By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Have you ever bounced a basketball?

Dumb question, right?

I think so, too, but when it comes to this time of year I always find myself asking it.

The reason being, the NBA Draft always leaves me scratching my head.

Basketball, for a long time now, is no longer just our game. It's up there with others as a world game.

Perhaps a few Sherpas in Tibet haven't quite caught on, but only a few.

Everybody else? Well, they at least have an idea, I'd imagine, of what basketball is.

So, with that being said, how is it that many are calling Thursday's NBA Draft a one-player deal?


With millions upon millions of folks, especially the young, playing basketball and being exposed to basketball, how can there be only one surefire player available?

One stinkin' guy - in this case, Kentucky's Anthony Davis - who could help change the course of an NBA franchise?

One guy?

Of course, as we go along, other players from this draft will emerge as stars.

But for right now, the experts are saying only Davis could make a difference.

That's baffling. I know it's also accurate, but it's baffling.

I know it helps to be 6-foot-11 like Davis, and most of us are nowhere near that height, but 6-2 guys also play basketball. There are plenty like that available.

It's gotten so bad for basketball that the draft, which used to have round after round, is now shaved down to just two.

And if you're picked in the second round, you might as well start looking for employment from a team in Istanbul because your chances of sticking with an NBA team aren't, in a word, good (yes, yes, Lavoy Allen was taken 50th by the Philadelphia 76ers in last year's draft and is a keeper, but guys like him - please go ahead and check - are few and far between).

Heck, football still has seven rounds, also trimmed down from years past, but it's still seven guys getting picked.

True, football rosters are much larger than basketball rosters, but the NFL still gets very good undrafted free agents, overlooked guys who make rosters and sometimes become stars.

Quick Name the last NBA undrafted free agent to come along who became a star? I can't think of any, either.

And football, American football that is, is mostly played only by us. Basketball, as mentioned, is played by everybody.

Oh, and while we're at it, let's look at Major League Baseball. It drafts player after player and find gems all the time. The best, and most famous example, Mike Piazza, who was taken in the 62nd round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Does Mike Piazza even get a chance to show his stuff if baseball had a two-round draft?

That's why I'm boggled.

On the bright side, well, at least the provincial side, it looks as if this year's NBA Draft will be filled with names of players (and places they played) that we've actually heard of.

Usually, it seems, by the third or fourth pick, some guy from Italy or Spain is walking up to David Stern and looking quite dorky in his Charlotte Bobcats hat.

And, in the highlights they show of him, he's playing on some wacky-looking court with a funny looking ball with weird stripes.

But, if the mock drafts are right, a big assumption, the guys walking up to see Stern will actually know who he is.

Regardless of who gets drafted where, the point is, in a sport with so many participants, so few seem to be really good at it. That just seems odd, but sometimes sports are just odd.

Drew Markol has been a sports writer and columnist for several Philadelphia- area newspapers for over 25 years.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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