It seems that every year, we know who the first pick will be from the minute the NCAA tournament ends. Normally, we still have to go through something of a will-they-won't-they pretense, just as we briefly had to do last year before Cleveland inevitably took Kyrie Irving. It's hilarious. It's not.
This year, seemingly we were saved the bother. We still had Hornets War Room shots, - potentially tantalising glimpses inside the inner chambers of an NBA team's executive offices that only turn out to be shots of men in suits staring at TV's - but it is refreshingly acknowledged that the decision has already been made. The only reason we weren't given official word that the New Orleans Hornets were going to take Anthony Davis is because we weren't allowed to, due to some NBA gag order thing in place. (God forbid someone ruins the drama of who might go first.) The fact is not published, but it is known. Indeed, the entire 30 minute build-up was devoted to this very subject. Maybe the only person who didn't know was Anthony himself, who turned up in Mavericks colors.
[...] For the purposes of drama, New Orleans takes those full five minutes. This gives Jay Bilas - who clearly won the panel's internal "who can best pull off the top pocket silk look" sweepstake - a lot of time to break down Davis's game. He does so citing the usual factors and employing all the usual Bilasisms - athleticism, wingspan, second jump ability, every possible physical characteristic you can think of - while also detailing Davis's smooth, well developed skill set. There is seemingly so much to praise about Davis that at no point is his rebounding mentioned, despite Davis grabbing one rebound every 3 minutes last season. All the while, Davis is seated in the black plaza, listening to the broadcast being pumped throughout the arena. It must be a weird and polarising experience to be seated maybe 50 feet away from a group of people praising your relentlessly to an international audience of millions, when you have no right to reply or means of interacting with them in any way. Mind you, it probably has its advantages.
Eventually, the Hornets complete the formalities and pick Davis, thereby ensuring all our mock drafts are still intact. In a break from protocol, Stern doesn't announce which school Davis played for, but he could not be less bothered about it. Davis uses his long wingspan, athleticism, second jump ability and explosive first step to bound up to the podium, whereupon he is greeted by Stern in the traditional fashion. The microphone picks up what Stern says: "congratulations, you'll always be number one. Now look straight ahead and then to the right." An insight into what really goes on up there. How....anticlimactic. Davis then interviews with Mark Jones, giving some of the most boring, cliché, non-confrontational answers out there. This is to his utmost credit.
Davis (Rece) tells the story of how Davis (Anthony) was only 6'2 in high school, and played the point guard position before his growth spurt, which may explain where his passing, shooting and court vision skills (as well as preference for facing up) all come from. True enough. But you know who else this is true of? Tyrus Thomas. I present that without comment. Because, well, duh.
For all the lauding of his play, no mention is made at any time about Davis's legendary, spectacular, and completely unjustifiably insane unibrow. Davis is so synonymous with this brow, and such a poster child for having one, that he now heads up the Wikipedia page for them, and yet somehow ESPN declines (or is ordered not) to mention it. The same will not be true of this blog, however. Here is what 2 minutes in MS Paint suggests Davis would look like if that thing was the other way up.
[...] After spending all of last year's draft hanging outside the side door of the Cavaliers office, without so much as an interview with Chris Grant or an upskirt shot of Moondog getting out of a taxi, Jeanine Edwards is again standing outside the war room of the team who picked first, waiting for a tepid interview. She finally bags one with Hornets GM Dell Demps, and she promptly makes the first unibrow reference of the night. This throws up the first chink in Rece Davis's unflappable armour, as he admits that, before the broadcast began, Davis warned the panel not to make any puns about it, as he "owns the trademarks to some of the phrases."