2010 NBA Draft Preview: From Aminu… to John Wall

Florida Kentucky Basketball

As the NBA Draft is one of my favorite sports events, I spend a lot of time reading about it and following players’ workouts and the like. I also watch a great deal of college basketball. By no means does that qualify me to do a mock draft, but that doesn’t stop me from projecting the first round every year, for the primary reason that I enjoy doing it. It’s sort of a mix of what I think will happen with what I think should happen.

My track record isn’t horrible. For example, last year, I nailed eight of the first 12 picks, before proceeding to hit just one of the remaining 18. As such, I should probably just stop with the lottery, but what fun is that?

Note – before you take my picks to Vegas, I don’t feel particularly confident with this mock. And I’m not about to foresee Draft Day trades or anything.

Regardless, after the jump, let’s get our draft on.

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LeBron recruitment shows long-term value of prudent draft picks

As recently alluded to here, The NBA Draft is one of my favorite events of the year for a variety of reasons, most notably that I’m fascinated by the thought process that goes into shaping teams for the future. And despite all the snap judgments made right after it happens, it’s impossible to know without a few years of perspective who truly wins and loses a draft.

But just as a team can set themselves up for success down the road, a simple mistake can come back to haunt a team years down the road.

Now the Cavaliers could very well re-sign LeBron James, and the Knicks could lure him to New York, as Stephen A. Smith feels they might. Those are probably his two most likely destinations for 2010-11. But if either or both misses out, they’ll probably have to look at early parts of this decade and understand that one crucial mistake each cost them big-time.

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At big-money Yankee Stadium, satisfaction hardly guaranteed

Opulence on full display

After being impressed with Yankee Stadium during the Cotto-Foreman fight last week, I wanted to see it for its designed purpose: a baseball game. So I made my way to the Bronx for my first Yankees game at the new Stadium in a World Series rematch against the Phillies on Wednesday.

Unsurprisingly, my opinion was much the same as it was for Citi Field, which I found to have none of the soul of Shea but 10 times the commerce, and therein lies the flaw in the “event” culture they’ve created:

You can sell the experience, but you can’t control the outcome of the game.

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Rearview mirror: Keeping Elton Brand updated at ESPN Zone

Heart of it all

So today is the first day in at least a decade that ESPN Zone in Times Square is shuttered, in addition to five others. I’m not particularly going to miss it – I don’t eat hamburgers, particularly 12 dollar ones – though it will be strange to pass through Times Square and not see it. I’m sure it’ll just be replaced by some other enormous theme restaurant or something.

I had a few experiences at these tourist traps, notably being harassed during a 2002 Duke-Maryland game in Washington, DC. But I do have one favorite moment when I think of ESPN Zone, which I’ve alluded to briefly, and it shows just how different things are a decade later.

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Look closer: Images from fight night at Yankee Stadium

I had the privilege of covering the Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto fight for my day job this past Saturday, which I enjoyed a great deal. I hadn’t been ringside for a fight since Floyd Mayweather and DeMarcus Corley way back in 2004, and it was good to be back. It almost made up for all the times I’ve had to work until long after the sun has risen. Almost.

Here are some of my favorite images from the first boxing match at Yankee Stadium in nearly 34 years.

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Courageous Foreman finds there’s beauty in the breakdown

Blood, sweat and tears  
Yuri Foreman shuffled around the ring in the seventh round on Saturday night, attempting to fight with a badly injured right knee, while most observers lamented what a bad break had befallen the first Israeli world champion.

But Foreman’s injury took his title defense against Miguel Cotto from a surprisingly good match to unforgettable. And in the process, he showed us just what kind of person he is, and established a legacy that extends far past the ring.

Not a bad silver lining, if you ask me.

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Fight night in the Bronx – some words from the experts

I haven’t been around here as much I’d like to be lately, though that will change – my day job has taken up a slight bit more of my time given that I’ve been covering the events leading up to tonight’s Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto fight at Yankee Stadium, which has been great.

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