Sports drafts and the NBA.
The positives and (mostly) negatives of the draft format.
Ah, Draft Day. No, not the 6/10 Kevin Costner movie, the other one. The one that the NBA just had. Yes, that one.
November 18 marked the 2020 NBA Draft where new, fresh faces would join the ranks of the professionals and earn their keep in the glorious game of basketball. That’s the main idea, in any case.
For those not familiar with the more detailed side of the draft process, it marks a timeframe where teams (usually from worst to best) pick from a selection of college players that have, one, been scouted based on their performance and, two, their drive. Given that these two factors sync up well for a college player, then they’ll be given a prime opportunity to come and join the ranks of the elite in the NBA. That being said, it’s what follows that may lead you to think the draft process might be not all it’s cracked up to be.
The usual standards in any draft are that major teams are hoping that they’ll receive the next Lebron James or the next Tom Brady. However, the more likely result is that they’ll be receiving the next Anthony Bennett or the next Johnny Manziel. Draft busts are all too common and present a strong case for why fans of a particular franchise shouldn’t put their faith in a magic lottery to fix all of their problems (cue the montage of every Edmonton Oiler draft winner ever).
Yes, the biggest pressure from the draft is the knowledge that if those chosen don’t perform to the incredibly high level as their franchise demands them too, they’ll inevitably be tossed to the wolves. Left to live out their days as a “what could have been” article. Of course, the opposite is also very much a possibility (as mentioned above with James and Brady).
The general view of the draft process aside, let’s get into the real meat of the 2020 NBA draft. This year’s top draft pick was fairly interesting as it saw the Minnesota Timberwolves land Anthony Edwards, a pick that I’m sure a few Timberwolves fans found questionable. Before we dive into that, let’s dive into Edwards’ career a bit. Edwards spent his lone college season of basketball playing with the Georgia Bulldogs (going 16-16 on the year). During his time there, he acquired the title of SEC Freshman of the Year and put up an average of 19.1 points (as well as 5.2 rebounds). All in all, draft worthy. However (this being where the questionable part comes in), despite being 1st overall and SEC Freshman of the Year, Edwards made some interesting comments with regards to the game of basketball.
According to an ESPN article looking into Edwards’ life and future in the NBA, Edwards said that “I can’t watch basketball.” “I’m still not really into it,” he continues. “I love basketball, yeah. It’s what I do.” According to the same article, Edwards would also change from NBA to NFL if the opportunity presented itself, “Because you can do anything on the field,” he explains. “You can spike the ball. You can dance. You can do all type of disrespectful stuff.” “You can’t do any of that [in the NBA]. You’ll get fined.
Now these statements bring a couple reactions to the table. If you’re a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the reaction is probably along the lines of “Uhhhhh…” in a worrisome, “why is this happening” sort of tone. If you’re an NBA fan in general, your reaction is probably along the lines of “Uhhhhh…” in a confused and more-than-likely put off kind of tone. Basically they’re two variations of the same reaction, that reaction being “what gives?”
It is curious to hear “I can’t watch basketball” coming from a top NBA pick (now official NBA member), but at the end of the day, it might be better than people think. Watching and performing are two completely different things, the act of actually participating in a sport brings out a whole more interesting side of it. I mean honestly, if you think every member of the MLB actually enjoys watching baseball then severe errors were made in your judgement. Overall, given the scouting reports on Edwards and his ability to be effective defensively, as well as versatility making him an “immediate producer”, I think Timberwolves fans have nothing to fear. It could also all be a nightmare, resulting in the worst season in Timberwolves history, but hey, it’ll probably be fine.
To finish up and top pick aside, here are the other nine selections from the 1st Round of the NBA Draft, making up the rest of the top ten:
2. The Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman
3. The Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball
4. The Chicago Bulls – Patrick Williams
5. The Cleveland Cavaliers – Isaac Okoro
6. The Atlanta Hawks – Onyeka Okongwu
7. The Detroit Pistons – Killian Hayes
8. The New York Knicks – Obi Toppin
9. The Washington Wizards – Deni Avdija
10. The Phoenix Suns – Jalen Smith