Sports Reporter


FOR most of you, this is really your first NBA Draft.

You may have been anecdotally aware of the draft as a casual NBA fan because it’s the main reason your team adds to its roster. The practice of hope trafficking gives you something to look forward to next year. This year is different for you. This year you got swept up into the euphoria of college basketball. This year you know the origin story behind these players. This year Buddy made you take notice.

Tonight in the Brooklyn Centre you’ll see the best college basketball players in America (and several international prospects) graduate from the amateur to the professional ranks with all the pomp and pageantry the NBA and ESPN has to offer.

We’re here for the wardrobe choices, to prognosticate on how we’re certain every pick is going to be a superstar or a bust, for the manic trade rush and most importantly to start the conversation on next year’s team.

For us this just became the most important draft in Bahamian history.

Buddy’s stature has outgrown that of a mere basketball player. He’s a certified sports icon. A Bahamian folk hero.

So here’s where we are in our story, today our country of nomadic sports fans will learn of our new destination together.

Hield, a 6ft 4in, 207-pound shooting guard, is projected to have a likely destination of lottery teams looking for shooting and backcourt help – the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets or Sacramento Kings.

In his star studded senior season at Oklahoma he averaged 25 points per game, shot 50 per cent from the field and 45 per cent from three-point range. He also made four three-point field goals per game and shot 88 per cent from the free throw line.

He also grabbed six rebounds per game, dished two assists, finished with a true shooting percentage of 66 and one just about every noteworthy postseason award there is.

Buddy is one of the “it guys” chosen by the NBA and ESPN, which means he’ll be in the green room and plastered across your TV screens in ads and network shorts.

His name won’t just be called, we’ll get to see him walk across the stage, put on the hat bearing the logo of his new franchise and hear the Bahamas mentioned dozens of times with the world watching.

Hield is our reason for watching, but there are a few others in the green room worth your attention, if only for a passing moment stories on Buddy.

Ben Simmons - 6’10” 240 lbs, SF/PF, LSU, Freshman

He’s been the consensus No.1 overall pick ever since he phased out the Australian accent (No one would trust taking a true Aussie with the top pick after Andrew Bogut). When your NBA comparison is LeBron James, you’re as close to a “can’t miss prospect” as you can get. Simmons is so LeBron James that his biggest question marks are his shooting and work ethic…along with the other ridiculous immeasurable variables we use when we don’t like a guy’s face – “work ethic, will to win, killer instinct.” If he didn’t pay attention to the sham of a freshman year at LSU, it’s because he didn’t need to. If as a freshman he can average 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and two steals per game…I think he’ll be fine.

Brandon Ingram – 6’9” 195 lbs, SF, Duke, Freshman

It’s seems criminal for me to mention a Duke player in a positive light, but I think Ingram’s a lock to be an All-Star in the very near future. It took him a while to get adjusted to the NCAA game at Duke so we’ll gave to grade him on a learning curve in the NBA but he’s earned the Kevin Durant comparisons. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, but most importantly, shot 41 percent from three.

Kris Dunn - 6’4” 220 lbs, PG, Providence, Junior

Dunn is the only pure point guard prospect in the lottery (not a myth, they still exist). A former Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Dunn finished second in the NCAA in assists.

Jamal Murray - 6’4” 205 lbs, SG, Kentucky, Freshman

This guy here is the greatest threat to Buddy’s draft stock. As the other highly touted shooting guard in the lottery, any team looking at Buddy is also looking just as closely at Murray as an option. As a combo guard, Murray is projected to be able to play the point, which in all likelihood is the only advantage he has over Buddy. Another advantage is youth. At 19, he could be projected to have a higher ceiling. For all the fanfare Buddy received by making an amazing 85 of 100 three pointers in his predraft workouts with the Celtics, Murray made 79.

When the Dolphins drafted Ted Ginn Jr in 2007, Cam Cameron made the statement that the organisation had just drafted the entire Ginn family. Well we’re about to take that premise up a notch. When Adam Silver announces Buddy’s selection on Draft night, that’s the level of commitment that particular franchise is getting. You’re not just getting Buddy, you’re getting a family of about 400,000 Bahamians. We’re his family and this decision couldn’t be more important to us.


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