The NBA Draft Game
The Finals just ended and you’re faced with a solid four months before any real NBA basketball gets started again. It’s hard going cold-turkey every year. That’s why Matt Baker and I are playing our sixth annual NBA draft game. The rules may seem complicated, but you’ll have time to figure out the final score now that Steph and LeBron are no longer a distraction.
This game is about mostly three things:
#1: Basketball Nerdiness and Stamina of said Nerdiness. To win the game, you first have to read this and then commit to playing the game. Then you have to further commit to actually predicting all 60(!) different college and foreign players at their draft positions. This may seem easy, but Furkan Korkmaz is predicted to go in the first round this year and you have to pick at least 30 dudes AFTER that.
#2 Research of mock drafts, scouting reports, rumors and deep NBA internet wormholes. Unless of course you have actual insider info directly from scouts and executives in the league, this will be your primary source of information (and your opponents as well).
#3 Pure Dumb Luck: How lucky can you get from making dumb picks? ALSO how accurately can you predict the actions and choices of Dumb NBA teams? Success isn’t only for the smartest.
All Picks must be submitted to the scorekeeper before the beginning of the Draft. (Except for the Second Round Lightning Round for Live Draft-Viewing Parties.)
Usually some sort of Ante is wagered by all players involved. You can decide the ante amongst your group. Our group has historically played for a $10 buy-in. I like to play winner gets the jackpot, second place gets his money back. Wagering pride and bragging rights is also a common and accepted form of currency.
3 points for a correct lottery pick
These may be the only picks you and most of your friends guess correctly. Every year most participants can guess 2 of the top 3 picks at least, though #2 is often tricky. For our sake we’ll call 2014, aka the Anthony Bennett year, an outlier. While predicting the draft accurately is hard, that year was next to impossible. To this day, no one really knows what happened. There’s a strong chance this year will prove to be as unpredictable, with teams like Boston with 8 draft picks, there’s almost certainly going to be trades in the lottery this year.
4 points for a correct 15-30 pick
Part of the fun of playing this game year after year is you start to see which teams are more transparent about who they want, (see OKC and Cameron Payne at #14 last year). Other teams treat media and fellow GM’s like Mark Wahlberg does his fellow cops in The Departed, “(They’re) like mushrooms. Feed them shit and keep them in the dark.”
5 points for a correct Second round pick
This is where the real NBA nerds shine and also where sometime guys just get lucky. When the 76ers have a dozen second round picks it’s safe to say they’ll draft some guys they intend to keep overseas. Now, nailing WHEN they pick these guys, at what pick, is a moonshot, but one that can swing our ridiculous game after some of us have given up or gone to bed.
Last year, in an attempt to make Matt Baker laugh, I predicted the Suns, known lover of basketball playing twins, would draft Andrew Harrison, the sophomore (identical twin) guard from Kentucky. Sure as shit, they did (they traded him that night, but so what). The points from that inside joke pick ended up being the difference in the game. And me the rightful heir to the jackpot.
Second Round Lightning Round Wrinkle for Live Viewing:
Since the second round is so freaking hard to predict, we’ve added a round-robin style tournament wrinkle for those doing live draft viewing parties. If you have 4 participants, for example, you each get a pick every four picks. You make these in real time. You can have your pre-selected second round picks and do this for extra points. Really adds spice to the game because if you sit there waiting for one of yours or anyone else’s second round picks to hit, you’re going to have a bad time. Only rule add-on is once a prospect has been guessed 3 total times by the group, he is no longer available to pick.
2 points for correctly picking player and team in a position other than actual position
This is because you should absolutely get points if you’ve done your homework and you know the Rockets want this small forward from Azerbaijan only they don’t draft him from their current draft position but draft someone else and trade for their guy. This wrinkle also is the beginning of the madness of being this game’s scorekeeper.
1.5 points for picking correctly but then later player is traded to a different team
The only way to lose points you thought you had secure. Sure, you knew the Sacramento Kings had to draft Buddy Hield if he was still available at #8, but minus points for not anticipating they use him as bait for a misguided effort to bring back Nik Stauskas from Sam Hinkie’s dungeon.
1 extra point for beating Chad Ford on a pick
No one gives a shit if you just copy and paste Chad Ford’s picks and claim them as your own. I respect lazy. But a player should extra points for daring to be different. Pro tip: Chad Ford’s score if we counted his picks for our game is usually the winner, but not every year, and not by much when he is. Of course he doesn’t have the benefit of being able to pick against Chad Ford without opening a space-time continuum. But that wouldn’t be good for anybody.
5 extra points for correctly guessing picks 1-5
This is like hitting a straight flush: Possible but unlikely. Maybe it would be different if the Spurs and Danny Ainge drafted first every year. The draft is unpredictable because the teams who chronically finish last (and thus draft first), are there because they not only seem to make wrong decisions. They also DON’T make obviously right decisions. This is why you and your neighbor could seemingly make better draft picks than some of the executives who get paid to make them every year.
2 extra points for every 3 consecutive picks guess correctly
This game rewards a good streak. Not every one of the rules has to be complicated. You could play with only this rule if you’re also playing the Jay Bilas “Wingspan” drinking game.
2 alternate lottery guesses
These are the draft game’s version of lifelines. You don’t get to phone a friend but for 2 picks in the first 14 you can have a back up choice as well. Use these strategically. They have to be 2 different players also. You can’t just have Nerlens Noel as your pick or backup 3 times in a row. For example: At #5 This year I pick Kriss Dunn, but have Dragan Bender as my backup. If either of those players is drafted at #5, I get full points.
1 alternate non-lottery guess
The same secondary option as above. Use on any pick #15-60 (though 15-30 you probably have a better chance of getting it correct). Pro-tip: Suns draft twins and dudes from Kentucky. But if you’re a Brickhouse Podcast listener, you already knew that.
Extra 1-point questions: Whoever guesses these exactly gets a Bonus Point
How many white guys combined do Utah and Indiana draft?
Fortunately these teams seem to be evolving away from their propensity for MVPs in the draft (Most Vanilla Player available). Still, guess zero if you dare!
How many seniors get drafted in the first round?
Pro tip: Usually fewer than or the same amount of freshman from Kentucky and Duke combined.
Play with your friends or submit your picks to us on our contact page: brickhousepodcast.com/contact or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @brickhousepod
And remember these guys are the future of our NBA entertainment. Except probably the Kings pick. Enjoy!
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