Monday, 22 Jul 2024

NBA Mailbag: Biggest Advice for NBA Draft Prospects?

The NBA Mailbag is here to answer your questions throughout the 2023 offseason! We have received a great question from Jasper in Australia: “What is the best piece of advice you would give to the 2023 NBA draftees?”

The best advice I would give to these hopeful draftees is to understand that the real work starts now. While achieving a lifelong dream is undoubtedly exciting, it is crucial for them to know that hard work is the foundation for keeping their dreams alive. This is the time to buckle down, stay focused, and continue to hone their skills. Consistent effort and dedication will be the key to success in the highly competitive NBA.

Another question, this time from Cole in Philadelphia, PA: “What is it like when you hear your name called at the Draft? Is it as amazing as it seems?”

I can personally attest that hearing your name called at the Draft is a feeling like no other! It is the single coolest moment of my NBA experience. Everything that follows in your career would not have been possible without that initial step. It is a surreal and unforgettable moment that marks the beginning of an incredible journey.

Aarav from Sharon, MA asks: “What was your main feeling on Draft night?”

Draft night is filled with nervousness and anticipation. The uncertainty of what will happen can be overwhelming with countless rumors and anxiety. However, knowing that you are one step closer to achieving your dream makes all the nerves and uncertainty worth it. It is a mix of excitement, anticipation, and relief knowing that your hard work and dedication have led you to this moment.

Bradley from New York has a question about Victor Wembanyama and the draft hype surrounding him: “What are your thoughts regarding the draft hype for Victor Wembanyama?”

The hype surrounding Victor Wembanyama is beneficial for everyone involved. It adds an extra layer of excitement to this year’s draft class. Not many players enter the league with such anticipation, and it is fascinating to see how he handles all the attention. Wembanyama’s focus and determination are evident, and it will be exciting to watch his journey unfold.

Gracie from Florida wonders: “Is Victor Wembanyama truly a generational prospect?”

Absolutely! Victor Wembanyama is a generational prospect, a true unicorn in the basketball world. His unique skill set and physical attributes make him a player to watch. I am eagerly looking forward to witnessing his growth and impact on the NBA.

Kristoffer from Norway asks about Scoot Henderson: “Where do you think Scoot Henderson will go, and how will his career turn out?”

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It is difficult to predict where exactly Scoot Henderson will end up in the draft, but wherever he goes, he will undoubtedly make a significant impact. Henderson possesses a wisdom and maturity beyond his years, paired with an unmatched work ethic and mentality. These characteristics will set him apart from his peers and contribute to his success at the professional level. Make sure to check out the interview we did earlier this year to learn more about him.

Rueben from Canada wonders: “Which prospects are you most excited to see develop in the NBA?”

To be honest, there isn’t just one prospect I am excited about. Each draft class brings forth a variety of journeys. Some players will achieve immediate success, while others will navigate their way throughout the season. Some may need multiple seasons to find their role in the league. This unpredictability is what makes drafts and player development so interesting. The NBA is full of surprises, and it’s fascinating to witness how each prospect responds to the challenges and opportunities presented to them.

Bernard from Maryland asks an interesting question: “Which player do you believe will contribute to their team right away once drafted?”

For me, Scoot Henderson is the player who stands out in terms of immediate contribution. Not only is he physically ready, but his mental readiness is what truly sets him apart. Henderson’s maturity and preparedness will allow him to make an immediate impact on any team fortunate enough to draft him.

Tad from Seattle wonders about the Portland Trail Blazers: “If you were the GM, what would you do with the Blazers?”

If I were the GM of the Portland Trail Blazers, I would prioritize bringing in another star player to pair with Damian Lillard. Lillard is a superstar in his prime who has shown immense loyalty and patience. It is essential to capitalize on this window of opportunity and provide him with as much support as possible. Building a team around Lillard and strengthening their roster would be my top priority.

Selçuk from Minneapolis asks: “Why is it difficult to predict a future star at the NBA Draft? Specifically, how could six teams pass over Stephen Curry in the 2009 draft?”

Predicting future stars at the NBA Draft is challenging because there are factors that often overshadow a player’s potential. Sometimes, teams get caught up in a player’s size or statistical numbers. They may focus on what a player can’t do rather than recognizing their unique strengths and how those strengths can contribute to a team’s success. It’s fortunate that Stephen Curry ended up with the Golden State Warriors, as it proved to be the perfect match for his talents and playing style.

