Silly Season

Information overload – but how much of draft buzz is credible?

It's anybody's guess who the Pistons will walk away with in Thursday's draft.
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If you’re old enough to remember the NBA draft being televised on USA with old St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca declaring every pick a great fit and potential Hall of Famer, welcome back. We’ve come full circle.

Back then, you’d sit in front of the TV with your dog-earred copy of Street & Smith’s college basketball yearbook with only a vague idea of which players would be picked in the first round. In 1985, Joe Dumars was not only unknown to most NBA fans, Pistons owner Bill Davidson and minority partner Oscar Feldman had no idea who he was when GM Jack McCloskey picked him – right after Dallas had spent the previous two picks on 14 feet worth of bust, Uwe Blab and Bill Wennington, who were prominently featured in Street & Smith’s.

Today, thanks to the mushrooming of Internet blogs and social media, the circumstances are 180 degrees different but the result is pretty much the same: We have no idea what’s going to happen in Thursday’s draft. It’s not for lack of information, necessarily, but information overload. What’s lacking is credible information, or at least an Angie’s List to rate sources worth believing.

If you’ve been paying attention to what the Internet and Twitter and the like are saying about the Pistons with regard to Thursday’s draft, in just the last 48 hours – depending on what time you plugged in – you came away convinced the Pistons were drafting (a) Kawhi Leoanrd, (b) Markieff Morris, (c) Kemba Walker and (d) Tristan Thompson.

Somebody’s right. Unless they draft Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely, Jonas Valanciunas or Marcus Morris.

There aren’t any more credible sources on the NBA draft today than there were 25 or 30 years ago. There are just a million more access points available for information dissemination today – and no standards for who gets to use them. So choose your sources wisely. The best ones are consistently saying the same thing: Most of what’s being reported is the result of teams doing what they can to mask their preferences and intentions. They’re bluffing. The smoke billowing out of NBA draft rooms rivals the cloud hanging over Arizona’s wildfires.

Based on what I’m hearing and the trust I put in a select few news sources, here’s what I think might have some meat on the bones:

It’s logical that Minnesota is shopping the No. 2 pick. Derrick Williams might be a wonderful player, but where does he play for a team that already has Kevin Love and Michael Beasley at power forward and last year’s lottery pick, Wesley Johnson, at small forward?

It’s crazy to believe Minnesota would trade Love and the No. 2 pick to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. Gasol’s an impact player, a hands-down All-Star, but he’s also 31. And here’s the real killer for me if I’m Minnesota: How motivated a Pau Gasol are you going to get, coming to a team that’s won 32 games in the last two years after competing for NBA titles the past four years? Do you really think the prospect of playing alongside countryman Ricky Rubio will replace what Gasol had going for him in LA?

Steve Nash for the No. 2 pick? Equally batty. Nash might sell 2,000 season tickets on the first day and the Timberwolves might – might – double their win total next year with him running the offense. But he’s a 37-year-old point guard. What are you going to have to show for the No. 2 pick two years from now?

Tony Parker being shopped hard by San Antonio? That one I believe, in large part because the source, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, has a solid track record, partly because I can’t imagine Spurs management was thrilled to hear Parker recently say the Spurs’ title-contending days were over, partly because it makes sense as a way to attempt the difficult transition from one era to the next without crashing into the lottery for multiple years.

There is little reason to believe the consensus that Brandon Knight will wind up being the No. 3 pick by Utah is based on anything but the momentum created largely by the guesswork of many who’ve arrived at the same conclusion.

Houston calling several teams – the Pistons among them – to convert its picks at 14 and 23 into a higher lottery pick is eminently believable.

The Pistons’ willingness to trade down? I don’t think they’re wedded to anyone who might be there at eight, but I think they’re going to wait to see who exactly that is before weighing other options.

One of the sources worth trusting on draft matters is DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony. I’ll close with a series of Tweets from him:

“Hot air coming out of NBA front offices yesterday was impressive. Expect today to be even worse. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt.”

“Funny reading some of these reports and then calling people you’re close with on those specific teams. ‘We haven’t even talked with those guys!’ ”

“As one GM told me last night: ‘Now is the time to throw everything against the wall and hope something sticks tomorrow.’ Believe nothing.