Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

NBA Draft: My Awards On The Day After

A day later I'm handing out my awards from the 2007 NBA Draft.Let's get right to it.

Yi Jianlian

Biggest Marketing Loser: Yi Jianlian to Milwaukee:
Right behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant this guy qualified as the third most marketable guy in the draft because of the size of the market in China. Throw that out the door now. Milwaukee is pretty much the absolute worst city he could be in since there's nothing close to a Chinese market in Milwaukee. Check out this stat. There aren't enough Chinese Americans living in Milwaukee to even fill up the Bradley Center (18,717).

According to the 2003 Census, the last numbers I could get, there were 586,000 people living in Milwaukee. Only 2.9 percent of those residents (15,236 people) were Asian. It's why Yi didn't work out for them and why he might not show up there on Friday. (Update: It's now been confirmed that Yi won't show up). I somehow don't think Midwest Airlines is considering applying for that Milwaukee to Beijing route.

Biggest Marketing Winner: Joakim Noah to Chicago:

Joakim Noah

Noah is clearly the best personality of the draft. He's very well known from his championship winning college career, he has the famous name and he's unique looking – you have to love that hair and that bow tie. Put that all together with the nation's No. 2 market and you have Noah potentially boosting his marketing payday. One deal he'll immediately cash in on is a shoe deal, as he still hasn't signed with any brand. I asked Noah how he thought Chicago would help out his earning potential and he said this: "Oh, I feel so marketable, you have no idea. I'm so marketable; yes. That's exactly why I wanted to go to Chicago; to be marketable."

But there's no way he can't be marketable given that he clearly had the most entertaining news conference. The highlight? When he mentioned that he hated Bulls general manager John Paxson because of what he did to his childhood favorite Knicks back in the day.

Oden vs. Durant – Off The Court:

Greg Oden

If I needed to draft a guy based on personality, I'd clearly take Oden right now. The guy really has a chance to take over for Shaq in terms of marketability if he can lead Portland to success. Oden said last night that before shaking hands with NBA commissioner David Stern, he used hand sanitizer because he "didn't want to get Mr. Stern sick." When a reporter referenced the trouble with the Trail Blazers, he revealed that he had a 1:30 pm curfew. I don't know if he was nervous, but Durant was pretty vanilla to me. Jerseys of both Oden (No. 52) and Durant (No. 35) hit stores today.

Since the NBA has been keeping track of the best selling jersey list in 2000-01, no player on the Trail Blazers or the Sonics has ever been in the top 10. The Blazers and the Sonics also haven't been in the top 10 best selling teams over that time period.

Lost Marketing Opportunity:
Jeff Green was taken by the Celtics at the fifth pick, but was traded to the SuperSonics. I couldn't help but think if the Boston Celtics had two players on their team named Green (Gerald Green being the other).

Former Partners Dominate Top Picks:
Bill Duffy and Aaron Goodwin used to work together. The two agents split years ago, but both have successful separate practices. Duffy's company had Oden (No. 1) and Mike Conley Jr. (No. 4), while Goodwin's clients include Durant (No. 2) and Al Horford (No. 3). For a nice comprehensive list of players and their representation, check out theI Want To Be A Sports Agent Blog.

The Weirdest Stat That No One Has:
Greg Oden is the first No. 1 overall pick not to have an "A" in his name since Joe Smith was drafted No. 1 in 1995.

Questions?  Comments?