It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiime of the year – the 2020 NBA Draft is here!
Things are a little chaotic given the quick turnaround. Free agency is also lumped into the grind of scouting, interviews, and workouts. Luckily, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have to do too much work as they have moved the 28th pick in a deal for Dennis Schröder. In past Lakers’ drafts, we’ve learned the ups and downs of entering the NBA. We’ve watched the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram grow into NBA men.
This is where teams are changing their fortunes in the blink of a phone call. College campuses finally say their farewell to the phenoms that attended classes and ate at the student union alongside them. Most of all, these gentlemen are about to change their lives forever.
These players are about to make life-changing money. We’re talking generation-altering money from endorsements, contracts, etc. They’ll also learn about investments beyond the game. It’s going to be tough, despite what should be a time of enjoying the fruits of their labor. Many people will show them a side of themselves that these players never knew when it comes to money. This may lead to taking some financial lumps. It’s going to be important for veterans in the league to not only mentor them on the floor but off the floor.
While their talent is immense, some of these players are literally still boys. LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton have had a bit of taste of tenure in the NBL, but the league is different. These guys probably haven’t gotten off the fast food and hired chefs yet. They’re going to have to rebuild their bodies to compete with the likes of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Nikola Jokic. Even the elite talent of the league can’t avoid the toll.
And the mental aspect of the league is just as taxing. The travel, though limited, will be a test of staying sharp.
Can you handle going from Utah to Denver on a back to back?
Does the brain retain offensive sets and defensive coverages on the California swing?
It’s all a matter of becoming a new creature of habit.
The guys will need to embrace understanding anxiety and nerves. These are natural responses to high-pressure situations. Education and resources will do wonders for these young men with navigating these moments. We know the NBA pressure can make or break a prospect. It’s a challenge that all parties must take on to ensure success. We see the likes of Paul George and Kevin Love speak about the importance of taking your mental health seriously.
All in all, this is a time for celebration. Players should enjoy all that will come with their new career. After all, it’s just a game at the day’s end. No matter how many dollars are on the deal, or have many rings you get to wear – it’s a game.
Give the game the same love that it’s going to give you. You’ll need it.