Seeing newly minted Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov at the NBA Draft Lottery last night was jarring, like seeing a cartoon character out interacting with flesh-and-blood people. We were still hypnotized by his YouTube message to Nets fans — FIVE YEARS MAXIMUM. EXCELLENCE IS IMPERATIVE. — and now here he was, looming over six-foot-four 76ers guard Jrue Holiday and poor Irene Pollin. He was the star of the show without saying a word. He would get the Nets the first pick by sheer force of his iron will. And then … he didn’t.
As it turned out, the first pick went to tiny Ms. Pollin and the Wizards — they’re quite excited over there — and the second to the 76ers. Prokhorov was forced to settle for the third pick, which isn’t bad, though many argue this is a two-player draft. Prokhorov kept his poker face, but his smirk, upon hearing he was picking third, meant “this league will still be broken.”
The Jazz didn’t move into the top three, so there’s no need to strangle Isiah Thomas this morning, or at least not any more than there already was. It’s still not ideal that two of the top three teams picking are in the Knicks’ division, but if you’re LeBron James, and you’re thinking about your options, you’d probably be more prone to go to the team that has John Wall than the one that has Derrick Favors, the player ESPN’s Chad Ford has the Nets taking.
As much as we’d like to see John Wall in Brooklyn in a few years, we have to say, we’re kind of glad Prokhorov didn’t get the first pick. This would have seemed all too easy for him, just being handed a superstar point guard upon entry. You’re going to have to work for it, comrade. We have no doubt you’re up to it.