Will Jeremy Lin change the NBA? Who else was missed?

Jeremy Lin at the 2010 Golden State Warriors o...
Image via Wikipedia

By: Ian

It wouldn’t be a sports blog without joining the rest of the crowd and talking about Jeremy Lin. So in this case if everyone jumped off a bridge I’d follow. Jeremy Lin has caused such a stir in the media, the internet and the NBA world, even with aliens. If they ever came to this planet and commanded to take them to our leader, you better take them to Lin’s place, of course I’m kidding. What a great story to tell, a player who got cut twice, went undrafted and now has his chance to show that everyone missed a golden nugget and he is doing just that. I love what is happening in New York with Jeremy Lin and I hope that it continues and he proves to be a legit Point Guard. The way his career was going there was no way he would have ever been compared to Steve Nash or any elite Point Guard but he turned that around but all of this just makes me think… who else did everyone miss on? Who didn’t get the chance to shine and went unseen? Did the NBA miss the next Michael Jordan? Bill Russell? Larry Bird? Did we all miss someone who, might not be elite, but be able to scratch the surface to being one? Whose bench did he rot on? Out of all the sports we watch on television does basketball need a second league?

In the NBA you never hear about a late round gem or anything like that, heck if you’re not picked in the top 10 then a team might not even think you can “make it”. Yet in the NFL you have 7 rounds and it is very likely for a team to get a solid, consistent starter in the later rounds like 4th or 5th. Example being the Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop who was picked last in the draft a few years ago, gaining the title Mr. Irrelevant, but he has made his case and has become a decent starter. I know, it’s a kicker, but okay then let’s look at Tom Brady who was a 6th round draft pick, even Darrelle Revis the top shutdown corner in the  league was picked in the 3rd. Kurt Warner anyone? So, how is it that in the NBA even 1st round picks must fight to be noticed and the 2nd round is full of future d-league players?

Obviously the numbers of players per team is a reason, 15 being the most, but only about 12 can dress for a game. Also most starters play a significant amount of time and on both sides of the ball so a player must be good at both offense AND defense, which can sometimes hurt the offensive studs who are defensive duds (unless your name is Carmelo Anthony then you’ll be fine). Also you have to take into factor that if a team has a star on the team then that player is most likely going to see about 40 minutes or so at his position who that doesn’t leave a lot of room for others. The NBA is also not known for player loyalty or General Managers trying to build through the draft, which I think hurts them because with a high turnover in rosters then it’s hard for players to develop and prove themselves. Also you have cases of players being played out of position out of necessity or because someone sees them playing that position, even if they’re potentially better at another.

So far the story is Jeremy Lin but one of the hidden stories could  possibly be Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas, who they picked last in the 2011 draft and has played well and is establishing a role for himself on that team and in the NBA. Who could have been a name that maybe surprised some people? I’d say Kyle Singler, who was once a first round pick but because of a poor senior year at Duke he fell in the draft to the second round. Who am I honestly surprised isn’t on an NBA team yet? Jon Scheyer, the former Duke star who is now playing overseas and who I really believe could be a good role player for a team. Also Boston Celtics shooting guard E’Twaun Moore has shown that he can play in this league so I plead with the NBA General Managers… in the 2nd round instead of picking international players who MIGHT be on your team during your tenure why not instead pick a young kid who can come in and be a role player for you. Maybe guys like Lin, Thomas, Moore and others can turn the NBA around and show that talent does exist outside of the top 10, you just have to be willing to look for it.

Some key names from the 2nd round

2008 NBA Draft: Guard Mario Chalmers to Miami Heat, Center Omer Asik to the Chicago Bulls (eventually), DeAndre Jordan to the Los Angeles Clippers.

2009 NBA Draft: DeJuan Blair to the San Antonio Spurs, Chase Budinger to the Houston Rockets,

2010 NBA Draft: Landry Fields to the New York Knicks

Who eventually could become a key role player? Greg Stiemsma undrafted player who currently plays for the Boston Celtics who could turn into a defensive type of role player who has a knack for blocking shots. Greg need to look no further than Ben Wallace as a guy who made it as a specialist in the league. He is also fairly decent on the offensive side of the ball cause he can hit the outside shot. Luke Harangody who was drafted in the 2nd round in the 2010 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics and was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers mid-season. He is a player who has some good hustle, can score and has decent rebounding ability. I see him as a Matt Bonner/Troy Murphy type of guy eventually if he is given a chance. He just really needs to work on his defense. Chandler Parsons who got drafted this past draft by the Houston Rockets. He is a good player, picked by a team who has a tendency to find some good players late and actually keep them. Another team who can do that? Boston, except they don’t usually keep those guys but that is the life of a competitive team, I guess. Lance Stephenson who was drafted by the Indiana Pacers. He showed some promise early in the league but has trailed off but I think he can be a decent player eventually. Of course most of these guys could easily end up solid d-league starters but they have to work hard on getting better and being consistent cause they won’t be all-stars but they can be a key member of a bench.

I’m not sure how many other all-stars the NBA has missed but seeing what Jeremy Lin can do and knowing that even the Knicks were about to cut him makes me think. I guess however for every diamond in the rough you can find a hand full of all-stars so it evens out but still, it’d be nice if the NBA had more late draft/undrafted steals cause it’s not really out of the realm of possibility. This is just one area of the NBA that can bother me and one of the reasons why I can’t get into the NBA as much as I could.

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