May 28, 2008
Mock drafts, I'm not sick of them!
I'm really quite fine with mock drafts, actually. I don't read most of them, even though my favorite team has had a lottery pick in each of the last 57 NBA Drafts by my estimation, and is selecting first overall next June, but I know they serve a purpose respect their usefulness. Unlike Vincent Gallo. Take that any way you want.
I also know exactly why they're popular. Mainly because 26 of 30 NBA teams don't have a game to play this week, partially because it allows NCAAniks and those who prefer international ball to exercise their one tenuous link to the NBA, and also because the NFL seems to have set a precedent for how we should approach -
WATCH THE NFL. WATCH THE NFL.
Not sure what happened there. I appear to have slept through breakfast, and every time I go to delete that repeated bit about watching the NFL, the whole left side of my body seems to go into some sort of state of protest, as if my frame were divided into quadrants, and two of the four were in some type of disagreement with the other two. Also, I could have sworn that there was a front door to this place.
Anyway, I don't mind mock drafts. And I'm not going to go down the same route hack-y types tend to enjoy ambling through in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, complaining about the overexposure, whining about the face time afforded to your usual batch of NFL Draft know-alls. If you don't like it, turn the channel. If you don't like online mock drafts, go here. That song is awesome.
That said, isn't it time we demand a little more from out mock drafters?
After all, this is guesswork. Incredibly well-researched, impeccably crafted guesswork created after hour upon hour upon day after week after month after lifetime of hard work. But it's still guesswork. It's guesswork toward the end of May, and it's guesswork in the hours leading up to the Draft on the afternoon of June 26th.
And do you want to know why it's guesswork? Because not every NBA GM is created the same. Shocking, stirring revelation I know, but push your jaw back into place and understand that no matter how hard the Chad Fords and Jonathan Givonys work at giving you a bit of insight you can depend on, their final product will always be shot to hell in the long run by a clueless GM drafting for need, or overrating a certain talent, or passing on a sure thing, or making a move that has 29 other GMs shaking their heads and having to think on the fly in order to recover from.
It used to happen all at once, but then the Hawks fired Billy King. Tip your servers, cats and kittens.
So what am I begging for? This:
Instead of mocking, and trying to nail 30 out of 30 and look good the day after, give us a column in the midst of all of this mess telling each of these 30 choosers what they should do. Not what's going to happen, but what should happen.
I don't need an elaborate plan for each pick, involving trades and signings later in the summer for the Sacramento Kings, or re-tellings regarding what has gone wrong with specific teams over the last year or 12. Just who, with the 18th pick, the Washington Wizards should choose. And why.
Know why? Because these mock drafters know why. I don't know why. I used to pull off the sort of column I'm bringing up for various websites toward the end of the last decade, but I've watched less and less college basketball as the years have droned on, and I can't help you in this area. I can tell you why the SuperSonics lost or 76ers went into overtime or why the Jazz should have won, but that's about it.
You should listen to me talking about who the SuperSonics or 76ers or Jazz should pick just as much as you should listen to well-regarded NCAA guys like Doug Gottlieb or Andy Katz. These guys won't bring up why the Milwaukee Bucks are wary of getting much closer to luxury tax territory, and (if pressed), it will take me 15 seconds to remember who won the NCAA championship last April. That seriously just happened.
There's nothing wrong with that. I'm fully in favor of more and more segregation when it comes to modern sportswriting, mainly because it makes those of us who specialize have to work that much harder. If I blow something on the NBA tip, you should be able to call me on it. If I call some NCAA prospect "a sturdy defender" when he is, in fact, "Luke Ridnour-like," what's the point? That's not my gig.
Same thing for Gottlieb and Katz, should they blow something on the NBA angle. Though that didn't stop me from yelling at the TV when Gottlieb mentioned something on ESPN about the SuperSonics lacking "a wing scorer" back in 2006 (Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen weren't enough, apparently) and needing to trade up for Adam Morrison, I shouldn't have lost my typical cool. That's not Gottlieb's gig. He's supposed to be talking to us about Bob Huggins.
Also, there's no shame in remembering this stuff, dear reader. Call us on it. It should make us better.
Remember the Florida NBA columnist who already declared Michael Beasley-to-the-Bulls (co-incidentally ending with Derrick Rose, Miami's much-needed point guard of the future, heading to his hometown team) to be a fait accompli. Remember the Chicago columnist who suggested that the Bulls hire John Calipari (career NBA record: 72-112), or for the Bulls to trade the first overall pick to New Jersey for the 10th, 21st, and 40th pick in next month draft.
Remember these guys. Think back to the "insight" they're sharing. And remember these sorts of mid-week space-fillers the next time someone prattles on about bloggers sitting in their mother's basements, and throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks.
Here's what always sticks: one person's opinion, developed through research, and given to you without pretense or agenda. These mock drafters really have it in them to offer up a brand of insight that leaves others in the dust, while allowing for us (or them, should they choose to link to it years later) to throw up an earned, "nice. They really called that one" years down the line.
So instead of the guesswork, why not throw something up that lasts? These writers should be secure enough in their work and their research and their knowledge of these various forms of basketball to understand where these prospects are coming from, what they can contribute on the NBA level, where they should go, and what teams should be snatching them ahead of others.
Call it, "If I Were the GM," and pick away. You know you're good enough, so why not give us - the people who are watching those three NBA games that they put up against CBS on the night of the Final Four, or the ones who are scouting overseas during the NBA Finals, or the ones who are watching Creighton play Bradley in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament the same night the Suns and Mavericks are on TNT - something we can use?
And if, years later, you can point out that you knew that the Pacers should have taken a certain player, even though you knew that the Pacers had brought in another player for two different workouts and were a mock draft-lock for selecting the wrong guy, what's wrong with that? It only helps with the credibility. Especially for the drafters on certain non-mainstream sites that have a stated goal of working in an NBA front office.
Anyone (OK, very few people) can get 30 out of 30 right, and look good on June 27th. What counts for much more is looking good on June 27th, 2011, and overall credibility. I don't have it in this realm. The college guys don't have it in this area, either. But the mock drafters could. Let's see them play GM for once. Wouldn't that be cool?