“NBA Draft-Dwarfed by Free Agency”
The NBA holds its college draft this evening.
Once upon a time it was special, but now, the ‘1-and-Done’ rule in college athletics has eroded the quality of the draft.
Every 19-year old, from Bill Willoughby, back in the day, to the modern day Lonzo Ball, pours into the NBA draft yearly, looking for a big payday, and hoping to jump-start careers.
The NBA draft has become a terrible crapshoot. Young players, unprepared for the grind of pro basketball, not ready for the emotional leap into maturity, ill prepared to handle the kind of money handed out to pick. A lot of underachieving players.
It’s become a mess, and until Adam Silver, the NBA boss, and the Union, and the NCAA work out a better deal, more and more under-prepared players will fail.
The poster boy for the modern day draft, UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, was the 1st pick a couple of years ago, by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Out of the NBA in less than 24-months, he is an example of what has befallen the NBA draft.
And you thought the days of controversy, who gets access to Patrick Ewing, or Ralph Sampson, were going to overwhelm the league and its credibility.
But we get a break this week from the calamity that the draft has become.
Instead we wait to see where the next two superstars are going, in attempts to build the next superstar team.
LeBron James and Kawahi Leonard appear headed elsewhere.
James can opt out of his 26M Cleveland Cavaliers contract in the next two weeks, setting off a big bidding war for his free agent services.
Leonard, a year away from free agency, reportedly wants to be traded, and to a team of his choice, or else San Antonio would lose him and get nothing in return a year from today.
The Lakers and Clippers are viable landing places for James, once he goes on the open market.
Leonard wants to play for the Lakers, but San Antonio controls his destination, in a potential trade, and it might be hard to think the Spurs would ship him to a Western Division team they’d have to beat to get into the playoffs. He might wind up in Boston or Philadelphia.
Adding to the intrigue is the year long struggle Leonard had coming back from a quad injury, the starts and stops of all his rehab, and the question behind the curtain, can he stay healthy, and can you invest a monster amount of money in him with this health question? .
So we have intrigue everywhere, not so much about the 18-19 year olds in the draft, but what King James and Kawhi are about to do.
The NBA has problems, but for a week or so, free agency and impending trades, will be front and center for the fans. No one is interested in another conversation about the next Anthony Bennett type player.