Selection Sunday, as it always does, brought its fair share of surprises. One I liked was that Michigan State is the last No. 1 seed in the tournament. I think that after four years of toil, Draymond Green deserves to be one of the favorites heading into the tournament. Also, seeing Florida State as a No. 3 seed is something nobody could’ve expected at the beginning of the year. Their recent success (beating UNC and Duke both in the regular season and on consecutive days in the ACC tournament) have been acknowledged now, which is great for every Seminole fan. The last surprise I liked was NC State. During the regular season, they weren’t all that notable, but they did have some big wins. Now, as a No. 11 seed playing No. 6 seed San Diego State, I’m looking for the Wolfpack to upset the Aztecs in the first round.
Now, on to the one thing I didn’t like about this year’s bracket. I didn’t like what happened with Seton Hall and Washington. They both were good teams but were neglected simply because the selection committee decided to shake things up a bit this year (St. Bonaventure, really?). Also, regarding St. Bonaventure, The Wall Street Journal predicted that they’d score the big upset and beat Florida State in the first round. I won’t say too much, but I think the people at the Wall Street Journal should stick to writing about Wall Street, not sports.
I saw this and I was amazed. Gerald Green is 6’8”, but that doesn’t matter. He got the ENTIRE TOP HALF OF HIS HEAD above the rim. I’ve never seen that from anyone, ever. Any other year, this would run away with the Dunk of the Year, but it’s number two this year because of what Blake Griffin did to Kendrick Perkins. Either way, it’s definitely among the best dunks I’ve ever seen.
I just saw a really good interview done by Maria Bartiromo with Jason Kidd regarding the NBA lockout, as well as his incredible career. As you probably know, Jason Kidd’s been in the NBA for 19 seasons, is a 10-time All-Star, 1995 Co-Rookie of the Year, and now (finally), 1-time NBA champion. If anyone deserves that accomplishment more, it’s him. However, I was intrigued by what he had to say about the lockout. Being that he’s been in the NBA since 1994, he went through the lockout in 1998, where the season was shortened to 50 games. He basically said that the sides are far apart, but he hopes everyone comes to an agreement and avoids a repeat of ’98.
This is exactly what a lot of people, myself included, have said. Many people have commented on how they’re pretty sure that David Stern wouldn’t let another season be shortened.
I was also intrigued by what he said about US players playing internationally. Basketball is now truly an international sport and hopefully someday we’ll have a coordinated system for drafts etc. (see my previous post on the draft).
Anyway, until next time, you know what it is.
I spent the evening at the NBA Draft out in Newark last night. As I was heading home, I had a thought about the night: As many of you surely know, there were a number of foreign-born players in this year's draft, and many of them were taken in the first round. Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely, Enes Kanter, and Jonas Valaciunas were all taken as lottery picks. My opinion about foreign-born players is that of course they’re good (otherwise they would not have been picked in the NBA Draft), but at the same time, they’re HUGE wild cards. We’ve all seen it before: a foreign-born player gets picked in the first round, but he decides to stay where he is because of any number of reasons. This is the problem. The teams could be wasting picks on guys who won’t come stateside for 5 years or maybe even won’t come at all. We’re past the point at which anyone in sports can be xenophobic (xenophobia = dislike of foreigners), but obviously a picked player that does not join his team crowds out a spot for another qualified player. So it raises the question of whether or not the NBA should change the rules about player eligibility. To be considered for the draft, should a player have to commit to play if drafted? In any case, it is another reminder the culture of basketball has gone way beyond that of an American sport.