Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Have you ever bounced a basketball?
Dumb question, right?
I think so, too, but when it comes to this time of year I always find myself
The reason being, the NBA Draft always leaves me scratching my head.
Basketball, for a long time now, is no longer just our game. It's up there with
others as a world game.
Perhaps a few Sherpas in Tibet haven't quite caught on, but only a few.
Everybody else? Well, they at least have an idea, I'd imagine, of what
So, with that being said, how is it that many are calling Thursday's NBA Draft
a one-player deal?
With millions upon millions of folks, especially the young, playing basketball
and being exposed to basketball, how can there be only one surefire player
One stinkin' guy - in this case, Kentucky's Anthony Davis - who could help
change the course of an NBA franchise?
Of course, as we go along, other players from this draft will emerge as stars.
But for right now, the experts are saying only Davis could make a difference.
That's baffling. I know it's also accurate, but it's baffling.
I know it helps to be 6-foot-11 like Davis, and most of us are nowhere near
that height, but 6-2 guys also play basketball. There are plenty like that
It's gotten so bad for basketball that the draft, which used to have round
after round, is now shaved down to just two.
And if you're picked in the second round, you might as well start looking for
employment from a team in Istanbul because your chances of sticking with an NBA
team aren't, in a word, good (yes, yes, Lavoy Allen was taken 50th by the
Philadelphia 76ers in last year's draft and is a keeper, but guys like him -
please go ahead and check - are few and far between).
Heck, football still has seven rounds, also trimmed down from years past, but
it's still seven guys getting picked.
True, football rosters are much larger than basketball rosters, but the NFL
still gets very good undrafted free agents, overlooked guys who make rosters
and sometimes become stars.
Quick Name the last NBA undrafted free agent to come along who became a star? I
can't think of any, either.
And football, American football that is, is mostly played only by us.
Basketball, as mentioned, is played by everybody.
Oh, and while we're at it, let's look at Major League Baseball. It drafts
player after player and find gems all the time. The best, and most famous
example, Mike Piazza, who was taken in the 62nd round by the Los Angeles
Dodgers. Does Mike Piazza even get a chance to show his stuff if baseball had a
That's why I'm boggled.
On the bright side, well, at least the provincial side, it looks as if this
year's NBA Draft will be filled with names of players (and places they
played) that we've actually heard of.
Usually, it seems, by the third or fourth pick, some guy from Italy or Spain is
walking up to David Stern and looking quite dorky in his Charlotte Bobcats hat.
And, in the highlights they show of him, he's playing on some wacky-looking
court with a funny looking ball with weird stripes.
But, if the mock drafts are right, a big assumption, the guys walking up to see
Stern will actually know who he is.
Regardless of who gets drafted where, the point is, in a sport with so many
participants, so few seem to be really good at it. That just seems odd, but
sometimes sports are just odd.
Drew Markol has been a sports writer and columnist for several Philadelphia-
area newspapers for over 25 years.
The Sports Network