Friday, June 27, 2008
Before I get into the coverage I just wanted to note how draining last night's NBA Draft was. I can't remember being completely exhausted after a live-blog of one of the best nights of the Sports Year. Maybe it was the lack of notable players in the second round, or the fact that there were no random Europeans jumping out of the stands, but by the end I was spent. Also, before the grading goes down I wanted to note that I don't have anything against anyone on the Draft telecast last night (yes, even Stu Scott somewhat). I think all parties involved are good on their own and know their stuff, which is why this is so odd to say....
EVERYONE...and I mean EVERYONE....involved in the program last night was just downright terrible.
I don't really know what it was, but as a group they combined to makeup the worst coverage team I think I've ever seen. I even waited through the morning to start writing this because I wanted to think it about it again and be fair. Wait, let's think a little more......nope still awful.
The host of a program doesn't necessarily need to be flawless in and out of transitions and segments, but he has to be close to it. That's what made Mike Tirico and Dan Patrick so good on NBA Draft coverage. It's almost like a good referee or umpire. They don't do anything crazy and you don't even mention them. It started off bad for Stu Scott and it just got worse. I started keeping track of his mistakes after a few picks and here's the list I and the commenters came up with.
1. Said Eric Gordon was Big Ten Player of the Year for Illinois (I know there was a battle for him, but come on).
2. Said the only time the Knicks have picked higher in the draft was when they picked Sky Walker at #5 (some guy named Ewing was picked somewhere in the Top 5 I think....oh yeah first).
3. Said the Knicks last made the Playoffs seven years ago (it's only been four).
4. Called the Pac-10 a Basketball school.
5. Lost it during a Portland-Hornets trade.
6. Ragged on the Doc Rivers Gatorade soaked shirt which was auctioned off for charity.
7. CONSTANTLY talked about the record number of Freshman taken and didn't once mention the NBA's age limit.
Etc, Etc, Etc. I know it's live television, and it's far from easy, but that many errors just distracts you from what the other analysts on set are saying. Not that they were ACTUALLY saying anything interesting (which is a perfect transition into the other three on stage).
First up, Jeff Van Gundy knows nothing about College players. He even openly admitted it. I have zero problems with that, but they only went to his strengths (NBA teams and strategy) three or four times in the night. He just looked lost up there and no one was setting him up at all. Jay Bilas on the other hand is one of ESPN's brightest minds in regards to the College game. He knows every player on the board and has stats memorized. That's why I hope one day someone passes along this bit of information to him.....making up terms makes you just sound goofy and a lot less smart than you really are.
"Pick Popability"? "Dunking with his elbows"? "He's bouncy"? "He's a pre-packaged guy"? "He's got an elongated reach"? "He can't find the keys to the toolbox"? "Second jumpability"? WHAT DOES ANY OF THAT MEAN?!?!?! Good lord. I know it's a long broadcast, but Bilas has to be (and is) smarter than that. It is so g'damn distracting. Lastly, Mark Jackson....I actually don't have anything bad to say about him because I didn't really even notice he was there. He adds zippy to the broadcast outside of his Draft Day experience being from NY and being drafted by NY. If you note the NFL Draft they only go to the MNF team about three or four times.....THEY DON'T PUT THEM ON THE MAIN STAGE!
I think we all knew it was going to be bad when we saw who was involved, and maybe ESPN was just trying something different, but I didn't think it was going to be THAT BAD! Add to the foursome depressed Stephen A. who didn't even want to be there, an overacting Doris Burke and the euro-stalker Fran Fraschilla and you have ESPN's worst broadcast in years. I'm sorry, but that was worse than "Who's Now". ESPN even let Bill Simmons mock them in his "Diary" they were so bad (more on that later).
I wish I was kidding when I say this, but they made "Monday Night Countdown" look like "60 Minutes". Just dreadful. Sorry for the length but I'm just done with ESPN's coverage of Drafts. They ruined day one of the NFL Draft and now the entire NBA Draft. I don't know what needs to be done to change it though. Maybe it's about time we got to vote on who gets to cover what events? I don't even know anymore....I'm all out of ideas at this point. If you have any good ones leave them in the comments.....you never know when ESPN is reading.