Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stay Hungary

The Hungarian Nic Batum just got picked. It's midnight and everyone else who was posting on this is obviously deep into their lives by now. We can say goodnight, now, right? Goodnight.

The Twitters Are Exploding

Lakers and Mavs trolling the league right now. I'm sort of enjoying the befuddlement of the scout types at trying to assess "the best player ever to come out of Qatar" and whoever this Chuketcetera Congo-by-way-of-Bakersfield (put your own Grantland footnote reading "oofs" next to this) dude with the 0.7 PPG is, and I sort of enjoy it every year. But I'm always kind of peevish at successful teams treating these picks as if they don't give a shit. Of course, there's no real reason why the Lakers or Mavs should give a shit about these picks -- Ben Hansbrough has as much of a chance of helping the Mavs as does that more-or-less notional African guy in a Zapruder-grade game tape. But at the same time, there's a troll-y whiff to all this.

Also I think it might be time for Stuart Scott to go to bed.

Tyler, The Uncreated

Jeremy Tyler seems like he'd be an interesting story, right? He bailed on high school, went to go get that money in foreign professional leagues and kind of got it, while apparently not getting much better at basketball. But a two-year journey to nations defined by generalized fervor, unrelenting paradox and intense weirdness -- Israel and Japan, in this case -- and assorted frustrations and exertions in those foreign lands would seem to be the sort of thing that would teach all sorts of hard and valuable lessons inevitably denied those of us who spent our late teens concealing pony kegs and bluffing about Foucault at various institutions of higher learning.

Or, maybe it's more accurate to say that such a thing would seem that way to those of us who spent our late teens concealing pony kegs and bluffing about Foucault at institutions of higher learning. Because for Tyler himself, who remains a good athlete in a big body and who apparently still has some getting-better to do, the experience seems to have been roughly as terrifying as you'd expect, if you think about what it would actually be like to be a 17-year-old from Los Angeles in a clammy gym in Haifa with some thickly accented dude calling you a faggot and making you run suicides.

The lesson, maybe, is more than just an exercise in umpteenthery on the projection tip. Or that, but also a reminder of how young and fragile and multiply parlous these particular people-turned-transactions actually are. Jeremy Tyler is 19 years old, and will be lucky to stick with Golden State next year. He made some money abroad and could make it again if it comes to that, but he doesn't know what he's about -- or even really know how to figure out what he's about -- any more than any other 19-year-old does. As with everyone hearing their name called tonight, it's hard not to wish him well. It's strange and sad how much closer his basketball/narrative journey seems to the end than the beginning, though, considering where we all were -- and where he actually really is, in the broader sense -- at that ridiculous age.


JORTS! (Classic Bilas-trying-not-to-be-amused-by-himself take, too) I'm working on something more interesting than this about someone else, but I am kind of delighted that affable hamsteak and serviceable-ish rebounder Josh Harrellson got picked and talked about. That is all.


A Great Miracle Happened Here

Except for the part where the Blazers traded Andre Miller. I blame Brandon Roy, and without Miller and his golden lobs, that team is headless.

Biggest Losers

Someone should give Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lamb a hug. Or each his own. Up to you, bro. And buy them a dinner or two, so long as it doesn't violate NCAA rules. Those guys should have woken up as millionaires tomorrow.

The *Other* Morris Brother

Michigan fans are eagerly waiting to learn about the fate of Darius Morris, the Wolverines' erstwhile point guard who declared for this weak draft rather than returning to college for an outside chance at a Big Ten title and another year of jump-shot drills. Morris is a "big point guard" at 6'4", and beyond that...he's...good at dribbling a lot with his right hand? Actually, no question--that's what he's good at. And at taking awkward shots in the lane which make you cringe all the way until they make it to the bottom of the net. Even seeing one halfway down is not enough assurance that it was a good decision.

Morris is a telling microcosm for a draft governed by lowest-common-denominator reasoning. He has a bad jump shot, no left hand, and he lacks elite athleticism. This last condition is what Jay Bilas diagnoses as "not yet [being] a great athlete," which itself is not great. (After all, how many humans, basketball players or otherwise, develop elite latent physical skills any time after birth?) Still, Morris impressed some NBA scouts enough during his workouts that he was projected as high as a mid-first-round pick at various times precedent to tonight's depressing spectacle. If he sneaks into the back end of this first round, go to bed knowing that he will be paid guaranteed millions for the next three years, at least, all for being not awful enough on a night when every pick after the first has induced some kind of nausea.

Serpent and the Rainbow, Part Infinity

There's not much I can say about how incredibly sad I find everything the Nets do that I haven't already said a longish time ago and also slightly more recently. Their last NBA Draft in Newark seems savvy enough -- MarShon Brooks, for those who haven't seen him, is really good at scoring the basketball. (This is also true for those who have seen him) But the whole shabby, craven process through which they extricated themselves from my home state -- you remember it, it's the one that makes that honeybaked nightmare Clay Bennett look comparatively benign -- trails a stink that will take a long time to get out of that arena. I don't know what this says about me, but I'm sort of proud of the fact that I'll never care about that team again. Call it venal or petty or whatever else -- definitely the first two, and a couple of others besides -- but given all the things I overlook because I enjoy watching sports so much, I guess what pleases me about showing this particular zombie out of my sports-watching life is that I can still even find the door.

Other Fish

Getting increasingly excited about the other things my DVR is clocking right now. Real Housewives of New York, I'm looking at you.