As promised, a look back at the very first post I ever published to this site. Perhaps you’ve already gone back and re-read it. I thought it would be fun for me to annotate it with some thoughts.
I have edited out sections of the original that did not inspire me to add something new.
With apologies to the Sports Guy…
Ah, back when I read and loved everything Bill Simmons wrote.
We are coming to you live from the palatial basement of DDB in beautiful Carmel, IN. I have a bowl of Margarita’s salsa with a bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime chips in front of me, and an ice cold Boulevard Pale Ale to my right. We’re ready to watch the lottery picks of the 2003 NBA Draft. Why just the lottery picks? Well, I realized too late that I didn’t have much around for dinner so I only think I can go about 12–13 picks before the real hunger kicks in.
You may (or may not) recall that the first name for this site was DDBinIndy. Very clever.
Our house was at least 50% made up of food and beverages brought from Kansas City a week earlier. I know we did not have real furniture yet, so I was watching on the futon brought from my KC apartment. This was probably the first big event I watched on the fat, rear-projection 62” TV that came with our house. That thing seemed so cool at the time when it was actually kind of garbage. I bet it cost the previous owners a couple grand. When we replaced it eight or nine years later, it was with a LCD screen that cost maybe $500 that I could carry out of Costco with one hand.
One of the more interesting drafts in recent memory. The top three picks are all but locked in, and have been for several weeks. The foreign invasion looks to be as strong as ever. And, most importantly to America’s sports fans, two Kansas Jayhawks are possible lottery picks. So let’s get started.
Have I mentioned how I think ESPN taking over the NBA is going to kill the league? Seriously, Mike Tirico as the lead announcer? This guy is about as charismatic as a bowling ball. He makes Bryant Gumbel look like Soul Brother #1. There’s a reason why he does so much golf.
I still strongly dislike Tirico, but he’s hung around to become NBC’s #1 announcer/host for pretty much everything. Apparently my finger was not on the pulse of what America prefers here. The Soul Brother #1 line was solid.
Stuart Scott is the devil. Wait, if he was the devil, he wouldn’t have to suck up to people in a manner that makes Ahmad Rashad look reserved. He’s just a horrible broadcaster with a tired act.
Harsh. I got tired of Scott’s shtick pretty early in his ESPN career. But apparently he was a really good guy, everyone who knew him loved him, and since he lost a battle with cancer a few years back I feel kind of bad about this one.
And I think we can all agree the Indiana Pacers only signed Tim Hardaway to get him out of the studio. I haven’t even mentioned Bill Walton yet. Tom Tolbert is good, but I think his sarcasm gets lost in the format. Greg Anthony was the surprise of the year with his insightful commentary, but he’s too close to his playing days to be critical of people. I know they need time to prove themselves, iron out the kinks, etc, but I don’t think Marv, the Czar, Ernie, Kenny the Jet, and Chuck over at TNT lose sleep about the ESPN crew gaining on them.
The final line of that section might be the most incisive of this piece. There were several articles this season about how, no matter how many different formats and personalities they try, ESPN can never seem to catch the magic and quality of TNT’s studio show, which still features Ernie, Kenny, and Chuck with the addition of Shaq.
“With the first pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers select LeBron James.” Have there been less surprising words ever spoken?
There have been a few no-brainer #1 picks in the interim, but kind of funny it took until last week for the next “We’ve known who the #1 pick will be for over a year” selection. Also, not sure why I didn’t write more about Victor Wembanyama in my post about this year’s draft.
Is LeBron the next Jordan? That I can not say. I saw some footage this week of him playing two years ago, when he was quite a bit shorter and less athletic. He was scoring at will on people without exploding to the rim. Good, solid fundamental basketball. That base is why I think he’s going to succeed. Hopefully he can keep his head on straight.
Twenty years later and LeBron sure seems to have kept his head on pretty straight. I have rarely loved him, but I’ve always admired and appreciated him. We should be so lucky that the next super-duper alpha star handles themself as well as LBJ has, aside from the occasional whining. Or manufactured drama about his team’s roster. No one is perfect.
At number two, the Detroit Pistons select Darko Milicic. I’ve been trying to tell you for years that Larry Brown is a genius and the best basketball coach on any level. He just spent seven years putting up with Allen Iverson, got to the Finals once, and had a really good run there. As his tinkering starts to grow tiresome and Iverson gets ready to jump the shark, why not take a job with a team that was in the conference finals and has the #2 pick in the draft? Seems like a good move to me, but no one else would have had the imagination, creativity, and passion to make the move. Only Larry.
Darko went down as one of the greatest NBA busts ever, in one of the greatest drafts ever. So maybe this pick wasn’t so inspired. Yet LB did win an NBA title the following season despite Darko being a wasted pick. Well, not totally wasted if you were into early Blog Era sarcastic sports content.
Can we get some non-grainy video for these Euros some year? Are they still using Beta cam over there or what?
This made me laugh. Kids, Betacam was…
With our final lock pick, Denver goes with Carmelo Anthony. Dude exudes cool, calm, and style. I have some questions about his ability to dominate in the NBA right away, but I keep thinking George Gervin when I look at him.
‘Melo did just fine. Hell, he just retired! That George Gervin comp was pretty close.
Melo’s career line: 22.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, eFG% of 48.5, Player Efficiency Rating of 19.5 and 108.5 Win Shares.
Gervin’s: 25.1, 5.3, 2.6, eFG% 50.7, PER 21.4, 116.3 Win Shares.
