If you look at the Final Four, you won’t see a lot of one-and-dones. If you look at elite teams in the NBA, you won’t see a lot of one-and-dones. In fact, what you do see a lot of is D’Angelo Russell Syndrome – not necessarily guys who are committing social media suicide, but guys who are 18, 19, 20 and 21, or thereabouts, and making poor life choices.
Very poor life choices.
If that is the case, you have to wonder why teams, especially NBA teams, are so hellbent on drafting one-and-done prospects. Russell turned 20 in February, and sadly, he will always be known, first and foremost, for the video that went viral.
“I don’t know how long, but he’s going to be peddling uphill for a long, long time,” NBA champion and five-time All-Star Chauncey Billups said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He’s in a game down 30 for a long time – and he should be for what he did. But I just think that’s a byproduct of these young, immature guys being in the league. Not only that, but most of the older veterans aren’t around anymore. They’re not in the league. So you got babies raising babies in the league and there’s no real mentorship and tutors and leaders on a lot of these teams. So that’s a byproduct of that.”
Billups, 39, played two seasons at Colorado. He does not believe prospects should be required to play at least two or three years in college, but he does think the system needs to change.
“The NBA would 1,000 percent be much better, much better, if guys had to do two years (in college) – from a competitive standpoint, a maturity standpoint,” Billups said. “However, I just don’t think that you can tell me if I can go to war at 18, you can’t tell me that if I’m not good enough, that I can’t earn a living for my family. . . . There has to be some kind of mandated program that these guys have to be involved in, and it should be intense as far as leadership is concerned, as far as learning everything – from how to act, how to talk, how to do interviews, how to present yourself. Most of us are first-generation money, so how to (learn about money). There should be something mandated because if not, these guys are going to keep slipping through the cracks.”
As for the NBA playoffs, Billups sees a two-team race between Golden State and San Antonio. Whichever team beats the other will likely win the NBA title – even if the Finals opponent is Cleveland.
“I don’t think their roster is good enough,” Billups said of the Cavs. “They got a lot of specialty guys. J.R. (Smith) is a specialty guy. Iman (Shumpert) is a specialty guy. They don’t have enough basketball players. They got two guys that can make a play for you – Kyrie and LeBron. Kevin Love can get hot and have a good game, but too many specialty players in this game today – I mean, San Antonio got seven or eight (complete basketball players). Golden State got seven or eight. It’s tough to beat that.”