The NBA Draft over the years has lost some of it’s sizzle. Is it because of the talent level - the lack of a dominant player? I’m in search of what happened to the annual event that kept me glued to the set for three hours and on edge for every selection.
One reason could be because most picks have more questions than Answers.
I was at the then Corestates Center the night the Philadelphia 76ers selected Allen Iverson #1 overall in the 1997 NBA Draft. With the selection of Jerry Stackhouse the previous season, fans could not wait to see the high flying Stackhouse coming down from the rafters courtesy of an Iverson oop.
Times have changed and so has the electricity surrounding the NBA Draft. I still love to see the parents and loved ones who have invested time, finances and plenty of prayers into the lives of these young men and see it all come to fruition – that’s priceless. You’ll still get an outrageous suit or three (nothing compares to Jalen Rose) and a great story. But something is missing from the days of drafts past.
- Personality – Who can forget Shaquille O’Neal mouthing “Who Me?!?!” when he was selected as the number one pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Shaq had become a marketing giant before even centering for a jump ball. With several million in the bank, thanks to Reebok the Diesel was gassed and ready to go.
- Players leaving early - In the case of many college freshman, their initial season in the collegiate ranks is a dress rehearsal for the pros. Alot of these young players we haven’t even seen because they’re in the wind after one season. And we still don’t hear from many because circumstances place then in a tough spot. Stay four years while my family struggles or enter the draft and get the quick payday? Lost in the shuffle is the game that got him there and in 2-3 years he’s a memory. There are exceptions like the Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings, who jumped through a loophole and got the best of both worlds while getting to see the world.
- Huge dropoff in talent - Whatever happened to the first 10-12 teams getting players that were going to crack the starting lineup? Last season the dropoff in potential overall talent after John Wall went #1 was staggering. Very few of the players that are selected on Thursday will be in their respective teams starting lineup or rotation come opening night if at all. Teams will trade to fit pieces in the right place but with the talent not as great it’s all a shot in the dark.
- Who’s #1 – Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams? Irving, a freshman point guard from Duke played a grand total of 11 games in his collegiate career due to a mid season foot injury but will almost surely be selected #1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers based on his potential as a playmaker and scorer. Derrick Williams, a sophomore power forward from the University of Arizonza has 69 career games under his belt, including a highlight reel of an NCAA Tournament for the Wildcats. Williams is expected to be the selection of the Minnesota Timberwolves at #2. Both teams could use either player but if you’re the Cavs do you select on the potential of Irving or the more proven player in Williams?
- Foreign Impact – Has the non-familiarity of foreign players impacted the draft. There are at least two foreign players that will be selected in the Top 10 and more as the draft goes on.
Hopefully, I’ll be in the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow when the Sixers make their first round selection (#16). There won’t be a #1 overall pick in their laps this year – many are in anticipation of small forward Andre Iguodala being traded and maybe some movement with the #16 pick. Twenty five years after trading Moses Malone, this franchise can ill-afford another day like that.