How To Root For Your Favorite College Basketball Player In The NBA Draft
There are certain things we're all rooting for on the evening of the NBA Draft. Bill Simmons has chronicled most of them at length already, so I won't waste too much of your time blathering on about how great the awkward hugs, ill-fitting suits, smug Stern grins, and Jay Bilas WINGSPAN freak-outs are year-in and year-out. If you just clicked on a link that is seriously presenting content regarding rooting for someone on draft night, you are far from uninitiated when it comes to the draft's bizarre, ritualistic charms.
There are three main outlooks you can adopt when it comes to rooting for a landing spot for your favorite college player. For the illustrative purposes of the case study, we're rolling with my main man, Michael Carter-Williams. (And by “main man” I of course mean “human who would be extremely sketched out if I ever contacted him for any reason”)
Option One: The Higher the Better
(Stop nodding, Michael Beasley)
With this mindset, you want your guy to be selected as far up the draft board as possible. Maybe even a touch irrationally high. You want him to adopt the commensurate swagger that comes from being a top pick. You want him to be hyped. You want Jim Boeheim and Mike Hopkins to be able to hit the recruiting trail and say “Yeah, we got a top-5 pick in last year's draft, and we can do that for you too.” You want him to get the bigger contract. You want him to be in the pole position for a sneaker deal. Total vanity move on all fronts.
ROOT FOR WILLIAMS TO GO: #4, to the Charlotte Bobcats. Locking up an unselfish floor general would be as sound a place for the perpetually dysfunctional Bobcats to start rebuilding as any. Also, MJ's daughter goes to 'Cuse. (#turnup)
Option Two: The Drop
While it might seem strange to want your guy sweating through his brand new blazer as one of the last stragglers in the green room, falling has its advantages. Sure, the glory of being a top selection is cool, but there's a reason these squads are picking first- they need serious help. If they didn't suck, they wouldn't be there. A drop in draft status gives your player a slightly better situation, a less hapless environment to grow in and slightly less daunting expectations. It can also be a motivating factor that firmly places a chip on said players' shoulder right from the get-go. This is not always a bad thing (see Pierce, Paul).
ROOT FOR WILLIAMS TO FALL: #14, to the Utah Jazz.
Option Three: Best Fit
With this rooting mechanism, you want the player to go to a team that craves his specific talents. This team should not have a franchise cornerstone, or even a top-flight starter, at his position. He should help them shore up a need. You should be able to see him gelling with the team's main stars, and when you think about the more refined areas of his skill set, an epiphanic light bulb should turn on in your brain that says “OF COURSE THEY NEED THAT!”
Carter-Williams would fit really well on a team with established veterans who have specific spots they like operating out of and strong voices that can command him to lay off the contested jump shots. He did an excellent job of coaxing offense out of Brandon Triche and finding C..J Fair in all his sweet spots last season. A team that needs another long, athletic body to defend guards would find him particularly useful. His excellent rebounding out of the backcourt would be great on a team that lacks explosiveness inside.
ROOT FOR WILLIAMS TO BE THE STARTING POINT GUARD OF YOUR PLAYOFF BOUND: #13 Dallas Mavericks. (Things that are too real: The Dirk-Carter-Williams pick-and-pop, the off-chance Dwight signs too and we can see MCW toss him 50 foot alley-oops and Rick Carslile calling time-outs for the sole purpose of upbraiding Carter-Williams for 90 straight seconds for taking four consecutive ill advised pull-ups, followed by a sheepishly contrite Carter-Williams picking someone's pocket and throwing down a ridiculous tomahawk jam out of the timeout. I AM PSYCHIC.)
As you can see, you have some options when it comes to exactly how to emotionally will your favorite college hoopster into a great draft spot. Choose wisely and enjoy the draft on Thursday!