Today I am going to talk about the recent quote from Jerry West saying:
“And everyone is talking about an incredible draft class this year. I think it’s just the opposite—I think it’s a poor one myself," Jerry West told Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Rusillo on ESPN Radio. "There are going to be prospects there. But these franchises have really struggled. At one time you could get a branded name; these kids are not branded today. They’re not branded."
The thing we have to keep in mind as we evaluate these players and this class is perspective. And that includes looking at the long term vs. the short term. So let's take a look at this class compared to others.
This class does not have a Michael Jordan, nor does it have a Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony or a Kevin Durant. It is lacking a player who will step in and be an all-star today. And while that can be said as a major downfall of this class, you have to remember, guys like Jordan and Durant don't come along every year... or every 5 years really. A true superstar comes along once in a great while, and some of them aren't necessarily the most hyped coming into the draft (re: Paul George). So while this draft does have some talented guys, the lack of a once in a lifetime player shouldn't be a huge knock on it
This class, like so many recently lacks a number of guys who can come in and start right away. This is a trend that had begun to develop when players started jumping straight to the NBA from high school. Now I am a proponent of guys going and staying in college, I will be the first to admit this. But when a player comes to the draft at 18 or 19 years of age, you have to expect they will need some time to develop. LeBron James aside, a lot of young guys who have made the jump have needed a year or 2 of playing limited minutes before they could transition to starting and a few years after that before they were ready to be impact players. This is in part to the fact that their bodies are still developing as are their skill sets. Are they better than the average college player, absolutely, but that doesn't mean they are better than the average NBA player. As we have seen with the last few draft classes, the guys being drafted high in the draft aren't turning their team around right away. The teams that pick in the top 5 this year won't likely be that different from the teams that drafted in the top 5 3 years ago. Becuase with the influx of young players int he NBA, the players don't reach their potential til they have been in the league for a few years. That is not to say they are bad players, but with out the extra minutes logged in college and the longer seasons and workouts year around that the guys before them had, they aren't ready to step in and help as quickly. This class is no different from a lot of those. Are there some talented guys, of course, and West mentions that, but there aren't guys in this class that will step in and take a bad team, like the sixers, and put them in playoff contention by themselves.
This is where this class will ultimately be judged in comparison to others. How many of these guys end up as All-Stars and Hall of Famers, and unless you have a better crystal ball than I do, we can only sit and watch. This is where you have to decide if you trust Jerry West and all of his experience or if you don't. Like Billy Beane in Moneyball, where he had all the tools and never panned out as a major leaguer, you can't tell if a player will succeed based solely on his numbers. Does he have the work ethic? Does he have the room to improve? Can he handle the spot light? Can he handle the struggles that come with no longer being the big fish in the small pond? Only time will tell, but the scouts, coaches and GM's are going to do their best to figure this out.
So what do you think? Will we see this class as a big bust or will this class be in the discussion of the deepest classes of all time? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter
Thanks for Reading,
-T.O. signing out