|Did the NBA screw over Selby or is he just an idiot?|
Before we start ripping on dumb people who declared for no good reason, I want to briefly comment on some of the controversy that always surrounds this time of year; of course, I'm talking about the one and dones. The one and done rule has become one of the biggest hot button issues in basketball. College basketball figure heads like Dickie V and Jay Bilas have spent considerable time criticizing the rule and attempting to abolish it. Their arguments certainly make sense on the surface, as these prospects have a reputation for spending precious little time in the classroom; essentially "using" college. In a sense, it is a mockery of the idealistic college system. Of course, I threw a little extra word in there...you might have noticed. (Hint: It begins with an "i" and ends with "dealistic")
Let me be out front and honest about this issue. I have flip-flopped on this issue more times than John Kerry could ever imagine doing. I've criticized both sides, ripped on all parties, and sat on several different high horses. I like to think I'm different now; like I'm a bit more mature or in tune with things than I was before. Truthfully...I kinda doubt it. The fact is this so complicated an issue and there are so many factors in play that no one should feel too confident about a position. Believe me, I understand the frustration from fans! Would I have killed for a couple extra years of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, Brandon Knight, or Terrrence Jones in my life? YOU KNOW IT! I love those guys and it sucks that I only get one short season with them...but really, how is that emotion even relevant? Why should my selfish desire be a factor in my thinking?
Last week, Pat Forde, writing for espn.com, wrote an article criticizing the one and done system. No shock there! All the critics have come out to play! His specific article caught my attention though, because it was even more ignorant than usual. He uses the current Josh Selby situation to illustrate how dumb the one and done rule is; going so far as to place the entirety of the blame on the NBA for creating the minimum age requirement. For those of you who aren't familiar with Selby, let me give you a quick tidbit about him. Josh Selby was rated as top five recruit by nearly every scouting service. He committed to Kansas, but a variety of qualification problems and amateurism issues immediately became a concern. While in HS, Selby had accepted gifts and had violated NCAA amateurism rules. Due to this, he was suspended for the first nine games of the season and forced to sit out ten practices. Long story made short; all-world recruit Josh Selby finished the season averaging just over seven points per game, ditched school after the season, and declared for the draft without having any guarantee of being a first round selection.
It really is a sad story when a talent like Selby does everything possible to ruin his career. Pat Forde thinks so too...and the NBA is to blame for all of Selby's problems! Now, tell me, does that sound right to you? Does his claim that the NBA made Josh Selby go to college sound right? Sounds a lot more like blame shifting to me! Believe me, this isn't the first time an article like this has been written and it won't be the last. My question is, why does the NBA have to carry the responsibility for Josh Selby? Did the NBA break the rules by taking gifts for Selby? Did the NBA make him not give a crap about school? Did the NBA make him go to college? The answer, of course, is no. The responsibility for Josh Selby's life is Josh Selby's! Truthfully, the Selby situation is a perfect example of how the one and done rule works! Here's a few points about the rule:
- The NBA is a business and is totally unaffiliated with the NCAA. They have no responsibility to the NCAA or to any of the "student-athletes"...nor should they! The rule is not meant to better college basketball and it's presumptuous to think it should. College basketball's problems are college basketball's and nobody else's. The NBA should only be concerned about the betterment of its owners, players, and fans.
- The one and done rule accomplished its purpose in Josh Selby's case. The NBA instituted the rule to decrease the risk involved in the draft. Millions of dollars are invested in these picks and the NBA was wise to create a system that allows its member teams to better utilize its resources. A year in college allows teams to more accurately scout available talent which, in turn, should lead to a higher success rate with draft picks. Josh Selby would have been a top ten pick had he been allowed to come out after high school...obviously, after all his troubles and his crappy play, that was not an accurate assessment of him as a player. Perhaps he will develop down the road, but to invest a top ten pick on a guy who couldn't start for his college team is simply bad business.
- The one and done rule does not force anyone to do anything they don't want. If you don't want to go to college for a season, then there are plenty of other options. You can take the Brandon Jennings route and play overseas for a season. You can play in a smaller independent league. Heck, you can even play in the NBDL! There is always a choice; it's simply a matter of taking responsibility for the choice you make.
Now, I realize there are good counter-points to why the rule shouldn't exist, but there's no denying the NBA's right to have the rule. As I've flip-flopped back and forth on the topic, it's dawned on me that I actually had no reason to hate this rule other than the pure enjoyment of watching better basketball at the collegiate level. While that's a powerful motivator for me, it's not a good reason to fight the one and done rule. The truth is we all have the right to make our own decisions. The NBA has the right to make an age minimum rule and the players have a right to leave college after one season to accept multi-million dollar jobs (seriously, you would do the same!).
The conclusion; the constant criticism of the system needs to stop. Am I ever going to like seeing players leave early? No, I hate it, but they are entitled to their choices. It's their life!
That having been said, I'm still entitled to discuss whether their early entry choice makes sense as a career move. I'll concede their right to leave when they want while reserving my right to rip on them if I want. So, here's some highlights from the early entry list!
SG Alec Burks, Colorado
The overall crappiness of this draft is what led Burks to declare. He's hired an agent, so he's firmly in this thing. Considering he's the number one SG on Chad Ford's Big Board and a likely lottery pick, that's probably a solid idea. He shot only 29% from three point range last year, so he's got a lot of work to do on his game. Sounds like another Ronnie Brewer...just what we all needed.
PG Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
He hasn't hired an agent yet and, if he has any brains, he'll return to school. There's just not a big market for 6-2 PG's who can't dribble. Or pass. And are slow. And can't jump. So...back to school Ashton?
