ESPN's coverage of Thursday's NBA Draft averaged just fewer
than three million viewers (2.99), a slight 1% increase over last year,
according to Nielsen.
The 4.5-hour telecast -- which featured a surprise pick at
No. 1, numerous trades and a testy on-air exchange between ESPN's Bill Simmons
and newly-minted Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers -- ranks as the net's
second biggest audience for the annual event since it began televising it in
Only the 2011 Draft had more viewers with 3.2 million.
It was the final draft headed by commissioner
David Stern, who
will step down next February.