The “green room” at the 2012 NBA Draft is not a room. It is a cordoned off section of a giant indoor arena to the front and the right of the stage. 14 men, selected by NBA Commissioner David Stern, sit there with their families and friends and agents at small black tables of 6. When the draft begins, the lights in the entire arena will dim, including this area. The stage will be lit, and in what has become tribute from fans of the league, Stern will emerge to a reliable chorus of boos from the crowd in attendance.
The 14 young men will wait to be called to the stage and selected by teams as NBA players. There are other prospective NBA players present, seated in the lower bowl further off to the right side of Stern’s stage beside spectators, agents and an overflow of eager families and friends.
Few of the men in the “green room” know when and by which team they will be drafted. Anthony Davis from the University of Kentucky, the consensus best NBA prospect in the country, is expected to go first. Beyond that, it is conjecture. The press corps sits to the left of the stage behind tables and lap top computers that resemble pens and furious caged animals. Each writer has his suspicions, prognostications for which man will be taken by which team, trades that may occur or have been discussed between teams.
The Cleveland Cavaliers draft process has been saturated with wild rumors for the two seasons that General Manager Chris Grant has run the organization. This draft is no different. The Cavaliers have 4 selections to make this evening. Two first round picks: their own at #4 and a pick acquired for Ramon Sessions from the Lakers near the trade deadline which had been highly criticized at the time by the national media, but which netted Cleveland the Lakers #24th pick overall in the draft. Two second round picks, their own at #33, and the New Orleans Hornets at #34, a pick acquired from the Miami Heat as the result of the sign and trade transaction in 2010 that allowed the Heat to obtain the rights to LeBron James.
The media has been reporting for weeks that it is unlikely that the Cavaliers will obtain four new players. The consistent report is that this is too many rookies at one time for the team to add. Further, that picks will be used as trade currency, either to move up in the draft or exchanged for future draft picks in another draft or for a player already on another team. These rumors culminate on draft day, when the final rumor reported is that Chris Grant has offered all the Cavaliers four selections to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for the first pick overall.
But when the lights in the house finally go down and the stage lights up for the first pick to be announced, Anthony Davis, a franchise forward with otherworldly defensive abilities as well as a signature eyebrow conspiracy in the middle of his face, is selected by New Orleans. And the clock begins on the rest of the draft and uncertainty for the remaining 13 in the green room.
Dion Waiters, who will be selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers, has some measure of certainty. He has reportedly been given “an assurance” by some team, and perhaps multiple teams that they will select him. The most popular rumors are that the Phoenix Suns, who will select at #13 or the Toronto Raptors, who will select at #8 have told Waiters that they will draft him. The Raptors rumor is based at least in part on the fact that Waiters has shut down his workouts early, an indicator that he was given a reliable promise by someone in some organization. He knows he will be drafted. He knows it will be in the lottery.
Waiters leans back in his chair in a three piece suit at a table next to the Zeller family. Dion Waiters always sits with confidence. He is a bench player from Syracuse University whose explosiveness coming into games catapulted him up draft charts into the lottery and into the 4th overall pick. He is selected 4th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, where many expected them to draft Harrison Barnes, a North Carolina player they had reportedly coveted in the 2011 Draft, but who had elected to stay in college.no comments