Mario Chalmers (Steve Puppe photo)
I don’t know what kind of math grades Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers got at KU, but I think they could’ve solved the following equation: 75 – 30.
In this problem, 75 equals the number of young men who each year think
they are first-round NBA draft picks and 30 equals the number of
available spots each year in the first round.
I don’t know if they didn’t want to do the math or
if they had too many people telling them not to do it. Maybe someone
was telling them 75-30 = 0.
Either way, KU fans and the entire country got to watch Darrell Arthur’s slide from the middle of the first round to becoming
ESPN’s annual “How far will he drop?”
green room poster child and Mario Chalmers from a mid-to-late first
rounder to the 34th pick.
Sure, this kind of draft day plummet happens every year, and every year
fans trash the kids who dropped for coming out early. But this year, it
happened to our guys, so that makes it different, right?
The decision to forgo the 2008-09 season in a Kansas uniform was a bad
decision for both of them, but it’s not surprising Chalmers
and Arthur made the decisions they did.
I have to believe that KU head coach Bill Self jumped up and down and
waved his arms and screamed himself dizzy telling Darrell Arthur that
he needed an agent and not his old AAU coach. I mean a real agent with
a brief case and shiny black shoes and everything. When the June 16th
draft deadline came and went and he still hadn’t hired an
agent, I thought he might be in for an interesting draft night.
The concerns about that possible undisclosed kidney issue surely played
a role, but I’ll speculate (at least I’m being
upfront) that that problem was just an add-on. I wonder what kind of
advice Arthur got, and I wonder how well organized the entire process
leading up to the draft was without an experienced agent there to
direct it. I’d bet the farm that that’s at the core
of the issue. Perhaps Darrell and his camp didn’t come across
There were just too many people involved with Darrell’s
handling who may have had their own agenda, and money has been known to
make people say things that they think other people want to hear, even
when they aren’t true.
When it comes to Mario, well, there’s nothing quite like a
father’s love for his son. There’s also the
possibility, though, that Chalmers – both of them –
were mislead by NBA teams.
Really, why should an NBA team be honest with a kid entering the draft
early? If I was a GM, I’d think twice about it. After all,
it’s my job to put together the best team I can, and I have a
better chance if I have multiple options to choose from. So,
I’m going to tell everyone and their dog to go ahead and
declare so my available talent pool is as broad and deep as possible.
Thus sayeth Michael Corleone: This is business, not personal.
One would think that NBA teams – more and more of whom are
led by GMs who played for or who coached with many of today’s
college coaches – would worry about that relationship. Then
again, maybe they can’t afford to.
The bottom line is, there are way too many people – GMs,
coaches and hangers-on, family and friends, some respectable and some
not so much – who think they have too much at stake to give
the young man in their charge honest, accurate information that might
lead them to wait till next year.
A bunch of those young men end up disappointed and short-changed on
draft night because they got bad information. Part of the blame is on
those teams and those camp followers, but a ton of it rests squarely
with those young men for not listening to the right people and making
This year, two of those disappointed, shortchanged guys were ours. It
was no fun to watch.