nup and all of that; that's not the world in which I live - but if you get married the Saturday before you are a lottery pick in the National Basketball Association you are just setting fire to money. The only way Chuck Person could have been dumber is if he celebrated getting drafted by overdosing on cocaine or if he took Chris Washburn third.

-Vecsey's reporting as almost done the Worthy/Scott to Dallas for Tarpley/Aguirre deal. Hard to imagine a thing like that getting forgotten. But it was 1986, the Poltergeist of NBA Drafts. I think somewhere in the middle of the second the Cavs took JoBeth Williams. Rodman went 27th and he isn't in the top half dozen of head cases from the 1986 NBA Draft.

-Pearl Washington looks a little like Beetlejuice from the Stern show. Pearl Washington is a bad as can and he knows he's the best.

-Hey John Salley - in 23 years you're gonna be in a Costa Rican jungle losing a game show to the guy who played Richie Valens.

-I was wrong about David Robinson. Whenever I'm asked "name something that you turned out to be really wrong about" I always think about Robinson; I thought he'd bust - he was a finesse guy and he had the growth spurt, and hadn't had top competition, and there was the prospect of the 2 year Navy deal (which Rick Barry says he should take - Rick Barry, analyzing the top pick in the NBA Draft says Robinson should leverage his Naval commitment so he can become a free agent; now, putting aside the merits of the advice, this again points to the differences in coverage of these events in just twenty five years; if Jay Bilas said that the top pick in the 2013 draft should not sign with the team, should take a couple years off to become a free agent and make more money, the network would fire him before the 2nd pick; twenty five years ago, at least one analyst was actually analyzing - now, everyone's in bed together; ESPN and the NBA are corporate partners; the same way all of the networks/newspapers/cable channels and the US government are corporate partners - when an actual question that is outside the accepted frame is asked at a White House press conference - it's not the Administration that needs to freeze out the questioner - the other journalists do that for them, they carry the water - if someone raises to Obama the hypocrisy of his condemnation of Iranian oppression while permitting our own, that person is excised from the realm of mainstream debate - the league doesn't have to do it, ESPN will do it for them)

-Anyway, I thought Robinson would bust - and I remember this interview from the draft where he said he was "learning to love basketball" - and all I saw were red lights. He was passionless! Where's the fury and the fire and the snorting!

Yeah, I was wrong. And not wrong because it just worked out that I wasn't wrong. I was wrong because none of that stuff matters. The yelling, the screaming, the crying - it's all bullshit. Kobe doesn't win the title in 2009 because he juts out his jaw and "wants it more than he ever has" - Kobe wins because he's real good and Orlando's not. That's it. Sometimes the screamers win, sometimes the quiet guys win. Sometimes it's Leader Quarterback Swaggering Guy who raises the trophy, and sometimes it's Eli Manning, who I once called Johnny Drama. The yelling and slapping the floor is fun to watch, but it doesn't matter. Fortunately, I learned that, so the corollary to this is when Tim Duncan (another finesse, passionless center headed for San Antionio) was being debated before his draft several years later, I was out front in saying the guy was going to be an all time superpremium star. It's good to learn things.

-Neal and the whole TBS crew rips the Kevin Johnson pick. They were wrong. If I can do more of these (particularly in this century where it started to emerge) there's a theme that would develop in criticizing draft picks - you don't criticize big school guys who stayed at least 3 years, 'cause they know how to win and why draft on potential (Vitale's still in this pocket. That guy is embarassing.) and that meant for awhile ripping all the high school picks (go to school! They need to go to college! How can you take Dwight Howard over Emeka Okafor!) and then it became about ripping the European guys (they're soft, don't you know) and it never seems to matter how many Trajan Langdon's there are or how many Pau Gasol's there are - every year (one year, it was a TNT year, I recall Barkley just killing, just killing as culturally soft the entire continent of Europe, which falls under the Iavaroni side of Barkleytalk) you'll hear a run of "take Tyler Hansbrough! Tyler Hansbrough's a proven winner! A winner! A Tar Heel! Wooooo.

None of that explains why they botched the KJ analysis. 

Note that I've missed two drafts - NBA TV does show the '81 draft, but I didn't catch it this year; maybe next - and I've never seen the '83 draft listed (that's Ralph's draft; I can't offhand recall ever seeing it, so that would be a fun watch - I was a big Ralph kid, I think the first hoops meme that I ever bought into was the all court big man; everyone who ever played even one pickup game understood intuitively that there's a tradeoff in basketball - size is good, 'cause closer to the basket makes hitting shots easier to do - but ability to handle the ball is good, 'cause you do have to go up and down. But then came Ralph - taller than anyone and he had handle. When I was 11, that was superfreaky.

As it turned out, Ralph spent some time on the GSW bench before he wrapped up, napping next to Wash.


Craig Sager (before the cross dressing): What do you know about Phoenix?

Tim Perry: It's Hot! It was a hundred thirteen out there!

More upset than Perry was Dell Curry (thanks for your boy, Dell) on location at the Hornets first draft party as he had just been taken in the dispersal draft; you could see his gears turning as Charlotte made Rex Chapman their first ever pick and then TBS threw to Curry, "so - what do you think about Rex Chapman."

He thinks they just took an off guard is what he thinks. He thinks a white star off guard from UK has been taken by an expansion team and now Dell Curry's got to fight for minutes on a 15 win team.

-Rony Seikaly had great hair. He was the Greek JFK Jr.  Definitely the most spongeworthy of Orangemen busts.

-There's a "bull-shit" chant after the Bulls take Perdue; that's curious NY fan behavior and I'm unsure of its motivation - draft watchers know there are 2 types of picks NY fans regularly boo (1) picks by NY teams and (2) picks that swipe players away from NY teams.

So this has to fall into one of the auxiliary categories - (3) picks who NY fans believe are overdrafted (4) picks by teams NY fans hate - you're tempted to say this is (4) but it's really too early for full on Ewing/Jordan era Knick/Bull hate -- so I'm going to say it's a Tyler Hansbrough pick, that they didn't yet have the "over-rated" chant available to them in '88 and the wave somehow didn't seem applicable, so they went with "bull-shit."

-Why did I remember Jeff Grayer as a white guy? Was it because Fred Hoiberg was white? Was Fred Hoiberg so white that I decided everyone associated with Fred Hoiberg was also white? Jeff Hornacek was white. Was Marcus Fizer white? Let's decide together that Marcus Fizer was also white.

-I enjoy the David Stern "you people are such rubes" smile as he approaches the podium - Vince McMahon has always had the same smile "you are the dumbest people on the face of the earth, thank you for the house in Boca."

-Rick Barry is way, way too excited for the prospective Clipper lineup of DannyManning/CharlesSmith/ReggieWilliams/GaryGrant/mystery off guard. And Joe Wolf coming off the bench! The '88 Clips are a dreamworld of magic.

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