Last night, the NBA held its annual draft lottery. A system I love, by the way, because it facilitates the unknown as any of the bottom 14 teams has a shot at stealing the top draft pick. Let me walk you through the night.
As I said the bottom 14 teams in the league take part in the lottery, each sending a representative to accept the draft pick. They range from gimmicky (Danny Granger from the Indiana Pacers, with a 1% chance at getting the top pick, saying he was wearing a John Wall jersey under his suit) to sentimental (the late Abe Pollin's wife representing the Washington Wizards, slated to take the 5th pick in the draft based on draft percentages).
You spend the first 20 minutes watching terrible interviews and awkward questions, then someone reads out the draft order in reverse in the most uninspiring and dry way ever. Imagine a Senate hearing discussing standardized testing in schools-- I would have found that RIVETING compared to this.
However, the draft isn't dull the entire time. There is a brief moment of suspense when they announce the top three picks. This of course is ruined by the lack of emotion from any of the team representatives. Except for one little old lady.
Before I go on, we need to take a minute to acknowledge a great man. Abe Pollin had been the owner of the Washington Bullets/Wizards for 46 years. He totally transformed Chinatown after building the Verizon Center and contributed to the city in countless ways. He was a great example of a classic owner, a stand-up guy who did so much for the city and the sports teams here.
Seeing his widowed wife, Irene, represent him wearing his 1978 Championship ring on her frail little hand literally sent chills up my spine. If you understand the context you know how moving it was to see her stand next to these massive men representing the other teams and win the #1 pick in the draft. She stood with her mouth agape and the gargantuan Championship ring on her finger, mouthing "Oh my God!" Incredible.
It was almost like Abe Pollin was looking down over us. Which is bull turds cause he wasn't. But it makes for a nice sentiment. We all know the NBA lottery is rigged anyway.
So what does this mean for Washington? It means we can get an incredible building block for the future. It means we have the best chance to take the best player in the draft. It means we can finally make up for taking Kwame Brown with our last #1 pick in 2001. It means maybe, just maybe, we can get past this Gilbert Arenas drama and focus on basketball.
Common knowledge says to take John Wall, the point guard from Kentucky. He's explosive, lightening fast, handles the ball well and finishes at the rim. I've been on a National Player of the Year Evan Turner kick for the past 3 months or so, but I'm getting over that. I mean, he was the best player in college last year and Kobe thinks he's the best player in the draft.
Since when do I listen to anything Kobe says? That guy is a snake. Not a 'Black Mamba' snake, but a sneaky little devil snake. But wow is he good.
If you add Wall to the Wizards and start him and Arenas in the back court I think you've got something. Super athletic, super quick, small guards who can score, get to the rim and create opportunities for the rest of the team. They'll draw defenders away from the rim and open up our super star center JaVale McGee in the post.
Yikes...maybe the Wizards are further off than we thought.
Who knows though? Maybe John Wall is just the guy the Wizards need to attract some good free agents? No, not like Lebron and Dwayne Wade. But maybe Carlos Boozer, Rudy Gay or even Amare Stoudemire?
They definitely have the money if they wanted to. The Wizards have the 6th most cap space available to sign free agents this summer since trading away Antwan Jamison, Caron butler and Co.
Either way, it would appear that the cycle is turning in our favor. Maybe now it's Washington's time to regain its status as a dominant sports city. The Redskins seem to be on the rebound, the Caps have one of the best players in the league, and even the Nationals have pitching hopeful Stephen Strasburg working his way up through the minors.
It could finally be time for Washington to turn its reputation around and begin a new era of sports in D.C. Perhaps its our turn to be on the positive side of the cycle.
I mean, hey, everyone's gotta win the lottery sometime.