NBA Draft lottery in 2016.

Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Bernstein: Enjoy The Awkwardness Of The NBA Draft Lottery Broadcast

It's an inherently uncomfortable amalgam of game show and sports broadcast.

Dan Bernstein
May 15, 2018 - 1:52 pm

By Dan Bernstein-- senior columnist

(670 The Score) ​​This is one of my favorite nights of the year, when we get to see a television production that never fails to be entertainingly weird.

It's the NBA Draft lottery on ESPN, an inherently uncomfortable amalgam of game show and sports broadcast, giving camera time to random executives, former players and members of owners' families who always seem oddly fidgety, until they are either comically over-celebratory or forlorn.

Forget the actual results of the draw and just take in the scene, is my advice, because there will be more than enough time to break down who gets what. Revel in the broadcasters' portentous tones as the participants are introduced and the percentage possibilities are explicated in fine detail, assuring us that the most reputable independent overseers are on hand to keep it all kosher.

There's something vaguely alien about it all, as if some distant planet that received only snippets of halftime shows and old Match Game episodes decided to produce their own best version, minus the shag carpeting and the gin-and-tonics and taking itself very seriously. It's that earnestness juxtaposed with the obvious silliness of the whole reveal that makes it all special.

We never get to see the Lucite popcorn-popper disgorging ping-pong balls in real time, only after the fact, if at all. The actual drawing occurs well before the broadcast, with each team choosing another behind-the-scenes rep to keep tabs on the action. Then the bigwigs form the tableau to react to each logo being unveiled.

And this was all designed to prevent teams from tanking, remember, after a season that saw about a one-third of the NBA try to do exactly that, all to get to this and hope for the best, clutching some lucky talisman and pining for a break.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein. ​