>A day in the life of a Draft

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This post comes to us a few days late, which can be blamed on HTC for making a piece of crap phone (more on this later). My day at the 2011 NBA Draft was spectacular to say the least, as I was surrounded by fellow friends with excitement in the air for all.

Newark, New Jersey is the kind of place I hope to never go to again, unless the 2012 Draft takes place there. You are constantly reminded that the city (and whole state) smells like a dump, an actual dump, not just the phrase. Which reminds me that the bathrooms inside the Prudential Center (NJ, because the Boston Prudential Center is much better), smelt amazing. The bathrooms were so clean and good smelling I wanted to make love to them.

We left our home land (Boston) for the Draft around 8 in the morning, but we had to stop to get breakfast, which was a great decision. We proceeded to have drafts on the car ride, for those who are not familiar; we will pick a topic (NBA Teams) and have the people in the car do a draft, so we each end up with 4 super teams. We do this for various topics including boy bands, 4 course meals, animals to bring on Noah’s Arch, etc. I ended up with Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Josh Smith, and Amare Stoudemire.

As we pull into New Jersey through the tunnel from New York, we start to build the excitement. We arrive to see an outdoor basketball court with many younger kids competing in Horse and shooting competitions. We take a lap around to check out all the festivities, where WFAN is broadcasting live, KIA is showcasing new models, and you can compare your height, hand size and shoe size to various NBA players.

I snap a few photos of the events taking place outside the stadium with my HTC Evo. A few minutes later the phone’s battery was dying so I decided to use it sparingly, only turning it on to take specific photos. More on this matter later.

With a couple of hours left until the doors open, we join PBT’s Draft podcast hosted by Payton Wales. I am not just tooting our horn here, but we couldn’t have asked for more NBA celebrities to walk past us during the podcast which left many moments of silence as we sat in awe. Brandon Jennings and Chris Mullen were the two most famous, as many were rookies awaiting their turn for NBA fame.

As we end the podcast, we prepare our time for the main event, as the doors opened, they hand out programs, towels (sponsored by T-Mobile) and backpacks (those rope ones that everyone wears these days, sponsored by KIA). We do our jobs by marketing the website with flyers, placing them in the bathrooms and on concession stand’s tables. We journey to our seats to get comfortable and take in the atmosphere.

With over 70 minutes left until the first pick in the draft, we had plenty of time to kill, which we spent 25 minutes deciphering if Walt Frazer was sitting in the nose bleeds with us. There was a look a like sitting by himself eating popcorn, which we thought if none of this Knicks fans recognize him, then it must not be the real Walt Frazer, although we caught a few Walt jerseys in attendance. As the clock wined down, we spotted all the ESPN filming areas which housed Ric Bucner and Andy Katz. The lights dimmed down and the show was about to begin.

The first two picks came at no surprise, with Kyrie and Derrick being taken first and second. The third pick came as a little shock, as Brandon Knight was passed up for Enes Kanter. The next pick is where the draft took a turn from most peoples predictions, as Cleveland decided on Tristan Thompson, who many had as a mid first rounder. The draft from this moment forward was ready for excitement!

I will not bore you with pick by pick analysis because to me this is a one of a kind draft, in terms of why certain players were taken and why some talent was left undrafted. The pending lock out has everything to do with the managerial decisions made by teams during the draft. Teams who drafted foreign born players are planning to hold onto their rights for the next few years, keeping the athletes overseas, which will help them keep their cash in a league that is claiming to be tight on finances. This explains why we have had the most amount of foreigners drafted in the top 10 (four players), in which none of these guys are sure things to become something great.

After the first round, the building emptied out, apparently Knicks fans didn’t enjoy the selection of Iman Shumpert, which I thought was a solid pick considering no one on the Knicks can even spell the word defense. Which brings me to my next point; I am really shocked by the lack of intelligence of Knicks fans. Many had signs that they wanted Jimmer Fredette, when Kemba Walker is a far superior athlete and basketball player. I didn’t understand why they coveted a small white point guard who can’t stay with his own shadow, but I digress.

While sitting much closer to the live action on the first level, many great things happened to us, making our draft experience amazing. We honestly enjoyed the second round much more, not only for the fact that we were now cheering the draft announcer, which is Adam Silver, Deputy Commissioner, who handles the second round calling, as you already know David Stern handles the first round and receives boos, which he takes graciously.
While sitting lower, we got approached by SI regarding our No Lockout t-shirts. Although they didn’t shout out the website, it was still pretty cool. (Side note: we also got our photo snapped for thebasketballjones, for the Score) We got to see the lovely Heather Cox, a normal Craig Sager, and plenty of coaches and old management personal. We also got to witness two Stuart Scott situations, (JJ’s Post).

As the draft finished up, the building was getting empty and the panelists were getting tired. With the time approaching midnight, we left after Mr. Irrelevant was selected. As I get back to the car, I tried to charge the HTC Evo, which was not receptive to any of the car charges that we had and I realized that all the photos I had taken were lost. The phone was toast but my draft experience was legendary.

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