As Stuart Scott’s joke about the Bulls drafting the all-time greatest player and now Bobcat owner, Michael Jordan, with their 28th pick in the 2011 NBA draft fell on deaf ears, it was apparent that this year’s unimpressive draft really needed to end.
Of course you had your draft highlights: New York booing Donnie Walsh’s decision to select Iman Shumpert with the 17th pick, followed by an interview with a fully decked out Spike Lee trying to feign support of Knick brass; Jay Bilas acknowledging the NBA draft game of taking a drink whenever he talks about wingspan with a “bottoms up” comment after the Derrick Williams pick; and enough Mark Jones interviews with foreign players that made you think David Stern should invest in a Rosetta Stone.
However come next year, month, week this draft will largely be forgotten. There were no big names, blockbuster moves or future Michael Jordan comparisons that will eventually fall through. Now sports fans are left to hope that both the NBA and NFL figure their ish out before we are left with only baseball to watch.
The biggest disappointment though, is that if there is an NBA season next year, we will be unable to predict what sort of injury, drug problem, teammate issue, or unpredictable shark tragedy will befall the Los Angeles Clippers’ lottery pick. Since the institution of the draft lottery in 1984, the Clippers have had 19 picks in the top 10, with three of those being number one overall picks. However, chemistry issues (see Corey Magette), poor management (trading Lamar Odom to Miami after learning how to play), and injuries (Blake Griffin’s preseason year-ending knee injury), have dubbed the Clippers as “cursed” and kept them from ever moving out of the rebuilding/lottery stage.
Contrary to past years, the Clippers gave up their lottery pick this year in a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and after 14 year-old Nick Gilbert celebrated the Cavs lottery success, it seemed as though the curse still follows. Kyrie Irving and Baron Davis for Mo Williams? Doesn’t exactly sound like a great move especially as you look at the potential core of Irving, Griffin, and Eric Gordon teaming up to become a future “Big 3” in the league.
However, maybe the Clippers have learned their lesson. If they want to keep Blake Griffin after his rookie contract expires, they will need to do more than draft another potential-talent-who-has-already-had-injury-problems-to-eventually-become-the-next-Darius-Miles player. The lottery experiment has failed, and after 20 years it’s time for the Clippers to stop falling into Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.
If the Clippers can make some offseason moves (for which they have cap space), avoid injuries and a repeat of the toughest schedule in the league for the first 20 games, they may be an up-and-coming team that could make some noise in 2012. And maybe that would make up for having to again hear how Jimmer Fredette played in prisons.