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2017 Draft real-time diary

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Wingspans! Upsides! Criminally negligent hyperbole! GIVE!

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

My four-year-old recently had a round of shots (immunizations, not drinks). No matter how much we explain their necessity to her, no matter how much she logically accepts us telling her they’re over in a matter of seconds, and that the anticipation is infinitely worse than the actual event, the instant the doctor returns to the room with syringes that little girl lets loose with a banshee shriek I myself echoed after the Porzingis trade talk rose from the depths of hell. The way that child feels about shots is how I feel about watching anything on ESPN. I entered last night’s draft trying not to fear the worst, from both the network and the Knicks. Here is one man’s heroic real-time diary.

7:00

Rece Davis opens the coverage talking about how teams are “taking a swing” at Golden State.

Who you see stepping up to step up to the Warriors? Cleveland canned their general manager while he was working on ideas to improve the team, essentially inviting LeBron to go west next year. Danny Ainge punted on chances to add either the top prospect in the land or a two-way in-his-prime star in Jimmy Butler. The Spurs are looking to move their Tim Duncan replacement a year after handing him the reins as their top big. The NBA right now is the moment in the dystopian story where the powers-that-don’t-be hunker down for the long winter, knowing any and all messiahs are still light years away. Nobody’s preparing to fight Golden State. They’re dreaming that the future is a power vacuum.

7:07

They just said this is the first time ever that the first four teams picking in the draft will repeat that order in consecutive years. I don’t vote for Democrats or Republicans, so this is same shit/new day for me.

7:09

Say what you want about his dad. His utter lack of midrange game. His high-end low-style shoes. Lonzo Ball has BEAUTIFUL eyes (image c/o sportshub.cbsistatic.com)

7:10

Jay Bilas calls Markelle Fultz “James Harden” and Ball a “clone” of Jason Kidd and thus I call Jay Bilas Joseph Goebbels. Look, anyone who’s ever suffered through the comment section after one of their articles posts knows the world is full of fools who can’t (or won’t) see the difference between “same” and “similar.” But when you lazily link 18-year-olds with zero pro minutes under their belts to league MVPs and generational greats, you do an injustice to all of them, and to us. Isn’t it enough to say that Ball has a high IQ and is the best passer in the draft? Kidd was a plus-defender for years. Has anyone suggested Ball will excel on that end? Harden put up unprecedented point-production numbers last year, thanks in part to the ethos of his coach and the league dovetailing idyllically. If Fultz doesn’t live through a parallel symmetry, will he be a disappointment? Also, stop comparing Frank Ntilikina to George Hill. That’s not sexy.

7:11

Bilas: “Nobody in 40 years” has shot 70%+ on twos and 40%+ on threes besides Ball. Then they put his numbers next to Kidd’s like that fucking means anything.

7:12

Lonzo is being Interviewed with his dad standing there next to him. When does the media’s obsession — and Lonzo’s compliance — with Lavar being covered so much cross into straight-up creepiness? Was Lavar standing over Lonzo as he lost his virginity?

Lavar is insisting Lonzo will be a Laker, that the Lakers told him already. I would seriously become a Laker fan for life if they pulled the ultimate troll and took anybody else at #2.

7:22

Jay Williams is talking about how on draft night he was thinking about what kind of car he was going to buy. He calls over De’Aaron Fox and asks him what “random thoughts” are going through his head. Fox replies “Who I’m going to play against first.” Williams is clearly thrown by the response. No one knows whether Fox becomes an All-Star or a bust. But I’m confident his career won’t be derailed by a motorcycle accident, and he won’t be an ESPN reporter in 2032 years asking stupid draft-night questions.

7:24

Adam Silver is being interviewed about how he gets a card and reads it. When is this shit gonna start, man?

7:25

The more I see and hear Silver, the more I’m convinced his favorite foods are rutabaga, clipped fingernails, and unflavored non-fat ice milk. I think deep down he’s really, really weird in a really, really banal way.

7:40

There are things I really enjoy about life in the here and now. Orange juice with mango in it. Steven Universe. Online banking. But there were things I liked better back in the day, too. Stores being closed on Sundays. PB Max. Roland Smith. I also liked when the whole world didn’t know who was gonna go #1 overall. The 76ers take Markelle Fultz and I feel like we knew that a year ago.

7:41

Bilas on Fultz: “He floats on defense,” meaning he doesn’t try hard. I want to apply this language to my own life. When Joe Flynn wants to know if I’ve finished an article, instead of thinking “Oh shit!” I’ll say “I’m floating through the first draft.” When your lover has beef with your performance in bed, let them know you’re just “floating through extended foreplay.” When your friends question how you’re still a Knick fan two years from now when Phil Jackson’s been fired and George Karl’s first move is to trade Kristaps Porzingis for 50-year-old Andre Miller and a bunch of protected picks, let them know you’re just “floating through your feelings” as you slowly choke on your own rage.

