During the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday, 30 teams will try to nab franchise players and role players, while trying to avoid becoming the 1984 Portland Trail Blazers. However, this year's draft class seems to be lacking a true second star behind Kentucky's Anthony Davis, so it might be pretty difficult for there to be a Sam Bowie-type situation that unfolds.
Am I better than MJ yet?
Although the NBA Draft is only two rounds, it might be the most important in all of the four major sports. In basketball, one player can affect a team more than in any other sport and a good draft pick can single-handedly make a team a contender. With the small rosters and low number of impact players, most teams only need a few additions to their team each season, and the draft goes a long way towards that.
See: LeBron James on the Cavs.
Most importantly, as you may expect, the first round is the most vital to acquiring an impact player in the NBA. In the 2011-12 season, 27 of the top 28 scorers (Monta Ellis), 12 of the top 13 assisters (Jose Calderon) and 16 of the 17 top rebounders (Paul Millsap) were first round picks.
Haters gonna hate.
In the NFL, the only position that is consistently chosen in the first round is the quarterback. Other than that position, a starter in any other position could come from basically any other round. Of course high-round picks are more likely to become stars, which is why people make a big deal about players like Marques Colston, Tom Brady and other successful late-round picks.
For the MLB draft, it will be a few years after until you find out whether or not it has been successful. Because of the difference in sport philosophy, and the multiple tiers of minor league teams, each franchise is usually very protective of its young talent. In the meantime of that talent developing, teams will sign middle-tier free agents to hold starting spots until the young guns show up.
Or just DFA him in five years...
The NHL is the league most similar to the NBA in drafting philosophy and worth. There are usually a few players in each draft that are impact players and can improve the team immediately, but not as many immediate role players that can go on the big league roster. Plus, in hockey it is hard to compete without a goaltender and they are found throughout the draft, not just the first round.
Will the talent in the 2012 NBA Draft be abundant like it was in 2003, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony? Or will it be more like the disappointing draft of 2001, with Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry among the top four picks?
Here was the third overall pick in 2001. Close one.
Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are gritty players who work hard on the defensive end with offensive upside.
Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters and Jeremy Lamb are all underclassmen two-guards who have room to improve to round out their games.
Kendall Marshall and upstart Damian Lillard of Weber State are the top point guards available and Austin Rivers has the ability to play either guard spot.
Two big guys, Andre Drummond and Meyers Leonard are young and raw, but could be capable tall trees in the near future.
Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller are can't-miss picks, while Perry Jones III, John Henson and Terrence Jones have had inconsistency issues, but hold greater upside.
And we cannot forget about Jared Sullinger, who might fall due to health issues, but could become the steal of the draft if he lives up to his potential.
Also, look for key role players such as Draymond Green, Royce White, Jeff Taylor and Tyshawn Taylor to come off late in the first round to contenders. Meanwhile, Marquette stars Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, among others, will serve as great value picks in the second round.
Hi-ho, hi-ho, in the second round we go!
Oh, and get used to hearing the word POTENTIAL, because draft "experts" love that word.
Enjoy your trip back to I-95 and I'll see you next week!