Let's be honest. Once you get old enough, generally the "holidays" kind of suck. You're either stuck with relatives that just stress you out or you're spending more time shopping for gifts and spending more money on others than you get back in reciprocal emotional or material benefit. So what do we have left as adult males? Super Bowl Sunday, March Madness, the NFL Draft, and my personal favorite, the NBA draft (which I have grown to appreciate as pretty much an equal trade if not better for us). I have enjoyed the NBA draft so much over the years that I move to declare the NBA Draft a National Holiday (we can officially get rid of that Columbus asshole once and for all as far as I'm concerned).
It's not just the great picks that everyone knows are going to work out (Lebron, Duncan, etc.) that make the draft great, my favorite part of the Draft are those picks who you can see a giant chip placed in their shoulder on draft day (Villaneuva, Josh Smith, Arenas) that you just know are going to kill it along with the shrewd Godfather-esque moves that net teams like the Jazz and the Spurs absolute ballers in the late first and second rounds consistently (Ginobili, Parker, Kirilenko, Boozer - are you kidding me!!). Seriously, those late first and second rounders have so profoundly shaped the NBA over the past few years that the NBA draft and the trades made involving the draft have shifted the power in the NBA far more than drafts in any other professional sport or free agency. Think of the 2nd generation of the NBA Championship Spurs focused on Ginobili (LATE 2nd round pick) and Parker (very late first round pick) playing off Duncan. How did they get those two guys? With amazing draft-day decisions. Before the end of Parker and Ginbobili's run these decisions will have netted the Spurs probably between 3-5 championships. With all the money teams throw at free agents, marketing, and everything else, you would think they'd wise up and start bidding on the top draft scouts like they were Lebron after declaring free agency.
The other part of the draft I absolutely love is the soap-opera drama involving emotionally troubled players like Theron Smith who was a 2:1 favorite to attempt suicide with a bottle of painkillers (unfortunately came through on that one), college players who you've been following for years that barely sneak into the 2nd round (let's call it the Toby Bailey element of the draft), and great players invited to the draft that somehow keep slipping for who-knows what reason (ie, Rashard Lewis). In honor of all of these great subplots to the NBA draft, let's introduce the inaugural 100% Injury Rate NBA Draftmas Awards: First, the Rashard Lewis Award (great player invited to draft that will slip way too far as everyone looks on as if he'd just been hit by a car); Second, the Theron Smith Award (player who you just know things are not going to end well for); Third, the Tony Parker Award (great pick that will go in the late first round); Fourth, the Gilbert Arenas Award (early Second Round pick that will kill it); Fifth, the Manu Ginobili Award (great late Second Round pick) and Sixth, the Toby Bailey Award (drafting of a strong but overrated college player who everyone knows is going nowhere in the NBA).
Rashard Lewis Award
- Goes to Acie Law: with Conley most likely going somwhere in the 4-10 range and Atlanta having clearly no ability to understand when they've been handed a great point guard in the draft (D. Williams, Paul) and rumored to be leaning to Crittenton out of GT, Law could drop into the later part of the first round and fulfill yet another part of his destiny as the next Sam Cassell.
Theron Smith Award
- JamesOn Curry: he may not get drafted but he's already been busted for dealing and that got him released from his North Carolina scholarship and unlike Georgetown where the Thompsons have a rep for helping players with troubled backgrounds (see Allen Iverson), the Suttons at OSU don't seem to have the same success (see Tony Allen).
- Runner-up: Sean Willians, Boston College
Tony Parker Award
- Marco Belinelli: another proven young European player with question marks who could easily turn into the savior of a franchise.
- Runner-ups: Morris Almond, Rice and Aaron Afflalo, UCLA
Gilbert Arenas Award
- Marcus Williams, Arizona: this is just a no-brainer pick. Proven scorer who played against excellent competition at UofA and for some odd reason has dropped in the draft over the last year because of inconsistency.
Manu Ginobli Award
- Taurean Green: both are lefties and both bring an unusual amount of big-game experience and clutch performances with them for their age and could end up being major contributors on Championship teams before their careers are over.
Toby Bailey Award
- Glen Davis: sorry Big Baby but 6'7 or 6'8 players need a bit more than a credit card vertical these days to hang in the NBA and it just ain't in the cards for you. Your consolation prize will be making millions of dollars playing in Europe, perhaps with a team such as FC Barcelona - and if anyone has ever visited and been on the beaches of Spain, I think we can all pick Glen Davis as the true winner of this years draft! Congratulations Glen Davis, if only we could all be so unlucky!
That's it for the Inaugural 100% Injury Rate NBA Draftmas Awards, hope you all enjoy the drama unfold as much as I do!!
WCK would like to add that he thinks Afflalo is total garbage. We shall see.