Draft Day: Fit Check
Special guest contributor Joshua "Spice" Lee comes in to share his thoughts on some of the best outfits worn at the 2022 NBA Draft.
All the phantom cam footage in the world, and they'll still be talking about your draft day fit from fifteen years ago. There's no debate. Out of all famous person fashion, basketball player fits operate in a different dimension. The same measurables that make front offices salivate exist as inherent sartorial land mines—leading to sparkling heights (see: Green, Jalen) and universe-breaking lows. (see: Gooden, Drew). And on Thursday, from the floor of Barclays, the Class of '22 joined the NBA legacy of large men in large suits.
Two things to note before we talk lapels, tailoring, color theory, and which Top 3 pick missed a button (... C'MON Chet).
Adam Silver is v tall and more fashion-forward than we thought? It's only right that the basketball world's premier executive also exists as a large human being, but the man who boasts the most face time across the night's programming walked out in a smart double-breasted suit for the occasion. The double-breast, which is being refreshingly adopted by many younger heads like Kuminga in last year's draft, and Scottie Barnes, has been looked at as a little old-fashioned by the executive type. Cool to see another innovation from the best commissioner in sports.
Ice everywhere. Custom jewelry and ball players are a match made in Ben Baller heaven. And while we've seen significant jewelry on the draft day floor before, this year saw it reach critical mass. Two reasons: Almost every player entering the league has their own logo. It's not just a flex; the racks on your neck can be written off as a business branding expense. Second: Neckties are kinda out? Notice how many open collars or cholo air tie top buttons there are compared to neckties. The youths are speaking.
Now onto business.
The Top 3 Re-Draft (According to Fit)
1. Paolo Banchero, PF, Duke, Suit, (8.5/10)
As the "strongly leaning towards" Woj bomb shifted from Jabari to Paolo, the Dukey wore a suit that shouted to the heavens, "Ain't no way I'm going 2." The purple ensemble was the talk of Twitter pre-draft so let's break it down.
First, there's that double-breast again. From Kuminga, Barnes, and Green last year to Banchero in this one, the nod to a strong double-breasted suit is becoming a powerful go-to. Banchero's tailoring is top-notch—fitted without being too restrictive. The diamonds, well, if you're rocking that color, in for a penny in for a pound. Why not hang 80 diamonds on the jacket. The sneaker choice at the end is the only thing I can tag here as whatever. He'll be wearing sneakers the rest of the year. With a suit like that, you'd like to see an Italian-made hard bottom there. Overall, Paolo showed up in the kind of suit you need a #1 overall pick's confidence to pull off. The Magic and fans of loud gear are content with that.
2. Jabari Smith, C, Auburn (7/10)
When I saw the length of Jabari Smith's shorts at Auburn, I turned off the tape. I knew he was going to be a star. When you got legs like him, you let those thighs do the talking for you. So when he showed up on draft night, I was surprised at a reasonably conservative fit. The shade of blue Jabari walked in with that night can read Bond or sitting congressman. That said, the tailoring was impeccable: Three-piece suit, spread power collar, Auburn orange check tie. The more I look at it, shout out the tailor here. To make 6'10" look perfectly proportional is both God-given and earned with some immaculate chalk lines in this custom suit. My only knock really is the U-shaped vest he's rocking. With that kind of scoop opening on a 3-piece suit, you need the tie to be at the perfect width for it not to look lost. It's losing me just a bit.
3. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (4/10)
The avian dinosaur-esque frame of Chet Holmgren was discussed ad nauseum pre-draft. But here I was with bated breath, waiting for what Chet would drape on his gloriously gangly frame. It was...meh. The all-black John Wick look is a strong, albeit kinda overdone one (see Cunningham, Cade). GQ reports that Chet got a custom Zegna suit made from Neiman Marcus, which is fine. The paisley pattern on the jacket: also exciting and fine. What I will not accept is the big man missing a damn button on the most photographed moment of his life. It's like that Tide commercial where the stain on your shirt starts obnoxiously talking to your friends and calling attention to itself. It's a missed opportunity from a guy who went 2.
The Bart Simpson "U TRIED" award goes to…
Jaden Hardy, G, G-League Ignite (7.5/10)
Last year, I rated Jalen Green's pinstriped bell-bottom suit as one of my all-time draft fits because it played between classic and modern while maximalizing just how rangey and lanky the dude is. As a champion of the rock it if you got it mentality for dudes, I'm excited when young cats take swings to showcase just how powerfully immortal they feel. Your teens and early 20s should be for taking stylistic swings as you try and define what the hell it is you like looking like.
This year that swing goes to G League Ignite Guard Jaden Hardy. We all see the bedazzled lapel but notice the overall slouchier fit of the suit itself. We've seen the pant legs tight and cropped in past drafts to show off sneaker. Here we have the pant leg breaking perfectly on it. With the way he's wearing his hair and the open shirt, Jaden Hardy looked rich and relaxed.
Fit of the Night Goes to…
Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (9/10)
When you pair dark shirt, dark jacket, this is how you do it. Jaden rocks the black tuxedo shirt with a velvet bowtie to match his ink-black/midnight navy shawl-neck velvet jacket. It's a high-level red carpet menswear maneuver that feels even more impressive when you check the details on that shawl neck lapel. (The trim sparkles). Having such a delicate trim highlight match with the enormous diamonds around his neck is advanced and reminds us all about the kind of drip NBA players and NBA players alone are capable of. Whether it's running an offense or the country, I trust this man to do it in style.