We sit on the precipice of an NBA Draft so flush with talent that two of the top players play the same position on the same college team, and we just accept it.
"It's fine that there are so many power forwards that two elite versions of the same archetype are both on Duke," we say. "There are plenty more fish in the sea."
It shouldn't worry NBA fans, though. As long as your college allegiance is untethered and your only care is the constant spreading and development of the game at the next level, then there's no reason to be anything but joyful and optimistic.
Because, for the second straight Draft season, a mid-tier team is likely to find exceptional talent at the end of the first round (and into the second), an area code of blindfolded dartboard-level prognosticating once reserved for Carrick Felix and company. Hey, maybe we hit, maybe we don't. Now, much like in 2017, if you're not maximizing your late pick efficiently, you're making a careless mistake.
March Madness is here.— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 12, 2018
It’s time for a new NBA mock draft! https://t.co/UR5h4WUGxm
We're one year removed from a draft that featured Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart in the late first, and Jordan Bell and Semi Ojeleye as consensus second-round talents already competing for top-two seeds in the East and West. It's not an accident. The players are better, and there's an abundance of them.
I mean, Jesus, there weren't many whiffs in last year's draft to even set up such a windfall. O.G. Anunoby at 23. The likely Rookie of the Year Donovan Mitchell at 13. People didn't even really make mistakes (though Mitchell obviously took a leap). There was simply overflow.
And this year's not much different. According to prognosticators, you can have
Time and again, I'm left thinking about what the expanded opportunities of, say, Seattle and Nashville would mean to 30 currently non-rostered players who absolutely deserve a shot. Relentlessly, down the stretch of this tanking-marred season like any other, forgotten players pop up on the rosters of dying teams and prove they deserve a place at the table. Troy Williams, a 23-year-old SF out of Indiana, sliced by the Rockets, simply appeared on the Knicks one day and acted like someone who should absolutely be getting consistent minutes on a team that matters.
And as drafts get deeper, filled with NBA-ready players instead of projects, it's entirely justifiable to pitch two additional teams to a fanbase already ravenous for high-quality ball. Nothing's stopping us. The localized and national economic impact sells itself. The only remaining worry over the past decade or so has been a watered-down talent pool.
I can almost guarantee at this point that such a thing won't be an issue. Bring on the Seattle Downpour (they rain 3s) and the Nashville Twang (they just reign). If you build the front offices, the players will come.
In fact, they may already be here.