Michael Jordan is doing a bunch of interviews this week to promote the relaunch of the Charlotte Hornets as a brand.
In an interview with Ken Berger of CBS Sports, he talked about everything from Kobe Bryant to his Bulls debut to his Wizards days.
The whole thing is worth a read, but one of the most interesting quotes from Jordan is about how the league has changed since he played.
He said the biggest way the league has changed for the worse is with talent development.
Since players don’t stay in college for three or four years like they did in the 1980s, it’s more difficult to assess and project how they will play in the NBA, he said.
“What’s worse? I don’t play the game now; there’s a lot of things I’m pretty sure I could point to. The talent; it’s really tough to select who’s going to be that player. Each and every year, it’s almost a gamble. No matter how much you try to define or you invest in scouting and things of that nature, it’s never really a given that the talent that you selected is going to be that talent that you expect [will] lead you to that next level. I think it was a little easier back in the day, back when we played, when kids were in school three or four years and the coaching was a little bit better. That’s a big change.”
The, “there’s a lot of things I’m pretty sure I could point to” is a nice touch.
He also said the biggest way the NBA has changed for the better is that now teams are making a ton more money, which he’s now conveniently in a position to take advantage of.
He makes an interesting point about the current state of talent evaluation. Old-school thinkers often argue that “one and done” players — those who enter the NBA draft after one year of college — are worse off because they don’t spend enough time developing their games on the college level. Jordan is arguing something different. He’s saying that since guys don’t play in college for multiple years, it’s harder for NBA people to tell who’s good and who’s bad. He’s describing a conundrum of small sample size, really, not arguing that staying college for a long time makes you a better player.
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