February 19, 2012
Shaq and Chuck Pick Teams

When I first heard about the NBA’s plans to let Shaq and Chuck pick the teams for the ‘BBVA Rising Stars Challenge’, I thought it was a brilliant twist that could be must-watch TV.

Unfortunately, I was on the road while they picked teams, so I missed the draft in real time. When I got home, I was able to find the video on NBA.com after a far-too-laborious search.

Overall, the draft was unimpressive, poorly executed, and a missed opportunity. TNT’s presentation was sloppy, even beyond the expected with Shaq/Chuck. The draft process was complex in the wrong ways, with players strangely categorized as F, B, or X (frontcourt, backcourt, or flex) and the GMs were limited by the number of players from each category they could pick - a rule that was barely followed and ill-understood by all of the participants, including Kenny Smith (the Commish). The picks didn’t snake, so Shaq’s team had a clear advantage.

Prior to the beginning of the actual draft portion, Kenny announced he was adding two players to the pool and proceeded to scrawl Norris Cole (rookie) and Jeremy Lin (soph) onto blank cards to add them to the draft pool, giving ‘the people what they want, when they want it.’

The actual draft was packed full long shots of Shaq and crazy picks (Lin before Rubio? Cousins before Monroe? EVERYONE before Wall??), but generally went more smoothly than the rest of the presentation.

I love the new approach from the NBA, but TNT’s sloppy presentation projected such indifference that it’s impossible to call the event something worth building on for next year. The NBA’s going to have to continue to absorb opportunity costs like this one until they find more reliable TV partners.

I can’t imagine the Worldwide Leader letting a unique TV event like this one go to waste.

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