NBA draft from a casual fan’s perspective

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Speaking from the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t really follow professional basketball except for the occasional playoff game, the NBA draft wasn’t as boring to watch as I thought it’d be. I sat down last Thursday evening with the intention of just watching the first two, maybe three picks because I wanted to see if things were going to happen as predicted.

I ended up watching the first 20.

Truthfully, I try to check in and watch a little bit of the NBA draft every year just to see where a few of the guys from ACC teams go. But I had to ask myself about two hours into watching the 2017 draft: “why am I still watching this?”

According to my brother—who I rely on to answer all of my technical sports questions such as “what team did that guy play for?” and “are you sure that’s a real team?”—none of the first round picks were drastically unexpected. Everyone pretty much knew Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball were going to be the number 1 and 2 picks. There were a few mild surprises during the rest of the evening, but nothing really mind-blowing.

So again I ask myself: “why was I watching?”

For someone like me who doesn’t keep too close an eye on sports all the time, watching the draft was like watching any other celebrity-filled Hollywood event. I sat around making snarky comments about everyone’s suits while also laughing at all the fun facts about the players ESPN kept putting on screen.

The very helpful ESPN sidebar informed me that Josh Jackson—formerly from Kansas, now going to Phoenix—can play the saxophone. Lonzo Ball, who’ll be with the LA Lakers this season, apparently writes rap lyrics on his phone.

And the best one: former Duke player Luke Kennard “knows every word from the movie Frozen.”

I’m actually kind of outraged that ESPN would drop that knowledge on us and then not ask Kennard anything about that in his post-selection interview. Sure, we can talk about how he feels going to the Pistons this season, but is anybody going to ask him if he wants to build a snowman during his first Detroit winter?

Another upside of watching the draft: I was reminded of just how many teams the NBA has. Honestly, I had forgotten the Sacramento Kings even existed. How many teams does California even need anyway? When will Alaska get a professional basketball team, huh?

When Dennis Smith Jr, the one-and-done from NC State this year, got selected to join the Dallas Mavericks, I realized I couldn’t recall a single player on the Texas team (although I did remember that Mark Cuban was the owner). 

“Just an aging Dirk Nowitzki,” my brother answered when I asked who played there.

“And tumbleweeds rolling across the court, right? Because it’s Texas,” I joked, but no one thought that was funny.

I was also informed that Steph Curry’s little brother is also on that team but “he’s no Steph Curry.”

Of course, the part that was the most fun for me was seeing what snazzy suits everyone chose to wear that night. While I decided to ignore anything with the name “Big Baller Brand,” it was fun to see what fancy digs everyone else slipped into on draft night.

Donovan Mitchell wore Louisville socks to represent his former college team. De’Aaron Fox had the inside of his suit jacket lined with a pink ribbon design, a touching gesture to his mother who’s a breast cancer survivor. Frank Ntilikina (who we dubbed “French Frank” for simplicity’s sake) looked right at home in his full dark red suit.

And Markelle Fultz, the aforementioned number one pick, wore shoes literally made out of basketballs. That’s dedication!

All in all, I guess someone who’s a huge fan of college and professional basketball would have a different answer than me when asked why they’re watching the NBA draft. I suppose I’m just too easily entertained that I’ll watch anything if I sit down long enough. Either way, draft night was fun.

But I’m pretty sure I’m still not going to watch many NBA games this year.

Holly Taylor is a staff writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.