I promised myself I wouldn't lose it. My rudimentary math skills told me there was very little chance the Knicks would nab the No. 1 overall pick. The fact that life-size voodoo doll Steve Mills was representing them all but assured that something terrible would happen. My spirit was ready.
And then, it happened. My spirit was not at all ready. Falling to No. 4 wasn't even the worst-case scenario I had envisioned, yet the humiliation of being the only team to drop in the lottery, while the Lakers of all teams moved up...I'll be honest, I still haven't gotten over it.
I'm a broken man, y'all. As such, I will now approach this draft as a broken man should -- with wild, unchecked emotion. I had planned a "Knicks should draft a player with a high floor to avoid a potential bust" piece, but screw that. Screw floors and screw ceilings. I'm going to advocate for a prospect on a strictly irrational level.
I want the Knicks to draft Emmanuel Mudiay.
Don't get me wrong: there are plenty of sensible basketball reasons to draft the intriguing 19-year-old point guard. Maybe I'll get into those next week. Right now, the feelings are just too raw. I want Mudiay because, in my wounded state, I see a bit of myself in the kid.
It has been two years since I returned from China. After months and months of searching I was forced this week to do that which I had promised myself never to do: go back to my college job, working as a cashier in Rite Aid. The skills I learned in China have proven essentially useless in finding a job in the States. Yes, we do have a position open for Mandarin speakers...do you also have a PhD in engineering? Teaching English as a second language over here isn't quite the same as teaching it over there; we have higher standards.
I see in Mudiay draft profiles the same irritating presumptuousness that I receive whenever I talk to someone about job in the business world. You went to China, eh? So exotic, so mysterious. You must have had a lot of fun. You haven't really proven yourself, though.
Emmanuel Mudiay isn't a mystery. He was one of the top high school prospects in an age where we follow athletes in middle school. He's played on ESPN. He went abroad for a year, earned some money and by all accounts fulfilled his obligations. The same can't be said for everybody who has signed a contract to play ball in China.
I know very little about Mudiay, as a person or as a basketball player. But I see something of a kindred spirit, and in the midst of the agonizing hangover from Tuesday's lottery, that's good enough for me.
Also, he looks pretty damn smooth running the pick-and-roll.