The first overall selection in the NBA D-League draft is perhaps the most unique scenario in professional sports, and Iowa Energy General Manager Chris Makris is experiencing this firsthand.
Every franchise in the NBA D-League (the NBA’s official minor league system) has a different set of goals, and as a result, the eight round D-League draft can lend itself to a certain level of indecision. However, the draft can also present new opportunities, and a chance for teams to put together a set of building blocks for a championship run.
With the draft set to take place this Friday, Makris was kind enough to spend a few minutes with DleagueDigest.com, and explain the thought process behind having the top pick in the draft.
“I’ve never been in this position before, the highest we’ve ever picked was 6th. Everything has to go through you, and it’s an interesting spot to be in. Everyone knows that there will be at least one pick in the draft that will have an impact, if not more, so we’re in a great position. We’ve been offered trades, listened to agents, and considered numerous options. At this point, everything is on the table.” Makris said.
Sure, having the top overall pick in the D-League draft is a luxury, but Makris also noted the fortune of having the sixth overall pick, as well as three selections in the third round. “To have the sixth overall pick is a great thing for us too, we feel like we’re in a tremendous position. We have two of the top six picks, and we have three in the third round. We can take a few shots in that third round, and that was something I really tried for.”
Prior to our conversation, Makris (who is a great follow on Twitter, @chrismakris) asked his followers about the possibility of a fan selecting the team’s final pick. Makris laughed about the tweet adding, “I always tell our players to be careful about what you tweet, I probably shouldn’t have tweeted that. I was joking with our staff, and I’m not going to promise anything, but you never know.”
Regarding Twitter, the Energy rank highly in terms of NBADL teams using social media, in fact they might be the best (note: NBA D-League Twitter power rankings will likely follow the draft). In all seriousness though, social media plays a significant role in growing the league as a whole, and Makris believes this as well.
“It (social media) is extremely important, at the end of the day we need fans. We’ve put a real focus on growing our social media department this year, and having a guy like Patrick Jacobson in charge of our marketing, we feel like we’re moving in the right direction.” Makris added.
The Iowa Energy remain as one of the D-League’s three teams with multiple affiliates. Currently, the Energy are affiliated with the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, and Washington Wizards. Makris is well aware of the benefits in having a one-to-one to relationship.
“Obviously, the trend is to go with a one-to-one setup, but nothing has seemed like a right fit for us. It’s something we’ll explore, but it also needs to be the right fit. You need to know what to do with it, the process is really detailed. It isn’t something you do, just to do it.” Makris added.
Going back to the upcoming draft, Makris explained some of the reasoning behind their decision with the top overall pick. “As an independent team, we are looking for a player that can help us win a championship, I’m not sure that would be the idea for every team in our league. We’ll continue to listen and consider all options regarding the pick.”
Makris concluded with, “at this moment we don’t have a specific player in mind, and we plan on things heating up in the next few days” Whether or not Makris and the Energy decide to trade the pick, or keep it, they’re in the driver seat, and surely hoping that the outcome will help kick start a championship run.