7:50

The Bulls send Jimmy Butler to the Wolves for a return that, at first, looks suspiciously sub-par: Chicago also sent them the #16 pick for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the #7 pick. Then I realize this means the Bulls are picking one spot ahead of the Knicks. The Bulls. Who have bullied the Knicks for almost 30 years. Are picking one spot ahead of the Knicks. That means:

1) Malik Monk and Dennis Smith Jr. will be available then.
2) If the Bulls take Monk, he’ll be Steph Curry 2.0.
3) If the Bulls take DSJ, he’ll be Derrick Rose without the injuries.
4) The Knicks will take Jonathan Isaac 8th and he’ll turn into Jordan Hill.

7:54

I just realized Dwyane Wade is going to opt-in to stay in Chicago next year. So the Bulls are gonna stink and Mr. Miami Heat is gonna be there for the whole lousy ride. Is the enemy of my enemy my friend?

Chicago made a dumb trade and Mr. Miami will suffer for it. I’m good.

7:59

I’ve been fortunate enough to teach journalism to journalism majors. The students I’ve known are so passionate about it for the right reasons: they care about truth, integrity, and the ethics of their craft. I weep and wonder, then, what the hell happens to the ones who end up interviewing players’ parents about what kind of player or person the teams drafting them are getting? It’s rhetoric 101: the reason you don’t list your mom or dad on a job application (unless you’re a Trump, maybe) is because nobody trusts your mom or dad to give a convincing response because they’re your mom or dad. I’m sure Jayson Tatum’s mom is a fine citizen. But don’t ask her to tell us what kind of player/person the Celtics are getting.

8:01

Bilas: “Josh Jackson gives you everything but shooting.” That’s like saying Christianity gives you everything except eternal life in heaven. You can still find value in communion and baptism and comparing/contrasting the rules of the Old Testament versus Jesus versus Paul versus the Joel Osteens of the world. But you’re missing the pièce de résistance.

8:06

You know that comedic NBA Father’s Day commercial where the prospects talk about what their dads mean to them? Is it supposed to be funny when Tatum, so often the subject of raised-by-a-single-mother angles, talks about his father “always being there”?

8:08

Right before Sacramento selects De’Aaron Fox, I misread someone posting that Orlando will take Jonathan Isaac and thought it said “Sacramento.” My first thought was “That makes absolutely zero sense.” My next thought was “The Kings not making sense totally makes sense.” I wonder...how many of you tormented Knick fans would be willing to undergo an operation that made you a Kings fan?

Poll

Would you be happier rooting for the Knicks or the Kings?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Knicks
    (196 votes)
  • 20%
    Kings
    (50 votes)
246 votes total Vote Now

8:13

Millionaire Michael Wilbon is talking about how the one-and-done system isn’t working out for the NBA or the NCAA. Yup, let’s end the exploitation perpetuated by those cruel unpaid collegians making billions for the NCAA and the under-compensated (by market value) NBA players making billions more for the NBA. Somebody on Twitter called Wilbon a “blubbering vagina” and I just want to apologize to all the blubberers and vaginas out there for such libel.

8:17

Isaac, drafted by the Magic, answers a question about what it’s like to go from Florida State to Orlando and starts talking about how maybe he would have loved being drafted by “a New York team” to come home again.

In case you didn’t know, I was secretly in love with Isaac all along and hoping against hope he’d someone end up a Knick. I haven’t hated the Magic since the 90’s. Time to get back on the horse.

8:22

With the pick they acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade, Chicago takes Lauri Markkanen. LAURI MARKKANEN?!? Monk, DSJ and Ntilikina are all still available! I feel like I’m Archie Andrews and Betty, Veronica, and French Sabrina all wanna take me to the prom!

8:24

The Knicks on the clock. I never feel nauseous. My throat is a hot vomitous cylinder of anxiety. My eyes shut, involuntarily. My butthole is clenched so tight it’s like the dense black heart of a dying star.

I’m cool with DSJ because he’s a very young, very cheap version of Derrick Rose, only without the deteriorating skeletal system and lurid legal history. I’m cool with Monk because the Knicks never ever ever ever ever draft gifted scoring guards. I’m cool with Frank because great teams need two-way players, and I suspect the cultural distance means he doesn’t realize what a shitshow of an organization he’d be joining, and thus he could be immune to it. That talk earlier about dystopias waiting for messiahs? Frank might just be alien enough to rise above it all.

8:27

James Marceda said it best: RIP FART DOG!

10:40

The Knicks draft a great shooter and possible rapist.

11:16

They add an athletic Serbian with this on his resume:

And this (shout-out to The Ghost Of Kristaps Past for this info):

All in all, I was mostly cool with the Knicks and disappointed as always with ESPN. That’s as good an outcome as I could have hoped for.