I actually prefer the NBA draft to its football counterpart. No pesky long snapper rankings to memorize, it doesn't take three weeks to complete, no Chris Berman and his Groucho Marx routine or whatever it is he's doing up there.
But also, the NBA draft is more dramatic somehow. It's more funner. You know? There was the Frozen Ping Pong Ball Conspiracy of 1984. Rashard Lewis weeping in the green room. And of course, what Terp fan can forget a scowling Steve Francis stomping up the aisle to receive his Vancouver Grizzlies hat after Chicago passed him over for Elton Brand with the top pick? Yeah, that was great.
And just to make certain that this year's draft (Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPN) is featured on all the Plays of the Day segments, the league invited one Sr. Greivis Vasquez to attend the proceedings in person.
Okay, now I'm excited.
Will he stand on a table? Shimmy up to the stage? Challenge DeMarcus Cousins to a crazy-off? Will he ruffle Jay Bilas' hair? What about David Stern's hair...is that safe? There is simply no telling. Will he flip the bird to MSG if they start heckling him, which seems quite plausible? Will he blow the vuvuzela? It's all on the table, man. It's all in play.
Say what you want about Greivis, but the man makes for good TV. I just hope that he makes the good kind of good TV. And to ensure that, he probably needs to go in the first round. And if the Internet is any indicator of the truth—and I think we all know that it absolutely, definitively is—there's an increasingly decent chance of that.
Slam Online has him going 29th to Orlando , but the scenario drawing the most buzz at the moment has the Vaz heading to The Land That Time Forgot, or whatever Memphis's tagline is.
Memphis apparently loved Vasquez's workouts, and now the Grizz may be looking for the Greeve at 25 or 28 . Apparently the organization enjoyed its last experience with a talented-but-tempermental Maryland guard so much, they're going to buy another ticket on that wild ride. Although by all accounts, this one will probably turn out better.
Two main factors seem to be affecting their decision. One, Memphis' starters led the NBA last season in minutes played; they need depth. Who in the draft is better suited to provide a spark off the bench right away for a bad NBA team than Vasquez?
He can be flexible on both ends of the court, he has good passing and court vision, he's a dogged defender and an emotional catalyst. He is spectacular at nothing, but decent at everything and willing to work his butt off and kick other guys in the butt. To me, that epitomizes a bench contributor.
The second and perhaps less flattering factor is that a lot of the higher-profile prospects are actually refusing to work out for the Grizzlies . Awesome. So far, Gordon Hayward, Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, and several others have presented Memphis with the shaft in a box.
Grizzlies, if they want to give you the cold shoulder just because you're "hemorrhaging money" or "don't know how to assemble a viable NBA team," then they weren't real friends to begin with. Where are their priorities as people? I know, seriously.
And as if the Grizz needed even more salt in the wound, the aforementioned Slam mock has Vasquez going to Orlando only because they predict Memphis won't get in their pick on time. Now, see, that's just cold, Slam.
Bottom line: These guys don't understand Memphis. Vasquez understands Memphis. He already has a rapport with the city . What more could they want?
(Note: This article is also posted at www.shell-games.com .)