Archive for the ‘Brandon Jennings’ Category

Don’t Believe The Hype

June 13, 2009

As the Lakers continue their inevitable march towards a title, and, subsequently, force me to admit that Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players of all time, strangely my thoughts have turned to the NBA draft. Actually, it probably isn’t that strange, considering the other sites I write for and the radio stations I appear on consider me a “draft expert” (why I couldn’t become an expert on something more profitable is beyond me). Unfortunately this year’s draft is not just weak in terms of talent – its also lacks many interesting storylines or intrigue, besides where the most exciting player in the draft, Ricky Rubio, is going to end up. Well Brandon Jennings just made things a whole lot more interesting when he screamed out DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

In case you are too lazy to click the above link, Jennings has declared that Rubio is all hype and that himself, along with several other American point guards, are better than the Spanish sensation. BJ also went on to say that he can’t wait to play Rubio in summer league. Now Jennings has given this year’s draft some much needed flavour, just like his choice in hairstyle added spice to last year’s McDonald’s All-American Game.

The fact that I disagree with Jennings is beyond the point. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find many NBA GMs or draft experts that would select Jennings over Rubio in the draft. But to succeed in anything – especially in sports or the arts – you have to have a good deal of confidence and ego. And the whole lead up to the draft – with the workouts and interviews with various teams – is nothing more than a job interview for the prospects. So it would be pretty stupid for Jennings to state that he thinks that another player – let alone another point guard – is better than he is. But, nonetheless, to come out as vehemently against Rubio is quite surprising. Yes, Rubio is a product of lots of hype, but he can back it up with his play, on both ends of the court. Whether it is in the Euroleague, the Spanish pro league (ACB) or in the Olympics, Ricky has excelled as a teenager playing against grown men.

Who the better player is of the two isn’t the real point here. The point is that Jennings has thrown down the gauntlet and has sparked what could become a long running rivalry. The NBA is a league built on head-to-head matchups, but most of them, with the exception of Kobe vs Shaq back in the day, involve combatants who not only respect the other player, but are friends with him off the court. You very rarely get players badmouthing a rival nowadays so truly tense rivalries are hard to come by. All the hugging, chit-chatting and camaraderie among opponents on the court in today’s NBA eliminates alot of the drama and intrigue from the game. If the players don’t seem to care too much about the proceedings, why should we as fans? That is why I wasn’t upset by LeBron storming off the court after being eliminated by Orlando this year. Sure it was poor sportsmanship, but at least he showed that he cared and wasn’t willing to be buddy-buddy with his executioners. Hopefully Jennings and Rubio can bring some of that passion and bad blood back to the game.

So lets hurry up and get these playoffs over and get the summer leagues going. Then we can see if the Rubio hype is real or if don’t believe the hype will be a sequel.