Jerry West isn’t impressed with the current state of the NBA or the 2014 NBA Draft class.
Not at all.
“Just look at the league, this is the weakest I’ve ever seen this league,” the NBA legend told Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Rusillo on ESPN Radio. “The weakest. And we are depending on people who go to school for a year to come in and change the fortunes of franchises, rarely does that ever happen.
“And everyone is talking about an incredible draft class this year, I think it’s just the opposite, I think it’s a poor one myself. There are going to be prospects there. But these franchises have really struggled. At one time you could get a branded name, these kids are not branded today. They’re not branded.
“And by that I mean kids who have played in school for three or four years and comes out and people know who he is. He’s tutored, he’s more mature, more experienced. Those kinds of players come in and make an impact right away. But if you look at some of these kids, it takes about three years for them to get going. And for a team that’s really struggling, you’re selling your fans that this player’s going to make us better. Most of the time it does not happen today.”
According to DraftExpress.com, eight of the top 10 projected picks are college freshmen: Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh,Tyler Ennis and James Young. A ninth is Australian Dante Exum, who will go straight to the NBA after playing in Australia.
The highest-rated player West seems to be talking about is Creighton senior Doug McDermott, projected as the No. 13 pick.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.