It’s often a conceptual argument. Is experience and productivity more important than raw talent and potential? It’s a vague question. You can ask almost anybody that, not just sports fans, but never is it more relevant than the NBA Draft.
Do you value a player who puts up numbers, wins and minutes in school? Or do you choose the younger option with all that upside and all those questions? Everybody answers differently and every team picks differently. Those that choose experience usually defend it with the same vernacular. “I’ll always choose a guy that wins.” They preach about it in some misguided belief that it makes them “old school.” It’s hard as a true basketball fan to argue against it, though.
Out of principle, who would select a player who hasn’t proven anything over an established presence? It’s like supporting laziness, leaving school early and not trying until you get the big money, but in a league where the stars that dominate are in their 20’s, it’s hard to not see that choosing a younger player with unlimited skill is the wrong option. Especially if you believe in your coaching staff. You get an extra couple years to develop under the team’s guidanc, but the problem with the system is that we classify and group these players with such carelessness that their stuck inside a box before they even know where they are.
Just writing this article makes me as culpable as any Skip Bayless rant filled with generalities and clichés. The more teams judge players as complete individuals the better chance they have at discovering the right talent for their locker room. These players are too young to be stereotyped. Maybe it’s the over-saturated media that churns out the same story in 58 different venues that’s to blame. Maybe it’s our perception. We’re so distant from the players that we barely see them as people. Whatever it is, you can be sure that certain teams passed on players because of preconceived notions, and they could pay for it later.