SBD/Issue 197/Sports Media

Has NBA Draft Become More Boring As A Television Event?

Many Feel Last Night's NBA
Draft Lacked Any Excitement

The things that used to make the NBA Draft an exciting TV event "have been slowly beaten out of the draft," and Thursday night's edition was the "most boring" in recent memory, according to Bill Simmons of ESPN.com. The "bad wardrobes, lack of hard information, embarrassing interviews" and uncertainty of picks have been erased by "wily agents, enterprising Internet reporting, 24/7 news coverage and an acquired sophistication among prospects who watched the previous generation of prospects shatter the unintentional-comedy scale every June." ESPN's coverage of Thursday's draft featured "safe interviews, safe analysis, safe everything." Simmons wrote in his running diary of the event that ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, "clearly bored by the lack of excitement," could be seen "staring vacantly at [Stuart Scott] or Jon Barry after every one of their points." Also, it was "confusing" that ESPN used "Michael Buble's romantic swing music as the theme" for the telecast. Simmons suggests ESPN have "real NBA players conduct the interviews with the rookies after they get picked," which may "loosen up the rookies a little." Simmons: "We need to keep pushing the envelope. We need to create the comedy. We need to make this a fun night again. I'll keep my fingers crossed" (ESPN.com, 6/25). THE BIG LEAD writes there was "zero energy from the ESPN talking heads." Maybe it was "just a dull, predictable draft, or perhaps the flurry of trades killed whatever flow the draft could have had. But in a word, last night was dull" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 6/25). Meanwhile, WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane in a running diary of the draft joked, "I was terrified ESPN wouldn't kick off the coverage with a music video/montage. Nice to have the fears allayed with the sounds of Michael Buble" (WEEI.com, 6/24).

TWITTER REAX: Several basketball and media writers offered their two cents of ESPN's NBA Draft coverage. The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre wrote, "A busy but dull draft so far. No real 'WOW' moments. ESPN commentary has been kind of dull. ESPN needs an NBA Mel Kiper." McIntrye later added, "Why is ESPN wasting time w/ LeBron James at the NBA draft? July will be all about LeBron. How's had a good draft? Bad one? Come on, ESPN." Broadcasting & Cable’s Ben Grossman: “ESPN debuts resident capologist on NBA draft preshow: smart hire given complex cap rules and huge free agent class, solid first appearance.” But Sporting News' Dan Levy wrote, "I've been watching an awful lot of ESPN lately and have seen maybe 50 different personalities on TV this week. Stu Scott is the worst of all." Bloomberg Sports' Jonah Keri added, "Stu Scott: ‘New Jersey is close to New York.’ Analysis!!!"

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