Adrian Wojnarowski isn’t just a master at getting the scoop on NBA teams’ draft picks before they’re officially announced.
Turns out he’s also amusingly adept at coming up with semantic loopholes to reveal the picks ahead of ESPN’s broadcast — even when there’s a mandate not to do it.
Wojnarowski, who for more than a decade at Yahoo! Sports consistently beat ESPN to the punch with the news of virtually every relevant pick on draft night, joined the former rival last year. But he was not part of ESPN’s draft coverage, his official start coming on July 1 for the beginning of free agency.
Conventional wisdom suggested that Wojnarowski — whose major scoops are known to basketball fans as “Woj Bombs’’ — would break news on ESPN’s broadcast as well as Twitter all night ahead of the formal announcements at the podium by commissioner Adam Silver.
But earlier in the week, the website Awful Announcing was the first to report that ESPN had told its reporters not to reveal picks on social media before they are officially selected. Previously, ESPN reporters were permitted to reveal the picks in advance on social media.
The mandate reportedly came from the NBA, and also applied to reporters at Yahoo! and fellow league broadcast partner Turner Sports.
So what did Wojnarowski, who has 2.36 million Twitter followers, do to slyly circumvent the edict?
He became a master of synonyms.
Rather than saying a team was selecting a specific player, he hedged it ever-so-slightly. But it did not take long to realize he was indeed giving his followers the scoop.
It was no surprise when the Suns took Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick. The mystery began when the unpredictable Sacramento Kings, but they took Duke’s Marvin Bagley, which was not surprising.
Wojnarowski conventionally broke the news of a trade in the No. 3 spot:
Atlanta and Dallas have agreed to a deal, league sources tell ESPN. They'll trade Nos. 3 and 5 picks, sending Luka Doncic to Dallas and Trae Young to Atlanta, sources said. Dallas will send Atlanta a future first.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2018
Memphis is locked in on selecting Jaren Jackson Jr., league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2018
Then he got rolling with his game of semantics.
Orlando is focused on selecting Texas center Mo Bamba with the sixth pick, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2018
Chicago is zeroing in on Wendell Carter with the seventh overall pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Source: Cleveland prefers Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Sources: New York has been focused on Kentucky's Kevin Knox with ninth pick.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Sources: Sixers are targeting Villanova's Mikal Bridges with No. 10.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Focused on selecting. Zeroiing in on. Prefers. Focused on. Targeting. Those are just the synonyms he used in the top 10. And he was correct every time. That’s taking Woj Bombs to a new level.