I was one of eight or 10 media members who got to watch the lottery last night from inside the television studio where the NBA draft order is filmed. It’s not quite as cool as being in the secret locked-down room where the lottery actually happens, but it’s an experience — a bizarre event filled with odd moments, awkward silences, uncomfortable people, team representatives wearing ridiculous amounts of makeup, endless commercial breaks where everyone on the dais just sort of sits there, Jay Bilas, and other strangeness. Some quick observations from TV land:
• The Cleveland Cavaliers contingent at these things is just very weird. They make a party of the lottery, and the party treads the line between quirky and unseemly. They bring at least a dozen people every year, and there is always a local celebrity or two among them; Bernie Kosar came last year, and he was on the list again this year. He didn’t show, but a rapper named Machine Gun Kelly, who does not know how to tie a tie, filled the celebrity void.
There are at least three competing incentives at work in David Stern’s pending punishment of the Spurs for resting Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green on Thursday in Miami — a punishment that will surely top out at a fine, since any non-monetary penalty would be ridiculous.
• Having covered the NBA for a relatively brief time, I’ve no real relationship with David Stern. Our first interaction, suitably terrifying, occurred just three months ago in Las Vegas, when I asked Stern and Adam Silver a question about revenue sharing at a Board of Governors press conference during summer league. I only got my name and media affiliation out before Stern interrupted me, wagging his index finger and repeating two or three times, “Oh, so you’re the one.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I was pretty sure Stern was already dispatching henchmen to ransack my hotel room and/or track down my loved ones.