Why Did ESPN Lie During the NBA Draft?

Calvin W Boaz@Burrellfan1Correspondent IIJune 26, 2009


In its broadcast of the NBA draft, one would have hoped ESPN would have simply evaluated talent and judged the quality of draft selections.

However, particular members of the telecast decided to expand on the truth when making certain comments.

Stuart Scott and Jay Bilas lied during the draft. What did they lie about?

Both Scott and Bilas said that Stephen Curry was the best shooter available in the draft. The comment sounds innocent enough, but it is true?

In his three years at Davidson College, Curry shot 46.6 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. He also shot 41.2 percent from three point range.

For a guard, those are impressive stats, but were there other draft-eligible players that shot better?

Jack McClinton of Miami is the ACC's all-time leader in three-point field goal percentage at 44 percent. McClinton also led the league in three-pointers per game in three straight seasons and in three-point field goal percentage twice, including a conference leading 3.2 three-pointers per game at a .453 clip last year.

In his college career, Jack McClinton shot 42.7 percent from the floor and 88.0 percent from the free throw line. He made 42.6 percent of his three-pointers.

Ryan Toolson is all-time leader scorer at Utah Valley University with 2,163 points. He led the nation in free throw shooting percentage his last three seasons in college. For his career, Toolson shot 47.2 percent from the field, 94.4 percent from the free throw line, and 41.7 percent from three-point range.

The shooting talents of Jimmy Baron were hidden in obscurity until his Rhode Island team played Duke last season.

In a narrow loss to Duke, Baron connected on eight three-pointers, including one from 30 feet and another launched near the press table.

During a workout for NBA teams, Knicks president Donnie Walsh said this about Baron: "He can really shoot the ball. And he's a good player. He knows what he's doing."

In his collegiate career, Jimmy Baron shot 45.3 percent from the field and 90.4 percent from the free throw line. He also shot 43.0 percent from three-point range.

There is no doubt that Stephen Curry is the overall best player out of the four. Curry was the only one drafted in the first round. Jack McClinton was selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round, and Ryan Toolson and Jimmy Baron were not drafted at all.

Just because Stephen Curry is the best overall, it does not mean that Curry is the best shooter. Of the four players, Curry has the worst three-point shooting percentage and free throw shooting percentage. 

For draft purposes, McClinton was judged too short and not suited to play point guard. Toolson is a poor ball handler, and Baron is a stand-still shooter who needs to improve his ability to create his own shot. 

I can understand why Stuart Scott and Jay Bilas made their statements about Stephen Curry's shooting with such conviction. ESPN is trying to gain attention to itself and its product, the NBA. Its makes sense not to promote athletes that don't seem likely to play in the NBA.

However, Scott and Bilas made their opinions sound like facts. They could have easily said that Curry was one of the best shooters in the draft or that Curry was the best shooter likely to be picked in the first round.

Instead, Scott and Bilas decided to continue a myth instead of telling the truth.

In my opinion, Jimmy Baron was the best shooter in the draft due to his range and three-point percentage. Arguments could also be made to judge Ryan Toolson and Jack McClinton as better shooters than Stephen Curry.  

Unfortunately, ESPN chose to ignore the statistics and create its own truth.