The 2017 NBA draft allowed a few more teams to knock on the door of playoff contention, but it also presented a more ominous issue in the future of basketball.
With the Timberwolves’ trade for Jimmy Butler, they now have a core group of stars in Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, who are all under the age of 26.
The 76ers now have a dynamic point guard with Markelle Fultz, who will lead the team with arguably the highest potential of the young teams in the NBA.
Only dark days are ahead for the Brooklyn Nets this upcoming season. They are the only team in the lottery-draft era to hold the worst record in the NBA’s previous season and miss out on a lottery-draft pick (a top-14 pick). They didn’t get a draft pick until the 22nd pick of the first round.
However, the Nets aren’t the only thing in basketball to have dark days ahead.
The entertainment of college basketball, specifically during March Madness, looks to have less top-talent and loyalty from top high school players around the country.
In the 2017 NBA draft, a record number of 16 college freshman were picked in the first round.
Players also weren’t awarded for performing well in college if they didn’t match up with NBA expectations.
The John R. Wooden award is given to the best performing player in men’s college basketball. Frank Mason III received the award this year, though he wasn’t drafted until the second round.
“[Mason] represents the economy of how the league went from production to potential; went from rewarding winning to ignoring losing,” Jalen Rose said during the NBA draft.
Due to this, the passion that fans love to see in March Madness may be absent from top players across the country in seasons to come.
In fact, the two previous number one draft picks didn’t even make the NCAA tournament: Ben Simmons of LSU and Fultz of Washington. Why should players play “team ball” if they themselves are good enough to make the cut?
However, there is still hope to see the top head-to-head matches that basketball fans love to see, but most of that will have to be sought from the NBA.
One matchup in particular to look forward to is the rematch between point guards De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball.
Keep an eye on the preseason matchup between the Kings and Fox against the Lakers and Ball Oct 8 at the Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena.
Competitive basketball will still be seen at the collegiate level, but not with the intensity, development and star-talent that college fans have become familiar with.