As is nearly always the case, the 2018 NBA draft, and the months leading up to it following the end of the NCAA Tournament, was a practice in selecting the available players that have the most potential. Potential is king in the NBA draft process, and the more of it you have the higher you are likely to go.
Personally, potential excites me, and I wonder what the most recent group of draftees will do in the league. Will they be good? Will they look like they belong in the NBA or appear out of place and overmatched? Who is going to have an immediate impact on their team and across the league?
The truth is, there is no sure way to tell.
NBA teams employ numerous front office executives, scouts and coaches equipped with the knowledge, money and information needed to make multi-million dollar decisions about young basketball players. But, even with all of that at their disposal, teams don’t always make the right choice. The best player in a given draft class will likely not become apparent until three to five years into their career, if they are blessed enough to make it that far.
Watching these prospects learn and grow on the NBA stage has long been something that I enjoy. It is refreshing to see new people with new skills come into the league and make their mark. Not everyone will leave a mark on the NBA when all is said and done, but it is still something that I like to keep an eye on.
Inevitably, if you follow the NBA draft process, you will hear buzzwords or phrases like “most NBA ready” or “highest ceiling” when analysts, former players and current team executives talk about the draft class. Ultimately, you learn that they are just words. Each player selected in the draft is going to succeed or fail because of the work they put into their craft and the time they are willing to devote to getting better.
That is what makes it fun for me when I watch rookies play in the NBA, I get to see the results of their work and their commitment to the game. It becomes quite clear who has put in the time to get better and who has not.
In the 2017-18 season, NBA fans got to see for themselves young players like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Lauri Markkanen and Kyle Kuzma burst onto the scene and made an impact on their teams and the NBA as a whole. One thing you were sure to hear about those players is the hard work and dedication they put into being the best they can be.
I like hearing about those stories, and I am looking forward to seeing what the 2018 NBA draft selections bring to the table when the regular season begins this fall.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.