Could this be the greatest rookie class ever? I know it is early in the season but most of these rookies are starting to look like they are worth their weight in goals. Normally rookies look at to be work in progress, most teams draft rookies with expectations that it will be a few years before they can become good NBA players.

Most rookies struggle with the speed of the NBA game, the traveling, a number of games each week, length of the season and the minimal amount of time to prepare for a game. All these things are the reason why it takes rookies sometime before they can become consistent contributors. Most fans understand this and are patient with the development of the rookies. There are only so many LeBron James, now speaking of LeBron James his draft class may be one the best NBA Draft classes. 2003 NBA Draft class produced 9 players to appear in an All-Star game, 11 NBA championship winners, and easily 4 Hall of Famers. It will be hard to beat the draft class of 2003 but I think the class that might have the best chance of being just as good or better is the draft class of 2017. Again, I know the season just started but these rookies are playing great basketball, I will admit they are not doing it on a night to night basis, but they are contributing in a major way each game. Lonzo Ball, De ’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, TJ Leaf, Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith, Jr, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Sindarius Thornwell have been playing valuable minutes for their teams. These players have been a factor in the success of their teams usually, there are two or three rookies making this type of impact.

Will this draft produce 9 all-stars and 11 NBA championship winners, I do not know, maybe not but I will enjoy watching. This may be the passing of the torch, LeBron, Wade, and Melo are getting older they have to leave the league in the hands of great players and the draft class might be it. The NBA is lucky just as the lights are starting to dim on some of their stars the NBA gets an influx of new bright baby stars.

The era of the one and done in college basketball is in full bloom. The NCAA and the NBA implemented the rule where players coming out of high school had to be 19years of age and one year removed from high school. They did this to stop the influx of high school players entering the NBA draft, some high school players were not ready for the NBA and by entering the draft they now lost the opportunity to play college basketball. This rule would also help college basketball because the talented players would have to at least play a year of college basketball.

Personally, I believe this rule has its pros and cons, so I am on the fence when it comes to the rule. The reason I am on the fence is because I believe the rule can be improved upon to make it better for all parties involved but I will further address this later.

In this year NBA draft, there is a possibly that the first ten players selected maybe freshmen college players and more than half of the first round selection maybe freshmen players. Would any of them be first round picks if they came straight from high school? When you look at the mock draft all of them have Markell Fultz as the number one pick but when he was coming out of high school he was ranked number seven, according to ESPN 100. Being rank number seven is great but would it have been good enough to be selected in the first round?  Zach Collins from Gonzaga was ranked 37th coming out of high school and he is a potential first pick, he might not have been drafted at all coming of high school. In these case,  a year of college has benefited the players and the schools that they played for but there are also situations such as Harry Giles who was the number one player coming out of high school. Giles maybe a late first pick in this year’s draft, now I will admit his injury has affected his potential draft selection. What if Giles went straight from high school to the NBA would his potential draft selection be higher?

The way the rules are setup now is once a player signs with an agent he can no longer return to school, if he does not withdraw draft entry before a specific date he cannot return to school. These rules I believe can be improved, I would keep the rule if a player signs with agent he is not able to return to school, and instead the player should be able to hire an advisor. The advisor would talk to the NBA teams on behalf of the player and would advise the player if he should remain in the draft. The advisor’s contract with the player would expire on draft night, after draft night the player would be required to sign with a different agency if the advisor is associated with an agency. If a player is drafted in the second round and does not make the team or the team wants the player to play in NBDL, the player should have the opportunity to return to school and play college basketball but the player would lose his scholarship and must pay for school himself. The NBA team who drafted the player would retain the rights to the player. If the player is not drafted he should be able to return to school and retain his athletic scholarship. I believe all parties would benefit from this structure colleges would retain players for more than one year, players would get a chance to play and develop, NBA team would save money and still have the right to the players.

There was a point where I enjoyed college and high school basketball more than professional basketball. The college game seemed more competitive, there was strong conference such as the Big East, ACC, SEC, PAC 10 and Big Ten where all the teams were good and you had no idea who would win the game. Part of me wants college basketball to return to those days, it just seems like the era of the one and done will not allow the competitiveness of college basketball to return.

 

 

A few days ago Lonzo Ball announced his new shoe the ZO2, after the announcement, there have been several complaints on social media about his shoe. Some have complaints have been about the price of the shoe, $495 base price; some have complained about any and everything under the sun. I have noticed many of the attacks on the Ball family and their shoe have been vicious and presented in an angry tone. This got me to thinking what are you mad for?

Many people have stated that they do like LaVar Ball, the father of the basketball playing Ball children. People have stated that LaVar is arrogant, braggadocios, and delusional to name a few things. Personally, I like LaVar because he is entertaining, he loves his kids, he works hard to help his kids and him fulfill their dreams, and family is the most important thing to him. People do not like that he believes his kids are better basketball players than other players who have achieved great success in the NBA. I say those are his children why shouldn’t he believe his children are the best, LaVar knows what their aspirations are and how hard they work to meet their goals. To achieve greatness or to be successful at anything in life it starts with a person believing he or she will be successful. Hence the term “you have to believe to achieve.”   People tend to focus on the outlandish statements that LaVar makes, I focus more on the meaningful statements such as “there are more things to be concerned about that basketball” or ‘I will support my kids regardless of basketball.” Statements like these tell me LaVar has a grip on reality and many of the outlandish statements are showmanship. What are you mad a LaVar for? He wants the best for kids, he believes in kids, he gives everything in order for kids to fulfill their dreams, and he loves his kids. As a parent aren’t you the same when it comes to your children, you may not express it like LaVar does but I would like to believe you are just as supportive.

