I read most of Greg Hansen's columns because Greg Hansen generally is like a history textbook of Arizona Wildcats sports things. He's a fun read and often has a curious take. But I finished his latest piece titled "Where's Jerryd? Ex-UA Wildcat a cautionary tale for early-entry draft entrants," wondering if it was a #hotsportstakes piece from Grantland.
For those not familiar, Andrew Sharp writes a series of satirical pieces -- this one is about Jim Boeheim's game-ending rant. All of Sharp's columns begin with a warning that many commenters don't read: "Every now and then, we will attempt to write the worst sports column on earth."
Back to the article in front of me, which probably does not intentionally fall into a #hotsportstake category: I get that the early-entry rule does have a valid existence. I disagree with it, so know that. But I wanted to see what Hansen could argue in support of the rule, or even if he could point out any bad decisions that Jerryd Bayless made in leaving Arizona for the NBA after one season -- it's a column after all. Maybe I'd look at it in a different way.
Instead, well, take a look.
We'll never know if Bayless betrayed his development by leaving Arizona after one season ...
Are we trying to argue a point here or not? I'm all for hearing why someone might disagree with the current one-and-done rule but this is probably where the column should end (it's 100 words in). Assuming the headline isn't poorly written, and I know writers don't always write the headlines, where do we go from here?
There's also no mention of how we can change the current system or who is at fault. And by the way, the easy argument about why it's so hard to develop kids in college is brought up by Sean Miller all the time; the NCAA limits practice time. That fails to mention that players have to go to class, travel under poor conditions, yada, yada, yada.
... penetrating web site basketball-reference.com compares Bayless' NBA career most closely to that of Sonny Hertzberg.
Sonny Hertzberg? He was a guard from CCNY who played for the 1950s' Knicks and Celtics.
That can't be what Jerryd Bayless had in mind when he left school in April 2008.
Sonny Hertzberg played in the NBA from 1946-1950. Basketball-Reference has a basic algorithm to compare players with similar stats, so two players from completely different eras might appear to be similar. It's irrelevant, really.
Hertzberg, by the way, later became a managing director of Bear Stearns, and I'm sure Jerryd Bayless wouldn't mind that sort of success if his knees suddenly exploded. Worst things have happened.
Many NBA players get fabulously wealthy on their much-coveted "second contract." Ex-Wildcat Richard Jefferson's second contract was worth $62 million.
By comparison, Bayless' second deal, which just expired, was $6.2 million. The decimal points aren't in the same place.
Symmetry. 6.2, sort of like 62. So by referencing Richard Jefferson we're saying some early-entry candidates do turn out well! What did Jefferson do to earn more money? Maybe he's just blessed or lucked in to being a little bit better at basketball than Bayless. These things happen, irregardless of our decision-making. My decision-making cannot explain why I'm not a pro basketball player.
Also, I've never complained about making $6.2 million over any amount of time. And I'm sure that if this NBA thing ends, poor Jerryd might end up in Europe or China, making even more money than he would in the states. Tough life.
I'm not much of an NBA follower, but I turned on the Toronto-Brooklyn playoff game over the weekend expecting to see Bayless.
Instead, I saw the Raptors' Nando de Colo.
Blatantly discrediting oneself does not help support a column.
Nicolas Batum? Have you seen this guy play? He's terrific. I thought he played for the Pelicans. Nope. He's a Blazer.
I don't even know where to go here, or what the point is. Nicolas Batum has always played for the Blazers. WHY DOES THIS PARAGRAPH EXIST IN THE HISTORY OF EARTH?
The only true one-and-done busts from the Pac-12 have been Cal center Jamal Sampson, who started five games in a brief NBA career, and USC forward Davon Jefferson, who is playing in South Korea. Thus, the odds are strong that Arizona's Aaron Gordon and UCLA's Zach LaVine, two of nine freshmen on the early-entry list of 63, will ultimately become useful (and wealthy) NBA players.
And Bayless doesn't fall under the category of "useful?" I guess we don't need rotation guards who can draw fouls.
It's often the upperclassmen, not the freshmen, who make the most egregious decisions to leave college basketball.
But Richard Jefferson ... who made $62 million ...
A year ago, Ohio State substitute forward LaQuinton Ross drained a wide open three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to beat Arizona in the Sweet 16, 73-70. Ross returned for his junior year, became a starter, and averaged 15 points a game.
Good player. One career moment. Limited draft appeal.
Ross is projected by most draft boards to be a mid-second round selection.
And Ross was not projected as a lottery pick. He could stay all four seasons at Ohio State and never be in the NBA. Bayless was taken 11th overall because he was, at worst, an NBA rotation player. This is why we have draft experts and scouts. Nothing is a pure science, but smart people can generally predict if a player can last in the league.
The man who failed to guard Ross on that season-ending three-pointer, Grant Jerrett, turned pro after his freshman season, the most shocking one-and-done in Pac-12 history.
Hard to say this is comparable or should be to Jerryd Bayless.
Hard to say the most shocking one-and-done is a guy who was drafted easily in the second round. He was seasoned in the D-League by a franchise that made said D-League team trade up for the first overall pick in its own draft to select him. So yeah, it's not like nobody's looking out for Grant Jerrett.
As I first read Hansen's piece on Saturday night, Jerrett was learning on the bench of a Thunder team punching unfair expectations -- that it'd be easy to beat the Memphis Grizzlies -- in the jaw. Jerrett, by the way, has a niche talent as a shooter from the 4 spot. That same skillset has made former UA forward Channing Frye's career.
By the way, Frye had the ninth-best Real Plus-Minus in the NBA this season, a value columnists that don't follow the NBA wouldn't understand.