It’s never too early to start prepping for the 2017 NBA Draft. With the latest crop of rookies set to make their professional debuts in October, let’s focus on the upcoming class, one that will be dominated by the freshman.
Youth is what NBA front offices look for. The ability to mold and develop a promising talent is what teams thrive on, and there will be a lot of it for the 2017 NBA Draft. As many as 12 incoming college freshman could be taken in the first 15 picks. That’s a pretty impressive number, and for a league that is always looking for a new superstar, it’s always welcome.
Many have pegged Duke freshman, Harry Giles, as the top overall pick. He’s been one of the best prep school players in recent years, but a series of knee injuries might have teams a bit worried about his longevity going forward.
There is a slew of other incoming freshmen that will hear their names called on draft night. Names such as Josh Jackson ( Kansas), Jayson Tatum ( Duke), Markelle Furtz ( Washington), and Jonathan Issac ( Florida State ), are just a few of the names to get familiar with this upcoming college season.
Many have mocked John Calipari for his one and done philosophy at Kentucky. However, it’s now common for a school to obtain a big name recruit and only expect to get one full year out of him.
Mike Krzyzewski was never too fond of this, but in recent years Duke has been one of the biggest culprits, sending Kyrie Irving, Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor to the NBA after a successful freshman season. And with Tatum and Giles on the roster, you can expect the Blue Devils to add to this list.
Times have changed since the days of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. It’s rare that an elite recruit stays all four years. In fact, it’s damn near impossible that any moderately successful college freshman stays in school. With the lure of the D-League and the potential to play for a guaranteed contract, many freshmen opts for the NBA instead of staying at school.
The system isn’t broke; it’s just unfortunate that the college game doesn’t get to see its real superstars for more than one year. So when you watch college basketball this season, get to know the freshman class, because most of them will be playing for an NBA team rather soon.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288.