Sports Out West

The NBA Draft represents the new NBA

Exum

The 2014 NBA Draft is starting to be a whirlwind of question marks. It is still a very deep draft that is full of talent for any and all roles, but the amount of uncertainty is rising.

In many ways, the draft represents the direction the NBA is taking. With the exception of the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, most teams are building unconventional and ambiguous teams. From Phoenix’s hybrid backcourt to the lack of a point guard in Miami, the buzz guys in the NBA Draft symbolize more than just the league’s future, but the direction as well.

First, the concrete negative news of the NBA Draft that brought the biggest question marks: Joel Embiid’s huge injury and Dario Saric’s choice to play internationally instead. Embiid’s injury puts him firmly in “top 3″ territory instead of default first pick overall. His injury effectively closes the LeBron James to Cleveland saga. Saric’s move to international waters also hurts the top 10 picks as he was clearly a favorite amongst general managers.

Now, for the other uncertainties, the majority of the issue is within the player group. The “buzz players” include names like: Dante Exum, Noah Vonleh, Marcus Smart, and Aaron Gordon. The biggest question mark players are Exum and Vonleh. For Exum, no scouts have a great projection or even much game film to go on. He’s a player who impressed during the Hoop Summit, but played only 23 games against top talent. The early projections have him as a point guard with no real shooting stroke, but plenty of athleticism and talent to be great. A combo guard perhaps. Vonleh is another mystery. Billed as a pop-and-go big man, he’s been anything but. A little undersized, strength in the middle, but a bad shooting stroke.

As for Smart and Gordon, these are players with clear position identity crisis. Where do they fit on a team? These four buzz guys are the very representation of the NBA’s direction — hybrid players with upside and no clear position. Gone are the traditional post-up big men and passing point guards and in are the point forwards and combo guards. The models for the NBA are players like Victor Oladipo and Kyrie Irving.

It’s a new world and the NBA Draft is the beginning of it.

 

Photo courtesy of FIBA.com

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.

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