Del Aware

Del Olaleye: Several ways to watch the NFL draft if your team does not have a pick

Brian Gaine might as well be playing golf. Houstontexans.com

I’m in the middle of cutting the cord. I’m breaking away from one of the main pay for TV services. “Bless up” for free trials. I’ll document my experiences next week but the whole thing got me thinking about how I would watch the NFL draft. More specifically, how I would watch the NFL draft without a first round pick. Which is the position Texans fans find themselves in. There will be a five-hour party celebrating the NFL on Thursday and you’re not even invited. The Texans disinvited themselves due to a number of moves we don’t need to get into. We all know how Thursday came to be. There are plenty of ways to attack Thursday. Rick Smith isn’t available for you to kick around anymore and Brian Gaine has the night off but I have your draft primer here.

Don’t Watch:

Depending on who you are this may be the most attractive of all the options. You know your team doesn’t have a pick. Any draft party involving Texans fans will just be sad. Ignore those invites and keep your television on TNT. The Celtics have a chance to close out the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 6. The old standby Netflix is a legit option as well (check out Dark if you haven’t seen it). If you’re looking to get out of the house, Avengers: Infinity War will be theaters that night. The NFL doesn’t run your life. Well at least it shouldn’t in late April. Watch a top 5 comic book movie of all time. Yes I’ve seen it and Josh Brolin is great as Thanos by the way.

Stress Free Watch:

No anticipation. No stress. No cares. Watch the draft to enjoy the spectacle. Your team doesn’t have a first round pick, so they can’t piss you off by picking a guy you don’t want. Appreciate the old standards. You know Roger Goodell is going to get booed. Somehow, someway some kid will be convinced by his dad that if their favorite team drafts “insert player name” it will be the worst mistake the franchise has ever made. Cue that kid’s favorite team taking that aforementioned player and his apoplectic response. Don’t forget the draft staple of a team making the “wrong” choice which leads to fan cam. I didn’t say “sad fan cam” because I don’t think I’d describe this emotion as sad . Fans aren’t the only ones who can be memorable. I doubt we’ll ever get another troll like Cowboys great Drew Pearson but we can always hope. The draft can entertain even if your team doesn’t pick till late Friday.

Hate Watch:

Without a first round pick your team can’t possibly screw up but someone else can. We won’t know if anyone has actually screwed up for months or years but that won’t stop instant overreactions. Fans at the draft always want skill positions players or at least someone from a school they have heard of. For maximum outrage hope for a defensive lineman or a small-school offensive lineman to get picked when a player of need at a skill position is on the board. I enjoy a team picking a player that wasn’t on Kiper or McShay’s board at the team’s spot. Not because the team could be wrong but because I get to watch two draft experts explain how they got it wrong. That’s my own personal hate watch.

Twitter Watch:

For those familiar with the twitter search feature that should make an entertaining night for you. You’ve got the obvious follows like Adam Schefter and Jay Glazer but simply entering the name of a player and the team they were drafted by will get you reactions that run the gamut from excited to furious. If you like reading tweets that call an NFL decision maker a “F--- Boy” then Thursday night is the night for you.

 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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