With a national ranking service, we at the RUN Sports often find ourselves locked in heated battles over who’s better than who in the basketball world. It’s an equation of Talent + Individual Accomplishments + Team Accomplishments. Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the best of all time due to his accomplishments of six championships and six Finals MVP awards. For me though, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the best player of all time as the NBA scoring leader, six championships with two different teams, a signature Sky Hook and a career that spanned 20 years.
Further complicating the argument, we have added the “+/-” scoring methodology made famous by FIBA basketball to calculate a players effect on the game during the time they are on the floor. Invented primarily because players tend to have lower statistical numbers due to the lack of playing time. This has given birth to other analytical categories and algorithms, further muddying the waters in the debate of talent versus accomplishments.
Recruiting based on talent is equivalent to identifying beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. Talent is potential that leads to one of two things, either a undeniable skill(s) or underachievement. For recruiters, getting this inexact science wrong can lead to coaching staff being fired and disruption in the player’s development.
“[Emoni Bates] just needs to not fall dead and he will play in the NBA. Current and former player examples where talent was also identified early are Lew Alcindor, Chris Webber and Lebron James.”
In high school basketball today, the RUN Sports class of 2022 number 1 ranked Emoni Bates is obviously talented because he has great potential. He just needs to not fall dead and he will play in the NBA. Current and former player examples where talent was also identified early are Lew Alcindor, Chris Webber and Lebron James. However, for other players like Kawhi Leonard, Kobe Bryant and even Michael Jordan, it took a keen eye to see what they could possibly become.
However, in the ultimate irony, talents like Emoni put people in seats of gyms and arenas. Talent sells merchandise, creates icons or demigods, and instills hope for the next generation. Companies such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, pay talented players to endorse their products (i.e. Michael Jordan and Lebron James).
It’s a very interesting paradigm for recruiters and coaches that the talent that a player possesses will lead to great accomplishments for both the team as well as the player. Otherwise, it will turn into overall underachievement for all involved. Players should focus on cultivating the talents into undeniable skill to attain the accomplishments, both individually and in the team dynamic. Doing so will make you more attractive to recruiters, which is the ultimate goal.