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Volume 21 No. 2
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Who can meet the Silver standard? Some Round 2 suggestions

This week’s draft will be the last led by Commissioner David Stern, who steps down Feb. 1. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver is stepping into the lead job, and that presumably will include him stepping up to the podium to introduce the first-round picks in drafts next year and beyond, just as Stern has done.

But let’s get to what’s less certain. Who will take over for Silver in announcing the second-round picks, an assignment he has ably executed since 2007 with a mix of panache and humor that won’t be easily duplicated (“Hello, New Jersey!”). Sure, the obvious choice would be the person Silver ultimately names as his deputy commissioner. Before Silver, Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik held the second-round duties and, like Silver, gained cult-hero status of sorts among the fans in attendance at the draft.

Legends like Dr. J would give the second round some old-school credibility.
But with the field for that No. 2 job seemingly still open (perhaps NBA senior executives Bill Koenig or Joel Litvin?) we offer a few less traditional alternatives on how the NBA could fill that second-round role, remembering that the duty does involve calling out the names of myriad international players at late-night hours — and doing so in a room full of some of the league’s more, shall we say, spirited fans.

Bring on the legends

The NBA loves its legends, so bring in five of the league’s best-ever players and have each announce six of the 30 second-round selections. Think of having Julius Erving walk onto the stage wearing a throwback New York Nets ABA hat and having The Doctor announce the first six second-round picks. Then have the likes of Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Willis Reed and Larry Bird announce six picks as well. Include a brief video highlight package of each legend to precede his appearance on stage to bring even more drama and life to the second round — and a sense of history to the occasion.

Get Charles Barkley to host

Fans would tune in to hear what Barkley said.
Yes, Barkley is paid by Turner, and it’s ESPN that airs the draft, but nobody offers more refreshing and honest NBA commentary than Sir Charles, and viewers would no doubt stick around for the second round to see Barkley in action.

Think about some of the foreign players who fill those second-round selections. Imagine Barkley wrestling with the following announcement this year:

“With the 59th pick of the 2013 NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Oleksandr Lypovyy of Kharkiv, Ukraine.”
If ESPN insists on having one of its own involved, perhaps the irreverent and resident NBA junkie Bill Simmons could handle the duties.

Hire Will Farrell

Farrell has the star power and the love of the game; the retro hair is optional.
Farrell is a big hoops fan despite the forgettable “Semi-Pro” movie, and he brought the house down in 2012 at New Orleans Arena, cracking wise as he announced the starting lineups for a New Orleans-Chicago game. (“At forward, No. 5, he still lives with his mother: Carlos Boozer....”) His star power alone would keep viewers interested until the final selection — though maybe not if he wears his Flint Tropics uniform.

Bring on the fans

Take a page from the NFL, which has seen fans in recent years take part in the proceedings for their respective teams’ selections. Of course, these would be contest-winning, preselected fans. We’re not suggesting spontaneously pulling from the crowd and setting off the sensors at the FCC.

Have the reigning MVP announce the selections

Sure, it’d be just a tad different for LeBron James to be at Barclays Center on Thursday compared to playing in Game 7 of the Finals this past week — but having King James on hand would add instant credibility to the proceedings this year and make it worth everyone’s while to stay tuned in.

— John Lombardo