Welcome to the NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is here, and with it an opportunity to project upon a host of gangly young giants the irrational aspirations of a nation of basketball fans.

The Miami Heat are NBA champions, much to the delight of members of the Miami Heat organization, DJ Khaled, coked-up Russian expats who took up the team’s cause last season because since it seemed like it might have involved fashion models, and sleazy sad dudes who want blowjobs from porn stars. Most NBA fans, though, have been thinking about next season since roughly halftime of Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Luckily for them—and you, even if you are new to all this—the NBA Draft is here, and with it an opportunity to project upon a host of gangly, nervous, awkwardly be-suited young giants the fondest hopes and dreams and irrational aspirations of a nation of basketball fans. Here, then, is a rough guide to the NBA Draft.

So, I read your thing about the NFL Draft…
Oh, thanks. I hope you enjoyed it.

You didn’t let me finish. I didn’t actually read your thing about the NFL Draft. I assume it was good or whatever, or maybe not. Probably not. But I saw you mentioned NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., and I googled him and found that he looks like a 1970s bookie with a personal storage facility full of pornography and bootleg sunglasses. Is there an equivalent to him for the NBA Draft? And if so, do you think we should do something about it?
That’s a good question, and obviously it would be a good idea to “do something about it” if such a person existed. Thankfully, though, NBA Draft experts are entirely less influential—and look notably less like someone waiting in line for the salad bar at a Florida strip club—than Kiper. There are a lot of them, actually, some of them reliant on quantitative statistical analyses, and others going the Kiper-ian route by passing on glowing scouting reports/flagrant disinformation from anonymous team officials and/or janitors. All of them are pretty goofy, honestly, but the relative brevity of the draft does at least stave off the NFL Draft’s coffee-breathed, creepy-claustrophobic human swap meet vibe. And unless something goes terribly wrong, there is no way that Chris Berman will be involved with ESPN’s broadcast, which at least means fewer Canadian Club-scented puns on player names than fans faced during the NFL Draft. That said, Jay Bilas is half cool for this.

So the guy that’s going to get picked first, the gangly dude with the Frida Kahlo eyebrow, is he a real thing? Because he looks like what would happen if a traumatized witness described Joe Camel to an incompetent police sketch artist.
Davis is still growing into his looks, admittedly, but he’s really good at basketball and seems like a nice enough dude and the New Orleans Hornets will definitely take him first. After that, the only real guarantee is that the Sacramento Kings are going to do something really ridiculously wrong and strange. In years past, the Kings have made appalling draft-day deals and prankish, almost Dada-ishly bad draft decisions. One example: In 2006, the Kings selected Jennifer Love Hewitt 11th overall, then traded forward Brian Skinner to the Portland Trail Blazers for a second round pick, which they used to select a Corgi named “Sir Pizza.” This year, rumors have Kings General Manager Geoff Petrie drafting center DeMarcus Cousins, whom the team already picked in the NBA Draft two seasons ago, with the fifth overall pick, in order to show “that we’re committed to DeMarcus, and would do it all over again.” On Thursday, Petrie tweeted a picture of the Jane Seymour-designed heart pendant he purchased for Cousins at Kay Jewelers.

So what is the actual appeal of the broadcast, then? Just waiting to see if the Kings draft room accidentally catches on fire?
That’s a lot of it, admittedly. And there’s the enduring appeal of watching guys in suits sit at a table and issue dense, jargon-heavy bluffs in the form of scouting reports. This will be especially amusing if, as in years past, the Toronto Raptors draft a Slovenian center who is later revealed to be fictitious. In 2007, ESPN’s Chad Ford delivered a lengthy and strikingly positive scouting report for Roberto Benigni before being told that the Life Is Beautiful star was in the audience, and not being considered as a surprise second-round pick by the Orlando Magic.

Why are all these NBA writers so into making jokes about the suits that the players will wear?
In years past, some of the players picked in the NBA Draft wore kind of ridiculous suits—in the 1998 Draft, six of the first seven picks wore suits from the same big-and-tall collection, which was inspired by villains from Dick Tracy and part of the Steve Harvey Signature line sold at Men’s Warehouse. That probably won’t happen this year, because pretty much every player in the draft conceives of himself as a global brand in the making, and so will dress either in a designer suit or a weird denim-leather Kanye-esque ensemble that resembles something from the “Beat It” video but is somehow twice as expensive as said designer suits.

Oh. I asked because the suit-chortling mostly just sort of seemed like a bunch of mayo-face white guys laughing at black people in suits, in sort of an off-vibe way.
No, it’s definitely that, too.

Previously - Taking the Heat