Regards to Lonzo Ball, people on social media are stating Lonzo is overrated, he does not deserve a shoe, he has not proven anything yet, and he is going to be a failure in the NBA. The first thing I would like to say to these people is Lonzo was one of the top players coming out of high schools, he is one of the top college players, and he will be a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA draft. A person does not have these accomplishments and be considered overrated, Lonzo has proven himself on every level. I do not know how successful he will be in the NBA but nobody knows how successful any player is going to be at the next level. To be successful in the NBA it takes a combination of talent and willpower, so far Lonzo has displayed both. There are people who believe the hype surrounding Lonzo is because of the attention his father has gained with his comments. These people have to remember the reason his father was able to make these statements for the world to hear was because Lonzo was playing great on the college level. Lonzo play put his father and family in the spotlight. Lonzo Ball is a kid trying to live out his dream, a dream that he has worked hard to make come true. If you are a person rooting against Lonzo or hoping he fails that says a lot about you as a person. Regardless of one’s dislikes for his father, Lonzo is a child, would you want people hoping you child fails at his or her dream. So what are you mad for?

The new shoe ZO2, people are upset about the price of the shoe at $495. Now personally I would not pay this much for a shoe but I would not be mad at someone who does. You have former professional athletes stating the cost of the shoe should be lower but one has to remember the Balls are manufacturing the shoe themselves. We do not know how much it cost the Balls to manufacture a pair of shoes. The Balls do not have access like Nike and Adidas, Nike and Adidas mark their shoes up about 600% no one is complaining about that. People say that why would someone pay that much for a sneaker but people fail to realize people already pay more than that for sneakers stores such as Sneaker Pawn and Stadium Goods have to problem selling sneakers that cost three times the amount of the ZO2. There is a market out there for sneakers in this price range just because you may not be familiar with it does not mean it does not exist. Others will say we know about Air Jordan’s and Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball. Does buying his sneakers make you play better, does his sneaker last longer or does his sneaker generate income for you. The answer is no, the difference is the market has accepted the price for Air Jordan’s. Instead of any professional athlete speaking out against the ZO2 every professional and aspiring professional athlete should buy a pair of ZO2s. I say this because this will only improve the professional athlete’s negotiation stance will dealing with a company. The company will know that the athlete no longer has to deal with the major companies to generate income outside their sports and this will force the companies to pay the athletes more for endorsing their products. The more successful ZO2 is the more successful the pro athlete will be off the court or field.

So what are you mad for?

Is Big Baller Brand traveling unchartered waters of the NBA? Will Big Baller Brand be successful navigating these waters? Anybody following the game of basketball has heard of the Big Baller Brand or its creator LaVar Ball. LaVar Ball is the father of UCLA freshman sensation and potential top-five NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball. The LaVar has two other great basketball playing sons who also will be attending UCLA in the near future. LaVar has created his own sports apparel company Big Baller Brand, with the understanding that his son, Lonzo will have endorsement deals laid at his feet LaVar goal is to have one of the major sneaker companies enter into a partnership with Big Baller Brand. He has mentioned a billion dollar deal, this is unlikely but what type deal if any would the Balls be able to get?

LaVar Ball is an outspoken individual, people may take offense to some of his comments but LaVar has created a frenzy of attention for him, his sons, and the Big Baller Brand Company. There are some who may not like LaVar’s comments or LaVar himself but he has been able to get himself and Lonzo on all the major sports television shows. I cannot remember a college player or the player’s parent ever having this much media attention around them, this is great marketing for the Ball family and all their endeavors.

Personally, I believe LaVar attempt to get a partnership deal with one of the major sports apparel or sneaker companies is pure genius. Everyone knows being a top pick in the NBA draft ensures endorsement deals, so why not get a deal that will secure your family’s financial stability for the foreseeable future. Building a successful company may last much longer than the kids pro basketball careers. He may not the billion dollars he mentioned but what will he get? Because companies know that they will have to approach them with an enticing offer. People assume that the Big Baller Brand only represents the Ball children but people have to remember there are two other players with NBA potential associated with Ball family. Suppose LaVar was able to get other top players to become part of the Big Baller Brand Company would this increase the company’s value. The public hears some of these outrageous amounts of money but you have to remember these deals are structured over several years. A billion dollars over a 20 year period is 50 million a year. Is 50 million a year excessive if he can provide five to ten NBA players to represent the brand?

Big Baller Brand is traveling these unchartered waters so it will be interesting to see the outcome. If LaVar is successful in acquiring a deal for his brand, no matter what the amount of the deal, this could change the way endorsements deal are done for all future players in all sports. Just imagine if five of the top ten players projected in this upcoming draft were to create their own sports apparel company, the major companies would have no choice but to enter into a partnership with players.

No matter how you may feel about LaVar Ball if he is successful, sports and endorsement may never be the same. Players in the future will have to thank Big Baller Brand for creating a pathway in these unchartered waters of the NBA.