All Aboard at the Hype Train Station

Every year, the NBA has a short time period that's full of exuberance. Within about a 10-day stretch, the league goes from giving out a trophy to fulfilling the dreams of the newest addition to its workforce. The NHL has a similar gap, but no other major sports organization has as quick of a turnaround between celebrating its present and its future. So, now that the Finals are complete, and as we await the first prospect to find their way into the Association, what questions connect the two going into next season?

Is Phoenix Just One Piece Away From Winning it All Next Summer?

That can be the case for several teams, especially in the Western Conference. But it only took one starter and one role player to turn a squad with potential into one that was two wins away from the peak. The core of this conference champion roster is youthful, and the Suns may go the free agent route for said piece. Could there be a player at the back end of the 1st round that may fill the void?

Could guards such as LSU's Cameron Thomas, West Virginia's Miles McBride, or Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu provide more depth behind the aging Chris Paul (if Paul even stays in the Desert)? In the wake of Dario Saric's injury, will they look for another big that can stretch the floor? Or is it strictly going down the path of getting another vet in the fold?

How Should Milwaukee Pave the Road to Repetition?

The most difficult thing for a title holder to do is repeat. With that in mind, the Bucks will have to overcome challenges (from teams like Brooklyn and Philadelphia), perception (that they won based on timing of opponent injuries), and expectation (finally getting over that hump).

The new champs sit with a lot of intrigue going into the draft. Milwaukee goes into Monday only having one selection for the entirety of Thursday night (the 31st pick, or the 1st pick of the 2nd round). However, this season's roster sported four rookies, including NCAA champ Mamadi Diakite and former Louisville wingman Jordan Nwora. Will the organization use the pick for an "upside" prospect?

What Will the Warriors Do With Their Big Haul?

There are usually two big questions that hang over most drafts. The first one has to do with the players. What will teams do after the talent pool at the top has been "diluted?" The second focuses on the teams. How will franchise "X" treat what we believe is the pivot point of the event? This time around, the "X" factor will be supplied by Golden State.

Thanks to Minnesota not their ping-pong ball pulled for a top-three selection, the Warriors have two of the first 15 options. With Klay Thompson set to re-join the fold during the next regular season, would the organization trade one (or both) for an all-star veteran? Should the front office try to infuse more young talent together with a core that is slowly getting up there in age? Whatever the decision is, it may very well turn the rest of the night.

Does Picking the Rookie of the Year Mean Success Down the Road?

When you talk about holding the Larry O'Brien Trophy, not so much. Some careers that begin with a spark fizzle out in the end. That's the nature of sports. And, to be fair, not every ROY is a top-three pick, let alone a No. 1 overall. Even with this info, there's a growing trend of little correlation between early success and ultimate triumph.

Between the Fall of 1989 and the Summer of 1998, four of the 10 ROY winners helped teams to NBA championships. Giving a break to those with five years or less of experience, five of the 19 ROY recipients (shared in 2000) lifted the O'Brien Trophy between the Fall of 1998 and the Summer of 2016. Of the nine champions, only four won their first ring with the franchise that originally drafted them. For the amount of hype thrown out each year, be prepared if there isn't much return on investment.

This is the short stretch on the annual calendar where both ends of the NBA excitement journey meet. The beginning of that journey may not mean seeing it all the way through, but the struggle for that connection makes it all the more fun for us to watch.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site