ESPN registered a 2.3 overnight rating for its coverage of the NBA Draft Thursday night. That figure is down 8% from last year's 2.5 overnight rating, and it is even with the mark from two years ago. With six players from the Univ. of Kentucky selected, including Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the first two picks, Louisville was the top market. Cleveland ranked second, while Raleigh-Durham, which had six local college products selected in the first round, came in third. The rest of the top 10 are K.C., Memphis, Columbus, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis and Charlotte (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
COVERAGE REVIEWS: AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Ryan Yoder writes in place of Stuart Scott's "stumbling, uneven performance last year," host Rece Davis "was a breath of fresh air." Yoder: "It makes you wonder how much better ESPN's NFL Draft coverage would be with a simple swap of Chris Berman for Trey Wingo." However, the "lack of a true NBA studio host (see Patrick, Dan or Johnson, Ernie) could have provided some extra depth" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 6/29). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote on his Twitter feed, "When ESPN makes an assignment that respects viewers, this feed will always praise. Bravo, for making @ESPN_ReceDavis your NBA Draft host. ... What you just saw from @ESPN_ReceDavis is the reason I'll never stop crushing ESPN for Berman hosting the NFL draft. Viewers won tonight." ESPN's Scott Van Pelt wrote, "Fun to watch @ESPN_ReceDavis expertly handle role of host. Hard to do well,unfair to make it appear this easy." However, THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre writes ESPN's draft coverage was "boring TV," as the "trio of Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy and Chris Broussard rarely got into disagreements or challenged one another." Broussard "spoke in broad generalities for 95 percent of the broadcast," and after the top 10 picks, "you could see ESPN going to him less and less and Fran Fraschilla more and more." Meanwhile, McIntyre asks, "Why is Van Gundy even on the telecast? He essentially admits to watching very little college hoops, and offers nothing but the occasional moment of deadpan humor" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 6/29).
SHOT CLOCK: Bilas during the draft made a passing reference to the "Jay Bilas Drinking Game," in which viewers are supposed to take a drink everytime he uses words like "wingspan," "potential" and "upside." Following the Hornets' selection of Davis, Bilas said, "With Anthony Davis you’re thinking wingspan, wingspan, wingspan. So tip it back three times, America” (“NBA Draft,” ESPN, 6/28). SB Nation's Tom Ziller writes on his Twitter feed, "Check out @JayBilas flogging the word 'wingspan' in an effort to get America hammered."