Jaimeson from Virginia Beach asks about draft night experiences: “You were drafted by the Cavs and traded on draft night to the Bulls. Did you ever work out for the Cavs? Do you have any thoughts on that roster? Or were you traded pretty quickly, so it never really sunk in?”

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Interestingly, I never had the opportunity to work out or even talk to the Cavaliers before the draft. When the cameras came around my table during the selection process, I thought it was a mistake at first. However, just 15 minutes later, I was traded to the Bulls. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I had always wanted to go to the Bulls. Sometimes, things work out in ways we never expected. 🤷🏾‍♂️

James from Utah poses a question about the greatest draft class: “What do you think is the greatest draft class of all time?”

Hmmmm. In no particular order, some of the greatest draft classes include 1984, 2003, and 1996. These classes brought forth a plethora of talented players who have left a significant impact on the NBA.

Dominic from Canada asks Jamal about his favorite NBA draft year: “What was your favorite NBA draft year? Could it be yours?”

My favorite NBA draft year would have to be 1996. At that time, I was 16 years old and actively pursuing my own dreams of playing basketball. Watching players like Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Stephon Marbury truly resonated with me and fueled my passion for the game.

Benjamin wants to know about a skill that translates from college to the pros: “What is the best skill that translates from college to pro?”

One of the most underrated skills that can seamlessly transition from college to the professional level is simply knowing how to play the game. This ability to understand the intricacies of basketball and make smart decisions on the court often goes unappreciated. Having a strong basketball IQ and knowing how to fit in and contribute can make a significant difference at any level.

Noah from Paris, France wonders about the qualities of a player when drafting: “If you were a GM, which quality would be most important when drafting a player – natural talent or strong work ethic?”

As a GM, the most crucial quality I would prioritize when drafting a player would be their love of the game. True love for basketball drives players to continuously strive for improvement. When a player genuinely loves the game, they will do everything in their power to get better. Their passion and dedication will push them to new heights and ensure they never settle for mediocrity.

Mattias from Utah asks about undrafted players: “What happens to the undrafted players?”

Undrafted players continue to work hard and pursue their dreams. Many of them end up playing overseas or in the G League, where they continue to grind and showcase their skills in hopes of making it to the NBA. Undrafted players often face more challenging paths, but their determination and perseverance keep their hopes alive.

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Dakota from Stockbridge, GA, has a hypothetical question: “Would you rather build a franchise around Wemby or Zion?”

While both players are incredibly talented, my choice would be Wemby. His unique skill set and versatility make him an exciting prospect to build a franchise around. However, Zion Williamson’s explosiveness and impact on the game cannot be overlooked. It’s a tough decision, but I would lean towards Wemby’s potential.

Isaiah from Gilbertsville, NY asks about the draft process: “What steps or processes does an organization take when deciding who they are going to draft?”

Organizations go through a meticulous and thorough process when evaluating potential draft picks. They conduct detailed research, collecting information about the player both on and off the court. This includes assessing their work ethic, love for the game, and what motivates them. The teams often ask questions for which they already know the answers, as they aim to gain a deeper understanding of a player’s character and potential fit within their organization.

Trell from Detroit, MI inquires about the needs of the Detroit Pistons: “What kind of player do you feel like the Detroit Pistons need?”

At this stage, the Detroit Pistons may simply need time. With a promising young core and the right coach in place, they are in a great position for growth. Patience and development will play a crucial role in their future success.

Robert from Jerome, PA wonders about the Phoenix Suns trading for Bradley Beal: “Will the Phoenix Suns trading for Bradley Beal help or hurt them?”

It remains to be seen how the trade for Bradley Beal will impact the Phoenix Suns. While the addition of more talent to an already talented roster is exciting, there are always questions about how it will all fit together. Sacrifice and chemistry will be key factors in determining the success of this trade. On paper, it does create an intriguing lineup, but it will ultimately depend on how the team meshes and adapts to these changes.

Mangesh from Boston, MA asks: “What do you think is the most underrated skill or attribute for a basketball player to possess?”

One of the most underrated skills or attributes for a basketball player to possess is simply loving the game. This genuine love for basketball, coupled with an unconditional passion for the process, is often overlooked. Staying in love with the game and approaching it with unwavering dedication is a lost art. Players who prioritize their love for the game above all else will find that everything they desire in their basketball career will follow naturally.

Thank you for submitting your questions to the NBA Mailbag! Check back next week for another edition, and don’t forget to visit for more basketball insights and updates.