When talking about the draft, one of the most common hyperboles is drafting for need vs. drafting the best talent on the board. The growing sentiment between draft experts and successful NBA general managers seems to be: “draft the best player on the board and worry about fit later.”
And I mostly agree with that statement. However, there is something to be said about a young player being in the right environment and situation to survive, even experts agree on that.
For instance, Shareef Abdur-Rahim was a highly touted prospect coming out of Cal in 1996. So much so that the Vancouver Grizzlies selected him third overall in the 1996 Draft. Abdur-Rahim had a very solid rookie season averaging 18.7 ppg and almost 8 rebounds per game. He followed that up with four more seasons as a 20+ ppg scorer and generally becoming one of the best well-rounded swingmen in the league. The problem was that Vancouver was unable to place the necessary pieces and right system around SAR to get out of the basement of the Western Conference. Abdur-Rahim wasn’t a bust for the Grizzlies, but his tenure didn’t lift the organization to the expected level of success.
So for this post let’s take away the “pick the best player” mindset and focus on who fits best and where, because I’m a loose-cannon rule-bending blogger who sometimes doesn’t care what the haters think.
So cue David Stern, cue the boo-ing, and let’s get this completely fantasized draft started.