Friday, June 24, 2011

Production or Potential ?

Professional Sports in America began in the late 1800s with Major League Baseball, and now include the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, etc.  Thousands of these stars have graced our televisions, and wowed our eyes. The coaches and owners that select these players typically choose based on the trends of their time.  In Baseball and Football, the top players are chosen based on production and proven skill. Touchdowns, Wins, Strikeouts and Home Runs are  commonalities of every pick. In basketball, however, it is becoming more and more popular to select players based on unproven potential. In the 2011 NBA Draft, 4 of the top 7 draftees were international players. None of these players have experience playing in America, but, because of their size, athleticism, and "upside", they were selected higher than proven talents from the NCAA. Enes Kanter is a prime example of this. Kanter, from Turkey, has been a hot commodity leading into the draft, but has not played organized basketball in over a year. After leaving his home country to play basketball at the University of Kentucky, he was declared ineligible by the NCAA, because he had previously played professional basketball. Despite all of this, he was taken 3rd overall. Kemba Walker, on the other hand, is an athletic mastermind who proved himself throughout his three year college career. The 2011 Bob Cousy Award winner, a 2011 NCAA Champion, and the 2011 Final Four Most Outstanding Player had one of the best seasons of any collegiate athlete, yet he was the 3rd player selected from his position.  Historically, proven talent has always been a sure thing. In the past, players like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar were outstanding in college, and their success translated to the NBA where all three dominated their respective decades. Nowadays, the top collegiate athletes typically do not stay in college long enough to develop, which causes NBA teams to rely on potential. 4 out of the past 5 number 1 overall picks have been freshmen, with the exception being a sophomore. Talent pays, and now that the players have caught on, they are foregoing instrumental years of development in order to get paid the big bucks. So the question still stands: Production or Potential ? The World may never know.

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