Walker Kessler Post Draft Interview Got Awkward
After a trade down from pick 19 to pick 22 in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Auburn big man, Walker Kessler. Well, not officially. Kessler became a Wolf just a couple of hours ago and will go down as being drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, before he was traded to Minnesota.
Walker Kessler last season at Auburn:— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) June 24, 2022
▪️ 2021-22 Naismith & NABC National Defensive Player of the Year
▪️ Led the NCAA in blocks
Set a single season record with 155 blocks
▪️ 2021-22 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
2021-22 All-SEC First Team pic.twitter.com/AKgrlrO7GH
Because the NBA refuses to adjust its league calendar and bylaws, trades between teams can be agreed to and are “unofficially” reported on by media outlets. But until they’re approved and officially announced by the NBA, they’re not official and teams cannot comment. That’s why, last night, Tim Connelly was only able to talk about one 2nd round draft pick during his post-draft media availability.
Minnesota’s second unofficial 1st round pick of the night, Wendell Moore Jr (Pick 26 – Duke), still hasn’t been made official. The NBA Draft is broken and the consternation it causes has been a problem for years. The league, however, refuses to fix it. Awkward moments and mass confusion rule the night.
Memphis Reporter Doesn’t Know
Walker Kessler found that out first hand on Thursday night when the (unofficial) new Wolf sat down behind the on-site press conference podium at Barclays Center. He was wearing a Memphis Grizzlies hat but knew he was Minnesota bound. Unfortunately, nobody told the Memphis media member, who needs to download Twitter.
— Reporter: Your overall thoughts on getting selected and your thoughts about Memphis?
Kessler: You know, I’m just… uhhh… I’m ecstatic. I’m excited for the opportunity. Umm, as a kid, you look at this level of basketball and you don’t understand that it’s a real thing. That it’s an attainable thing. And to finally get here… you know, it’s surreal. I’m just excited.
— Reporter: Are you looking forward to playing with Ja Morant?
Kessler: Uhhhh…. yeah. You know… super… super looking forward to it. Ummm, super excited about, you know, just playing in the league, in general. And yeah… super excited.
— Reporter: What are you going to provide to the Grizzlies day 1?
Kessler: Uhhh…. sooo…. you know, I…. ummm… I think, just my ability to be a defender. I think that’s really what I did in college and also just playing hard and trying to win.
Fix the NBA Draft
Draft stage photos can’t be used because players are putting on hats and holding up jerseys of teams they aren’t going to play for. In the past, players, fans and media were often unaware of trades that had been consummated and it’s led to legendary awkward moments in backroom interviews and press conferences.
At least, back in the day, the trades were announced and accepted by the league at some point in the night. Hats were swapped between players and everything. Creating visual brand identity is easy, they said…
“Milwaukee conveys the draft rights to Stephon Marbury to Minnesota, in exchange for the draft rights to Ray Allen…” pic.twitter.com/sy2dWG66es— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 21, 2018
Today, trades are usually broken on Twitter before or as picks are being announced on stage, by the commissioner. Mass confusion still runs rampant. That was clear Thursday night, shortly after Walker Kessler became a Wolf… or Grizzly. Whatever.
Eric Stack | Minnesota Sports Fan