Basketball's Latest Trend?

After the last draft, Oldresorter made this comment:

"Now mad genius Horst is stealing a page from Ted Thompson, draft like shit (ok in this case not at all), so all the top undrafted guys want to come play for you or try out with you. If the 61st thru 65th guys all come to play summer league, odds are one of them will be as good as getting a 40th pick in the draft anyhow"

As I thought about this comment and saw about 10-15 players with NBA potential, not get drafted. I wondered if this was just a really deep draft or was something else happening? I called my friend who is an NFL scout for an AFC team and huge basketball junkie and asked what he thought?

In the conversation, he mentioned that he thought the pool for NFL players was shrinking and he thought many high school players were now choosing basketball over football.

So my latest theory and changing paradigm is that the ever expanding pool of NBA potential players is here to stay and it should change how teams view roster construction.

So why or how is this pool expanding? The first an obvious place to look is the international game. Here is quote from a previous fanpost:

In 2005, the NBA had 24 international players. This year almost a quarter of the NBA (108 players) are international. No longer is the NBA a American urban sport. The game that James Naismith invented in 1891 in the state of Kansas is now played in French Lick, Indiana, Brooklyn, NY, the playgrounds of Athens, in the shadows of the Mosques of Turkey, war torn regions like Bosnia, down under in Australia, and the People republic of China. The game is making the world smaller, and bringing people together that would normally never interact. And that is a good thing.

Not only is the game expanding internationally, but its growing in rural and suburban areas also. Lets look at the growth just in Wisconsin. This last March, 21 former Wisconsin high school player played in the NCAA tournament. 25 years ago, the number might have been 0 to 5.

Here is a list of the number of NBA players from a Wisconsin high school by decades:

1961-70 - 3

1971-80 - 5

1981-90 -6

1991-00 - 10

2001-10 - 11

2011-19 - 16

This past draft, 2 players were taken in the first round that played Wisconsin high school basketball.

The 3 point line allows smaller kids the chance to dream and be effective on the court, which greatly improves the pool size.

Another reason for the increase of NBA potential players is the explosion of AAU, which allows players to play year around, increases reps against other good players, and increases the chance to be found.

Coaching, imo, is so much better than it was 25 years ago. The internet makes it easier to train coaches, the smart phones makes it easier to film players for immediate feedback (improves shooting), and the added competition causes the cream to rise. Advances in weight training, diet, and the availability to trainers is turning good athletes into great athletes.

So maybe Horst is a genius or just got lucky in signing some undrafted players that have NBA potential. But 25 years ago, drafts were about 20-30 players deep, today the 75th best player might be just as good as the 25th player in the past.

Throw in the fact that the G-league is place and 2 way contracts makes it more friendly for players to continue their dreams. As the trend of spending most of the cap on the top 4 or 5 players continue, maybe that form of cap management will work, because finding replacement level players seems to becoming easier.

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