Expect to hear Adam Silver say this a lot Thursday night: “We have a trade.”
NBA draft night 2016 is going to be roller coaster — after Ben Simmons (Sixers) and Brandon Ingram (Lakers) go off the board anything could happen. Boston has the third pick (thanks to Brooklyn’s mismanagement), and they are looking to trade it. Minnesota has gotten calls about the No. 5 pick that may tempt them, Denver is shopping the No. 7 pick, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is going to be a lot of fast and furious action.
Up to now you had one real option for draft night information: ESPN’s broadcast for the visuals, features and analysis; plus using Twitter for faster information and snark.
Now there is another option, one that will be a draw on a crazy night — Adrian Wojnarowski and The Vertical.
The Vertical is going to do a comprehensive live stream draft show Thursday on Yahoo Sports. Since half of you are watching the Draft with a second screen up already, this is a natural fit because Wojnarowski’s stock in trade is information.
“Being first is great, but we certainly want to be accurate…” said Wojnarowski, the NBA media’s preeminent news breaker. “The nuts and bolts of the show is information. We’re not trying to outdo television, we’re not going to be too cute. What you’re going to get from us is great information.”
Chris Mannix will host from a studio, where he will be joined by former Nets front office executive Bobby Marks, Mike Schmitz of Draft Express, and Indiana coach Tom Crean. Wojnarowski, Shams Charania, and Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony will be at the draft. There also will be segments from Brian Scalabrine (on draft night fashion) and shoe deals from Nick DePaula.
“(The draft show) is in our wheelhouse,” Wojnarowski said of his Vertical crew. “I just got off the phone with (Indiana coach) Tom Crean and he’s been breaking down video of players and talking about things he wants to emphasize on the show with the breakdowns he’ll do…
“He’s a real student of the NBA, he follows the NBA very closely, and he understands who projects, and he’s had great success sending guys into the league. He’ll be a tremendous part of the show.”
While NBA fans tend to be up on elite college players — Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray, etc. — they get confused when European names are called. Remember how Knicks fans booed Kristaps Porzingis a year ago, and now he’s their savior. Again for Wojnarowski, it’s about information.
“With European players, Jonathan Givony has traveled Europe, he has seen the players in this draft, not just this year, but he’s watched these players…” Wojnarowski said. “They’ve watched these guys overseas develop over three or four or five years. They’ve been watching Ben Simmons since he was 16 years old at tournaments, same with the European players that will be drafted. It’s just a real strong sense of understanding and knowledge.”
But information needs context.
“Having (former Nets executive) Bobby Marks there to lay out the decisions front offices are making and how that’s going to impact free agency — because they’re all connected, there is context to what is coming in free agency,” Wojnarowski said. “Certainly with trades that are made, whether someone is clearing cap space to go after a free agent or they’re trying to get deals done now because they don’t feel confident what they can get out of free agency, Bobby and I will be there to talk about those things during the show. So it’s more than the draft, it’s setting the stage for free agency, which is certainly more impactful to winning and losing in the short-term than how teams will look in the draft.”
This provides an option for draft night viewing. ESPN has the broadcast rights and has a large, smart crew of analysts.
But when news is breaking fast, you better be following Wojnarowski.