The 2011 NBA Draft kicks off Thursday afternoon on ESPN at 4:00pm pacific with coverage led by Stuart Scott. ESPN will run a preview special starting at 4:00pm with the first pick of the draft coming in around 4:30. ESPN will air the draft on its lead network and will provide additional coverage via live online stream at ESPN3.com.
One of the features of this year's draft coverage will be cameras in 16 war rooms including those of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. While being in the lottery can generate some more interest for ESPN's purposes, the Warriors and Kings are both prominently featured in numerous trade discussions given some of the assets at their disposal. The Kings number seven pick have them mixed up in Tony Parker trade rumors and the Warriors have been talking about dealing Monta Ellis for a month now. Expect ESPN to be checking in with the Kings and Warriors plenty throughout the draft.
ESPN will be providing its usual wide range of analysis throughout the draft. Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy and Jon Barry will be on set to provide their comments as the picks come in. Mark Jones will be there to provide interviews with the on-site players after they've been selected and Heather Cox will interview key figured in the player life in the infamous green room. Additionally, Andy Katz, Ric Bucher, Jeannine Edwards, Rachel Nichols and Kevin Connors will be on hand and on location to provide an assortment of information.
The analyst who I would argue has the most interesting job on Draft night is former Portland Trailblazers VP of Basketball Operations Tom Penn. The NBA is in the midst of a labor dispute that could drastically alter the financial landscape of the game. Penn will be on hand to offer perspective on salary cap situations and the impact a new collective bargaining agreement could have on the league and specific teams' draft approaches.
Through all this, we'll be here covering the Warriors and Kings work in the 2011 NBA Draft. For more detailed discussion, head over to Golden State of Mind for your Warriors fix and Sactown Royalty for your Kings discussion.