Movie Review: 5 things that bugged me about Draft Day

Movie Review: 5 things that bugged me about Draft Day

Most of the reactions I had read beforehand about Draft Day—the new feature film about the NFL draft, a rather mundane event where names are read off of index cards for three straight days—amounted to, “I can’t believe they made this into a movie.” Well, they did, and it’s not bad.

Kevin Costner is the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, and he makes a Washington/Robert Griffin-esque trade up to No. 1 overall the morning of the draft. Drama ensues. It’s not the most realistic series of events leading to the finish, but your mind will be occupied by the football stuff as the stories of love, family and redemption at the movie’s core play out.

On first viewing, the film earns the grade of watchable, which is high praise in my own very stringent movie review system.

Of course, any sports movie is bound to stray from reality or have little moments that stand out as odd. For example, Chris Berman explaining what would happen if the Browns didn’t make their pick with the 10 minutes allotted the moment the team was on the clock seemed strange. Yeah, like the GM who just traded three first-round picks to go No. 1 wouldn’t get the pick in on time… /eye roll

Okay, so clearly that didn’t sit well with me. Here’s four more, minus spoilers of course.

 

2. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell greeted at draft by cheers.

Oh, come on. Everybody knows the draft’s greatest tradition after disappointed New York Jets fans is the raucous boos that occur the moment the commish steps into plain view of the crowd. Goodell probably isn’t as loathed as former MLB commissioner Bud Selig once was or current NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is now, but why even pretend the public adores the man?

Goodell, and in turn this movie, should just embrace the fact the common fan is never going to appreciate the people responsible for meddling with the game they love.

 

3. Joe Banner makes unnecessary cameo

I know I’m in the minority, but I always really admired what Joe Banner accomplished with the Philadelphia Eagles. Then he did what he did with/to the Browns, and I wonder if I wasn’t giving him too much credit all these years.

Anyway, his appearance in this motion picture was as completely pointless as that little introductory paragraph. It happens in pretty much the very last scene, the fictitious owner of the Browns shaking the real-life executive’s hand, and that was it. Banner’s mean mug on the big screen for no reason at all. It’s was supposed to be a drama, not a horror movie.

 

4. Chris Berman

This guy isn’t any better playing broadcaster in fictitious story than he is in real life. Reminded me why I don’t watch ESPN’s NFL anything coverage.

 

5. Dennis Leary says the Dallas Cowboys win. “A lot”

This immediately and instinctively prompted the following snide remark from my chair: “Yeah, 20 years ago.” Seriously, Leary’s head coach character should’ve come from the New England Patriots if the writers wanted to make that remark.

 

Honorable mentions (possible spoilers)

 

• Hollywood: where the Jacksonville Jaguars are still more dysfunctional than the Browns.

• So the consensus top overall prospect is just gonna storm out of the green room when he doesn’t go No. 1, and none of the networks are going to mention that?

• Seriously, you would have to be like the worst GM in the history of GMs to trade up for the No. 1 pick and a) not take the player you traded for in the first place, then b) take a guy instead who was in danger of falling to the second round.

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

CAMDEN, N.J. — It appears Ben Simmons took the saying about having the weight of the world on your shoulders a tad literal.

The Sixers' No. 1 overall pick walked into the team's sparkling new training complex for media day sporting a much bigger frame than when his name was called on draft night.

"I'm a lot stronger. When I started getting ready for the draft I was about 217 [pounds] and now I'm around 250," Simmons said Monday.

When you're expected to be the centerpiece of an organization that managed just 10 wins a season ago, it helps to have that extra bulk to carry those expectations. 

But Simmons isn’t just being looked at as a key to help change the franchise’s fortunes. He’s also being viewed as perhaps a once-in-a-generation talent after drawing several comparisons to LeBron James, who Simmons shares an agent with in Klutch Sports Group.

So how did the incoming rookie deal with being likened to four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion James? He went to work like someone trying to achieve those same goals.

“Just being around him and learning from his habits and what he does has just helped me overall,” Simmons said of working out with James and other NBA stars during the summer. “He’ll be one of the first guys in the gym every day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. He’s one of those guys who gets the work in and enjoys the rest of his day. Just learning from him I think I can take a lot from what he’s done. ... He’s done a lot for me. He’s helped me experience things I need to learn.

“They get in the gym and work. It’s one of those things where they don’t play around. They get straight to it. Obviously in the weight room too. LeBron loves the VersaClimber and they also brought two more in here. I’m starting to learn from what these guys do, D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) also. They’re all doing the same thing, working out every day and getting ready.”

That type of work ethic will go a long way toward Simmons' earning the respect of his Sixers teammates. The group was already eager to get on the floor with him for training camp at Stockton University and get a firsthand look at the versatile forward, especially his prowess as a passer.

“The most exciting thing that I’ve seen was his passing ability,” Jahlil Okafor said of Simmons. “That’s going to help me out a lot. He’s selfless. Being with the summer league guys he was always about the team. I’ve always considered myself a good teammate and he’s a great one as well. I’m excited to work with him.”

“I think for anybody who likes to shoot or likes to score, whenever you can have a big man who is a really good ball handler, can make good decisions, has great vision, it’s always a great thing,” Gerald Henderson said. “If you can be aggressive on the offensive end you don’t always have to have the basketball to be able to be right there and score. You have somebody that can find you and really is thinking pass-first. I think it’ll be great, not only for us but just our offense in general.”

Considering that the Sixers finished 29th in scoring a season ago, Simmons knows they will need him to be more than just a facilitator. The team needs consistent scoring from everyone on the court. And while the LSU product’s jump shot was questioned during his lone year in college, he believes he has worked hard to silence those doubts.

“I usually try to take what they give me. Obviously I’ve been working on my shot a lot with all the coaches,” Simmons said. “I can shoot the ball. I’m not really worried about that. Coming into training camp, it’s one of the things I’ve been working on since LSU.”

Simmons made it clear several times that he is confident in his offensive game and that the Sixers’ logjam in the frontcourt will work itself out on the floor. One thing he’s not so sure about: that he’s even in this position.

Despite dreaming about being in the NBA since he was a kid in Australia and being groomed to be the No. 1 overall pick for years, Simmons said it’s still a bit of a surprise to be at this point.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” he said. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

I'm not sure if they could win nationally, but there is absolutely no doubt that a Wentz-Simmons ticket would dominate the Delaware Valley.

An intrepid Philadelphia sports fan was up at the Presidential Debate last night at Hofstra University and made a sign showing his support... for the Eagles and Sixers.

I don't know though, I'm pretty sure Simmons was born in Australia.