How Do Franchises Impact Players:
It’s not about the players. It’s about the coach and the franchise. There is a fine line between an NBA player that becomes a bust or is a legitimate starter. Why? It could all depend on the situation he is drafted into. It may not seen like the end all be all. But the development of a young player is heavily impacted by his surroundings. We’re going to take a look at a handful of examples of players that were drafted into vastly different scenarios and discuss the effects it hand on their careers. Including looking at multiple players from the most recent draft and delving into their rookie years.
The most obvious “bust” of the decade is Anthony Bennett. He was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2013 Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In college, at UNLV, he averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Bennett was supposed to continue that success in the NBA. But he was selected by Cleveland, who was 40-108 in the previous two seasons. The team had virtually no notable talent outside of Kyrie Irving. How was he supposed to succeed in that system? If he was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs instead, would his career have turned out as poorly?
The San Antonio Spurs:
Manu Ginobili was drafted 57th overall in 1999. He was a talented athlete out of Argentina. But who thought he would have had the career he has? He’s averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists, while helping the Spurs win four titles. Ginobili will likely reach the Hall of Fame someday. Prior to drafting Ginobili, the Spurs had won 70.1 percent of their games in the previous two years, including winning a title in that span. He got to play alongside the likes of David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Steve Kerr. They obviously helped him develop into a great player, as did Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs franchise has proven that they know how to develop players, not matter the level of talent. Kawhi Leonard was selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers. Then he was traded to the Spurs. He was a good player in college, averaging 15.5 points per game. But not many expected him to become an MVP candidate in the league. And in the meantime, he’s become a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Not to mention his 16.2 points per game average. In the two seasons before drafting Leonard, San Antonio went 111-53. It’s not a coincidence that he’s developed into such a dynamic player.
The Golden State Warriors:
The same can be said for the Golden State Warriors who have taken over the crown as the best team in the NBA. And they’ve followed that same type of development style. Possibly because Kerr is the head coach after learning a lot from Popovich. Draymond Green and Jordan Bell were drafted No. 35 and No. 38, respectively. Both were good in college, but didn’t even selected in the first round. Now the Warriors have turned them both into lockdown defenders and unselfish teammates. Green seems to be a part of Bell’s development as well. The Warriors have gone 207-39 in the last three years.
Current NBA Rookies:
As for other current rookies, there’s a huge gap between the No. 3 and No. 4 pick. Jayson Tatum was snatched up by the Boston Celtics. He’s averaging 13.8 points and 5.4 rebounds, while being absolutely lethal from three-point range. Why has he been so good? Partly because of his head coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics have gone 101-63 the last two years. Tatum was drafted by a team already in a good situation. As for Josh Jackson, who was taken fourth by the Phoenix Suns. He hasn’t had the same luck. He’s struggling to find his groove, but the Suns aren’t exactly the dream location.
Jackson is putting up only 9.6 points and 3.7 rebounds nearly three months into his career. That’s a -6.7 drop off from his average at Kansas. As well as a -3.7 drop in rebounds. Not the way he wanted to begin his NBA vocation. Phoenix was 47-117 the last two seasons, including a coaching change this year. No wonder Jackson isn’t playing well. He was drafted into a complete mess of a franchise. Not many players would be able to thrive immediately. Which is the main reason why where you are drafted to is much more important than at which spot.
Photo Credit: NBC Sports.