The NBA draft is a magical device. In the months leading up to and over its four-hour course, anything seems possible. Even the most skeptical curmudgeons talk themselves into this 19-year-old or that Latvian. In these hours, the players all believe they will be the next LeBron, or the next Nowitzki, or the next Draymond. The NBA draft is a festival of faith for everyone involved: the teams, the prospects, the fans.
It’s all downhill from there.
As soon as we see these players in the anti-glamour of Vegas Summer League (or even worse, Orlando Summer League) their faults come alive. It gets worse in the preseason and through the rookie year. It’s a fact that most rookies are bad, even the great ones. We remember LeBron being good as a rookie. The fact is he wasn’t good enough to beat out Michael Redd or Kenyon Martin for an All-Star spot that year! Dirk barely shot 40 percent as a rookie; Draymond averaged fewer than three points per game.
Even if they do quickly become good, the panic begins to set in for their teams about their futures! On draft night, draft picks are these ethereal, mystical objects whose future is in some way impossible to tell, so we all expect the best. When reality sets in, we start to fear the worst.
In that spirit, enjoy the 2017 NBA draft (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET) before it’s too late.