WILKES-BARRE — In recent years, the NBA Draft we’ve been treated to some really good draft classes, but the problem is some of these college stars can’t make that transition to the NBA.
This past season we saw the Philadelphia 76ers 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons take home Rookie of the Year honors over the 2017 No. 13 selection Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.
Boston’s selection Jayson Tatum out of Duke University rode their coattails all-season long. If it were any other season, Tatum probably takes home the prestigious honor.
But what does this show the fans?
The last time a player from a major market took home Rookie of the Year honors was Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams in the 2013-14 season. Before Carter-Williams, Chicago’s Derrick Rose was the last Rookie of the Year from a major market team to win. That was in the 2008-09 season.
As we approach the 10-year mark since Rose won the award people have to realize just because a member of your team wins the Rookie of the Year award doesn’t mean they are going to pan out.
Out of the last nine Rookie of the Year winners, there has been a combined 17 all-star selections, one MVP award and one NBA Finals championship.
All those accolades have come from five players. Kyrie Irving having the most with five all-star nods and an NBA championship.
So these debates of who deserves the Rookie of the Year award is a stupid argument. The facts are right in front of us.
There have been players in the same draft who have had more success playing a pivotal role in their franchise’s success.
We expect these players to make an immediate impact and help win a championship. I blame the transition process from college to the NBA.
Granted there are a few sure-fire can’t miss prospects but the ‘One & Done’ players have ransacked college basketball. These players have still managed to make it one of the most watched sports in the country but at what cost?
These kids are leaving college for professional careers at 18 or 19 years old. Their bodies are not fully developed. Heck, I’m 21 years old and I’ve only recently started to grow facial hair and learn how to dress myself.
My point is we expect too much, especially now that major market teams have had Top-Ten selections in the past few drafts. And no matter what they say there is always pressure when you play in a sports town like New York and Los Angeles.
I’ve seen it first-hand with Kristaps Porzingis. The guy plays in Madison Square Garden and is under such a microscope in New York. He tore his ACL after the team started to struggle when he wasn’t putting up MVP numbers. The Knicks are also a dysfunctional franchise, but with a new front-office I hope they soon ditch that stigma.
I would rather my team select a player that might not have all that flash and pop and rather them learn the fundamentals of basketball and develop their skills and basketball IQ in a system that will help them flourish.
I think teams are slowly turning away from the immediate expectations after Stan Hinkie enacted ‘The Process.’ It took five years, but Philadelphia finally reached the playoffs.
The fans are the ones that have to buy in to this philosophy. I leave you off with this: Patience is a virtue. Just wait for these guys to pan out.
Look at the Golden State Warriors, they have won championships with homegrown talent including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Reach Dan Stokes at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes