Gary Peterson has a few laughs in this morning's Mercury News at the expense of NBA draft-eligible players, many of whom said glowing things about the prospect of getting drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the June 25 NBA Draft. Peterson infers that they all must be faking these compliments insincerely, because he can't imagine guys would actually want to play for Golden State.
Dude, if your other options were the Clippers and Oklahoma City, getting drafted by Golden State might sound better than getting drafted to be a swimsuit judge in Ibiza.
Several players whom the Warriors are eyeballing with that seventh overall pick were brought into the Warriors' practice facility Tuesday, and many of them had positively optimistic remarks about playing for the Warriors. Chase Budinger, whose heroics this past March propelled Arizona into the Sweet Sixteen, recalls attending a Warriors home game last year.
"This is a great place," Budinger told the Mercury News, "The atmosphere is incredible. The fans are so loyal, and Don Nelson's a great coach. Great city, great fans, great team."
Peterson's article mocks Budinger for that sentiment, but Budinger probably means it. Team mismanagement aside, playing for 20,000 rabid, supportive fans at The Oracle probably has to sound more alluring than playing in front of some two dozen guys banging cowbells in Sacramento. It just has to.
A number of other possible draftees had lovely things to say about playing in the Bay Area. It's not currently the best franchise in the NBA, but it's arguably less of a train wreck than the six franchises picking before us. Plus, Golden State Warriors are known for getting Snoop to play at their birthdays and doing dy-no-mite Reebok commercials, and the team finishes consistently in the top ten for attendance in the NBA.
For many players who figure to be drafted in the top ten, the difference is clear. Play for Golden State, or play before empty seats.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer because he can't be a swimsuit judge in Ibiza.