Wednesday, June 29, 2005

NBA Draft Day

Every year at this time, NBA will have a draft day for all NBA teams to pick the young stars they feel right from the the Colleges, Universities or even High Schools. International or Foreign players have also been actively involved in trying their luck in most lucrative basketball game in the world the NBA (National Basketball Association). Over the years we have seen the emergance of international stars like Yao Ming of China, Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, Tony Parker of France, Steve Nash of Canada and etc. since the days of Toni Kukoc of Croatia, and Luc Longley of Australia, where foreign or international stars play second fiddle to the Americans. They did not have chance to shine at best. Toni Kukoc and Luc Longley may be the best shot they had back then, winning championship rings with the Chicago Bulls during the Bulls Dynasty in the 90s. Other than that, I would believe Vlade Divac would be an icon to his fellow European players for his success with the Lakers, and Kings.

The last of few years have seen the international players flooding into NBA from all over the contigences, Europe, Asia, Africa. Peja Stojakovic of the Serbia & Montenegro is a star in Sacromento Kings, known for his deadly sharp perimeter shooting. He has risen to the stardom from a role player to a star player. He started his rookie season as a bench player, after being picked by Sacromento Kings at 14th pick overall.

Another European star worth mentioning is Dirk Nowitzki. The player from Germany was picked at 9th overall in 1998, struggled with his game in America, averaging below 10 points per game (ppg). Second season saw improvement in his scoring, but just with a decent 17.5ppg. However, his hardwork paid off well. The following season saw him shooting right to the stardom, and he emerged as the game's brightest young star with his all around game. With his stature at 7 feet, only a handful players can match his quickness. His ability to shoot from outside explains why defenders should be wary when he has the ball.

3 years ago, in 2002, Yao Ming brought roar to the world after being picked as the 1st choice overall by Houston Rockets. He also became the first international/foreign player to be picked as 1st pick. However, he is not the first player from China to enter the game. Wang ZhiZhi preceeded him 2 years earlier, when he played his debut season with the Dallas Maverick after being selected in a draft pick. Another player from China, Mongolian Mengke Batteer also played the game though he was never picked by any franchise. Today, Yao Ming is one of the fan's favourite in both America and Asia. He's a darling to the world.

High school phenomenon Lebron James was the first pick in 2003. He was seen as the successor of the legendary Michael Jordan. With the same jersey number worn, it is difficult not to compare him to the One. He is no doubt influencial to his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, he's still young, only 21 this year, he's already at the top of the world, and still improving. Many to expect from this great kid.

Enough said of the past pick, it is the 2005 edition of Draft pick today (28th June 2005 in US). Milwaukee had won a lottery pick to steal the No.1 pick from Atlanta, whom finished with the league worst record last season. This years favourite to land on as No.1 pick is Australian Andrew Bogut, who plays his collegiate carreer for Utah. Without any surprise, Milwaukee Bucks got their man - Andrew Bogut. Atlanta Hawks got a Tar Heel with their No.2 pick - Marvin Williams from North Carolina. North Carolina is a university with rich basketball tradition. Many legends were born there, including Michael Jordan. Over the years North Carolina has produced many stars to NBA, such as Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and etc. This year, they had 4 Tar Heels at the top 14 picks.

I have not got much information on the players in the draft this year, as I have not been able to follow up the game for years already. We shall see how these crop of young stars develop throughout the game next season. Last season, we have seen exciting display among the rookies. Ben Gordon was my favourite to land the Rookie of the Year award. I thought he deserved more than Emeke Okafor, comparing what he has done to his team. His impact was just as influencial as Okafor's, if not better. It was a shame not to see him to land both Rookie of the Year and the Sixth Man award. Anyways, I would congratulate Okafor with his success. Nevertheless, he too worked hard in his rookie season with the new expansion team Charlotte Bobcats.

San Antonio Spurs have just won their third title after dethroning the Detriot Pistons in 7 games last weekend. Chicago Bulls showed promising signs after their Dynasty in the 90s. Phoenix Suns brought excitement back to the game with their Run and Gun style. Steve Nash the MVP, and the return of Zen Master Phil Jackson to the LA Lakers.

I guess, with all that. It will be another season we should look forward to next year.


enleaver said...

u basketball freak!!!

a2blog said...

Hey, thank you! Well, I can't play basketbal now, so might just express my passion to basketball here in my blog! Hehe! Thaks for the comment!