G/F Jordan Hamilton, Texas
His scouting reports says his shot selection is questionable...he's ready for the NBA! No, seriously, I love his talent, but he's a giant black hole on offense. He's like Allen Iverson combined with Julian Wright. And not in the good way.
F Tobias Harris, Tennessee
I just noticed his scouting report said he could be the next Shane Battier. Just when I thought I couldn't hate a Tennessee product any more! (Also, he's kinda fat)
G Tu Holloway, Xavier
He's got second round all over him and he could really help himself by returning to school for another season. He hasn't hired an agent yet, so perhaps he's just testing the waters (which, by the way, is just about my least favorite phrase in sports). Look, I really need Holloway to go back to Xavier so he can kick some dimes to my boy Kenny Frease! Then Kenny could be the number one pick next year!!!!!
G/F Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
Is this a hair draft? Because, if it was, he'd be the number one overall pick.
PG Kyrie Irving, Duke
I heard some Duke fans saying they would never cheer for Kyrie because he left after a year. Are you freaking kidding me? Who the heck are you to tell Kyrie Irving what to do with his life? Burns me up...oh yeah, and he's probably going to be the top pick. Good move Kyrie! Also, it makes Duke worse which makes me happy! TAKE THAT CUTTER!!!
PG Reggie Jackson, Boston College
No, not that Reggie Jackson. Though, I'd be curious to see his shooting percentage in October. Just sayin'!
PF Terrence Jennings, Louisville
His scouting reports says he looks like Amare Stoudemire...yeah, 9.6ppg and 5.2rpg just screams Amare Stoudemire to me too.
F Terrence Jones, Kentucky
NOOOOOOO!!! Look, Jones isn't ready. I can say that because I watched every single Kentucky game last year. He got worse and worse as the season went along and there's a solid chance he'll fail if he goes pro right now. Jones has all the talent in the world, but he has no idea how to play basketball yet. Also, I really want him back. Badly. I NEED YOU! I MISS YOU....(I'll stop there)
PG Cory Joseph, Texas
Projected as second round to undrafted...sounds like a solid decision Cory.
PG Brandon Knight, Kentucky
(Tears streaming...) I hate it, but he's a possible top five pick right now. He has to do this.
F Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
I really like Leonard, but I have no idea what position he plays. His comparison with Shawn Marion seems pretty spot on, though he's gonna have to learn that funky release point on his jump shot if he really wants to live up to it.
SG Travis Leslie, Georgia
Chad Ford writes, "if he were two inches taller and could stroke the ball, he'd be a lottery pick." Wouldn't we all Chad, wouldn't we all.
G DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky
My hunch is he's coming back, but there are some financial issues here that may cause him to stick it out and play professionally overseas if he isn't drafted. Then I really will cry...
G Shelvin Mack, Butler
I'll just come out and say this; Mack can't play in the NBA. I know Butler fans don't want to hear that and I'm sure they've convinced themselves he can do it, but it's just not gonna happen. He might hang around for a couple of years, but his lack of height and point guard skills is too much to overcome. Butler would still be good next year if Mack were to return so hopefully he makes the smart choice.
PG Darius Morris, Michigan
He hasn't hired an agent and another year of development could be huge for Morris. Michigan will have an interesting team next year and Morris is the real deal. He has a real opportunity to put himself in the lottery next year. Right now, he's a borderline first round pick.
PF Morris Twins, Kansas
We should start placing bets now...better or worse than the Collins'? Better or worse than the Lopez's?
F Jereme Richmond, Illinois
Rumor is he had some problems with the coaching staff at Illinois which led to him declaring. He's not ready at all to play in the NBA, but he has one of the highest upsides of anyone in the draft. Jay Bilas would say he has tremendous upside potential. Richmond has a still developing stroke, but his physical abilities are through the roof. A series of good workouts could shoot him higher up draft boards than everyone assumed, but whatever team takes him will need to excercise patience.
G Josh Selby, Kansas
Gotta love a player who averaged seven points per game and was benched by tournament time!
F Chris Singleton, Florida State
Singleton is a tough guy to peg. He has exceptional talent and is extremely versatile, but he's never been able to really put it all together. At this point, he's likely a mid first round pick and perhaps that's about right for him anyways. One thing he does have going for him is elite NBA level defensive skills.
PG Isaiah Thomas, Washington
Somehow, I really hope the Knicks end up taking him...
PF Trey Thompkins, Georgia
I like Thompkins more than most. Things never really seemed to click at Georgia, but his game seems suited well for the NBA. After a rough junior season, his stock has dropped and he's likely a late first round pick...a steal for some lucky team (please Celtics!).
SG Klay Thompson, Washington State
An early second round pick most years, Thompson will likely find himself taken in the middle of the first due to the extreme lack of good SG prospects. He definitely has his shortcomings (not a great athlete), but Thompson can really, really shoot.
PF Tristan Thompson, Texas
I'm thrilled Thompson changed his mind and decided to declare because he's likely ranked ahead of Terrence Jones. If Jones thinks he's going to fall in the draft then maybe he comes back! THANK YOU TRISTAN! Even though you have a girls name...
G Kemba Walker, Connecticut
F Derrick Williams, Arizona
Actually, I have a giant man crush on Williams. I'd take him number one in a heartbeat as I see him as the only potential franchise player in this God-forsaken draft.
Note: I'll be updating my way, way too early top 25 by the end of this week. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is May 8 and you can expect another stupid post at that time. Also, Prince and I have nearly completed our NFL Mock Draft and the final twelve picks will be posted tonight. Stay tuned for another NBA Playoffs podcast within the next few days. GO CELTICS!!!
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