Only in the world of professional sports do the people who make the initial hire of talent get a free pass. That is going on, unfortunately, while a person who has no real control over their self-worth will end up getting blamed for other people thinking they are going to be better at their job than they actually are. It is as if we blame the player for not turning down millions of dollars in favor of telling teams he would prefer to be selected in a later round and subsequently make less money as well as less expectations.
The NBA Draft may be the event that holds the most potential bustable type of players. Granted, the MLB Draft will have a slew of players go in the first-round who never make it past Triple A ball, but no one knows who any of those guys are.
Maybe the NFL Draft is fairly comparable, although, it seems like only the quarterbacks are held in the same busting-regard as NBA prospects. JaMarcus Russell will never be able to live down the fact that the Oakland Raiders — and more importantly, Al Davis — were the dopes who decided to draft him number one overall. Of course we still make fun of the Raiders for selecting him, but it is Russell who has to live with letting down Raider Nation for the rest of his natural life.
To be fair though, the NBA Draft has players go in the top of the first-round every year who become nothing more than glorified role players. That shouldn’t be anything to sneeze at, but it doesn’t keep people from poking fun at Darko Miličić. Because, you know, he is clearly at fault for having a couple of great workouts, being only 17 years-old leading up to the draft and for the Detroit Pistons banking their future on a guy when their incoming coach (Larry Brown) absolutely hated rookies.
It should be noted that as Miličić recently retired and everyone called him a bust even though he played in the NBA for 12 years — which doesn’t exactly scream bust. I mean, what’s the longest you’ve stayed employed in one particular line of work?
Even with hindsight being 20/20, everyone with Internet access being an expert and 24/7 sports coverage we continue to blame the players who did not live up to others’ expectations of them. When you think about how absurd that actually is, well, then maybe you might lay off these guys from now on. I guess if we wanted to be a sane group of people we could start to blame who is actually at fault — people in the front offices of the NBA as well as the fans who are the ones who proclaim each top-pick the savior of their already in shambles favorite franchise.
None of us would turn down a ton of extra money because we didn’t feel we were ready for the big time. Even more so, if you worked extremely hard in one area of expertise and were about to be awarded for your skill as well as your potential I doubt you would tell some Fortune 500 Company that you’ll take a pass because you are tepid of being called a failure. No matter what you do for a living, you would be hard-pressed to turn down extra coin — even if you knew you didn’t deserve it.
So, when the 2013 NBA Draft gets underway and we all start declaring which players are going to be a bust I want you all to remember a few things. It isn’t the players who decided they were worthy of being a top pick. No sir, that was that team’s general manager. It wasn’t the player who put the mountain of expectations on his shoulders. Not at all, that was the franchise’s fan base.
Most of all, if you ignore those, at least do one thing for me. Remember, at all costs, even if the person drafted turns out to be the worst basketball player in the NBA, the player is still in the top 99 percent of skill in his line of work. Where exactly are you?
Me, Twitter @JosephNardone