Sadly they do not appear on each other’s Basketball Reference Similarity Scores section. Probably because of differing eras and Carmelo taking more outside shots.
4 – Toronto – Chris Bosh. You know, it’s one thing for a Shaq or Kenny Anderson who completely dominated as freshmen to declare for the draft early. But when kids I never heard of, who had nice, but not incredible seasons do it, I think there are big problems with the draft entry process. I think I heard Chris Bosh’s name twice all season. And now he’s the #4 pick in the draft.
I clearly missed here, although I will always say Chris Bosh was overrated and wouldn’t have been nearly as good had be not played with LeBron and D-Wade. Then I looked at his stats and he was very, very good, borderline great, for a five year stretch in the middle of his career.
And, yes, I knew Shaq played two years at LSU. I was just making the comparison between a guy who lit the world up as a freshman and one who was semi-anonymous.
5 – Miami – Dwyane Wade. My first “Whoa!” of the night. Miami has 73 swingman-type players, and they draft another one? I know Eddie Jones is on the downside of his career, but he’s got 157 years left on his contract, making him untradeable. Caron Butler didn’t quite become the next Paul Pierce, but he had a nice rookie year. Wade is a really good player, and I think I have more faith in his NBA potential than my Marquette friends. But if he’s bringing the ball up for the Heat on a regular basis, Riley has truly lost it.
Note that I was higher on Wade than my Marquette buddies!
I think I had Eddie Jones on my squad one of the years I played fantasy basketball, so I always loved his subtle, stat-filling game.
The NYC fans booing Pat Riley still, almost ten years later, was great too.
That shit has never ended, nor should it. New Yorkers will boo Pat Riley’s funeral. I love it.
6 – LA Clippers – Chris Kaman. He’s big, he’s white, and he can shoot with both hands. He’s drafted by the Clippers. Let’s go ahead and give him the early lead for Most Likely to Bust.
Looking back, I should have wondered if Darko was Serbian for Chris.
7 – Chicago – Kirk Hinrich. Best pick of the draft!!!! When even the commish is surprised, you know something interesting has happened. I’ve been saying for months Hinrich is the better NBA prospect than Collison. Whether he’s Stockton, Hornacek, or Kerr remains to be seen. But I think, baring injury, he’ll have a long, solid career.
Decent take. Kirk played for 11 seasons, averaging nearly 11 ppg and dishing just under 5 assists per game.
9 – New York – Mike Sweetney. Great moment, the Knicks select a Georgetown player and everyone in the Garden goes nuts. Crazy insane times. You know there were guys calling their cousins Sal, Vinnie, and Rocco to discuss getting season tickets so they could pick up playoff tickets in April. Somewhere, Joey Tribiani was yelling “KNICKS RULE!!!” off a fire escape. Can’t wait to see how an undersized forward with a history of weight problems does in the Big Apple.
Sometimes I was funny on this site.
10 – Washington – Jarvis Hayes. Clearly, the Wizards weren’t interested in getting Christian Laettner and Nick Collison on the same team. Some draft preview had Nick going here and mentioned they could have the two best white players to sit the end of a Dream Team bench together. Nice.
Christian Laettner was still playing in 2003???
11 – Golden State – Mickael Pietrus. The pick was greeted by absolute silence. Is it better for the New York fans to boo your pick as a horrible reach, or greet it with ignorant silence? And this is team #4 that took a pick that has no clear path towards playing time. “I don’t know what they hell you’re doing,” Tom Tolbert. Line of the night regarding Clippers North.
“Clippers North.” NBA Finals appearances/championships since 2003: Golden State 6/4, LA Clippers 0/0. In my defense the Warriors continued to suck until they drafted Steph Curry.
12 – Seattle – Nick Collison. Genius pick. Pure brilliance. Rewarding hard work, commitment, and success in college. Granted, I think Nick’s going to have to work hard and hope he can reach Ed Nealy levels of success, but still, you have to admire the Seattle GM’s foresight. He’s 6’10’’ but doesn’t jump well. He relied on exceptional position and moves to score in college. That will only get you so far in the NBA when you have a three-inch vertical.
Man was I rough on one of my all-time favorite college players. He only hung around for 14 years. He was never more than a role player physically, but became a rock in the Thunder locker room, mentoring guys like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden as they transitioned into a winning franchise. They even retired his number!
Also, it was a travesty how David Stern and the rest of NBA ownership let Oklahoma City steal the franchise away from Seattle.
Did they keep Vitale in his Florida office in an attempt for him to not talk over others? Or do they know he has no clue about what it takes to be a player in the NBA and this way they can minimize the damage he does to his reputation by cutting off his ridiculous comments?
Maybe this was the genesis of the Hot Take Culture that dominates ESPN today: Dick Vitale coming onto the NBA draft show and saying ridiculous things that annoyed people.
So who wins the Paul Pierce – Jermaine O’Neal match-up anyway? Looks like Jermaine just keeps taking Paul to the hole, but the Truth continues to light it up from outside.
I forgot about this commercial. PP was my favorite NBA player of that era. JO become my favorite Pacer of that era. Good stuff.
And with that, I retired for dinner.
Big miss here not sharing what I ate. Decent odds that I went to Qdoba and got some fat burrito with queso added on. One of my favorite activities that summer was going to the gym on nights that S had to work, then stopping at Qdoba across the street on the way home. I wasn’t exactly trying to lose weight at the time, but I think I cancelled out any calories burned when I followed up a workout with Mexican food.