Big men looking to dominate NBA draft

Basketball fans once again anticipate the annual draft that will take place after the postseason.

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College freshmen D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, and Karl-Anthony Towns (from left to right) are among the top prospects for the NBA draft.

Ryan Chae , Asst. Sports Editor

After the NBA playoffs end in a few weeks, fans and teams are left with one thing to look forward to – the NBA Draft.

For 65 years, the draft has been an annual event in which the 30 teams in the NBA can select eligible players from colleges or foreign countries. These players can improve or worsen a team’s status, depending on the selection.

However, in the last few years, there has not been a draft class that changed the shape of the NBA as the 2003 draft class did, which featured LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Whether the problem is a personal issue, maturity, or just overwhelming expectations, recent drafted players have not had the same impact as they did years ago.

Yet, this year’s draft has the ability to change this cycle of disappointment.

With freshmen big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke in the draft, there should be no question as to why this draft may change the NBA. The potential of these two players draws comparison to the first two selections in the 1992 NBA draft, legendary centers Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning

The draft also contains more potential stars who could remold the NBA into its former glory. Shifting from the centers in the draft, we have freshman guard D’Angleo Russell of Ohio State. Russell was an extremely productive and crafty player in his lone year at Ohio State as he carried his team into the National Tournament. In today’s NBA, Russell would fit in perfectly with his sweet shooting touch, but he could also bring back the passing point guard breed.

Another player who could help bring excitement into the league is freshman forward Justise Winslow of Duke. With his athleticism, improved shooting, and defense, Winslow has all the tools needed to easily succeed in the NBA. Winslow’s game is similar to that of Chicago Bulls all-star shooting guard Jimmy Butler. His intensity on the floor could give the league another dynamic player to watch out for.

Although this year’s draft may look like an improvement, there are many more changes that must be made to bring back the draft’s reputation as a dominant factor for teams of the league.

The NBA could eliminate the rule that forces players to stay in college for a minimum of one year. High school draftees have shown great success in the league. This group of past draftees includes future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant, James, and Kevin Garnett.

Nonetheless, something has to be changed with the entire draft process, or else the league will face further decline from future players who fail to make the jump from amateur to professional.